Attending: Bruno Borsari, Emilie Falc, Jean Lauer, Brian Mueller, David Seaman, Linda Van Art, Shelly Vander Linden
The Winona City Council refused to divest from Wells Fargo. City Council member Pam Eyden felt we might need to do more education and advocacy with the council before we bring it up again. She had volunteered to research banking options but her suggestion was not acknowledged by the council. The Winona Human Rights Commission has set up a divestment subcommittee and will be reaching out to the Green Party for assistance in laying the groundwork for a successful divestment effort. For now, Letters to the Editor and calling and talking with council members seems the best plan of action. Emilie pointed out that Seattle was successful because they had a social responsibility policy in place. Is that something we might want to pursue locally? It could be a way to bring together a coalition of local groups.
The Winona County Board of Commissioners approved the conditional use permit for Holden Farms LLC outside St. Charles. The vote was 4-1 with Marie Kovesci voting against. Sadly, we did not mobilize in time to prevent this, and Land Stewardship Project chose not to mobilize. This is a good opportunity for us to get active about water protection. Bruno informed us that less than 1% of the water on the planet is potable. We need to brainstorm ideas how we can educate the public about water protection and the sources of our potable water. Emilie knows someone who may be able to produce a good infographic that we could use. Linda suggested we might consider a billboard.
The Preemption Bill has passed both houses of the Legislature and is headed to the Governor's desk. The only way to prevent this bil from becoming law is for Gov. Dayton to veto it. If it becomes law, it could lead to a fatal weakening of the frac sand mining ban and other local regulations and ordinances. Please call Gov. Dayton's office and encourage him to veto this bill: 1-800-657-3717
Bruno informed us that May 20 is the worldwide March Against Monsanto. Because of the short time period, we decided not to organize a march, but set up a table in front of city hall during the Farmer's Market that morning. We will continue to have a table there every Saturday morning during the Farmer's Market season. This way we can educate the public about issues and raise the profile of the Green Party locally.
There will be a vacancy on the City Planning Commission, and we really need an environmentally-minded member to join who would be able to bring forward issues from the Citizen Committee on Environmental Quality, which has become active again, and on which Bruno currently serves. Please consider applying if you are a city of Winona resident.
Brian and Shelly hosted a rummage sale and are donating the proceeds to the Green Party of Winona. We raised enough to cover the cost of the new banner, and had enough to donate $202.00. Thank you to Shelly, Liza and Xamarie for organizing, accepting donations, and setting up the rummage sale.
Now that we have money, we need to set up a bank account. David will get information about Altra, Merchants, and Winona National. It was decided that the co-chairs and treasurer be allowed to make the decision on where to set up the account. We have been assigned an EIN number and filed the necessary paperwork with the IRS. Once we have the account set up, we then will file with the Campaign Finance Board. The co-chairs and treasurer will sit down with the CFB handbook and set up procedures for our finances so that we are in compliance with CFB regulations.
We purchased a new banner, and will be using it when we table at the Farmer's Market. We can use it at parades and any time we appear in public.
We discussed the idea of focus groups to address specific issues. We discussed meeting more often rather than splitting off. We can maintain momentum and be more responsive by meeting twice a month, and it gives more people the opportunity to attend at least one meeting a month.
We need to increase the frequency of our Letters to the Editor. This helps raise the Green Party profile locally. The local papers have not had many letters lately, so there is a good chance they will publish whatever we send them. If you focus on an issue, please either work in how it connects to the Green Party, or identify yourself as a Green Party member.
We discussed increasing our presence at city council and county board meetings. Emilie suggested we elect an Activism Chair who would keep us informed about issues before the council and board and coordinate actions we can take to support or oppose specific actions. IF anyone is interested, please let one of the co-chairs (Jean Lauer or Brian Mueller) know. We will discuss again at our next meeting.
We need to continue planning for our Fall Film Series at WSU. Bruno suggested it would be best to start the series right away before Labor Day. What theme should we focus on, or how can we connect the films in the series? What speakers can we invite to discuss issues brought up in the movies?
Bruno suggested we reach out to the WSU Environmental Club. There is also a Sustainability Minor conferred by the Biology Department that could be a way to connect on campus.
We are looking into participation in parades and fairs this summer (Goodview, St.Charles, Lewiston). We are too late to apply for the Winona County Fair (a booth costs $190), but could plan for next year, since it is also an election year.
It was discussed whether we want to continue focusing on local activism or fielding candidates. It was felt that continuing local activism is the best way to help our community right now and seems to be the priority for our members. Continued activism will attract people to the party who might be interested in running for office. Meanwhile, we can continue encouraging members to apply for city and county commissions and committees. This would also be in line with our bylaws. This will be an ongoing conversation.
People! Planet! Peace!