Many more events are listed on our calendar...we look forward to seeing you.
Save CCSF Coalition Continues the Fight
While City College waits to learn whether it will be removed from "Show Cause" sanction by the unaccountable and secretive Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), the "Save CCSF" coalition of faculty, staff and community supporters continues to gainpublic support. The ACCJC is not expected to announce its decision until late June or early July, but the Coalition has been gaining traction in its campaign against the unnecessary pay cuts and sweeping reorganizations that continue to be imposed in the name of accreditation. Here are recent highlights:
--April 18: Newly elected College Board Trustee Rafael Mandelman appeared with Coalition representatives Wendy Kaufmyn (Engineering instructor) and Shanell Williams (Student Council President) in an educational forum at the Unitarian Church. Shortly after her forum appearance, Williams won election as Student Trustee on the College Board, a real victory for progressive students at City College!
--April 23: The SF Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution in support of City College. Sponsored by supervisors Mar, Cohen and Avalos, the resolution urges City College of San Francisco to preserve the quality and diversity of the school’s education and the City to consider new support.
--April 30: The California Federation of Teachers sent a complaint about ACCJC practices to the Department of Education and to the ACCJC itself as “third party comment.” The complaint documents harm arising from the ACCJC’s July, 2012 “Show Cause” order which was based on mischaracterization of CCSF’s accreditation history from 2006 to 2012. Citing numerous examples of conflict of interest on the part of ACCJC commissioners, the CFT complaint alleges that the ACCJC “violated Federal and State law, Federal common law due process, State common law Fair Procedure and the Commission’s own policies in its evaluation of CCSF and in placing it on Show Cause sanction.”
For more information on the Save CCSF Coalition’s activities and to sign up, click here.
On March 12, 2013, San Francisco for Democracy members were treated to an excellent discussion of the moral and legal issues raised by the increasing prevalence of unmanned aerial drones, both abroad and domestic. First, Linda Lye of the Northern California ACLU talks about the increasing use of drones for domestic surveillance and what can be done to protect our privacy. Then John Arquilla, defense analyst at the Naval Postgraduate School, describes the astonishing proliferation of drones on the battlefield and their use in invading the sovereign airspace of countries we are not at war with, and offers his moral and ethical perspective, as well as a peek into the future. Video here.
Happy Birthday, SF4DEAN
Hard to believe it was ten full years ago this March that the governor gave his famous speech at the California Democratic Convention, and a few days later the madness that was San Francisco for Dean was born. How different were things back then folks?
And then there was that other anniversary...
Adjust numbers upward as appropriate.
Membership Party, 2013
Folks around here have been so busy, it took us till mid-March to get the party photos together. But that doesn't mean it wasn't an excellent party. Have a look.
Hostile Takeover of City College
The Accreditation Commission for Community & Junior Colleges, funded by the Lumina and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations, has used a flawed accreditation process to drastically lower the salaries of staff and faculty at CCSF. It has issued an arbitrary "show cause" order which is being used by Acting Chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman and Special $1,000-a-day Trustee Bob Agrella to unilaterally alter the institutional structure of City College of San Francisco, sometimes without the knowledge of our elected College Board Trustees. It is doing this in the name of "productivity".....Lumina foundation's buzzword for producing more work-ready college grads in less time and at cheaper labor costs. Their long term agenda includes:
--drastically lowering the costs of providing higher education by slashing the salaries and benefits of the faculty and staff.
--diminishing the time allowed for completing a Baccalaureate degree by lowering unit requirements & replacing the traditional 4 year degree with a 3 year one.
--replacing class room instruction with "distance learning" which is code for on-line instruction.
--reducing the role of a professor to that of a moderator who presents TV instruction produced by a for-profit corporation.
--creating a public perception that the hard-working faculty at public colleges are over-paid and are part of the problem rather than the solution.
Since 1943 more Americans have been killed by domestic gun violence than in all the wars we have fought put together; yet many in Congress are still balking at taking action, and the gun lobby is saying the only solution is to put armed guards in every classroom. Send the government a strong message here, here and here, and tell the NRA what you think of their interference here and here
The Monsanto-Mercury Slate
Remember the "Voting Guide for Democrats" from June, 2010? It was a sham slate card that looked just legit enough to convince "Democrats" to vote against Prop 15 (Clean Money) and for Prop 16 (PG&E); we brought it to you in the People Powered Paper.
Well, the other day I was cleaning out my mailbox and there was that same damn eagle again:
Only this time, on something called the "Election Digest." So instead of simply tossing it out with everything else, I realized I had to do a little research; cliquez ici to see what I found.
November 2012 Endorsements
and materials are here.
On September 26, Dr. Ellen Shaffer of EQUAL Health Network, Ken Tray of United Educators of San Francisco, and Marsha Donat of Planned Parenthood spoke about what America will lose if GOP radicals gain control of the federal government. Also, Clark Sullivan and Jane Smith of Occupy Bay Area United gave attendees the true scoop on the current state of Occupy.
In late July, SF4D members Dave Massen and Jeff Whittington attended the Citizens Climate Lobby International Conference in Washington, D.C.. 175 people attended from all over North America, and 303 Members of Congress were lobbied.
CCL is focused on passing Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation similar to that called for by climate luminary James Hansen and others. CF&D would place a steadily rising fee on carbon-producing fuels at the point of extraction with all revenue returned to consumers to keep the economy functioning during the transition.
Strong action is needed, in a hurry. According to recent measurements, we may be on the way to restoring temperatures not seen since the late Cretaceous by the end of this century. Such extreme heating during a short time would cause massive disruptions of the biosphere and exterminate nearly all life on earth.
June 2012 Endorsements
Can be found here.
February General Meeting: the Future of Occupy
Robin Krop and Kames Cox-Geraghty
On Thursday, February 2, members and friends of San Francisco for Democracy participated in a lively discussion of the past and future of the Occupy movement with Occupy members Craig Rouskey, Robin Krop, Kames Cox-Geraghty, Ben Hansell, and Diana Macasa. The discussion was moderated by DFA's own Ruby Reid; click here for the video.
SF4D PAC also made some early endorsements at the meeting.
2012 Membership Party
San Francisco for Democracy's annual membership party was held on Saturday, January 21, 2012. As always, there was great food and drink, and quite a few local politicos in attendance. Click here for some photos.
SF4D goes to the White House
On September 23, 2011, SF for Democracy’s Tom Brown, along with Bay Area DFA activists Carole Dorshkind and Kathy Klein, participated in a White House policy briefing organized by the Courage Campaign. Joining community leaders from across the state, we spent the day listening to and asking questions of an impressive list of administration officials including Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Senior Advisor to the President David Plouffe, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and Chief of Staff Bill Daley.
Listening to these high-powered speakers, a picture emerged of a President who must deal with a do-nothing Congress and a whole cohort of people who simply refuse to work with him. In these difficult economic times, most Americans desire action from their government. Yet those who do not believe in a socially proactive role for government seek to make action in Washington impossible. Despite these challenges, we heard that this President Obama and his administration are determined to do what is possible to bring help to people in America.
SF4D PAC's endorsements for the November 8, 2011 local election can be found here.
June 2011 Membership Meeting
June 16 saw the continuation of our split rent control forum with the Milk Club (the first part was June 7 at the LGBT Center). SF4D member Dave Massen started things off with a description of the Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation sponsored by the Citizens Climate Lobby. A vote to endorse the legislation was called for, but too many members did not understand how the legislation would work. You can read more about Carbon Fee and Dividend here; CCL would really appreciate your cards and letters to Congresspersons.
After club officers were re-elected by acclamation, Jim Tracy of Community Housing Partnership obtained our vote of support for the conversion of the Edward II B&B to a youth home. The rest of the meeting was devoted to the rent control and tenant issues forum, with activists Kevin Bard and Brian Basinger presenting their perspectives on various renter's issues. Mayoral candidates Herrera and Chiu came out to defend their record as supporters of rent control, with candidate Chiu offering an explanation of the Park Merced deal (candidate Yee also appeared at the LGBT forum to explain his evolving position on the issue).
You can watch a video of the forum here.
The President's Speech
President Obama's 4/13/11 speech on the American Economy so well reflected our own vision that several members wanted a transcript of the speech reprinted on the website. The speech, in full, follows:
"What we've been debating here in Washington for the last few weeks will affect your lives in ways that are potentially profound. This debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page, more than just cutting and spending. Its about the kind of future we want. It's about the kind of country we believe in. And that's what I want to talk about today.
"From our first days as a nation, we have put our faith in free markets and free enterprise as the engine of America's wealth and prosperity. More than citizens of any other country, we are rugged individualists, a self-reliant people with a healthy skepticism of too much government.
"But there has always been another thread running throughout our history – a belief that we are all connected; and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation. We believe, in the words of our first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, that through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves. And so we've built a strong military to keep us secure, and public schools and universities to educate our citizens. We've laid down railroads and highways to facilitate travel and commerce. We've supported the work of scientists and researchers whose discoveries have saved lives, unleashed repeated technological revolutions, and led to countless new jobs and entire industries. Each of us has benefitted from these investments, and we are a more prosperous country as a result.
Click here for more
Bernie Sanders in San Francisco
San Francisco for Democracy is proud to present, in association with Progressive Perspectives, an evening with Senator Bernie Sanders on Friday, February 25, 7 p.m. at the Unity Universalist Church. Senator Sanders is the most outspokenly progressive member of the United States Senate, and has taken a leadership role on a host of issues, including the preservation of democratic government, Social Security, health care, global warming, foreign affairs, and the economy. Tickets are $15 and certain to sell out; you can buy them here. Click here for more info.
Membership Party 2011
2011 may have been a terrible year for democracy in America, but in California it wasn't quite as bad. Mark Leno came out to our annual party to explain his optimism about California's economic future under Jerry Brown. Also in attendance were quite a few of our other favorite state and local politicos, as well as many of the usual great SF4D suspects. Photos are here.
January 2011 Meetup
After being treated to a terrific analysis of the local component of the November election by Fine Line Analytics' David Latterman, attendees at the January 5 meetup participated in a three-person panel consideration of the ongoing WikiLeaks controversy. Is a data dump of this sort good for open government, or will it lead to more secrecy? How is the relationship between organizations and private citizens changing as a result of internet activism? And is it possible or desirable to hold "hacktivists" to traditional standards of journalism?
See what our panelists and members felt about the issues here.
And don't forget to support Bradley Manning here.
Belying a comparative lack of activity on this page, 2010 was actually a fairly busy year for San Francisco for Democracy. About the same time as our March effort to begin providing a neutral forum where all local political parties (both moneyed and not) can make themselves heard, we found ourselves heavily involved in the attempt to repeal the 2/3 Assembly vote requirement for revenue and budgetary measures (the so-called California Democracy Act or Lakoff Act) imposed by 1978's notorious Prop 13. Unfortunately, despite the many hundreds of volunteers working for the campaign, by April the measure had failed to accumulate enough signatures to appear on the ballot, providing yet another demonstration of one of our pet peeves: that the only way to get a "citizen's intitiative" before the voters is to have pockets deep enough to pay fulltime signature gatherers. Once again we see the game is rigged in favor of the rich and powerful.
Of course, much of last winter and spring was devoted to propelling one of our favorite agendas: public financing for election campaigns. June's Proposition 15 was already heavily compromised, having been reduced to a mere pilot program to demonstrate the viability of public financing at the state level, but in a time of budget crisis it was the best we could get the legislature to agree to. Since it required a minor change to the constitution, the measure still had to be put before the voters, and the timing was unfortunate: the June election was a mostly Republican primary. We also discovered some very deceptive slate mailers, and the power of misleading a.m. radio ads to squash measures that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation doesn't like. The result was very discouraging, but of course, not enough so to shut us up.
The June primary also saw our first true multiparty ballot endorsements. This exhausting but worthwhile process was spearheaded by Political Director Glenn Davis mainly to try and give the less-powerful parties more of a voice. SF4D endorsed candidates for the Democratic, Republican, Green, and Peace and Freedom parties.
The summer also saw us cosponsoring a candidate forum on HIV policy in San Francisco, signing on to Phil Ting's "Close the Loophole" (split-roll property tax) campaign, supporting Unite Here Local 2 in their struggle against the hotels, and many other actions. We put together our first ever slate mailer. SF4D members, especially OFA coordinator Susan Pfeifer, worked hard to keep California from falling into the Tea abyss that many other states experienced, and at least in this area our efforts were rewarded.
Finally, it would be remiss not to mention the as-always terrific job that Meetup coordinator Peter Wong (along with Susan Pfeifer) did in putting together programs all year. Although we changed from a monthly to bimonthly schedule, there is still a lot of work involved in selecting topics and formats, getting speakers to show up, and making the whole thing come off. Excellent programs on marijuana legalization, immigration reform, human trafficking, activating the progressive base, containing oil spills, the death penalty, and the notorious Jeff Adachi measure (Prop B), among others, were presented by San Francisco for Democracy during 2010. Congratulations, Peter!
November Endorsements/Candidate Materials...
are on our PAC page.
Who's Next? *
No doubt you've seen this video, but it can't be watched enough times. All the "Powers" on the right have to do is make a heavily edited, consummately dishonest video and show it on their teevee channel round the clock to get the press and ridiculous, cowardly Democrats to stampede to destroy the intended target. Absolutely no proof necessary, certainly nothing near to a conviction of wrongdoing; we'll just obliterate an important and noble social organization on the basis of hearsay presented by racist teenagers. Even Jon Stewart was sickeningly naiive on this one.
ACORN has now been investigated and cleared of wrongdoing by four different agencies, but the damage is done. So how many more times do they get away with it? How many more Swift Boats, Iowa Screams, and "Al Gore's honesty problems" will there be? What happens to a society that is ruled by such utter nonsense?
Tell your Congressperson to take a public stand against the "defund ACORN act."
* Answer here.
PACs Make June Endorsements
For the first time ever, San Francisco for Democracy and its PACs endorsed for the full slate of party central committees and judges, as well as all primaries and propositions. Results are here.
March 15 Membership Meeting
Glenn Davis, Tim Durning, Aaron Peskin, Barry Hermanson, Marsha Feinland. Photo by Terrrie Frye
Our membership meeting on March 15 intended to give the chairs of the four major Bay Area political parties a forum in which to declaim on the philosophies and merits of their parties. While Republican Party chair Howard Epstein failed to make the event, SFDCC chair Aaron Peskin, Green Party co-chair Barry Hermanson, and Peace and Freedom co-chair Marsha Feinland all were eloquent, and a lively discussion and Q&A session with the good sized audience consumed the entire meeting.
February Meetup Followup
Quite a few issues were discussed at our February 3 Meetup, a number of which cry out for some good old citizen activism.
Perhaps most pressing is the need to restore majority rule to California's budget process. The California Democracy Act (Lakoff Initiative), which would get rid of the 2/3 rule instituted by Prop 13, needs a lot more signatures by April 12 to qualify for the November ballot, and no one is being paid to gather them. You can help out by going here.
Ironically, PG&E is striving to initiate a new Prop 13 this June. Their anti-CCA initiative, Prop 16, would amend the constitiution to require 2/3 of the voters in an area to approve any alternative power system. This brazen grab at permanent monopoly status is actually being framed as the "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act"; in truth it is every bit as undemocratic as Prop 13, and if allowed to succeed, may encourage other corporations to establish permanent monopolies of their own. PG&E is already eminating millions of dollars of incredibly deceptive advertising, so learn all about Prop 16 here, and inform as many people as you can.
Another thing that can use a helpful shove from involved citizens is getting a restart on progressive immigration reform. This issue has been pushed to the bottom of the mountainous pile of work the Democrats in Congress are confronted with, but millions of people are suffering and it needs to be brought back into public consciousness. Learn more and support the March for Immigration Reform on March 21 here, as well as telling your Congresspersons to cosponsor Rep Gutierrez' immigration bill, HR 4321.
Too few people are aware of the extent of human trafficking in the United States, and especially right here in the Bay Area. Bizarrely, the penalty enforced for enslaving other people in America rarely exceeds a slap on the wrist. Our Senator Leland Yee and SF Supervisor Carmen Chu are striving to change this situation; learn about their efforts here and here.
Finally, administrative assistant Quentin Mecke reminided us of the economic and social virtues of legalizing marijuana; fortunately his boss, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, happens to be sponsoring a bill, AB2254, which would do just that. Take immediate action to support it here.
Annual Membership Party
Pics are up
Happy New Year!
From SF4D and ONN.