OK Greens to screen ‘Tar Creek’ documentary with filmmaker Q & A

tar creek film coverFilm examines Oklahoma’s Tar Creek toxic mining disaster

Written and directed by Oklahoma native Matt Myers, ‘Tar Creek‘ is a moving testament to the strength, courage and fortitude of native peoples and ordinary Oklahomans. The film documents the human consequences of the No. 1 Superfund site in U.S, located in Picher, Oklahoma. Because of irresponsible mining and government oversight, the people of that area suffered health, developmental, social and economic effects and eventually had to be removed from the area, often without adequate compensation or means to reestablish their lives, homes and businesses elsewhere. As Myers says in the narration of the film, “Environmental problems are people problems.”

The Green Party of Oklahoma will host this new, independent documentary film, with Myers as our guest, for a special screening on Wednesday, April 21 from 6 to 9 pm at the Norman Public Library, 225 N. Webster. A Q&A session will follow the film.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. A donation for the filmmaker is optional but encouraged.

Future screenings are planned in OKC and across the state; contact us for details.

A flyer for the film can be viewed and downloaded, printed and distributed.

View trailer.

Report from REVOLUTION, first Oklahoma Wind Energy Conference

Environmental writer John Sutter attended and wrote up a report for the Gazette

How could wind power evolve in Oklahoma’s future?

Last week, a group of politicians, ranch owners and energy industry types met in downtown Oklahoma City to discuss not only what the future wind power industry might look like in this state, but also how to get there, where “there” is and what obstacles stand in the way.

More than 1,000 people registered to attend REVOLUTION, the inaugural Oklahoma Wind Energy Conference, which was held at the Cox Convention Center Dec. 2 and 3.

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Ballot Access Petition Filed with Secretary of State

Joni LeViness, GPOK representative to OBAR

Joni LeViness, OK Green and secretary of Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform (OBAR) speaks at a press conference announcing the group’s petition campaign to bring the question to Oklahoma voters next year.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform (OBAR) filed today to circulate an initiative petition to put a question on the 2008 ballot. The initiative seeks to reform Oklahoma’s ballot access laws, considered the most restrictive in the country.

“It is time to hear what Oklahoma voters think about our state’s biased electoral system,” said OBAR Chairman Matthew R. Jones. “With half of our state legislative races unopposed last November, we believe Oklahomans will support more voter choice.”

“OBAR is about giving people a voice again,” said Joni LeViness, member and OBAR secretary. “With more voices in Oklahoma politics, comes the chance that voters will hear about issues relating to them. OBAR’s not so much about giving political parties a voice as it is about getting people involved in what’s supposed to be a democracy. I expect we’ll see a broad range of support!”

OBAR will collect approximately 90,000 signatures over the next 90 days, and plans to integrate petitioning with an awareness campaign, including T-shirts for petition circulators and information cards for signatories.

“Although our effort is receiving nationwide attention, our petitioning will rely heavily on our members volunteering. This is a real grassroots effort,” said Jones.

Jimmy Cook, OBAR Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma, believes that the citizens’ movement will be well-received. “I’m surprised that this hasn’t been tried before, considering the positive things I’ve heard from people about the proposal,” he said. “Oklahomans are tired of having politicians dictate who they can and can not vote for. This petition would give voters the ability to choose.”

To form a new political party, Oklahoma law currently requires signatures equal to five percent of the last presidential or gubernatorial vote, which meant over 73,000 signatures for 2006. This number was 10 times the per capita requirement of many neighboring states, including Texas, Missouri, and New Mexico.

The initiative would return the number of signatures for recognition of political party back to 5000, the number required in Oklahoma from 1924 until 1974. This would make Oklahoma the 30th state to require 5000 or fewer signatures for a new political party or independent presidential candidate. The initiative would also make the requirements more reasonable for a party to demonstrate support and stay on the ballot.

“To hold elected officials accountable, we need a process that engages Oklahoma citizens,” said Clark Duffe, Chairman of Oklahoma Coalition of Independents (OKIES). “Ballot access reform is part of OKIES’ larger goal of having more competitive races.”

“Oklahoma was the only state where voters were limited to just two choices for president in 2004,” said Jones. “Even though the winner-take-all system tends toward two parties, we believe Oklahomans voters deserve more choices.”

Support for ballot access reform has come from varied, and even unexpected sources recently. The Oklahoman has published editorials endorsing the idea. The 2007 Oklahoma Republican Party platform states: “We support less restrictive ballot access for all political parties and candidates.”

Similar ballot access questions have passed in Florida and Massachusetts.

OBAR is a coalition of the Libertarian, Green, and Constitution Parties and the Oklahoma Coalition of Independents, unified with the simple goal of making laws fair for new political parties. Visit OBAR Web site

Oklahoma County Green Party works to “Save the Rails”

James Branum addresses Save the Rails Rally 8/11/07

GPOK State Secretary and Oklahoma County Green James Branum spoke on behalf of the local party in Oklahoma City on Saturday, August 11, at a rally to “Save the Rails”. Green Party members helped organize the event.

Citizens, activists, teachers and legislators gathered to demand that state officials stop the New Crosstown boondoggle and develop clean safe and economical public transport for Central Oklahoma.

Also speaking at the event were State Representative Wallace Collins, County Commission candidate Fannie Bates and longtime rails activist Tom Elmore.

Organizers plan to have an event each month to keep the rails issue alive. To get on the email list for news and updates from the campaign, send an email to railsok@netroutes.net.