Independent Voters Look to Reform Primary Laws

A group for independent progressive voters such as myself is pushing to reform Pennsylvania’s primary election laws to make primaries open to every voter.  As of now primaries are closed to those who belong to each political party.  Because of severely restrictive ballot access laws and abuses by the two major Parties against other candidates the climate for choice in the Keystone State is very negative.  The Green Party of Pennsylvania, the victim of abusive behavior by Democrats, is supporting the initiative:

At Green Night Out on October 1, Jennifer Bullock, founder of Independent Pennsylvanians (IP),, explained to the gathered diners that her organization “supports issues and campaigns at the local, state and national level designed to increase the visibility and power of independent voters.”

According to Bullock, “IP is a movement not a party. We are the PA affiliate of the Committee for a Unified Independent Party,, the progressive wing of the independent movement, which works to connect and empower the 38% of Americans who identify themselves as independents.”

“IP is an activist organization of independent voters,” Said Bullock. “Our mission is to serve as a force for progressive, non-partisan reforms, such as Rep. Eugene DePasquale’s reform package of four bills including the Corporate Accountability Act, Early Voting Act (HB1001), Voters Choice Act (SB21) and Open Primary Act (HB 994).” See:

Bullock explained that “Pennsylvania is a closed primary state, and IP is gathering signatures in support of open primaries in PA. We are also on a campaign asking the U.S. Congress to hold hearings on the barriers that independents face.”

In addition to Greens and independents, the event also welcomed Republicans, including City Council candidate David Oh and City Commissioner candidate Al Schmidt, who shared in a lively and wide-ranging discussion.

“Independent Pennsylvanians gave an illuminating and substantive presentation,” said Green Party member Peter Javsicas. “By advocating for reforms such as ballot access (SB21), they bring a valuable message to all the citizens of Pennsylvania.”

While I am a strong advocate for reform of ballot access laws I do not support open primaries.  Each Party has the right to choose its own nominees from their memberships and only those members should be able to vote for its nominees.  Otherwise independent voters could swarm a particular Party primary and elect someone who does not reflect the values, platform or principles of that Party.  I choose not to be a member of the Democratic Party because it no longer shares my values so I should not have a voice in its nominees.  What Democrats and Republicans should do, however, is repeal the laws which require onerous petition signatures and stop challenging third party and independents when they do overcome these daunting legal challenges to the ballot.  Pennsylvanians deserve more choices on our ballots and, perhaps, the trade off of keeping closed primaries is more liberal ballot access.

Mary Bricker-Jenkins and Neighborhood Networks urge support for Cheri Honkala for Sheriff in Philly

Two recent updates to Cheri Honkala’s website show exciting signs of support for a campaign based on the promise to keep people in their homes and help give communities control over their land.

The first is from Mary Bricker-Jenkins, a social worker, author, and professor emeritus at Temple urging her fellow social workers to support Cheri in any way they can.  She wrote, in part,

You came into social work because you wanted change.

You learned quickly that we need fundamental, systemic change.

The “change we could believe in” hasn’t delivered.

So let’s listen to Ghandi:

We need to BE the change we wish to see in the world. . .

That’s why Cheri Honkala, co-founder of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC),is running for sheriff in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the Green Party ticket.

Neighborhood Networks is an organization in Philly that has, as far as I know, always been a progressive Democratic group.  In their message of support urging members to help get Cheri on the ballot, Neighborhood Networks said,

[T]here are

two races that Neighborhood Networks may well want to put resources into

in the Fall.  In one of those races, it’s time to act NOW.

Immediate action is needed in the race for Sheriff if we hope to have

any real choice in November.  That’s because Cheri Honkala, a Green

Party candidate that we may want to support, needs help just to get on

the ballot. The two major parties may not agree on much, but they do

agree that it’s in their interest to make it really hard for third party

candidates to compete.  So just for us to have a choice, Cheri needs

4,000 signatures of Philadelphia registered voters.  She aims to collect

them by July 1.

The Sheriff’s office is an object of scandal right now, with the

Controller having found that $53 million in fees is unaccounted for.  So

job one is to clean the place up.  But then it’s also important that

the Sheriff’s office operate in the public interest.  If Cheri is on the

ballot, she will bring to the election a lively debate about whether the

public interest at this time of growing economic distress and growing

homelessness requires that evictions be stopped.  We need to have that


So, if you’d like to get Cheri on the ballot, please call her at

888-434-7914.  Or just drop into her office at 718 Market Street and

offer to help out.

Greens, Libertarians Join to Condemn GOP Judicial Candidate Stabile

Two third parties combined on a press release this week condemning Republican Superior Court nominee Vic Stabile.  The victor of last week’s Republican primary for Superior Court was instrumental in kicking third party candidates off ballots in recent elections.

Ballot access in Pennsylvania is a serious problem and both major political parties regularly engage lawyers and judges to eliminate these rivals.  The result is that voters have few choices when they go to the polls to cast their ballots.  This is shameful.

Stabile not deserving for Superior Court Judge

Wilkes-Barre, PA — Pennsylvania Libertarian Party chair Lou Jasikoff declared the GOP’s choice for Superior Court Judge as nothing short of shameful.  Victor Stabile led the charge to get Libertarians knocked off the ballot in 2008 and was recently quoted as being pleased by efforts to keep the Green and Libertarian Parties from appearing on the statewide 2010 ballot.  “Stabile cloaks himself in the American flag while trampling on the very cornerstone of our democracy and should not be rewarded under any circumstance with a judgeship on Pennsylvania’s Superior Court,” insisted Jasikoff.

Green Party representative Carl Romanelli stated, “The last defense of democracy and the Constitution is the judiciary. When it is corrupted or co-opted, it represents the most significant threat to the principles that once made America the grand protector of liberty. The shame and disgrace of Victor Stabile should not only be rejected by victims of his partisan decisions, but also by his peers. The lack of meaningful review reflects as poorly on justice in Pennsylvania as does Stabile’s blatant obstruction of our rights.  It is sad to think that the cradle of democracy, Pennsylvania, has now become its graveyard.”  

Romanelli, the U.S. Senate candidate in 2006 for the Pennsylvania Green Party,, has long contended that his own removal from the ballot could not have been accomplished without the aid of partisan judges. Romanelli, a retired employee of the Luzerne County Courts, added, “Stabile’s comments, and record in ballot-access cases, prove that both old parties are equally corrupted at the judicial level. The prevailing attitude is that anything goes in keeping other voices out of political debate and participation. Judges remain in violation of the Judicial Canons with such partisan behavior.”

Ken Krawchuk, the Libertarian candidate for Pennsylvania Governor in 1998 and 2002, was shocked to hear Stabile was running for Superior Court Judge.  This is the same man who led the failed challenge to have the 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate removed from the statewide ballot. When someone is so ignorant of the law as to mount a frivolous challenge, or so inconsiderate of the voters of Pennsylvania to attempt to limit their choices on the ballot, it’s clear he lacks the knowledge, character and integrity to serve as a judge at any level.” Krawchuk, who is the Libertarian representative to the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition,, added, “If Stabile had any sense of justice at all, he’d be working with us to reform Pennsylvania’s atrocious ballot-access laws, which are among the worst in the nation, not exploiting them for political gain.”

“Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation where judges elected in partisan elections determine which candidates may appear on the ballot,” said Oliver Hall of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Competitive Democracy. “Now that Pennsylvania courts have begun to assess costs against candidates just for defending nomination petitions that they are required by law to submit, it is more important than ever that judges demonstrate a commitment to protecting candidate and voter rights to participate in free and equal elections – rather than the partisan interests of the judges’ campaign contributors.”

Wayne Allyn Root Vice-Presidential candidate on the 2008 Libertarian ticket concluded, “Ballot access is a fundamental right we enjoy as Americans. We can no longer allow or tolerate political operatives like Stabile to subvert that right; simply put it is Un-American. To purposely disregard laws on the books that allow for candidate substitution, or applaud efforts that totally ignore voter intent is unconscionable. Stabile is the face of everything wrong with Pennsylvania’s ballot-access laws and his flawed and biased judgment should not find its way on Pennsylvania’s Superior Court.”

The Libertarian Party along with the Green Party and groups like the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition, Free and Equal Organization and other liberty groups in Pennsylvania intend to make ballot access a major focus of conversation this election cycle.  Only when all Americans can freely compete in the arena of ideas will we be able break the back of corruption that has so permeated our political system.

Four upcoming Green Party of Phila. events:anti-fracking, public meeting, May Day, Move to Amend

A list of upcoming events (including an anti-fracking demonstration today) from the Green Party of Philadelphia (for facebook links, check out the GPOP’s facebook group).

Earth Day Demonstration Against Fracking

Date: Thursday, April 21, 2011

Time: 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Location: Dept. of Environmental Protection, 2 Main St., Norristown, PA

Notes: Demonstration at DEP to demand a ban on gas drilling. Stop polluting our drinking water as well as our waterways.

This demonstration has been called by the Green Party of Philadelphia and endorsed by Brandywine Peace Community, BuxMont Coalition for Peace Action, Citizens for Clean Water, Green Party of Delaware County, Green Party of Montgomery County, Protecting our Waters and Saint Vincent’s Peace and Justice Ministry.

For more info: Green Party of Phila. 215-243-7103 or

Green Party Of Phila. General Membership Meeting, 4/28/2011, 7:00 pm (open to public)

Date: Thursday April 28, 2011

Time: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Next reminder: The next reminder for this event will be sent in 7 days, 4 minutes.

Location: Calvary Community Center, Samaritan Room, 2nd Floor

Street: 4740 Baltimore Ave., 48th Street entrance, in West Phila

City State Zip: Phila., PA

Notes: Proposed agenda includes nomination of candidates seeking election in City Council (Districts 1 and 8) and perhaps a challenger to Mayor Nutter for Mayor. Please come out to meet potential candidates, listen to their platforms, and decide if they should run for public office.

May Day Rally & Family Celebration

Date: Saturday April 30, 2011

Time: 12:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Location: Elmwood Park Labor Monument

Street: South 71st Street and Buist Ave.

City State Zip: Phila., PA 19153

Phone: 215-243-7103


Join us to celebrate May Day, a day that is celebrated globally to honor all workers including those who were killed in the Haymarket Riot during the struggle for the 8-hour day. Sponsored by: The PA Labor History Society and PhilaPOSH.

Endorsed by: The Green Party of Phila.

One of the speakers will be Cheri Honkala, Green Party candidate for Sheriff of Phila. Admission is free!

Move to Amend with David Cobb


Thursday, May 5 · 6:30pm – 8:30pm


First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia

2125 Chestnut Street

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

More Info

Come here David Cobb speak about the Move to Amend campaign, which seeks to amend the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood.

Learn more at

Cobb was the 2004 Green Party presidential candidate. Green Party Sheriff Candidate Cheri Honkala will also speak.

Liberals and Labor Should Leave Democratic Party

I had a conversation this morning with a friend who is considering options to being a member of the Democratic Party.  I left the Donkey (jackass) Party several years ago.  As a non affiliated voter I’m at the point in my life where I’m sick and tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.  Both major parties are controlled by Wall Street and this Administration especially tells us there’s no one looking out for working people.  The richest keep getting richer and we keep losing ground.  It doesn’t seem to matter of the President is named Reagan, Bush, Clinton or Obama, the results remain the same:  they aren’t on our side.

So what do we do?  I left the Democrats and need a home, a place where I can again be active, organize and vote for candidates who reflect MY values.  In Pennsylvania ballot access is quite difficult.  The two major parties insure this so we cannot replace them and their failed candidates.  Fusion voting and instant runoffs aren’t likely to get anywhere soon.  Anything requiring legislative passage means we have to change who runs Harrisburg.  This means beginning on the local level and reorganizing.

Our greatest opportunity lies with our allies in organized labor.  While Democrats keep stabbing them in the back the unions keep giving them money and boots on the ground.  For what?  What have Democrats done for you?  Nada.  It’s time to rechannel those funds and energies and form our own movement.   The easiest path is through the Green Party which already has some ballot access.  We need to change our registrations to Green and take over each county party.  We share the same values, the same positions on issues.  The Greens need better leadership and good organization.  Labor and progressives can provide those qualities and we can focus on electing House and Senate members ad begin changing Harrisburg.  As we gain votes we can change the voting laws and make this a more progressive state.  The Democratic Party will never do that and they’ve shown we cannot trust them to field good candidates.  Joe Sestak is the only good candidate put forth by Democrats in recent memory.

So what say you?  Are you ready to leave the Democratic Party?  Most of you already have by refusing to vote the past two years.  County Chairs are judged by a major criteria:  voter registration numbers.  If Democrats start losing thousands of members we’ll get their attention quickly.  They face being marginalized as a third party themselves if all they’re left are conservative Catholics who oppose all progressive values.  Go change your voter registration today.  There’s no major primary election in 2012 so you won’t be losing your voice there.  Heck, Democrats don’t listen anyway why why bother?  Let’s rock this state and begin a campaign for real change.

Keepin busy with the Philly Greens – a march, a dinner, a meeting, and a concert

The Green Party of Philadelphia has three events in the next few weeks, and we’re also supporting a march to end foreclosures in Philadelphia organized by the Poor People’s Economic Rights Campaign, taking place on Martin Luther King Day.  The first event is a community dinner to discuss organizing on the 22nd, the second is a party meeting (of course open to whoever wants to go) on the 27th, and the third is a fundraising concert with the folk singer Tom Neilson, aka the bard insurgent.  More info below.


March to Stop the War on American Families

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people!” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

One in five families is in foreclosure in America. Join us as we lift up the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Stop foreclosures now!

January 17th – 12:00 PM

West Side of City Hall (across from Love Park)

Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign

2200 Coral St Phila, PA 19125

(216) 651-2606



Saturday, January 22, 7:00 pm

Enjoy an endless supply of

vegetarian Chinese food.

Discuss neighborhood activism with

Jasmine Rivera, organizer for Action United.

Please join us.


will be open to the public

and an exceptional bargain

for only $25/person.

Singapore Vegetarian Chinese Restaurant

1006 Race Street

Chinatown, Philadelphia

For more information:

215-243-7103 or email




Membership Meeting

Thursday, January 27, 6:30 pm

Greens will gather to discuss a

City Council ban on fracking for gas, a

national peace march in the Spring, and

new nominees for Green Party leadership.

Please join us.

This meeting is open to the public.

There will be no charge for admission

(a free-will offering will be accepted).

American Room, 2nd Floor

Calvary Community Center

4740 Baltimore Avenue

(entrance on 48th Street)

West Philadelphia

For more information:

215-243-7103 or email



Tom Neilson, bard insurgent, will involve you in his progressive political satire at a fundraiser for the Green Party of Philadelphia, Tom Neilson,, specializes in songs of nonviolence, liberation and human rights.

7:00 pm on Friday, February 4, $20/person cover (includes food and drinks). For more information please call 215-243-7103 or email

THE LOCATION HAS BEEN CHANGED from CrossRoads just down the street to the Roxborough Development Corporation (6148 Ridge Ave). Still, many thanks to CrossRoads for the generous help they’re providing.


Green Party Says “No” to Stop-and-Frisk Policy at Philly City Council Hearing

From the Green Party of Philadelphia:

A representative of the Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP) testified against the stop-and-frisk policy at Philadelphia City Council hearings on Tuesday, December 14. Stop-and-frisk has been enforced by Mayor Nutter, City Council, and the police for the last three years. Stop-and-frisk involves a police officer running his or her hands along the outer garments to detect any concealed weapons. The stop-and-frisk program is being criticized by opponents who say that it leads to racial profiling and direct violations of citizens’ Constitutional Rights.

Hugh Giordano,, who is a union organizer and candidate for PA State Representative in District 194, represented the Green Party, Giordano, in his testimony told a story in which as a young teenager, he was pulled over, frisked and called “Chico” several times by the police. “I was so embarrassed,” Giordano told City Council, “I was accused of stealing the car I was driving, and when I told the officer it was my car, he told me, ‘We’ll see about that, Chico.'”

Giordano, who is Italian with tan skin and dark complexion, testified that he was told to put his hands on top of the car and was frisked as if he was some sort of violent criminal. “I did nothing wrong, but was profiled because of my age, the way I looked and because I was urban.” Giordano told City Council that he was so embarrassed because it was 5:00 p.m. on a Friday, and it was rush hour. “People were staring at me. It really ruined my day.”

Giordano feels that when stop-and-frisk is used on innocent citizens, it creates tension among the young citizens and the police. “If you make enemies with the innocent citizens of Philadelphia because you have such policies that make this possible, you will continue to have a ‘no-snitching’ mentality among the residents. They will protect other citizens rather than tell police what is going on in the area,” said Giordano. The no-snitching mentality refers to a code of the streets that you don’t “rat” on others to the police. Giordano feels that creating tension between police and citizens only makes the no-snitching mentality stronger.

Giordano made it clear that stop-and-frisk targets, urban, minority and young citizens. “This law is a form of Jim Crow law,” said Giordano, referring to discriminatory laws used to maintain segregation of the races. “It attacks a certain group of people, and the numbers and testimony shows it.” During 2009, police stopped and frisked 253,333 Philadelphians, 72 percent of whom were African-Americans. Only eight percent of these stops resulted in arrests. This is a violation of the Constitutional Rights of every resident of Philadelphia.

Giordano also criticized City Council because when it came to the testimony part of the hearing, they enforced speaking time-limits on lawyers, activist and professors. “It crack’s me up,” said Giordano. ‘When the Mayor’s people and the city administrators wanted to talk, they had all the time in the world, but when the people started speaking – Oh, now there are time limits.”

Giordano and the Green Party feel that this is a direct failure of City Council for not stepping up to the plate and defending the citizens as they were elected to do. “City Council might not be the law, but they create law; and this is one law that should be abolished,” said Giordano.

For more information about Hugh Giordano and the Green Party, please call please call 215-243-7103 or email

Labor’s obligation and opportunity: Philly organizer challenges unions to rally around Greens

( – promoted by John Morgan)

In an open letter to the leaders of the Philadelphia labor movement, the young and energetic organizer for UFCW Local 152 Hugh Giordano has challenged the city’s unions to have the courage to support the Green Party.  Giordano ran an exceptionally strong campaign as a Green for state legislature this year, raising almost $30,000 from unions and individuals and capturing over 18 percent of the vote in a three way race.  Now he would like to spread the same movement for honest politics, workers’ rights, and a clean environment (among other things) to the rest of Philadelphia, beyond his single district.

As the members of the party, which I am aiding in every way I can, build the organization for the 2011 local elections, Giordano has seized the opportunity make the area’s union leadership reconsider the popular path of supporting corporate Democrats.  In his words, “Why are we, the strong men and women of the labor movement, bowing down to the corporate bosses and politicians…Union brothers and sisters, when any one of us becomes ‘fearful’ or ‘controlled’ by a political party – it’s time to step down and pass the torch on.”

The full letter is printed, with Hugh Giordano’s permission, below the fold.

What We, As Labor Leaders, Must Do!

Dear Union Brothers and Sisters,

This letter is more of a “cry for action” rather than just an informational or ideological statement or platform. It is meant to be serious and intense, and I hope you take this letter in that form! This letter is being sent to as many union brothers and sisters as possible.

I have been involved in the labor movement now for about ten years, from non-union worker/union activist, to member, and officially becoming a union representative for UFCW Local 152. I have been a part of every aspect of the union movement, and now I must take the next step – Labor leader.

What do I mean by leader? Being a leader does not mean having the title of Business Manager or President of a local. It means standing up and saying what needs to be said against the status quo. There were numerous forms of this leadership before me, and their will be numerous ones after me – but I am worried about what is happening in today’s present labor environment.

Many of you might have heard about me in my run for State Representative as an Independent with the Green Party, and I am proud of that decision. I ended up getting the highest vote of any third party in Philadelphia and I am pretty sure I received the highest in a three way race. This is what needs to be done! I did this using basic union organizing skills and having a handful of unions behind me. Imagine what would have happened if I had all of the Philadelphia unions behind me?

Why do we support the Democrats and Republicans when all they do is take our money, use our man power, and then leave us out to dry? Why do we support CEO’s, corporate consultants, and corporate attorneys, when 365 days of the year when they are not running for office, they are fighting unions, breaking labor laws, and spreading their greed? But all of a sudden when they run for office as a ‘Democrat”, they have changed their ways? This just proves that the Democrats are as corporate as the Republicans.

Labor has the power to change this, and we must! Many labor unions still believe the Democrats are “labor’s friend”. Really? How can this be when they failed to pass EFCA, they bail out the super rich, failed to pass Single-Payer health care, pass horrible trade laws (NAFTA), attack pensions, and most of all – are in the pockets of the same people we fight everyday, the corporations! I am not writing this letter so I can fill it with boring facts, but the Democrats took 53% of the total “corporate” contributions – 53 %!

Why are we, the strong men and women of the labor movement, bowing down to the corporate bosses and politicians, when we could run for office, win, and do what we need to do – enact laws that benefit working people and poor people. We have the man power, money, and knowledge to run OUR UNION REPRESENTATIVES and win!

But here is the catch, we CANNOT run as a Democrat or Republican; those two parties are too corrupted and entrenched. We must strengthen and build a THIRD PARTY! Yes, we must do what our past labor leaders tried to do and that is build a party that is about us. Some of you might say, “That will never work, and it can’t happen”. Well I would say you are dead wrong!  The corporate Democrats ONLY win because we fuel them, but then they turn their backs on us. If we run with a clean and fresh party such as the Green Party, we can call the shots and be as progressive as we choose.

It amazes me how some local leadership bows down to the Democrats and “fears” them. Union brothers and sisters, when any one of us becomes “fearful” or “controlled” by a political party – it’s time to step down and pass the torch on. WE are the voice of working people, and WE should be telling these politicians what to do; not the other way around.

We owe the Democrats and Republicans NOTHING, because they have done NOTHING for our members, for our contracts, and for the movement. How much longer are we going to support a bunch of failures? WE don’t have to because WE can blackball them just like they blackballed our members and the movement. We gave them plenty of time and opportunities and each time, they spat in our face!

Here is what needs to happen:

*We have to come together and make a collective of progressive, fearless, and strong locals that will run with the Green Party.

*We have to talk about the issues we want passed in City Council and in the State Legislature.

*We then must pick union representatives to run for these seats in City Council and the State Legislature.

*We must stick together and focus on winning for once!


The Green Party is the party of labor. They have a platform that is 100% pro-labor (repeal Taft-Hartley, NAFTA, and prosecute CEO’s who break the law). Other labor unions around the country are supporting Green Party candidates in local races, I say we RUN AS GREEN PARTY CANDIDATES. Here is the link,

It’s time we make history and do the right thing. We have an obligation our members, to our future, and we have an obligation to the men and women who died to form and join unions. If we keep on doing what we are doing, then we have slapped everyone in the face that fought for us.


Hugh Giordano, Union Organizer

A Thanksgiving message from Hugh Giordano of the Philadelphia Green Party

Hugh Giordano, the Philadelphia Green Party’s 2010 candidate for state representative in the 194th and local union organizer, wrote the following on his facebook:

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. We must remember that there are many out in this city and state that did not have such a happy Thanksgiving. Families who who can’t pay their bills, have no healthcare, bad jobs or no jobs, poor education – Or live in the street and shelters. Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks, but we must remember to care for others besides just family and friends.  If we all showed even half the love to human kind as we do our primary family, the world would be a better place.?

Happiness is more than just “material” wealth. Happiness comes when you can bring it to those around you, even strangers. It is a life that is fulfilled when you make changes in human kind for the better, not just making lots of money to buy “stuff.”

It’s not a fight of who can sit at the lunch table anymore, but a fight of who can actually buy the lunch.

Working people must stick together. We are all friends in the same fight for equality.

Giordano ran a strong campaign in 2010, getting 18% of the vote in his first time ever running for office.  He is planning on running again in 2012 and is currently working to build the Philadelphia Green Party as a voice for clean politics and the workers and poor of the city.