CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The April meeting will be a combined membership and regional affair. The S.F. Gray Panthers will have the opportunity to meet with Northern California network groups to learn what they are doing and the way they work to achieve their goals.
It is always an inspiration to see how dynamic the Gray Panthers can be when we get together to ex- change views on how to implement National's task force goals. Bring a brown bag lunch to eat at our noon break and we'll provide dessert cookies. Don't miss this exciting meeting on April 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p,m. in the Solarium at the Western Park Apartments at 1280 Laguna.
The citizens of San Francisco deserve an A for effort. At least those citizens who turned out to support the Action Assembly sponsored by the Domestic Action Movement, an umbrella organization of community activists. held at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, Saturday, March 15.
The purpose of this meeting-the next one will be June 14-is to mobilize and educate the voting public to work for and hopefully attain action on jobs for all, an end to homelessness and hunger, housing, protec- tion of the environment and much more.
The chief focus of the Action Assembly, jobs and decent income for all, is epitomized by the Dellums Full Employment Bill HR 1050 and the Martinez emergency jobs bill before Congress.
The audience heard such notable speakers as Walter Johnson of the SF Labor Council, Malika Saada Saar, an ardent spokesperson for Family Rights and Dig- nity. Karen Talbot, Director of WILPF, and a special appearance by Mayor Willie Brown. State Senator John Burton concluded the formal meeting with an upbeat message for the audience. Enola Maxwell, Di- rector, Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, chaired the meeting.
Following lunch, with the participation of the audi- ence, suggestions were made on how to convert the ideas expressed at the meeting into positive action. Entertainment was provided by the Babar Jung Band and the Freedome Song Network.
Kaiser Catches the Plague
Terri Ross of the California Nurses Association spoke briefly at our March meeting about Kaiser, Kaiser nurses and Kaiser Senior Advantage. Since many GPs are Kaiser members, we report her remarks at some length.
Kaiser for many years has been an outstanding nonprofit HMO. Unfortunately, they are not immune to bottom-line mentality, which means cutting care and cutting quality trained staff. Not only have they reduced the number of RNs on staff, they are asking the remaining trained nurses to take a 2% pay reduc- tion, use vacation time for sick leave, reduce medical and retirement benefits and overtime pay for nurse- practitioners who have increased patient loads-while grossly increasing management salaries.
In addition, CNA is warning seniors to take a close look at Kaiser Senior Advantage to make sure it is the best use of your Medicare. Look at limitations in home health care visits and out of service area cover- age and care options. Compare copayments for mental health visits, vision care and prescriptions. You do not have to join Senior Advantage to remain a Kaiser member. You can retain your freedom to use Medicare as you see fit.
Kaiser is no different than other HMO in these ex- amples. But they used to be better and they should be better. Many of us who use Kaiser services are very satisfied and have no intention of changing. But this is a warning to us: Be involved in your health care. Be knowledgeable and protect your own interest. You can no longer depend on a benevolent Kaiser big-brother. Meanwhile the CNA and Kaiser nurses are fighting for a decent contract. Support them. Call Kaiser Cus- tomer Services 1-800-464-4000 and tell them to stop cutting services and give the RNs a fair contract.
The March Meeting
The March meeting devoted to the future of Social Security was a lively affair thanks to the presentations by Mitzi and Astrid.
Mitzi summarized the proposals for partial privatization of SS put forth by the Social Security Advisory Council appointed by the Clinton admini- stration to "fix" SS. All three "solutions" involve in- vesting some funds in the stock market, either by the governnment or by individuals. Her conclusion-none is necessary, all are risky, all are windfalls for Wall Street.
Astrid spoke about the Boskin Panel's recommen- dation of privatizing SS monies. The model for such distribution of wage-earners monies is Chile-that en- lightened country in South America which:
Some solutions to saving Social Security:
Tickets for the Theater
It's come to my attention recently that many people aren't aware that the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) offers discount tickets to seniors 62 years old or over. The price is $10; no checks or credit cards accepted, cash only. The procedure is as follows: for matinees (Saturdays, Sundays and two Wednesdays a month, dates vary), you arrive at 12 noon for the 2 o'clock performance. For the evening performances, you arrive one and half hours in advance. The box office is at 405 Geary Street (which is not in the theater but a few doors down). The phone number is: 749-2228. The last show-Royal Family-started on March 20th.
I contacted other theaters in San Francisco to learn if they offered anything comparable. Unfortunately, no. They did say, however, that some producers (infrequently) do offer senior discounts. They are not advertised; you need to inquire at the box office or call the theater. It's interesting, isn't it, that we have to ferret out these discounts; that it's not mentioned in their playbills or advertisements. It seems to be given grudgingly.
Every once in a while I get an urge to see a live
show and find this arrangement pleasing. After I get
my ticket (you do have a choice of the remaining seats
available) my friend and I usually go across the street
to Mama's , have lunch, walk around a bit and get to
the theater in time for the show. Bernice Becker
The Newsletter of the San Francisco Gray Panthers is published each month, and distributed free of charge to members and friends of this nonprofit organization.