Today my @dbcgreentx Twitter account has had more notifications than I typically get in a month. Most of these concern likes and retweets of a tweet in which I was mentioned. What got the whole thing started was the unveiling of the Green Maps Project.
If you want to know the entire story of how this project got started, and who-all contributed to it, that's something you'll have to ask Christopher Lozinski. Lozinski isn't even living in the United States at present; he's in Poland. But through his connections in the US he is deeply committed to helping US Greens organize—or, in some cases, reorganize—toward becoming a bigger player in 2022 and beyond.
There's a particular variety of artwork of which I am fond and which I could never produce because I lack the patience. My term for it is Obsessive Art: It's the kind in which the detail-work is so intense even the details have details, and you can look at those details and say, holy shit whoever made this must have spent hours doing this one part. You can stare at the details until the room starts to spin around you.
I have the same kind of reverence for application developers who sweat the details. Lozinski is one such developer.
First off, here we are at the greenest of days, Saint Padraig's. Like so many holidays, major and minor, aside from providing an excuse to buy a lot of single-use plastic decoration and drink to excess, this celebration of Irish and Celtic culture is historically and environmentally problematic, rooted as it is in the religious oppression of the Hibernian pagans.
In the shadow of the COVID-19 pan[dem]ic, eleven local Greens turned out for the Harris County Green Party nominating convention Saturday afternoon at Midtown Bar & Grill. It was largely, but not completely, the same bunch who turned out for last Tuesday's consolidated precinct conventions.
The convention went through the prescribed steps in order. I am happy to report that, despite the potential for confrontations and controversies, those present conducted their business without rancor. Even if we had disagreements, we all seemed to be on the same team, a most welcome development.
Highlights included confirmation of the vote counts from Tuesday night, selection of delegates to the state convention, and the passing of resolutions to be discussed at next month's state convention.
The unofficial vote tallies that I reported last week have been updated and now made official:
I may have misreported the criteria for participating in the state convention: One does not have to have been a delegate to one's county convention. In addition to the nine voting delegates at Saturday's proceedings, the convention appointed nine other area Greens to fill out (well almost) the county chapter's allotment of state delegates. This is something of a tradition among Greens in Texas: calling or texting absent Greens and asking if they would like to serve as delegates to state.
Four resolutions—presented by Alán Alán Apurim (the first two), Joel West, and Nancy Saibara-Naritomi—were passed on to state by majority vote:
GPTX has been in consultation with the Texas Secretary of State's Office to inquire whether online conventions will be allowed, given the current pandemic. As of now, SOS has granted no such authorization to any party, following the Texas Election Code statutes requiring in-person conventions. The Greens are unlikely to assemble more than 50 delegates, the maximum number considered "safe," but thousands will gather for the Democratic and Republican equivalents. I envision a last-minute change of heart, for which the big parties will have video conferencing infrastructure in place but the technologically challenged Greens likely will not.
I'd like to think that Dario Hunter's near-unanimous approval vote at last night Harris County Green Party's Consolidated Precinct Conventions had nothing to do with his showing up at Midtown Bar & Grill. But I'm fairly sure that it helped.
Fourteen Greens showed up, eleven of whom cast votes, and all ten put an x in the box next to the lawyer/rabbi's name. The others in attendance, for a variety of reasons, did not vote. Howie Hawkins placed second, with seven approvals.
Among those present were HCGP OG's, some veteran Greenies more recently arrived, some who have joined only within the past year, and one attending her first-ever Green function.
The vote totals have no immediate meaning or impact. They become meaningful only at the Green Party of Texas State Convention 18-19 April. However, most of the eleven who voted will likely participate in the GPTX Convention, all of whose choices will help determine the delegation to the GPUS Presidential Nominating Convention, set to take place in Detroit this July.
While I am earnestly and eagerly anticipating the state and national conventions, for now I'm happy to bask in a local convention well run, with only minor hiccups. Turnout may have been small, but this is a rebuilding year for the Party, and I can envision bigger and stronger attendance by 2024.
At a lunch meeting Wednesday, Laura Palmer informed me that her husband Don "Sketch" Palmer was the angel who got harriscountygreenparty.org back online for another six years. As mentioned earlier this week, hcgp.org is no longer in HCGP's possession, and the Party will not likely spend the thousand bucks to ransom it.
As of last week's Annual State Meeting of the Green Party of Texas, Sketch is the newly elected GPTX treasurer. Here is the complete listing of the State Executive Committee, delegates and the Green National Committee, and current regional coordinators. The regional coordinator system may be retired soon.
Just prior to the ASM, I relented to Laura's plea to stand for an at-large position on the SEC, and fortunately for me I was not elected.
The Post 2504 Landscape
A Green buzz is reverberating through Texas and all around the nation in the wake of HB 2504 becoming law and guaranteeing a ballot line for 2020. The National Committee has a vested interest in having a strong Green presence in the second-most populous state. Veteran Greens like me, who have faded from the scene to avoid intra-Party squabbles, are becoming active again. Among those with whom I have conversed, the focus have shifted more than ever toward recruiting candidates for 2020 and amassing the funds to back them up.
This is an update of an item posted here Saturday before last. The good news is that the Harris County Green Party has it web presence restored, as of yesterday according to whois.com. The domain harriscountygreenparty.org is secured until May 2025.
The not-so-good news is that HCGP will likely have to find a new short & snappy domain name for the HCGP website. They cannot reclaim the hcgp.org at the usual annual rate, as the Network Solutions chat transcript below shows.
A message arrived yesterday in one of my email boxes, informing me that I had been removed as primary contact for the domains currently owned by HCGP. That was what prompted me to contact Network Solutions in the first place. I'm quite OK with not being the primary contact, even if I didn't request the removal. A second chat session revealed that NS could not tell me who has taken over the role of primary contact.
Sigh. I figured I'd give them a few days to straighten it out before officially bitching about it here. It's been a week now.
The Harris County Green Party's website is currently offline.
There's placeholder/squatter content on both hcgp.org and harriscountygreenparty.org. The former is listed as for sale; the latter, pending renewal through Network Solutions.
At this point, it's worth reporting that there is a new Green entity in Harris County. This is not to say that the Harris County Green Party has officially bitten the dust: It hasn't. But several HCGP members who are currently not active with HCGP have formed a group that they are calling Green Party Houston. It doesn't have a website yet, so nothing to link to here.
I welcome this development, primarily because a group that is not the official county party can do things in the broader community that HCGP cannot, whether due to restrictions imposed by the State of Texas, by lack of resources, or by internal policies. However, the Green Party of Texas can grant it delegates to annual state meetings and conventions.
Let there be no misunderstanding: It would be easy to assume that Green Party Houston is an effort to compete with or supplant HCGP. But that's not the case. Nothing would stop anyone from being an active member of both. The current co-chairs of HCGP know of the group's existence. So there is no problem in naming some names: Longtime Greenie Alfred Molison and 2016 post-DNC-screws-Bernie refugee Jan Richards got the ball rolling.
Dr. George Reiter passed into sweet nothingness last Saturday, 30 March. He had a rather sizable glioblastoma diagnosed last year, and after months of treatments it finally won the battle. Even after aggressive chemo and radiation, George died with the familiar tufts of hair still on the back of his head.
David Wager called me that morning to let me know that George was slipping away, and that his wife Deb Boynton Shafto could use some company at the house. Before I could get there, David called again to say that George was gone.
We're back from our recent sojourn in Oklahoma and Kansas, and gradually getting readjusted to the routine. For me, this routine includes summer schedule: an extra hour Monday through Thursday, and a half-day on Fridays.
It was lovely to see some old friends, meet some new ones, and travel ribbons of highway that each of us had not hitherto explored. Less lovely, however, was the specter of cancer that dogged us: not our own, but the cancers of various friends and relatives there, here, and elsewhere. Please indulge me as I shout "FUCK CANCER!" in this otherwise relatively civil space.
One bit of cancer news, received at dinner last Wednesday, was that a longtime member of the Green Parties of Harris County and Texas is ailing. I am not at liberty yet to divulge who, what type, or how advanced.
In addition, a recent arrival to the party has died. HCGP Treasurer Rashan Turner, was hospitalized last week and succumbed far too young to coronary difficulties. (Not all the details are available to me yet.)
Turner, who just elected treasurer this February, was willing to take over the job and learn the ropes from longtime treasurer David Wager, after Wager had grown understandably weary of the position (and of HCGP, certainly not the only member of that club).
Willing and able treasurers are hard to find. It's a risky job, minding the money for a political party, because of the civil penalties involved if you don't keep the fiscal house in order. We don't know yet who will replace Turner.
This week's adaptation of Texoblogosphere follows.
This started as an addendum to Monday night's angry post, but it has now graduated to its own entry.
Clarification: There was one particular premise in the last section of Monday night's entry that does not reflect my own beliefs, but a reader took it wildly out of context and tried to cram it back down my throat in social media. I have retracted that entire sentence.
Other than that one retraction, this update is not be construed as a take-back; I stand by my words. The meeting was a horrid mess, thanks to the combined efforts of both the Steering Committee and the Nominating Committee. However, my emotional reaction was wrongheaded. Monday night I was livid. By Tuesday afternoon, I had some perspective.
Bernadine Williams is once again co-chair of HCGP, I learned Tuesday. As expressed elsewhere in this entry, I sincerely wish her and the newly constituted Steering Committee success in growing the party and moving it forward. Despite the history of conflict between us, I'm convinced that those are her goals. I will not stand in the way, nor will I attempt to help.
Five years ago, I told some comrades that I envisioned a critical mass of Millennials taking over HCGP and providing new direction, as has happened in other counties and states. I was tired of our inertia (the "wheel-spinning morass" mentioned in Monday's post). I would have preferred that this new direction would include the old (yes, mostly white) guard, with all their combined experience and institutional memory, but perhaps they (myself included) were the inertia. Perhaps they (we) just had to go.
So yes, I remain upset about the way it happened, but perhaps it was necessary. Perhaps this rebellion will percolate up to the state level. I hope that the Green Party of Texas will be ready for that by the state convention in April. In light of the 2017 state meeting, I will be as elsewhere as possible.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.