October 2000

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Thurs., Oct. 5 1:00­3:00 p.m.

Board meeting at the office. All welcome!

Sat., Oct. 7 12:30­3:00 p.m.

Coalition for Health Care for All. Join with community activists, labor

groups, all those signed on to press for Universal Health Care. 4 Berry

Street, near Pac Bell Park.

Thurs., Oct. 12 7:00 p.m.

Neighborhood meeting with Congress-

woman Nancy Pelosi to discuss issues to be

decided in the remaining days of Congress.

Marina Middle School, 3500 Fillmore St.

Thurs., Oct. 12 9:00 a.m.

SAN 10th Annual Convention/Candidates

Forum. St. Mary's Cathedral (Reserve seats).

Tues., Oct. 17 12:30­3:00 p.m.

Membership meeting: Examination of the

Ballot Propositions along with Wendy Chan.

First Unitarian Church, Geary and Franklin.


Pre­Election Rally for Health Care

Endorsers of the push for Health Care for All (H2K) will present their arguments for the November Electoral candidates to take a strong stand and commitment to the movement for Universal Health Care (U2K).

Among those groups already signed on to H2K, and a part of our coalition, are Senior Action Network, Neighbor to Neighbor,Health Care for All, AIDs Legal Referral Panel, Emergency Coalition to Save Public Health, Alliance for Health, Alliance for Democracy, Health Access California and Planning for Elders in the central city.

The need for our elected officials to work for universal health care is greater than ever. Our U2K movement is growing. On Thursday September 14 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. we are having a Bay Area Regional Meeting of the Universal Health Care organization endorsers to develop a strategic plan to "encourage" candidates to put Universal Health Care 2000 on the table during the election campaign. The meeting will be held in the Gray Panthers office, 1182 Market St., Room #203. Call 415 /567-5348 to arrange a building entry later than 5:50 p.m.

Then, on Saturday , October 7 we will have a public meeting for the members of the organization endorsers and the general public to

meet and rev up additional enthusiasm for contacting candidates for their committment to U2K if they are elected.

We have reserved the International Longshore Workers Union Hall at 4 Berry Street in San Francisco for this meeting. The hall has a parking lot at King and 2nd Streets to the far left of the new Pac Bell Ball Park as one faces the Bay. The parking lot and entrance to 4 Berry Street has a black iron gate which will be open for us with a sign indicating where the meeting will be held. For public transportation, the Union Hall is on the N Judah line, with the marking "Mission Bay" (not Embarcadero). A good place to catch it if you switch from BART underground is at Civic Center.

The large public meeting of the Bay Area U2K will start at 12:30 with refreshments, getting

acquainted and looking at materials to be used in the meeting. The program will start at 1:00 p.m. with brief statements from the endorsers, followed by presentations of resources available for strategies to get a U2K commitment from November electoral candidates. At 3:00 p.m. there

will be local meetings followed by a wrap up.

Decision Time at the Polls

Examine the propositions confronting us along with GP Wendy Chan and of the League of Women Voters. We discuss just a few here, but will examine the most controversial props at the membership meeting, October 17 at the Unitarian Church. We will take a straw poll at this meeting so that both you and the GPs will have a record of the pros and cons of each proposition and your reactions to the arguments presented.

Ballot Measures

The Mayor and Board of Supervisors submitted 12 ballot measures for the November 7 election:

· Office growth: Places a two-year moratorium on new dot.com developments on the Mission District and Potrero Hill but loosens limits on office development elsewhere.

· Business tax: Repeals gross receipts tax and hikes the payroll tax.

· Pier 45: An advisory measure called a "declaration of policy" that states voters want Pier 45 developed as a nonprofit, educational, public facility related to traditional maritime activities. It's counter-proposal to a San Francisco-themed tourist park slated for that site.

· Pedestrian safety: Creates a fund for projects that improve pedestrian safety.

· Park access: Closes JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park on Saturdays to cars after the planned (but not funded) parking garage is built. The drive would not be closed if there is no progress on the garage within the next two years. It's a counter-proposal to another initiative written by bicycle activists that closes the street immediately.

· Taxi permits: Changes the way San Francisco issues taxi medallions.

· Shipyard cleanup: Another policy declaration that urges the Navy to clean the long-abandoned Hunters Point shipyard to residential standards so it can finally be developed.

· Children's fund: Extends the life of The City's existing fundfor low-income child care, job training, health care and moreuntil 2016.

· Retirement benefits: Two measures that change employee benefits, including increasing The City's contribution for health coverage.

· Library aid: (More in this newsletter)

· Supervisor Aides: Provides a third staff member to work for each Board of Supervisors member. Supervisors already have three aides each but were supposed to eliminate one under district elections, a system that starts with the fall election.

No on Prop 38

At its August meeting our Board of Directors voted to sign on with the coalition working to defeat the Draper Voucher initiative, Prop 38.

Prop 38, a proposed constitutional amendment, authorizes annual state payments of at least $4000 per pupil for qualifying private and religious schools as grants for new enrollees. By the fourth year after enactment, all children enrolled in qualifying schools are eligible for grants. It replaces current constitutional funding priority and Prop 38 guarantees for public schools a new minimum per-pupil public school funding at not less than national average. It restricts regulation of private schools. It exempts private schools from designated uniform building code requirements. That's just for a starters.

The purported objective of Prop 38 is to make a good school available to every child. If the public schools aren't good enough in the parents' eyes, there are funds to go to private schools and do better. However, there are no controls on how much they will charge, whom they will

accept, what they will teach, who will teach and what qualifications will they have, etc. $4000 per pupil carte blanche in practice.

Public schools are major players in shaping a democracy. We used to have good ones. Prop 13 and the Reagan years slashed funds and reduced standards. The way to a good education

is to improve public schools in whatever way needs to be done, including increasing funding, not to give money to private unregulated entities that may or may not be schools. NO ON PROP 38.

Save Our Branch Libraries

This bloated bond measure is a blank check to make unclearly defined alterations to 19 branches and to construct new buildings. It was rushed through City Hall and is being campaigned for by the same self-appointed "library entrepreneurs" who induced voters to support the 1988 bond for $109.5 millionnot yet paid offthat brought us the New Main fiasco.

Approximately $50 million of the bond is proposed for expansion or new facilities even though not even preliminary designs have been presented.

This measure will result in increased operating costs for the new and expanded facilities, and thus result in further reductions of Prop E funds spent on books and open hours. Staffing of the branches is already short. Also, the branches being renovated will be closed for long periods, resulting in a further reduction in open hours. This $105,865,000 bond will waste $84,810,315 of our taxes on interest payments to investors!

This bond serves the privatizing interests of the "library entrepreneurs," not the democratic interests of the taxpayers or the library patrons.

Remember the Main! No blank checks!

Hazardous Food?

Food irradiation is one of the nuclear technologies that originated with Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" program. In 1963 the Food and Drug administration gave the US Army permissiion to irradiate bacon and serve it to army personnel. But that approval was withdrawn in 1968 when the FDA found that animals fed irradiated food suffered serious health problems, including premature death, cancer, reproductive dysfunction, and low weight gain. Dr. Marcia van Gemert, who chaired an FDA panel that investigated food irradiation, cautioned that "studies of sufficiently high quality to support the safety of irradiated foods treated at high

irradiation doses, which constute major contrebutions to the daily diet, for long term use are not abailable." Since then, no studies have been done on the long-term health effects of consuming irradiated food. Currently it is legal to irradiate beef, poultry, pork, lamb, spices and most vegetables and fruit, though irradiated food is not extensively sold commercially


Recently the Clinton Administration and agribusiness created a new system for meat inspection called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control points (HACCP).

There was need for reform because so many animals were slaughtered so fast that inspection was almost impossible. Instead of genuine reform the USDA handed meat inspection over to the meat industry with owners of the slaughterhouses doing the inspection. HACCP relied on stop-gap measures such as irradiation, not sanitation, to insure a clean meat supply.

The US Court of Appeals held USDA's privatized meat inspection to be self-inspecting and illegal.

USDA plans to classify as safe for our consumption dead animals tainted with cancer, tumors, pneumonia, worm disease and open sores.

We don't want to eat cancer and pus!

Make the USDA accountable to the people, not the corporations!

Extracted from the publication Public Citizen Irradiation Alert (Contributed by GP Janet Carsten. Thank you, Janet.)

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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