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California Green Mike Feinstein: CA Prop 14 would weaken democracy, voter choice

Posted by Dave Schwab at Green Party Watch:

Mike Feinstein, the former mayor of Santa Monica and well-known Green activist, has an opinion piece in the San Jose Mercury-News opposing Proposition 14, the “Top Two Primaries Act”.

Proposition 14 would stifle diversity and competition within the major parties, limit the choices of independent voters and drive minor parties off the ballot…

The threat to California’s smaller parties is a canary in the coal mine about what’s wrong with Proposition 14. A system that truly worked for all voters would give them more, not fewer, opportunities to elect representatives who reflect their views. Eliminating candidates and parties to choose from is not the way to get there…

Unlike the high-risk Proposition 14 lottery, there are electoral systems that have been in place for decades around the world that our state could openly compare and contrast. Why not consider multiseat districts with proportional representation, where Democrats and Republicans could win seats according to their percentage of the vote, along with parties like the Greens if they have enough support, as in Europe?

Read the full article at the San Jose Mercury-News.

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  1. Kimberly Wilder Kimberly Wilder May 17, 2010

    Yes. Michael Feinstein is well-known.

  2. Thanks Paulie.

    Always enjoy reading Mike Feinstein’s work.

    The Green Party’ s strong ballot presence in California has always been a big for the state.

    Across the big pond..

    Green Party congress: Swedish troops shall leave Afghanistan
    Politics | 2010-05-16 The Green Party (Miljöpartiet) held their party congress in Uppsala north of Stockholm Friday to Sunday. The delegates adopted their final electoral platform.

    The Greens will meet the voters in September with an own electoral program and one additional program which will be the result of compromising with their coalition partners the Social Democrats and the Left Party.

    Adopting an electoral plattform

    The delegates seemed torn between what they want to do and what is politically possible. Per Gahrton, the old doyen of the Green Party and chairman of the green think tank Cogito, claimed for example that while the joint platform with the other parties is a compromise product, their own electoral program needs to show what they really want to do it they could. That is the only way for them to compromise without loosing track of their green soul and roots he said.

    Altogether they will have thirty-six paragraphs in their electoral program, some examples:

    * The standard working week shall be thirty-five hours instead of forty. The age of retirement shall be more flexible.

    * The parental insurance shall be split into three parts; one reserved for the mother, one for the father and a third that can be split which also means it can be used by a third part.

    * Sweden should not join the EMU and EU should be decentralized and not move towards a common defense policy.

    * The public transports shall be extended. The capacity on the railway net shall be doubled and tracks for high speed trains shall be built.

    * A tax on transports by car in order to make it more profitable to transport goods by train and boat.

    The Greens’ slogan for the election campaign. “Modernise Sweden”, a slogan that led to ironic comments on the stands since the technical system created problems more than once when the delegates were to vote. Photo. Stockholm News

    A party which has changed its approach

    Twenty years ago the more uncompromising enthusiasts were in majority on the Greens’ congresses. Delegates wore wooden shoes and looked as they came right from a five years’ walk in the forest. At the time they also had many paragraphs in their program that were far away from the mainstream discussions and most likely repelled many voters. Today all this has changed and on the surface they look like any other party even though the idealists are still there but more focused on how to reach results.

    The Greens are still radical when it comes to many social issues. In the electoral programs they wrote that illegal immigrants without identification documents who are already in Sweden shall get amnesty. The congress also rephrased a paragraph about domestic violence against women do “domestic violence against women and men and in same sex relationships”.

    Among the more peculiar motions we find the suggestion to abolish GDP as a way to measure the Swedish economy and to forbid smoking within 50 meters of another person’s home. One motion even wanted to forbid smoking tobacco. All these motions were turned down with a very clear majority.

    Many votings were very even, four of them actually finished with exactelly the same number of votes on both sides. They solved it by voting again.

    The general impression is that it is a party in harmony and confidence. They have a clear chance to participate in a government for the first time ever after the September 19 elections. The atmosphere at the congress was good and the differences were more about if a suggestion fitted in the electoral program or not, not so much about the suggestions as such.

    Other decisions

    The party also adopted some statements that will be the party’s official stabdpoint but not be added in the electoral platform. One such issue was that the police shall give priority to finding people who escape from paying tax rather than those who cheat in order to get benefits they are not entitled to.

    The party congress turned down the motions that suggested that a public commission should investigate the idea of a basic income, something that the Greens were in favor of in the past. Basic income means that all adults get a certain amount of money every months without any counter performance.

    The congress also stated that they will not cooperate on any level with “xenophobic parties like for example Sverigedemokraterna” (the Sweden Democrats).

    The board of the party now says that all Swedish troops will leave Afghanistan by 2014. The party congress stated that no Swedish troops shall ever be under NATO command.

    Tommie Ullman

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