IEB attends the CA Democratic Convention

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By Kristen Law

For the first time in over 20 years, the California Democratic Convention was held in San Francisco at the Moscone Center from May 31-June 2, 2019. The convention had both statewide and nationwide importance for the Democratic party: on a statewide level, the delegates had the task of choosing the next state party chair (after a series of lawsuits were filed against the party and the previous chair, Eric Bauman, for discrimination, sexual harassment, workplace bullying, and more). And nationwide, with California’s 2020 primary now on “Super Tuesday,” presidential candidates are taking California more seriously than in the past; and many candidates attended and spoke at the convention.

I had the good luck to attend as a delegate representing Region 5, since Representative Mark DeSaulnier appointed me to help promote progressive thinking in the state party. I had the opportunity to join thousands of other delegates and guests in caucus meetings, meetings with the candidates for the California Democratic Chair, and general sessions, including speeches from 14 Democratic presidential hopefuls; and to stand in a two-hour line to vote for the new chair of the California Democratic Party. I also got to hug “Auntie Maxine” Waters, which made the cost of admission and long lines worth it.

Rusty Hicks, a labor leader from Southern California, garnered 57% of the votes to become the new California Democratic Chair. I supported Kimberly Ellis, a local Bay Area activist, who finished second with 36%. Ellis would have been the first woman to lead the state party in more than 30 years and the first Black woman to chair the organization. She drove a progressive agenda and I heard rumors that the party establishment breathed a sigh of relief because of Ellis’ support of publicly financed elections.

It was exciting to have 14 presidential candidates address the delegates about their platforms and how to remove the current occupant from the White House. Overall the narrative was pushed further left than expected – perhaps because of California’s spot in the primaries. Hot topics in many of the speeches included climate change, women’s rights, health care for all, immigration, education, getting corrupt money out of politics and much more. John Delaney and John Hickenlooper were booed off stage.

We also heard from numerous Californian elected officials, including Governor Gavin Newsom, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and many more. Pelosi was met with shouts of “impeach” throughout her speech – shouts that got louder as she discussed the Mueller Report.

The convention was filled with progressive demonstrations and tabling. Two of my favorites: Planned Parenthood was promoting Project X, their campaign to protect and expand health care, and the Sex Workers Outreach Project asked for support on SB 233, the Immunity from Arrest Law.

Without multiple clones, it was impossible to get to every event – thankfully the California Democratic Party has posted videos and results online!

  • You can watch the General Session videos at this link.  
  • You can find the floor packet, resolutions passed, legislation endorsed, rules changes, and training materials at this link.

The next convention is just a little over five months away in Long Beach (November 15-17). I’ve been told that this one will be focused on endorsements; details coming soon!

 

Kristen Law loves her Richmond community and when she is not working as a Community Engagement Specialist or teaching and practicing yoga you can find her snuggling her pets, saving butterflies or testing vegan recipes. She was one of the founding members of Indivisible East Bay and co-leads the CA-11 team.

 

Resistance is patriotic!

Meet new people and show your red, white and blue resistance colors by volunteering for an hour or two at Indivisible East Bay’s booth at the fun-tastic City of El Cerrito/worldOne Fourth of July Festival on Thursday, July 4, 2019, 10 AM to 6 PM.    

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You don’t have to be an expert! All you need is a basic familiarity with Indivisible and a friendly smile. There’ll be experienced members at every shift, so if you’re unsure what to say you can listen for a bit to get into the swing. Got an hour? Perfect! Got two? Even better! Don’t live in El Cerrito? No worries, everyone is welcome! Bring a friend or three, and children are more than welcome too. We especially need volunteers between noon and 4 pm. To sign up for shifts or if you have questions, email Outreach co-lead Toni at tonihenle@gmail.com or message her on IEB’s Slack: @toni_henle.

At last year’s booth we spoke to many people eager to learn about Indivisible and hungry for suggestions about how they could take action against the Trump agenda. We’ll engage fair-goers with fun activities like taking their picture in a resistance-themed frame that they can post to social media or by sending a message to their representatives. Before or after your shift, you can explore other booths, check out the music, and of course eat corn dogs and other yummy food at the Food Court, only steps away from our booth.  

We welcome volunteers with disabilities – the event is wheelchair accessible, and our booth will accommodate wheelchairs.

Photos of IEB’s 2018 July 4th booth by Heidi Rand

IEB’s May meeting with Assemblymembers Bonta & Wicks

By Ted Lam

Editors’ note: for each bill discussed we include its number (starting with AB for “Assembly bill,” SB for “Senate bill,” or “ACA” for “Assembly Constitutional Amendment”), its official name, and, where we know, its current status as of this writing, May 28. The legislative deadline to pass bills through their house of origin is May 31, so by that date most of the bills will have either “passed” to the other house, or have failed for the year. Currently, most of them are still under debate, so no status is included – but we include a link so you can check the status after May 31.

On May 10, 2019, Indivisible CA: StateStrong Director Jiggy Athilingam and about a dozen Indivisible East Bay members met with East Bay Assemblymembers Buffy Wicks and Rob Bonta in Oakland. We wanted to thank them for their progressive work in Sacramento, and we had questions on several of our legislative priorities. Read our pre-meeting memorandum here.  

Because Bonta was running late we opened by asking Wicks whether she was familiar with IEB, and were glad to hear that she is (she even added “I love you guys”). In response to our question about why the legislature didn’t override Governor Brown’s vetoes of progressive bills last session, she suggested we ask Bonta, since she only got to Sacramento in January 2019. She pointed out, though, that there are different types of Democrats in the legislature and that Governor Newsom is also different than Governor Brown.

We covered several criminal justice reform bills going through committees, specifically AB 392 (Peace Officers: deadly force; status). Wicks said that she strongly supports AB 392 and the other criminal justice reform bills. She commented that “392 is the progressive bill of the year. You have a good author in [Assemblymember] Weber.” Wicks recommended that other Indivisible chapters contact their state representatives, especially in the Inland Empire. We thanked her for supporting AB 277 (Parole: reintegration credits; status), noting why the cash bail system is wrong.

Assemblymember Bonta joined us, and we discussed the fact that SB 10 (Mental health services: peer support specialist certification; status: passed assembly, 5/21) stalled last year due to its risk assessment tool. Bonta noted that there are a lot of entrenched interests who don’t want to see change, and mentioned that although the bill didn’t make it out of the Assembly, they were able to put it on the ballot in 2020. Bonta said that he’s working with the Santa Clara Justice Group to fix the risk assessment tool, and he believes it will pass.

We asked Bonta about the following bills: AB 1332 (Sanctuary State Contracting and Investment Act; status), AB 4 (Medi-Cal: eligibility for all undocumented immigrants; status), AB 1276 (Green New Deal; status), and AB 1185 (Officer oversight: Sheriff oversight board; status). For AB 1332, Bonta said the Assembly plans to propose amendments to eliminate some unintended consequences. On AB 4, he said it will move, and added that Governor Newsom wants it to pass. We mentioned that Indivisibles throughout California are very excited about AB 1276, which Bonta sponsored, and we asked him to tell us how we can help. For AB 1185, Bonta speculated that the Sheriffs’ Association probably opposes this bill. He agreed the state’s sheriff system is outdated. Bonta offered that when Kamala Harris was CA Attorney General, she wasn’t eligible to run for sheriff due to the eligibility requirements, and suggested the legislature change that. Bonta was careful to say AB 1185 may not pass if the Sheriffs’ Association lobbies hard against it, and mentioned that the private prisons bill going through now will probably pass.

Bonta noted that California needs so many things: criminal justice reform, housing, and more. He mentioned that this was his seventh year, fourth term, and his most optimistic year. He considers Governor Newsom bold and progressive, and said that Newsom gave the legislature a budget that it could have written. Bonta let us know that when Indivisible pushes, it makes a difference! We are being heard. He also suggested that we reward the legislators who are doing the right things, and as for the others, said we should share our stories.

We discussed the issue of poverty, and Wicks pointed out her three food bills that are now in the Appropriations Committee, including one that is targeted to foster children. She believes that if the bills get out of Appropriations, they’ll be fine. She also mentioned the problem that some parents don’t even realize they qualify for Healthy Start. In response to our question about a child credit, Wicks wasn’t aware of anything in the works, and Bonta suggested that they could do more research on it. Wicks said she appreciates that Indivisible groups are pushing legislators to support progressive bills.

One member of our group, a Teamster who’s on the Labor Council, expressed appreciation for AB 1505 (Charter schools: petitions; status: passed assembly, 5/22), Bonta called 1505 – the bill he introduced which puts limits on charter schools – the “jewel of the package” of bills to limit charter schools, mentioning that it gives school districts more authority and takes into account financial impacts. Bonta said that he’s pretty optimistic about its chances, and noted that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond is interested in and involved with the charter issue, particularly with his Blue Ribbon Commission. When we asked about helping the Oakland Unified School District, Bonta raised several challenges and suggested that a coalition could work on the issue.

After Wicks left for an appointment, we discussed elections and voting rights with Bonta, including AB 49 (CA Voter Protection Act 2019; status: passed assembly, 5/9) and AB 177 (Election Day Holiday; status), and we stressed the need for risk-limiting audits, the mechanism that allows hacking of elections to be detected. We emphasized that these bills are best seen as not as individual changes but collectively as part of a solid electoral foundation. Because the biggest suppressor of votes is a lack of time and resources, bills that make it easier to vote make it much more likely that people actually will vote. Although Bonta was not familiar with these bills he was open to supporting them, and seemed supportive of the idea of making them work to strengthen each other.

Circling back to criminal justice reform issues, we asked Bonta what he thought the chances are for ACA 6 (constitutional amendment part of Free the Vote Act, along with its legislative part, AB 646) and AB 392 (Peace officers: deadly force; status: passed committee, under debate). He noted that passage of ACA 6 would be an important step forward by amending the California Constitution to allow those on parole to vote. He pointed out that those who vote have a greater connection to the community; and he believes people don’t understand that the bill would reduce recidivism. We agreed that everyone needs to work to promote the benefits of this change to the state Constitution. Bonta mentioned that Assembly members in moderate districts who need to balance supporting law enforcement with more progressive actions might push back harder on other bills, but would in turn highlight the reduction in recidivism benefits in order to throw their support to ACA 6. We talked generally about expunging certain criminal records, which Bonta said in the future may be done in conjunction with vehicle registration. He also noted that the primary reason expungement wasn’t happening was because parolees weren’t told it was their right and that they have the option to request it.

Our meeting was very productive. Are you interested in working with Indivisible East Bay’s Members of Congress teams, or in helping us work on and track California state legislation? Let us know by email or join any of our MoC teams on Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email: info@IndivisibleEB.org

Ted Lam is retired from the USCG and currently works as a civil engineer. Ted is a member of the Indivisible East Bay Governance Committee and is co-lead of the Indivisible CA-11 team.

Activating East Bay Activists!

Indivisible East Bay governance committee members Liz and Ted joined Indivisible Berkeley and a dozen other local organizations at the East Bay Activist Alliance Reactivate Our Network event on May 19.

Among other presentations, a webinar described the work of Reclaim our Vote, a nonpartisan voter registration and Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign that reaches out mainly to voters of color on “unregistered” and “inactive” lists in key voter-suppression states. ROV is directed by the Center for Common Ground, with help from the NAACP, Black Voters Matter and other organizations. Many Bay Area groups support these efforts and IEB is looking to get involved as well.

Liz and Ted made valuable contacts, including for one of IEB’s current projects, helping GOTV in the 2019 statewide elections in Virginia. The East Bay Activist Alliance is working with partners in Virginia Beach, an area of the state where Democrats could pick up two seats and the Alliance has strong relationships from the 2017 elections.

Some basics about 2019 VA elections:

  • A hundred percent of both upper and lower house seats are up for re-election.
  • We need to flip four seats to turn the state legislature from red to blue.
  • A blue legislature could fix gerrymandering in 2020 (after the Census) until 2030!
  • We’ll help build momentum in 2019 … because VA is critical in 2020, too!

IEB will be developing events this summer to support both ROV and through November 2019 to help flip the four VA seats. If you want to be a part of the action, contact us at info@indivisibleeb.org or via Slack at @Liz and @Ted Lam. Email andrea@indivisibleeb.org or via Slack at @andrea to get involved in ROV.

Help IEB #resist on social media

Deadline: you guessed it, right NOW –

The Mueller Report contains the most in-depth summary the U.S. government has produced about how the Russians used social media to interfere in our 2016 election on behalf of Unindicted Co-conspirator Individual-1. While legislators futz around with how to rein in the fearsome power of Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, the distortion campaigns continue. And withdrawing from social media in protest is tempting for many, but dangerous: according to reports, 45’s re-election campaign has spent nearly double what the entire 2020 Democratic field COMBINED has spent on Facebook and Google ads! How do we fight such massive out-spending? We must all join together to spread the truth and to amplify the resistance’s messages! We need your help – we’ve got something for everyone, no matter how much (or little) time you have or what platforms you prefer.

What you can do:

Step one: if you don’t already, follow Indivisible East Bay online:

Step two: read below to see where you fit into the IEB social media team (we’ll provide support, training, etc.), and then fill out our brief volunteer form. Select the “social media” team option, along with any others you’re interested in. And tell us in the “skills” and “comments” boxes what social media platforms you use, what your superpower is, etc. Even if you’ve filled it out before, we’d love to update your social media and other info. And if you have questions, want to let us know more, or prefer to talk directly, email us: info@indivisibleeb.org

How much time do you have?

  • Crushed with work & life but still want to help out? Do these things if you have as little as a couple of minutes a day:
    • Check out our posts / tweets; click “like” and then share or retweet them to your followers and friend
    • Share us in other progressive groups you’re in
    • Email links to our social media posts to anyone you know who’d be interested
  • Taking a break at work or commuting (don’t do this while driving!)? Spend five to fifteen minutes:
    • Join the #comms-social-media channel on IEB’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email: info@IndivisibleEB.org;
    • Add your personal voice by commenting on, or replying to, our posts or tweets;
    • Grab the link to an article on our website and post it online;
    • Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter; copy and post info about an action or event. Check out prior newsletters in our archive (it loads sloooowly at the bottom of the page, take a sip of tea), there’s lots of info that’s still timely – share it!
  • Have half an hour now and then, or an hour or so spread out over a week, and a creative bent or other expertise?
    • You can help us come up with original content by:
      • Writing and/or editing
      • Photography
      • Videography
      • Other graphic design or arts
    • Are you an expert on any of the platforms we’re on – or on others that we could branch out to? Help guide and advise the rest of the team, answer questions and give “how to” tips!
    • Do you enjoy doing research? Let us know what hashtags are trending, or suggest accounts that we should be following or posting to, and more!
  • Have more time, energy, ideas? Mix and match any or all of the above! And if you’d like to help the social media organizing team, let us know that also.

 

Coffee and Conversation with Rep. Lee

By Rosemary Jordan

Members of Indivisible East Bay and Alameda4Impeachment (A4I) attended the April 7, 2019 Coffee and Conversation event with Representative Barbara Lee (CA-13) at Paulista Restaurant in Oakland.

We passed out copies of the Open Letter to Representative Lee that A4I’s leadership had published in the previous week’s Alameda Sun newspaper. During Q&A, Lee responded to one of our member’s questions by committing to meet with us to discuss the topics raised in our letter, including next steps to launch an impeachment investigation. Addressing something Lee said about the likelihood of Senate approval, another member pointed out that a roll call of GOP Senators in the face of overwhelming evidence of misconduct could be very helpful to Democrats. He also stressed that in any case, if we don’t hold this President accountable, we will be putting our democracy in jeopardy forever.

At the event a lively group of Oaklanders, including teachers, students, and Poor People’s Campaign representatives asked great questions about climate change, education funding, the escalation of tensions in Venezuela – and more. Representative Lee affirmed her commitment to peace and justice, with specific references to Black women’s health, the Green New Deal, reparations, and reduced defense spending.

Photo of Rep. Barbara Lee at Coffee & Conversation by Rosemary Jordan

Rosemary Jordan is Co-Founder of Alameda4Impeachment, a registered Indivisible group and a partner in the Citizens Impeachment Coalition, which includes representatives of cities, towns and counties nationwide (including four in the East Bay) that have passed local Impeachment resolutions. Rosemary also serves on the Steering Committee of All Rise Alameda and is co-leader of the End The Tampon Tax In California campaign. She has over 20 years of professional experience in healthcare and aging.

 

Visiting Mighty Indivisible Santa Fe

By Ted Lam

To our buddies in Indivisible San Francisco: did you know there’s another ISF?

My family and I were going to Santa Fe, New Mexico for spring break, and I wanted to learn more about other Indivisible chapters throughout the country, so I used Indivisible National’s search tool – and I found Indivisible Santa Fe! I connected with Donna of ISF, and we agreed to meet to chat, exchange tips, and learn from each other about our chapters’ experiences.

I met with Donna and Janey, both in ISF leadership and both retirees originally from Southern California. ISF publishes a weekly newsletter. One of their main goals is to build coalitions with similarly aligned groups, like Wheeler Peak Progressives in Taos (it’s not an Indivisible chapter but it follows the Indy principles) and Indivisible Nob Hill (yet another SF coincidence? Well, this one is in Albuquerque, not The City By The Bay). ISF also collaborates with the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, New Mexico Money Out of Politics, and occasionally holds film screenings like an April 15 showing of “Unbreaking America.” They have Friday street rallies in Santa Fe along a street corner with Vets for Peace, which has rallied for 20 or more years at that location. Janey and Donna said that this year’s Santa Fe Women’s March was primarily organized by Native American women from various social change and Native American women’s empowerment groups. They also told me that ISF normally receives positive reactions from the community when they hold events.

Because Santa Fe is the state capitol, they regularly visit the State House, locally called “the Roundhouse.” They call their new governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, “Governor Michelle,” and their congressperson Ben Ray Lujan is “Ben Ray.”

It was fascinating and uplifting to hear why they and others are involved with Indivisible. Janey showed me the cool 5 Calls app that makes it easy and efficient to contact your elected officials about issues. And most important – my family tried (and loved) most of the great, local restaurant recommendations they gave us before we left beautiful Santa Fe! 

Wrapping up our engrossing conversation, I presented Donna with one of our “blue wave” Indivisible East Bay t-shirts. We promised to exchange newsletters and offered mutual assistance if needed.

Ted Lam is retired from the USCG and currently works as a civil engineer. Ted is a member of the Indivisible East Bay Governance Committee and is co-lead of the Indivisible CA-11 team.

Featured photo (left to right): Janey and Donna from ISF, and Ted from IEB

East Bay rallies: Release the Report!

Rosemary Jordan and Katie Cameron contributed to this article

Thousands of people nationwide at more than 300 events on April 4 took to the streets to send a LOUD & CLEAR message to Attorney General William “Cover-up” Barr that we demand the immediate release of the full Mueller report and all supporting evidence. The previous night’s news that some of Mueller’s investigators believed Barr’s brief letter misrepresented their findings, and that the findings were more troubling for Trump than Barr stated, energized our resolve for full and immediate disclosure.

Indivisible East Bay members joined several local protests, and several IEB’ers organized the events in El Cerrito and Alameda.

El Cerrito Shows Up to Demand: Release the Full Report Now!

By Heidi Rand

Nearly 200 people waved signs, chanted, and got rousing honks and fists raised in solidarity from rush-hour drivers at a busy intersection in El Cerrito. IEB member George read Chair Adam Schiff’s “I Don’t Think It’s Okay” speech as a very moving call and response. Schiff’s statement was a fiery retort to calls for him to resign by GOP members of the Intelligence Committee.

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People from West County, Berkeley, Richmond and beyond lined all four corners of the intersection; many arrived with signs made at home, some created their masterpieces on the spot. Favorites included: We Want Action, Not Redaction!; We Demand the Truth!; What is Trump Afraid Of?; None Of This Is Okay!; Corrupt, Compromised, Immoral & Unpatriotic; We paid for it!; Not Exonerated!; No Cover Up; and Barr: Show Us Your Papers!

See more wonderful photos of the El Cerrito event by Mary DeShaw, a volunteer photographer with Pro Bono Photography.

 

Alameda Island Joins National Demands For Release of Mueller Report


By Katie Cameron

Joining nation-wide rallies to pressure for release the Mueller report, several local organizations held a rally in front of Alameda City Hall on April 4. About fifty people attended, including members of MoveOn, Indivisible East Bay, All Rise Alameda, and Alameda4Impeachment. Rosemary Jordan, representing all of those organizations, convened the rally.

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Jordan kicked it off by summarizing recent developments: the completion of the Mueller report two weeks ago; the peculiar distillation of the report into four pages written and released by Attorney General Barr; the subsequent declaration of full exoneration by Donald Trump; and the Constitutional crisis we face as the report remains hidden from even Congressional view. “This is yet another case of obstruction of justice – this time by the Attorney General,” Rosemary pointed out.

Following her remarks, Ed Hilton with guitar treated the rally to some folk songs, including “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” and “I Once Was a Union Maid.” Katie Cameron led the crowd in chants provided by MoveOn, to an enthusiastic roar of response. Quite a few attendees stepped up to the mic to give their own short remarks on the state of things – some sad, some angry, and some delightfully humorous.

One attendee read aloud portions of Rep. Adam Schiff’s now-famous statement to his Republican colleagues itemizing a long series of presidential infractions, with the refrain: You might think that’s okay. I don’t!

To cap off the participation, Kitty Von Braskat-Crowe, attired in gorgeous purple hues, stepped away from her walker and belted out an amazing rendition of an old gospel song from the Civil Rights days. She was most definitely the star of the show!

Alameda protest photo by Katie Cameron
Rosemary Jordan held the megaphone while Kitty Von Braskat-Crowe belted out a Civil Right gospel song. Ed Hilton sat behind on the steps, with guitar. Photo by Katie Cameron

To wrap up the rally, Assemblymember Rob Bonta (AD 18) gave us all words of encouragement and hope. He made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he shares our concerns about the Mueller report, the behavior of the President, and the importance of the Rule of Law. In the late afternoon chill, the crowd had dwindled a bit, but Bonta didn’t care a bit. He spoke with passion, and thanked every one of us for standing up for the Constitution.

Whether or not you made it to one of the protests, there’s much you can do! Public pressure is working, and we must keep it up. All of our Members of Congress have spoken out strongly on this issue, BUT THEY STILL NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU – they are hearing from the other side, and if you don’t call they won’t know that you support them and that this issue is important to you!

What you can do NOW: 

  • Tell your Members of Congress that we demand transparency and complete disclosure of the Special Counsel’s report and investigation. Every day that passes without the full truth, Individual-1 and his minions continue to use the self-serving Barr letter to target and try to silence the people who are speaking out and investigating him. Take action, and keep reading below the call to action for more info & background.

What to say:

My name is ______________, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank _________ for supporting disclosing the Special Counsel’s report to the American people. I want _______ to insist that Attorney General Barr immediately give the full Special Counsel’s report and all underlying investigatory materials to Congress. The full report and materials also have to be made public. I also want Congress to continue investigating Trump beyond the scope of the Mueller investigation.

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • 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

 

For more info & background, and to learn what actions we’ve been taking for over a year, read our past articles:

 

Katie Cameron is a member of the Steering Committee of Alameda4Impeachment. A retired social worker who spent her career in state government in Washington State, Katie now devotes most of her time to defeating the Trump administration and the corrupt forces that got him elected.

Rosemary Jordan is Co-Founder of Alameda4Impeachment, a registered Indivisible group and a partner in the Citizens Impeachment Coalition, which includes representatives of cities, towns and counties nationwide (including four in the East Bay) that have passed local Impeachment resolutions. Rosemary also serves on the Steering Committee of All Rise Alameda and is co-leader of the End The Tampon Tax In California campaign. She has over 20 years of professional experience in healthcare and aging.

El Cerrito event slideshow photos by Heidi Rand

IEB Members Gear up to Engage in the Democratic Primary

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By Nancy Latham

It’s a ways yet before the Democratic presidential primaries start, but the candidates — and possible candidates — are talking about serious ideas. Whatever you may think of the various individuals, it’s exciting to see their bold proposals, like Medicare for All (Bernie Sanders), a wealth tax and universal childcare (Elizabeth Warren), baby bonds to close the wealth gap (Cory Booker), and spending $315 billion over the next 10 years to dramatically increase teacher salaries (Kamala Harris).

The way we see it, candidates are responding to an activist base that’s pushing for policies that truly measure up to the nation’s challenges. And Indivisible East Bay and other Indivisible groups across the country are part of that activist base. For two years we’ve been building our people power; now, as the primaries get closer, we’re determined to use that power to influence the policy debate.

Indivisible National is developing its strategy for engaging in the primary, and as step one they sent a survey to Indivisible groups nationwide on a variety of topics concerning policy issues and campaigns. We want National to know what our members think, which means we want to hear from you!

To gather input from IEB members, we began by focusing on three key questions from the survey at our March All Members Meeting:

  1. What issues are most important to us as we consider whom to support in the primary?
  2. In what ways does our group want to engage campaigns during the primary?
  3. What are our initial thoughts about the possibility that Indivisible National might endorse a candidate?

To tackle these questions, Governance Committee members facilitated small group discussions of 5-6 people each. The questions sparked lively conversation that lasted over an hour (and involved the liberal use of sticky notes and dot-voting). Here are the results of the three discussions:

QUESTION 1: What issues are most important to us as we consider whom to support in the primary?

Issues on the Indivisible National List (ordered by how the groups prioritized them):

Highest Priority:

  • Environment
  • Democracy (voting rights, election security, campaign finance reform, ethics in government)
  • Healthcare
  • Judicial nominations

Important:

  • Civil Rights (racial justice, LGBTQ rights, gender equity, criminal justice)
  • Gun violence prevention
  • Immigration
  • Abortion Access
  • Financial regulation
  • Tax policy
  • College affordability
  • Foreign policy and national security

Back Burner:

  • Transportation and infrastructure

Additional Issues Suggested in Small Groups:

  • Constitutional process and reform
  • Green New Deal, including transportation, infrastructure, environmental issues
  • Climate change
  • More resources for people being detained at our borders: better beds, meals, shelter
  • Post-secondary school and job opportunity support for all (not just four-year college)
  • Wealth disparity
  • Housing
  • Online/data privacy

QUESTION 2: In what ways does our group want to engage campaigns during the primary?

Engagement Options from Indivisible National (ordered by number of votes across the three small groups):

  • Ensuring the grassroots are invited to debates (11)
  • Issue forums and large grassroots mobilizations (9)
  • Channels of communication from national and local Indivisibles to candidates (8)
  • Organizing for key statewide Democratic conventions (5)
  • Candidates joining indivisible national activist calls (4) (All three groups pointed out that this is a specific example of “channels of communication”)
  • Training programs for the primary process (3)
  • Organizing Indivisible planning spaces or events to power map our opportunities (2)
  • Bird-dogging (2)

Additional Ideas for Engagement Suggested in Small Groups:

  • Candidate questionnaires
  • White papers developed by local groups
  • IEB media contact
  • IEB partners with campaigns

QUESTION 3: What are our initial thoughts about the possibility that Indivisible National might endorse a candidate?

To address this topic, we asked people to vote on two simple poll questions.

Poll Question 1: How should Indivisible National approach the question of endorsements in the presidential primary? (Ordered by number of votes)

  • Wait a few months to collect more data and see how things unfold before making any plans (12)
  • Take endorsements completely off the table (2)
  • Start work now on a thoughtful and careful process intended to end in an endorsement, but only if sufficient unity is found (1)

Poll Question 2: It’s still early. But at this stage, what do you think is the best path forward for endorsement?

1 = I think Indivisible National should definitely NOT endorse (2)

2 = I’m leaning against endorsement (9)

3 = I can’t decide whether they should endorse or not (2)

4 = I’m leaning toward endorsement (1)

5 = I think Indivisible National should definitely endorse (1)

Average Rating = 2.3 (which roughly equates to “leaning against”)

We want to hear from you, too! If you couldn’t make it to the All Member Meeting, it’s not too late to share your input! Here’s a link to a survey with the questions that we addressed at the March meeting. All responses submitted by the deadline of April 10 will be aggregated (along with the results of the AMM discussions) and shared as part of IEB’s survey response to Indivisible National.

And this is not the last chance we’ll have to consider how we flex our activist muscle to push for progressive policy! It’s still 19 months until the election. Stay tuned for more lively debate, and even livelier action.

 

Nancy Latham is on IEB’s Governance Committee, and is a passionate member of the Resistance. In her day job, she works with non-profits, foundations, and government agencies that support greater equity and justice through initiatives in youth development, education, housing, and community development.

March 2019 Meeting with Alameda4Impeachment & Rep. Lee Staff

By Rosemary Jordan

On March 14, 2019, members of Alameda4Impeachment, including Indivisible East Bay members, met with Representative Barbara Lee’s congressional aide Jain Thapa to discuss Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent comments about impeachment in the context of the growing list of potentially impeachable offenses.

We opened the 45-minute meeting by thanking Rep. Lee for her strong support to impeach the President, including but not limited to her cosponsoring H.Res. 621 in the last Congress. Mr. Thapa confirmed that Rep. Lee continues to unequivocally support impeachment.

We discussed a range of topics related to the scope of the Special Counsel probe vs. the potential scope of an impeachment inquiry, and we supplied articles to Mr. Thapa explaining that the risks of further delays to a professionally-led inquiry should be of primary concern to all House members.

Among the other topics we covered:

  • Hearing Procedure: we discussed that the House Oversight & Judiciary hearings to date have been hamstrung by the five-minute interval questioning approach and by the absence of professional counsel. We shared with Mr. Thapa that professionally facilitated hearings would improve the public’s understanding of the facts. We urged him to share with Rep. Lee that her leadership role offers her a opportunity to shape committee procedures.
  • Risks of Corruption on Public Safety & Global Reputation: we reviewed the tragedy of the Ethiopian Air crash and explored how cronyism between the President and the Boeing CEO has the world community so concerned that they sent the black boxes to France for analysis, rather than to the U.S.
  • Concerns About the Peaceful Transition of Power: we discussed our fears that an optimistic outlook on 2020 is overblown – just as Trump’s chances in 2016 were misunderstood. We further shared our increasing concerns that the President will not accept the 2020 election results if they’re unfavorable to him. Given the ongoing and unaddressed attacks on our democracy (through social media manipulation and other tactics) and possible intrusions into our election systems, we shared our sense of urgency to investigate claims that our President is actively abetting these intrusions.

We closed by sharing two requests with Mr. Thapa:

  1. That Rep. Lee write a letter to Rep. Nadler, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, asking him to immediately begin a formal inquiry, with public hearings, on the issue of impeachment. The hearings would focus on whether evidence exists to support impeachment, and if so, making a record of such evidence and, if warranted, drafting articles of impeachment.

    2.  We requested an in-person meeting with Rep. Lee in the East Bay during the current Congressional recess to discuss our first request, and also to get her views on the current status of and prospects for impeaching the President.

Rosemary Jordan is Co-Founder of Alameda4Impeachment, a registered Indivisible group and a partner in the Citizens Impeachment Coalition, which includes representatives of cities, towns and counties nationwide (including four in the East Bay) that have passed local Impeachment resolutions. Rosemary also serves on the Steering Committee of All Rise Alameda and is co-leader of the End The Tampon Tax In California campaign. She has over 20 years of professional experience in healthcare and aging.