Greens give red light to Shasta County candidate

At least one long-shot gubernatorial candidate from the Northstate has already visited Chico to try to drum up grassroots support, but he isn’t exactly pleased with the reception he got—especially since the frosty welcome came from his own party.

Ivan Hall, a Green Party candidate from Redding, said he was given the cold shoulder by Butte County Greens, who wouldn’t allow him to speak at their last meeting.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Hall said. “I came all the way down here and all I wanted was five minutes. It was like they were afraid if I said something it would disrupt their agenda.”

Hall, a denture manufacturer and environmental activist who opposed the building of a fiberglass insulation plant in Shasta County, said he had called about a week in advance of the Aug. 6 meeting, hoping to use the opportunity to gather signatures for his ballot petition, which was due Aug. 9. He was told on the phone he wouldn’t be placed on the agenda, but decided to show up anyway. When he arrived, he said, he was treated rudely by the Butte County Greens, whom he characterized as “autocratic” and likened to a Soviet-style “politbureau.”

“It was the most hostile experience I’ve ever had,” he said. “They wouldn’t even acknowledge me.”

Butte County Green Party spokeswoman Katie Freeman denied that Hall was treated rudely, saying that the committee had a packed agenda that night and might have allowed Hall to speak after they finished a discussion on the Humboldt Road Burn Dump.

“I feel pretty confident that we would have let him speak if he’d have waited for another 10 or 15 minutes,” Freeman said, adding that the party usually asks that potential speakers give 10 days’ advance notice. “It really had to do with our agenda.”

Hall called Freeman’s assertion “a lie,” saying that he waited until nearly 9 o’clock before leaving, while councilmembers deliberately dragged out their discussion in an apparent effort to get rid of him.

Aside from being a minor side note in the increasingly raucous free-for-all that characterizes the present recall campaign, Hall said the incident is indicative of how centralized the Green Party has become, with “central committees” eschewing grass-roots activism in favor of supporting statewide candidates. Most Green committees, including Butte County’s, support Peter Camejo in the recall campaign, the candidate who placed a distant third to both Gov. Gray Davis and Republican challenger Bill Simon in last year’s governor’s race.

Freeman said Hall had been invited to speak at the next Green Party meeting in Chico Sept. 3, but Hall disputed that, too. He said he would soon be in Chico to “go out and meet the people.” Hall said he had a tough time collecting the 65 signatures needed to register as a candidate, sending out 500 mailers to Shasta Greens and canvassing door-to-door, by phone and at farmers’ markets. He eventually ended up with 77 verified signatures.

Hall admitted he faced an uphill battle, especially since he has little apparent support from Green Party leaders.

"It’s a long-shot but… there’s a recognition by the masses that this time, a long-shot might have a chance. It is not impossible. It’s improbable, but we have a strategy and we’re working it everyday."