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               Volume 6, Issue 5                      Green Party of Contra Costa                             May 2002

  HOW CAN I SAVE THE WORLD BY                                         Questions from South America
         YESTERDAY?                                                                                     By Craig Peterson
                                 by Lisa Snortum-Phelps                       (with a report from Online Venezuela News
Have you ever avoided reading the newspaper because                                  ( from May 9, 2002)
it made you feel too angry and overwhelmed? Have you           For most people in California, the reports from Venezuela
ever opened up that package of healthy, organic salad          April 11th - 14th , 2002 seemed like just one more political
greens and lost your appetite as you realized you              crisis “over there.” After all, the US wasn’t involved.
purchased and threw away another piece of plastic?             Afghanistan was starting to become a place we were trying
Have you ever intended to write or call your legislator        to rebuild and send aid to. The Middle East was exploding
about an issue you really cared about, and realized you        with Israel and Palestine’s latest problems. Iraq had just
kept putting it off because you have "too many things to                                        as
                                                               declared an oil embargo, and w trying to get the rest of
do"? How do we think progressively and live sustainably        OPEC to join them.
in a world that seems to be moving in the opposite
direction? What do we act on and what do we let go?            Later, questions started to arise about the failed coup. Why
How can we find personal satisfaction in this mess?            was it that the forces that supported the coup were the
                                                               same groups that had been receiving US support? Was it
As I was participating in a Contegrity program, these          just a coincidence that the coup happened just a few days
questions came up. I tend to respond to this dilemma by        after Iraq announced the oil boycott? And why was the US
stopping cold. Some people I know just keep taking on          the only government in the Americas not to condemn the
more and more projects in an attempt to do it all while        coup in the first days?
feeling more and more
frustrated and anxious.
Both of these paths
operate on the assumption
                                     How do we                             GOOD NEWS UPDATE
(probably unconscious)                   think                            “EMERGENCY HEALTH
that I am the only one who        progressively                              POWERS ACT”
cares and it is up to ME to
take care of the entire                and live                                                       by Sharon Peterson
world. No wonder we get             sustainably                 In last month's Green Activist, we reported on "The Public
so tired - it’s hard work                                       Health Emergency Powers Act," California State Assembly
saving the world all by
                                      in a world
                                                                Bill 1763. If passed into law, the Act would have granted
ourselves. This insanity             that seems                 the Governor extraordinary powers, such as the authority
calls for a shift in               to be moving                 to order mandatory treatments and or vaccinations, in the
perspective. I have to                                          event of a public health emergency - and, the Act would
remind myself: 1) I am not       in the opposite                have granted the Governor the power to declare such an
alone, and 2) the world               direction?                emergency in the first place.
takes care of itself and all
I can do is act with                                            We are relieved to report that AB 1763 was amended
integrity and find that piece that is mine to do.               almost beyond recognition on April 18, 2002. Under its
                                                                new title, “The Public Health Emergency Powers
Progressive-minded people tend to fear there are too            Commission Act,” AB 1763 now calls for the establishment
few of us out there. Then we act in isolation and stay          of a Commission to develop a public health emergency
small and weak. When we remember that we were born              plan for the State of California.
into a life of relationships - with people, animals, plants,
and the Earth - and act in connection with others, we           If AB 1763 is adopted, the new Commission will include
grow powerful. Michael Moore reminded me                        one member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU),
                                                                                                   (continued on page 2)
                                    (continued on page 2)
Page 2

 Good News (cont.)                                              The last and most important thing to do is find our
                                                                piece. What is actually ours to do, and what can we let
 one representative from the California Nurses Association      go of and let others do (or life take care of in a differ-
 and one representative from the California Public Defend-      ent way)? We must notice what calls to us, ignites our
 ers Association, along with representatives from other         passions, not what we "should" do or what seems like
 agencies and professional organizations.                       a "good idea". Only this way can we work from our
                                                                strengths. I have found my peace in working with the
 On May 1, 2002, AB 1763 went to the Appropriations             Green Party when I stopped thinking I "should" go ta-
 Committee and is now in their suspense file.                   bling or passing out GP flyers (which I hate) and I
                                                                started writing, editing and helping plan events (which I
 This kind of change only happens when activists speak up.      love). When we work from our calling, the work is eas-
 We heartily thank everyone who contacted their legislators     ier and we find much satisfaction from it. Working out
 and made it known that this attempted power grab was un-       of "shoulds" just burns us out.
 acceptable. It is true that California needs a comprehen-
 sive plan for dealing with public health emergencies, but      So don’t give up and do nothing. And don’t try to do it
 we must make sure the plan is based on care, not coer-         all. (Leave some things to do for the rest of us who get
 cion.                                                          inspired!) Find your passion and strength and do it.

 California escaped the enactment of this bad law, but other    And in other news . . .
 States are still considering similar Acts, based on the
 Model Emergency Health Powers Act developed and pro-                                                 by Craig Peterson
 moted by the Bush Administration. To learn what is hap-
 pening nationwide, visit                   Most of us are able to keep up on what is going on out
                                                                there, but just in case you missed these news
 For official updates AB 1763 (and on all California legisla-   reports . . .
 tion), visit
                                                                Mike Wyman (Treasurer for the Green Party of CA)
                                                                reports that the General Counsel's office of the Federal
 Yesterday (cont.)                                              Elections Committee (FEC) has recommended the
                                                                granting the Green Party of California federal
 that we are not alone, I repeat, WE ARE NOT ALONE. I           recognition.     The advisory opinion issued by the
 was watching a video of him speaking on his book tour for      General Council's office will go into a comment period
 Stupid White Men…and Other Sorry Excuses for the State         and then placed on the agenda of the FEC on May 16.
 of the Nation. (If you would like a copy, please contact the   While this does not change our status in California nor
 County Council) He said he has been overwhelmed by the         will it change the way we do business here in Contra
 numbers of people showing up to hear him speak on this         Costa, it is important to note that the third largest
 tour. Many people out there agree with his message, de-        political party is starting to change the political
 spite "President" Bush’s 80% approval rating. He told the      landscape nationwide.
 story (also in his book) of how he got elected to his local
 school board as an 18-year-old high school senior              And speaking of May 16th, that is this year’s “Bike to
 "slacker", and convinced the board to fire his principal and   Work Day”. As of the time of publication, several of
 vice principal. His message is that if he could effect that    the Green candidates for statewide office have
 kind of change at 18, we can do that and more. Another         planned to participate in this event. It has been
 book, Cultural Creatives, by Paul H. Ray, Ph.D. and            suggested that next year we sponsor a “recharging
 Sherry Ruth Anderson, Ph.D., takes on this whole issue of      station” to show our support. Any interested members
 progressive thinkers feeling alone and not realizing how       of the Green Party of Contra Costa who would like to
 many others are out there. We are not alone!                   participate in this please contact the County Council.

 So if we feel empowered to act, how do we decide what to       Our next Community Forum has been announced.
 do when there is so much to be done? First, we have to         “Can peace be attained in the Middle East?” On
 remember that changes happen over time. We cannot              Tuesday, May 28th, the Green Party of Contra Costa
 snap our fingers and have things go the way we want. I         will present a public forum on Palestine. This will
 think back to when my husband and I decided to eat less        feature Lynn MacMichael, recently returned from
 meat and more organically grown food. If we had tried to       Jenin, with a slide presentation, along with others
 make all the changes we saw could be done, we would            discussing the path to peace in the region. We will
 have gone crazy. We evolved our changes in eating,             start at 7:30 p.m. and continue until about 10:30 p. m.
 cooking, and buying habits over time. Ten years later, I am    at the Shadelands Arts Center, 111 N. Wiget Lane at
                                                                Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek. $10.00
                                                                                                                        Page 3

South America (cont.)
While I do want to know the answers to all those            Become a contributing member of
questions, the question that is most important to me is
“Does the current administration respect the democratic
process?”.     Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The          Green Party of Contra Costa
Progressive magazine, reports that one administration
official, when asked by a reporter about Venezuela’s         and receive our newsletter, too!
President Hugo Chávez being elected by a majority of
Venezuela’s voters, replied “Legitimacy is something that       (All contribution levels)
is conferred not just by a majority of the voters.” As a
person who believes in this country, and the constitution
on which it is based, I disagree.
                                                                             MEMBERSHIP FORM
In addition to the questions we have, Venezuela also has
some questions.       The answers, if they are ever
forthcoming, may help both nations truly understand         Introductory Premiums:
what value the current US Presidential administration       __ $10 “Poppy” level includes:
places on democracy.                                               - State Green Party Platform
From Online Venezuela News.                                        - Green Party Button
                                                                   - The Activist Newsletter
President Hugo Chávez said that the United States
                                                            __ $25 “Manzanita” level includes all of the above plus:
government needed to explain to its people and to
                                                                   - Green Party Bumper Sticker
Venezuelans why it blamed him for last month's failed
                                                                   - Book: 2 Minutes A Day For A Greener Planet
coup in Venezuela.
                                                            __ $50 “Oak” level includes all of the above plus:
"The government of the United States really owes an
                                                                    - a Green Party T-shirt or a Green Party Tote Bag
explanation,” Chávez said in an interview to be
broadcast Sunday on CBS television's “60 Minutes.”          __ $100 “Redwood” level includes all of the above plus:
                                                                    - Green Party T-shirt and a Green Party Tote Bag
Chávez was removed from power on April 12 by
military generals who claimed the president had             Name:
resigned but the populist former paratrooper was            ___________________________________________
restored to power two days later alleging that he had
never resigned.                                             Address:
Testimonies of an ongoing inquiry of the National
Assembly indicate that Chávez told a gathering of
military, political and church figures that he had
resigned but refused to sign his resignation because he     Phone: _________________ e-mail:
was not granted a safe conduct to Cuba.                     ___________________

Contrary to the reaction of most Latin American             T-shirt size (for $50 membership): Circle one: M / L / XL
governments, the United States believed that Chávez
                                                            Please make check payable to: GREEN PARTY OF CONTRA COSTA
had resigned and hesitated in condemning Chávez's

Following the coup, the White House said Chávez's
government had used force to “to suppress what was a
peaceful demonstration of the people and led very
quickly to a combustible situation in which Chávez

The United States later signed a resolution of the
Organization of American States (OAS) condemning
the coup as undemocratic.
                                                                                                                       Page 4

Did You Feel That?                                             music, food, and (most importantly) a relaxed atmosphere
                                                               where the delegates could prepare for the second day of
                                        By Craig Peterson      work.
There was an earthquake in the Fresno area the
weekend of May 4th and 5th. It wasn’t an actual                In conclusion.
earthquake, the kind that tears buildings and roads            One thing that was noted by most in attendance was how
apart, but a political one. The aftershocks will be felt for   fast we have grown and how far we have come in a short
a long time to come, not only locally, but throughout the      amount of time. As is true of any rapid growth, pain is part
state and the nation as well.                                  of the process. Each of us must now put in that little extra
                                                               effort to help the party as it grows into the national party
As with all earthquakes, many things have shifted              that can address the needs of the nation. Some of the
location. No, not that vase with the flowers you left on       things you can do:
the mantle, but the Green Party of Contra Costa itself.
For our representation on the State Coordinating               ∗   Keep track of State Party news and events - If you
Committee, we are now in the newly formed “East Bay                visit you will find a wealth of information
Region” of the Green Party of California. This new                 on what is going on around the state.
region is comprised of Contra Costa, Alameda, and
                                                               ∗   Attend the next plenary or gathering - Our next
Solano Counties. Sharon Peterson, who is still our
                                                                   statewide meeting will be a Gathering focusing on
representative, was joined by Leslie Dinkin from
                                                                   sharpening your activist skills ... and on fun! The
Alameda County. Three alternates, Craig Peterson
                                                                   Gathering will be held on August 10-11, 2002, in
(Contra Costa), Budd Dickinson, and Kenny Mostern
                                                                   Ventura County.       Please check the website
(both from Alameda) were also selected.
                                                                   ( and future issues of The Green
While this will give our area greater representation, it           Activist for details. There is always a need for
also presents a challenge when dealing with issues that            delegates and for people to just attend and see how
affect the entire Bay Area. The new regions (North Bay,            the system works.
San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and East Bay) will need
to work closely together, especially when it comes to          ∗   Support the candidates for office - if you can do
transportation (BART, AC Transit, etc.), water, and                fund raising, campaigning, or even host a house party,
development in unincorporated areas.
                                                               State Meeting Highlights – Electoral Reform
Of even greater importance was the change in the
makeup of our representation on the Green Party of the                                  by Jeanne Marie Rosenmeier
United States (GPUS). In a short period of time we have
gone from only two delegates to thirteen. While this is        New co-coordinator: Bill Pietz, who also wears the hat of
still not proportional representation (of the 250,000          co-chair of the California IRV Coalition.
registered Greens in this country, 150,000 are in
                                                               Election code section: This primary season, Riverside and
California) the 20% of the vote we now have will help us
                                                               Contra Costa Counties asked to use choice voting (ranking
keep the GPUS heading in the direction we feel it needs
                                                               candidates) to elect their county councils. The Secretary of
to go.
                                                               State’s office turned the idea down, citing the elections
Money, arguments, and good music.                              code. More than ever, we need our own section of the
As with most plenaries, more was accomplished in that          elections code. Bill will be researching the legislators who
one weekend then a single report in the newsletter could       would be on the committee to which our code section would
possibly cover. The budget for the state party is close to     be referred. Then we will begin attempting to identify the
$94,000 with more being raised then spent. There were          best way to approach one of them.
long, drawn out, discussions as to “What is terrorism?”,
                                                               Workshop at August gathering:       We expect to run a
should there be an increase in property taxes, and
                                                               workshop at the August gathering in Ventura featuring IRV
where is the money going to come from for proper heath
                                                               (instant runoff voting) and choice voting, the form of
and child care in this state. Delegates spoke with
                                                               proportional representation we plan to use for our county
passion and conviction as we tried to come to agreement
                                                               council elections. It’ll be fun!
on each issue.

Fortunately, as with all Green gatherings, the goal is to      Electoral reform page on California Green Party web site:
come to consensus rather then fight until one faction or       We are submitting information and links to make the
the other wins. At the end of the day most of the              electoral reform working group page of a
delegates were able to feel good not only about what           useful tool.
they had accomplished, but about the process itself.
                                                               Democracy & electoral reform platform plank: We are
The hosting local helped this good feeling by providing
                                                               asking the Green Party of California coordinating committee
                                                                                                                          Page 5

                                                                              SAVE THE DATE!
                                                                  Contra Costans have another chance to meet and
Hot off the Presses, my Rantings:                                   hear our remarkable candidate for Governor,
                                                                               Peter Miguel Camejo.
All the US government coverups will lead back to the
central coverup, which is that the Bush family and the           Peter and Linda Heylin will hold a house party for the
Bin Laden family have been business partners from                 candidate on June 22nd from 3-6 p.m. at their lovely
the beginning. Over the last half-century they created             home in the tiny hamlet of Canyon. All Greens are
the modern Middle East the way that it is, especially            invited to come and show support for our homegrown
the oil business, finances, and the policy of                      candidate. Mark the date on your calendar and call
assassination of any other national or popular                            (925) 521-1330 for more information
leadership that might naturally emerge from the people
of the region.                                                                SAVE THE DATE!
They are each dynasties. Every dynasty has a drama
and a lifespan. We witness today the duel of Osama
and George, the families‘ current generation of
protagonists on the world stage. Perhaps they both are
the spoiled and idiot offspring of inbred dynasties-in-
decline, an inevitable feature of the dynastic life cycle.
These two dynasties also embody the old order of
financial oligarchy, backed up by the militaries of their
respective countries. They embody the death grip of
the petroleum industry on our world today, for they
know that if they release their grip, their order is
finished. The tide of history has now caught up with

This occurs against the dramatic backdrop of a world
in major transition in every way- spiritual, human,
environmental- during an evolutionary order of

To be continued…
                                                                        The Green Calendar
                                                             •   May 21 -- MONTHLY BUSINESS MEETING. Gather at
Richard Abbott                                                   7:15pm. Meeting starts promptly at 7:30pm, ending at
                                                                 9:00pm. Financial Service Center, 1010 Oak Grove
The Activist offers space for members of the Green               Road, Concord.
Party of Contra Costa to express their views on              •   May 26 — FORUM – “Can peace be attained in the
issues that concern them. What do you think?                     Middle East?” . For details see page 2.
What is important to you? Send your letters to:              •   June 18 -- MONTHLY BUSINESS MEETING. Gather at
                     The Activist                                7:15pm. Meeting starts promptly at 7:30pm, ending at
                                                                 9:00pm. Financial Service Center, 1010 Oak Grove
                                                                 Road, Concord.
  We welcome submissions of articles, announce-
      ments, and letters by our members.                     •   June 22 – House party for Camejo for Governor. For
      The next deadline for submission is:                       details see above.
                June 1, 2002

          Please send your articles/letters to:

          The Green Party of Contra Costa
     P. O. Box 3333 – Walnut Creek, CA 94598
  Page 6

Green Activist                                                                                Presorted Standard
Green Party of Contra Costa                                                                      U S Postage
P. O. Box 3333                                                                                       PAID
Walnut Creek, CA 94598                                                                           Concord, CA
                                                                                                Permit No. 933

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