GPNJ Minutes: General Membership Meeting, July 30, 2016 (1 3 pm, New Brunswick Library)
There were over 50 people in attendance! Chair Julie SaporitoAcuna welcomed everyone and asked them to introduce themselves, say what county they lived in, and what was the first concert they attended. A signin sheet was sent around to get everyone’s contact information so the party can communicate with them. Green Council members provided a brief orientation to the Green Party for the many new members present. The Green Party is an international progressive political party founded in 1984, with four pillars and 10 key values (www.gpnj.org). We are at a unique point in US history where interest in third parties is at a record high.
GPNJ Minutes: General Membership Meeting, July 30, 2016 (1 - 3 pm, New Brunswick Library)
There were over 50 people in attendance! Chair Julie Saporito-Acuna welcomed everyone and asked them to introduce themselves, say what county they lived in, and what was the first concert they attended. A sign-in sheet was sent around to get everyone’s contact information so the party can communicate with them. Green Council members provided a brief orientation to the Green Party for the many new members present. The Green Party is an international progressive political party founded in 1984, with four pillars and 10 key values (www.gpnj.org). We are at a unique point in US history where interest in third parties is at a record high.
The chairs of each of the statewide committees talked about what their committees do, and sent around a sign-up sheet for volunteers. Committee reports follow the end of the minutes.
Communications Committee - chair Jim Brash (vice-chair Mike Mangels spoke for him)
- issues press releases, handles party outreach and communication via social media, radio, tv.
- Elections Committee - chair Steve Welzer - coordinates ballot petitions, recruits candidates for all levels (note that the entire state legislature is up for re-election next year!) - our main task lately has been getting Presidential candidate Jill Stein on the state ballot.
- Finance Committee - chair Jim Brash (treasurer Jessica Mangels spoke for him) - this committee creates a budget and fund-raises. We don’t accept corporate donations, but we do accept individual donations. You can donate online once or on an ongoing basis. Membership is $25, and allows you to vote in the annual GPNJ convention. Please pay your membership officially with Julie so it can be recorded (don’t just put cash in the bucket).
- Membership Committee - chair Brian Powers - provided a printed packet to attendees detailing our plan to start an affiliate in every county. He introduced all the county liaisons who were present and gave names for the rest. Goal is to have all counties meet by end of year, ideally this summer. We are now using the Action Network database/app for member outreach.
- Policy Committee - chair Leena Varughese - will be developing detailed policies based on Green party values, and work with local candidates to develop their platforms. For those who want to discuss policy issues there is a GPNJ-Discuss Google group and a Facebook page.
In answer to a question from a new member, we briefly discussed Slack, an app for internal communication within activist groups and political parties; similar to Action Network. Julie suggested that those who’d prefer to use it, join the Communications Committee, take the initiative and propose it! Another new member mentioned a concern about election fraud, and was encouraged to join the Policy Committee. Another person asked who is running for Congress in 2016 as a Green? The answer is Steve Welzer and Raj Malliah.
Chair Julie Saporito-Acuna introduced a proposal for the GPNJ (already approved by the Green Council) to undertake a collaboration effort with the Socialist Party of New Jersey. Pat Noble, Chair of the SPNJ, was present and supported the proposal. We would mobilize to work together to win seats in the legislature or local councils by supporting each other, whether the candidate was Green or Socialist. This effort will start in 2017.
SPNJ and GPNJ are co-sponsoring an August 21 event at Dave Petrovich’s house - it’s a fundraiser so tickets are required. Julie was asked if we would work with other active third parties and she said yes if they actually run candidates (not just activist organizations). They are looking to start a joint committee that would vet joint candidates (would be a sub-committee of Elections).
Elections Committee chair Steve Welzer appealed to the room to recruit potential Green candidates for 2017 and beyond. Al Clayton mentioned that there is a potential open seat in Manchester, where the residents are very unhappy. Anyone living in Manchester who wants to run would need 100 signatures to get on the ballot by 9/1. Also we really need to identify someone to run for governor in 2017 against the powerful corporate candidates.
There was a break for people to put money in their meters and get petitions notarized.
GPUS Steering Committee live forum tomorrow July 31 - Jim Brash is one of the 5 candidates. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXKkGum3IEQ
SPUSA (Socialist Party USA) NOC (National Organizing Conference) will be Aug 6 - 7 at Rutgers New Brunswick - including workshops presented by Green Council members Julie, Brian, and Mike. Everyone is welcome. https://www.facebook.com/events/274838302864810/
GPUS PNC Aug 4 - 7 (Presidential Nominating Convention in Houston) - Leena, Julie, and Gary Frazier (running for Camden city council) are going to represent GPNJ and our 5 votes for Jill Stein. There will be a live stream available (http://www.gp.org/pnc-2016). Rumor has it that CSPAN will also be showing it!
Sat. Aug 20 all day in Newark - Juan Silva announced “Slide the City” event in Newark. There will be a big water slide and other community activities. Tables for organizations are $150 each. http://www.gpnj.org/upcoming_events
Sun Aug 21 in Oakhurst - co-sponsored event between the Socialist Party and the Monmouth Greens to continue the networking begun at the People’s Summit. Includes several speakers, potluck supper and a concert. https://www.facebook.com/events/1813172208969408/
“Decarcerate the Garden State” actions - a series of rallies outside prisons throughout the state, beginning September 9. http://decarceratenj.blogspot.com/2016/06/national-sites- running-articles-and_16.html
New member Margo Simmons suggested starting an Environmental committee - to coordinate participation in and endorsement of environmental actions. Mike made the proposal and Brian seconded it. The vote was 7 in favor, none against. Margo Simmons and Alfred Clayton volunteered to co-chair. They will be non-voting members of Green Council since by-laws don’t include this committee. Leena suggested it be a sub-committee of Policy. Steve suggested it be a caucus representing environmental interests. Julie said the group should meet and determine what they are themselves.
Adam Black announced that he organized a successful march in Red Bank for Bernie Sanders and is working on another march for Jill Stein in September. Veronica (our new website developer) is working on getting the permits now. Speakers are being lined up.
Diane Moxley is organizing a Union County kick-off event August 6 at the Rahway Public Library. This led to a discussion of how to change your voter registration to Green. There is an affiliation form online that lists all the eligible parties, but you can also just use the regular all-purpose voter registration form.
Our next meeting will be Sat August 27 in the basement of the New Brunswick public library. Julie said we’d like to stay out of New Brunswick during the fall (Sep/Oct/Nov) and have meetings elsewhere. She encouraged local organizers to book a room in their local library or community college for the statewide meeting, coordinating with her of course.
The final portion of the meeting was an opportunity for people who wanted to join various committees to meet with the committees in separate corners of the room. The recording of the meeting is at: https://fccdl.in/iGqEhafzc. These minutes were produced by Denise Brush (GPNJ Secretary). Reports submitted by committee chairs follow.
ELECTIONS COMMITTEE REPORT - 7/30/16
On Friday 7/29/16, petitions with 1200 signatures to put Jill Stein for President on the ballot in New Jersey were submitted to the Department of Elections in Trenton. At the meeting, we got an additional 700 signatures that will be submitted Monday August 1. We have surpassed the 800 required signatures and Jill Stein will more than likely be on the ballot. Steve will let us know as soon as it is confirmed.
In addition to Jill Stein for President, we have 3 state candidates for the 2016 election:
- Gary Frazier, Camden City Council.
- Rajit Malliah, MD (House of Representatives for Congressional District #6 of New Jersey);
- Steve Welzer (House of Representatives for Congressional District #12 of New Jersey).
(Submitted by Denise Brush for Steve Welzer).
TREASURER REPORT 7/30/16
On Wednesday Steve and I finally got me to be added to our bank account. Unfortunately it will take a few more days for this to be finalized, so I don't have online access quite yet or a debit card. But, these things are moving forward.
Here is the most recent information I have (it does not include this month):
The NJ ELEC filing was submitted as well as our quarterly FEC report.
For the last quarter (4/1 to 6/30):
- We began the year at $16,748.20
- We began the quarter at $16,507.97
We had $1,138.19 in expenditures. This includes the cost of the convention, charges for Facebook, and monthly charges for Nation builder (including the increased fee to $239 which we are still working out).
We had $735.93 in income (donations). This is inflated due to the convention, so do not
expect this kind of income for the remainder of the year.
We finished the quarter at $16,105.71
We continue to spend more than we take in. While I don't have the numbers in front of me, I know off hand that we have authorized $500 for our delegates to the national convention, another $239 for nation builder, $25 for xroots, and $200 for Jill Stein merchandise, and there was another something we sponsored, too all in one month!
While this is not the finance committee report (as I do not chair that committee) I will say that we need to put more emphasis on fundraising. We should be asking for donations (email blasts, mailings, phone banks, etc), hosting house parties, and coming up with fundraisers. I have a potential fundraising idea for the spring that I will be introducing to the finance committee to discuss but we desperately need more members in the finance committee. We need more ideas and more people to help execute ideas.
Let me know if you have any questions,
MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE REPORT - 7/30/16
I. Local Affiliate Organizing Program
The Committee has drafted and received approval from the Executive Council a local affiliate organizing program. This program is outlined in the attached documents or can be viewed online at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DdxJHbRJFgUrFX7rTyavM1rzrDDpEKWoZxkX5GL_6RA/edit?usp=sharing
The goal of this program is to create active local affiliates assigned to every county. The execution of this program is being carried out by local affiliate liaisons assigned by the committee. If you would like to help out in your county please contact Brian Powers at firstname.lastname@example.org. The goal is to have a first meeting in every county by the end of 2016. Current County liaisons are listed at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1SfuWZEAs2ddOVfKALA-FpQFqMkfBhkhqbz-8B_weOqU/edit?usp=sharing
Vacancies for liaison currently exist in Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Hudson, Hunterdon, and Salem counties.
II. Action Network Database Implementation
The committee has begun utilizing the Action Network system for mass emails, event RSVP, and data collection. Local affiliate organizers should register at https://actionnetwork.org/groups/green-party-new- jersey. Please use this system for any data capture purposes including but not limited to Facebook “contact us” buttons, surveys, petitions, or event RSVP’s. Contact Brian Powers at email@example.com with questions.
FINANCE COMMITTEE REPORT - 7/30/16
I'd like to first off apologize for the inactivity of the finance committee and for my own inaction as it's chair. I have nothing to report from the past month due to our inactivity as a committee but I do have a few proposals to present to this body that will bring the finance committee to life and and build up the fundraising activities of the gpnj.
- To have a donation link for the gpnj and for the Jill Stein campaign as part of the email blast announcing to our supporters, volunteers, and members that she is in fact on a the ballot for New Jersey.
- That we beginning planning now for a series of Ready For Jill/NewJersey's Green Movement for Jill parties. These parties would take place around the state. They will be hosted by volunteers, registered Greens, and others in conjunction with the county affiliates (would like to see one of these event in all 21 counties). They would include showing interviews and speeches by Jill; possibly selling and raffling off Jill Stein and Green party of New Jersey merchandise; asking for donations so that the honk could purchase more Jill Stein merchandise to give out at events and possibly a few billboards; have a member of Green Council there to discuss Jill's campaign and the gpnj platform, and there would be of course a contact sheet and flyers present for any upcoming event.
- I believe the above would be a good way for us to connect with more people; get more members and potential new members involved; build the local affiliates, and raise a few dollars.
- I will reach out the Jill Stein campaign about her sending a written or video message even possibly going live on Facebook to talk to the folks gathered.
3. My third proposal is to start a single crowdfunding campaign, monitor it closely and report back in 45 days with its results - especially as it pertains to donor info. Once my report back is reviewed by the Green council, said body would decide if we move forward and expand on our crowdfunding activities or if they should be abandoned.
- Our fundraising for this pilot crowdfunding campaign will be specific to building awareness for Jill and our abilities as a state party in said area. I’ll have more details once this proposal passes and I can get things moving forward and have the discussion with those on fincom about where the focus should be.
4. We need to plan a fundraiser just before election day that will be
A) a fundraiser to get more advertisements (lawn signs, billboards, etc. for Jill.
B) To start fundraising for our 2017 candidates.
- ideally the Sunday afternoon before the November election would be the best bet.
- it could be in a central location or in one of several hosted by local affiliates that the local candidates for 2017 could attend.
5. A Labor Day donation email blast that talks about our support for workers, the labor movement and and working families. It would highlight some of our past and current efforts as workers and in association with workers. It would be our last request for money till Halloween.
6. We should organise a Green themed Halloween party in a central location. With a cover charge. Sell tickets in advance online at a reduced fee. We would have to begin organising it in August in order to figure out location, pricing of tickets, and our own costs as well as properly timing the email blast , facebook posts, and tweets about it.
The above includes what I have to report and propose from the fincom. If any of these proposals pass, we would immediately begin working on them in our committee, whether it's consisting of 3 people or 30 . We will no longer fail this organization when it comes to fundraising and financing the activities of our organisation.
COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE REPORT - 7/30/16
The communications committee has sent out several news releases since the last meeting. We have also begun to figure out our Twitter situation better. I am proposing that our Twitter account should be about Jill Stein and topics related to New Jersey politics going forward exclusively. We need to change the email and password attached to the Twitter account so that the communications committee and the Green council can have more control over what's being tweeted - no one's personal Facebook page should be connected to it. Also we need a better handle over the main gpnj Facebook page. I would like the communications committee to handle the lion's share of the day to day posts.
I'd also like to use this report to thank Veronica for all her assistance with the website, reddit and Twitter. She's really helping us get things moving.
Today I will be emailing our communications lists on what our work will be over the next month:
1. Building a news media list including websites , newspapers, journals, and radio stations. These lists will be divided into 3 lists: Statewide, County,Town. The lists will have emails, names, phone numbers. The list will be made accessible to the county liaisons for county affiliates to use for their own releases.
2. We will becoming up with a news release announcing the that Jill Stein is on the ballot for New Jersey, once it is all official.
3. We want to do an email blast asking all our members, volunteers, and donors to join a new jersey Twitter storm about Jill effective the day after she is officially on the ballot. The same email should be posted to our Facebook pages and we will ask everyone we are connected to share it to other pages especially those related to the Garden State.
4. We also want an email to go out to the 600 plus volunteers thanking them for volunteering and inviting them to do more to help Jill Stein and the Green Party of New Jersey going forward. I will update the Green Council about the email blasts, the Twitter storm, and the press release for next week as soon as I receive feedback from the communications committee.
In peace and solidarity,