A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Local Green Party Tainted by Conservative Endorsements

As I research the ballot propositions and candidates when it gets close to an election, I like to look at the endorsements from a number of groups and political parties on all sides of the political spectrum. If a group that I like is in favor of a candidate or issue, then that helps build my case on the positive side. Conversely, if a group that I tend to disagree with is on one side, then I'm likely to find myself on the other.

Considering myself progressive, I am always interested in seeing how the Green Party (at the State or local level) has analyzed the issues. It's a progressive party, though I prefer to try to make the Democratic Party more progressive from the inside, rather than promote never-in-a-million-years candidates. (If ranked choice voting is able to spread more, maybe we can truly vote on our principles without "throwing away our vote." But that's for another discussion.)

I was pleased to see the endorsements from the Alameda County Green Party (PDF download) recently become available. There are some thoughtful analyses of the state propositions; their endorsement of Robert Raburn (for BART board) and Victoria Kolakowski, whom I support for Judge, are good reads as well.

But then, take a look at their endorsements in the Alameda races! The Greens have turned into Conservatives!

They advocate Doug DeHaan, Jean Sweeney, and (weakly) Beverly Johnson.

Sorry, did I make a mistake? Was I looking at the endorsements for the Republican Party?

No, you heard it right.

It's clear that whoever is contributing the opinions of the Alameda election is firmly planted in the SunCal-Paranoia mindset. The endorsement article begins:
There are two outstanding candidates in the Alameda city election. The critical issue is to prevent developers SunCal/DE Shaw from returning from the near dead and funding candidates who will go against the 85 percent of the voters who rejected the developer takeover.

So that's it? This is all that is election is about? Not the city budget? Not the lack of leadership? Not the back-room dealings in City Hall? Not the terrible state of our school district funding? Not transportation? Not abuses of power by city staff? Not wasteful witch-hunts?

The article continues:
There are two candidates who stand out for a positive plan for a green Point that would benefit Alameda. They are Jean Sweeney (for City Council) a community activist, and Doug de Haan (presently on the Council, now candidate for Mayor). Steady, honest and trustworthy: they have done their research and have taken the correct stand since day one.

Honest, Trustworthy, I won't deny — I have known the Sweeneys for years and they are nice people as long as you don't disagree with them, and I would trust them to stick to their beliefs. But saying DeHaan is "steady" is going too far. I remember when he was against the theatre (a point that had its merits) but then he changed his approach after the project was a success, taking credit for it! There's a difference between changing your mind (which, despite those who like to use the term "flip-flop," is legitimate if somebody can admit they have learned and re-evaluated something) and going for 1984-style "We have always been at war with Eurasia" history-changing. That is not "taking the correct stand since day one."

This gets fun:
Regarding a second City Council candidate to be considered? It’s hard to call but we must say for city council vote “no” on Lena Tam and Izzy Ashcraft as the developer candidates. Bev Johnson, now terming out as mayor but eligible for council, is now independent of SunCal, hav- ing realized the highly risky plan. She would be our next choice. Bonta is a bit of a puzzle as he had been regarded as a Lena Tam protege. However when Tam was suspected of passing secrets to the developer and violating the Brown Act with majority emails, he distanced himself from her, and claims he voted again the SunCal plan.

Hmm, "Izzy?" You would think that with Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft involved in community service, saving the library, the hospital board, and the planning board for over a decade, the author would know how to spell a candidate's name right. Or perhaps the author, like former Blogger Don Roberts, was having a bit a flash back to his years as a schoolboy, when it was fashionable to make fun of people's names.

And check out the passive-agressive approach to just smearing Lena Tam's name with innuendo and then for no good reason, associating Rob Bonta with that same smear. Perhaps if the author had gotten to know Rob over the last few years as I have, or even read some of his statements, Bonta wouldn't be as much of a puzzle.

The larger Green Party is probably completely unaware that their local branch has been taken over by conservatives, much in the way that some branches of the Democratic Party have been partially infiltrated by supporters of Lyndon LaRouche. (I know several former Green party members who have given up on the local chapter, and joined the Democratic Party and the Alameda Democratic Club.)

So enjoy and pay attention to the green's endorsements for non-Alameda issues, but consider the party "tainted" when it comes to local politics.


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