Still Need to Enroll in the ACA? Here’s What to Do (But Act Fast!)

The deadline to enroll in the Affordable Care Act is fast approaching. Some states, including California, have extended deadlines: Covered California open enrollment ends January 31, 2018. But Friday, December 15, is the deadline for people in many states to enroll for healthcare under the ACA.

ACA Open Enrollment is the annual period to enrollswitch plans, and get subsidies; it’s the only time people can sign up without qualifying for special enrollment and avoid a monthly fee.

What you can do: First, enroll yourself & your family, then spread the word to everyone you know about the imminent deadline.

There’s free drop-in enrollment help at the Oakland and Richmond Public Libraries:

More important info:

IEB’s Judiciary Team Rocks the Nation!

When the current occupant of the White House started what has turned into a terrifying court-packing effort (together with his cronies in the Senate), a few of IEB’s fearless research-loving members went into high gear. Since late summer 2017, what is now our Judiciary Team has created and shared an extensive database of information about judicial nominees as well as creating and sharing digital toolkits, and has become a resource for Indivisible National, Indivisible chapters nationwide, and other organizations. We’re proud to tell you some of their many achievements:

  • Indivisible National cites IEB’s Judiciary Team for our work and recommends us as a resource (about 3/4 of the way down this page).
  • Judiciary Team members Linh, Donna and Heidi have begun organizing with Lawyers For Good Government, a national group interested in working on Trump’s judicial nominations.
  • IEB Judiciary Team member Donna helped organize Rapid Resist text/phone bank campaigns into Texas and North Carolina against the nomination of Gregory Katsas for the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Indivisible SF also helped with the North Carolina campaign. Shout outs to Alysia, Cassie and Yoni of Rapid Resist!
  • Two groups in North Carolina have also mobilized against the nomination of Thomas Farr for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, after receiving information from us.
  • We have provided our friends at Indivisible SF with information and scripts to help their work contacting a network of groups in Colorado to mobilize against the nominations of Katsas and of Allison Eid to fill Neil Gorsuch’s seat on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Shout outs to Jonah and Kristen at ISF!
  • We have been in contact with two groups in Idaho that will call their Senators against Trump’s judicial nominations.
  • Donna has also been in contact with Indivisible chapters and other progressive groups in Minnesota and Oregon that have mobilized against Trump’s court nominations.
  • We have worked extensively with Indivisibles in Texas. At the request of Indivisible Houston, we created and provided a toolkit with talking points for MoC meetings, blog posts, graphics for social media posts, and call scripts. Indivisible Austin ended up using our materials to create a blog post/call to action. Indivisible Houston used the toolkit for a visit to Senator Cornyn’s office to discuss the nomination of Jeff Mateer (the one who said that trans children are “part of Satan’s plan”). Indivisible Denton did a call script and call to action. Indivisible Austin used our materials in their blog. Judiciary Team member Amelia also reached out to Equality Texas, which was also doing a call to action on Mateer, and shared their link with the Texas Indivisibles.
  • The latest addition to the state list: Arizona, where Rapid Resist has just begun campaigning against the Katsas nomination with IEB’s help. Thanks to Alysia, Cassie, and Yoni at Rapid Resist!

Have a questions for the Judiciary Team, or want to lend a hand? Contact us!

We are Indivisible, and Indestructible!

IEB has been in close touch with Indivisible Sonoma County throughout the terrible fires that have devastated Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino this October. Some ISoCo members and leaders have lost their homes and all they owned; everyone has been deeply affected, as have their whole communities. The following was written by an Indivisible leader from the town of Glen Ellen, California:

When the fires started, I was out of town, working with a client on their annual conference. My daughter’s call woke me Sunday night. She was frantic. “Dad, Mom can see fire through the neighbors’ trees and we’re trying to get the things we need to take with us. What do you need us to take?”

Half-asleep, I tried to think of what we absolutely had to have and talked with them as they raced, grabbing what came to mind as essential, hurrying to get out. Soon they left and I went back to sleep, hoping that fleeing would have just been a precaution. Instead, the next morning my wife’s text began, “Honey, I’m afraid we lost everything.”
After the initial shock, I was just grateful that my family had escaped. They were safe. The dog was with them. That was what mattered to me. Life would go on. We even found out later that the studio and barn had made it through. The house, though, had burned to the ground.

In 2016 this same conference was in November, right after the election. It occurs to me that I was more distraught last year. Restless with dread about Trump and the damage he would cause, I couldn’t sleep, imagining only the worst. Having the conference frame both events, I realized now that I had lost my home two years in a row.

Last year that home was my country. This year it was my house. Losing my country was and is the bigger threat. But I’m rebuilding both, dammit. However long it takes and no matter how hard it is to do.

Our family is lucky. We’re all safe. We were insured. We have emergency funds that we can draw on. But there were thousands here who were impacted as much or more and have less to fall back on. They could use your help. Here are the causes that members of Indivisible groups in Sonoma County are supporting:

Financial:

Volunteerism:

Thank you. We are Indivisible, and Indestructible!

Tell Your MoC: Get Puerto Rico the Aid It Needs!

Three and a half million Americans in Puerto Rico are struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Most of the island remains without power or water; some officials predict that the electric grid may remain down for up to six months. There’s no cell service. Roads have been washed away or blocked by debris. At least sixteen are dead, and that’s just what’s known; many parts of the island are inaccessible and many people have been unable to get in touch with their friends and families.

The government has declared a state of emergency, but aid doesn’t get anywhere by itself. (Paul Ryan says that Congress is working on an aid package that should be ready in a few weeks …)

The federal government has recently waived the Jones Act, a nearly century-old law under which only ships registered in the United States may carry goods and passengers from one United States port to another. Under the Jones Act, foreign vessels had to pay punitive tariffs, fees, and taxes to bring American goods to Puerto Rico, or they could reroute to Florida and offload to an American ship, an expensive procedure. These extra costs are passed on to the consumer, making prices there on U.S. goods exorbitantly high: under the Jones Act, food is twice as expensive in Puerto Rico as in Florida.

But as Senators Feinstein and Harris have told the president, Puerto Rico needs more. It needs relief for the entire island, not just the parts covered by the existing disaster declarations. It also needs long-term relief that is not being planned for. Halfway measures won’t fix this problem.

Please thank Senators Feinstein and Harris and contact your members of Congress. 

SCRIPT: This is [NAME] and I’m a constituent in [ZIP]. Puerto Rico needs our help. I know that help is being given now, but there needs to be a long term relief and rebuilding plan that must include debt forgiveness. I disagree with the proposals for obscene amounts of spending for defense. I want us to nation-build Puerto Rico.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (email)
(415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841

Sen. Kamala Harris (email)
(415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (email): (510) 620-1000 DC: (202) 225-2095
Rep. Barbara Lee (email): (510) 763-0370 DC: (202) 225-2661
Rep. Eric Swalwell (email): (510) 370-3322 DC: (202) 225-5065


Our friends in Mexico City are recovering from a massive quake; and as Puerto Rico was recovering from Irma, it got hit with even greater force by hurricane Maria. Below are some aid agencies doing work on the ground to bring immediate relief to those affected by quake and hurricanes.

Some of the organizations based in Mexico may convert your donation into pesos, so be sure to check the currency.

SB 345 Goes to Reluctant Governor: Would Require Police to Post Procedures Manuals Online

The California Legislature has passed SB 345, new legislation that would require California state and local law enforcement agencies to put most of their policies and procedures online. The bill is now before Governor Brown, who is a supporter of high tech but has close connections with law enforcement. So far, disappointingly, he seems to be balking at signing it.

If the bill becomes law, individuals will have better access to information about law enforcement policies and practices, while law enforcement agencies will provide better communication with their communities – including showcasing their most innovative policies and procedures, enhancing opportunities for better buy-in from their communities.

Some law enforcement agencies, like San Francisco Police Department, have already chosen to put their information online; others do not. The point of the bill is to make this consistent across California so everyone has access to information about their law enforcement agencies. The bill does not require law enforcement to disclose anything that isn’t already available to the public: all information covered by SB 345 is already considered a “public record,” available to anyone who makes a California Public Records Act request. Under SB 345, however, the public can have access to the same information far more simply, without having to file a request.

This law would be a wonderful step forward for law enforcement transparency, and also a great triumph for citizen democracy: the bill was written by a Bay Area private citizen!

Here is some information about SB 345, prepared during its travels through the State Assembly:

Question: What is SB 345?

Answer: SB 345 requires state and local law enforcement agencies to conspicuously post online their current standards, policies, practices, operating procedures and training materials that would otherwise be available to the public if a request was made pursuant to the California Public Records Act [“CPRA”].

Question: Does CPRA already cover this kind of information?

Answer: Yes. CPRA requires that government records shall be disclosed to the public, upon request, unless there is a specific reason not to do so.[1] On March 2, 2017, in a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court emphasized the breadth and depth of CPRA in City of San Jose v. Sup. Court (Smith) (S218066) [broad reading of CPRA includes private emails of public officials.] The Court highlighted CPRA’s strong presumption that all public records are open for inspection and copying, except those categories of records specifically designated as “exempt” from disclosure. (Gov’t Code sections 6253(b), 6254):

Given the strong public policy of the people’s right to information concerning the people’s business (Gov. Code,§ 6250), and the constitutional mandate to construe statutes limiting the right of access narrowly (Cal. Const., art. I,§ 3, subd. (b)(2)), ‘all public records are subject to disclosure unless the Legislature has expressly provided to the contrary.’ [Smith, supra, at p. 5, citing Sierra Club v. Superior Court (2013) 57 Cal.4th 157, 166, emphasis in original.]

Existing law, through CPRA, provides the public with “identifiable public records,” (California Government Code Section 6253,) defined as information, rather than merely documents and files. Police operating policies, procedures and training manuals are identifiable public records which are subject to disclosure through CPRA. (San Gabriel Tribune v. Superior Court (1983) 143Cal.App.3d 762, 774; Cook v. Craig (1976) 55 Cal.App.3d 773, 782.) Existing law, through CPRA, requires state and local governments to comply with requests for publicly available documents and requires state and local governments to pay in full the costs of those requests.

Question: Does SB 345 make any changes to what is currently subject to disclosure under CPRA?

Answer: No. Sensitive information that is already exempted from public disclosure under CPRA will remain exempted from public disclosure.

Question: What kinds of sensitive law enforcement information are currently exempted from disclosure under CPRA?

Answer: Certain sensitive information is specifically exempt from disclosure pursuant to Government Code section 6254, including but not limited to personnel records, records of complaints against officers, intelligence information, security procedures and certain crime victim information.

A law enforcement agency may justify withholding information from the public if the agency can demonstrate “that the record in question is exempt under express provisions of this chapter or that on the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.” (Government Code section 6255.) Any response denying disclosure must be in writing.

Question: What problems are there for members of the public who currently use CPRA to request law enforcement information?

Answer: Although existing law provides that members of the public may use CPRA to request law enforcement training, policies and procedures, there are currently wide gaps in compliance.

Question: Why are there current gaps in CPRA compliance?

Answer: First, there are general problems with existing law, which does not standardize law enforcement regulations or training in either their substantive content or even their labels or designations. For example, some law enforcement agencies refer to their regulations as “Department General Orders,” while others may use phrases like “Policies and Procedures.” As a result, existing law also does not provide a member of the public with any way to determine which organization has the information sought, or what format the information is stored in, or even what specific language should be used to ensure the CPRA request actually will get fulfilled.

Second, there are specific compliance problems with both state and local law enforcement agencies:

(1) State agencies: Existing law also provides that California Police Officer Standards and Training Commission (“POST”) set forth policies and procedures for most California peace officers. Existing law also requires most California law enforcement officers to obtain a California POST Basic Certificate within a certain amount of time in order to continue to exercise peace officer powers. (Penal Code section 830.1(a).) However, existing law does not require the actual substantive content of this California POST training to be made currently publically available online, and such online materials are currently password protected and only available to members of law enforcement.

(2) Local agencies: Existing law allows individual California local law enforcement department to create their own regulations, including policies and procedures, training and department general orders. Theoretically, this allows for different law enforcement agencies to develop their own models and best practices. However, existing law does not require the actual substantive content of these regulations to be made publicly available in a searchable format and kept current online, which makes it cumbersome for members of the public to access and compare these different models and practices.

Question: Will SB 345 benefit communities and members of the public?

Answer: Yes. The only way communities can participate in the development and the evaluation of state and local law enforcement policies is to actually know what these policies, practices and trainings are. Providing access to these policies and procedures on each law enforcement agency’s public website increases transparency and access to information by allowing residents to review policies and procedures that affect their encounters with police.

SB 345 also fosters better community relations by providing the public with information about each department’s policies and procedures.

Question: Are there studies to support SB 345?

Answer: Yes. Over a dozen years ago, the Seattle Police Department (“SPD”) became one of the first law enforcement agencies in the United States to post its orders online. Soon after, the Seattle Office of Professional Accountability (“OPA”) noted many tangible benefits from SPD posting of its orders online. OPA reported that media and citizen inquiries into police conduct became better informed because the public and news outlets had better access to how SPD operated prior to contacting OPA or SPD. OPA noted it could direct citizens to the website for examination of relevant policies at their convenience, and community outreach was made more meaningful by the ability to reference the publicly available manual.[2]

Subsequently, police accountability expert Professor Samuel Walker of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, recognized SPD for bucking the traditional “attitude of secrecy” that “not only denies to the public basic information about official police policies, but aggravates community relations by sending a message to people that they have no right to know how the department operates.”[3] Professor Walker has submitted a detailed letter in support of SB 345.

More recent support for SB 345 can be found in recommendations from President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Service, Interim Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (Mar. 2015), at 1.) In addressing the issue of transparency and accessibility, the task force recommended that law enforcement agencies make all department policies available for public review. (Id. at 11.) Electronic access to police policies and procedures is consistent with the goals of enhancing police-community relations and furthers procedural justice efforts set out in the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Action Item 1.5.1:  “In order to achieve external legitimacy, law enforcement agencies should involve the community in the process of developing and evaluating policies and procedures.”[4]

Question: Are there law enforcement agencies already putting this kind of information online?

Answer: Yes. By our last informal count, between 20-30 California law enforcement agencies  – and at least 20 more nationwide – already post and maintain all or part of their regulations and rules online.

Question:  Why are some law enforcement agencies already doing this, even though they are not yet required to do so?

Answer:

  • Because they know communities and law enforcement each benefit by electronic access to police policies and procedures.
  • Because they know that unnecessary costs, labor & paperwork associated with requests for these materials will be greatly reduced, thereby making the process more streamlined, efficient and environmentally sound.
  • Because they know the only way communities can participate in the development and the evaluation of their police department’s policies is to provide members of the community with better access to these policies, practices and trainings.

See, for example, this statement posted on the Santa Ana Police Department website:

The Santa Ana Police Department has numerous policies that guide its employees in their duties enhancing safety in our community. Policies are based on policing best practices, current legal standards and community safety needs. The department strives to achieve the upmost transparency in providing public safety services to the community. Department policies ensure that the community has the opportunity to be well informed and that our police officers receive the most up to date guidance available in policing. We believe placing these policies in a location easily accessible to the community helps broaden communication and increase community trust. (Emphasis added.)[5]

Question: What will SB 345 cost?

Answer: It’s not exactly clear. As far as we know, no one has actually compiled the costs of complying with CPRA, including the exact number of CPRA requests filed by members of the public on any given day or during any given year, or how many CPRA requests are received annually by each law enforcement agency.

However, we do know that each law enforcement agency in California must comply with CPRA: responses to CPRA requests are mandatory, not optional.

For those agencies that are already posting and maintaining their materials online, there will be no additional cost. For those agencies that are not already doing so, there will be an initial cost with eventual cost savings. By posting and maintaining this information online, law enforcement agencies will cut down staff time and resources necessary to respond to each and every CPRA request.

Finally, we know that many law enforcement agencies – including smaller and rural law enforcement agencies – are already posting their information online because, in part, it is a cost-effective and fiscally responsible choice. These law enforcement agencies would not already be posting their information online if it was cost prohibitive to do so.

Question: Who sponsors and supports SB 345?

  • Answer: California Public Defenders Association (sponsor)
  • ACLU of California (Natasha Minsker testified in support of the bill at both the Senate & Assembly Public Safety Committee hearings)
  • National Association of Public Defenders
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Gideon’s Promise
  • Northern California Innocence Project
  • Dr. Samuel Walker, Police Accountability Expert and Author of several books on police accountability
  • Silicon Valley De-Bug
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice

Question: Who opposes SB 345?

Answer: California State Sheriffs’ Association

Question: Why should I support SB 345?

Answer: Because SB 345 is a simple, cost-effective, common sense way to improve police-community relations while increasing transparency and access to police information.

[1]  See e.g., “Summary of the California Public Records Act 2004,” California Attorney General’s Office, August 2004.

[2]  See Washington, D.C.’s Police Complaint Board’s Recommendation for Publication of MPD Orders on the Internet (July 14, 2005), p. 2, available at: http://policecomplaints.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/police%20complaints/publication/attachments/policy_rec_mpd_general_orders.pdf

[3]  Samuel Walker, The New World of Police Accountability 190 (2004).

[4] In December 2014, President Barack Obama established the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The Task Force identified best practices and offered 58 recommendations on how policing practices can promote effective crime reduction while building public trust. The Task Force recommendations are centered on six main objectives: Building Trust and Legitimacy, Policy and Oversight, Technology and Social Media, Community Policing and Crime Reduction, Officer Training and Education, and Officer Safety and Wellness. The Task Force’s final report is available at: http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/taskforce_finalreport.pdf.

[5]  http://www.ci.santa-ana.ca.us/pd/policies.asp

Who Represents You? Tell IEB, Help Save Democracy

Well, that may be a bit overly dramatic. But there’s a kernel of truth in it! As part of IEB’s preparation for the critical 2018 midterms, we want to be sure that everyone who votes will be able to find information on every elected office, from the federal level down to the tiniest township.

Local offices are often little-known and overlooked by voters, but they are important: they have real power, and local office is often a step toward higher office. We want to let our members know as much as possible about our local elected offices and who’s holding them.

This is where you come in. We need to know: who represents you and the place where you live? If you know anything about the local structure of your city or county government, please fill out this form (or as much of it as you can). You can fill out a form for each office you know about, and when you submit a form you can see the info we have and the info we need – and you can also join our GOTV campaign.

Right now we have an edition for Oakland and we hope to produce information – either printed or digital – for the other cities and towns within IEB’s geographical range. That’s San Leandro, Hayward, Pleasanton, Union City, Fremont, Alameda, Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, Richmond, San Pablo, Dublin, and more; if you have info on a town that is not listed on the form, by all means send it! And if you know of any online resources that contain this information for the various cities and towns in our region, please let us know in the area asking for “additional information.”

For just one example of why it’s so important to have this kind of information, take a look at this excellent video and website from the ACLU about the office of District Attorney. And remember that the former Contra Costa County DA recently resigned after pleading no contest to felony perjury, leading to a search process for a new DA in which citizens were able to participate.

Thanks for helping IEB in this project!

Help California Protect Your Privacy Online

California’s battle against the federal government rages on, this time on the issue of internet privacy. Back in March 2017, the US Congress approved a resolution to undo Obama-era internet privacy protections for consumers, and Trump of course signed it. Now our representatives in Sacramento are considering AB 375, a bill which would give us back the protections taken away by the federal government.

AB 375 would require internet service providers (ISPs) – namely AT&T, Comcast and Verizon – to get your consent before sharing or selling your information. It would also prohibit ISPs from charging you fees to keep your information confidential, or penalizing you if you opt for privacy.

In other words, the bill would give you some say-so over the companies that control the internet pipeline into your home, and that aim to profit off your personal information. As Representative Ed Chau, sponsor of AB 375, points out, your internet browsing history “can reveal highly sensitive information about you, including personal or sexual activities, political or religious interests, health or financial problems.”

“If your ISP wants to collect information about you while you’re surfing the web, and then use it for their own reasons, like selling targeted ads, they should ask your permission first,” Chau said.

Here’s a statement in support of AB 375 from our friends at Indivisible SF.

AB 375 has passed the Assembly, and has cleared the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee. In late August it’s likely to be heard by the Senate Rules and Appropriations Committees, then head to the Senate floor for a vote.

Nearly two dozen other states have introduced similar legislation, but California’s is furthest along in the legislative process, so once again our Golden State could take the lead and set a precedent for others to follow.

Contact your State Senator to let them know you care about your privacy online and want them to support AB 375. Or join these actions by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Consumer Action.

IEB All-Member Meeting July 29

Please join us at Indivisible East Bay’s All Member Meeting!

Tickets (FREE) here

WHEN: July 292:30-4:30 PM

WHERE: Oakland Public Library, 125 14th Street, Oakland (between Madison and Oak Streets on Lake Merritt) in the auditorium/community room (basement level). The Library is a quarter mile from the Lake Merritt BART station and half a mile from the 12th Street (Oakland) BART station.

The Library and the auditorium are wheelchair accessible. The Library is a scent-free environment – please do not wear perfume or scented products, since many people can become sick from scented products.

WHAT: Meet your fellow Indivisible members, find out what the group is doing and where you might like to join in, strategize for our role in the 2018 elections.

WHY: You’re already reading this … you know why!

 

Still Time To Submit Comments! Something in the Water: Marine Sanctuaries at Risk

In late April 2017, Donald Trump signed an executive order that would expand offshore drilling for oil and gas and would also stop the expansion of any new marine sanctuaries and require the Secretary of Commerce to review any marine national monuments created or expanded over the past decade.

This order, if enacted, could have disastrous consequences for California’s marine sanctuaries, sections of the ocean where human activity is legally limited or prohibited. Though the executive order does not apply to sanctuaries established prior to 2007, the order could reverse recent protections put in place by the Bush and Obama administrations: President Bush expanded the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary by 496,000 acres, and President Obama in 2015 doubled the size of the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones marine sanctuaries. The order would also reverse the current strategy implemented under President Obama preventing any new oil leases in California through 2022.

Background: the Santa Barbara Offshore Drilling Disaster and the Environmental Movement

Marine sanctuaries, like many of our country’s environmental laws, have been in place since the 1970’s and were originally the creation of a Republican administration. President Nixon started the marine sanctuary program 45 years ago as a result of the horrific 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill, in which 3 million gallons of petroleum from an offshore drilling site leaked into the Pacific Ocean. Images of impaired sea otters, oil-drenched birds, and corpses of dolphins and seals, victims of the month-long oil spill at 1,000 gallons per hour, drew national outrage.

The LA Times says this oil spill “changed the consciousness of the nation.” Then-U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt later said that the spill “was the most important event that led to the environmental revolution of the 1970s.” The Santa Barbara Oil spill marked the beginning of an environmental movement, sparking new laws and legislation that regulated pollution and protected endangered species, as well as federal policies that placed severe penalties on offshore drilling platform operators in the event of another oil spill.  

Up to Us to Keep History From Repeating Itself

Until now, no president has ever reduced or eliminated a national marine sanctuary in the 45 years since President Nixon started the marine sanctuary program. But this executive order can potentially do just that.

Trump’s order seeks to prioritize offshore drilling above marine sanctuaries: Section 4 calls for a “review” of current Marine Sanctuaries, which would analyze the cost to maintain these sanctuaries and “the opportunity costs associated with potential energy and mineral exploration and production from the Outer Continental Shelf, in addition to any impacts on production in the adjacent region.” In addition to potentially shrinking current marine sanctuaries for the sake of offshore oil drilling, the executive order seeks to prevent expansion of current marine sanctuaries and designation of new marine sanctuaries, unless “the sanctuary designation or expansion proposal includes a timely, full accounting from the Department of the Interior of any energy or mineral resource potential within the designated area—including offshore energy from wind, oil, natural gas, methane hydrates—and the potential impact the proposed designation or expansion will have on the development of those resources.” In other words, business is to be weighed against the marine environment, with a heavy thumb on business’s side of the scales – potentially bringing us right back to where we were before 1969.

What you can do: A detailed notice of the executive order has been posted to the Federal Register’s site, and the 30-day public comment period is still open and accepting new comments. You can submit a formal comment opposing this order and telling the Secretary of Commerce that our marine sanctuaries should be prioritized ahead of off-shore drilling, and must be preserved or expanded, not diminished. The comments period has been extended to 11:59 PM ET on August 15, 2017. (More information and sample letter here.)

More that you can do: Both California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris have urged Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to preserve all four of California’s marine sanctuaries currently under review: Greater Farallones, Cordell Bank, Monterey Bay, and Channel Islands. Please thank them for their support!

– By A. Hernandez

IEB Attends Single Payer Healthcare Town Hall

On Saturday, July 9, IEB and Indivisible SF members attended a Single Payer Town Hall in Larkspur on the subject of Senate Bill 562, The Healthy California (HC) Act, also known as single-payer healthcare. The Town Hall was hosted by State Senators Mike McGuire (SD 2) and Ricardo Lara (SD 33), State Assemblymember Marc Levine (AD 10), and Larkspur Supervisor Judy Arnold; a panel of experts included local physicians, the President of the California Nurses Association, Deborah Burger, and the Executive Director of the California Alliance for Retired Americans, Jodi Reid.  

In his opening remarks, Senator Lara, one of the authors of the bill (the other is Senator Toni Atkins, SD 39), shared three basic tenets of universal health care: (1) health care is a human right, (2) everyone gets to pick healthcare providers of their own choice and (3) care is determined by the patients and their health care provider. Senator Lara was clear that universal health care would be good for Californians: it would cover all residents, including those currently un- or under-insured, and would save the state about $37 billion a year.

After opening remarks from the hosts and the panel, the floor was opened up to questions from the lively and knowledgeable audience of about 300-400 local residents, and some who came from as far away as the South Bay. Questions were wide-ranging and included hot topics such as the role of Medicare (Healthy California will act as supplemental insurance for Medicare recipients); how will we pay for it (about 70% of funds will come from existing federal, state and private resources); and mental health coverage (Healthy California will fully cover all necessary mental health care needs). One major concern of the audience was the fate of the bill now that Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (AD 63) has held the bill in the Assembly Rules Committee, claiming that the bill is “woefully inadequate.” Assemblymember Levine reminded the audience that the authors of the bill can add an urgency clause at any time to avoid the restrictions imposed by the legislative timetable and keep the bill from dying in committee.

The panelists continued to answer audience questions well past the planned two hour debate to accommodate all who wished to be heard.

Watch the California State Democrats’ video of the Town Hall.