Minneapolis top candidate for Greens ’08

The city is one of four being considered to host the party’s national convention.

Mike Rose

Minneapolis might be getting greener in 2008 without planting a single tree.

The Green Party is currently considering Minneapolis along with Chicago, Detroit and Oakland, Calif., as potential host cities for its 2008 national convention. If held in Minneapolis, the convention would be only months before the Republican National Convention comes to St. Paul.

Cam Gordon, Minneapolis’ Ward 2 councilman, spearheaded the campaign to bring the convention to Minneapolis.

Gordon, a Green Party member, was joined by another Green, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner Annie Young, at the Green Party National Meeting in Reading, Pa., on July 14 and 15 to make the pitch for Minneapolis.

“I think our presentation went real well,” Gordon said. “We were organized and had energy and I think we made the case pretty well.”

Gordon and Young presented a 15-minute slideshow and video presentation. The video, “Meet Minneapolis,” gave a crowd of roughly 150 delegates a three-minute glimpse into the city.

“Like the mayor, I like to sell Minneapolis,” Young said. “I think we’re ready to do something like this.”

Young and Gordon agreed their presentation was the best executed. Young said only Minneapolis had a PowerPoint presentation and a movie.

Oakland, which Gordon said was a late applicant, could be the biggest competition, Young said. Gordon added that California is known for being politically active.

Gordon is no stranger to advancing the Green Party in Minnesota. In 1994, Gordon was a founding member of the state’s Green Party.

“I think the Green Party offers a lot to the state and the city,” he said. “I’m a strong believer in multiparty government.”

Scott McLarty, media coordinator for the national Green Party, said a decision on the host city will be made in about a month.

The party also has a list of more than 10 presidential hopefuls that will vie for the presidential nomination, McLarty said.

The possibility of holding a convention in the same metro area near the same time as the Republicans would be fine, McLarty said.

“If they don’t bother us, we won’t bother them,” he said. “Greens will show Republicans how to behave properly at a convention.”

Chris Taylor, Midwest regional press secretary for the Republican National Committee, said he doesn’t feel threatened.

He said he’s sure the Green Party is looking into cities the same way Republicans did. Taylor said the Republican National Committee was wowed by Minneapolis, and he’s not surprised that the Green Party is considering the city.

Ruth Weill, chair of the Green Party’s Annual National Meetings Committee, said Minneapolis is a very strong candidate that is eager to host the convention.

“It’s a very Green city,” she said.

Weill said other party members feel the host city should be larger than Minneapolis, although she felt that the city would be big enough.

Weill added that many people at the Green Party National Meeting were very impressed with the Minneapolis presentation.

“It would be great to be in Minneapolis,” she said. “Politics are everywhere, not just the coasts.”

The Midwest is familiar with the Green Party. Milwaukee hosted the 2004 Green Party Convention.

Andrew Bender Dahl, an urban studies senior, is co-chairman of the University College Greens. He said he has been involved with the Green Party for five years.

“(The Green Party) platform is what I believe in politically,” Bender Dahl said.

Bender Dahl said he feels Minneapolis has a pretty good chance of being selected. He also said that a convention would be a constructive place to display alternative views to the Republican Party.

“It’s not meant to be blatant opposition,” Bender Dahl said. “(Green Party conventions) are about building our movement.”

Bender Dahl said the Green philosophy is similar to traditional, conservative Republican philosophy in that smaller government is favored. He said the main difference between the parties is their stance on war.

Trevor Ford, a University graduate, was a member of the College Republicans. He said unless the two conventions were held at the same time and place, he didn’t see any problem.

Ford said he could see the Green Party becoming strong in Minnesota because many people are frustrated with the Democrats and Republicans, although he said the Green Party wasn’t for him.

“I think they take (environmental views) further than I would,” he said.

Political science and marketing sophomore Andy Post is the former treasurer of the University’s chapter of College Republicans. Now, Post serves as executive director for the state organization for College Republicans.

Post said, as a Republican, he is not threatened by the smaller party’s potential Twin Cities convention.

“We welcome anyone to have their convention here,” he said. “(But) ours is going to be better.”