November 1997

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Sat., Nov. 1, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Managed Health Care: Opportunities and Risks. Sponsors, OWL, AAUW, GPs, NOW, Breast Cancer Action. At UCSF, Laurel Heights.
Sat., Nov. 8, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
The Great Sweep: Clean up your neighborhood! At the least, the front of your own house. Info call 554-544.
Sat., Nov. 8, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Stakes Are High: a Student Conference on Homelessness. Sponsored by Bay Area Homelessness Program, RFK Fellow Program and New College of CA at San Francisco State University. For more info, 338-7568.
Wed., Nov. 11, 1:30 -3:00 p.m.
Board meeting at the office. All Welcome.
Thurs., Nov. 13, 10:00 a.m.-noon
SAN Monthly meeting. First Unitarian Church, Geary and Franklin.
Tues. Nov. 17, 12:30-3:00 p.m. General meeting. The Future of Low Cost Housing. First Unitarian Church, Geary and Franklin.
Sat., Nov. 22 Regional meeting in San Rafael at Whistlestop Senior Center. (Map available at the office.) Purpose: Agree on a united action. The National Day of Action for Welfare/Workfare Justice on Dec. 10 to be the first. For times and transportation, call the office, 552-8800.

SAN Honors S.F. Gray Panther
On November 9 at the Annual Senior Action Network Dinner, Clarissa Ward was named Senior of the Year for 1997. In addition she received Certificates of Honor from U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi, State Assemblyman Kevin Shelley, State Senator John L. Burton and from the entire San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Way to go, Clarissa!

October Convention Roundup
A discussion of the November ballot opened the meeting. Even though this election is an off-year election, there are several issues on the ballot that deserve thoughtful appraisal. The pros and cons of the propositions were analyzed for their future impact on decisions the Mayor and Board of Supervisors will make in governing the city. GPs never shirk their right to vote wisely at every election.

Karen Talbot, S.F. Convener, gave us a recap of the GP convention for the benefit of those who could not attend. Karen worked diligently to make the convention successful. She contacted over one hundred outstanding people living in the Bay Area to serve on our welcoming committee. The convention revived the old Gray Panther spirit of activism. It was heartening to listen to the intelligent, often passionate arguments and the final decisions made on the issues and resolutions. The delegates voted to focus on jobs and workers' rights and health care for all. Of course each Network can choose issues to work for that they deem important in their area.

Youth was represented at the convention by Sarita Gupta, president of U.S. Student Association, and by three young women who attended the Cuban Student Festival. These young women all spoke eloquently on their experiences.

Other speakers at the convention were Cecil Williams, Tom Ammiano, U.S. Rep. Matthew Martinez, Dolores Huerta and Mayor Willie Brown. Everyone agreed that the convention achieved the . the goals the GPs set for themselves-to focus on two vital issues in the coming year and work toward implementing the program on the national level. Mara, a representative from the Coalition on Homelessness, concluded the meeting with a report on what the organization is doing to alleviate the problem in selected neighborhoods.

Mary Frances Smith, Augusta Szego, Lillian Kiskaddon and Helen Ludwig also gave of their time and energies to make the convention a success. Our sincere thanks for your efforts.

In November
Do you have questions about subsidized housing or Section 8 vouchers? What will be the effect of curtailed government expenditures on HUD and low cost housing? Come prepared to ask questions. Our speakers will be Michelle Daniels, Coalition for Low Income Housing, and Patrick Zak from the S.F. Redevelopment Agency.

Noble Nobel
Something interesting and inspiring happened this year with the Nobel Prizes. Not only did radical Italian Darius Fo receive the prize for literature-to the consternation of the establishment Catholic Church-but Liberal American activist Jody Williams of Vermont and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines won the peace prize and almost $1 million in recognition of their fight to get rid of land mines.

"The (campaign organization) and Jody Williams started a process which in the space of a few years changed a ban on antipersonnel mines from a vision to a feasible reality," said the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Ms. Williams credits the Vietnam Veterans of America for recruiting her for the cause. In the '80s she was active with Medical Aid to El Salvador. She was nominated for the prize by Representative James McGovern (D. Mass.) who called the campaign "the most significant international grassroots disarmament movement of my lifetime."

The President routinely calls Nobel Prize winners, sports figures and the like to congratulate them on their achievements. For some reason (!) be neglected to call Ms. Williams.

The U.S. has declared it will not sign the convention against landmines in Ottawa in December. The U.S. needs minefields to blunt a possible North Korean invasion across the border with South Korea.

Let President Clinton know you think he's wrong!

One Election After Another, This Time It's Ours
At our December meeting, the San Francisco Gray Panthers will elect members of the Board of Directors for 1998. Our by-laws specify a Board of up to 26 members. Each Board member is elected for a two-year term and may serve for two consecutive terms, a total of four years before going off the Board for at least one year.

Current members of the Board who are completing four consecutive years of service and are therefore not eligible for nomination are Rebecca, Astrid, Miriam B., Ilse, Kay and Lillian K. Members completing one two-year term and eligible for another if nominated are Fanny, Karen and Rhoda.

Ongoing members in the second year oftheir second term are Deetje, Clarissa, Mary Francis and Eleanor. Ongoing members in the second year of their first term are Aroza, Bernice and Sonja Dale.

To be on the Board one must be a paid-up member of the S.F. Network. Any member may nominate any other member or her/himself. Nominations can be made at a Board meeting, a membership meeting or by calling the office. Nominate Yourself-You Are Needed!

Get Involved-You're Needed!
The S.F. Gray Panthers has joined in alliance with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Rescue Muni, San Francisco Tomorrow, Green CityProject and the S. F. Bike Messenger Association in support of a car-free Market Street.

While closing Market Street from either Van Ness or Eighth Street to the Embarcadero to private automobiles is still in the planning stages, Mayor Brown seems supportive of the idea.

We recognize that in order to have a plan we must participate. So far our Board of Directors has stated that we advise using traffic monitors to ensure the smooth flow of traffic to the south and north of Market Street as well as the streets crossing Market.We have joined the Transit First Market Street Alliance because we believe that the Transit First official policy of San Francisco has been disregarded for too long. We applaud the Bicycle Coalition for starting an effort to invigorate the policy. We are interested in working with such worthwhile alliance partners.

Organizing for the Homeless
Mara from the Civil Rights Committee of the Coalition on Homelessness talked at our last general meeting about a plan to collect 10,000 signatures for the Covenant on Homelessness. Since being homeless is a social problem and not a police problem, we hope you will make every effort to collect signatures on the petition enclosed in this newsletter.

At any meeting you attend, offer your suggestions regarding this problem-and remember to enlist your friends. The plight of the homeless can only become more dire with "welfare reform."

Our National Convention
We now have renewed opportunities to bolster our advocacy and education agenda by using the resolutions agreed upon at our recent national convention.

Already in San Francisco the convention resolution against plutonium in space was presented as a health concern by Supervisor Ammiano to the Board of Supervisors. We will receive a full roster of resolutions from the National Office. and since our Regional meeting will be November 22, they're on the agenda. HUD and Section 8 Housing
At our October meeting Tanja Tadjuk presented the organizing she has done so far to advocate and educate on the proposed conversion of HUD from Project-based Section 8 to Tenant-based Voucher Certificates.

This could burgeon into a very important issue in the coming year and we need to get a firm knowledge of what is actually happening. Our next meeting will explore the issues.

Senior Evictions
Our office has received numerous calls about owner move-in evictions. We must work with our coalition on this critical problem.

Zero Dioxin
A move is on to curb the proliferation of dioxin waste that pollutes the waters and the air of the Bay. Dioxin is linked to cancer and reproductive disorders including endometriosis and developmental, neurological and other health problems. Among other things, eating of fish from S.F. Bay is dangerous.

Age and Youth in Action
Again we will be cooperating with the students at San Francisco State. We will have a table at their conference on homelessness and poverty, and you are invited to participate.

Headwaters Old Growth Forest
Forest Forever is searching for volunteers with an interest in environmental issues and a desire to see things change.

The focus right now is to advocate and educate for 60,000 acres be set aside to protect six groves of old growth, with restoration for the cut-over timber land in between these groves. Contact Jolie at 974- 3636.

Experiments in Diversity
Potrero Hill Neighborhood House each fourth Thursday at 5:30 p.m. hosts a dinner, entertainment and speaker of various cultures. It's free and we are invited. Call 826-8080.

Cassandra on Cassini
Louise Franklin-Ramirez, A Gray Panthers member from Wahington, D.C., made the following statement to the assembled crowd at the "Cancel Cassini" demonstration at Justin Herman Plaza here in San Francisco following the Gray Panthers Convention on September 28. That day she celebrated her 92nd birthday.

"Sisters & Brothers! Greetings from Women Strike for Peace and Gray Panthers.

"What a great inspiration to see so many of you here today, marching and demanding cancellation of the Cassini Space Probe. Protests like this one send a clear message: We won't take it any more! How dare NASA and the Department of Energy launch over 70 pounds of plutonium into space, placing our entire planet at extreme risk? We say: Cancel Cassini! No Nukes!

"Cassini is only the latest episode in over 50 years of nuclear madness, and I have seen every insane twist and turn. Other new threats include: 'Mobile Chernobyl;' an idiotic scheme to move thousands of tons of high level nuclear waste on rails and highways; the National' Ignition' Facility and other projects to develop NEW nuclear weapons; depleted uranium ammunition which threatens to turn future wars into radiation wars; and the recent Cancer Institute study that confirms massive nationwide fallout, making us all 'Down Winders.'

"The primary victims of this madness have been the indigenous peoples who mine the uranium, store the wastes and suffer the nuclear tests, and the Hibakusha, and other radiation survivors like the courageous, long-suffering Atomic Veterans who remind us of the folly of dangerous experiments like Cassini. And don't forget nuclear resisters like Mordechai Vanunu, caged in solitary 11 years for exposing the truth about the Israeli nukes-and still in solitary. Eleven years!

"Stop sacrificing our children's future on the altar of corporate and military greed!

"Sisters and brothers, maintain your sense of urgency about the crucial struggle ahead. The U.S. and Russia still deploy over 20,000 nuclear weapons and no new disarmament talks have been held in over five years; this is outrageous and we won't stand for it. Now, let's link arms and hands around our world, around our towns, around our nations and challenge the corporate enemy who is continually destroying and despoiling our own children's futures, our children's legacy.

"Women and men, young and old, people of all colors, together we will form an 'antinuclear human chain reaction' and we will regain control of the precious human and natural resources stolen from our communities to fuel this nuclear madness! With hearts, minds and hands working together, we will build a nonnuclear world where all the peple and children of the world can share and enjoy a beneficent and bountiful future. Stop Cassini!" Louise Franklin-Ramirez is the author of a book on nuclear hazards and has also produced a map of radiation sites in the Unites States-available c/o John Steinbach, 7615 Drive, Menassus, VA 20111. Submitted by Deetje Boler, Oct. 24, 1997

Legacy of Nuclear Tests
Many of the 300 specialists who came to the "Continental U.S. Nuclear Tests and Iodine 131 Exposure" session expressed concern that they will be besieged by scores of frightened patients, asking if they were harmed by exposure to nuclear fallout. Behind the flurry: a 15-year study released by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), finding that fallout from bomb tests in the 1950s and '60s may have caused an array of thyroid problems in people nationwide, including up to 75,000 cancers. [It] found that everyone in the USA was exposed to at least some radioactive iodine from the bomb tests. Children soaked up 10 times as much as adults, and exposure was worst in the Rocky Mountain and Farm Belt states.

No one knows how this translates into the risks faced by a person who, as a child in the 1950s, drank milk from cows that dined on radioiodine- coated grass.

[The scientists] listened attentively as the NCI's Bruce Wacholz described [this] first[!] comprehensive nationwide assessment of radiation exposure during the Cold War. Steve Sternberg, USA Today, Oct. 20, 1997

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:Agnes Batteiger, 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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