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General Meeting Minutes

November 2001
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September 2001
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August 2001
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July 2001
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June 2001
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May 2001
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April 2001
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March 2001

HCGP November Monthly Meeting Minutes
Montrose Library, Nov. 19, 6:30-8:45 p.m.
Facilitator: Ana Malinow

I. Introductions (Ana Malinow)
A. Good Explanation of Meeting Structure
B. Summary of HCGP Principles
C. Individual Introductions

II. Past Month's Successes
A. National Committee Status: David Cobb reported that the FEC has recognized the Green Party of the United States as the National Committee of the Green Party. He also mentioned that Jim Hightower has agreed to speak at a Houston fund-raiser for the Green Party. Nathalie Paravicini reported on interesting and hopeful developments in Green parties in Mexico and Colombia.
B. Election Results: Barbara Ashley won an impressive 17 percent of the vote in her race for an at-large seat on the Houston City Council.
C. Election Results: Ted Weisgal won 12 percent in his race for the Houston school board.
D. Election Results: Ada Edwards won 40 percent of the vote in her race for the Houston City Council and is in a Dec. 1 runoff with Gerald Womack.

III. Ada Edwards Campaign
After helping Ada Edwards to an unexpected first-place showing in her campaign for the Houston City Council, Green Party volunteers could spell the difference in a runoff that has "gone negative with a vengeance," Edwards' campaign manager, Tamara Jones, said Monday. Edwards received 40 percent of the vote on Nov. 6, to Gerald Womack's 32 percent, and she has since won the endorsements of three other candidates in the race. Desperate Womack supporters have begun spreading race-, gender- and gay-baiting flyers and rumors. What the campaign has really come down to, Jones said, is an attempt by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and other establishment politicians "to control black politics in Houston" by promoting real-estate developer Womack over longtime grass-roots activist Edwards. Womack's insider backing and financial advantage make the contributions of volunteers from the community, the Shrine of the Black Madonna, and the Green Party that much ore critical. "That grass-roots activism will win out is a huge lesson we need to teach" the political establishment, said HCGP liaison Earl Gerhard.

The HCGP has been instrumental in the campaign's success, with 66 Greens producing 1,136 identified voters for Edwards. EVERY POSSIBLE VOLUNTEER IS NEEDED during the next two weeks for blockwalking, phone-banking, and other activities. If Ada Edwards wins, we have a progressive City Council member and proof that the Green Party has arrived in Houston. Let's not miss this opportunity. Call 713-528-8037 to schedule a shift. Please also vote early and sign up to work Election Day, Saturday, Dec. 1.

IV. Immigrant Rights
Maria Jimenez, director of the Immigration Law Enforcement Monitoring Project, a branch of the American Friends Service Committee, outlined her group's pioneering work in organizing communities to document human-rights violations in the enforcement of immigration laws along the U.S.-Mexico border. "We decided it was not enough to describe incidents of human-rights violations," said Jimenez, a 30-year veteran of community organizing. "We needed to build power to challenge the organizations that were committing these violations." Those organizations include the Border Patrol, the INS, local law enforcement agencies, the National Guard, and the U.S. military. The project helps communities organize to make themselves heard in Austin and Washington, and it can claim a number of policy changes among its successes. An important focus is on recognition of a human right to mobility, to free passage across borders. Immigration restrictions invariably reflect and protect the moneyed interests, she said. The right to mobility exists only for political and economic elites, she said, from Ferdinand Marcos to millionaire investors. NAFTA extended mobility rights to a limited number of corporate executives and administrators. Immigration laws are aimed at controlling workers and the poor, she said. INS/Border Patrol agents are the only armed force whose purpose is to enforce labor relations, she said, citing as a historical parallel the slave patrols of the American South. Crossing into the U.S. from Central America has become harder in recent years, she said; when she started her work on immigration issues, it took an average of 3-4 attempts to get across; now it's taking 12-16 attempts.

In response to questions, Jimenez said her group planned a protest against Houston mayoral candidate Orlando Sanchez because of his consistent anti-immigrant stands. A news conference was planned for noon Tuesday, Nov. 20, outside his new campaign office on Wayside off I-45 South; a vigil was planned for 5:30-7 p.m. Asked about her experience with La Raza Unida, Jimenez noted that the party had been so successful in the 1970s that frightened Democrats passed laws severely restricting access to the ballot by alternative parties - laws that ensured a two-party stranglehold until the arrival of the Green Party. La Raza started in rural Zapata County and eventually controlled the county government, invoking home rule and barring Texas Rangers (known for violence against Latinos) from entering the county, she said.

V. Treasurer's Report/Fund Collection:
Josh Darr reported that our balance is $4,922.

VI. Workgroup Reports:
Chris Jarzombek noted that most of the party's work gets done in work groups, and he encouraged members to find a group in which to work. Most work-group coordinators have served at least for the past year, and some would welcome replacements with new ideas and energy. Please consider stepping up.

A. Steering Committee Report: Chris Jarzombek said the SC is working on a policy for endorsing issues, public statements, outside coalitions, and the like. If you're interested in working on this, please contact him at cej@houston.rr.com.
B. Political Reform
1. Campaign: Shelly Fitzgerald said the Campaign Work Group is developing goals and strategies for 2002 campaigns. Its next meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at 818 W. 31 St. Call 713-688-0893 for information.
2. Candidates: Steve Agan reported that information packets have gone out to prospective Green Party candidates for 2002. He encouraged members to recruit or propose potential candidates. Any candidate must file his/her intent to seek the GP nomination with Steve between Dec. 1 and Jan. 2; nominations will be made at the state convention next June. David Cobb reported that Jennifer Harbury is among several well-known Texans who are seriously considering becoming GP candidates. For a candidate packet or for more information, contact Steve Agan at 713-529-3513.
3. Peace Workgroup: Maureen Haver will coordinate a new work group on peace and justice issues. Five members signaled interest in joining the group. Maureen can be reached at siobhan574@a... <mailto:siobhan574@a...> .
4. Legal Greens: Barbara Ashley said her City Council campaign's stance on ending the drug war and legalizing marijuana got great response from young people, getting some of them interested in politics.
C. Communications
1. Green Watch: Rupert Hazle invited anyone interested in the GP's biweekly TV show to join the work group at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 20) at Schlotzky's, 2929 Kirby, or to contact him at ruha@w... <mailto:ruha@w...> .
D. Funds
1. Greenbacks: Josh Darr suggested a major GP fund raiser in connection with Earth Day. Anyone interested in working on it should contact him at lisan@hic.net.
2. Merchandise: Big GP acid rain umbrellas are for sale for $25.
E. Community Outreach
1. Phone Tree: Charlie Mauch is pursuing automation.

VII. Discussion on Privacy Policy:
After discussion, the following policy was approved by consensus: "The Harris County Green Party will not share database information with anyone except Green Party candidates, Green Party-endorsed candidates, and the Green Party of Texas." Concerns included whether the policy would hinder GP support for Green issues and affinity groups; who would be authorized to override the policy (the general membership); and the fact that the proposed policy was not presented in writing.

VIII. Upcoming Events
A. Vote Early: Nov. 17-27
B. Work the Polls Dec. 1. Call 713-528-8037.
C. HCGP Elections: In February, we will elect a male co-chair (Chris Jarzombek's position) and two at-large steering committee members (Jerry Larson's and Ruby Alvarado's positions). We encourage members to serve.

IX. Selection of Co-Facilitator: David Collins

X. General Announcements:
A. Juergen's Sale and Green Party Fund-Raiser: GP member Juergen Dankwort has moved to Vancouver but will return to Houston to sell his household possessions and car, donating 10 percent of proceeds to the HCGP. The sale will begin at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at 614 W. Polk in Montrose. He has a ton of nice stuff: beds, desks, computer furniture, bookshelves, dining-room furniture, TV, stereo, appliances, boom box, skis, a 1989 Toyota Camry wagon, and on and on. For information, call 713-688-0893.
B. Pacifica: Duane Bradley reported on the compromise under which the current Pacifica board will resign and be replaced by an interim board that promises to have a 9-5 majority representing the views of listeners and activists.
C. Rice debate: Ruby Alvarado announced the debate for City Council runoff candidates in Rice University's student center at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20.

For more information:

Phone: 713-866-6285
Website: http://www.harriscountygreenparty.org or http://www.hcgp.org
Email: geninfo@harriscountygreenparty.org
Co-Chairs: Jennifer Beazley (jabeazley@earthlink.net 713-630-0634) and Chris Jarzombek (cej@houston.rr.com 713-520-8761)

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