June 1997

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Sat., June 7
Contra Costa County Advisory Council on Aging: Forum, "Is Your Social Security Healthy?" 40 Douglas Drive, Martinez. Info (510) 313-1700
Wed., June 11, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Board meeting at the office. All welcome.
Thurs., June 12., 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
SAN. Unitarian Church, Geary and Franklin.
Sat., June 14
Flag Day
Sun., June 15
Father's Day
Sat. June 21, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
General Meeting: Together with the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House and the Women's League for Peace and Freedom, the Gray Panthers are sponsoring an expert panel on welfare reform and jobs. Speakers include Malika Saada Saar of Family Rights and Dignity and autho, Robert Lehman. There will be entertainment and refreshments served. Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, 953 De Haro.
Sat., June 21. 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Vision & Hearing: Making Sense of our Aging Senses. Presented by the Faculty of the Department of Ophthalmology & Division of Audiology, UCSF Laurel Heights Conference Center, 3333 California St. Info 750-5342.
Thurs., June 26, 6:30 p.m.
N2N. Women's Building, 18th Street near Valencia.
Thurs., June 26, 4:30 p.m.
Commission on the Status of Women meeting. 25 Van Ness Ave., Ste 70 Open to public and community participation. Info 252-2570
Sat., June 28-July 3
American Library Association Convention. Moscone Convention Center. Call Deetje Boler, 752-4688 with your ideas for alerting attendees to what's happening in our so-called "public" libraries.
Call Congress Free! 1-800-962-3524 or 1-800-972-3524: Tell 'em what you think and what you want them to do.

Is Bigger Better?
"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."-Edward Abbey At our last GPs board meeting there was unanimous agreement for conducting an "opinion poll," inviting our members to contribute a written, half-page opinion on a subject of the month. For our July newsletter, what do you feel about growth-is bigger better? What's good or bad about growing the economy, bigger tax deductions, "universal" health care, more money for schools, greater denial of welfare-more highways? mass transit?-obviously there are pluses and minuses. Let's hear from you by June 23. If you don't want your name published, we will withhold it. And we reserve the right to cut it down to size if necessary. Most of us are very vocal-let's hear from you "for the record!"

May Resolutions
Moderated by Mitzi Raas, our May meeting was a stimulating, thought provoking affair that should lead to action on the part of the GPs.

The following resolutions were presented at the general meeting and ratified by our Board of Direc- tors with a goal of creating broader participation with other organizations as well as other Gray Panthers networks:

RESOLVED that the Gray Panthers of San Fran- cisco will participate in all efforts for single-payer, Universal Health Care, including incremental steps, and will put forth all efforts to strongly encourage or- ganizations working for the same goal to cooperate with each other. Coordinator: Clarissa Ward, 564- 0068.

RESOLVED that the Gray Panthers of San Fran- cisco will participate in efforts to stop the Cassini Space Probe from using 72.3 pounds of plutonium. Instead of plutonium, solar energy and long-lived fuel cells should be used to power the instrument panel. Coordinator: Mary Frances Smith, 621-7456.

RESOLVED that the Gray Panthers of San Fran- cisco support keeping Muni governance in the hands of the electorate through the Mayor, the Board of Su- pervisors and the Public Transportation Commission.

Improvements need to be made, but the recent SPUR proposal to the Board of Supervisors calling for independent agency status as a model for Muni would remove what little voice the public has regarding fares, routes, stops and labor practices. We hope SPUR will use its expertise to help the city figure out a way to make the administration of Muni more effective within the present system. Coordinator: Aroza Simpson, 567- 5348.

RESOLVED that the Gray Panthers of San Fran- cisco will urge the United States government to sup- port the holding of the United Nations world confer- ence against racism in the year 1999. Coordinator: Karen Talbot, 759-9774.

RESOLVED that the Gray Panthers of San Fran- cisco make all efforts to implement a Libraries Are for Free Books national campaign. Coordinator: Deetje Boler, 752-4688.

In June-Welfare Reform and Jobs
In June our general meeting will feature a panel on welfare reform and jobs followed by discussion, entertainment and refreshments on June 21, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at 953 De Haro. The event, organized by the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, Gray Panthers and Women's League for Peace and Freedom is free and everyone is welcome. Call 567-5348 for information.

Malika Saada Saar and other representatives of the organization for Family Rights and Dignity will pre- sent common sense welfare reform principles. Robert Lehman, author of Jobs and Taxes in San Francisco. Facing San Franciscans' Real Employment Needs, will present ideas on how jobs can be created for more ra- tional welfare reform principles.

Have you looked at your Gray Panthers address label lately? Look now. Your dues may be due!

Panthers on the Prowl

Caty Powell and Mary Frances supported the strawberry workers rally in Watsonville.

Clarissa and Mary Frances were in Sacramento for the Patient Rights Rallly.

On May 27, Mary Frances and Clarissa attended the 27th Annual Seniors Rally in Sacramento. Kevin Shelley arranged to talk to the San Francisco delegation and a nice outdoor time was had by all.

Karen and Mary Frances sat-in at 425 California in support of visiting nurses and hospice workers.

Web Alert!
Every branch of the SF Public Library system has one or more terminals on which you can access the internet. When next you go to your local branch library

1) ask an attendant where the terminals are;

2) go there and if there is an unoccupied terminal, show the attendant the Gray Panthers site code (below) and ask him or her for help in accessing it;

3) if all terminals are in use, pick a likely-looking young person, look as helpless and incompetent as you can, and humbly ask for his/her aid in accessing the GPs' site. Promise not to use more than ten min- utes of "their time" on the machine. You'll find most of them helpful and proud to show off their superior knowledge. That's one way to enhance our goal of promoting "age and youth in action!"

Reprise on Social Security
Social Security provides retirement income to more than 35 million people in the U.S. It provides disability insurance to almost all of the working population. It provides survivor insurance to families on the death of a parent or spouse. It does this at an administrative cost of less than 0.7% of annual benefits. (Private insurance companies have average administrative costs of 28%!)

S.S. is not going broke. The Trustees of the fund project that it will be able to meet all of its obligations at least until the year 2030 with no increase in taxes. According to the AFL-CIO publication America at Work the privatization plans would "effectively end the most successful family protection program in his- tory. Their schemes would cut S.S. benefits by 30% or more. They would force individuals to gamble with their own investment accounts-and their futures. And they would destroy a system that guarantees a mini- mum level of income and security and spreads the risks and rewards evenly."

So why the cry to "save" S.S.? Follow the money trail. The Wall Street Journal anticipates "the biggest bonanza in the history of the mutual fund industry." State Street Bank's William Shipman told Pensions and Investments magazine that "you could be looking at 130 million new accounts." This windfall to Wall Street and the financial establishment will come out of your pockets.

Since its inception, certain economic experts have regularly and falsely predicted its failure. They are at it again. Don't believe them. Hands off Social Security!

Roe vs Wade-Again!
Perhaps you thought that the right to an abortion and freedom of choice was safely the law of the land. Think again.

Congress is again nibbling at the edges of the law with the current hullabaloo about a particular late-term abortion procedure. The aim is to weaken and under- mine all pro-choice protections.

Decisions about abortion should be left to women and their doctors, not to politicians and government. Now is a good time to remind our Senators, Fein- stein and Boxer, that you are staunchly pro-choice and that they should loudly oppose all efforts to weaken the law.

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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