Saturday, June 6, 2009

"Hakeem Squad" Un-Endorsement Plot Utterly Crushed At 5th District Green Party Meeting...

Photo By John Hoff

Cam Gordon, City Councilman, Ward 2, is a fine statesman and a fellow Green Party Member. But there was a bit of a tempest in a green teapot over Cam's endorsement of Mayor R.T. Rybak. Keep in mind Rybak doesn't have any serious competition in the race, since Al Flowers doesn't count and, in the words of one Green Party activist who spoke to me anonymously, "Couldn't win the election against Rybak if Rybak dropped dead."

And those facts probably had a lot to do with Cam Gordon trying to build bridges by endorsing the uber-strong R.T. Rybak.

Seizing upon Cam's blunder--even Cam was calling it a bit of a boneheaded move--a negative and persistent faction within the Green Party submitted a petition to have Cam "Un-Endorsed."

Keep in mind that under the wide open, loose rules of the "Five C" Greens, it only takes five people to submit such a petition and force a meeting....

And, the truth be told, five seemed to be pretty close to the exact number of people who held that particular opinion within the 5C Greens, and they were all on the petition, though not every one of them had the decency to actually show up at the annoying and useless meeting forced by their action. In the basement of a library, 41 members of the Green Party met for well over an hour, along with a few assorted guests who were not eligible to vote, to debate the lame and doomed proposal to take back the endorsement of Cam Gordon. If a vote had been held, then and there, by my reckoning it would have been 37 to 4. 

Some eligible voters did drift in and out, but 41 were there at the moment we voted, and 44 when I counted heads and calculated which way a vote might go. All the same, do the math: if everybody contributes an hour, then roughly TWO DAYS OF HUMAN LIFE were burned up by this exercise in futility. Did the people behind the proposal severely miscalculate the strength of their hand, or did they put everybody through this futile gesture on purpose? Either way you slice it, it's lame.

The anti-Gordon faction was apparently led by Farheen Hakeem, who has been seen over and over with Al "I Am The Community" Flowers, the guy who disrupted the JACC press conference, shoved Council Member Don Samuels in the back, and then sued Samuels for "assault." This is the person Hakeem spends so much time with, to the point there are widespread, unconfirmed rumors she is Flowers' campaign manager. I have said before--and I've said it on this blog--Hakeem is an embarrassment to the 5th District Greens and she is the reason I don't show up to be part of Green Party events.

Well, it turns out I'm not the only person holding this view. Sources I spoke to around the time of the meeting were able to name names and say who, exactly, had stopped participating in Fifth District Green Party events just to avoid Hakeem's little "squad" of negativity and self-interested scheming.

Incredibly, very few people at the meeting seemed to know anything about Hakeem's adventures with Al Flowers and JACC. In fact, the individuals upset with Hakeem were upset for OTHER stuff, including her endorsement of Peter Hutchinson for governor over a Green Party candidate in 2006. Trust me when I say I took it upon myself to inform the 5th District Greens about Hakeem's rather public involvement with Al Flowers and Al's little lawsuit against Don Samuels.

"You are an embarrassment to the Green Party," I told her, point blank. Another speaker called the proposal "ridiculous."

Only awkward meeting procedure forced us to have the discussion about the lame as (expletive) proposal, a significant group of people wanted to vote right away and JUST LEAVE. So we talked. There were three themes during the discussion: First, Cam Gordon is good and we love Cam. Second, not only the proposal but the people behind it are bad for the Green Party. (I was involved in THAT particular charge)

And, of course, then there were the people who brought the proposal in the first place, such as Farheen and the "evil twin" Dittman Brothers. (Spelling unconfirmed) The Dittmans, both of which have a clipped, over-enunciating manner of speaking, accused Mayor Rybak of not replacing infrastructure fast enough. The red-headed sibling duo made me wonder if zillionaire Bill Gates may have been involved in some kind of dark secret cloning effort, and this was the horror-inducing result. But even among the proponents of the proposal, support seemed to be weak at best.

Farheen didn't speak, strategically passing so she could speak later. At one point, she kicked off her sandals and walked around barefoot in her flowing green robe thingie. It came off kinda nutty, even by oh-so-casual Green Party etiquette.

At some point, rather than face a 10 to 1 defeat on their proposal, the Farheen Squad put forward a counter proposal, actually adopting a freely circulating idea as their own idea. They changed their proposal to "unendorse" Cam and substituted a proposal for the party leadership to unequivocally NOT endorse Rybak, making Rybak sound like he was some kind of reactionary right winger, a person who bore little resemblance to the Rybak I've met and heard about.

Without discussion--due to awkward Green Party procedure--the substitute proposal was put to a vote by paper ballot. Ballots were collected in a baseball hat, pictured above. The final results were 20 in favor of the proposal, and 21 against. A full 66 percent would have been required for either side to win, but the vote results were a moral defeat for the Hakeem Squad. They couldn't even get a moral victory by majority vote on the WEAK AND WATERED DOWN proposal.

Gee, was I glad to show up at that meeting and throw in one more vote!

By picking this doomed battle, and forcing people to blow a big chunk of their afternoon, the Hakeem Squad wasted enormous political capital. Things are now being said loudly in public that before had been said in private: Farheen Hakeem and her "Hakeem Squad" are a bad influence on the 5th District Greens. Their negative energy is driving people out of the party and preventing others from ever showing up. Furthermore, why is Hakeem so involved with Al Flowers? Her involvement with this controversial, unstable personality makes the party look bad. And Flowers is NOT EVEN A GREEN PARTY MEMBER. On the contrary, he sought a DFL endorsement, coming in "third in a two man race."

Yes, of course I used that line. When I mention Al Flowers in a room full of people, of course I'm going to use that line.

There was talk after the vote of all the Greens going to a bar. But remember, just because you REALLY NEED A DRINK doesn't mean the suffering is over. What wacky, doomed scheme will the "Hakeem Squad" pull next to embarrass the Fifth District Greens?

To find out, stay tuned to Johnny Northside.


Don Allen said...

According to the 5CD Green Party website, "The Minnesota Fifth Congressional District Green Party is to create and sustain a thriving local political party in affiliation with the Green Party of Minnesota based on the Ten Key Values of:

* Ecological Wisdom
* Social and Economic Justice
* Grassroots Democracy
* Nonviolence
* Decentralization
* Feminism
* Community-Based Economics
* Respect for Diversity
* Personal & Global Responsibility
* Future Focus

I must say, I am a little upset with Ms. Hakeem in her handling of 2 candidates that in my view could move Minneapolis to a more "Green Party" community base and show the true "color" of the community, which the current city council lacks due to the stratification of certain seated council persons.

Regarding the endorsement of RT by CG, personally I think it is a bad move because of RT's lack of diplomacy and Unitarian, Totalitarian efforts which leave certain groups of people "out of the mix" (Read pages 36-39 of the Mayors 2009 Supplemental Budget) is a disgrace and a dirty political move by the Mayor. From the outside looking in, it seems like Mr. Gordan has been a true advocate for the Green Parties 10 Key values, but with the endorsement of RT, my mind is changing.

In closing, Ms. Hakeem is not the person to address this.

Anonymous said...

If she isn't officially the campaign manager, she is at least acting as one. If you Google the two names, you see Al's announcement that he's running, and right at the top, there is this line, "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2009

Contact: Farheen Hakeem (email obscured) (952)388-8566
Al Flowers announces Minneapolis Mayoral run
Candidate to officially kick-off his “Truth to the People” campaign on Thursday"

djrabbit said...

Great reporting, JN. And great comments at the mtg - I was there to support Cam (who has done more for the GP than perhaps anyone else in town) and to my two cents about the ridiculous resolution.