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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Statehood Greens have five citywide candidates

D.C.'s "Second Party"?
Statehood Greens have five citywide candidates
Updated 6:46 AM EDT, Tue, Oct 26, 2010

The D.C. Statehood Green Party styles itself the District’s “Second Party” -- a barb directed not just at the city’s Republicans, but also at the notion that D.C. is a one-party town.

This year, the Statehood Greens have five candidates running for citywide office.

The party nominated perennial candidate, noted trumpet player, and former Marlon Brando paramour Faith for mayor, though with some reluctance -- Faith actually received only 40 percent of the votes in the September primary, despite running unopposed. (The remainder went to write-ins.) While Faith has signs up around the city, and has appeared at several candidate forums, she’s not likely to be much of a factor next week. (Her signs point voters to a campaign website that hasn’t been updated in three years.)

Other contenders are making more serious efforts. Rick Tingling-Clemmons is challenging Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, while Joyce Robinson-Paul is on the ballot for shadow representative. Two veteran Statehood Green activists, Ann C. Wilcox and David Schwartzman, are running for citywide D.C. Council seats. (The party also has a candidate in Ward 1, Nancy Shia, who was nominated after winning the primary there as a write-in candidate.)

Wilcox, who finished third of five candidates in at At-Large Council bid four years ago -- outpolling the Republican contender -- is now running for Council Chair. Wilcox, an attorney who served on the D.C. Board of Education back in the 1990s, says her campaign is primarily about raising the visibility of the Statehood Greens.

“It is probably a long shot for the Statehood Green Party to win the chairmanship,” Wilcox told me. “However, all of our campaigns work to raise the visibility of the party, its progressive agenda, and its status as a viable, progressive alternative to the established Democratic Party.”

So what’s the difference between the Democrats and the Statehood Greens? Wilcox says her party will do more to focus on those left behind by the District’s rush to development.

“I would emphasize preserving economically diverse neighborhoods with affordable housing; and preserving the social safety net programs,” she said. These “are often small line-items” in the city budget, “but provide critical support to youth, families, and seniors.”

David Schwartzman, a Howard University environmental science professor, is running for At-Large Council, one of four candidates in a race where the top two vote-getters win. Schwartzman’s goal is to finish second to Democratic incumbent Phil Mendelson but outpoll independent incumbent David Catania to win a seat.

Schwartzman suggests that voters who rejected Mayor Adrian Fenty should reject Catania as well.

“I stood against the Fenty-Rhee-Catania agenda for so-called educational reform that closed neighborhood schools and unjustly fired experienced teachers and staff,” he told me. He says the “most relevant factor impacting student performance” is family poverty, which has been ignored.

Schwartzman, a political activist for more than 50 years, says the District government should focus on the needs of the “working and middle-class majority.” This would entail the adoption of a progressive tax structure and the creation of a “D.C. Municipal Bank” to fund green jobs and economic development, as well as affordable housing. He accuses Catania of “consistently voting against modest tax hikes for the wealthy and for hurtful and avoidable cuts” in social services and adult education.

Scott McLarty, the party’s media coordinator, told me that one goal for 2010 “is to maintain our status as D.C.’s second party in terms of votes received.” Though there are just 4,300 registered Statehood Greens compared to 29,700 Republicans in the District, McLarty points out that “in recent elections, D.C. Statehood Green candidates received more votes collectively than Republicans on the ballot, even when we’ve run the same number of candidates.”

In the 2006 mayoral race, the Statehood Green candidate received 4 percent of the vote, while Republican David Kranich got 6 percent. (Democratic nominee Fenty took 89 percent.) But in a run for an At-Large Council seat two years ago, Schwartzman received more than 18,500 votes, and other 2008 Statehood Green candidates received 7 to 13 percent of the vote.

Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC
First Published: Oct 25, 2010 6:01 PM EDT

Links referenced within this article

former Marlon Brando paramour
a campaign website
Rick Tingling-Clemmons
Joyce Robinson-Paul
Ann C. Wilcox
David Schwartzman
Nancy Shia
At-Large Council
David Schwartzman
David Catania
Mayor Adrian Fenty
at @PJOinDC

Friday, October 22, 2010

‎Is Eric Holder Serious About Enforcing the Marijuana Laws?

Written by Kevin Zeese   
Thursday, 21 October 2010 16:15 
Kevin ZeeseWhen the majority says marijuana should not be a crime the law looses its legitimacy.

It is hard to imagine that Eric Holder's letter threatening to "vigorously enforce" federal law if California votes for legalization of marijuana is serious. It seems timed to manipulate voters in California, but in this year when political elites are hated it is likely to backfire and lead Californians to vote to end the failed marijuana war.

During one of the greatest failed experiments in American history, alcohol prohibition, a turning point was when New York told the federal government it would no longer enforce laws against alcohol. That left it to the federal government to enforce the law. Already “the feds” as they were derogatorily known were hated in rural areas where alcohol was often produced and the feds came in and disrupted their commerce. Then, the biggest urban area refused to enforce the law. The result, alcohol prohibition ended a few years later.
Attorney General Eric Holder last week promised "We will vigorously enforce the [Controlled Substances Act] against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law." Does he mean that the federal government will start enforcing laws against possession of marijuana? Or, be looking in people's homes to see if they are growing or using marijuana? That they will be searching people's backyards for their marijuana victory garden?

It is hard to believe that in a nation where half the murders go unsolved that the Department of Justice would make marijuana a priority after the people voted for legalization. It is hard to believe that an attorney general who decided not to enforce laws against torturers and lawyers who enabled torture would instead prosecute people for marijuana offenses. This is the same attorney general who is doing nothing while the greatest democracy crime since Watergate is going on – hundreds of millions in anonymous donations to non-profit front group who are trying to influence campaigns in violation of election and tax laws.

The police and the courts depend on the cooperation of communities to keep order. If a majority of Californians vote for legalization of adult use and cultivation of marijuana what kind of legitimacy do the laws against marijuana have? Already, large numbers distrust law enforcement, the feds will have no legitimacy if they are enforcing a law the majority opposes.

I realize that Holder has the responsibility of enforcing federal law. But, continuing on autopilot with aggressive marijuana law enforcement is a disservice, indeed an injustice. Passage of Prop. 19 is an opportunity to begin a national discussion of how to better control marijuana. Prohibition has been a failure, the marijuana war has been expensive and damaging; there are better ways.

Proposition 19 is an opportunity for the lead law enforcement officer to help the country change direction to a more just and fair society. As long ago as 1972 a federal commission appointed by President Nixon, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse , recommended decriminalization of marijuana. And, this was restated in 1982 by a commission of the National Academy of Science in their report "An Analysis of Marijuana Policy" which urged consideration of legalization. The experts have said throughout the time of the marijuana war that it was the wrong approach, now the voters are showing they agree. This is an opportunity for leadership from the attorney general, leadership to a non-criminal approach to marijuana.
The U.S. criminal justice system is already seen by many as a system of injustice. Why? Because the United States with 5% of the world's population has 25% of the world's prisoners . One in 31 Americans is either behind bars, on probation or on parole, for African Americans it is one in 11 adults. This mass “criminal” population in “the land of the free” shows something is terribly wrong. What drives a system that results in 7 million Americans behind bars, on probation or parole? No doubt, one of the driving forces is the war on drugs, and marijuana is the driving force of the drug war with a marijuana arrest every 38 seconds, 840,000 annually.

Hopefully, Attorney General Holder will re-think his plan to escalate federal enforcement if a majority votes for ending criminal laws against marijuana. He should instead lead the nation to laws that are consistent with the essence of justice, i.e. being righteous and fair. Is it righteous or fair to enforce laws that the majority says should no longer exist?

Attorney General Holder – America needs real justice leadership. We need a leader who will help the country face up to its mass incarceration problem and its misuse of law enforcement to incarcerate people who grow a plant or smoke an herb. Mr. Attorney General you can do better than just saying – we're going to ignore the people and keep arresting people for something they think should no longer be illegal.

Kevin Zeese is president of Common Sense for Drug Policy ( ).

12 min video featuring Asa Gordon on MAP Civil Action "Democratizing the Electoral College"

Political Prisoners

August 2, 2007--Imam Jamil Al-Amin has been moved to federal custody!

Correspondence with the commissioner should be put on hold for now, updates will be announced as they occur

Please keep the Imam and his family in your thoughts and prayers

Read the details on his transfer

(the former H. Rap Brown)
547 West End Pl. SW
ATLANTA, GA. 30310

Real killer confesses--again--to the killing of Kinchen--Atlanta deputy sheriff for whose shooting death Imam Jamil was convicted and sentenced to life in prison! The State refuses to consider his confession, while continuing to keep Imam Jamil wrongfully imprisoned and isolated.




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