February 1999

Back to Newsletters

Back to Gray Panthers Home Page


A February Valentine

As we grow older, we must consider how to create a
cushion to ease the effects of aging on our living
conditions. Our February meeting will feature representatives from On Lok and In-Home Supportive Services to explain resources available to assist in retaining independence, at home, living as long as possible.

Though many of us would probably prefer not to discuss the topic of aging, it is always valuable to know where and how to seek help when we need it.

To complete the panel discussion, a spokesperson from Laguna Honda Hospital will speak to the importance of supporting the hospital. Laguna Honda is the only place in which many of San Francisco's frail elderly and disabled can receive the comprehensive care they need. Volunteers and hospital staff are exerting every effort to keep the tradition of a home-like atmosphere and a sense of community alive during this transitional period. They urge everyone to support the bond measure that will insure the future of the hospital.


February is Black History Month

Thurs., Feb. 4 1:00­3:00 p.m.

Board Meeting at the office. All welcome!

Please note the change of day/date.

Sat., Feb. 6 9:30 a.m.­3:30 p.m.

"One­Stop" Women's Clinic with focus on

women over 50. Call 415/782-8901 for loca-

tion and to register. There will be legal help,

health checkups, education and job informa-

tion plus lunch and bus tokens provided.

Thurs., Feb. 11 10:00 a.m.

Senior Action Network (SAN), St. Mary's

Cathedral, 1111 Gough at Geary.

Sat., Feb. 13 GPs Regional Meeting in Oakland.

Call the office for more info.

Tues., Feb. 16 12:30-3:00 p.m.

Monthly meeting: Activists Facing Old Age;

Options for Independent Living. First

Unitarian Church, Franklin and Geary.

Wed., Feb. 17­Wed., March 10, noon­1:00 p.m., daily, City Hall

Join the Religious Witness With Homeless

People's fast and rallies with 682 witnesses

representing those who have died on SF

streets in the past 5 years. Info 415/863-3611.

Thurs., Feb. 25 6:30­7:30 p.m.

Forgotten California: The Central Valley.

Actors read from Joan Didion's River Run.

Koret Auditorium, Main Library. Free.

Sat., Feb. 27 10:30 a.m.­12:30 p.m.

Older Women's League (OWL): Eleanor

Roosevelt: a Woman of Many Transitions.

Info: 415/989-4422.

Granny D's Crusade

Soft Money "must be cut out! It has affected our moral fiber,

stolen our free elections, and like a hidden octopus, its
tentacles have reached into our wallets. I say that we the people do care how much money is spent to become a political candidate in these United States."
Granny D is walking across America from Los Angeles to Washington D.C., traveling as a Pilgrim, seeking not your money, but food, shelter and signatures on her petition. The petition says: We the people of the United States of America request our c

Congress to enact with all due speed Meaningful Campaign Reform.

Follow her progress on her web site, <www.grannyd.com>. Meet with her, walk with her, support her quest!

Social Security

Our Social Security work is in partnership with some ten

other groups in the Coalition on Social Security. We
have been working for two years to counteract the privatization propaganda. Have we accomplished anything? Yes, along with hundreds of other such groups throughout the country. When the gloom-and-doom crisis report was first swallowed whole by the media with cries for immediate privatization, it looked like a done dealand our side was caught by surprise. But the groundswell of public opinion all over the country, in spite of the media barrage, slowed the momentum and prevented the privatization action. To their disappointment, CATO (a conservative think tank) and its allies couldn't capitalize on their initial advantage. This was due more to the innate good sense of the American people than our organized opposition.
In the interim relatively quiet two years, however, the "it ain't broke, don't fix it" forces have mobilized. Now things are beginning to heat up again. So what our role in this?

Our aim is to reach as many people as possible with our antiprivatization, preserve-Social-Security message, and to get them to bombard Washington with no-privatization, preserve- social-security demands. Currently we have pending two invitations, Church Women United at the end of January and SAN in March. We are happy to speak to anybody, but neither of these groups is our audience of choice. We would prefer to talk to 30 to 50 year olds, and we have found it very difficult to reach them.

So that is one thing for us to work ongetting an appropriate audience. If we do get that audience, we can always use more people to speak to them. We have lots of background material, loads of documentation, at least three example speeches. To date, Mitzi and Inger are prepared to speak and will welcome anyone willing to join them. Beyond that, we can all do tabling and leafletting. We have an excellent leaflet for distribution. We urge all of you to write, e-mail, pick up the phone again and again and tell the White House and Congress, "preserve and enhance, don't privatize and weaken Social Security!" Mitzi

January MeetingThe Path Ahead

Karen Talbot opened the meeting with a report on a

conference she attended recently in Cuba called a Uni-

versal Declaration of Human Rights. Global corporations are still taking advantage of workers who need jobs by paying them minimum wages with poor working conditions.
The World Bank and the IMF are demanding that countries in financial crisis cut back on social programs to pay the interest on their loans. This is especially true of Honduras where it will take years to recover from the effects of Hurricane Mitch. We need such organizations concerned with world-wide human rights that publicize abuses when they occur.
The purpose of the first meeting of the year was to focus on three isues the Gray Panthers are dedicated to saving and promotingSocial Security, Medicare and a Living Wage Law. Only time will tell how successful we have been.

Counteracting the privatization propaganda of Social Security was the theme of Inger Conrad's presentation by speaking to groups about the pitfalls of investing in the stock market and the benefits of a strong Social security system.

In his State of the Union address (1/19/99) President Clinton asked that a budget surplus be set aside over the next 15 years to keep Social Security solvent through the year 2055. Unfortunately he also proposed that some Social Security money be invested in private markets, an action that even economists disapprove of.

Medicare is America's health care success story, but Congress cannot let well-enough alone a good program that works. By March 1999, a commission to overhaul Medicare will make their recommendations, which have been printed in a bulletin, available for consideration. The options proposed by the commission will fragment the program, offering four different confusing and costly choices.

Medicare for All has organized a national campaign to protect and improve Medicare. The ultimate aim of the organization is to expand the patient base of Medicare and move it towards universal coverage. America cannot save its ever worsening

health care crisis without a universal health insurance plan.

Aroza championed the "Living Wage Law." More and more cities throughout the U.S. are enacting Living Wage laws. In San Francisco several labor organizations are campaigning for a living wage law. Supervisor Tom Ammiano is leading the Board of Supervisors effort, and Mayor Willie Brown has said he would support the law.

It is estimated that a single parent with one child living in San Francisco needs to earn $14.50 per hour to maintain a basic standard of living. A Living Wage Law is beneficial to the worker and the community.

The meeting ended with a presentation by two members of the Health Care Workers Union, local 250 SEIU, of a position paper on the need to rebuild Laguna Honda Hospital and asking for our participation in the project.

When 20 people call the White House comment line

(202) 456-1111

on the same day about the same issue, the President

receives a written report on his desk. Tuesday is OUR day

to call. Call now to protect and expand Medicare!

If you call before 8:00 a.m. (Pacific time) a two-minute call

will cost you 32 cents.

SFGPs Officers for 1999

The Gray Panthers Board of Directors met Wednesday, Jan. 6 and selected the following officers for the coming year:

ConvenerAroza Simpson

Co-convenerKaren Talbot

SecretaryRebecca Hirshleifer

TreasurerMary Frances Smith

MembershipAugusta Szego

Newsletter PublisherAstrid Spector

The Board decided that meetings will be held the first Thursday of the month at 1:00 p.m. at the GPs office.

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

Back to Newsletters

Back to Gray Panthers Home Page