Green Party candidates call for change: Petaluma gatherers say electoral overhaul needed to break 2-party system
By KATY HILLENMEYER, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
PETALUMA (March 19, 2006) - Green Party candidates for state and local office called Sunday for environmental protections, withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, President Bush's ouster and electoral overhaul that breaks the dominance of the nation's two major parties and their campaign contributors.
"We have a rigged, two-party system ... which does not reflect the will of the voters accurately," said Cat Woods of Novato, who is vying against Republican Michael Hartnett and the winner of a six-way Democratic primary to fill Joe Nation's 6th District state Assembly seat. "Even people in red states are angry that our civil liberties are being taken away."
Woods was one of eight Green Party candidates who gathered at a downtown Petaluma home for a daylong strategy meeting. The candidates, predominantly from the Bay Area, spoke of impeaching Bush, ending motorists' reliance on fossil fuels and empowering voters.
Democratic leaders' tepid resistance to the Patriot Act and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq have given the Green Party an opening to strengthen its base of 145,000 registered state voters, said Bill Patterson, a former Windsor Town Council candidate.
"There is increasingly a window of opportunity opening due to the disenchantment with the dominant parties," said Patterson, a retired small business owner who said he's mulling another council bid.
California Secretary of State candidate Forrest Hill of Oakland and John Miller, a Central Valley teacher seeking a U.S. congressional seat in the 21st district that includes Visalia, denounced voter apathy and the diversion of taxpayers' money to defense.
"Just in Iraq alone, we're throwing away our future and funds that could be used to solve problems here," said Miller, a Ducor resident and former Army National Guardsman.
State Attorney General candidate Michael Wyman of Greenbrae called for ending the death penalty, defending same-sex marriage and decriminalizing adults' "personal use" of marijuana and other drugs.
The Green Party of California