NWI Green Party Crossroads

NWI Green Party Crossroads
 Northwest Indiana Green Party
crossroads of Green America

, your Northwest Indiana Green Party is working hard for our Green Values throughout the Region. As I write these words to get this email out to you tonight, I have just returned from a Portage Plan Commission meeting to defend our beloved Willow Creek from a large-scale commercial development. While the attorney for the developer called this important waterway through the center of my city a "ditch", I highlighted the importance of keeping high-impact development as far away as possible from this beautiful waterway.  A battle that I lost just across the highway with their previous development that strip-cleared the entire wetland and buffer zone to the edge of the creek. Well tonight I lost again with an unanimous decision to rezone the land.

The members of the commission are both Republican and Democrats, and not one of them stood up for Willow Creek, choosing instead to clear the way for another strip mall along US 6. Not one Democrat shared our same values for maintaining our cities wetlands and stream protection buffers.  This is the time for us to change who represents our values. The Northwest Indiana Green Party is committed to running Green Candidates in the 2023 municipal elections and that includes your city. To accomplish this, to get our voices at the table and not just limited to 2 minutes of public comment, we need you. Consider running with us in your city and consider helping out with the campaigns that we will be kicking off this July!

Our sensitive wetlands need you to run. Our Willow Creek needs you to run. Our Calumet River needs you to run. Our Deep Creek needs you to run. Turkey Creek to that little steam that runs near your house needs us to be at the table making sure our local cities and towns are protecting our waterways, streams and wetlands. This is your time to get involved for the future. Let us know if you are interested in being that Green voice!

 April NWI Green Party Monthly Meeting 

The Librarium Cafe, Downton Hobart, 310 Main St
Sunday, April 10, 2022 - 2:00pm

The Northwest Indiana Green Party is strategizing once again in downtown Hobart for our April Meeting. Join us at The Librarium Cafe, 310 Main Street for our first in person meeting for 2022. Help us get ready for our busy season of our Green grassroots work and outreach to grow our Green values throughout the region.  
The 3rd Annual Jonathan Schoer Spring Science Symposium
Saturday, April 9, 2022, 8:45 AM - 3:30 PM (CT)
Valparaiso University Christopher Center
Library, Room 205
Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN

The Valparaiso University Earthtones and the Departments of Chemistry and Biology will host the 3rd Annual Jonathan Schoer symposium, which will focus on advances in solar energy. There will be a range of guest speakers focusing on a broad range of topics related to solar energy, from the development of solar farms to the science of solar storage materials. The public is invited to learn more about the current trends in solar energy from a variety of leading experts, including speakers from universities, corporate leaders in the field, and community representatives. Speakers will be on-site, but there are virtual options to participate in the day. The main location will be the Valparaiso University Christopher Center Library, Room 205 and the Community Room. The event will also be broadcast virtually on YouTube. NWI Green Party member Rev. Michael Cooper will be presenting at 1:55pm about his environmental advocacy work in Portage.

8:45-9:05AM Has home solar reached its time in the sun?
Christopher Iceman, Valparaiso University, Gilles Charriere, NABCEP PV Associate, and Julien Smith, Valparaiso University (tentative)

9:05-9:25AM Energizing Hoosiers for Solar and an Equitable Clean Energy Transition
Dan Robinson, Solar United Neighbors

9:25-10:10 AM Future of H2 economy
Alexey Silakov, Penn State University

10:30-10:50 Solar at Night: Solar Thermochemistry to Produce Solar Fuels and Enable Long Duration Energy Storage
Luke Venstrom, Valparaiso University

10:50-11:30 Bringing the Mammoth Solar Farm to Northwest Indiana
Nick Cohen, CEO of Doral Renewables, Nathan Origer, Director of Pulaski County Community Development Commission, and Karla Redweik, Pulaski County Building Inspector

11:30-12:20 Renewable Energy in Germany: A History of ‘Energiewende’
John Golbeck, Penn State University

1:30 -155: New insights into the international nexus of illicit wildlife trafficking and drug trade 
Dr. Barath Ganesh Babu, Valparaiso University

1:55-2:20 Environmental Activism by the Square Foot
Rev. Michael Cooper

2:20-2:45 Sustaining Flight: Working in Agriculture and Biodiversity in Central America
Momin Mirza, Valparaiso University Study Abroad Student

2:45-3:25 Valparaiso University Plastic Audit
Julie Whitaker and Intern Students  

A Word From Your NWI Green Party Chair - Joe Conn

We're glad to see that Richard Winger's "Ballot Access News," a printed national newsletter (Yes, such things still exist), came in the mail today with the headline story "Green Party Sues Indiana Over Ballot Access."
The long-awaited and Green Party-funded lawsuit, Indiana Green Party v. Sullivan, was filed March 17 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District.
The case has been assigned to Judge James R. Sweeney II, whose court sits in Indianapolis. https://ballot-access.org/.../2022/03/indiana-oliver.pdf

What's ballot access you might ask?
It's the ability of an alternative candidate who is not corporate bought and controlled to get her or his name on an election ballot and, consequently, on the ballot in a voting machine by election day.

Equity in ballot access would put the candidates of the Green Party on a more equal footing with Republican or Democratic party candidates in terms of who voters get to see on the ballot and choose from come election day.
It's crucial to breaking the corrupt, corporate stranglehold on our two-party dominated political system.

The alternative to ballot access equity is what Green Party candidates face today for state-wide and Congressional district office -- a Hobson's choice.
Greens can either wage a "write-in" campaign, a prescription for losing; or, they can try and obtain the prohibitively high numbers of signatures of registered voters on petitions to have their names appear on the ballot during an impossibly short time frame.

The method for determining the number of signatures required for ballot access was revised upward by a 1980 state law (effective in 1984).
For so-called minor parties like the Green Party, the law quadrupled the difficulty, raising the petition signature threshold from 1/2 of 1% of the votes for Indiana Secretary of State in the prior election to 2% of the Secretary of State vote, according to Winger.
The 2% threshold is not an insurmountable barrier for Green Party candidates for local elections.

In 2019, a historic year in NW Indiana, three Green Party candidates, Sue Brown in Valparaiso, Michael Cooper in Portage, and me, in Hobart, obtained hundreds of petition signatures and gained ballot access for city council races in our cities by meeting the signature requirements.
For county, congressional district and state-wide races, however, the 2% target is a prohibitive financial as well as logistical barrier.

As the Indiana Green Party's lawsuit alleges, "Most significant among these burdens is the cost of conducting a successful statewide nomination petition drive, which is now $465,000 – $565,000. This de facto financial barrier to participation is all but insurmountable for non-wealthy candidates and parties, and no independent or minor political party candidate for statewide office has been able to overcome it since 2000 – a period of more than 20 years."

In the 2018 election, the total count for Indiana Secretary of State was 2,244,203 votes. Thus, to have their name on an Indiana ballot in the years afterward, an Indiana Green Party state-wide candidate would need to obtain more than 44,000 checked and validated signatures of registered voters within a matter of a few months prior to the election. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Indiana_elections

In the 2016 presidential election, for example, Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein was on the ballot in 47 states -- but not in Indiana.
Ralph Nader, the famed consumer advocate, placed third in the running for POTUS in 2000, 2004 and 2008, but not once did he qualify under Indiana's restrictive law to have his name appear on the ballot here.
For Stein and Nader to gain ballot access in Indiana would have required a massive -- and prohibitively and needlessly expensive -- signature collection effort, wasting resources and diverting effort and attention away from a campaign based on issues.

In contrast, the Republican and Democratic party presidential candidates in 2020 needed just 4,500 validated signatures on petitions in Indiana to gain ballot access.
The Libertarian Party has joined the law suit, as Winger writes, "even though it has been on the ballot continuously since 1994," gaining initial ballot access for its candidates.
The LP "is in the lawsuit because it could theoretically fail to poll 2% of the vote for its nominee for Secretary of State in the future, and if it did, it would also be subject to the petition in order to get back on," Winger said.

A shorter, online version of Winger's "Ballot Access News" story can be read here: https://ballot-access.org

Make a Contribution or
Become a Member Today
Support your Northwest Indiana Green Party by making a contribution to our green movement. Contributions can be made through our secure square site at nwigreenparty.square.site. While you are there consider becoming a member of the NWI Green Party. Annual membership are $10 for adults, $5 seniors and students. You can join by clicking on the appropriate membership to add it to your cart. Your contributions will help us to engage the political machines in our region and to promote Green candidates in the upcoming election cycles.
Coffee Creek Wetland Destroyed by Conservation Club
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management opened up a public comment period for a 1:1 mitigation against the North Porter County Conservation Club. As a part of an expansion of the number of their pistol ranges the Conservation Club filed almost 1 acre of wetland that feeds into Coffee Creek without proper authorization. Additionally, gravel and pulverized concrete/asphalt was placed in the wetland along the north boundary of the property to create a driving surface to the new ranges. Utilizing the Indiana's DNR's in-lieu fee program the North Porter County Conservation Club is requesting an after-the-face Water Quality Certification and purchasing 0.938 acre of wetland credit within the Calumet-Dune Service Area.
The NWI Green Party has long stressed the importance of protecting our wetlands that are key to the full health of local rivers and streams. Property owners who ignore the appropriate processes, approvals and permits for expansion into the these wetlands should get more than a slap on the wrist from the state of Indiana. The full public comment notice with information on how to make your public comment can be found at https://www.in.gov/idem/files/notice_20220428_401_2022-305-64-MTM-A.pdf


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