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Santa Clara County, CA June 3, 2008 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Tian Harter

Candidate for
Member, Green Party County Council; County of Santa Clara

This information is provided by the candidate

Tian was born in 1958 in Santiago Chile, where his father was part of the staff at the U.S. Embassy. By the time he left home for college, he had lived in Switzerland, Thailand, and Washington, DC.

He graduated from High School in Bethesda, MD, at the age of 15. During the years between that and attending Engineering School at Bradley University in Peoria, IL he learned many lessons about how hard it is to get a job in suburbia if you don't have a drivers license and a college degree. Tian was a bus boy, IBM keyboard assembler, and construction site laborer during that time.

When Tian came to Silicon Valley with electrical engineering degrees (BS & MS) the electronics industry was booming; he had no trouble getting good paying work. He designed a power supply for the interface between a communications satellite and the space shuttle, pieces of a coin operated video game system for Sente Technologies, and microcode development tools for Step Engineering. In the late 1980s such work was drying up, so he reinvented himself as a software engineer. His first big software project was the state display for a logic analyzer that ran on a Macintosh.

Tian discovered the political system during the 1990-'91 Gulf War. He had a great time going to marches and vigils and meetings, finding many people who saw the world in totally different ways from the ones he was used to. He vividly remembers the time at a march when a woman asked him "Want to join a political party based on peace, justice, and ecological wisdom?" He said yes and she registered him with the Green Party. He found out later that she was part of the drive to get the Green Party on the ballot, which was completed successfully in 1992.

Around that time he moved to Sacramento to work at System Integrators. His hobby was being a Green Party activist, learning on the ground about the consequences of the automation of the media. He learned that the Sacramento Bee didn't have enough staff to cover the community it was supposed to serve, and that the ownership was so far out of touch that they didn't care. In 1992 Tian ran for Congress with the slogan "MEND YOUR FUELISH WAYS", getting his name in the paper about four times, but never getting his issues discussed there.

Despite the cold shoulder from the media, on the ground people were generally caring and thoughtful, and they did the best they could to find meaning in the choices available to them. Tian ran for City Council in 1994, with the campaign slogan "We need better bus service". He proposed a couple of new bus routes, and in areas where they served the community he got ten percent more of the vote than other places. The campaign was liked by enough people that he got a spot on the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) board. He was sorry to leave Sacramento when System Integrators laid him off.

Tian's next noteworthy job was at AOL's Technology Development office in Orange County, California working on the human interface software for a program sort of like Pagemaker for an in house screen layout system. After working there for a while Tian started to ask himself "what's the relationship between information compression and political pressure?"

During his Orange County days he worked Christina Avalos for Congress in 1998. She got about as much attention running as an unfunded Democrat in a safe Republican District as he had in Sacramento's safe Democratic District. The difference was that because of the much larger institutional inertia of the Democratic Party, she got many more votes. The experience convinced Tian that all of the software in the political system is between peoples ears, and that some of it isn't very well thought out.

Since leaving Orange County in the spring of '99 Tian has lived in Mountain View, where he has spent a lot of time as a Green Party activist. You can find out much more about this time by visiting, the website where he "photoblogs".

Two of the biggest highlights of Tian's activism carreer in Mountain View were his run for US Senate in the Green Party Primary of '06, and his run for City Council fall of '06. The time on the campaign trail was truly a highlight.

In thinking about how to develop a more sustainable system he keeps coming back to the fact that our energy consumption patterns are very ingrained in our habits. Tian feels that the best thing we can do is edit our habits to develop more sustainable lifestyles. If we change our commuting habits so that we take the train to work instead of driving, the oil and car companies will feel the pain in their balance sheets eventually. In the "One dollar one vote" marketplace you, dear reader, have just as much power to channel votes anyone else. If you try to use less energy per month in the future than you did in the past, than we will be moving forward together. That's how change bubbles up from the grass roots. To put it another way, "STOP VOTING FOR OIL COMPANIES AT THE GAS PUMP!"

Please vote for Tian Harter in the June 3rd County Council election!

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 23, 2008 14:50
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