Platform for BGP

The platform is an evolving document. The Green Party is a movement promoting social justice, ecological sustainability, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence. We are community and membership driven.

If you have any suggestions please e-mail them to Leo Horrgian

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND LIVEABLE COMMUNITIES

We are committed to establishing relationships that honor diversity and support self-definition and self-determination. We work to confront the barriers of racism, sexism, heterosexism, class oppression, ageism, and the many ways our culture keeps us from working together to define and solve the common challenges we face.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE. Environmental justice, social justice, and economic justice depend upon and support one another.

* Devote greater effort to full enforcement of environmental crimes.

* Support low income and/or minority communities, in addressing and remediating environmental hazzards.

* Collaborate with businesses and communities to create safer workplaces and neighborhoods free of environmental hazards.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.

*We support full inclusion of all members of society.

IMMIGRATION.

* Seasonal labor demands should be allowed to be filled by foreign workers using work visas, with these workers subject to U.S. tax and labor laws.

* Permanent residents should have voting rights.

POPULATION.

* Provide access to free birth control devices, information, counseling, and clinics to all who want them. Provide family planning education for both genders in all levels of the public school system.

NATIVE AMERICANS.

* Turn Columbus Day into a floating holiday for municipal employees.

* Emphasize local Native history throughout public school curriculum of all levels.

* Education and job development for Native Americans.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS.

* Promote equitable pay practices by employers.

* Expand child care and elder care. and the prevention of gender-based job discrimination and sexual harassment.

* Provide education and training for judges, court and law enforcement personnel to handle cases of violence against women. Adopt evidentiary rules so that evidence of past sexual behavior is not admissible. Acknowledge “battered women’s syndrome” as a mitigating factor in homicide trials. Increase support and funding for safe houses and other family violence prevention services.

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS. Women and girls have a right to make their own reproductive decisions.All women and girls must have the option of obtaining a safe and legal abortion. We simultaneously acknowledge  that preventing unwanted pregnancies is better.

* Make safe and legal abortions available to all. Fund sex education, public health programs, and family planningshould be available to women who are unable to afford abortions. Oppose laws that require women and girls of any age to notify or obtain anyone’s consent before obtaining an abortion.

* Increase research and availability of contraceptives. Make RU486 available in this country.

* Set standards to make adoption easier and more affordable. Abolish the over-demanding requirements to be approved for subsidized adoption.

* Fund sex education, public health programs, and family planning services.

CHILDREN AND YOUTH RIGHTS.

* Children have a right to develop in safe and nurturing early environments.

* Make available affordable child care and preschool preparation.

* Enforce and support lead levels regulation.

* Ensure air quality monitoring and regulation for the prevention of asthma.

PUBLIC EDUCATION. We call for a high quality of education.

* Reaffirm the value of free public education and reject the use of public funds to pay for students’ attendance at private or parochial schools.

* Further subsidize and develop loan forgiveness programs for graduates who enter the nonprofit, public service/interest fields.

* Increase spending for public education at all levels. Treat and pay teachers as valued professionals.

* Oppose the current shift from public to private corporate funding of schools.

* Change the management of our schools to provide for more teacher, parent, and student participation at every level of decision-making, especially concerning the allocation of funds.

* Work towards smaller class sizes by hiring more teachers and paying them higher salaries.

* Education regarding their own sexuality at the earliest appropriate time.

* Support charter schools.

* Promote commercial free school environments.

* Children deserve an education that is stimulating, relevant, engaging, and that fosters their natural desire.

* End social promotion

LESBIAN/GAY/BISEXUAL/TRANSGENDER RIGHTS.

* The Baltimore Green Party supports unconditional equality.

ART AND CULTURE.

* Oppose laws that restrict or censor artistic expression, including withholding of government funds for political or moral content.

* Encourage community-funded programs, employing local artists, to enrich communities through public art programs.

* Incorporate arts education studies and activities into every school curriculum.

* Encourage the establishment of nonprofit public forums for local artists to display their talents and creations.

HEALTH

* Shift the emphasis from expensive medical treatment to preventative health care.

* Promote a diversity of health care practices including hospice and end of life care

* Support universal health care through single payer system[0]

* Provide guaranteed health insurance to all through a single payer system, while maximizing the variety of treatment options available to each patient.* Address environmental causes of illness.

* Encourage personal responsibility and healthy lifestyles through education and heightened awareness of natural healing.

* Decriminalize marijuana for medical and other uses.

* Prohibit use of medical records for commercial or discriminatory purposes.

* Collect data on environmental exposures and disease by the smallest feasible geographic area, while preserving the confidentiality of individual records. Make such data publicly available.

* Publish data on health care providers so patients can make informed choices to allow patients informed choice.

* Increase funding for AIDS education, care, and research with an emphasis on preventive education. Target the young for timely education about AIDS and ways of preventing it. Distribute condoms in schools.

* Expand needle exchange programs.

* CHILD CARE. Childbearing, parenting, and homemaking are essential to a healthy society and deserve to be respected and supported.

* Provide on-site childcare in workplaces above a certain size.

* THE ELDERLY. Retain the safety net for seniors who rely upon social security to cover medical benefits.

* PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

* Provide needs-based funding for rehabilitation for those with disabilities.

* Expand treatment programs for those struggling with chronic addiction.

* Supplement earnings until or unless full self-sufficiency can be attained.

* Comply with legislation supporting the rights of persons with disabilities, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

* Increase funding so that people with disabilities can pursue education and job training.

* Fund In-Home Aide Services through the Department of Social Services and the Department of Human Resources to allow people with disabilities to hire personal care attendants while remaining at home. Provide a residential setting within the community for those that do not need institutional care, but who are unable to live independently.

* Make it easier for people with chronic mental illness to access city, state, and federal benefits.

* Fund programs to increase public sensitivity to the needs of those with disabilities.

FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN.

* Do not require workfare outside the home for single parents of young children.

* Provide paid parental leave for oneparent of very young, ill, or other special needs children.

* Make quality child care available to all parents who are engaged in paid employment,

higher education, or job training.

* Simplify access to public assistance programs with one-stop intake and administrative offices located in every community.

HOUSING.

* Increase enforcement and penalties against flipping, the fraudulent practice of rapid re-sale of overvalued real estate.

* Pass and enforce laws against the practice of lending at inflated interest rates which preys upon home-buyers and owners with low credit ratings.

* Educate prospective home-buyers and homeowners about financing.

* Promote alternative housing options which emphasize the sharing of resources.

* Where necessary, protect tenants[1] with rent-control lawsProtect the personal property of evictees during the eviction action. Crackdown on landlords who don’t maintain their properties in habitable condition or who engage in illegal evictions.

* Increase affordable housing supply through various methods. Use vacant housing to shelter the homeless. Develop mixed income and mixed use neighborhoods. Create a rent subsidy program for the poor. Pursue more efficient use of our existing housing supply, such as home-sharing and cooperative conversions of existing dwellings.

* Don’t require that all housing have off-street parking.

HOMELESSNESS.

* People who are homeless should have a voice in relevant government decision-making bodies.

* Reinstate the program DELP.

* Expand community-based services for the homeless, such as Mobile Treatment,

 Community Case Management, and other programs.

* Repeal laws that criminalize lifestyle facets of homelessness or helping the homeless.

* Open public buildings for use by homeless people during inclement weather.

* Strengthen and increase funding of mental health and drug rehabilitation systems.

Collapse Employment, Workplace Safety, and Unions

EMPLOYMENT.

* Every job should pay a living wage. Every family should be able to make ends meet on one full-time salary.

* Emphasize local job-training programs, a shorter work week, voluntary job-sharing, flex time, telecommuting.

* Outlaw mandatory overtime.

* Legislate equal pay for equal work.

* Fully fund and enforce Maryland’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (MOHSA?).

* Support workers right to organize and operate an independent, democratic, member-run union to ensure their rights in the workplace. Union activity on company premises should be allowed.

* Include all stakeholders in collective bargaining.

* Baltimore City should not contract with companies that replace non-essential striking workers.

* Support plant closure warning laws and establish a comprehensive plan for displaced workers.

* Pass laws to facilitate workers’ and/or communities’ taking over closed plants and forming employee-owned businesses.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT. Our criminal justice system is a form of social control that must be reformed.

* Abolish the death penalty.

* Prison should be the sentence of last resort for adults who have knowingly caused the greatest physical, financial, or environmental harm.

* Limit the duration of pretrial detention.* Provide effective treatment on demand.

* Decriminalize all victimless crimes, including drug use and voluntary prostitution. Substance abuse should be addressed as a medical problem.

* Prisoners with mental illness need separate psychiatric facilities or appropriate community mental health.

* Prisoners too old or infirm to be a threat to society should be released to community based facilities.

* Juvenile offenders must be housed in the least restrictive settings and must never be housed with adults.

* Parole should be treated as a time for reintegration in the community, not as a continuation of a person’s sentence. The system should not place arbitrary restrictions on conditions of parole and should re-examine its enforcement.

* Private prisons should be illegal.

* Prison conditions should be humane.

[* Victims’ rights – mediation. Also jury nullification]

* The First Amendment rights of prisoners must not be revoked. Prisoners have the right to talk to journalists, write letters, publish their own writings, and become legal experts on their own cases. The right to communicate freely and confidentially with one’s own attorney should be upheld for all defendants.

* All prisoners should have the opportunity to obtain higher education.

* Prisons should be community based where possible. Where not, transportation for visiting should be available and subsidized. * Convicted felons should be allowed to vote during and after  incarceration, which would extend the voter restoration law.[2]

* Establish programs to strengthen self-help and community action through neighborhood centers that provide well-funded legal aid, alternative dispute resolution practices, mediated restitution, community team policing, and local crisis/assault care shelters.

* Support independent citizen review boards with subpoena power to investigate complaints about prison guard as well as community police behavior.

* Enforce regulation of police use  of stun belts, tear gas, and choke holds. Abolish “shoot-to-kill” law enforcement policies. Ban all use of pepper spray against unarmed people.

* Prohibit racial profiling.

* Restore judicial discretion in sentencing, as opposed to mandatory sentencing.

* Stop forfeiture of the property of unconvicted suspects.

* Institute a moratorium on prison construction with saved funds to be used for alternatives to incarceration.

* Make all law enforcement expenditures public.

DEMOCRACY AND ELECTORAL REFORM

* Our goal is direct, participatory, grassroots[3] democracy centered around democratic community and neighborhood assemblies, and bioregional[4] cooperation. To accomplish this goal, our current focus is on proportional representation or other structure to maximize voter choice, allow more voters to vote for winners, and break up the two-party duopoly, which discourages participation.

* INITIATIVES[5]: Extend the period of time for gathering signatures. Require that at least 15 percent of all signatures be gathered by unpaid volunteers. Require both proponents and opponents of an initiative to inform the voters about the issues, using government-sponsored means. Require that organizational proponents of initiatives be prominently listed at the beginning of every initiative.

* REFERENDA: Reduce the number of signatures required to qualify a referendum for the ballot.

* RECALL[6]: Substitute the term “removal” for “recall.” Require that all signatures for a removal effort be obtained through voluntary solicitation.

* We support ballot status for any political party that gathers and submits 10,000 signatures from registered voters or that has 1/10 of 1% of all registered voters affiliate with that party.

* No additional ballot access requirements should be imposed on officially recognized political parties. Those parties’ candidates should not have to collect petitions signatures.

ELECTORAL AND CAMPAIGN REFORM.

* We support publicly financed campaigns.

* Free speech laws should not protect unlimited campaign contributions.

* Allow multi-day voting.

* Explore lowering the voting age.

* Extend polling hours for greater inclusiveness. [7][8]

* Provide free media access to all eligible candidates.

* Institute instant run off voting[9] for city elections and promote it for state and national elections.

* Explore a “None of the Above” option on city ballots, for voters who are dissatisfied with all the candidates on the ballot.

* Eliminate soft money[0]. Investigate alternatives to soft-money and issue-advertising.

* Establish elected citizen boards to control redistricting.

* Prohibit political parties from using “soft money[1]” to pay for any election-related activities.

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION.

* Eliminate gerrymandering by replacing it with elected citizen boards[2].

GOVERNMENT SECRECY.

* FOIA?

* Increase public access to information by making local government more transparent[3].

* Make all government activities subject to open meetings.

* Protect

“whistle blowers.”

* Enforce the Bill of Rights and local laws that protect due process[4].

ECOLOGY

RECYCLING. We support conservation and recycling.

* Create a market for recycled goods through legal and tax incentives.

* Establish Baltimore as a recycling zone. Require that all city agencies purchase and use 100% post-consumer products when available.

* Create a tire recycling program for Baltimore City..

* Establish a redemption “bottle bill[5]” program.

* Place recycling containers next to public trash bins throughout the city.

WATER. Clean water is a basic right.

* Develop a sustainable water management policy for Baltimore[6].

* Promote the most water-efficient appliances and fixtures in all new construction and rehabilitation projects.

* Promote native landscaping and other climate-appropriate vegetation.

* Reduce storm water run-off through landscaping practices.

* Promote appropriate re-use of waste water. Encourage a transition from chemical to biological treatment of waste water.

* Mandate treatment of industrial waste water to eliminate toxins.

* Preserve and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed[7]. Promote environmental standards for vessels.

* Discourage transportation of nuclear and toxic wastes. Enforce safeguards for their transportation.

* Promote sustainable management of marine resources.

ATMOSPHERE. Reduce Baltimore’s contribution to the atmospheric pollution.

* Reduce the use of fossil fuels.

* Discourage ozone-destroying products and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

* Closely regulate incinerators and dry cleaners.

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

* Promote agricultural practices that conserve water, soil, and energy  while minimizing pollution.

* Support policies that strengthen family farms in Maryland, as well as community gardens and entrepreneurial gardens in Baltimore City, so as to increase people’s access to healthy food and make the food system more local.

* Recycle water and organic waste for municipal landscaping and gardening.

* Develop more neighborhood-based food outlets of all types (farmers’ markets, produce markets,  micro-enterprises, community kitchens, food coops and supermarkets) to facilitate access to fresh healthy food.

* Develop incentives for food outlets in Baltimore City to carry more locally produced foods.

PESTICIDES

* Educate all Baltimoreans about the dangers of home and garden pesticide use while informing them of viable alternatives.

* Create incentives for local businesses to make available more benign pest control methods(GT), and phase out synthetic chemical products.

* Increase use of sustainable organic pest control methods, and phase out synthetic chemical pesticides.

* Halt aerial spraying of biocides and herbicides, except in extraordinary circumstances. Transition to natural pest control methods in all public buildings

* Empower community groups to reduce Pesticide use in their neighborhoods through education and making resources available.

POLLUTION When the public pays the cost of cleaning up corporate pollution, this is a form of public subsidy to private industry.

* Transfer responsibility for cleaning up pollution from the public to the polluters — polluter pays.i

* Create incentives within industries for sustainable practices/methods via feebate[8] programs. Use funds from pollution fines to reward ecology-friendly companies, thus sustaining a revenue-neutral system that does not depend on taxes.

* Apply a standard of “dangerous until proven safe” to all products purchased for city use,

* least toxic alternative where financially feasible.

* city purchasing

* Penalize companies convicted of dumping toxins at a level higher than it would have cost them to neutralize the poisons in the first place.

* Clean up toxic wastes at military and industrial sites.

* Encourage the use of nontoxic alternatives to commonly used materials.

* Contain and neutralize toxins at their point of use.

ENERGY. We support shifting from fossil fuels and nuclear power to sustainable renewable energy sources and instituting incentives for conservation and efficiency.

* City government should take the lead as a purchaser of energy from sustainable sources such as solar biomass[9], tidal, wind and small scale hydro.

* Create nonprofit municipal utilities that would produce and buy sustainable power in bulk.

* Retrofit public buildings to produce solar and/or wind power and require these elements in new public buildings.

* NUCLEAR CONTAMINATION.

* Stop research and development of new weapons systems, and continue dismantling existing stocks of such weapons.

* Store existing radioactive materials as safely as possible and discontinue trying to “dispose” of them in land repositories. Ban shallow land disposal and incineration of all radioactive wastes.

* Rapidly phase out production of electric power from nuclear sources. Curtail the medical profession’s overuse of radioactive isotopes. Ban irradiation of food products. Ban nuclear materials in international transportation and trade and aboard craft launched into space. Ban the transportation of nuclear waste through Baltimore’s underground tunnels. TRANSPORTATION. We support a transportation policy that emphasizes the use ofmass transit and other alternatives to the automobile.

* Convert to non-polluting public buses.

* Make streets, neighborhoods, and commercial districts more friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists. Create auto-free zones, develop extensive networks of bicycle lanes and paths, include bike racks on all public transit.* Expand affordable mass transit systems.

* Provide further incentives for employer to subsidize the useof mass transit by their employees.

URBAN LAND USE.

* Protect remaining green spaces.

* Remediate former industrial areas.

* Plant and maintain trees throughout Baltimore to increase tree cover[0].

* Revive and create commercial strips throughout the city within walking distance of residential neighborhoods. Locate schools and places of employment within walking or bicycling distance of residential neighborhoods or long mass transit lines.

* Use tax and planning laws to encouragemixed-used[1] development that uses solar and other alternative energy sources.

* Preserve and/or create green waves[2] to allow coexistence with wildlife.

ANIMAL FARMING AND ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS. Animal farming must be practiced in an ethically and environmentally responsible way.

* Work to phase out  factory farming in Maryland, and the unethical treatment of animals used for meat, feed lots, and the routine use of hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals, such as genetically engineered compounds.

* Regulate the localtransportation and slaughter of animals to ensureethical treatment.

* Educate the public about the far-reaching benefits of reducing consumption of animal foods — personal health, environmental, worker rights, and animal welfare.

* Make vegetarian and vegan meals available in all public institutions.

* Encourage the scientific community to use alternatives to animal experimentation.

* [FOR FOOTNOTE/INDEX: Reduce, refine, replace; JHU Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing]

* Educate the public about the benefits of finding alternatives to the animal breeding industry, such as adopting through shelters. Support regulation to eliminate cruel conditions in the pet breeding industry.* Subsidize spay and neuter clinics and no-kill animal shelters[3].

* Support regulation to ensure ethical conditions for animals in horse-racing, zoos, circuses, and other industries that use animals.

PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE

* Teach nonviolence and conflict resolution at all school levels.

* Give equal time to opposing viewpoints in any school where military recruiters have access to students.

* Allow schools to refuse to give contact information to military recruiters.[4]

* Register all firearms. Strengthen the ban on sales of automatic and semi automatic weapons.[5]

* Promote the use of ammunition tagging, which helps law enforcement determine where the bullets were purchased, and a national ballistics database. Gun shops should be required to keep records of purchases for at least five years.

* Law enforcement should coordinate and provide resources for neighborhood patrols consisting of members of the community. Law enforcement should further develop and use mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution.

* We support denying bail and crackdown on more quickly prosecuting those with a history of domestic violence.

* We oppose preemptive arresting of peaceful protesters. Law enforcement should not use aggressive tactics against nonviolent protesters. There should be disciplinary action against police who misrepresent the law in order to subvert protest. Law enforcement should be accurately and regularly trainined in the applicable relating to protests.

COMMUNITY-BASED SUSTAINABLE ECONOMICS

We don’t have to chose between economic vitality and ecological sanity, because these concepts are not mutually exclusive. The Green Party stands for strengthening the government’s control of private enterprise. We also believe communities can create their own local economies that are ecologically sustainable and socially just.

* Encourage the development of small-scale, locally-owned businesses that are producing environmentally sound and appropriate-scale technology. Our city’s economic development should stress neighborhood-based, locally owned businesses so people don’t have to travel to other areas for basic needs.

* Set up local nonprofit development corporations that work to establish community based economics.

* Support the creation of worker-owned businesses.

* Encourage the development of an informal economy, including volunteerism and a credit barter system, such as Baltimore Hours.

* Support development of “intentional communities,” residential communities that have come together for a common purpose and have some degree of economic sharing. Revise zoning laws that inhibit such development.

* Use and sale of public resources should reflect their true economic, ecological, and community value.

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