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Green gubernatorial candidate will fight charges

Green gubernatorial nominee Laura Wells of Oakland is spitting mad over her arrest yesterday outside the site of the gubernatorial debate between Democratic nominee Jerry Brown and Republican nominee Meg Whitman.

Laura WellsWells, 62, issued a news release today saying she’ll fight the charges, which – ironically – require her to appear in court Nov. 2, Election Day.

“The real crime is what’s happening to California. The perpetrators of this crime include the Democratic and Republican parties who keep trading off the governorship, and Dominican University, for closing the doors to real dialogue and debate,” she said in her news release. “California has always been special and there’s no reason for it to be in the state it’s in: begging Wall Street for loans, watching our schools, environment and job opportunities spiral down. I have never been arrested and I never wanted to. My comfort zone is not important. We cannot stand by and let this happen to California.”

Wells said campaign polls are “a fraud against the voters. I received a letter that congratulated me on my primary win and invited me to the debate, if I received 10% support among California likely voters. They didn’t tell me what the survey question was. If it were, ‘Do you want debates with only the Republican and Democratic candidates?’ a huge majority of voters, especially this year, would say ‘No.’

“But the survey question asked those polled – including 2 of my supporters – was if they preferred Jerry Brown or Meg Whitman. Not Laura Wells. And then when the pollsters report the results, they still didn’t say other, they say undecided. As if the only choices were Pepsi and Coke, not something we might like that’s healthy, like crystal clear water, or juice, smoothies or red wine!”

Whatever the criteria for being invited to take part in the debate, it seems Wells wasn’t invited to attend it as an audience member. Dominican University spokesman Dave Albee said the university “can confirm that the ticket Laura Wells tried to use to gain entry into Angelico Hall was not issued to her. Tickets were non-transferable, which was printed on the ticket.”

Indeed, from the San Rafael Police Department:

For security reasons, all tickets to seats in Angelico Hall were numbered, coded, and checked by campus security before the holder was admitted to the debate hall. Wells presented a ticket that was not issued to her and refused to relinquish the ticket to campus security when asked to do so. She then became argumentative and refused to leave the area. Wells was warned that if she did not leave she would subject to citizen’s arrest as she was on private property. She continued in her refusal and the security officer placed her under citizen’s arrest. Wells was taken into custody by SRPD officers and escorted from the grounds. She was cited for trespassing and released.

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Oakland Green enters gubernatorial race

As the Republican gubernatorial primary continues to get nastier and the Democratic gubernatorial primary continues to not exist, another candidate is entering the field today for the Green Party primary.

Laura WellsLaura Wells, 62, of Oakland, is holding her kickoff party at 6:30 p.m. tonight at La Estrellita, 446 E. 12th St. in Oakland; elected Greens including Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Fairfax Mayor Lew Tremaine and Fairfax Vice-Mayor Larry Bragman are scheduled to attend.

A former financial and business analyst with expertise in stocks, bonds, pension funds and real estate, Wells boasts that her 420,000 vote count when she ran for state Controller in 2002 was the highest any Green has ever received in a partisan statewide race. She says she’ll be running on a platform to “fix the way money works” in California, creating a fairer tax system to benefit most taxpayers while providing quality schools, universal healthcare, job opportunities and a cleaner environment.

Community activist and former Black Panther Deacon Alexander of Los Angeles announced earlier this month that he, too, will seek the Green Party’s gubernatorial nomination.

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Green Party opposes special-election measures

Make a note on your calendars: This was the day on which the Green Party of California and the California Republican Party were on the same page. Well, sort of.

The Green Party, which said it polled its members and county councils before coming to a decision, y today urged state voters to vote against on all propositions on the May 19 special ballot.

“We oppose the cuts in transportation, education, social services and other humane services, and we oppose this deal even though we were told that great hardship would result if (this) rotten deal failed to pass,” said Michael Rubin, who analyzed the measures for the Green Party of Alameda County. “Even more we oppose the process which offers us a ‘choice’ of being shot in the leg or shot in the arm, but did not offer us the choice of using our collective wealth to meet human needs.”

Proposition 1A, the spending cap/rainy-day fund measure, would create more problems and require billions more in cuts to needed social services, the Greens say; Proposition 1B, providing money previously promised to school districts, and Proposition 1C, to borrow money against future lottery revenue, are merely there to sweeten the bitter pill of 1A, they say. The Greens rejected 1D and 1E because they say the measures steal money from taxes created to benefit children and the mentally ill, and they said 1F — preventing pay raises for state elected officials when the budget is in deficit — is ineffectual.

State GOP leaders last month voted to oppose all the measures too — but they’re doing it because they oppose any and all tax increases, and believe the state budget should be slashed far beyond the cuts already made.

Strange bedfellows, indeed.

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Public memorial for Peter Camejo

A public memorial service for former gubernatorial, presidential and vice-presidential candidate Peter Miguel Camejo is scheduled for 2 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 23, in the University of California, Berkeley’s International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave.

Camejo, who died in September after a long bout with lymphoma, was Ralph Nader’s running mate in 2004 and was a Green gubernatorial candidate in 2002, the 2003 recall election and 2006; earlier, he had run for president in 1976 on the Socialist Workers Party ticket, and earlier yet had been prominent in 1960s anti-war efforts at Cal. Born in New York City, he spent much of his early childhood in his parents’ native Venezuela; he later would compete as a yachtsman for Venezuela at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Camejo was the co-founder and former CEO of the Oakland-based Progressive Asset Management, a financial investment firm that encourages socially responsible projects; he later founded another such firm, The Camejo Group, also in Oakland.

As I said in September, I had the pleasure of talking with Camejo many times and found him to be a passionate and compassionate advocate of social justice for the poor, the disenfranchised, the uninsured, the immigrants and anyone else he thought was getting a raw deal; a policy wonk who could provide reams of facts off the top of his head to support his arguments; and a genuinely good, nice guy. I hope a tremendous number of people will turn out Sunday to pay tribute, and to demonstrate to his family what a debt of gratitude California owes him.

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Peter Camejo 1939-2008

Extremely sad news: The Green Party of California reports that Peter Miguel Camejo — a three-time gubernatorial candidate and 2004 vice-presidential candidate under Ralph Nader — died this morning at his Folsom home after a long bout with lymphoma. He was 68.

The release said Camejo recently had returned home after his health had declined rapidly over the last few days because of the “aggressiveness of his cancer and strength of the drugs used to combat the disease,” according his family.

Camejo was the Green gubernatorial candidate in 2002, the 2003 recall election and 2006; earlier, he had run for president in 1976 on the Socialist Workers Party ticket, and earlier yet had been prominent in 1960s anti-war efforts at the University of California, Berkeley. Born in New York City, he spent much of his early childhood in his parents’ native Venezuela; he later would compete as a yachtsman for Venezuela at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Camejo was the co-founder and former CEO of Progressive Asset Management, a financial investment firm that encourages socially responsible projects; he later founded another such firm, The Camejo Group.

I had the honor of speaking with Camejo many times over the years, and it was always a pleasure. I meet a lot of people in politics who sometimes are calculating, sometimes self-aggrandizing, sometimes in it for all the wrong reasons; this wasn’t Peter Camejo.

Camejo was a passionate and compassionate advocate of social justice for the poor, the disenfranchised, the uninsured, the immigrants and anyone else he thought was getting a raw deal; a policy wonk who could provide reams of facts off the top of his head to support his arguments; and a genuinely good, nice guy. He knew he wouldn’t win those elections; he gloried in getting his message out, trying to shape the debate however he could. Let’s hope he did. California is poorer for his loss.

Camejo is survived by his wife Morella; daughter Alexandra; son Victor; three brothers Antonio, Daniel and Danny; and three grandchildren Andrew, Daniel and Oliver. Arrangements and memorial services are pending.

UPDATE @ 9:42 P.M.: This from Nader:

“Peter was a friend, colleague and politically courageous champion of the downtrodden and mistreated of the entire Western Hemisphere. Everyone who met Peter, talked with Peter, worked with Peter, or argued with Peter, will miss the passing of a great American.”

[snip]

“When his autobiography (with the working title Northstar) is published, we will all be able to get a vivid sense of the great measure of Peter Camejo as a sentinel force for civil rights and civil liberties, and expander of democracy. His lifework will inspire the political and economic future for a long time.”

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Bay Area activism, near and far

There’s plenty of liberal activism a-brewin’, as usual.

El Cerrito piano tuner and longtime pro-Palestinian activist Paul Larudee, a cofounder of the Free Gaza Movement, and his cohorts are about to set sail from Cyprus en route to the Gaza Strip in an effort to “raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip and pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation.” It won’t be a cakewalk for this international band of activists; Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Sunday that Israeli defense officials “favor forcefully blocking” the boats’ arrival, as “allowing the ships to reach the Gaza coastline could create a dangerous precedent.”

Closer to home, CODEPINK is gearing up for the Democratic National Convention in Denver next week. Bay Area doyenne of dissent Medea Benjamin and her group will be holding a “Peace Room” pre-convention party “to make art, friends, plans, and a peace platform” from 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 19, in the CODEPINK/Global Exchange office on the second floor of 2017 Mission St. in San Francisco. Later this week, they’ll have an “All Aboard for Peace” send-off for six Bay Area activists getting on Amtrak to Denver; that’ll be at 8:15 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at the Emeryville Amtrak station, 5885 Horton St. According to their news release, they’re headed to Denver and later to the RNC convention in St. Paul, Minn., to “demand, in full creative force, that an end to the occupation of Iraq, no war with Iran and a commitment to peace be at the top the political agenda… CODEPINK will also be speaking out against the financing of the conventions by oil, telecom and pharmaceutical companies, exposing how corporate money corrupts the political system.” They’ve even put their schedule of actions at the conventions online.

And, speaking of the conventions, some prominent Bay Area activists — including Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg of Berkeley and “peace mom” Cindy Sheehan, who’s now running an independent Congressional campaign to unseat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco — are among those who’ve issued an open, online letter calling on people to go to Denver “to protest war, torture, and repression.” Other signatories include Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney; historian and activist Howard Zinn; and Vietnam veteran and activist Ron Kovic (“Born on the Fourth of July“).