by William P. Meyers
October 12, 2009
This general assembly, held in the small town of Cotati in Sonoma County, was a working meeting that made progress on a variety of tasks. It was marked by its lack of the factionalism that had prevented work from being accomplished in past state-wide meetings.
In contrast to several prior assemblies, there was not a major fight over the agenda. Someone did try to use the agenda approval process to keep meat off the lunch menu, but that matter was referred to the hosting group.
The two main achievements of the assembly were passing a statement of purpose for the Bylaws, and restructuring the Coordinating Committee, which is an executive body that runs the party between assemblies. In addition two platform planks were adopted, an elections voting threshold tweak was made, plans were made to influence the proposed California Constitutional Convention, and new delegates to the national committee were elected.
For seventeen years the Green Party of California has existed without a Purpose section in the Bylaws. Many times in the past a Purpose article has been proposed, only to be rejected because an 80% majority is required for approval and too many individual Green Party delegates were not willing to vote for such an important article unless it was exactly to their liking. After the presenters made a number of last-minute fine tunings to assuage concerns raised by a few delegates, the proposed text was passed by consensus.
The Coordinating Committee (CC) restructuring proposal was brought to the assembly by an ad hoc committee formed at the request of the previous assembly in Venice. The plan is for trial period of two years in which the CC would be expanded to 26 seats. 12 of the seats would be filled by the existing geographic regions, with 1 CC member per region except the overly-large Central region would have 2 seats. 14 seats would be elected on a statewide at-large basis. In addition the quorum to conduct a meeting would be reduced to one member more than 50% of the seated members.
The two platform planks that were passed were on Water and Criminal Justice.
The Platform of the Green Party of California, as well as other information about the party, can be found at www.cagreens.org.
At the end of the convention the delegates seemed genuinely pleased at what they had accomplished. Everyone was looking forward to a reinvigorated Green Party making substantial gains in the 2010 elections.