We Won the Write-in! Let’s have a debate.

Our democracy is based on GOTV, Getting Out The Vote, and we did it! Most of the grand total of 5,239 write-in votes went to cartoon characters, dogs, or others who did not do the paperwork. Of those who did become “qualified” write-in candidates, I received 832 votes, followed by a Republican with 178 votes, Libertarian 39, No Party Preference 26, and American Independent 3.

The best news is that California will have three Green Party no-corporate-money candidates for Congress on the November ballot: Kenneth Mejia in District 34, Rodolfo Cortes Barragan in District 40, and Laura Wells in District 13.

We need a real debate in California, not between the corporate Democratic and Republican Parties, but a debate between a Democratic Party team player and a Green Party no-corporate-money candidate. This will give people a chance to really dig into the issues, and the options that we have. There are solutions.

The problem in our government is that it is way too easy for the billionaires and their corporations to run our country by buying both parties. Even the best candidates act as “team players” in those two parties. The Democratic Party is the more “liberal” of the two, and yet judging from the policies they enact when in power, the Democratic Party is more conservative than the conservative parties of Europe!

We have the power — voting power, wallet power, rally power — to apply pressure and make needed changes for ourselves and our next generations

Another world is possible. Let’s debate, and move forward on real, Green New Deal solutions.

Write in Laura Wells for Congress, District 13

Please consider writing in “Laura Wells,” and connecting the arrow, in the race for U.S. Representative, 13th Congressional District. The district has the Alameda County cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont, San Leandro.LW smile fwd light jkt - Version 3

This seat is currently held by Barbara Lee, a Democrat who is running unopposed for re-election. The write-in candidate who receives the most votes in the June primary will be on the November ballot. Please write “Laura Wells” in the blank square under United States Representative, and draw a line to connect the arrow on the right so that your vote will be counted.

The odds that Barbara Lee will win in November are about 99.99% and so the question is, “Who do you want to be in conversation with Barbara Lee in the fall campaign season?” In other words, do you want someone who is pressured by the billionaires, or on the side of the rest of us?

By writing in “Laura Wells” (and connecting the arrow!) we have a chance to provide some counterbalance to the huge pressure everyone in Washington gets from the billionaires and their corporations. Green Party candidates never take corporate money, and that idea is catching hold across the country.

* * * *

IF WE WIN THE WRITE-IN VOTE . . .

We will have a November ballot statement, sent to all voters in California. Here is the initial draft:

Vote for a vibrant democracy, medicare for all of us, clean environment, and meaningful educational and employment opportunities for our next generations.

There is no excuse for the U.S. not to have these things already.

What stands in the way is a two-party system sold out to the billionaires and their corporations. Now, every four years, things are not better, they are worse. We can change that.

Tax the rich to reduce their power over our lives.

Stop military greed and the incarceration mania.

Your vote for a Green Party, no-corporate-money candidate pulls Congress away from the billionaires, toward the people. THERE ARE SOLUTIONS. We can have better social, economic and environmental justice, and a real democracy. Vote Green. LauraWells.org. cagreens.org. gp.org.

* * * *

WHAT’S WRONG in WASHINGTON

When it comes to Congress, polls show an odd fact: Congress as a whole has a very low approval rating, and yet people in congressional districts across the country approve of their own representative. This creates a huge incumbent advantage. In Congressperson Barbara Lee’s district, no one else even tried. Her name will be the only name on the June primary ballot. On the November ballot, however, there will be two candidates, and one of them could be Green!

How can we explain that odd fact of hating Congress but loving your congressperson? The problem is “the system.” It is a system where even the “good ones” like Barbara Lee take money from the corporations and the billionaires who back them. Congress is bought and paid for. See below for the list of money Lee has taken. Barbara Lee, who consistently gets vote counts of over 80%, doesn’t need all that money for her campaign, and so she donates it down the line for her “team.” Meanwhile, the system, and Barbara Lee, push the idea that in the United States all you need are two parties, and others “can’t win.” The Democratic and Republican players get elected and re-elected; and they trade back and forth. The result for the 99% is that after every election cycle, no matter which team gets in office, our schools, healthcare, justice, environment, and democracy just get worse. Generation after generation.

What can we do with our votes to affect this system? Stop playing along. Use every opportunity to both protest the system, and to support a growing alternative: candidates and political parties like the Green Party that take no corporate money. On your June ballot, write in Laura Wells.

In the terrible Top Two primary, the top two vote-getters advance to the November general election. Barbara Lee will be one of them. Write-in candidate Laura Wells could be the other.

Laura Wells has been a Green Party activist since the party became ballot-qualified in 1992. She has participated at the local, state and national levels: acting as a media spokesperson, editing newspapers, and serving on committees with the goal of building the Green Party so that it can be the strong new political party that people in the United States want. Her employment has been in financial systems, Pesticide Action Network, Women’s Economic Agenda Project, SEIU United Healthcare Workers staff, and in Alameda County healthcare departments.

Laura Wells ran as a statewide candidate for Governor and State Controller between the years of 2002 and 2014. In her campaigns, she helped introduce Public Banking to the state and nation. She has continually pointed out the detrimental effects of California’s old Prop 13 and the need to tax the rich, both to increase funds needed for essential infrastructure and services, and to reduce the power of the billionaire class..

Why should we not vote for Barbara Lee? Because that vote would perpetuate the system, where even “progressive” candidates like Barbara Lee do not align with their constituents. Here are five ways in which Barbara Lee is not aligned.

(1) First, follow the money. At the same time that voters realize more and more how important it is to know where candidates’ money comes from (“if you take their money, they are your boss”), the available FEC records make it harder and harder to find out. By poring over disordered records, researchers created the following partial list of
Barbara Lee’s funders: Jordan Wayne RE Developer from Oakland, $5,400; American Dental Assoc., $5,000; Covington & Burling LLP, $4,250; Microsoft, $3,000; Johnson & Johnson, $3,000; Gridiron PAC, $3,000; Google, $3,000; American Healthcare Assoc., $3,000; PG$E, $3,000; Ravi Patel of Patel Enterprises, $2,700; John P. Gooding (who fought the Hotel Workers’ Union in Emeryville), $5,400; JStreet PAC, $11,100; Willie Brown, $2,700; T-Mobile, $2,500; Intellectual Ventures (a cover organization that raised $5.5 billion from corporations like Microsoft, Intel, Sony, Nokia, Google, Yahoo, American Express, Adobe, eBay amongst others plus some Investment Firms. Double dipping?), $2,500; American Society of Anesthesiologists, $2,500; Gilead Sciences, $2,500; American Academy of Family Physicians, $2,500; Pfizer, $2,000; Motorola, $2,000; General Motors, $2,000; Clorox, $2,000; Viacom, $1,500; BioMarin Pharmaceutical, $1,500; GlaxoSmithKline, $2,000; Lockheed Martin, $2,000; Bayer, $1,000; BNSF Railway, $1,000; Safeway, $1,000; StateFarm Insurance, $500. Where does the money go? To things like catamaran fundraisers in Martha’s Vineyard Massachusetts, and down the line to other “team players.”

(2) Second, Barbara Lee does not endorse the best candidates for local and state office; she endorses team players! In some cases that has meant Republicans who recently switched to Democrat. In other cases that means she withholds support from Green candidates even though they are by far the best candidates (Dona Spring for Berkeley City Council). The second-rate candidates that she does endorse receive the benefit of her ability to raise funds, from dubious sources, beyond what her campaign needs.

(3) Third, speaking of endorsements, although Lee had spoken in favor of Instant Runoff Voting, she held back her endorsement until a couple weeks before IRV was up for voter approval in Oakland. The League of Women Voters and other activists could have used her powerful endorsement months earlier when other endorsers were being approached. Later, there was a celebration of IRV’s victory and who was the keynote? Barbara Lee.

(4) Fourth, whose side is she on? Barbara Lee sat on the sidelines in the 2016 Presidential Primary between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton — Lee refused to endorse either Sanders or Clinton during the primary season. True, the vast majority of Democratic Party Congressmembers did endorse Clinton, but Sanders received endorsements from 9 Congressmembers, including Keith Ellison (MN), Tulsi Gabbard (HI), Alan Grayson (FL), and Raul Grijalva (AZ). This was despite the fact that there was very strong support for Sanders in Lee’s Congressional District, and Sanders did end up winning more primary votes in the district than Clinton! So in other words, unlike the 9 Congressmembers who did endorse Sanders, Lee declined to be a progressive leader in the primary contest. (For more information, search for “Bernie Sanders presidential endorsers 2016.”)

(5) Fifth is her failure to take a strong stand on trade, and on Palestine — Lee voted against including strong language in the Democratic Party national platform regarding opposing the TPP and regarding supporting the Palestinians — for more info, please see: https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/12/failure-of-nerve-why-barbara-lee-doesnt-speak-for-me-on-tpp-and-palestine/ Seventeen years ago, after 9/11, Barbara Lee did represent her district in voting against giving George Bush extraordinary war powers against Afghanistan. Yes, that took courage, and it was also politically savvy. She represented the most progressive congressional district in the country, a district that might have voted her out if she voted with the crowd in Congress. A button at the time was “Barbara Lee speaks for me.” We need our representatives to act for us when it’s not so visible as well.

(6) Sixth, Barbara Lee gives occasional support for unnecessary military spending. The pattern is that when the Republicans control the House, Lee votes against their proposed Defense budgets. But when the Democrats put forward an excessively large military budget, she has supported it. For example in 2009, Lee was part of a 281 to 146 majority in support of the Department of Defense Authorization. Lee did NOT join in with the 15 Democrats who opposed that bill, including Dennis Kucinich and next-door (Hayward) Congressman Pete Stark.

There are solutions. The billionaires will not fund those solutions, and their paid-for representatives will not do what it takes to implement those solutions. There are alternatives.  Imagine a ballot in November 2018 with a Green Party candidate listed on the ballot. Write-in Laura Wells, and we have a chance.

Back from Cuba: The Difference is Humanity

As I left Cuba two days ago the last message*** I saw, on the airport terminal building, was PATRIA ES HUMANIDAD — “homeland is humanity.” When I woke up my first morning back in the States, thoughts of “humanity” were on my mind.

Cuba has survived because of its humanity.

There are lots of examples and I hope to touch on them as I blog more, or talk with folks, or do presentations, but for now I’ll just talk about doctors, storms, and the “special period.” Cuba is not perfect, I don’t mean to imply that, but it does have some special strengths.

Most of us know about the Cuban doctors. They’ve been a great form of “humanitarian foreign aid” to places around the world. Cuban doctors have helped with epidemics of ebola and other diseases, with natural disasters such as hurricanes (President Bush refused their help for Katrina), and with areas suffering from lack of access to healthcare. They’ve educated their own and thousands of other doctors from around the world, including the United States. The homeland of their medical system is humanity.

When a terrible storm is coming, they have a system for evacuating people so they survive, and they even include people’s beloved pets and are starting to make more accommodations for beloved belongings. There is a much higher survival rate in Cuba than in neighboring Latin American or North American countries.

The special period was the time in the 1990s after their big trading partner the Soviet Union collapsed. Overnight things Cubans took for granted were no longer available. Someone described the special period as like our Great Depression times four, or more!

During the special period, although things were very hard, nobody starved. They lost a lot of excess weight and sure missed the usual variety of foods, but they were not malnourished. The people themselves and the government saw to that. With their rations, people took care of their families. The fact that a Cuban’s “family” includes a lot of adopted uncles and aunties, parents, grandparents, and children, helped a lot. Actually, diseases like diabetes and hypertension were reduced. I’ve also heard about similar effects in other tough times, like during World War II in Europe. That’s something to think about, isn’t it? People can sometimes have more physical health and human connection during periods of material deprivation.

IN MY NEXT BLOG, I expect to list the rest of the questions about Cuba that I gathered on my yellow pad before and during the trip. But I may talk about Prop 13 — as a quick note, consider joining me and others as we take a day trip to Sacramento to “Reform Prop 13.” I’m glad I’m back from Cuba in time to be at the kickoff!  Click HERE.  (See why I’m glad on my blog post Dream Legacy: Help Fix Prop 13 in California.)

***   About messages at the airport or anywhere, personally, I prefer seeing billboards with inspiring quotations rather than commercial billboards about products for sale, such as Coca Cola, electronics, and politicians. I didn’t see a single sign with “Coca-Cola” on it. (I hope I follow through on my plan to count how many times Coca-Cola appears when I walk a single commercial block in my Grand Lake neighborhood in Oakland.) I see that fact as one of the “collateral benefits” of the US embargo. I want to be careful, however, to point out that the embargo — or bloque/blockade as the Cubans refer to it — has had onerous effects on the people of Cuba.  For more than 54 years.

CUBA – more questions, Cuba now!

We boarded, we landed, toured, checked in at hotel, got an internet card for $4.50 an hour (and boy do I miss looking up anything whenever I want on my cell phone, like the Spanish name of the Bee Hummingbird, zunzun…, the smallest bird in the world, found only in Cuba. I’ll find out, goodness, I’ll just have to get used to delayed instead of instant gratification relating to my curiosity.)
(5) Will I get to dance, salsa, bachata, cumbia, cha cha, rumba, bolero, whatever?

Some of the following questions I gathered from friends:
(6)  What do Cubans expect to happen as this process unfolds?
(7)  What censorship is there from the Cuban government?
(8)  Can you access anything/everything that’s on the internet?
(9)  What changed after the Elian Gonzalez affair? (In 2000, when Elian was 6, there was a struggle over whether he should live in the USA or Cuba.)
(10) What things are there that Cubans would like us to learn from their experience?
(11) Has there been talk, from Fidel Castro and other Cubans, about whether they should have held direct elections for president in the past, or hold them in the future?
(12) Who can be a candidate for president?
(13) How sustainable is Cuba? (World Wildlife Fund, I believe, was the entity that named Cuba as the one nation that is living sustainably.) What about their chickens, cows, pigs?
(14) How are Cubans doing related to creativity?
(15) Does Cuba have global warming strategies?
(16) Per something I read from a friend’s Lonely Planet guide, published a few years back: are there places that only tourists may go, where you are prohibited if you don’t have a foreign passport?
(17) From my brother Harry, who lives in Florida, “So they have healthcare for all, but when Fidel needed good healthcare he went to the French. My right-wing magazines, whether you agree with their philosophy or not, do their research.” So, did Fidel get healthcare from the French?

That’s it for now. I already have some answers, and I’ll get more perspectives before I return on April 29!

INTRODUCTION

Hello, and welcome to the first edition of my new blog. This introduction will cover what this blog is intended to be, and how it came about.

I have decided to have two sections, THE POLITICAL and THE PERSONAL. What the heck. It feels right to have two separate sections, though I bet I’ll often find it difficult to decide which is which, or where to put what, and so my apologies in advance for the mix-ups. One reason I’m doing a section on the personal is that although I’ve heard the advice to make blogs and tweets personal, I haven’t followed that advice much. I felt self-conscious about doing that, and, to tell the truth, it’s related to my hating the word “vulnerable.” People tell me, and even an author interviewed on public radio KPFA tells me, that there is power and strength in allowing yourself to be vulnerable. To be known.

I don’t mean to be so serious, but I am a Capricorn and they say we tend toward serious, even as children. Supposedly we grow younger as we get older. That always sounded like a good trait and at age 67, I’m ready. (Yikes, I hate to admit my age. THAT makes me feel vulnerable. Of course, being a baby boomer, I’m sure I don’t LOOK 67, and anyway, according to boomers, the 60s are the new 40s). Despite my seriousness I do believe that the ultimate feminist statement is “girls just want to have fun.” I know that’s true about me. We just want to have fun, which leads to the questions: What is all this crap that’s going on and how can we create a more fun world? That’s THE POLITICAL section. It’s all related. Political. Personal.

In the past I have run for state office in California as a Green Party candidate, beginning in 2002, when we ran the first full slate of Green candidates for statewide office. I ran for Controller in 2002, 2006, then Governor in 2010 (a good year to “Follow The Money” I thought, since we had just suffered a global financial meltdown), and then Controller again in 2014.

I’m recovering.

For the past year I have loved NOT trying to convince anybody of anything. At least I’ve been trying not trying to convince people of anything. It’s really difficult. Sometimes people say the best way to effect change is to model it rather than promote it. Lately I’m thinking that advice is just another way to say, “Shut up.” If we’re just being models instead of advocates, everybody is off the hook. Business as usual. For the past year I’ve been trying to just shut up and live with the way things are. I sometimes hate the phrase, “it is what it is” when it just sounds defeatist.

My last campaign (not just “latest,” but last, I hope) was actually successful in the pathetic terms of our pathetic democracy. As a “third party candidate” I received 5.7% of the vote. Ellen Brown, author of books “Web of Debt” and “Public Banking Solution” got 6.6% in her run for Treasurer of California. We ran as partners, advocating public banking. I expected Ellen to do well, and to break the existing record for percentage of votes received by a Green in a partisan statewide race in California. (That makes me smile: the record she broke was my record from 2002, when I got 5.9% of the vote and it took 10 days to figure out which of the “big two” won.)

The “big two” just reminded me of the “big three” automakers. I grew up partly in Detroit and then went to college there. We all know how the “big three” automakers ultimately trashed Detroit into looking like a war zone, a war zone with some wonderful people with a lot of heart and soul currently staging a regeneration there. We hope. The “big two” political parties have trashed our country. Worsening education and healthcare and  environment and justice-for-all and deepening disparity of wealth.

So, is this train of thought personal or political? I think it’s personal. I’ll try to make The Political section more in line with the slogan of my recent campaigns, “There Are Solutions.” As a preview, the main solution is to use every bit of power you have. And we people have a lot more power than we think, and we can have a lot more fun exercising it for a better world than we think. It is a huge irony that the folks who know how much power people have are the 0.1% who have all the money. They know it; we don’t; and they work diligently to keep us thinking we’re powerless.

* * *

After the June 2014 primary, I thought of myself as burned out but after awhile I realized I was not burned out. I had plenty of energy, but I had to back away from politics. For me backing away meant only doing political things that I really wanted to do, and not doing things just because “I should.”

Rather than “burned out,” what I was after the June 2014 primary was disgusted. It reminds me of an interview I read about Michael Moore when he was filming Bowling for Columbine. He saw the site of the mass killings at the high school in Columbine, and realized that people had obediently stayed behind the lines set out by the officials, even after the shooting had stopped and who knows who might have been saved if the parents and others had just said, “Hell no,  forget this yellow plastic barrier, I’m going in there!” Michael Moore had to stop filming for a week before he could continue in the face of realizing the passivity people were capable of even when it involved the lives of their children. I’m on a flight right now, and thinking about this makes me feel tears wanting to spill out from behind my eyes. It is said and I believe that one of the hardest things anyone has to bear is the death of a child.

The point (I love Ellen DeGeneres for saying, “My point, and I do have one…”) is that people have so much more power than we use. We have voted for people who are not on our side just because we think they have a chance of beating the “other major candidate” who’s “even worse.” Or we don’t vote at all, chalking it up to voter fraud and it doesn’t make any difference anyway, and it just encourages this system, and, and, and. I always want to excuse individuals and blame the system, but this time I was disgusted with people’s behavior. I needed to back away to get focused again on this destructive system.

This past year friends and family have said to me, “I’m so glad you’re not doing politics anymore.” I tell them sorry, it’s only temporary. Like the song I’ve heard many times since I learned ballroom dancing a few years back, “I’ve got you under my skin.” That’s politics. It’s under my skin: doing whatever it is that’s “on my plate to do” in the world.

P.S. I’m hoping for my sake, and apologizing for your sake, that I just write this stuff and post it without endless rewrites. I do want to make it readable, and I know I need to deal with the stream of consciousness mode that seems to be my innate style. I’m thinking maybe, for the sake of those it bothers — and I’m afraid it may particularly be those of you who’ve been raised as men — I could put the really bad tangents in parentheses and if it drives you totally crazy you can just look for the ending parentheses and I’ll try to have the main line make sense. But that sounds like it would violate my goal to just WRITE it, shape it up adequately, and POST it. You have no idea how many un-posted blogs and un-sent letters I have written in my life. Fear, I think, is the culprit. Perfectionism is mostly fear. Ah well. We’re about an hour from the Atlanta airport and I think I’ll do something else now. By the way, I’m writing this while I’m on my way to Cuba for the first time.

Electoral Disobedience Builds People Power!

“NO CORPORATE MONEY” Movement Poised to Replace Corporate Controlled Candidates.

My campaign for State Controller is growing and joining in solidarity with other no-corporate-money candidates who are also stepping up and running for office, like author/activist Luis Rodriguez for Governor, author Ellen Brown for Treasurer, David Curtis for Secretary of State, and many more. Many others are sharing our vision, giving their time and talent, and supporting us with financial contributions! 

As a State Controller who takes no corporate money, I will stand up to the Wall Street bankers — like Green Party mayor Gayle McLaughlin in Richmond, CA — and insist they gamble with their own money from now on. With a State Bank for California, we can create a bank that will partner with local banks and credit unions, and provide good loans to homeowners, students, and small businesses. We will keep the interest low, and keep it in the state, to invest in California, not Wall Street.

In the primary election on June 3, 2014 we have a very real chance to upset the status quo and create a more equal state for ALL Californians.

The way we will do this is by committing “Electoral Disobedience” to build people power by voting only for a new wave of “No Corporate Money” candidates who answer to the people, not corporations. California’s new “top two” primary has lots of problems but one big possibility: any voter can vote for any candidate regardless of political party. Be sure to cast your vote, but not for corporate-funded candidates. If they win, you won’t.

In sharp contrast to the corporate candidates, we don’t need millions. With several big donations of $1,000 or more, many smaller donations of $100 or more, and a whole bunch of encouraging $5 donations, we’ll be on our way to building that critical mass. We are grateful for ALL donations! Together we can spread the word about solutions, and stand up to those that continue to put profit before humanity and the planet.

Your financial contribution helps my campaign and lets people know that their voices and their votes can make a huge difference in the June 3 primary election.

If you would like to donate to my campaign, please click HERE.
https://laurawells.nationbuilder.com/donate

Like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/laurawellscalifornia?ref=hl

Follow me on Twitter  @WellsController

Thank you for all you do!

Laura Wells for Controller 2014
http://www.laurawells.org/

Eight months, and rolling up our sleeves

[Written on October 3, 2013]

My daughter Natalia and I “rolled up our sleeves” this afternoon and designed campaign buttons showing people power over money power, with a person triumphing over a moneybag, and the words “Vote June 3, 2014” at the bottom. It’s so much fun to be impressed by what your child can do! By the way, check out her band, https://www.facebook.com/SocialStudies101

Last week I filled out the first questionnaire for the June 3, 2014 primary – exactly eight months from today. There was a question about campaign goals. My goal is this: I want us to win! So, who are we?

We are a huge group of people – we are

  • 89% of Americans who believe there is too much corporate money in politics,
  • the Green Party, whose candidates never take corporate money,
  • other candidates who also refuse corporate money,
  • the new No Corporate Money Campaign that is creating a cool video, to raise thousands of dollars to put up a fabulous website to build a critical mass of candidates who will take no corporate money and voters who will vote for them. Look again at the example of Richmond to see what happens when candidates who don’t take corporate and developer money win. You might want to sign up for their inspiring newsletter; see the left hand column of http://www.richmondprogressivealliance.net/

The trick about California is that we really can start to turn this state around. That’s why it’s so important that good, un-bought people get themselves on the ballot, as soon as possible. Maybe you will consider running, or encourage others to run.

I believe that this destructive corporate-controlled system will crack, and that its unraveling after the crack will proceed fairly rapidly. Why? Because it has happened before. In Latin America people who had not voted – especially the young and the impoverished – started voting, and replaced the old guard. The new governments  championed their people and not the 1% of the world. (And yes, the U.S. government and corporate media are mad – that’s why they lie about Latin America so much!)

I will wrap this up with a big THANK YOU. Last month I said you could mail a check to surprise us when we check the P.O. Box and a bunch of people did! Again, thank you.

Your offers of help are also very encouraging, and a dream I have is to work closely with one or more people who will help our campaign make the best possible use of all the help that is offered! If that person is you or someone you can recommend, let me know as soon as you possibly can!

Another world is possible.

Laura Wells for Controller 2014
P.O. Box 10181
Oakland, CA 94610
510-225-4005
laurawells2014@gmail.com

BLOG WEBSITE: http://laurawellssolutions.com/  is still my best website
WEBSITE:  laurawells.org – not updated yet, but we’ll get there!
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/laurawellscontroller (thanks to Edy in LA)
TWITTER: @wellscontroller

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