Don’t Forget Puerto Rico!

The administration throws paper towels, says that loss of life and infrastructure isn’t really a crisis, and then makes a jaw-dropping attempt to simply remove unflattering statistics from the FEMA website about the lack of access to water and electricity in Puerto Rico. The territory is still in the grip of a humanitarian crisis. The deadline for people to apply for aid from FEMA will probably run out before electricity and phone service is restored; the governor has begged Congressional leadership for more aid. The Jones Act waiver has expired, meaning that food and supplies will once again become unaffordable. Tell our members of Congress to push for relief for our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico!

Extend FEMA Deadline

You’ve likely heard that nearly all of Puerto Rico was without power after Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 20. According to the Department of Energy as of October 18 power has only been restored to 19% of the island. In addition, cell phone service is extremely limited. Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 9.09.24 PMThe Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is telling residents to apply for disaster relief on its website or over the phone, which is impossible for nearly all of them. Further, FEMA has a strict 60 day deadline for emergency assistance applications. That means that by the time the island has fully restored power, it will be far too late for our fellow citizens to get the aid they need and deserve.  

Please contact your MoCs today! What to say:

“My name is _____, I’m with Indivisible East Bay from [zip code]. I’m calling to ask that you support extending FEMA’s strict 60 day deadline for aid applications for Puerto Rico. With nearly 90% of the island still without power and very limited cell phone service, it will be impossible for most people to meet the deadline.”

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

Inspiration:

Send More Aid

Puerto Rico’s governor has made it clear that – despite Trump’s delusional claims to the contrary – the aid that has been sent is not nearly enough to restore the territory. In fact, it isn’t enough to keep the crisis there from becoming worse. In a letter to Congressional leadership, he says:

We are grateful for the federal emergency assistance that has been provided so far. However, absent extraordinary measures to address the halt in economic activity in Puerto Rico, the humanitarian crisis will deepen …

Get the Jones Act out of the way

The Jones Act is 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. A waiver of the Jones Act went into effect in late September, but it has expired. Tell your MoCs to push for getting the Jones Act out of the way so Puerto Ricans can get out of this crisis.

Congress: Renew CHIP Funding

Poor overworked GOP Congress, so busy trying to steal our health care and criminalizing 20-week abortions that it couldn’t find one little minute to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program.CHIP funding mapCHIP, a federal-state partnership, provides federal funds to cover low-cost health insurance for nearly 9 million uninsured children from low to modest-income families. If Congress doesn’t act, states will have to make tough decisions about their CHIP programs.

Please call your MoCs today! What to say:

My name is _____, I’m a constituent from [zip code]. Please support a bipartisan reauthorization of the CHIP program, and pass a clean reauthorization bill without policy riders that could delay the bill’s passage.”

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

Obamacare Enrollment Alert

Save ACANot content with putting us through the heart-stopping fear and anxiety that our health insurance will become unaffordable or nonexistent, Trump ‘n GOP have also been trying every which evil way to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, including:

  • They shortened the 2018 Obamacare enrollment period from 3 months to 6 weeks; sign up begins November 1 and ends December 15, 2017;
  • They reduced by 90% the advertising funds to let people know about the deadlines;
  • Spending on the Navigator system, in-person enrollment assistance, is set to be cut by 41% from 2016 levels.

Open enrollment is the only time people can enroll in a health plan on the individual market without qualifying for special enrollment. You need to get covered during open enrollment 2018 to get cost assistance and avoid a monthly fee in 2018. Learn more about open enrollment here.

Here’s what to do. First, don’t forget to enroll yourself and your family, and then please help get this important information about the brief enrollment period — November 1 to December 15 to everyone you know!

Healthcare

 

 

Volunteer for ACILEP Rapid Response Training

ACILEPLearn how to verify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity and be a legal observer to protect our communities from ICE! The Alameda County Immigration Legal and Education Partnership (ACILEP) invites you to join its team of volunteer responders to resist ICE raids and deportations. Rehearse critical and creative tactics for effective action. No legal experience or knowledge is necessary.

Please sign up for one of the volunteer trainings:

  • When:  Tuesday October 3, 6-9 PM
  • Where: SEIU-USWW; 3411 East 12th Street, Suite 200, Oakland, CA (at Fruitvale BART)

—- OR —-

  • When:  Saturday October 7, 10 AM – 1 PM
  • Where:  EDEN CHURCH21455 Birch St., Oliver Hall, Hayward, CA 94541 (on-site parking available)
  • The workshop will be held in Oliver Hall, on the north side of the church campus. A free community lunch for all workshop participants will be served at 1 pm in Oliver Hall.

Please REGISTER for either training by filling out this form.  Questions? Email acilepgroup@gmail.com If you can’t volunteer please spread the word.

ACILEP, a network of several immigrant rights organizations, provides rapid response and legal services for families targeted by ICE activity. It is a partnership of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, Causa Justa Just Cause, the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Oakland Community Organizations, Street Level Health, the Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay, Centro Legal de la Raza, and the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office Theater of the Oppressed Assistance from Starr King School for the Ministry.

 

Help Preserve All Votes

Voting is the bedrock of our democracy: if it can be broken, every other right we rely on can be taken away. Many IEB’ers are doing critical work registering voters and canvassing in swing districts. To make sure those hard-won votes are counted, we must improve the security of our elections.

Expert Jim Soper explains that “the foundation of election security is based on paper ballots and random hand counts of the ballots.” On August 24, the authors of California AB 840, originally intended to ensure a thorough vote audit, inserted last-minute amendments that exempt millions of vote by mail ballots from the manual tally.

Under the amended bill, approved by the California Assembly on September 15, 2017, no provisional ballots and only ballots counted before midnight on Election Day will be eligible for audit. Why does that matter? In 2016, about 4 million California ballots were still uncounted after Election Day.

What can you do?

First, please call Governor Brown’s office TODAY, and urge him to veto the bill.

  • Office number: (916) 445-2841 
  • What to say: My name is ____. I live at [zip code]. I’m opposed to AB 840 because it exempts millions of vote by mail ballots from the election audits. Please protect the election audits. I urge Governor Brown to veto the bill. Thank you.

Next? Sign up for the Second Annual Take Back the Vote National Conference. Over 30 nationally recognized election integrity leaders will convene in Berkeley to discuss the current crises in our elections. Among the speakers or guests are computer scientists, professors, lawyers, journalists and election officials as well as federal, state and local legislators. They’ll present their findings, answer questions, and organize a national effort to restore publicly verified democracy in the United States.

  • When: October 7 and 8, 2017; 10 AM – 6 PM both days
  • Where: South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis Street, corner of Ashby Avenue
  • More info and register here. Early bird discount: $40 for 2 days. No one turned away for lack of funds
  • Can’t make it? If you can afford, please donate. Volunteers and speakers are tireless but unpaid, and contributing their time.

Take Back the Vote

There’s more! ACLU’s People Power is launching a 50-state voting rights campaign. Kickoff events to campaign for voting rights tailored to each state are planned for October 1st. Find an event or sign up to host one! You’ve got more than 20 to choose from in the Bay Area.ACLU People Power voting launchFinally, want to work with IEB to organize around voting and election issues? Email us.

Glad to See You in September

All Members Meeting September 17With apologies to Walt Whitman: “We are large, we contain multitudes.” Indivisible East Bay sprawls across three congressional districts, two counties, and more than a dozen cities. Despite logistical struggles (“where should we meet!?”) IEB’s breadth is a strength – from west-most tip, Richmond, out to East County, our membership boasts a wide diversity of population, experience, talents, and views.

IEB is also a coalition group; many of us are in hyper-local Indivisibles, and we share with our “home teams” the ideas, info, actions and more that we gather from IEB’s awesome resources (the website, newsletter, teams and Slack channels). And that in turn expands our reach far beyond the people who have signed up as IEB’ers.

But distance and horrendous traffic dictates that most of IEB’s plotting, organizing and nuts and bolts work goes on via email or the online chat platform Slack.

Once a month, though, we get to see one another and welcome new people to the fold at our All Members Meeting. The September 17 AMM at the Oakland Library was a jam-packed two hours of catching up and meeting newbies, hearing reports on critical issues, and participating in breakouts. We started with a brief discussion about the August 27 Berkeley Rally Against Hate and what occurred afterward. Research Team lead Anne described her experience at the Rally; several people shared their views of the day and issues raised, including Antifa and how we can get more accurate information out to the public when the media at times seems interested only in focusing on incidents of violence.

AMM Linh

Speaking for the hard-working Judiciary Team, Linh raised the alarm that the GOP Congress is careening toward packing the federal courts with far right-wing lifetime tenure judges. She explained the blue slip process, alerted us to GOP attempts to split the Ninth Circuit, and spoke a bit about how IEB is organizing to resist. Have experience with or interest in judiciary issues? Email linh@indivisibleeb.org or contact her on Slack: @linh.

CA-15 team co-lead Ward spoke about the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB), an extraordinary institution where he is a long-time volunteer. Ward hopes that many of us can attend the Food Bank’s event “How the Farm Bill Affects Hunger – and What You Can Do About It.” The Farm Bill, which funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as CalFresh in California and better known as food stamps, is under attack – learn what you can do to defend it! The event will be held at the ACCFB Community Engagement Center on September 27 from 5:30 to 7 PM. More information and registration here.

AMM breakout session

IEB Governance Committee member Jiggy, also a member of Indivisible SF, told us about CA StateStrong, her ambitious new project that applies Indivisible Guide tenets and grassroots activism to Sacramento and our state and local representatives. She later led a popular breakout session to let people know what CA StateStrong is working on and to give an update on what happened in the legislature last week. If you’re interested, please subscribe to the CA StateStrong newsletter. Want to get more involved with the project? Fill out this form. On twitter? Follow @CAStateStrong and RT to help spread the word.  

At the other breakouts:

  • Anne, Evan and Linh led a session for people excited to research and find more ways for members to use public comment periods to slow the administration’s rollback of protections in federal regulations.
  • Seven “veterans” attended the Outreach to Organizations (OtO) breakout and gave the team updates on the organizations they’re liaising with, including the Alameda County Community Food Bank, Anti Police Terror Project, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, and Oakland Rising. The team added 350BayArea/350EastBay as a priority organization, and two people are currently exploring new organizations. If you have a relationship with an activist community organization that pursues policy changes at the federal, state or local level, OtO would love to hear from you (email Toni at ieb.outreach@gmail.com).
  • Lynn and Heidi talked to several members about volunteering for IEB teams and projects. If you want to know how to volunteer with specific committees or teams email the volunteers team lead Andrea at andrea@indivisibleeb.org or ping her on Slack: @andrea. We were glad there’s much interest in helping out with the IEB newsletter, and we can always use more! For info, contact lead newsletter wrangler Ann on Slack: @anngdan
  • The CA-13 Team lead met with members who were interested in joining the team and in supporting our efforts to bring important questions and concerns to Congresswoman Lee and her staff.
  • Ward and LeAnn, who recently stepped up as the new CA-15 (Congressman Swalwell) team co-leads, met up with a fellow CA-15’er. They also got valuable advice from Kristen, valiant CA-11 (Congressman DeSaulnier) team lead.

With doom and gloom filling the news, from threats to our healthcare to the real risk of nuclear annihilation, it was inspiring and motivating to spend the afternoon with scores of people who share common goals to resist those threats and who are fighting together, indivisibly, for progressive values.

 

IEB All-Member Meeting September 17

Please join us at Indivisible East Bay’s All-Member Meeting! Our monthly meeting is for members and newcomers interested in opposing the Trump agenda. Meet fellow activists and Indivisible members, find out what IEB is doing and how you can join in. For more information, visit indivisibleeb.org.

WHEN: Sunday September 17, 2017, 2:00 – 4:00 PM

WHEREOakland Public Library, 125 14th Street, Oakland (between Madison & Oak Streets) in the Auditorium. The Library is a quarter mile from the Lake Merritt BART station and a half mile from the 12th Street (Oakland) BART station. View map and register (free) via Eventbrite

The Library and Auditorium are wheelchair accessible. The Library is a scent-free environment – please do not wear perfume or scented products. The Oakland Public Library does not advocate or endorse the viewpoints of meetings or meeting room users.

You May Say I’m a DREAMer, But I’m Not the Only One

Defend DACA poster
Copyright Brandon Shi

On Tuesday, coward-in-Chief Trump sent his toady Attorney General (Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III) to deliver the damning decision rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program through which President Obama, by executive order, had protected more than 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

With DACA, we promised young DREAMers who were brought here as children through no fault of their own that if they came into the light, we could offer them a chance at legal employment and a reprieve from the constant spectre of deportation. Trump’s evil decision to obliterate this promise plays directly to his racist and anti-immigrant base, and serves only to tear apart families, friends, neighbors, and communities.

Misconceptions about DACA abound, not to mention the vicious lies that Trump and other GOPers spout, many of which Sessions repeated when he told DREAMers they were being shown the door. Eligibility is complicated, stringent, and expensive ($495 every 2 years) – and meeting them did not guarantee approval, let alone review in a timely manner. The basics:

  • Under 31 years old on 6/15/12 and entered US before 16 years old
  • Resided continuously in US since 6/5/07 and physically present on 6/15/12
  • No lawful status on 6/15/12
  • In school or graduated, or honorably discharged military veteran
  • No conviction for felony, significant misdemeanor, 3 or more other misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety

United We Dream and the National Immigration Law Center list the top 5 things for DACA recipients to know about the announcement:

  • Your DACA is valid until its expiration date
  • No new DACA applications will be accepted
  • DACA issuances and work permits that expire between now and 3/5/18 must be submitted for renewal by 10/5/17
  • Advance parole to travel abroad is no longer available
  • We are united in this fight

DACA recipients and applicants should consult a qualified immigration attorney as soon as possible to figure out your rights, responsibilities, and options. You can find much information on the internet, but please make sure that the source is trustworthy. The Department of Homeland Security published a list of FAQs about the rescission.

There are many groups and organizations who work with the immigrant community. “What Do I Need to Know About the End of DACA?” is the Immigrant Legal Resource Center’s very helpful community advisory, including links to several good sources of information:

DACA Rally SF
Photo by L Perkins

And for all of us — we must support our DREAMers! This is the Indivisible Guide’s three-pronged approach:

  • Tell your MoC to defend the DACAmented
  • Search for or register an event in your area
  • Use these resources to stand up for immigrant rights

Huffington Post lists several actions, with suggested scripts and links:

  • Let the White House know how you feel
  • Contact your MoC
  • Get the word out on social media
  • And… repeat

Also be aware that a big part of helping includes doing no harm! Written months ago, the 18 precautions in “Don’t Get Your Undocumented Friends in Trouble: A How-to” are even more critical now.

President Obama, who has been generally silent as Trump blasts through and overturns so many of the advances made during his presidency, issued a statement on Facebook in which he said that Trump’s decision is ultimately about basic decency. That is obviously a concept which is wholly foreign to the current occupant of the White House.

Versión en español aquí

Spanish version for distribution

A New DA in Town … Soon

Three months after Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson pled no contest to felony perjury and resigned, the Board of Supervisors is set to appoint an interim replacement.

The Board will interview the 5 finalist applicants at its September 12 public meeting, and could make the appointment that day or at its September 19 meeting. The Board will accept electronically submitted public comments about the DA replacement through September 6.

Two community forums held on Saturday September 9 will give us a chance to hear from and about the finalists.

District Attorney Forum

First, at the Antioch Church Family, 55 E. 18th Street, Antioch, the East County Branch of the NAACP will host candidate interviews conducted by the East County faith community from 10 am to noon. 

District Attorney Town HallThen from 1 to 3 pm the same day, several community groups will hold a District Attorney Town Hall at Miracle Temple, 2425 Cutting Blvd, Richmond CA. Supervisor John Gioia is the keynote speaker, and four of the final applicants are listed on the program (finalist Judge Danielle Douglas is not included on the flyer). Both events are free.

Although the Board’s deadline to submit public comments for the DA selection is September 6, you can always give input to your Supervisor by email, phone, or online. Board meetings are held at the County Administration Building, 651 Pine Street, Martinez, and are streamed and broadcast on Contra Costa Television.

And Then There Were Five

The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors has winnowed to five the pool of a dozen applicants for the District Attorney position left vacant by Chief Prosecutor Mark Peterson’s resignation. At its August 1, 2017 meeting the Supervisors picked two judges and three district attorneys as finalists:

  • Diana Becton (Contra Costa Superior Court judge)
  • Danielle Douglas (Contra Costa Superior Court judge)
  • Paul J. Graves (senior Contra Costa deputy DA)
  • Thomas J. Kensok (Contra Costa assistant DA)
  • Patrick Vanier (Santa Clara County deputy DA)

Their applications are posted here, and the East Bay Times has published summaries of each finalist’s experience and background. During the selection process there’s much we can do to highlight progressive positions about racial and juvenile justice, mass incarceration of people of color, bail reform, and more.

DA forum

On Saturday August 12, from 1 to 3 pm, attend the free, community-led Contra Costa County Interim District Attorney Candidate Forum. Learn more about the finalists and their views on bail practices and criminal justice reform, immigrant rights, worker and consumer protection, police accountability and the environment. The program will include time for Q&A with audience members. Seating is limited, please RSVP at the Facebook event page. The event will be held at Church of the Nazarene,  1650 Ashbury Dr., Concord, CA. It’s accessible from the Concord BART station and has free parking.

And attend the Supervisors’ upcoming forum and meeting, and submit questions and comments:

  • At the Board’s public forum on Tuesday August 15 at 6:00 pm the finalists will participate in a discussion moderated by former County Clerk Steve Weir.  
  • Submit public comments and/or questions to be posed to the finalists at the August 15 forum.
  • After the forum the Board will interview the final applicants at its September 12 public meeting. The Board could make the appointment that day or at the September 19 meeting.  
  • Give input to your Supervisor by email, phone, or online. See a list of suggested questions to submit.
  • Board meetings are held at the County Administration Building, 651 Pine Street, Martinez, and are streamed and broadcast on Contra Costa Television.