While the web was swarmed this week with climate change articles, the message boards were swamped with comments from an active group who seem to honestly and truly believe that there is nothing wrong with burning as much fuel and creating as much waste as possible.
This very noisy minority has done a great job, thus far, in obfuscating the fact that climate change is a very important issue according to the federal government and that the scientific community has come to a consensus regarding the pressing nature of changing the way our species burns fuel and creates waste.
Where are our leaders in Congress? Why aren’t they leading us to change?
Two reasons: First, wealthy interests have spent tons of money confusing people about the real impact of climate change. Second: Big businesses and rich individuals profiting from the use of fossil fuels are bribing our congresspeople at an alarming rate.
These are important things to consider as President Obama weighs arguments on the permit decision for the Keystone XL Pipeline. Proponents of the pipeline argue that it will not spill very often and will create jobs, even though most scientists agree that tar sands oil will be a huge problem for the global environment.
What about the Keytstone I pipeline? The one they started using in 2010 and claimed would spill only once every 7 years? Oh yeah, it spilled 12 times in 12 months.
But just look at how much money backers of the pipeline are spending!
How Green is Your Supervisor?
This is a report card for the 2012 Board of Supervisors. It shows the most important votes in 2012, from a Green Party perspective, and whether each Supervisor supported or opposed our position on legislation. Some of the votes are on amendments to legislation.
We plan to release a report card every year on key Supervisorial votes.
If you don't know which district you live in, click here for a map.
|Supported Green Party position|
|Opposed Green Party position|
|Sharp Park Restoration||Y||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y|
|Sunshine Task Force Purge||N||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|Wall on the Waterfront||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|Stop Beach Chalet Soccer Fields||N||N||N||N||Y||N||N||N||N||N||N|
|Free Muni for Low-income Youth||Y||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y|
Sharp Park Restoration (1/10/12) - did the Supervisor vote to override the Mayor's veto of a proposal to transfer Sharp Park to the National Park Service? SF currently spends hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to maintain Sharp Park, a golf course on the coast of San Mateo county. The park is home to several endangered species, and maintenance will cost more in the future as climate change causes sea levels to rise. This proposal would have transfered the park to the National Park Service, who would have paid to convert the park to be used for recreational purposes (such as hiking and camping) that would not require expensive maintenance or further endanger the wildlife. This proposal required 8 votes to pass, so it failed.
Sunshine Task Force Purge (5/22/12) - did the Supervisor vote to purge progressives from the Sunshine Task Force? Conservatives on the Board removed Bruce Wolfe and other long-time members of the Sunshine Task Force, after the Task Force blew the whistle on the Board of Supervisors' violations of open meeting laws during their approval of Parkmerced redevelopment in 2011.
Wall on the Waterfront (6/12/12) - did the Supervisor vote to build more luxury condos for the super-rich along San Francisco's waterfront? The developers of this project got an exemption from the area's height limit, and plan to build a wall of high-rise luxury condos that will provide great views for their residents but create a canyon-like experience for those of us stuck at ground level.
Beach Chalet Soccer Fields (7/10/12) - did the Supervisor vote to support an appeal of the project's Environmental Impact Report (EIR)? The SF Rec & Park department is planning to replace a natural field on the west side of Golden Gate Park with artificial turf fields made from toxic recycled tires. The fields will be lit up at night with bright lights that will be visible from the beach. The complex will be rented to for-profit soccer teams, including many from outside of SF. The appeal of the EIR would have helped to stop this project.
CleanPowerSF (9/18/12) - did the Supervisor vote to challenge the PG&E monopoly by giving residents a choice to buy renewable power? This proposal required 8 votes to forestall a threatened Mayoral veto, and passed 8-3.
Mirkarimi Removal (10/9/12) - did the Supervisor vote to support Lee and Gascon's attempt to overturn the Sheriff's election and install another Mayor-appointed puppet? See the SF Green Party's statement on why we supported Mirkarimi remaining in office. This proposal required 8 votes to pass, so it failed.
Nudity Ban (11/20/12) - did the Supervisor support legislation that allows police to selectively ticket people (even children as young as 5 years old) for public nudity? Why are the supervisors who voted for this so concerned about naked children? Do they want the SFPD to take even more resources away from solving violent crimes and instead patrol City playgrounds looking for children mooning each other?
Free Muni for Low-income Youth (11/20/12) - did the Supervisor back a pilot program to provide free Muni passes to youth from low-income families?
San Francisco Green Party: Statement in Support of Sheriff Ross
Mirkarimi Remaining in Office as the Duly Elected Sheriff of San
Based on the following criteria, which are vitally important to our
community and to families struggling with domestic conflict, the San
Francisco Green Party strongly supports Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi
remaining in his duly elected office. We will accordingly defend and
support any Supervisor or other decision maker who stands for what is
right in supporting, and where possible voting, in favor of retaining
Ross Mirkarimi as the duly elected Sheriff.
1. We Must Set a Strong Example for Other Families Experiencing
Sheriff Mirkarimi made a powerful public act in admitting his role in
his family's struggle with interpersonal conflict, apologizing and
accepting responsibility for that role, and most importantly,
beginning counseling and education in order to become a better person
and to keep his family healthy and intact. This action has set an
example for other men and families in domestic conflict, to address
their problems by openly admitting them and seeking help.
To punitively remove Sheriff Mirkarimi from office in response to his
important act of taking open public responsibility for his family's
health and well-being would send a terrible message to other families
in conflict. It would show them that to openly admit their problems
and seek help will bring harsh retribution and punishment instead of
support and empowerment. To set such a precedent would encourage other
men and families with domestic conflict problems to adopt the outdated
shame-based approach of seeking to silence themselves and hide their
problems. This would run counter to fundamental principles of good
domestic conflict intervention.
2. We Must Support San Francisco's Ethic of Redemptive Justice
It has long been a powerful ethic in San Francisco to end the
historically failed revenge and punishment-based approach to community
justice. Our experience in San Francisco has clearly shown that is far
more effective to employ methods of prevention rather than reaction,
and to provide those who have entered our justice system with
education, support, and job security, to give them a path to dignity
and redemption, and to becoming better citizens.
These modern methods, founded and championed by the previous Sheriff,
Michael Hennessey, were also strongly supported by Sheriff Mirkarimi
in his role as a Supervisor, resulting in reduced crime his district
and the City as a whole. Sheriff Mirkarimi must be held to the same
standards, and be given the same support, that he has defended
throughout his life of public service
3. We Must Continue the Sheriff's Strong Defense of Undocumented
Citizens, People of Color, Constitutional Rights, and the Right to
Public Protest, Against Unconstitutional Interventions by the Federal
Sheriff Michael Hennessey set an outstanding precedent in the
Sheriff's Department by refusing to the greatest extent possible to
participate in unconstitutional federal 'law enforcement' actions by
the Departments of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, and the FBI, in order to protect undocumented citizens,
people of color, protesters, and our fundamental democratic civil
rights and privacy.
Recently we have witnessed extremely alarming national trends toward
demonizing and disenfranchising undocumented citizens and people of
color, and violently cracking down on public protests like those of
the Occupy movement at the behest of corporate interests. Even more
alarming are recent revelations that the FBI and the San Francisco
Police Department have engaged in secret agreements to
unconstitutionally spy on and investigate people of Arab descent
and/or Islamic faith, peace activists, and others in the name of
It is imperative that we have the strongest, most progressive champion
of civil rights possible in charge of the Sheriff's Department, in
order to ensure that the legacy established by Sheriff Hennessey
continues uninterrupted. It is clear that the public elected Sheriff
Mirkarimi, based on his proven ability to build on his predecessor's
legacy in the face of national political pressure.
4. We Must Not Enable Political Gamesmanship in Our City Government
A misdemeanor conviction in a family conflict case, which the court
itself has decided will be best resolved by family counseling and
education, clearly does not constitute sufficient reason to remove an
effective and dedicated public servant from office.
We can only conclude that members of the Downtown political machine
and its media allies have cynically seized upon this case as a means
of removing the one progressive citywide elected executive in San
Francisco from his position, in order to advance a more reactionary
and corporate-oriented control over our local government and our
Progressives on the Board of Supervisors know well the recent
manipulations by Downtown forces, which have led to retreat from the
progressive accomplishments that we have achieved in San Francisco
over the past decade.
The recent FBI scandal noted above and the Mayor's subsequent veto of
good legislation that would have corrected this problem, as well as
other reactionary policies encroaching in San Francisco, such as the
Sit-Lie Law and the Mayor's use of it to expel Occupy organizers, are
red flags warning us that progressives need to draw a line in the sand
and not allow Downtown to further erode progressive gains in San
We call on the progressives of the Board of Supervisors to therefore
not only do what is right, but also do what is politically wise, and
not allow corporate interests in City Hall to further entrench
themselves by undermining the will of the voters and appointing a
Sheriff who would be far more in line with the interests of the 1%,
than the interests that we as progressives support.
The SF Green Party endorsed the SF Labor Council's resolution regarding the murder of Alan Blueford at our Jan 23 meeting, by consensus:
Whereas a Black person is killed by law enforcement once every 36 hours, per the Malcolm X Grass Roots Movement’s study;
Whereas the federal report monitoring the Oakland Police Department states that the Oakland Police Department pulls guns on Black and Latino people disproportionately to the number of times guns are pulled on whites;
Whereas two new reports by a federal monitor, criticized the OPD’s handling of officer-involved shootings and Occupy Oakland protests;
Whereas Alan Blueford, an 18 year old Black youth, who was about to graduate from Skyline H.S., was killed by OPD Officer Masso on May 6.
Whereas OPD has provided at least four versions of what happened the night Alan Blueford was killed, including the claim that the Officer Masso was shot in a gun battle with Alan Blueford, when he later admitted that he shot himself in the foot;
Whereas the OPD:
A. Engaged in racial profiling and violated numerous OPD policies;
B. Engaged in a cover-up (Made numerous false statements and repeatedly changed their story);
C. Showed complete disregard for the life of Alan Blueford and the dignity of the family;
D. Had the coroner’s report withheld from the family for 3 months, and the police report for5 months;
Whereas, the Coroner’s Report reveals that Alan Blueford had no gun residue on his hands, no alcohol or drugs in his system, and implies that Alan Blueford was shot while lying on his back;
Whereas Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley declared she will not charge Officer Masso for the killing of Alan Blueford. Her report shows strong bias as, for example, relying on Masso’s statement that Alan was standing when he first shot him, despite 11 out of 12 witness statements to the contrary;
Therefore, be it resolved that the San Francisco Labor Council pass a resolution seeking Justice For Alan Blueford and demand that the Federal Monitor take strong action against OPD including:
1. Stopping the OPD from racial and ethnic profiling and violence against people of color;
2. Instituting stricter background checks, training, apprehension and gun use policies within the OPD;
3. The firing of Officer Masso;
Further be it resolved that the San Francisco Labor Council demand that the Alameda County District Attorney immediately charge Officer Masso with murder.
Rick Wolff is a well-known Marxist economist and one of the people who first helped organize the Green Party in the United States; he also ran as a Green for Mayor of New Haven. He gave an address to the to the New York City Green Party several weeks ago about the state of the US economy ("it's over") and what's next.
Wolff was optimistic about the Green Party's chances of helping to lead the country out of this mess, if we spread the message that "the emperor has no clothes" and tell people the truth about the economy. He suggested that Green ideas for how to democratize workplaces should resonate with people and provide a sensible alternative to both capitalism and state-run economies.
Part of the talk was broadcast on KPFA last Saturday morning. KPFA is also giving away a Wolff book and CD as premium options for people who become members during their current fund drive, but it doesn't look like the CD is this specific talk. However, you can watch the talk online or download it from the NYC Green Party site. There is a one hour talk plus 40 minutes of Q&A, and it's well worth watching for Green Party members and others who share our values.