Logo horizontal ruler

McKeown Leaves Green Party

By Jorge Casuso

May 26 -- Citing the State Green Party's inability to resolve a longstanding financial "scandal," City Council member Kevin McKeown on Wednesday left the party he has championed during his six-and-a-half-years on the dais.

McKeown -- who frequently wore green shirts and drove a green Prius with GRNVTR vanity plates -- re-registered as "decline to state" Wednesday morning, more than seven years after registering as a Green in late 1997.

His decision came just days after State Green Party delegates voted not hear a discussion item to inform the state party’s finance committee on what, if any, steps should be taken to address a financial controversy centering on former mayor Michael Feinstein’s use of donations to the county party.

In a statement issued Wednesday, MeKeown cited the party’s “inability to file legally required political donation and expenditure records for a number of checks intended by donors for the Green Party, but apparently diverted through a privately controlled account.

“Greens, who advocate for political transparency and clean campaign financing, have now actively chosen to ignore compliance with California's primary political finance disclosure law, 1974's Political Reform Act,” McKeown wrote in a statement to party members.

“As an elected official trying to represent Green integrity in local governance to a Santa Monica constituency unfortunately very familiar through hometown headlines with ‘the worst public scandal in our party's history,’ I find myself in an intolerable conflict,” McKeown wrote, quoting a letter from the state finance committee.

“I've done my best, but I still have unresolved concerns with California Green Party leadership that considers itself above the law on financial transparency and electoral integrity,” McKeown wrote.

Some party members, including McKeown, had continued to press the issue after the Los Angeles County District Attorney declined to file charges against Feinstein in October 2003, concluding that the $10,000 in Green Party Funds the former mayor allegedly embezzled was used to pay party expenses.

Feinstein issued a brief comment Wednesday.

“I want to thank Kevin for all the hard work he put in to build the Green Party during the time he was a Green Party member,” Feinstein said. “I wish him the best from here on.”

During last weekend’s meeting of State delegates, McKeown, who was not selected to be one of 17 county delegates a week earlier, was on the losing end of the motion to hear the discussion item, as well as of a vote to retain the State treasurer, who had been critical of Feinstein.

“Kevin is a good guy, but he needs to get along,” said Sara Amir, a spokesperson for the state party. “Little by little, he became more of a minority in the party.

“He got to the point that he was involved with all levels of the party, but as time went by, he became more isolated,” said Amir, who is co-coordinator of the county council. “He was dwelling on the past…. I wish him the best. He’s a good guy and he has good ideas.”

McKeown, who wore a blue shirt to the groundbreaking for the new Ocean Park Community Center shelter Wednesday evening, declined to comment on his decision.

For more on the financial controversy:
PART I: The Sacrificial Gift
PART II: Growing Pains

PART III: Green Candidate

PART IV: Tempest in a Teapot?

PART V: Party of One?

Lookout Logo footer image
Copyright 1999-2008 surfsantamonica.com. All Rights Reserved.
Footer Email icon