Updates for December: Local Green candidates running for seats in Texas Legislature; Impeach and Remove Rally

The new year brings new opportunities for Greens to get involved in their local party. A court order last month originating from a lawsuit regarding the filing fee requirement for convention-nominating parties (i.e., Green and Libertarian Parties) allowed Green candidates statewide to file their applications seeking nomination to public office without paying a filing fee as had been required by a recent state law. Two of our local Green party members decided to file to run for office. Mr. Antonio Padrón, an operator for VIA Metropolitan Transit, is running for Texas House district 119, and Dr. Julián Villarreal, a researcher and lecturer at UTSA, is running for Texas Senate district 26. Look here or on our facebook page for updates to learn how you can get involved.

In December, we participated in the Impeach and Remove Rally that drew hundreds of people to downtown calling for the impeachment and removal of the president. We believe that the articles of impeachment passed by the House are too narrow and ignore the myriad violations of human rights perpetrated by the current administration, esp. the separation of migrant families and the continued military interventions taking place across the world.

Our work with the Climate Action SA coalition continues as we initiate a campaign to persuade our city leaders and CPS to abandon coal as an energy source for our community. Please keep an eye out for events and actions related to this effort.

Climate Strike and Youth Rally

The Bexar County Green Party in conjunction with our environmental justice allies of San Antonio and surrounding areas will participate in the Global Climate Strike on September 20 and September 27. In addition, we will be on hand for the Youth Climate Rally at Municipal Plaza in downtown San Antonio on Saturday September 21. We demand an immediate drawdown of global warming pollution caused by fossil fuels and the rapid transition to clean renewable energy in order to prevent the worst consequences of climate change, which has the potential to make our planet unlivable for human society. As a mark of our determination in this fight for the survival of our species, we will strike from all work and all commerce on September 20 and 27. We stand in solidarity with young people across the world who will inherit a severely damaged world. Their future wellbeing and prosperity is at risk. Indeed, if we do nothing to stop the reckless, destructive path that governments and industry continue to follow, the continued existence of our species and countless others is at risk. We are in a climate emergency. Join us and raise your voice in solidarity with the millions of other strikers across the world.

  • What: Youth Climate Rally
  • When: Saturday, September 21 from 10:00am to 2:00pm
  • Where: Municipal Plaza (114 W Commerce St.)

Climate coalition urges timely vote on City climate action plan

Climate Action SA coalition and member organizations rally in front of City Council chambers to demand a vote on the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. Photo Credit: Sofia Sepulveda

Member organizations and citizens representing a broad coalition gathered Wednesday before City Hall in support of the City of San Antonio’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, which seeks to remedy the city’s greenhouse gas pollution and propose actions to mitigate climate change effects. The rally included speakers from various community groups as well as a Climate “Flash Choir”. Members of the coalition addressed the city council after the rally during the council’s weekly “Citizens to be heard” session.

In response to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Accords in 2017, the mayor and current city council pledged to implement a climate action plan for the city that would be in keeping with the principles and goals of the Paris Accords, namely halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 in order to limit global warming to 1.5ºF. A city council vote on the plan, which gathered broad community input and took over a year to formulate, has been twice postponed by Mayor Ron Nirenberg. A grassroots coalition of community groups from across the city have urged the mayor and council for months to vote immediately to approve the plan, rather than delay until the fall, as the mayor has suggested. The Bexar County Green Party, which is a founding member of the Climate Action SA coalition, urges city council and the mayor to act now to address the climate crisis. Specifically, we are calling for the council to require CPS Energy to eliminate the use of coal for electricity generation by 2025 or sooner, and to eliminate the use of all fossil fuels by 2030. We also demand that the plan focus on equity and prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable segments of our community, including historically neglected communities of color on the west, south, and east sides of the city. The plan must also seek to achieve net-negative emissions (i.e. removal and sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide) by 2050.

Green Party back on the Texas ballot in 2020!

Texas has some of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation, but things got a bit better yesterday when Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House bill 2504, which was passed by the legislature in May. This law lowers the threshold needed for a party’s candidates to remain on the ballot. The previous law required a party’s candidates to obtain at least 5% of the total votes in any statewide race in order to automatically qualify to have its candidates on the ballot in the next election. That 5% threshold has now been lowered to 2% and applies to any of the past five elections. The full text of the bill can be found here.

In 2016, Green Party candidate for Railroad commissioner, Martina Salinas, the best performing candidate that year garnered just over 3% of the vote in her race. Under the old law that disqualified the Green Party for the 2018 ballot. A petition process in 2018 to get back on the ballot fell short of the over 47,000 signatures needed.

However, things changed after the 2018 election. Not only did the Democrats make a strong showing but the Libertarian Party performed poorly and came short of the 5% threshold. These results worried Republicans in the legislature. They wanted to find a way to both siphon off votes from Democrats and prevent disgruntled Libertarians from challenging Republican incumbents in the 2020 primaries. Some would say that HB 2504 is another example of how the Texas Legislature under Republican control engages in tampering of the electoral system, which in the last legislative session included nefarious voter suppression bills such as SB 9, which ultimately failed to pass this time around.

Machinations aside, though, HB 2504 keeps Greens on the ballot. Only now we will be required to pay filing fees when our candidates declare their intention to run for office. For example, the filing fee for candidates for US senate is $5,000, $3,750 for governor, $3,125 for US representative, etc. Petition signatures can also be submitted in lieu of fees, however since most candidates hire paid signature collectors, this often is more expensive than simply paying the fee.

The corporate two-party duopoly is afraid of a truly plural multi-party democracy. We know that Republicans want to maintain a stranglehold on all statewide offices in Texas. We also know that Democrats will try their hardest to sideline Greens as irrelevant, spoilers candidates or as leftwing extremists that are serious about governing. And while many liberals and centrists continue to disparage the Green Party, for decades we have been advocating for issues that are now mainstream, such as universal single-payer healthcare (aka Medicare for all) and a robust climate action plan (aka the Green New Deal). Many voters know this, and that is why despite attempts by the two major parties to suppress our participation, Greens in Texas and across the nation have garnered tens of millions of votes over the years. As voters across the globe voice their discontent and distrust of current politicians and their inability to address the very real threats of global warming on human society and on our planet, Greens are emerging as a political force, particularly in the countries of the European Union. It is with continued efforts from the grassroots that we can accomplish the same here in Texas.

HB 2504 is our opportunity as Texas Greens to become a force for change. Our state is facing so many dire challenges — from continuing disparities in health and education, entrenched economic inequality, the ever-worsening climate crisis, the injustices of our immigration system, and the toxic effects of corporate control over our government. Neither major party is willing or able to take on the entrenched business and political interests that are standing in the way of progress because they are funded by those same interests. As Greens we only accept donations from individuals and never from any corporations or business interests. We need your support beginning now to help put our candidates on the ballot and make them competitive. Please stay apprised of our efforts as we will call on your support in the near future.