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Green gov hopeful to speak tonight

By Jia-Rui Chong Daily Planet staff
Wednesday April 10, 2002

Peter Miguel Camejo, Green Party candidate for governor, will attempt to distinguish himself from Democrat Gov. Gray Davis and Republican Bill Simon tonight at 7 p.m. at an event sponsored by the UC Berkeley Campus Greens. 

Camejo, the chairman and co-founder of a socially responsible investment company, will be returning to the university he left without a diploma more than 30 years ago. Camejo was denied a degree in American history, he said, because he helped lead anti-war protests in 1968. 

At tonight’s event in 60 Evans Hall, he will be asking for an apology and an honorary degree, in addition to spelling out his political views. 

“Peter Camejo has strong roots to UC Berkeley,” said Howard Chong of the Campus Greens. “We’re glad to have him here.” 

“I’ve heard him speak before and what’s really impressed me is his commitment to society and social change,” Chong said. 

Indeed, this is what Camejo hopes to emphasize when he comes to Berkeley. 

“The Democrats and Republicans are letting the market drive issues,” Camejo said. “The market doesn’t solve social issues. It creates problems.” 

The Green Party, he said, is depends entirely on volunteers. The only contributions it accepts come from individuals, not businesses or political action committees. 

Camejo added that the Green Party also differs from left-leaning groups like the Democrats in Green candidates’ level of commitment to education and affordable housing. He also called Davis and Simon “soft on crime” for not prosecuting white-collar criminals who play fast and loose with employees’ pensions. The Greens, he said, think traditional “tough crime” measures such as the three-strikes rule, the death penalty and racial profiling don’t work. 

Camejo condemned Democrats and Republicans alike for uncritically backing President George W. Bush in recent months. 

“The Green Party opposes all terrorism,” he said. “Terrorism in response to terrorism is not the answer. It actually increases the danger of all Americans. And Davis and Simon agree with what President Bush does.” 

Councilmember Kriss Worthington said he was glad Camejo was coming to campus, though he will be unable to attend Camejo’s talk. 

Worthington said he admired Camejo for his forward-thinking ideas on energy, support of labor unions and ecological principles. “These are good ideas that won’t happen this year, but it’s good that you can hear them first here in Berkeley, California.” 

Worthington has endorsed both Camejo and Davis, but left the question of whom he will vote for to be decided closer to election day. 

“If it’s close, I’ll vote for Gray Davis. If Davis is leading substantially, I’ll vote my heart,” he said. 

Although he said that he is like many others in Berkeley who are split between pragmatism and idealism, he liked the option of a third candidate. 

“He’s someone to be excited about. Gray Davis is not only boring, but not that progressive,” Worthington said.