CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Hype or Deliberate Sexism?
On the evening news on Channel 7, Laura Marquez quoted Madeleine K. Albright in accepting the nomination for Secretary of State from the President as saying, referring to Secretary Christopher, "I can only hope that my high heels can fill your shoes."
As heard live, and as quoted in every reliable source including the New York Times, Albright said, "I can only hope that my heels can fill your shoes." Why the misquote? What purpose did KGO want to achieve? Albright is a 59-year-old woman who dresses conservatively and probably hasn't worn any- thing higher than a Cuban (oops!-a no-no) 2-inch heel in years. Why, Laura? Was it the teleprompter writer?
To Be(lieve) or Not to Be(lieve)
In the weeks before Christmas a report was released declaring that the way the government calculates the increase annually in the cost of living was erroneous, and that in truth the yearly increase is not as big as reported. Say what?
This report, immediately widely accepted as gos- pel, came from a committee of economists appointed on a bipartisan basis by Congress and headed by Stan- ford economist Michael Boskin, formerly Bush's eco- nomic advisor.
We wish to take exception to that report and the committee that produced it:
1. Bipartisan does not even remotely mean objec- tive, unbiased or neutral. It means some Republicans and Democrats from the Congress that mainly repre- sent the economic establishment and are mostly be- holden to it and that gave us, for instance, the welfare reform bill, NAFTA and the current swollen military budget.
2. Currently riding high as respected experts in the dismal science (economics) and presumably, therefore, named as members of said committee are those who believe in the unquestioned virtue of the balanced budget, deregulation, downsizing, the primacy of the bottom line over all other values, "trickle-down" prosperity, relatively high unemployment to keep down inflation, "lowered expectations" for most peo- ple to keep "us" competitive internationally.
3. The results of their objective conclusions are lower wage increases and lower Social Security in- creases and another way to load budget cuts on the backs of the people-accidentally, of course, and not figured into their calculations.
4. Do these experts live in the real world of ordi- nary people? Do they know what has happened to the price of-milk, bread, eggs, breakfast cereal, canned soup, shoes, children's clothes, transportation, mov- ies, the things that make up our market basket?
They say figures don't lie. Which figures, selected and manipulated and weighted by whom?
On one point, however, we do agree with the committee: The figures from the Bureau of Labor Sta- tistics do not accurately reflect the increase in the cost of living. Unlike the committee we think those figures are too low. Mitzi
Realpolitik, San Francisco Style
On December 9 the Board of Supervisors met to consider, among other items, a proposed ordinance to strengthen and expand protection for long-term senior tenants facing eviction by landlords wanting to move family members into their units. The meeting room was crowded with lots of landlords and lots of tenants' rights supporters. If you weren't there, and I didn't see any other Gray Panthers, you missed a bitter lesson in realpolitik.
To begin with, on the advice of the city attorney's office, three supervisors-Brown, Leal and Kaufman- recused themselves (disqualified themselves from vot- ing). Judging by the groans of the landlords rights people, they did so presumably because they or their families were landlords. Then supervisors Leal and Katz proposed an amendment that narrowed and weakened the ordinance, and seemingly would have allowed the recused supervisors to vote, since it was, in effect, a new proposal. Supervisor Ammiano promptly questioned their right to vote.
To understand the importance of this, you must know that there are eleven members of the Board of Supervisors and that it takes six votes, a majority, to pass a measure. Had the three recused members been allowed to vote, and had they all voted for the amendment, it stood a much better chance of passing.
When Supervisor Ammiano challenged their vote, the city attorney's representative said her office would have to study the amendment and meanwhile their vote would be open to question. This meant there were eight supervisors eligible to vote, and at least three were known to oppose the amendment. Supervisor Yaki moved to table the whole question, a motion which carried four to three. The three supervisors who opposed tabling and presumably opposed the amendment and wanted a vote on (supported?) the original ordinance were Bierman, Alioto and Ammiano.
Tabling in this case means the whole issue in one form or another will probably be brought up in a month. Be there-and remember how your supervi- sors voted. Mitzi
S.F. Gray Panthers Board of Directors
Elections for our Board was the one piece of business at our holiday party on December 14th. Elected to two- year terms by unanimous agreement were Aroza, Deetje, Clarissa, Mary Frances, Eleanor, Bernice and Sonja Dale.
In addition to the elected members above the Board for 1997 includes on-going members Rebecca, Astrid, Miriam B., Ilse, Celia, Kay and Lillian K. in the second year of their second terms and Fanny and Karen in the second year of their first term.
The January meeting of the Board will be on Wednesday, January 8 at 1:30 p.m. at the office, at which time the Board members will select officers- convenor, co-convenor, secretary, treasurer. All GP members are welcome to attend and participate in meetings of the Board, but only Board members can vote.
A Wry Note
How to know you're growing older:
Happy New Year from the Gem Carvers Guild
From Bags to Beauty
While looking through boxes still unpacked, I came across a framed screen and wondered what it might be. Further exploring found directions for making paper and that framed screen was a deckle (odd name). The idea was to use old, used paper to make new paper. Here was something I thought I could do. It would fill my time and get my creative juices flowing.
I was impressed with my first batch of paper made from brown paper bags. But what to do with the pa- per? A visit to a craft shop helped but most informa- tion was geared to commercial use. Then my daughter moved to San Raphael and began collecting flowers. It was a happy union and resulted in the first black card decorated with purple and brown leaves ever made. UGH. (I keep it to remind me of my humble start). I cut/tear used paper, soak it overnight, chew it up in a blender to make a pulp, pour it into my deckle (I now like the sound), drain off excess water and turn it out on a cloth, weigh it down with my dictionary and let it dry overnight. It is so simple I wonder why more peo- ple don't do it. If you are interested, call me at 921- 8522. I'd be happy to teach a class or just show how I do magic. Agnes Batteiger
All the ingredients for our annual holiday party came together beautifully to make it an occasion enjoyed by those who came to celebrate the year-end festivities. George Fouke, a member of the Freedom Song Network, sang and played the songs of "social significance" for which he is known.
Franklin Devore recalled nostalgic memories with his songs by Cole Porter and Kurt Weill, and Sonja Dale reminded us of the season with a recitation of "The Night Before Christmas."
The food was creative and there was plenty to go around.
A special thanks to the management, staff and ten- ants who helped make the solarium available for the party.
In January, Tax Talk
Now that the holiday season is over, it is time to turn to serious matters.
The topic of our next meeting will be "Tax Justice and Reform." This is an important issue for all of us who are helpless to correct the unfair tax structures prevalent today.
Mark Norton, of San Franciscans for Tax Justice, continues his work to fight inequities in the tax sys- tem. Come and hear what he has to say and how we can help make the system more fair.
The meeting will be held Tuesday, January 21, at
the usual time, First Unitarian Church.
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.