Life's inequities ignite woman's activism

January 03, 2002

Life's inequities ignite woman's activism

Fayetteville, Pa.

By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer

Alanna Hartzok said she learned in high school that life isn't always fair.

The lessons came while Hartzok, 53, worked with children of migrant workers, Atlanta's inner city poor, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and a YMCA youth program in West Virginia.

"They were my formative years," she said. "They gave me a grasp of social problems that led to my questioning of what causes the gap between rich and poor. The top 1 percent of the population has accumulated more wealth than the bottom 90 percent."

Hartzok, a 1966 graduate of Chambersburg Area Senior High School, returned to Franklin County in 1990 after spending more than a decade in California.


She made headlines when she ran for the 9th Congressional District seat as a candidate of the Green Party in the November general election.

Hartzok ended up with 4.1 percent of the vote in the election, which was won by Republican Bill Shuster.

Hartzok, who runs a private counseling practice from the basement of her home, calls herself a peace and economic justice activist.

She believes the world should follow Alaska's lead. The state pays its citizens royalties for every gallon that oil companies pump from the ground.

"Every person in Alaska got a government check for $1,986 last year," she said.

Hartzok wants to see a citizens' movement create a system that would pay royalties to all citizens for oil, coal, minerals and timber extractions, use of the airwaves, and even the satellite orbit zones in space.

"We'd need a global resource agency to put something like that in place," she said. "Regional agencies could be created to collect the royalties."

It's the inequalities in life that ignite the fires of activism in her soul.

"The root cause of many social problems, including war and poverty, is that we have an incorrect relationship to the earth. It's not based on justice," Hartzok said.

Hartzok is a United Nations Non-government Organization representative for the International Union for Land Value Taxation. She is the state coordinator for the Pennsylvania Fair Tax Coalition and vice president of the Council of Georgist Organizations.

While living in the San Francisco area, Hartzok was president of the Northern California Land Trust and the Bay Area Common Ground, associate director of the Henry George School, and a board member of the School of Living and the Academy of World Studies.

Since returning to Franklin County, she was co-chair of the housing task force of the Greater Chambersburg 2000 Partnership and a member of the Chambersburg Conflict Resolution Team.

Hartzok earned a masters degree in psychology, lived in Montreal for six years then moved to the San Francisco area in 1979.

She bought a house and 3 1/2 acres on Hafer Road in 1990 that her parents once owned. She boards horses, raises a few chickens and maintains a small organic fruit-tree orchard. One of her apples won a blue ribbon at this year's Franklin County Fair.

Foundation grants support her activism work, she said.

Hartzok is a single mom. She lives with her two sons.

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