Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bay Area California Green Parties Host "A Debate that Matters"

Presidential Candidates vying for the Green Party nomination will debate on Sunday, January 13 at the beautiful Herbst Theater in San Francisco, CA from 2 pm - 4 pm.

Those in attendance include:

  • Jared Ball
  • Jesse Johnson
  • Kent Mesplay
  • Cynthia McKinney
  • Kat Swift
Undeclared candidate Ralph Nader, who appears on the California ballot as well, will not participate in the debate, according to the most recent agreement, but will address the audience after the debate.

The debate will be moderated by Activist Cindy Sheehan and Bay Area Green Party members and office holders Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, School board member Mark Sanchez and former Supervisor Matt Gonzalez and On-Air personality Aimee Allison. Candidates will also address audience questions.

The debate, which was planned over this last month by Alameda and San Francisco County Green Parties, is very significant. It will be the only opportunity for these candidates to face off before Super Tuesday. Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney will be the major draw for the event. Greens are eager to hear the two leading candidates hammer at the issues that seem to escape the debates of the Democrats and Republicans. The Iraq War, Economic Justice and the Ecology will dominate the floor. Yet to be seen is how well will the the lesser known candidates appear against these two mighty contenders. They are each articulate and caring and informed in their own rights, but have only worked on local and state levels previously.

The short notice of the debate puts the less robustly financed candidates in a difficult position as they scramble to find a home at which to stay in the Bay Area. To not show up slices him/her out of a significant opportunity to get their message and name known on a national level. The debate will be videtaped and uploaded to YouTube and promoted on Green Party list-servs and websites.

Jared Ball of Washington D.C. returns to the Bay Area after having just campaigned in California in mid-December, despite the pressures of having a new baby at home and a professorial job. Jesse Johnson, who is challenging the West Virginia Election Board to get the Green Party on the ballot, was caught by surprise by the short notice; his delay in confirming his attendance resulted in his name not being included in on-air and print material. Kat Swift, the sixth candidate has made a sudden change as well and will be coming out.

Elaine Brown, activist and former Black Panther Party leader, removed herself from the race two weeks ago.

The video will be available several days after the debate. KPFA will be broadcasting the debate. Democracy Now and Polidoc Productions will be working together to create an archival video of the event.

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