Sunday, March 09, 2008

Greens against the Override

One would assume that any Green in the Minnesota House would instantly approve of the recent transportation override. They might vote for it, but not after arguing about the intent and process of the new taxes. As it currently stands, these new taxes are not within the party's values.

2 Penny Gas Tax ( on April 1st )

I don't really have a lot of problems with the gas-tax, except that it has to be used for roads and bridges. It is Constitutionally mandated, and perhaps the Green Party should add to it's platform that they want this changed. Republicans wouldn't know the difference, because all those who I've spoken with believe it goes into the general fund. So why not make it official?Let the roads crumble - and build more train lines instead. Future generations will thank us for allowing the car-culture to collapse locally before the rest of America will have no choice but to.

The DFL may lose some seats this year over the "outrageous" 2 penny gas hike. I wonder if they will think it was worth it. The Republicans who supported the override, especially those from Edina, may find their predicaments a bit harsh. But at least Laura Brod can still run for Governor in a few years. No need to attack her since she "forgot" to vote on it.

Transit Sale Tax

This tax will be imposed without a voter referendum. This flies in the face of grassroots democracy, and would be fought by Greens. If residents were allowed to vote on this, I know it would pass in a majority of counties - even Scott and Carver. So why not vote on a new tax? Hennepin County hands taxpayer money to Minnesota's billionaire Carl Pohlad, but might not if its residents were given a choice.

The tax creates a transit renaissance in the Twin Cities that will attempt to rival the original system abandoned last century. Streetcars built these cities, but LRT and bicycle paths will be more energy efficient than even that system.

I don't expect the fools in my old homes of Carver and Scott Counties to join in the festivities. They will engorge themselves on auto-dependent development until long after it's days are over. Then they will cry for even a couple bus routes to the Eden Prairie LRT, while their residents fill the park and rides in neighboring counties. Maybe Rice county will join before Scott? We could then build a LRT route right through the county,without any stops there, to Fairbault and Northfield, or even commuter rail to Mankato.

In Summary Greens believe:

  • The transit sales tax should be approved by counties through a voter referendum, rather than imposed by county commissioners.
  • Gas taxes should not be spent solely on roads and bridges - but added to the general fund or used for transit
  • A carbon tax would be more beneficial to reducing CO2 than a gas tax alone.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Green Party Caucus

The Green Party caucus went smoothly in south Minneapolis today. I was able to pass a platform change that would support the Global Marshall Plan and we passed a resolution opposing the Midtown Burner.

We supported Cynthia McKinney's bid for the Presidency over Nader 7 to 1. Impressive, though Nader is not formally seeking Green Party endorsement. He is seeking any endorsement he can get, and feels the Greens are not a threat but a progressive ally. Had he run as a Green, I doubt he would have won in Senate District 61 today.

We heard from US Senate candidates Michael Cavlan and Thomas Harens. Both are strong on Green issues. Though they both have their weak spots. Thomas is more business oriented, while Cavlan more the anti-corporate type. I supported Cavlan in 2006, but feel Thomas is more than ready to spread the message of our party to a wider audience. An audience that is more a part of the green movement than the actual party, with his goal to bring us together. There were no attacks against each other, though Cavlan did stress his long-term commitment to the party, while Thomas could make no such claim having recently joined. Thomas has also done little work toward racial justice,but has remained more focused on sustainability issues. Both candidates know the seriousness of peak oil and how higher crude prices drag our economy down.

Farheen Hakeem attended and is still running a campaign that has the DFL scared witless. I doubt they will have a candidate who has the experience or knowledge that Farheen has. Mr. Hayden assumes that the DFL machine will hand him the seat. But if any challenger shows up on the primary ballot, he'll need as much help as he can get from them. His record in such primaries hasn't worked to his benefit in the past, garnering third place behind Elizabeth Glidden and Marie Hauser for city council Ward 8.