December 2000

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December, throughout

An American Focus, The Anderson Graphic Arts Collection. California

Palace of the Legion of Honor. Free, Dec. 13.

Mon. Dec. 4 9:30­11:30 a.m.

Flu Shots. St. Francis MealSite. 432 Post St. Free with Medicare card.

Mon., Dec. 4 7:00 p.m.

Canadian Health Care examined at 626 Pacheco. Sponsored by Health

Care for All.

Thurs., Dec. 7 1:00­3:00 p.m.

Board meeting at the office. All welcome!

Fri., Dec. 8 9:30­11:30 a.m.

Flu Shots. N. of Market Senior Services. 333 Turk St. Free with Medicare card.

Sat., Dec. 16 11:30 a.m.­2:00 p.m.

GPs' Holiday Party. Potluck get-together at the office, and elect of Board

of Directors.

Sat., Dec. 16 10:30 a.m.­12:15 p.m.

OWL Annual Holiday Potluck and Election of Board Members.

Info 415/989-4422.

Sun., Dec. 17 3:00 p.m.

Free concert by the Alexander String Quartet. McKenna Theatre, SFSU.

Fri., Dec. 22 First Day of Hanukkah

Mon., Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Tues., Dec. 26­Mon., Jan. 1 Kwanzaa

Gray Panthers Holiday Party

Bring your goodies and yourselves between 11:30 and noon when we will be there to open the door.If you must come later, call 415/552-8800 and we'll send an emissary to you in. As with all our celebrations, you'll enjoy the feast, getting together with other GPs socially and contributing to the election of the Board of Directors for the year 2001.

At our December party each year we elect members of our Board of Directors to help run our organization for the coming year. Board members are elected for a two-year term on a staggered basis. Nominations are open until the moment of election.

Ongoing members of the Board for next year are Mary Frances, Lois, Clarissa, Cris, Augusta, Mitzi, Inger and Franklin. Nominations to date are Fanny, Astrid, Rebecca, Lillian K., Wendy and Jean L. Nominees must be paid-up members of the San Francisco network of the Gray Panthers.

Group Action Is Key to Progress

Promising to recap the results of the recent election and to plan Gray Panthers' reactions and plans for the new year, a group met on November 21, formed a sort of round-robin, and explored ways to implement or counteract those results.

With a minimum of moderating from Mitzi Raas and Aroza Simpson, Sonja started the individuals focusing on a subject he or she saw as key to future activities. She said that Prop. O (campaign finance regulations) should include the mayor's office in the limiting of campaign financing.

Marcia followed up by saying that we should have "preferential" voting by which we could have an instant runoff and eliminate the expense of the runoff elections necessary this year.

Mike Hill wants to abolish the electoral college, find more money for drug rehab and encourage environmental responsibility. Wendy will work toward preferential voting, lobby for Prop. L to limit office and live-work deregulation and for comprehensive health care. And Clarissa joined in on the single-payer theme plus advocating for pedestrian crossing safety measures.

Aroza will keep up her untiring advocacy for single payer and Astrid offered to help write or edit any of the pet causes of members for publication in this newsletter.

Rhoda is keeping a wary eye on the library shenanigans and advocating for the abolishment of the death penalty. LaVerne was glad Prop. 36 (drug rehab) passed but wants to know where the money is coming from. Olga rued the constant increase in the city's homeless, and Mary Frances is advocating that S.F. get public power (a municipal utility district) on the next ballot. Carl will work for single payer and Medicare Rx drug benefits.

Cris has a wide agenda including housing, health care and ageism, while Mitzi will reactivate instruction seminars on Social Security, work toward abolishing the School of the Americas and the trends toward ageist discrimination..

A few of the most frequently mentioned causes were election reform (instant runoff), Social Security and Medicare, single payer, death penalty, housing, public power and drug treatment.

It was agreed that every advocacy mentioned had real merit and it is suggested that each of these causes could be developed by forming committees of a few members devoted to them. Think about suggesting a meeting time and place for your group in January. There's greater clout when we work as a group and spread the duties and the word!

Give a Little and Gain a Lot

We need you in the office to eiter learn our basic bookkeeping system or to answer the phone and direct the mail. Each job is four hours per week. Interested? Want more information? Want to "just try it out"? Contact Aroza at 415/567-5348 or drop by the office from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, 1182 Market Street, Room 203, telephone 415/552-8800. Get acquainted and explore our office in the heart of dot-com land.

On another topic, we also are interested in recruiting new board members. We'll be having a tea party at the office, with a history of the Gray Panthers and some idea of the resources we have. This year will be so important to the values we address as Gray Panthers. Learn what the values are so your ideas and actions can help make a difference in a crazy world. Background information and a cup of tea. Sound inviting? Call us and express any interest you might have. We'll arrange a time.

GPs Foray into Politicos' Fortress

A delegation of nine dedicated supporters of universal health care visited the local offices of four candidates for election to state and federal legislatures. We took with us petitions asking the candidates to pledge their support for U2K, as mandated by our meetings on Oct. 7 and Oct. 17. Four organizations were officially representedGray Panthers, N2N, Health Care for All, and SAN, and one, OWL, had intended to join us but showed up at the wrong time.

All nine of us visited the offices of US Representative Pelosi, State Senator John Burton, S.F. Assemblyperson Carole Migden; three went on to US Senator Feinstein's office. We were most cordially received at the first three offices by the candidates' representatives, given ample opportunity to emphasize our views on the need for comprehensive/accessible/affordable/accountable health care for everyone, and assured that the matter would be presented to the candidates. At Senator Feinstein's office we were neither expected, although we had made an appointment, nor particularly welcomed, but we stood our ground, made our points, and got the office representative's promise to report our visit to the Senator. (In their defense, it was the day the Senator was debating her opponent publicly, and her staff was a bit pressured.)

In all cases we requested the candidates to heed our petitions, read our letter asking for their support, and let us know if they were committed to U2K. We had already received signed letters for support from Assemblyperson Kevin Shelley and US Senate candidate Medea Benjamin. The visits were on Tuesday. By Thursday we had a signed letter of support from Migden.

This was a productive, interesting and enjoyable activity. We intend to go back after the elections and challenge the victors to act on their commitments. We hope you will join us then. Mitzi

Outgoing Convener Charts Our Path!

The holiday party on December 16 will be my last gathering as convener of the San Francisco Gray Panthers. After serving eight years I want to permanently step down and give others a chance to learn as much as I have being convener. Fortunately the learning goes on and now I want to concentrate on outreach to new members who might be issue oriented.

I 've been noticing a similar social justice agenda emerging in several multi-issue organizations, as well as new political parties on the horizon. I think a large percentage of us want to see our tax dollars spent on funding public education, Universal Health Care, eliminate the growing gap between the rich and the poor, end global warming and environmental destruction, end the war on drugs, stop the malling of America, give ourselves a 5-6 week guaranteed vacation, and reduce the exorbitant military budget. The next step is to figure out how to achieve these goals.

Gray Panthers of S.F. can make a difference by using the resources in our office, our newsletter, our national network, our coalition partners (locally, regionally and nationally), our office computers, and e-mail and snail-mail materials, and most of all our spirits, our ability to have a good time, our experience and our hope.

It's your turn in your own way, to strengthen your ability to be Gray Panther leadersall of us together. Integrate our skills. Collaborate. Have fun. Let's use our office, our energy, our ideas to forge ahead in these difficult times. Yahoo! Aroza Simpson.

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.

Editorial Board: Rebecca Hirshleifer, Mitzi Raas; Publisher, Astrid M. Spector; Art Director, Fannie Biderman; Proof, Lurilla Harris; Circulation: Harold Greenblatt and Mary Francis Smith. Printed by Graffik Natwicks; Webpage design: Barry Simpkins

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