Audie Bock

Abe-Nornes amnornes
Mon Apr 5 13:29:47 EDT 1999

Ever wonder what happened to Audie Bock. Last time to spoke to her (a few
months ago), I was surprised to discover that she was deeply involved in an
election bid as a Green candidate. Her telephone sign-off was "Go Green."
Well, she won, and that makes her historic: the first Green candidate to
win a state election. 

Here's a story clipped from their site:

Oakland Tribune

A new political upstart
Bock as surprised as everyone else
Thursday, April 01, 1999
By Laura Counts
OAKLAND -- With Green Party candidate Audie Bock's historic election to the
state As sembly now certain, Mayor Jerry Brown will have to share some of
his limelight as the hot test political phenomenon in town.
Bock held her hairbreadth lead over former Oakland mayor Elihu Harris after
about 600 absentee ballots were counted Wednesday, ending up with 336 more
votes than the veteran Democrat and becoming the first Green in the country
elected to statewide office.
Even after only a couple of hours of sleep and barely time to organize her
thoughts after the stunning win, Bock was glowing as she faced a phalanx of
television cameras and de clared victory Wednesday eve ning at the Lakeview
Club. Brown briefly upstaged her as he arrived to offer his congratu
lations, but the spotlight quickly shifted back to Bock.
"I certainly was not fully ex pecting to win -- this was new for me and my
party," said Bock, a 53-year-old teacher and Asian Studies scholar. "I think
it shows both that the Green revolution has begun, and the chickens have
come home to roost."
Whether it was more of the former than the latter was any one's guess
Wednesday, as the Democrats struggled to explain how they lost a seat they
had held for decades and the Greens tried to figure out how they pulled it
off. It was unclear how much was attributable to a vote against the status
quo, Harris' image after eight tough years as mayor and 12 years in the As
sembly, or Bock's appeal as a candidate: She is articulate and a quick
She'll have to be. The elec tion results will become official Friday, and
Bock said she could be sworn in as soon as Monday. Normally, new legislators
get 10 days of training, but since she has missed the first few months of
the two-year term, she'll have to jump right in.
Bock said she received a con gratulatory call Wednesday from Assembly
Speaker Antonio Vil laraigosa, who also told her that the office space in
Sacramento and Oakland that had been re served for Harris -- whom ev eryone
thought was a shoo-in -- could be hers. She will earn a base salary of
$99,000 a year.
Only 15.4 percent of voters -- 29,372 out of 189,917 -- turned out for the
special pri mary to fill the Assembly seat vacated by Sen. Don Perata, and
about a third of them were ab sentee. Turnout was just 9.7 percent in
Oakland, 10.8 per cent in Alameda and 14.4 per cent in Piedmont. Although
precinct-by-precinct break downs won't be available for several days, it was
clear that Alameda and Piedmont gave Bock the edge.
Bock mounted a grassroots campaign with just 100 volun teers to Harris'
hundreds, and just $34,000 to Harris' $550,000. Harris also had the backing
of the state Democratic Party, which gave about $200, 000 worth of help but
also may have hurt him by giving out free chicken dinner coupons during the
primary. Harris sent out nu merous mailers, including sev eral in the final
days of the campaign that said he was "under attack."
Bock assembled as much Green power as she could, get ting the backing of
consumer advocate Ralph Nader and even a donation from singer Bonnie Raitt.
She also garnered sup port from Republicans and some of the most
conservative groups in the district.
She only sent out one cam paign mailer, but sent out press releases
criticizing Harris for declining to debate her at a League of Women Voters
Forum, and for the chicken dinner incident.
Her biggest campaign issues were increasing education funding, universal
health care and closing corporate tax loop holes.
The Green Party advocates 10 key values: nonviolence, so cial justice,
feminism, decentral ization, global responsibility, grassroots democracy,
ecolog ical wisdom, community-based economics, respect for diversity and
A complete political novice, Bock said she enjoyed every step of the
campaign, even de lighting in her first appearance in a political cartoon
that showed her as a small dog nip ping at Harris' heels.
A part-time instructor in the Peralta Community College Dis trict, Bock also
runs a foreignlanguage film distribution com pany. She worked for a decade
as a translator to the late, leg endary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.
Bock graduated from Berkeley High School two years ahead of Harris, and went
on to Wellesley College where she was two years ahead of Hillary Clinton.
She later earned a mas ter's degree from Harvard Uni versity.
Harris conceded his defeat at 4 p.m., about an hour after the final votes
were tallied. He stood outside his Eastmont Mall cam paign headquarters,
flanked by a small group of tired-looking volunteers and campaign man ager
Claude Everhart.
Harris looked tired too, but was composed and thoughtful. He said he had no
immediate plans but would spend a few days reflecting and talking with
volunteers and voters to figure out why he lost and decide whether to make
another run for the Assembly in March 2000.
"I'm not closing the door to anything," Harris said. "I love being involved
in politics, and I feel it's a process I contribute to. I think I need to
find out how I can make the greatest level of community impact."
He said the low turnout in areas of Oakland where he is most popular was a
factor in the race, but acknowledged it wasn't the only one.
"Turnout doesn't explain how strong (Bock) ran -- she still got 14,000
votes," he said. "We knew from the primary there was a pattern to the votes,
but I think there were a number of factors. People could have been anti-me,
pro-her, or mad about the chicken dinners. It could be about individual per
sonalities, but only time will tell."
The "chicken dinners" were not part of his campaign, Harris said, but
admitted that they probably hurt him.
As for Bock, Harris said she's a nice person but may not have the experience
for the As sembly.
"I think it depends on her ability to learn the system, and build coalitions
across party lines," he said.
Harris also fretted about the loss of diversity among Oak land's
representatives: The City Council once had five black members and now has
two, the school board had four and now has two, and both the mayor and state
senator, formerly black, are now white. But he stopped short of drawing a
con clusion or calling it a trend.
Brown -- who declined to en dorse either candidate -- said Bock's victory
was an obvious vote against the status quo, but said "it's a straw in the
wind, not a windstorm." Still, he called Bock a pioneer who suc ceeded even
though the cards are stacked against third par ties.
When asked whether he thought she could succeed, as a lone Green, in the
legislature, he said "Even I couldn't deal with the legislature sometimes. I
think she'll represent the dis trict well, though."
Bock admitted to being ap prehensive.
"There's a fear of being de voured alive, but also a great deal of
excitement," she said.

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