February 2001

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Thurs., Feb. 8 1:00­3:00 p.m.

Board Meeting at the office. All GP members welcome!

Thurs., Feb. 8 10:00 a.m.­noon

SAN General Meeting: Health Care: guest. Mitch Katz, Director of Health.

Fri., Feb. 9 1:00­3:00 p.m.

SAN Health Care Committee. Z­Space Theatre, 1360 Mission Street,

3rd Floor.

Tues., 13 12:30­3:30 p.m.

24th Annual Senior Adult's Valentine's Day Dance. San Francisco County

Fair Building, 9th Ave. & Lincoln Way. Senior Adults Free.

Tues. Feb. 20 12:30­3:00 p.m.

General Meeting: California's Power Crisis. Speakers are Graham

Brownstein of TURN and Charles Kalish of SF MUD. First Unitarian

Church, Geary and Franklin.

Wed., Feb. 21 10:00 a.m.­noon

SAN Pedestrian Safety Committee. Planning demonstrations on list of

Terrible Two Dozen Intersections. SAN office, 1370 Mission. 3rd fl.

Wed., Feb. 21 1:30 ­3:30 p.m.

SHAC. Plan for hearings on increasing senior housing budget by

$25 million. 1370 Mission St. 3rd fl.

Sat., Feb. 24 10:15 a.m.­12:30 p.m.

OWL: "Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About the Internet,"

a hands-on workshop with Stacy Dieter, SeniorNet, and David Dale, SF

Public Library. SF Main Library. Advance registration required,


Deadline for listing on this calendar is the 15th of the preceding month.

Blackouts vs. Rate Hikes?

What's the solution to California's utility crisis? And what can we, as Gray Panthers, do about it? Two leaders in the campaign to lessen the devastation caused by deregulation of the power industry will address these questions at our February meeting.

Graham Brownstein, Community Organizer with The Utility Reform Network (TURN), will speak about Organizing to Limit Rate Increases, and Charles Kalish of the SF MUD, advocates a Campaign Against Utility Rate Hikes. Both speakers are advocates for reform of the "market economy" philosophy advocated by the profiteers dedicated to tearing down our civil infrastructure for personal (read: corporate) profit.

Our speakers are part of the Campaign Against Utility Rate Increases (a grass roots coalition representing rate payers, labor, environmentalists and consumer advocates) that is demanding a voice in the backroom Sacramento machinations and negotiations.

This meeting not only affects our pocketbooks, but our health, our state's economy and the stability of our environment. It's an important meeting for every concerned citizen to attend! Be there and bring your concerned friends!

Q. What Is Single­Payer?

A. Single­Payer is a publicly-administered, publicly-accountable, comprehensive and publicly-financed universal health care system that delivers health care both

publicly and privately.

Seven million Californians have no healthinsurance and the health care that some Californians do have is getting worseand more expensive!

The above question and answer were the most often posed to our January speaker, Don Bechler, Chairperson for Health Care for All San Franciscans. He also described the pitfalls that brought about the failure of Prop. 186, the relationship to Medicare, the basis of Senator Paul Wellstone's S­2888, Decentralized Plan to Guarantee Health Care for All Americans, and the process we will have to go through to achieve our goal in the next couple of years.

Don brought a host of charts and analyses with him, almost overwhelming our (as usual) contentious attendees. There was more information than we could possibly absorb in the short time allotted at the meeting. But literature on all of these topics is available in the GPs office together with an invitation from Aroza to join her in examining a book, Universal Health Care: What the United States Can Learn from the Canadian Experience. If you're interested in joining such a group, call Aroza at 415/567-5348.

And another "Must Read"

John Stauber and Sheldon Ramsey have published another of their eye-opening exposés. Their firstToxic Sludge Is Good for Youtook on the agricultural behemoths and now this oneTrust Us, We're Expertstraces the collusion of corporate, nonprofit and even government agencies in the promotion of international scams on the unaware public. Profit is the name of their game and any criticism is quickly dismissed as "in restraint of trade." Stauber is a PR watchdog with the Center for Media in Democracy.

Interim Measures

Got your latest PG&E bill? Horrified or just annoyed? What can be done? Will withholding have any effect or just postpone a day of reckoning?

At this time we have no firm answers beyond the admonishment to conserve and complain to every local and state representative involved in this "power play." The new U.S. Prez has refused to help California's power problems, preferring to let Enron and other of his most powerful backers and crucial fuel providers, gouge our fertile market for all they can get. Perhaps our February meeting will put forth some concrete developments, but in the meantime,

If you do decide that withholding is a viable way to influence the outcome of this conundrum, we have forms in the office and/or call Don Eichelberger at 415/861-0592. He's working with the Green Party to collect signatures and spread the word about the nine percent subtraction. Other than that, follow the lead of our two February speakers and contact each and every official in the state with the following Green Party key points:

· There should be absolutely no bailout; no corporate welfare.

· The rate hike should be rescinded immediately.

· There should be a moratorium on shut offs to people who are not able to pay their bills.

· There should be a moratorium on all layoffs of utility workers. (We have no problem with the layoff of executives.)

Keep up the drum beat. We must be heard to survive!

Jon Carroll Comments in Chronicle

Does the power crisis leave you feeling defeated, without a clue, wondering what we have elected officials for?

Jon Carroll suggests that "the power-exchange formulas used by various utilities, the difference between PG&E Corp. and PG&E Co. (hint: The former has record profits, the latter is near bankruptcy) and CISO, FERC, PUC, NEGall of whom lie to one another and to the public, Indeed, the people who do follow the bouncing generators are, in good times, dismissed as cranks and conspiracy theorists." If you have web access, you can play along at home at <www.ucan.org>.

New Faces on Our Board

Little did I realize when I joined the Gray Panthers a short year and a half ago, that I would be conscripted into service so quickly. Yes!!!. the Gray Panthers are indeed Your and Age in Action!

I have twice had the opportunity and privilege of addressing the membership in the capacity of speaker on behalf of the League of Women Voters on election issues. At the January 2001 Board meeting Aroza announced her mandated sabbatical from the board. Aroza has managed the role of convener so adroitly that it will now take three of us to fill her shoes.

I have taken up the responsibilities of convener with Mitzi Raas and Cris Ruiz sharing the role of co-convener. In practice this means that we make up a triumvirate position and we will be meeting soon to craft our communal role. Wende Dawson Chan

Expanded Board Creates New Roles

In addition to the cooperative convener role Wende describes above, secretarial duties have been divided between Franklin Devore as recording secretary, and Rebecca Hirshleifer, corresponding secretary; with Inger Conrad as office manager and aide, when needed, to treasurer Mary Frances Smith.

A committee was formed, including Wende, Inger, Gloria Channon and Sonya Hotchkiss, to examine our by-laws and revise and modernize them where necessary. This group will also investigate how these by-laws compare with the "standard" Roberts' rules of order.

A special, nonboard position was established for our long-time convener, Aroza Simpson. Aroza has so involved herself (and the GPs) in just about every community, environmental, health and political cause that concerns our constituency that we could not allow her to relinquish her mover-and-shaker role just because the by-laws demand a hiatus in board membership. Aroza has now the nonboard title of Issues Coordinator. She will continue her needed advocacy on our behalf. Thanks, Aroza!

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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