Updates ~ Announcements fr. Monday, Feb. 5 – Wednesday, Feb. 7 (from Adrienne Fong)

ACCESSIBILITY: Please include Accessibility Information on Events! This is a JUSTICE ISSUE!

Check Indybay for other events: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12

Updates: 

A. BDS Movement for Palestinian Rights Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize (February 2, 2018)

http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/02/bds-movement-palestinian-rights-nominated-nobel-peace-prize/

B. A Short, Brutal History of ICE

https://splinternews.com/a-short-brutal-history-of-ice-1822641556

C. Public defender urges SF to end gang injuctions against minorities (February 2, 2018)

http://www.sfexaminer.com/public-defender-urges-sf-end-gang-injunctions-minorities/ 

D. ICE Chief Will ‘Never Back Down’ From Telling Undocumented Immigrants To Be Afraid (January 31, 2018)

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ice-thomas-homan-immigrants-afraid_us_5a723134e4b09a544b562913

21 – ANNOUNCEMENTS

Monday, February 5 – Wednesday, February 7

Monday, February 5

1. Monday, 10:00am – 11:00am California Poor People’s Campaign Unity News Conference

California State Capitol
1315 10th Street
Sacramento

 9:00 AM meet on the State Capitol Building’s South Steps of N Street

Join the California Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

California will join with over 25 states around the country and Washington DC to announce our participation in 40 days of moral action to launch the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival this Spring.

Host: NorCal Resist + 7 other groups

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/350946322051288/ 

2. Monday, 12Noon – 12:45pm, Let My People Stay Vigil 

ICE
630 Sansome St.
SF

Vigil will also be held this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Rumors that ICE is planning a large-scale immigration sweep to punish California for its statewide protections are increasing the climate of fear and isolation for many, with people reporting missing school, medical appointments, and participation in public life. As Jews, we have seen what happens when those in power scapegoat vulnerable communities, and we refuse to be silent.

February 8 is the current deadline to demonstrate the urgency of a solution for Dreamers as part of the Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government.

**Join Jews and interfaith partners for noontime vigils in front of the San Francisco Immigration & Customs Enforcement offices (ICE) to stand with the immigrant community and stand for the urgency of a clean Dream Act.***

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1827914773934268/

3. Monday, 2:00pm, Say No to #TipTheft action and delivery 

Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division
71 Stevenson St.
SF

The Trump administration has a little-known plan to screw over 14 million people–and this Monday, February 5, is the last day to speak out against it, before the administration decides to go through with it.

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta wants to make it legal for restaurant owners to confiscate tips from servers. The federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13/hr. –servers, who are 70% women and 40% of whom are moms, depend on their tips to live.

Host: San Francisco restaurant servers, along with Restaurant Opportunities Center United and members of UltraViolet

4. Monday, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, Bay Area Transit Equity Day 

Solano & Fresno Avenues
Berkeley

Transit Equity Day is a collaborative effort of several organizations and unions to promote public transit as a civil right and a strategy to combat climate change.

We are choosing Rosa Parks’ birthday because she is an iconic figure of the civil rights era who chose the tactic of refusing to give up her seat on the bus. We want to make the connection to this act of resistance to highlight the rights of all people to high-quality public transportation powered by clean/renewable energy. This day of action will also help to enforce a broader strategy that promotes a “full spectrum” just transition from the fossil fuel economy (energy, energy efficiency, transportation, waste, agriculture…) to clean, renewable energy as part of confronting the climate crisis. Increasing, non-fossil fuel, public transportation is a foundation to achieving this transition. 

Host: Bay Area System Change Not Climate Change

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/388609734942700/ 

5. Monday, 5:30pm – 6:30pm, Emergency Action: Free Baylosis and ALL Political Prisoners 

Philippine Consulate
447 Sutter St.
SF

Last November, the Duterte government called for the termination of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) with Proclamation No. 360 and the re-arrest of NDFP consultants, despite widespread calls for the continuation of the peace talks to tackle the roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines.

On January 31st, peace activist Rafael Baylosis and his companion, Roque Guillermo Jr., were slapped with trumped up charges and arrested by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region. The arrest of 69 year old Rafael Baylosis, a long-time activist, labor leader and National Democratic Front of the Philippines  consultant,violates the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees  and Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, of which the Philippine government is a signatory and therefore bound to by way of the peace talks. 

Duterte has arrested at least 145 people for politically-motivated reasons, including six peace consultants, a Bishop, and other faith leaders, bringing the total to over 486 political prisoners under his administration. 

As concerned peoples organizations and human rights advocates in the US, we condemn the Duterte government’s violent crackdown on organizations in the Philippines resisting injustice and working for social change. President Duterte has vowed to intensify his attacks on activists opposing his three wars against the Filipino people including the so-called Drug War, Martial Law in Mindanao, and counterinsurgency war against the revolutionary movement.

Host: BAYAN USA Northern CA

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/347301705751349/ 

6. Monday, 5:30pm – 7:30pm Push Back Against Excelsior / Outer Mission Neighborhood Strategy 

Calvary Baptist Church
5655 Mission St.
SF

 The Planning Department is leading a process that they hope will lead to up zoning and density bonuses for developers to pack in more new market rate development on Mission Street.

This will only attract more market rate development, and result in demolitions and displacement of our neighbors and cherished mom & pop shops.  More market rate development will NOT make the Excelsior more affordable to our own families and neighbors.

Monday’s meeting will be a critical moment to push back on these institutional processes that pave the way for luxury development that is out of reach for most working people in our neighborhoods

Join us in asserting community voice at this meeting:

1.     Say NO to market rate development as solutions to prevent displacement!

2.     INSIST on prioritizing 100% affordable development!

3.     Lift up our personal stories of struggle and displacement

Info: Communitied United for Health and Justice (CUHJ); Office: (415) 274-6760 ext. 305; www.caasf.org 

7. Monday, 6:45pm – 9:00pm, OccupyForum: Immigration Crisis in the Bay Area, Meeting, Discussion & Planning with Gayle McLaughlin & all groups to Stop Deportations 

SEIU Local 2
215 Golden Gate Ave., nr. Civic Center BART
SF

We are witnessing a most serious threat to our immigrant communities.

The attacks on immigrants have aroused widespread, diverse and potentially powerful opposition. Included are immigrant groups themselves, activist groups, faith groups, labor unions, lawyers, and some progressive, local politicians.

Gayle McLaughlin is the former two-term mayor of Richmond, CA, Richmond’s first corporate-free elected official, and a co-founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance

As Mayor, Gayle led Richmond to significant transformation into a progressive City establishing rent control, increasing minimum wage, forcing Chevron to pay over $100 million in taxes, reducing homicides, preventing foreclosures, and promoting green energy. She is currently running for Lt. Governor. Gayle will speak to us about her campaign and the RPA model, and then focus on her position in support of defending immigrant rights.

From Ruthie

NOTE: These announcements DO NOT support any political candidates nor political parties!

Tuesday, February 6

8. Tuesday, 11:30am – 1:00pm, DACA Rally: Immigrants are Welcome / Inmigrantes Bienvenidos

Zuckerberg San Francisco General
1001 Potrero Ave.,  at Mother & Child Statue
SF

As healthcare providers we resist the rhetoric of fear and walls with visions of love and a world without borders. Migration is a human right. There are many in our community that are affected by the recent attack on sanctuary cities, the ICE raids, the repeal of TPS, the abandonment of DREAMERS, and the horror of immigration detention centers. We gather to show our support, learn about the struggles going on in our city, and mobilize our community to fight back!

Coorganizadores: 
– Instituto Familiar de la Raza
– Mujeres Unidas y Activas
– American Academy of Pediatrics – California
– Children Now
– CIR/SEIU
– Clínica Martín Baró
– UCSF White Coats for Black Lives
– Do No Harm Coalition
– ZSFG Pediatrics Department / Departamento de Pediatría
– ZSFG Family Medicine Department / Departamento de Medicina Familiar

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/533057937075860/

9. Tuesday, 12Noon – 12:45pm, Let My People Stay Vigil 

ICE
630 Sansome St.
SF

See item #2 for details

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1827914773934268/ 

10. Tuesday, 12:30pm – 3:00pm, Free Floricel / Pack the Court 

450 Golden Gate Ave
SF

– Rally at 12:30pm
– Start to enter to federal building at 1:15pm
– Hearing starts at 2pm

Bring ID if you plan on entering the building

Floricel’s case will be heard before a federal district court judge

Last month, immigration Judge Burch denied Floricel’s bond on the basis of her history with DUIs without taking into account the fact that well before her arrest by ICE, she was on her way towards redeeming her past mistakes and building a good life for her and her children.
Now Floricel’s case will go before a federal district court judge in an attempt to free Floricel in higher court. Join us as we stand in solidarity with Floricel and demand the courts to #FreeFloricel!

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/384169625339552/?active_tab=about

Wednesday, February 7 

11. Wednesday, 9:00am – 6:00pm, Campaign for SB 562, The Healthy California Act

California State Capitol
1315 10th Street, Rm, 4202
Sacramento

Bus Routes

NOTE: Some buses are already half full or more, please RSVP asap to confirm a seat & lunch: http://bit.ly/febhealthhearing   

SAN FRANCISCO/RICHMOND BUS ROUTE

STOP 1: Departs @ 6:50 am from San Francisco Public Library,150 Fulton Street, SF CA

STOP 2: Departs @ 7:30 am from Target, 4500 MacDonald Ave, Richmond CA

OAKLAND/BERKELEY BUS ROUTE

STOP 1: Departs @ 6:50 am from CNA Headquarters, 250 22nd Street, Oakland CA

STOP 2: Departs @ 7:20 am from Ed Roberts Campus across from Ashby Bart, 3075 Adeline St, Berkeley CA

The Select Committee on Universal Healthcare will finally discuss SB 562 and have a resentation by Michael Lighty, California Nurses Policy Director, and Dr. Robert Pollin of UMass Amherst who helped author the SB 562.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/216009862283555/

12. Wednesday, 10:00am – 11:00am, Monthly Vigil for Luis Góngora Pat – 

Shotwell & 19th Street
SF

On the monthly anniversary of Luis’s killing by SFPD, gather at the altar on Shotwell St. with the family and hear updates.

At this writing, nothing is posted yet on Luis’s FB site.

Check: https://www.facebook.com/groups/230409604013458/

 13. Wednesday, 12Noon – 12:45pm, Let My People Stay Vigil 

ICE
630 Sansome St.
SF

See item #2 for details

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1827914773934268/

 14. Wednesday, 12Noon – 1:00pm, Rally for Universal Healthcare and SB 562 

UCSF Library
530 Parnassus
SF

UCSF Kalmanovitz Library

SB 562, the bill for single payer in California is the future! Feb 7th is the meeting of the California Select Committee where the bill will be discussed and we are rallying to call for the bill to be put back on the Senate floor. Come out and support coverage for all of our patients! Take the profits out of healthcare and make the patient the priority. Read more about single payer and SB 562:

Host: Physicians for a National Health Program San Francisco Bay Area

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/275034859692815/ 

 15. Wednesday, 12 Noon – 2:00pm, Justice for Jesus: Pack the Court!! 

ICE
630 Sansome St.
SF

– Rally starts at 12pm
– Hearing starts at 1pm

Bond hearing

Join us as we demand justice for Jesus Medrano, a father of 4 U.S. citizen children, who was unlawfully and violently detained during an ICE raid in Fair Oaks, California last November. Jesus’s children are hurting, especially his 5 year old who suffers from a medical condition. With increased threats of ICE raids in California, it’s time that we hold ICE accountable.

Jesus’ legal team is preparing his bond packet this week and asks for local organizations to sign on to Jesus’ letter of support so it can be included in the bond packet. To join the organizational sign-on letter go to bit.ly/OrgSignOnforJesus and sign on by no later than Monday 2/5 by close of business.

Host: Immigrant Liberation Movement

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/147931095923578/?notif_t=event_calendar_create¬if_id=1517536949817812

 16. Wednesday, 4:00pm – 10:00pm, Palestine at SFSU – Teach-In

San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Ave., EP 116
SF

Free & Open to public

The launch of our program’s oral history project, “Palestine at SFSU,” this teach-in will include moderated panels with various educators, organizers, and leaders within the community, as well as an opportunity to hear about the AMED program, testimonials from students, and strategies for 2018.

Topics for panels include:

*”Framing and Representations”
*”The Cost of Palestine Scholarship, Pedagogy and Advocacy”
*”Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, Racism & Colonialism”
*”Testimonials and Oral History: Narrating Oppression and Resistance”

Host: AMED Studies at SFSU

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/142460023090743/

17. Wednesday, 4:30pm – 5:30pm, Divest from the War Machine 

BlackRock Bank
400 Howard St. (corner of 1st St.)
SF

BlackRock invests heavily in Lockheed-Martin, and their invested interests include the SF Public Employees Pension System.

Host: Codepink & Others

18. Wednesday, 6:00pm – 7:00pm, Earthquake Preparedness 

San Francisco Main Library
100 Larkin St.,
SF

Matt Springer, a professor in the UCSF Department of Medicine, will give a talk and slideshow about precautions that can be taken to lessen the damage from an earthquake at home and work.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/640385099683760/

19. Wednesday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm, Breaking the Silence 

1800 Oakdale Ave.
SF

Join the San Francisco Department of Public Health and its community partners for a special community forum titled Breaking the Silence. The is a annual event where community members and its leaders come together to discuss topics related to HIV/AIDS

– Live Performances
– Catered Food
– HIV Testing

Our community is under siege its time we take it back…

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/817423111799635/

20. Wednesday, 7:15pm – 9:15pm,  A Thin Wall – Film by Mara Ahmed 

Oakland Asian Cultural Center
388 9th Street, Ste., 290
Oakland

Doors Open: 7pm
Film: 7:15pm

Free and Open to the Public

A THIN WALL is a documentary about memory, history and the possibility of reconciliation. It focuses on the Partition of India in 1947, but derives lessons that remain urgently relevant today. The film is shot on both sides of the border, in India and Pakistan. The film is written and directed by Mara Ahmed and co-produced by Surbhi Dewan. Both filmmakers are descendants of families torn apart by partition.

Film followed by Q & A with Mara Ahmed

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/01/22/18806139.php

21. Wednesday, 7:30pm – 9:30pm, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: Loaded: A Disarming History of Second Amendment 

St. John’s Presbyterian Church
2727 College Ave.
Berkeley

Wheelchair accessible

advance tickets: $12, 800-838-3006 or independent bookstores, $15 door

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, veteran activist and author of “Outlaw Woman” and “An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, presents her new book, “Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment.” She convincingly argues that U.S. gun culture – and all the domestic and global massacres issuing from it – are linked to the role of guns in seizing Native American land, black enslavement, and global imperialism. Joanna Manqueros will host this KPFA benefit.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/01/19/18806015.php

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Review: ‘In the Intense Now’ Revisits the Drama of 1968 in France and Beyond


NO INTENSO AGORA Directed by João Moreira Salles Documentary, History 2h 7m

By A. O. SCOTT JAN. 30, 2018 (NYTimes.com)

The ’60s — 1968 in particular — are so encrusted with legend, nostalgia and pop-historical cliché that it may seem unlikely for a new movie to yield much insight. But those dreading 50th-anniversary greatest-hits medleys will find solace, enlightenment and surprise in João Moreira Salles’s “In the Intense Now,” a bittersweet, ruminative documentary essay composed of footage from the era accompanied by thoughtful, disarmingly personal voice-over narration.

Some of the images — and virtually the only ones in color — come from Mr. Salles’s own archives. His family was living the expatriate life in Paris, traveling home to Brazil during vacations. His mother, an arts journalist, took a trip to China in the early days of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, filming ancient monuments, smiling schoolchildren and ubiquitous portraits of Mao Zedong.

The Chinese interludes, along with amateur film from Czechoslovakia, punctuate a main narrative devoted to the “events of May” in France. That story, of a student uprising followed by a general strike, has been told many times before. The sights associated with it — of rioters hurling cobblestones at the police, of whimsical graffiti, of occupied factories and the imperious visage of President Charles de Gaulle — are as familiar as pictures of Woodstock or the moon landing. But Mr. Salles offers both fresh visual material and a gently revisionist interpretation of events.

The story of May 1968 in France is partly the story of Daniel Cohn-Bendit — called Danny the Red for his hair and his radical politics — one of the celebrity militants of the time. He was the most charismatic of the student leaders, and an articulate spokesman for the concerns of a generation fed up with bureaucracy, conformity and a sclerotic political system.

They forged an improbable, temporarily effective alliance with industrial workers, a convergence that many thought heralded a new revolutionary coalition. But Mr. Salles, with the benefit of hindsight and an astute ability to analyze the documentary record, throws cold water on this romantic notion. The witty slogans — “Be realistic, demand the impossible”; “The walls have the floor”; “Underneath the paving-stones, the beach!” — had the punch of advertising copy. The street demonstrations galvanized the news media and the intelligentsia, but the public craving for order and normalcy was deeper than they or the students realized. And while the students claimed to desire liberation from consumer society, many of the workers wanted better access to it.

The Prague Spring was an unsuccessful revolution of a different kind, ended by the military intervention of the Soviet Union in August. In China, by contrast, the revolution appeared to be successful, but the full dimensions of its cruelty were not yet visible to the few visitors, like Mr. Salles’s mother, who were allowed into the country. Mr. Salles, who seems broadly sympathetic to the traditions of the international left (his brother is Walter Salles, director of “The Motorcycle Diaries”), nonetheless disdains the easy sentimentality of lost causes. He elucidates, above all, the ironic dimension of his film’s title, imposing an elegiac, gently pessimistic tone on the energy and immediacy of what he sees and shows.

What he reveals, perhaps against his own intentions, is the inevitable aestheticization of the past. The anonymous demonstrators in Paris and Prague, and the people holding the cameras, were caught up in the drama of the present, rushing furiously toward a future they could not comprehend. Those of us living in that future notice their clothes and cigarettes, the beauty of the 8- and 16-millimeter cinematography, the look of cities before Starbucks and McDonald’s. For a few hours, we are caught up in the intensity of then.

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Dennis Peron, a California activist and ‘father of medical marijuana,’ died at 72

Dennis Peron, leader of the campaign for Proposition 215 and founder of the Cannabis Buyers Club, right, smokes a marijuana cigarette next to Jack Herer of Los Angeles, in San Francisco in 1996. (Andy Kuno/Associated Press)

By Associated Press January 29 (washingtonpost.com)

Dennis Peron, an activist who was among the first people to argue for the benefits of marijuana for AIDS patients and who helped legalize medical pot in California, died Jan. 27 at a hospital in San Francisco. He was 72.He had lung cancer, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Mr. Peron was a driving force behind a San Francisco ordinance allowing medical marijuana — a move that later aided the 1996 passage of Proposition 215 that legalized medical use in the state.

He argued for the benefits of medicinal marijuana for AIDS patients as the health crisis overtook San Francisco. The Chronicle said the epidemic took his partner, Jonathan West, in 1990.

Last year, a member of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors called him “the father of medical marijuana” at an event honoring him last year.

FILE PHOTO: Marijuana activist Dennis Peron sits outside Oaksterdam University, a trade school for the cannabis industry, in Oakland, Calif. in 2009. (Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

“I came to San Francisco to find love and to change the world,” Mr. Peron said in reply. “I found love, only to lose him through AIDS. We changed the world.”

A Vietnam War veteran, Mr. Peron spent some of his last years on a farm in Lake County, Calif., growing and giving away medical marijuana.

Born in the Bronx on April 8, 1945, and raised on Long Island, he called himself in his published memoir a “gay kid from Long Island who joined the Air Force to get away from home.”

After his discharge, he moved to a commune in San Francisco where he befriended Supervisor Harvey Milk and began selling marijuana.

In 1991, Mr. Peron founded the first public cannabis dispensary in the country during the height of the U.S. drug war.

He and a friend distributed pot to AIDS patients, got busted several times and was shot in the leg by a police officer, the newspaper said.

The pot club served 9,000 clients before it was closed by a judge.

“The city and the country has lost a cannabis leader who lived life on the edge,” Terrance Alan, a member of the city’s Cannabis Commission, told the Chronicle, “He lived his whole life on the edge, and that’s what allowed us to lead in cannabis.”

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Stockton rolls out universal income experiment

City of Stockton.
 Photo by LPS.1/Wikicommons

Hard-luck city to offer low-income families $500 per month

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San Francisco Shows Nation Way Forward by Throwing Out Old Marijuana Convictions

“While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead to undo the damage that this country’s disastrous, failed drug war has had on our nation and on communities of color in particular.”

Dave Warden, a bud tender at Private Organic Therapy (P.O.T.), a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, displays various types of marijuana available to patients on October 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

Just weeks after a California measure legalizing the use of recreational marijuana went into effect, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced on Wednesday that the city will wipe clean the records of thousands of individuals who have been charged with marijuana-related misdemeanors and felonies over the past several decades.

“There are millions of Californians with marijuana convictions on their record. Automatic expungement is neeeded to truly repair the drug war’s harms.”
—Jag Davis, Drug Policy Alliance

“While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead to undo the damage that this country’s disastrous, failed drug war has had on our nation and on communities of color in particular,” Gascón said in a statement on Wednesday, alluding to the Trump administration’s recent announcement that it will rescind federal policy that allows Americans grow, sell, and use marijuana in states where it’s legal.

Noting that California’s new marijuana law allows citizens to petition courts to have their convictions tossed or reduced, Gascón notes that the process can be expensive and time-consuming.

“A criminal conviction can be a barrier to employment, housing, and other benefits, so instead of waiting for the community to take action, we’re taking action for the community,” Gascón said.

San Francisco’s decision to retroactively apply Proposition 64, which was approved by voters in November 2016, was immediately applauded as a massive “step forward“—one that must be replicated throughout California and in other states that have legalized marijuana in order to “truly repair the drug war’s harms.”

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Medicare for All Only Way to Fix Broken System: An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Jamie Dimon

As you turn your focus towards health care, we urge you to meet with policy experts who have studied this problem for decades and concluded—like every other advanced industrialized nation in the world—that a single-payer system is the only way to solve this crisis.

Marchers at a Medicare-for-all rally in Los Angeles, California on February 4, 2017. (Photo: Ronen Tivony/ZUMA)

Dear Mr. Bezos, Mr. Buffett, and Mr. Dimon:

As a physicians and health justice advocates, we agree with you that health care is among the greatest issues facing society today. Your tremendous resources provide a unique opportunity to advocate for a health program to benefit all Americans: a universal, single-payer system.

Mr. Buffett describes our profit-based health system as a “tapeworm,” a parasite whose survival depends on its ability to drain nutrients from the host. How did our health care system reach that sorry state?

Our nation faces a catastrophic failure on two levels. First, the market has failed to deliver affordable health care to those who need it most. More importantly, our elected officials have failed to enact the reforms that could remedy health care’s woes because they are unwilling to offend big donors from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Instead, they’ve nibbled around the edges with incremental reforms like the Affordable Care Act. The ACA not only failed to kill the tapeworm of profit-based health care, it fattened it up with government subsidies, fueling the twin drivers of health costs—profits and administrative bloat.

Adding one more well-intentioned layer to our labyrinthine health care financing arrangements cannot fix these failures. Instead, we must to move to one simple nonprofit financing system, known as single payer or Medicare for All. In fact, Mr. Buffett recently supported single payer and said that as a nation “we can afford to do it.” Medicare for all would bring desperately needed financial stability to the lives of everyday Americans, to every unit of government, and to businesses large and small.

As you turn your focus towards health care, we urge you to meet with policy experts who have studied this problem for decades, as well as the health care professionals operating at the front lines of this crisis. Physicians for a National Health Program is a 22,000-member nonprofit research and education organization that advocates for single-payer health care. Our “Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform” is a research-based plan for expanding health coverage to all Americans while eliminating the waste and profiteering of private insurance, and the inefficiencies they inflict on doctors and hospitals.

We would be happy to meet with you to discuss how single payer could benefit your workers, your bottom line, and the American economy as a whole.

Sincerely,

Carol Paris, M.D.
President, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP)

Carol Paris

Dr. Carol Paris is a psychiatrist and president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP)

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OccupyForum presents . . . Meeting, Discussion and Planning with Gayle McLaughlin and All Groups Working to Stop Deportations

OccupyForum presents…

Monday, February 5th, from 6:45 – 9 pm at SEIU Local 2

215 Golden Gate Avenue near Civic Center BART station

Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!

Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

 Immigration Crisis in the Bay Area

Meeting, Discussion and Planning

with Gayle McLaughlin and All Groups Working

to Stop Deportations

We are witnessing a most serious threat to our immigrant communities.

But it is important to realize that the attacks on immigrants have aroused widespread, diverse and potentially powerful opposition. Included are immigrant groups themselves, activist groups, churches and faith groups, labor unions, lawyers, and some progressive, especially local, politicians. 

Gayle McLaughlin is the former two-term mayor of Richmond, CA, Richmond’s first corporate-free elected official, and a co-founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance. As Mayor, Gayle led Richmond to significant transformation into a progressive City establishing rent control, increasing minimum wage, forcing Chevron to pay over $100 million in taxes, reducing homicides, preventing foreclosures, and promoting green energy. She is currently running for Lt. Governor to seize this moment for real, people-focused change. Gayle will speak to us about her campaign and the RPA model, and then focus on her position in support of defending immigrant rights, and how we need to mobilize to address the crisis at hand.

Groups are working to establish a presence at ICE at 630 Sansome from 4 – 6 pm every weekday. We are devoting our Monday OccupyForums to this issue and beginning to hold meetings for the Immigrant community and their supporters. This Monday will include our first meeting of groups working to stop deportations. With our different tactics and strategies, we’ll discuss how we can offer each other support and unification to stop ICE. 

Announcements will follow. Donations to OccupyForum

to cover our costs are encouraged; no one turned away.

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CA Treasurer and AG launch a study of Public Banking for the now-legal pot industry

180201_cannabis_cash_sacbee_Jae_c_Hong_AP_1026.jpg

Photo by Jae C. Hong, courtesy Sacramento Bee.

 

CA Treasurer John Chiang, a candidate for governor, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Tuesday they will move forward with plans to create a state bank for the cannabis industry and conduct a feasibility study they aim to complete by end of the year.

Chiang said this month’s move by US Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to revoke Obama administration guidelines limiting enforcement of marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal has added urgency and incentive to create a Public Bank. Chiang continued: 

California and other states will need to lead when it comes to bringing the cannabis industry out of the shadows.”

Marc Armstrong, president of Commonomics USA, said that along with pushing the Public Bank conversation forward, the cannabis industry illustrates another big problem with commercial banking: exclusion of wide swaths of customers. Armstrong explained: 

“When you have such a large segment of the population excluded precisely because of federal regulation, you end up putting a spotlight on the glaring inequalities of the banking system and how inadequately it provides services to the economy.”

Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Assn. and a member of Chiang’s working group, said:

“As cannabis business owners, we’re interested in anything that would change the status quo. If there were a public bank and our members could do business with it, our members would open accounts in droves.”

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A California Trend Worth Catching: College for All

America’s left coast is showing how to break up concentrated wealth and fund higher education for all.

The University of California-Berkeley (Photo: Mike Procario / Flickr)

The University of California-Berkeley (Photo: Mike Procario / Flickr)

California can be an annoyingly trendy state. Think avocado toast, In-N-Out Burger, Hollywood fashion, even legal pot.

But Californians are now in the vanguard to fix the serious problem of how to pay for public higher education.

Over 44 million households in the U.S. are saddled with college debt — $37,000 on average. Together they owe over $1.4 trillion, surpassing credit card debt and auto loans.

In the 1970s, California led the world with its famously accessible public universities and community colleges. Millions of Californians received a virtually debt-free college education.

A friend of mine attended both undergraduate and grad school at the University of California in the 1970s and covered all of his tuition and expenses by painting houses during two months of the summer.

That’s not possible anymore. Decades of tax cuts for the wealthy, state budget cuts, and rising tuition and fees have pushed costs much higher — and right onto students and their families.

Between 2011 and 2017, in-state tuition and fees at the University of California rose by nearly a quarter, from $10,940 to $13,509. Out-of-state costs grew to over $40,000.

San Francisco voters took a bold step in 2016 to push back on that trend.

They voted to tax luxury real estate tax transfers, generating over $44 million a year from property sales over $5 million. The city allocated a portion of this revenue to provide free tuition and stipends to San Francisco Community College, boosting enrollment by 16 percent.

“I jumped at the chance,” said Cynthia Diaz, a San Francisco resident studying early childhood education. “I have less stress juggling work, family, and school.”

Diaz has joined an effort to expand the concept beyond San Francisco. She’s collecting signatures for the California College for All initiative to expand college access for over 2.5 million California students.

If successful, the effort will generate an estimated $4 billion a year to invest in public higher education — and greatly reduce tuition and fees. Over 80 percent of the funds will be targeted to students based on need.

Funds will come from restoring a state inheritance tax on Californians with wealth over $3.5 million and couples with over $7 million. These same households just got a massive tax cut at the federal level, as Congress voted to double the family wealth exempted by the federal estate tax from $11 million to $22 million.

At a time of extraordinary wealth inequality, taxing wealth to pay for higher education is a powerful idea. If the California initiative passes in November, it will serve as a model to the nation for how to both reduce concentrated wealth and expand college opportunity.

It may sound radical. But the idea basically restores the formula for college access from the post-World War Two era. In the decades between 1945 and 1980, we taxed high incomes and wealth at much more progressive rates and invested in expanding public higher education.

Other states are addressing this problem too.

Tennessee created the Tennessee Promise, a scholarship and mentoring program that provides two years of “last dollar” assistance to college students to fill any gap not provided by Pell Grants. In Michigan, a group of anonymous donors started the Kalamazoo Promise, guaranteeing free tuition to students who graduate from that city’s high schools.

Other states, such as New York and Massachusetts, are moving toward free community college.

But the California solution would be the most comprehensive initiative yet, covering millions more students at all levels of the public education system.

That’s the best idea since beach volleyball and Mickey Mouse.

Chuck Collins

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he co-edits Inequality.org, and is author of the new book, Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good.  He is cofounder of Wealth for the Common Good, recently merged with the Patriotic Millionaires. He is co-author of 99 to 1: The Moral Measure of the Economy and, with Bill Gates Sr., of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes.

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SF puts out call for private sector to build a citywide internet network

San Francisco is seeking help from the private sector to help develop and build a high-speed fiber-optic network to connect all homes and businesses in The City. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)

By  on January 31, 2018 (SFExaminer.com)

San Francisco called on the private sector Wednesday to help build a citywide high-speed Internet network connecting all homes and businesses.

The effort was initiated by Mark Farrell when he was the District 2 supervisor. After being named interim mayor last week, he will continue to lead the project in his new role.

“We are moving ahead with this project at full speed,” Farrell said Tuesday. “This project will become reality and [Wednesday] is a huge step in that direction.”

The City will issue today a request for qualifications (RFQ) to build a citywide fiber-to-the premises network in a public-private partnership. The City will select by April 30 five proposals from those who submit; from there, three would be allowed to bid on a subsequent request for proposals (RFP) to move ahead to actually design, build, finance, operate and maintain the network. The RFP is expected to be issued by the end of this year.

Whomever is selected would expand The City’s existing fiber optic network and lease its use to internet service providers. The internet service would include affordable subsidized rates for low-income residents.

The effort “will reduce the cost for new service providers to enter the market, reduce redundant and costly builds to reach subscribers, and give subscribers more choices for service providers to meet their connectivity needs,” the RFQ reads.

Whomever is selected would also manage The City’s wireless internet service, which is currently in parks and public buildings, and possibly expand it to other parts of town, like tourist destinations.

The City will provide a significant amount of the funding for the project team to develop the network, and there would be a share in the revenues. The City would retain ownership of the fiber network.

The RFQ makes clear that those who manage the network and provide services must adhere to core principles like privacy, affordability and net neutrality. The Federal Communications Commission threw out last month net neutrality rules dating back to the Obama Administration.

“By building our own network in San Francisco, we can take back control over these issues and make sure that San Francisco residents’ privacy is safe and that we promote a fast and equitable internet that will allow everything to flourish and not be corrupted by the mega-telecom companies and the policies coming out of Trump’s Administration in Washington,” Farrell said.

The net neutrality requirements for the network include “no blocking of lawful websites” and “no paid prioritization” of certain content.

The cost to create a fiber-optic network connecting every home and business in San Francisco to the internet would cost up to $1.9 billion, according to an estimate from a city-commissioned consultant report issued in October.

Whoever ultimately lands the deal would likely sign an initial 15-year agreement for construction and service. It’s expected it would take between three to five years to build out the network.

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