June 2001

Back to Newsletters

Back to Gray Panthers Home Page


Mon., June 4 10:30­11:30 a.m.

Cholesterol Screening, Central YMCA Senior Center, 220 Golden

Gate Ave. Free. Info, 415/447-2555.

Tues., June 5 1:00­3:00 p.m.

Board meeting at the office. All welcome!

Tues., June 12 12:30­1:30 p.m.

Using Your Medications Wisely, with the Food and Drug Adm.,

Montefiore Senior Center, Lounge of the JCCSF. 3200 California. Free.

Wed., June 13 12:15­1:15 p.m.

Senior Nutrition: Facts About Supplements. S. Anna Haake, Reg.

Dietitian, Community Health Resource Center, 2100 Webster St.,

Suite 106. Free. 415/923.3155 to register.

Fri., June 15 10:00 a.m.­ noon

SAN: Budgeting for 2-Bits for Housing. Saint Marys Cathedral,

1111 Gough at Geary.

Sun., June 17 Father's Day

Tues., June 19 12:30­3:00 p.m.

Membership meeting: It's All About Power! Discuss the history

of the power crisis with Savannah Blackwell of the Bay Guardian,

and find out how Paul Fenn of Local Power in Oakland would

solve our present dilemma. First Unitarian Church, Geary and


Sat., June 23 10:30 a.m.­12:15 p.m.

OWL: Presentation by Marjorie Stern, pres., Commission on

Aging. Info,415/989-4422.

Tues., June 26 12:30­2:30 p.m.

Study group: Strategies for Universal Health. Meet at the Gray

Panthers office. Info: 415/567-5348.

Sat., June 30 9:00 a.m.­noon

Men's Health Symposium & Fair. Community Health Resource

Center. 2100 Webster, P-Conf. Rm. Free. Register 415/923-3155.

It's All About Power!

We're all gonna feel it! Between soaring prices and rolling blackouts, there's no escape. To examine how this all came about, and what we, as individuals and as a group, can do about it, we've invited two knowledgable people to our June 18 meeting to discuss our options.

Savannah Blackwell is an investigative reporter for the Bay Guardian. She has covered PG&E since 1997 and will fill us in on the details that led up to the current debacle.

Paul Fenn is with Local Power in Oakland. His web site is <http://www.local.org>. You will find an amazingly long list of areas in which youall of uscan take action and make a difference in the present and future power situation. Here are just a few of the subjects you can explore on that site: Nation's Largest Solar Plant, Our Fake Energy Crisis, Migden Sponsors AB48x, Local Options, Rage Coalition, Aggregation, Useful Links and many, many more.

Fenn will delve into as many as time permits and we, his audience, express an interest in. Bring your questions and suggestions and everyone you know who has an interest in this subjectand who doesn't? This meeting may stimulate some action!

Downtown's Fair Share

Only three members of the new Board of Supervisors voted against settling the business tax discrimination suit brought by disgruntled downtown businesses to get out of payint taxes they believed were higher than they should have been.

Our May speaker, Marc Norton of San Franciscans for Tax Justice, was a protester at the Finance Committee meeting, but to no avail. The Board agreed to a settlement far higher than it might have been and must pay the legal fees, all to the tune of $80 million!

Only three of the new supervisors, Chris Daly, Matt Gonzalez and Gerardo Sandoval, were brave enough to vote against the majority to continue to fight the downtown settlement.

Making downtown pay its fair share may have to be a ballot measure in 2002 since the City budget has taken money for the people off the schedule, according to Norton. He cites the Joint Budget report that claimed a $66 million deficit for the past year but at the end of the year showed a $75 million surplus! The latest report for this year shows a $30 million deficit but may end up with a $130 million surplus. The "public corporations" that avoid paying business taxessuch as banks and insurance companiesdescribe their financial meetings as "privileged information," thus avoiding public scrutiny.

Norton's San Franciscans for Tax Justice has a free brochure outlining steps that it recommends to bring about "progressive tax reform for San Francisco in the wake of the business tax lawsuit settlement." It is available through:

San Franciscans for Tax Justice

PO Box 460213, San Francisco, CA 94146

Telephone: 415/648-1904

Fax: 800/758-1298

E-mail: <justice@sftax.org>

Web: <www.sftax.org>

Local Health Care in Jeopardy

The proposed S.F. Health Department budget for 2001­02 will be $25 million less than is needed to maintain current services (already cut by over $20 million last year).

What will be cut? Just a few of the probabilities: immunizations for children; primary care at all DPH Health Centers; more inpatient hospital beds at SFGH; nursing positions at Laguna Honda Hospital; social workers in Health Care for the Homeless; take a paramedic off each city ambulance

Unless we act, these and more will be gone! Contact our elected officials and tell them: No more cuts! Fund Public Health fully! And come to the S.F. Budget Hearing, Saturday, June 16, in City Hall.

For more information call Emergency Coalition to Save Public Health, phone 415/540-3644, fax 415/550-0679.

Homeowner & Renter Assistance

Starting this year (2001), the annual HRA Program start-date moves from May 15 to July 1. If you filed a claim last year, the FTB will automatically mail you a booklet between June 15 and July 1, 2001.

If you are a California homeowner or renter; U.S. citizen, a designated or qualified alien; 62 or older or disabled or blind; have a total household income under $35,251 and have lived in a qualified residence in 2000, you may be entitled to a rebate of up to $326.40.

For more information about HRA, call 1-800/338-0505.


Chronicle Headline: PUC tags consumers with huge rate boost. What does this mean to us and our electric bills?

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in its infinite wisdom, has adopted rate increases for all electricity users. We, as residential users, are the biggest losers. This is how it will work out on your bill:

If you use only up to 130% of baseline (see page 2 of your PG&E bill) quantities of electricity, your rate per kilowatt hour should not change. For example, if your baseline quantity is 275.9 Kwh @ $0.11589 and you use 53.1 Kwh over baseline @ $0.13321, your bill will stay the same. But if you use 359 Kwh or more, your bill could rise by as much as 55%! (Maybe you ought to return that new hair dryer!?) Note, this is your electric bill. Your unregulated gas bill has already more than doubled.

The chart below shows how residential customers over the years ended up paying a higher rate than commercial and industrial users. Now the disparity will be even greater.

Federal "compassion" for California:

President Bush and Vice President Cheney's energy plan calls for more oil, gas, coal and nuclear plants. There will be no price caps on the Texas fuel providers. But, they reassure us, the proposed tax cuts will help us pay for the increased utility costs. In California, the median income is $37,100. These taxpayers will pay $571 less per year. But the 20% of our taxpayers who make $16,000 or less will have their taxes cut by $59 ! And then there are the many Social Security and SSI recipients who pay no taxes and therefore will receive no cuts or rebatesbut their utility bills will rise anyhow.

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

Back to Newsletters

Back to Gray Panthers Home Page