San Francisco Gray Panthers Half-Year Report, Sept. 12, 2009
· We and Sacramento GPers were plaintiffs in a lawsuit that stopped California from cutting payments to Medi-Cal doctors, pharmacies, day-care centers etc. by 10%. (Calif. is already among lowest in payments and ratio of providers to patients.) We had a demonstration around a hearing, and Newsletter articles.
· We are also plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Calif. for terminating Medi-Cal “optional benefits”: adult dentistry, podiatry, vision and hearing testing, speech therapy, and others. We had a small demonstration at the first hearing, which we lost, but the Attorney General is involved in an expedited appeal.
· Members were active phoning, faxing legislature on threat to close all Poison Control Centers. Half saved.
· We have been active in CARA and Senior Action Network activities on SB 810.
· Discussing whether to go beyond single payer and endorse National Health Service.
Civil Liberties/Human Rights: Committee is restarted.
· Committee members are writing a short dramatic presentation on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and have incorporated the theme of the UDHR into leaflets protesting budget cuts, racial profiling of immigrants.
· We had a brunch benefit for Mumia, featuring his lawyer and a SF leader in the Free Mumia campaign. It turns out Mumia and Maggie Kuhn knew each other. Can we get National GP support for Mumia?
· We have attended court hearings of the SF8 (eight former Black Panthers being re-tried on murder and conspiracy charges that were dismissed 36 years ago because the confessions were elicited by torture in New Orleans.) All but one are essentially free.
· We played significant role in preventing SF Labor Council from backing down on support of SF8.
· We participated in the May Day march for worker and immigrant rights, and participated in demonstrations against homelessness.
· We, and national Gray Panthers joined a coalition against 287(g) programs, empowering local police to enforce immigration law, with gross racial profiling and unlawful detention, deportation.
· Consistent articles in Newsletter and Blog
· We participated in March against Gaza Invasion
The Economy, Meltdown, Bailout, Joblessness
· Numerous Newsletter articles analyzing the financial meltdown, the bailout, etc
· Co-hosted meeting with Norman Solomon on economy, war, health care, spun off discussion meeting.
· We were members of Workers Economic Recovery Campaign; had one mass meeting, then fizzled out.
· Members participated in a march against the bailout of banks
· We have introduced theme of “Make the Bosses Take the Losses” in articles, speeches, banners, signs.
· We initiated a budget action in a previously untouched neighborhood with a car caravan with loudspeaker and leafleting on sidewalks.
· We were active in a Coalition against City health budget cuts,
· Numerous Newsletter articles and several monthly programs on crisis of safety-net cuts
· We were active in the campaign against the measure to cap the State budget in the Special Election.
· We participated in marches, rallies against the budget cuts.
· Spoke twice at retirement home where Santa Barbara Gray Panther had recently moved in.
· Community Access TV exposure should be increasing soon, as member is getting daily show.
· Again, membership growing slowly, but some new members are active. Activists some members knew while working are now retiring, and coming around.
· Again, more consistent contact with new contacts via e-mail and phone conversations.
· Phone tree is more organized, still successful in bringing people out.
· Internet activity: website getting ~ 1,300 hits per day, down from ~2,000/day six months ago. News article blog is getting ~70 hits per day. URL is http://mlyon01.wordpress.com/