Film Screening — 2040: The Regeneration

Join us for a special community screening!

2040: The Regeneration

Actions and Climate Solutions available today that will shape a Sustainable tomorrow!

About this Event

Online film screening —

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

7:00 PM – 10:00 PM PST

This is THE YEAR for climate action, and this film provides the positive solutions that we can implement today. It is a great cure for eco-anxiety and the perfect way to inspire you to action!

#JoinTheRegeneration and book your tickets today!

​​Award-winning director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon blends traditional documentary with dramatized sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board of how these solutions could regenerate the world for future generations.

Click here to watch a trailer and to reserve your spot.

Note: this screening has an attendance limit. Register now to confirm your spot!

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Donations always appreciated and put to good use!

🌻 #WeAreGreen

Only We Can Save Ourselves

On Wednesday January 6th, Donald J. Trump incited insurrections and physical attacks on our Nation’s Capitol and state legislatures across the country. Here in WA, far-right activists attempted to breach and occupy the Governor’s mansion. The Green Party of Washington condemns these actions by President Trump and his far-right supporters, including the complicity from the Washington State Patrol (WSP).

The Green Party has in the past supported organizers occupying the WA state legislature for their rights. In contrast to the friendly solidarity between police and brownshirts we saw on Wednesday, organizers from Black Lives Matter, Protectors of the Salish Sea, and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators have been consistently met with brutal, violent responses from the WSP. Just a few weeks ago on December 12, WSP coordinated with fascist demonstrators to intimidate and violently repress anti-fascist counter-demonstrators, ending with three counter-demonstrators arrested and one shot. In July, while WSP was hauling Black Lives Matter demonstrators out of their cars for “blocking traffic,” they mysteriously allowed a far-right activist to breach their blockade in his car and run over BLM protestors, killing one and injuring dozens.

The reason WSP did not respond to the actions on Wednesday the way they did to these movements is clear: WSP’s primary mission is not to protect the public but to protect the ruling class from popular movements. Fascists do not threaten the ruling class: they are the ruling class’s most zealous pawns. As a consequence of this, we also know that calls to tighten the security state in the name of “anti-terrorism” will only end in further repression of countervailing, pro-democratic movements rather than real and present dangers to public safety.

We must instead recognize that as long as we ignore the root causes of these reactions then we cannot defeat them. As long as our communities face growing poverty and inequality, as long as our public safety institutions are rooted in racism and overrun with fascist sympathizers, as long as we ignore the waste of human lives, conscience, and resources in war, as long the water levels continue to rise and our cities are threatened by cinder and smoke, the dangers posed by revanchist movements will only escalate.

Trump has conclusively (and repeatedly) demonstrated his unfitness for office and must not be permitted to remain in office even for two more weeks. WSP, and the capitalist system they protect, have done the same. Therefore, The Washington State Green Party demand:

  • Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
  • The House of Representatives to act immediately to impeach him, and the Senate convict. This is the only legal method to prevent Trump from running again.
  • Once removed, Trump must be criminally prosecuted.
  • We must resist calls to increase state censorship and violence, which regardless of intent will be overwhelmingly inflicted on popular, anti-racist and anti-colonial movements.
  • The Washington Legislature must pass a bill this session replacing the Washington State Patrol with a new, community-controlled Department of Public Safety built upon anti-racist principles of criminal justice.
  • In the meantime, Governor Inslee must use all the powers available to him to root out and prosecute far-right infiltrators in the Washington State Patrol.
  • The Washington State Government must enact deep changes to our economy to eradicate poverty and inequality. This must start with fixing our tax code so that the poorest people in WA do not pay the highest tax rates. Instead of sales and property taxes which hit the working poor and middle class the hardest, the Green Party supports taxes on capital gains, land value, and other sources of rent-seeking behavior that drive inequality.
  • Governor Inslee must declare a Climate Emergency and begin immediate efforts to alleviate the Climate Crisis. While many Trump supporters are climate deniers, we in the Green Party have no illusions about the “opportunities” fascist activists will see in the climate crisis. We must say “no” to ecofascism before it arrives.
  • We must take immediate steps to reduce polarization and build confidence in democratic institutions, including serious reforms to our elections such as the implementation of proportional representation, ranked-choice voting, and more opportunities for direct democracy.
  • We must eliminate the large influence of corporations on individuals’ lives, and accompanying alienation, by seizing the assets of large monopolies like Amazon and empowering workers to directly manage their workplaces.


    “More of the same” will not defeat fascism, because more of the same is what gave us fascism. Anything short of radical action and direct struggle will fall short. We call on all people against the devolution of our Republic into autocracy to demand these immediate actions. Only we can save ourselves.

Become a GPWA member or update your membership: https://www.gp-wa.org/membership_gpwa

GPWA Vision Board: Regenerative Politics

MONDAY, JANUARY 4, 2021 AT 6:30 – 7:30 PM PST

General Membership of GPWA meet up on Jitsi

Agenda: Vision Board for Regenerative Politics in Washington State

Bring your ideas Greens! Here are some brainstorming prompts:

– Permaculture goes beyond agriculture that does not harm the environment into agriculture that actually heals the land; in a relative vein how do we amplify Eco-socialist principles to create a restorative political process?

– how do Greens empower the Grassroots?

– how do Greens promote sustainable communities here in Washington?

– how do Greens ‘on both sides of the mountains’ show up for each other?

Agenda Items
[Subject to Change]:

-Activist Burnout (Alice)

-Engagement of Millennials (Mara)

-VisionBoard/Brainstorming (Round table/Everyone)

Become a GPWA member or update your membership: https://www.gp-wa.org/membership_gpwa

Click to join the meeting on January 4th at 6:30 PM: https://meet.jit.si/GreenPartyWashington

To join by phone instead, tap this: +1.512.647.1431,,1598669430#

🌻 #WeAreGreen

Opinion on the State of the Green Party in Washington and Beyond

By Derrick Miles, Spokane, Washington

As a four year member of the Green Party, I whole-heartedly believe in continuing the nearly four decade-long movement. I also believe that it is up to each and every one of us as individuals to devise strong organizing strategies and to get deeply involved within our communities in a way that will reach out to, and uplift, all those that have been disenfranchised. It is a necessity for GPWA as a whole to begin working more interconnectedly to ensure we are on the path to victory; whatever that may look like for each respective delegation of Greens in Washington.

Currently, I have reached an intellectual plateau for how to effectively change our oppressive system, and in regard to our value of non-violence, I hope only for a peaceful transition away from the current duopolistic form of governing. Meanwhile, those that will continue to “Vote Blue No Matter Who” will fall back into an undisturbed state with a blue congressional majority and a party-officiated candidate in office. Still, no matter which side of the aisle they fall on, there is a discernible trait growing within Americans; little faith in elected officials when they continue to toe their respective lines. Yet in response, both parties have continued to push further and further to the right in their pursuit of conservatism. For over a hundred years now, the people of our country have been led to believe these are the only “ideologically different” parties that can effectively represent or embrace them.

Our membership often reaches peaks as Presidential elections ramp up, and as word-of-mouth, social media and what little mainstream media coverage we can scavenge spread the message of our candidates. Following each election those upward trends tend to fall back into a lull. More likely it is the newly joined, with misguided frustration over the loss of their chosen candidate, possibly aimed at a poorly organized local or state party and/or coordination between GPUS. No doubt, there are many more members that have been and will remain Green and continue to advocate for our cause; a figure which surely grows as each year passes.

To our membership it is blatantly obvious, but has become increasingly more apparent to the general public; billionaires, corporations and special interests do not bear in mind what’s best for the people. As their capitalistic profits continuously soar, our livelihoods stagnate and decline. What assures that our representatives are held accountable to the people and not just their wealthy pocket holders? To start, as Green Party candidates have historically done, honest campaigns should not accept contributions from corporations or bottomless PACs. To push this further, regardless of party denomination, GPWA should watchdog campaigns and seek to discourage and call out any candidate that forms PACs, or that accepts corporate and/or wealthy high-profile individual donations.

The Green Party’s lackluster experience in the political landscape has often been construed as a failure to ignite the people behind our core beliefs. Being reliant upon volunteers and small dollar donations, rather than mega-donors and super PACs in the face of decades-long corporate influence, the Green Party has not yet obtained a position of major influence. This late into the rising cataclysmic events unfolding, we must organize and grow, fast. To partially quote Jill Stein, “like our lives depend on it, because they do.”

In my home state of Nevada, I personally spent hours caucusing for Bernie Sanders in February of 2016. I saw firsthand how unorganized and undemocratic our system had become. It was specifically designed to discourage participation. I left the Democratic party shortly after and immediately learned that voter suppression has evolved beyond the exclusivity of limiting BIPOC and women and is now commonplace for all Americans when both the Democratic and Republican parties alike assert their control to protect and influence their copy-paste candidates. I applaud the efforts of Greens advocating for Ranked Choice Voting and Proportional Representation, another effort which GPWA must push to the forefront of change, and discredit those that would hope to maintain underrepresentation in Washington.

Many like myself originally roused in 2016 felt responsible for Bernie Sanders&’ initial “failure.” Thoughts parading around our minds like, “had I volunteered and gotten more involved, maybe it would have turned out differently.” Thinking back, those thoughts were partially true. We should have gotten more involved. We should have taken to the streets. Many simply just “walked out,” quite literally during the Democratic National Convention of 2016, and it ended there, (despite calls to write-in Bernie; which amounted to nothing unless he had filed as a write-in, but I digress.) After failure to eradicate the systemic issues within the Democratic party many more were maligned into thinking, “at least they aren’t Republicans.”

Lastly, the status quo parties are not alone in the share of the blame when it comes to devaluing our democracy. The mainstream media give out hundreds of thousands of hours in free advertising, in most cases to the two most disliked candidates, while completely shutting out minor party candidates who have actually had to complete the ground work to gather ballot status. GPWA must shine a spotlight with which the media in Washington will be forced to acknowledge us. This is a struggle faced by all state Green parties, as in my home state of Nevada. We must ensure that our actions maintain meaningful and direct purpose and that our discourse informs and embraces all, including volunteering in other like-minded groups’ efforts rather than treading on the others’ work. Through our actions around the state we should easily be able to garner recognition, not for the esteem, but to gather the voices of which would never have heard the call to join us without it.

Creating a Cabinet Level Department of National Equity

By Frank Ellsworth Lockwood

This article is about Racial tension and moving toward a Green Party Policy. It is meant to be a conversation starter, and obviously not the final word on GP national policy.

By way of disclosure: Frank Ellsworth Lockwood is an old White man from a Protestant upbringing. Now that we have that out of the way, his family is multi-racial and he worked for fifteen years as a resource room teacher (and at times as a teacher’s consultant) in Migrant and Bilingual Education in Hermiston, Oregon. He is a co-founder of the Green Party of the Mid-Columbia and now resides in Kennewick, Washington. Lockwood holds a master’s degree in Education from Eastern Oregon State University.

In my opinion, the Green Party needs to come up with a better response to racial tensions in the USA. These tensions and the militarization of police, indeed the state of policing, are closely related and there may be some overlap for purposes of this paper.

  1. Create a Department of National Equity (DNE): Racial equity is such an important issue right now that it needs to be elevated to the status of a Department of State alongside other departments such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of Energy.
    1. This should be a Department overseen and run by members of specifically targeted groups such as blacks, browns, LGBT people, women
      1. Black, Native, women and LGBT inclusion
      2. Black, Native, women and LGBT oversight
      3. Roughly equal numbers of men and women and proportional inclusion of non-binary genders
  2. Create a national standard of policing:  The DNE should be charged with creating a national standard of policing. There are two ways we could go with this, depending on how much support we have. States could be compelled to comply by withholding of federal funds. Although states could refuse to comply, the DNE will exert pressure by pointing out flaws and failures to comply in each of the states, shaming them in nationally televised “exposure reports.”
  3. Power to approve/disapprove education funds: The DNE will exert influence over the distribution of Federal education dollars to the various states or school districts. Schools that do not provide an equal education to minorities will receive federal education funds tied to specific evidence of progress.[1]
  4. Prevent and revoke the militarization of police forces.
  5. Make the law Explicitly prevent the President from using the regular army, mercenaries, or militias against the people of the United States.
  6. Pass laws forbidding the deployment of regular military forces against the wishes of the state and city governments for less than treasonous reasons (by which I mean to imply, civil war or attempts to militarily overthrow the government).

  

[1] As an aside: Schools should not be allowed to redirect 1.5 and 2.0 full time equivalency (FTE) funds to their general funds when those have been designated based upon at-risk or needy populations such as migrant, educable mentally retarded or other similar factors. Funds over 1 FTE that are distributed for the purpose of serving high-need or at-risk students should be applied directly to those programs that directly meet those needs. Likewise, funds distributed to address inequities must be spent for that purpose, not to support the school’s general fund for education, regular school sports, etc.

2020 Candidates and Green Party Voter’s Guide

2020 Green Party Candidate Endorsements

Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker for U.S. President and Vice President

Washington State Legislative Candidates

Sherae Lascelles for State Representative, District 43, Position 2: Preferred candidate. Sherae Lascelles is running as a grassroots community organizer with the Seattle People’s Party and committed to the Green Party 10 key values.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge

Sharonda Amamilo: Green Party Preferred candidate.

Additional State and Legislative Candidates, Referendums, Advisory votes, and Resolutions

Consider the candidate endorsements featured by the following organizations:

The Stranger Endorsements: Please take into consideration these progressive-leaning endorsements for state referendums, advisory votes, resolutions, and candidates.

Note: please vote for Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker for U.S. President and Vice President!

Looking for more candidate endorsements or Green Party write-in candidates?

Currently the Green Party in Washington State is mostly focused on COVID solidarity efforts, local races, and building Left Unity. While we have no Green Party members actively campaigning for statewide or legislative office at this time, we are supporting Sherae Lascelles campaign for the State legislature (see above) and will have candidates running for City Councils, Conservation Districts, and other local offices next year in the hopes of building for a serious statewide run in 2024, especially if we can get Ranked Choice Voting enacted by then.
 
If you or someone you know is interested in running for local or statewide office as a Green, now is a good time to start thinking about it and to get involved!
 
Green volunteer (Write-in) candidates for Statewide races:
 
Governor:  Paul Wagner, Protectors of the Salish Sea
Lt. Governor:  Noah Martin, South Sound Green Party
 
 
Green Party of Washington State, PO Box 70493, Seattle, WA 98127

#WeAreGreen

 

Ranked-Choice Voting in 2020

Another Year When Ranked-Choice Voting Would Make Our Votes Really Count and When the Top-Two Primary Cuts Us Off Short

Yikes! Thirty-six candidates for governor. Thirteen Democratic candidates for president. Eight candidates for Congress in the Second Congressional District.

These numbers are welcome signs of political engagement. It’s too bad the electoral system that we have (the winner-take-all system, coupled in Washington with the top-two primary) can’t handle numbers like these.

These numbers are welcome signs of political engagement. It’s too bad the electoral system that we have (the winner-take-all system, coupled in Washington with the top-two primary) can’t handle numbers like these.

It’s not that the computers can’t count that high. It’s rather that the method of counting itself systematically disenfranchises voters and produces unrepresentative results. This is a disenfranchisement not connived at by venial election officials, but something that is built in to the system itself.

More and more people at large are seeing how far winner-take-all elections take us from representative government. Two distinguished and respected national groups have recently joined the crowd of supporters. The American Academy of Arts and Scientists have just published a report entitled “Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century.” They put adoption of ranked-choice voting at the top of their list, second only to increasing the number of members of the House of Representatives (an interesting topic in itself). (Links to this report and other sources can be found under “Sources” at the end of this article.)

The League of Women Voters of the United States has adopted criteria for a good election method. Among them are encouraging voter participation and voter engagement, encouraging those with minority opinions to participate, minimizing wasted votes, and promoting sincere voting over strategic voting. Only ranked-choice voting meets these criteria.

The national media that have come on board include The New York TimesHarvard Business Review, and Freakonomics. Our local media have been active also: The [Everett] Daily HeraldCascadia Weekly, Northwest Citizen, and of course Whatcom Watch. And, if you don’t check any other links, try the one to the hilarious sendup that Hasan Minhaj conducts as part of his Patriot Act series on Netflix.

A year in advance, The [Everett] Herald op-ed predicted the widespread disenfranchisement of voters that actually occurred and that was an almost inevitable result of conducting the Democratic Presidential Primary as a winner-take-all election.

Let’s see how that happened.

Wasted Votes: Presidential Primary
There were 13 candidates on the printed ballot. By the time the primary date occurred, only two candidates remained in the race, the others having conceded. In the meantime, nearly 400,000 voters had cast their single vote for one of the candidates who had dropped out. These voters’ participation in the election was effectively fruitless. That is to say, about a quarter of those who voted wasted their time — except perhaps as a demonstration yet again, if one were needed, the system in which they were participating was inadequate as a way to achieve representation for the peoples’ views.

Here’s another feature: neither Biden nor Bernie was anywhere close to receiving a majority of the votes in the primary. Biden, the leader, was short in round numbers by 188,000 votes, and received less than 40 percent of the turnout. Do we really want a system of voting that produces minority winners as a matter of course when there are more than two candidates?

If the election had been conducted using ranked-choice voting, many voters who had voted for one of those who dropped out would likely have assigned their second choice (or third or fourth choice) to Biden or Bernie. Because the counting would have gone through several rounds, their votes would most likely eventually have counted. Many fewer voters would have cast votes that had no effect. And the winner would be a majority winner.

But let’s look at the results of the presidential primary even more closely. Biden’s vote total in the primary was a little over 21,000 more than Bernie’s. With that slim margin, Bernie might easily have been the winner had the election been conducted using the ranked-choice method. The 142,000 votes for Elizabeth Warren alone would likely have given him the edge.

So, on that level also, the winner-take-all election that actually took place most likely failed to reflect the views of the voters.

Not a very good start for an election year!

One good thing about the Democratic Presidential Primary: the turnout was pretty high, likely about 60 percent of Democratic voters.

Primary for Governorship
In the governor’s race, the story is essentially the same: many candidates and a vote that must be given all or nothing to only one of them. The result is many, many wasted votes, which is to say votes that don’t result in representation.

This primary is an extreme example of how many votes in a winner-take-all election can count for nothing. In the strict sense in which political scientists use the term, a wasted vote is either a vote for a losing candidate or a surplus vote for a winning candidate. Neither of these two kinds of votes yields an increase in representation. Inslee has received about one and a quarter million votes. His next competitor has received a quarter of a million. The remaining candidates share over three-quarters of a million votes between them. The votes for candidates other than the top two have achieved no representation and are wasted. Of the votes for Inslee, a million votes are surplus (more than he needed to get into the general election), and so are equally wasted. Of the votes for Culp, roughly 200,000 are surplus to what he needed to beat Freed, his next competitor. In total in this primary, 1.8 million votes (three-quarters of all the votes) are wasted!

You can make the calculation for the primary in the Second Congressional District.

No wonder people think their votes don’t count! In every winner-take-all election, most votes actually don’t count towards achieving representation.

Primaries: Beyond-Use Date
When primaries were first devised during the Progressive Era, the aim was to put the voters in charge of selecting the candidates of each party. Until then, choosing the candidates had been in the hands of Democratic and Republican party bosses. Boss Tweed, of the New York City Democratic Party machine, was one of those who understood the importance of controlling the nominating process. But, he only “controlled” for a time. Eventually, he had to flee New York as a deck hand on an ocean liner, was apprehended in Spain, was returned to New York and convicted on 200 counts of various kinds of corruption and theft. He died in jail.

Washington’s “top-two” primary sets all candidates for a given position against one another, no matter what their political leanings, to see which two will go through to the general election in November. It’s a primary just for the sake of having a primary. There’s actually no good reason to cut down the field in this way — or to incur the public expense — especially when the remedy is at hand in the form of ranked-choice voting.

Here’s another practicality of primaries. Younger voters barely vote in them at all. Of those aged 18-24 (post-millennials), about half are registered to vote, but only 4 percent of these vote in primaries. Of millennials (those aged 25-35), about 65 percent are registered, and only 9 percent of these vote in primaries. By contrast, 90 percent of eligible people over 60 typically are registered to vote, and, of these, 60 percent vote in primaries. This is unbalanced.

The effective exclusion of student voters is worsened because they often register at one address (let’s say, their college address), and then, when the primary ballots are mailed out in August, are staying at a different address (let’s say, the beach). As a matter of policy, the post office does not forward ballots! There is a way out: the student in question can call the local auditor’s office and request the ballot be mailed to the address where the student will be staying over the summer — but why have we set things up to be so difficult? This is yet another form of voter suppression, and one that has been in effect for a long time.

Voters of every age turn out less often in the primaries than they do in the general elections. Often, the most partisan voters vote in the primaries, with the result that the most partisan candidates are the ones we are left to vote on in November, another false choice for the voters.

The combination of the spoiler effect and the artificial constraint of “top-two-ism” exacerbates one of the worst tendencies of winner-take-all elections: to restrict elections to two parties.

A further defect is the possibility of producing really unrepresentative results. For example, in the 2016 primary election for state Treasurer, three Democrats split 52 percent of the vote, and two Republicans split 48 percent of the vote. In the general election, the voters got to choose between the two Republicans!

So, with Washington state’s very odd “top-two” primary, as I summarized in my July 2019 Whatcom Watch article, we get a voting method that:

a. “doesn’t select a given party’s candidate (the original purpose of primaries),

b. unnecessarily limits the field that the voters can choose from,

c. has the potential to produce a really unrepresentative result,

d. leaves out the younger (and older) voters at an important early stage of the election process, and

e. takes a chunk out of the public treasury in order to achieve these curious aims.”

Elections Without Handcuffs
Lisa Ayrault, director of FairVote Washington, tells a story of the time when she was a middle school math teacher 30 years ago. She took her seventh grade math students through the various different voting methods. They didn’t pick a system they thought was the best, but it was very clear to those seventh graders that the winner-take-all system was the worst you could have.

When we adopted it in 1789, constituting the government out of people who were elected was a major step forward. At that time, winner-take-all was the only known way for conducting elections. Since then things have changed a lot.

What is so bad about winner-take-all elections? To begin with, there is the spoiler effect, sometimes known as the perceived need to vote for the “lesser of two evils.” People are very often afraid to vote for the candidate they really like for fear it will throw the election to a person they really can’t stand. They are voting their fear rather than voting for what they want. It’s the election method itself that puts them in these handcuffs. It means: the results do not reflect what the people really want.

It also means the election system itself shepherds people into voting for just two parties, when it’s perfectly clear there are many more than just two points of view — another way in which our political system misrepresents our views.

The constraints imposed by the spoiler effect are bad enough, but let’s talk a little about gerrymandering. Years ago, Mark McDaniel, an unusually frank Republican politician who was then a state senator in North Carolina, accurately described what redistricting is intended to do in these United States (see quote in middle column). The League of Women Voters recently estimated that 90 percent of the seats in Congress are effectively taken out of the hands of the voters by this corruption of our elections. The politicians realize this, and, under cover of their “polarization” dramas, are firmly united in preserving the gerrymandering system. It keeps them in office whether they do the public’s bidding or not! Not having to pay attention to voters, they are free to conduct the business of their major donors — and, as political scientists have shown, that is the business that they conduct, not ours (see Page and Gilens, “Democracy in America?” in sources).

In Washington state, the gerrymandering is done in bipartisan fashion. I described how that works in the July 2019 issue of Whatcom Watch.

With winner-take-all elections, we can vote all we want, but the politicians have insulated themselves from it having any effect. As I am increasingly hearing from people who, weary with the falseness of our system, are resorting to cynicism: “If voting did make a difference, they wouldn’t allow it.”

Turning the Corner
With ranked-choice voting, you don’t have either of these two structural problems. People can vote freely for the candidates they like. As long as they have marked down more than one choice, their voting for their real favorite can’t throw the election to the bad, bad candidate.

Better yet, gerrymandering becomes effectively impossible. That’s because, if it’s adopted in its multiwinner form, it produces proportional representation. Let’s unpack that idea a little.

Up to now in this article, we’ve been talking about single-winner ranked-choice voting. That kind of voting is suitable for offices like mayor or governor where there is only one office-holder. One of the problems with the current Washington system is we apply single-winner ideas even when we are electing a body, such as the legislature or a county council (or port district, or PUD, or school board, and on and on).

From the point of view of a voter filling out a ballot, multiwinner ranked-choice voting is just like the single-winner type. You rank as many candidates as you like. There are several representatives from each district and the vote counting is a little different, but the end result is that representation on those bodies will be in proportion to the views of the voters. In other words, if 40 percent of the voters have a particular point of view, that point of view will be able to get 40 percent of the representation in their district.

How finely grained the resulting proportional representation is depends on how many representatives there are per district, but, if the system were properly set up, conservatives who happened to live in western Washington could be represented by someone they voted for, for example, and progressives who live in eastern Washington could likewise be represented.

Gerrymandering is one problem. Another is that when you have elections in the single-winner form, a bare plurality of voters can get all the representation. That’s a particular problem where elections are conducted at-large. We have some of these in Whatcom County (some of the seats on the County Council and all the seats on the Bellingham City Council, for example).This is the problem the voters of Yakima County have been facing, a situation which we’ll talk about just below.

Experience shows that where ranked-choice voting is adopted, people who would not have considered running are more likely to run — and to be elected. This includes women, racial and ethnic minorities, and third parties. In other words, our elected bodies begin to fulfill John Adams’ ideal: that they should be a “mirror” to the public.

More than that, in a crowded field like the recent Democratic Presidential primary, candidates would not have to shout at one another about their differences, especially when, for the most part, they share values and aims as many of those Democratic candidates did. Where ranked-choice voting is adopted, the amount of negative campaigning tends to decrease.

Yakima: Representation for All
In Yakima County, 48 percent of the people are Latinx. They have been unable to elect one of their own to the County Commission for the last 20 years. Under Washington’s brand new Voting Rights Act, local plaintiffs and state groups have sued, and proposed ranked-choice voting as the remedy. As the Voting Rights Act requires, they notified the commission six months in advance. Sadly, the commission did nothing. The outcome is likely to be a court order to implement ranked-choice voting. This will allow this significant minority to achieve representation in proportion to its numbers. Something similar recently happened in Eastpointe, Michigan, using the federal Voting Rights Act.

The Supreme Court
I joined the legal profession years ago in part because I so admired the civil rights decisions the Supreme Court of the United States was making. It wasn’t too long before I realized: what the Supreme Court had made, the Supreme Court could unmake. Rather much later, I realized what the Supremes were doing both in the making and the unmaking was altering and then re-altering the Constitution. They were a continuing Constitutional convention consisting of a tiny minority assembled without having been appointed for that purpose by the people that they were governing. Way back in the case of Marbury v. Madison (1803), the Supremes had appointed themselves!

I won’t go into some of their most extraordinary constitutional “discoveries” — that corporations are persons, that “separate but equal” was okay, that money equals speech and therefore that political contributions by the rich cannot be restrained. I won’t even go into their long period overturning any kind of legislation providing benefits for workers or other social causes under the doctrine (never before seen in law) of “substantive due process.”

For now, I’ll only mention their recent decisions relating to partisan gerrymandering. There was briefly cause for hope when they took up a case involving flagrant partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin (the Wickford v. Gill case) and equally flagrant Democratic Party gerrymandering in Maryland. Then-Justice Kennedy resigned and Kavanaugh was appointed. The result was a decision declaring that partisan gerrymandering was a “political” question (Suprem-ese for “we won’t go there”) that could best be solved by state legislatures, the “political” branch. Pay no attention to the fact that it was the legislature that set up the system of partisan election-rigging in the first place.

As Mr. Dooley said years ago, “No matter whether the Constitution follows the flag or not, the Supreme Court follows the election returns.”

If that’s what they do, then we should be able to elect them.

FairVote Leads
For much of the last several years, I’ve been supporting a statewide movement to adopt ranked-choice voting. The organization leading this effort is a nonpartisan nonprofit called FairVote Washington. It’s affiliated with the national FairVote organization, and there are similar efforts all over the country. In November, ranked-choice voting will be on the ballot in Massachusetts, Alaska, North Dakota, and perhaps Arkansas. The state of Maine now uses it in all its federal and state elections.

FairVote has been promoting a bill in the Washington Legislature that would allow local jurisdictions to adopt ranked-choice voting if they wanted to do that. This coming year, it will present more bills for the Legislature to consider. They would provide for ranked-choice voting for state-level offices and for a uniform system around the state. And, if the Legislature won’t act, FairVote is eyeing the initiative route.

You can be part of this. Over 6,000 Washingtonians have signed on as supporters of ranked-choice voting in the last year, including well over 100 current candidates for state or local office. All this and more you can see on the FairVote Washington website (www.fairvotewa.org). If you go to the website, you can sign up, too (or even donate!).

Join us. It will help make your vote count.

Sources
 American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, “Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century,” 2020: www.amacad.org/sites/default/files/publication/downloads/2020-Democratic-Citizenship_Our-Common-Purpose_0.pdf.

•  Bird, Stoney, “Ranked-choice voting supported by Bellingham City Council,” Northwest Citizen, March 4, 2020: https://nwcitizen.com/entry/ranked-choice-voting-supported-by-bellingham-city-council/P1000.

•  Bird, Stoney, “This Year We Could Really Use Ranked Choice Voting: And here is a chance to try it out!” Whatcom Watch, July, 2019: whatcomwatch.org/index.php/article/this-year-we-could-really-use-ranked-choice-voting/.

•  Bird, Stoney, “Washington: A Democracy Leader: But there is too much big money in our politics,” Whatcom Watch, May, 2020: whatcomwatch.org/index.php/article/washington-a-democracy-leader/.

•  Cole, Colin, “With crowded field, caucus best for state Democrats: Unless Ranked-choice voting is used, the presidential primary could disenfranchise many voters,” The [Everett] Herald, March 19, 2019: www.heraldnet.com/opinion/comment-with-crowded-field-caucus-best-for-state-democrats/.

•  Dubner, Stephen, “America’s Hidden Duopoly,” Freakonomics, October 31, 2018: freakonomics.com/podcast/politics-industry/.

•  Gehl, Katherine M., and Michael E. Porter, “Why Competition in the Politics Industry Is Failing America: A strategy for reinvigorating our democracy,” Harvard Business Review: www.hbs.edu/competitiveness/Documents/why-competition-in-the-politics-industry-is-failing-america.pdf. (The authors examine the politics industry — worth many billions of dollars to all the consultants and others involved — and ask if it is competitive enough to allow voters some actual choice. This is a conventional and useful kind of question for business school professors to ask about an industry. Their conclusion: it isn’t.)

•  Page, Benjamin, and Martin Gilens, “Democracy in America? What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It,” University of Chicago Press, 2020. (The authors examined over 1,700 decisions that Congress made during the decades of the 1980s and the 1990s and compared those decisions with public opinion as expressed through polling. The correlation between the strength of public opinion about an issue and what Congress decided was nil. If the public happened to want what rich people wanted, they got what they wanted 80 percent of the time. Readers should note that the study period was long before Citizens United, but after the Supreme Court’s “money is speech” decisions of the 1970s.)

•  Johnson, Tim, The Gristle: “Vote,” Cascadia Weekly, July 25, 2018: http://www.cascadiaweekly.com/cw/currents/vote_2018.

•  League of Women Voters of the United States, “Proposed Concurrence on Electoral Systems,” www.lwv.org/league-management/proposed-concurrence-electoral-systems. (At the recent biennial national conference of the League, these principles were overwhelmingly adopted as ones that state Leagues could “concur” in and support.)

•  Minhaj, Hasan, We’re Doing Elections Wrong, Patriot Act, Netflix, June 22, 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MykMQfmLIro.

• The New York Times, “The Primaries Are Just Dumb: There’s a better way to do democracy,” Feb. 26, 2020: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/opinion/democrats-primary-south-carolina.html. (The editorial board of the Times notes that with ranked-choice voting there would be no need for a primary, and that candidates who shared views — as the candidates in the Democratic Presidential Primary did to a great extent — could support one another instead of tearing at one another’s throats.)
_____________________

Stoney Bird worked as a corporate lawyer for many years. In 2011-12, he was one of the leaders of the campaign for a Bellingham Community Bill of Rights that would have called for a ban on the transportation of coal through Bellingham, and would have acknowledged the rights of Bellingham ecosystems to exist and thrive. More recently, he has been part of the movement for adoption of ranked-choice voting. Seeing that people are removing Confederate monuments all over the country, he has decided to do the same with the Confederate monument of his own name, and will no longer call himself Stonewall Jackson Bird.

GPSEA Supports Sherae Lascelles for Legislative District 43, Position 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2020

Seattle, Washington

Green Party of Seattle endorses Sherae Lascelles for State Representative Position #2 of Washington’s 43rd LD. Votes were taken by email due to physical distance constraints and the last vote was counted at 11:30 pm on 9/11/2020.

Citizens of the 43rd Legislative District are the most diverse in Washington State along several lines of  intersectionality. The geographic area covers parts of Seattle’s Downtown, First Hill, Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, Washington Park, Madison Park, Eastlake, Montlake, Portage Bay, Wallingford, Fremont, the University District (including the UW campus), Green Lake, and parts of Phinney Ridge and Ravenna. 

Green Party of Seattle members feel that Lascelles’ level of community engagement makes them the ideal candidate to represent the 43rd; the views that were expressed in their candidate questionnaire are consistent with the GPSEA core values of NonViolence, Grassroots Empowerment, Social Justice, and Environmental Wisdom.

The Green Party of the United States is an Eco-Socialist party. Greens as a Geo-political force believe that no human on Earth is illegal, and a Sustainable Future can not co-exist with abusive corporate entities that enslave and commodify both human beings and nature. 

Sherae Lascelles is running on a platform of Harm Reduction, Mutual Aid, and Civic Engagement. GPSEA finds alignment here with the basic foundational premise of Green politics: A Sustainable Future for All.

Greens in Seattle are politically active within other issue-driven movements where there has been much cross pollination of ideas, such as the ‘Green New Deal’ but this has not translated to running political campaigns. As mainstream political consciousness realizes that the Duopoly does not serve them, they begin to see through the political tactic of ‘Divide and Conquer’ used to consolidate political and economic power at the top. ‘Third Party’ independents are banding together to find alignment on issues that matter to everyday people.

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Green Party of Seattle, PO Box 70493, Seattle WA 98127

FB: GreenPartyofSeattle | Twitter: @seattlegreens | hello@gpsea.org

Green Party of Seattle Contacts:

Lisa Canar, Communications, lcanar@greenpartywashington.org

Margaret Elisabeth, Community Activism Reporter, margaretelisabeth@outlook.com

Alice B Green, Acting Secretary GPSEA, alicegreenvolunteer@gmail.com text 267 371 2958

GPWA Positions on the Homeless Crisis

In the midst of this ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with unemployment and lay-offs, with the inevitable economic recession that follows the closing of businesses to protect citizens from infection, the Green Party of Washington (GPWA) sees that the homeless crisis must be addressed now, like never before. Although Governor Inslee has extended the moratorium on evictions until October 15th, the threat of losing their home looms ahead for many.

The findings of Washington State Legislature on homeless housing and assistance: “The legislature finds that there are many causes of homelessness, including a shortage of affordable housing; a shortage of family-wage jobs which undermines housing affordability; a lack of an accessible and affordable health care system available to all who suffer from physical and mental illnesses and chemical and alcohol dependency; domestic violence; and a lack of education and job skills necessary to acquire adequate wage jobs in the economy of the twenty-first century.”

East King County resident and Green, C.J. Sellers broached this topic with the GPWA because it’s a subject close to her heart. “I’m living with someone else and not in a position to house my adult son permanently so have tried to assist him in finding services and housing in the Seattle area. It’s been a struggle and an eye-opening experience on how such services operate. Although some programs have been helpful and certainly are better than no services, after ten months of trying to keep him on his meds and get him into housing, his priority status was downgraded because he stayed on the meds and has not been arrested or involuntarily committed. It’s heart-breaking to know his exposure to contagions is so much higher in a low-barrier shelter (not knocking them). He’s had two bouts of scabies, staph infection, had septic pneumonia, and caught Covid-19. I appreciate the charities, but I’m afraid for his life right now. It seems regressive to punish him for good behavior by putting off his access to public housing for the mentally ill.”

South Sound Green Party member, Molly Feathers commented on the proposal, “As a person in recovery I know that when I was struggling with my addictions and mental health issues it was very important that I had access to community programs that provided me with the basic things like food, shelter and other basic services. It is crucial that funding gets restored and can start going back into programs that have helped me a lot when I needed it most. I think it would help if some of the funding for law enforcement went back into providing public housing and expanding drug treatment programs like drug court and mental health court. That will help the overcrowding of jails and give a chance for people to give back to their communities once they have completed the program. It also provides a way for people to get their records wiped clean after they have completed the program and have a fresh start in life. People I know were accepted into these programs and it has truly changed their lives and helped them get out of the cycle of homlesness and address some many of their other needs. I also think it is imperative that access to rehabilitation centers be funded and expanded.” They added, “On a community level I think it is important to be active through volunteering and finding innovative ways to make sure community programs that do outreach also are part of the solution. For example the Thurston County organization SideWalk’s Rapid Rehousing program helps people get off the street and into housing and is something I know that has helped this community a lot. Also other organizations that provide a place for people to go to get food and their daily needs meet are important. In my experience those organizations don’t just offer things; but people that can meet you where you are at and then can help provide an olive branch to all the other services one might need.”

In the GPWA effort to obtain enough signatures to get their presidential candidate, Howie Hawkins, on the November ballot, Greens talked to Seattle people on the street. Among them were the unhoused and formerly unhoused who expressed concerns about the sweeps by Seattle Police Department that push the homeless out of the downtown by scooping up their sole possessions like so much trash, leaving them much worse off. Now, in response to demands by Black Lives Matter to demilitarize the police, Seattle City Council did the opposite of what the intent was (to reallocate those funds to serve the community). They kept the police sweeps in play but removed social service allies from that situation and domestic violence response without having an alternative social services system already in place.

The sweeps of the homeless need to stop altogether and alternatives must be taken seriously. The GPWA affirms that unhoused people are protected by 4th Amendment protections against unwarranted search and seizure, protections of personal privacy and property, as well as the right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion into whatever temporary residence they’ve fabricated in a crisis.

We recommend these immediate remediations to the homeless crisis:

  • Private citizens hosting unhoused youth in their homes.

  • Housing all homeless adult Washington citizens in unused hotels during the pandemic.

  • Ending the sweeps that treat homeless citizens’ sole possessions as trash and push the unhoused out of view instead of helping them.

  • Ending the profiling and harassment of unhoused people.

  • Improving the process of housing mentally-ill people and expanding their access to publicly-funded housing opportunities.

  • We address the recommendations by the WA State Advisory Council on Homelessness regarding Tiny Shelters in the homeless crisis response system. Understandably, these temporary shelters are necessary, but there aren’t enough beds including those for all the unhoused residents. The homeless crisis response system is obviously inadequate. Regular citizens may also assist with the housing crisis, even during this pandemic, if the state and local governments would agree to not interfere. GPWA recommends changing the status of residences on wheels from temporary residence recreational vehicles to residential units. When someone is given permission by a land-owner to house a movable tiny house or RV on their private property, classify them/the mobile housing unit as a guest—the government should not interfere with permits and regulations or limit their stay in the unit, and the property owner should have no liability for allowing residence in the unit on their property and may rescind rights to reside on their property at their discretion.

  • Publicly-funded financial incentives to large and small businesses, as well as worker cooperatives, for hiring Washington citizens who have been homeless within the last 90 days.

  • We encourage widespread installation of local entities such as Seattle’s Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), which runs a supported employment program that networks with businesses and employment providers and even provides employment training in cooperation with The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to assist those previously considered unemployable.

  • Resuming meetings of the WA State Advisory Council on Homelessness which seem to have been discontinued during the pandemic, right when they’re needed most.

The GPWA agrees with the words of our 2020 presidential candidate, Howie Hawkins:

“The housing crisis in America is a disgrace and inexcusable. Homelessness is increasing as rents grow out of reach for more and more people in the private market.[…] I am calling for a federal crash program of public housing to not only fix and repair the public housing we have, but to make a decent home a human right by radically expanding public housing so every person in the United States has access to affordable quality housing.

“I am calling for a 10-year, $2.5 trillion dollar federal program to build 25 million units of public housing that will end the housing affordability crisis. 40% of these units will be affordable for very low income people, thus creating 10 million new affordable units for very low income people. That will close the affordability gap for the 7.8 million very low income people now without affordable housing.”  These measures are part of The Green New Deal, which is paid for by decreasing military and police funding.

We can’t wait for the duopoly parties to make these recommendations happen on the Federal level as they’re committed to warfare instead of improving our social safety net. Washington needs solutions now.

The GPWA Reaffirms BIPOC Support

The Green Party of Washington State (GPWA) supports Black Lives Matter (BLM) peaceful protests in Washington State and calls on Washington state and local governments to meet BLM demands to defund Washington police by 50% and reinvest those funds in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

Additionally, the GPWA calls for:

  • Defunding the military and reinvesting military funds in BIPOC communities.

  • Community control of the police in every region of the state.

  • Restoring voter rights to incarcerated felons in Washington.

  • Releasing non-violent criminals held in Washington to improve their survival chances during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Expanding marijuana conviction clemency. Pardons and vacated criminal history should be granted for Washington state marijuana possession convictions before 2012 regardless of prior or other criminal record.

  • Implementing all functions of the Initiative-940 De-escalate Washington.

GPWA Coordinating Council member, Margaret Elizabeth cautioned, “It’s not the place of the GPWA to define how BLM and BIPOC communities should orchestrate their own liberation.” They called for the GPWA to offer unconditional support as allies of BLM.

GPWA member, C.J. Sellers of East King County replied, “Using the word ‘peaceful protests’ doesn’t tell BLM or BIPOC what to do, it only defines what we can advocate for. Peaceful means have always been part of the GPUS Ten Key Values. As a state party of the GPUS, we’re obligated to abide by our affiliate agreement with the GPUS. And besides, not all actions of ‘allies’ that show up at these protests are sanctioned by BLM leadership and are often a distraction from the purpose of the events.”

The GPWA also opposes the actions of the city council of Selah, Washington whereby they have criminalized chalk drawings on public property for the sole purpose of silencing community support for BLM.

Richard Redick, a member of the GPWA chapter of Mid-Columbia, Washington wrote, “Together is the best way forward. That two or more sides in a conversation have differing points of view – even very apparent disagreement – should not be surprising. After all, the word ‘converse’ – a word indicating a reversed order – is in the word ‘conversation.’ Many times, the parties to a conversation share the same values, but they may prioritize differently. It is through conversation that we truly learn there is more to unite us than to divide us.” He added that had Green Party planks been employed as policies these past many years, the conversation that needs to happen in Selah and communities throughout our nation would already be much further along. “We would have moved past ‘us vs them,’ and we would be embracing one big ‘us,’” said Redick. “Please, residents of Selah, and citizens across the nation, listen to Dr. Stein’s speech, below. Draw inspiration from her words, and may your communities and people be blessed.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKx-i4rsgkE