Nader no greenhorn
Seeing green does not always indicate jealousy. An emerald vision can, in fact, denote a person's desire to vote Nader. Ralph Nader, presidential candidate for the Green Party, spoke at the Yale Co-op bookstore this past Wednesday. And over a dozen BOW residents attended to show their support for the 40 year political veteran.
The citizens' rights activist upholds many causes, but had a specific purpose for coming to the New Haven area. He maintains that the proposed Galleria at Long Wharf Mall, a multi-million dollar project that will be funded, in part, with local and state taxpayers' money, is corporate frivolity to the ultimate degree.
"If it's such a good idea, why don't they use their own money? They're only helping ‘fat cat department stores' make more money at the taxpayers' expense," Nader said.
Many of Nader's followers agree the developers do not have in mind the best interest of the consumer or the environment.
"There is a lot of cover-up involved with the mall and corporations. There's a lot of stuff the developers aren't telling us. No one has even mentioned what the effect will be on Long Island Sound, and it hasn't been publicized that added funding is going to I-95 because the mall will create so much more traffic," Woodbridge resident Jay Wolkoff said.
Nader believes that taxes should not be used to fund anything that keeps in the dark the people it supposedly seeks to benefit. He stresses the fact the money would find its way back to the people who need it least.
"Lurking behind the department stores are the developers, the money pumps to the politicians," he said. "They shouldn't redistribute wealth upwards," he added.
The green party leader is not opposed to large investments in cities. On the contrary, a major goal of the party is Urban Renaissance.
"(The Green Party seeks to) make major investments in our cities to rebuild and revitalize our urban centers. (We also seek to) control urban sprawl and create a tax policy which encourages city improvement," the Green Party emphasizes.
But whereas they believe that the mall is purely a money-making venture, Nader and the Green Party hold fast to the slogan "Invest in people not profits."
One of Nader's biggest concerns about the mall is that it will be constructed with no thought of the havoc that will be wreaked on the environment. Such disregard for the environment is in direct opposition to what the Green Party upholds.
"Let's develop a nuclear-free, clean and ecologically sustainable society. We must make a commitment to alternative energies and achieve energy independence," the Green Party proposes.
Nader, a resident of Winsted, Connecticut and a environmentalist, seeks to conserve open spaces. Woodbridge's Open Spaces Commission, headed by Charles Goetsch, prioritizes preserving undeveloped lands in Woodbridge. Obtaining funds to secure and protect these lands is not always easy. If Nader were elected, he would provide funding specifically for the preservation of such properties.
"If we (the Open Spaces Commission) received funds from the Federal Government that matched those of the State and Local Governments, it would be great. The Open Spaces (Commission) needs all the help it can get," Goetsch said.
Nader, a graduate of both Princeton and Harvard, admits his candidacy faces an "uphill fight" against Republican Texas Governor George W. Bush and Democratic Vice President Al Gore, but only because the political "system is rigged" to the advantage of the Democratic and Republican parties.
However, the struggle Nader faces does not discourage him. A frequently asked question is "Will I be throwing away my vote if I vote for Nader?" To this Nader answers a resounding "No."
Anand Purushotham, a registered Green Party voter and resident of Orange, agrees.
"Nader is one of the intellectuals leading a fight against Neo-Liberalism and against corporate power structure. Voting for either Bush or Gore is absurd and would only reinforce the Corporate Socialism in America that polarizes society and is extremely dangerous. Nader is a humanitarian who devotes his time to the liberation of oppressed people worldwide. He would run a government bearing in mind the best interest of everyone," Purushotham said.
Nader has spent 40 years fighting valiantly for citizens' rights, product safety, and a clean, safe environment. He founded such citizen interest groups as Public Citizen, Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), and the Center for Women's Policy Studies.
The Freedom of Information Act as well as occupational and auto safety laws are products of his leadership. He is also the author of dozens of books on consumer rights, citizen action, product safety, democracy, and economics.
Regardless of party affiliation, no one can deny Nader's leadership skills and tireless fight to better humanity.
"I'm a registered Democrat, but I am going to vote Nader in the upcoming election because The Green Party listens to regular people. I agree with more of Nader's views than those of either Bush or Gore. Because I'll be living under the conditions that politicians impose for years to come, Nader appeals to me. He isn't content with the status quo. Nader seeks to improve," Wolkoff said.
The Green Party is behind their candidate 100%.
"Every vote will help to build a viable third party in America. If you choose the lesser of two evils than you choose the evil of two lessors. Vote for the candidate who will fight for you, your children, the environment, and the return of democratic government. Every vote for one of the other two parties says it is all right for them to continue to sell off your health, land, airwaves, power, and taxes to corporations. Vote for a true reformer. Vote Ralph Nader for president." The Green party advises.