CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Wed., Dec. 2 1:003:00 p.m.
Board Meeting at the office. All welcome.
Sat., Dec. 5 Noon
Join Season of Conscience Actions at Union Square for a kick-off
action asking shoppers to demand justice for garment workers in
El Salvador. Info, 415/648-8222.
Tues., Dec. 8 1:002:00 p.m.
Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program of San Mateo
County will share info re proposed Medicare changes. Info, 650/991-6677.
Fri.Sat., Dec. 11-12 All Day
Statewide conference on how to protect drinking water, public
health and the environment. Headlands Institute in Marin.
Info or registration, 415/362-3040.
Sat., Dec. 12 12:303:00 p.m.
Holiday Potluck Party at the office. Bring your favorite finger food,
your entertainment talents and your friends.
Sun., Dec. 13 2:003:15 p.m.
Covenant of Compassion Rally in front of the War Memorial
Building, 401 Van Ness at McAllister.
Mon., Dec. 14 Chanukah
Sat., Dec. 19 10:30 a.m.12:30 p.m.
OWL Annual Holiday Potluck Party. Theme: Memorable Winter
Holidays of the 20th Century. All invited. Info, 415/989-4422.
Fri., Dec. 25 Christmas Day
Singing Is Good For Your Health
Singing For Health Is Even Better
Sung to the chorus of Yankee Doodle Dandy:
Start the drumbeat, keep it up,
For universal health care.
Call the White House comment line
And ask for single payer.
The White House comment line is 1-202/456-1111. Gray Panthers call every Tuesday morning before 8:00 a.m. (it will cost you 32 cents) and tell the President we want universal health care, expand Medicare, cover everyone. This is the Neighbor-2-Neighbor/Gray Panthers drumbeat campaign, as explained in last month's Newsletter.
Remember, when 20 people call the White Hhouse comment line on the same day about the same issue, the President receives a written report of it on his desk. Call Now!
Our Own Elections
At the December meeting we will elect mem-
Current members of the Board who are completing two terms and are therefore not eligible for nomination are Deetje, Clarissa, Mary Frances and Eleanor. Thank you all for your hard work as Board members.
Completing two years and therefore eligible for nomination for a second term are Aroza, Bernice and Sonja.
Ongoing members are Fanny, Karen and Rhoda1999 will be their fourth year on the Board; and 1999 will be Augusta, Mitzi, Inger and Franklin's second year.
Help the Hurricane Victims of Central America!
"Hurricane Mitch was the worst natural disaster in this hemisphere on record," Hillary Clinton Stated during her visit to Honduras. More than 10,000 people were killed with hundreds of thousands left homeless from the storm's rampage through Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
This unprecedented tempest roared through countries whose people were already among the poorest in the world. Poverty in recent years has been increasing in the wake of the "storm" of economic globalization, liberalization and "free-trade." Poverty compounded the death toll because the poor are forced to live in areas unsuitable for habitation such as precarious hillsides which have been stripped of vegetation and are prone to mudslides. The suffering of multitudes is now greatly intensified by this natural catastrophe.
The hurricane was clearly related to global warming which the United Nations and hundreds of scientists have been warning about. Industrial emissions of gases which generate a "greenhouse" effect contribute in a major way to global warming. The U.S. has been the biggest culprit regarding these emissions. Yet, the U.S. giant corporations continue to be the most vociferous opponents of the treaty on global climate change arrived at in Kyoto, Japan. They are fighting against the ratification of the Kyoto Treaty by the Senate.
Moreover, the transnational fruit companiesmost based in the U.S. such as Dole and Chiquitahave established huge plantations in the flood plains and in other ways have damaged the ecology of these countries. This ecological destruction made the loss of life in the floods that accompanied the storm, much more devastating than it otherwise might have been.
In the wake of the wreckage caused to the plantations by the hurricane, these same companies promptly fired the overwhelming majority of their workers.
Thanks to public pressure, the United States announced that it is increasing its aid to around $250 million. It also said it will cancel two years of debt payments owed by Honduras and Nicaragua amounting to $54 million. Yet, by contrast, Cuba, suffering from over 40 years of blockade by the U.S., was the first country to completely cancel the debts owed it by these countries. French President Jacques Chirac said that France will forgive the debts of Guatemala, El Salvadore, Nicaragua and Honduras totaling $134 million"
Furthermore, Cuba has sent tons of supplies and over 2,000 doctors into the remotest areas hit by Hurricane Mitch where they are functioning virtually without medications and adequate facilities.
There are also problems regarding the dispersal of aid by the right-wing governments. Press reports have revealed, for instance, that the Nicaraguan government had refused to distribute aid to villages where Sandinistas are the officials.
It is important to send funds to groups that will really get help to those who need it most. One could send funds to organizations like the American Friends Service Committee, or Pastors for Peace (which is sending aid to Chiapas).
In Honduras, a group trying to help the poor
with health care and other aid is the Honduras
Health Exchange Project. Its leader, Dr. Juan
· Please send checks made out to San Francisco Gray Panthers, indicating at the bottom "for Honduras Health Exchange." Mail them to: Gray Panthers, 1182 Market St. Room 203, San Francisco, CA 94102.
· Contact us for a list of medicines needed and where they should be sent. 415/552-8800.
· Call the President, Senators and Representatives urging aid be increased and that the U.S. forgive all the debts, as Cuba and France have, and ask the World Bank and IMF to cancel the debts of these countries. (Remember, the U.S. canceled Egypt's debt in exchange for its support of the Gulf Warso it can be done.)
Regional Meeting a Hit!
Study or Boondoggle?
San Francisco Supervisors moved in November
to consider whether the City should be required
Living-wage laws have been enacted in 20 cities, including Oakland, Los Angeles, Pasadena and West Hollywood.
The laws require contractors who provide services to a city to pay their workers above the minimum wage.
"San Francisco has a high cost of living," said Karen Talbot of the Gray Panthers, who favors the living-wage idea. "Many people will (soon) have to move out of the city and commute back into the city to work."
Excerpted from the San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, November 10, 1998.
We'll keep you posted.
The Gray Panthers Northern California Regional
meeting, November 14, focused on develop
The next topic was the expansion and preservation of Medicare. The networks voted to sign the petition to be sent to the White House and Congress for this purpose and to protest the privatization of Medicare which would be a disaster. We will encourage all networks to endorse the petition.
National has a new office in Washington D.C. and will soon announce its new web page. Each network will be receiving quarterly membership lists.
Networks within the Region are encouraged to write position papers to present our views on topics of concern and to unify our goals. Position papers on intergenerational housing, transportion, education, etc., would be integrated with papers on health care, jobs and Social Security. We already have a paper on Medicare. These papers would be distributed to the other networks in the Region to inform them about the
Requests for Donations
We receive a great number of requests for
endorsements and donations each month.
The Board tries to evaluate each and donates
within our budget and GPs stated goals.
U.S. Cuban Medical Caravan needs donations. Mail to U.S.Cuban Medical Caravan, 40813th Street, Box 206, Oakland, CA 94612.
Volunteers are needed by the S.F. Food Bank to collect, distribute and serve food to the needy during this holiday season. Call S.F. Food Bank Volunteer Coordinator Frank Burtnett at 415/282-1907.
work we are doing.
In the international arena, it was suggested we share information about where to send money to help the people of Central America devastated by the hurricane and flooding. Government organizations cannot be trusted to distribute aid where it is needed.
Volunteer to Entertain Your Friends
Display your talents, let your artistic nature out,
perform for your GPfamily! In addition to your creativity in the kitchen, we'd like this Holiday Party to display your musical and dramatic talents.
Call the office and tell us how you can
contribute to the festivities. We'll try to put you
in touch with others with like interests.