SF stands against hate. Meanwhile…

As I write this, police in Berkeley have deployed tear gas against counter-protesters who jumped the barricades in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, and many are fleeing the scene, while some exchange blows. Others are being arrested.

My emotions are mixed. I can understand why the people of Berkeley felt they had to defend their city against Nazis and the KKK, and I am angry that the police are responding with force. I am saddened that the clash of ideas so often leads to violence, even as I recognize the emotional and physical violence enacted by white supremacy, and wonder every day, every hour, how to stop it. I am annoyed that Patriot Prayer will no doubt spin this weekend’s events as an impingement of their First Amendment rights. And I am relieved to have had a peaceful, celebratory day in San Francisco yesterday myself.

Federal and local authorities bent over backwards to provide a peaceful environment for yesterday’s “free speech rally”, and Gibson responded by trying to move his event to Alamo Square Park. When that didn’t work, he retreated out of the city, ultimately holding a “press conference” in an obscure wooded area in Pacifica. San Franciscans rejoiced at driving hate from our city without exchange of blows. I squirmed a little internally as I always do when I find myself on the same side as the police.

Yesterday in San Francisco, it was almost possible to forget the events of Friday afternoon: Trump pardoning loathsome racist Joe Arpaio and banning transgender people from the military, and the southern US prepared for a massive hurricane just weeks after Trump rolled back flood protections. While rainbow flags flew among a predominantly-white crowd at SF City Hall, the nation took giant steps backward, enshrining institutional racism, homophobia, inequity, and insecurity. At least Sebastian Gorka is gone?

three young women at the Civic Center counter-protest, holding signs saying Make America Kind Again, Unite Against Hate, and White Silence = White Violence

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Summer recess is drawing to a close, and we have a lot of work to do.

We’re sending a delegation to Senator Harris’ town hall this week, to demand that she continue to protect Americans from the worst depradations of this administration, and to ensure the Russia investigation continues unimpeded. If you’re registered to attend, you’ll be receiving talking points shortly.

Meanwhile, mark your calendar for our next general meeting, Sunday, September 17th at 2pm with special guest speaker Rafael Mandelman, President of San Francisco City College’s Board.

This week’s Stand Up SF actions

  • Protect immigrant kids: Trump is threatening to rescind DACA. Call all three MoCs and thank them for co-sponsoring the DREAM Act to protect kids who have grown up in the US from being deported. Tell them how important this issue is to you and make sure they stand strong. (script and call tool)
  • Stop fracking: The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comments on the withdrawal of fracking rules. Send a personal message to Secretary Zinke demanding that all protections against fracking are maintained.
  • End lengthy and unfair drug sentences: Call California legislators and ask them support SB 180, the Repeal Ineffective Sentencing Enhancement Act (RISE) Act. The RISE Act would repeal the three-year sentence enhancement for prior drug convictions. (background and script)

Actions with other groups

Schumer: We’re ready for single payer

Just a few hours ago, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that single payer health care is “on the table”, along with other options like making Medicare available to people over 55. This is huge news: we said we wanted single payer, and Senate Democrats are listening. As Paul Hessinger quoted at our meeting yesterday, “If the people lead, the leaders will follow.”

While Schumer is optimistic that the GOP’s latest disaster of a healthcare bill (repeal everything, replace with nothing) will not pass, Sen. Mitch McConnell is not going to stop. Even if you’ve already spoken up on this issue, make sure you check off all six items on Phyllis’ to-do list to stop TrumpCare.

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Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will testify at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee this Wednesday, as the Russian collusion case continues to heat up. Unfortunately, the Trump camp has made a bargain with the committee to hold that hearing in private, so we are not likely to learn what is unveiled there anytime soon. Senator Feinstein sits on the Judiciary Committee, so we’ll be continuing to monitor the case and encouraging her to protect our democracy by ensuring that all wrongdoing is ultimately brought to light.

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Two weeks ago, I asked you to make calls to reform our predatory and unjust bail system here in California. This week, Senator Harris has unveiled a bipartisan bill (co-authored with Senator Rand Paul) that seeks to reform or replace the practice of money bail nationwide. The Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017 creates incentives for states to overhaul or throw out their money bail systems, aiming to ensure that all people, rich or poor, who are accused of a crime receive fair treatment under the law. The bill has been endorsed by the Center for American Progress, the NAACP, the ACLU, and many other organizations working to repair our broken criminal justice system. It’s great to see I’ll be asking you to make some calls about this legislation this week.

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Following a spirited and inspiring general meeting yesterday, our members enjoyed beer and munchables on Phyllis’ sunny back deck. We’re grateful to those of you who came out, shared your passion, and raised a glass with us. Special thanks to Suzanne, who stood up at our meeting to share a very personal story about how she came to dedicate her life to improving people’s health, and how that fuels her activism today. We’re grateful also to our guest speaker Susan from Democracy Action, who provided some great ideas about using technology to motivate voters in other districts, and told a great story about registering new citizens to vote in Oakland (see Actions with other groups for how you can get involved. Thanks also to Patrick, who led our action to Sen. Harris’ office last week.

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This week’s Stand Up SF actions

Actions with other groups

  • Tue 7/25: part of Litquake, SF’s literary festival: “A Bunch of Bad Hombres: Immigrant Writers Respond to Trump” RSVP
  • Thu 7/27: Join NARAL Pro-Choice America for a webinar on activism for reproductive freedom. Sign up.
  • Thu 8/3: Join Democracy Action to phone bank for Democratic candidates in two key states. Get details and sign up.

Learning opportunity

At our meeting yesterday, Gordon shared information about The People’s Revolution, a coalition of grassroots organizers and activists who have created a progressive platform to ensure racial, climate, and economic justice, democracy, and health care for all. They’re recommending we ask our MoCs to pass eight pieces of legislation aimed at these goals. Stand Up SF leadership will be evaluating the bills, but you can get a head start here. Interested in the People’s Platform? Tell us what you think!

Saying yes to progressive wins

Resistance means saying “no” a lot. But, as people who value social, racial, economic, and environmental justice, it feels more in character for us to say “yes”. There’s no better way to say yes to our values, and earn big wins for progressive causes, than by acting locally. California’s laws become models for the whole nation, so when you take action on state-level or even city-level issues, you’re not just helping your neighbors: you’re showing the whole country how it’s done. So today, we’re going to focus on local action.

I want to talk to you about a cause that’s dear to my heart: reforming our criminal justice system, which disproportionately targets and penalizes people of color and the poor. Today there’s local action we can take on the bail system, and it comes from the ACLU of Northern California.

The money bail system lets private corporations cash in on human suffering. Access to wealth is what currently determines who gets out of jail. People who can’t afford to pay bail stay locked up while they await trial; others desperately plead guilty or pay a bail bonds agency for pre-trial release. Costly bail bonds agreements put people on the hook for payments even if the district attorney dismisses the case or a court finds the defendant not guilty of the crime. Poor people have to sit idly in jail for weeks, months, and sometimes years while their cases move forward.

In May, our California lawmakers voted on legislation to overhaul our state’s money bail system. CA Senate Bill 10 and Assembly Bill 42 would make sure that California stops locking people up simply because they cannot afford to pay bail. Both bills prioritize services to help people make their court appearances and curb the state’s overreliance on money bail. The Senate approved SB 10 with bipartisan support, but AB 42 stalled in the Assembly. See below for your request to Assemblymembers.

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The July recess is winding up tomorrow, leaving only two more weeks for Republicans to pass TrumpCare before experts say it’ll be dead in the water. This fight is still not over, but the biggest battles will be waged in districts with Republican Senators who remain undecided or who plan to vote no. Paul has reached out to our friends at Indivisible Charleston, asking how we can support them during this last critical push. Meanwhile, if you want to be inspired, check out #SitInSaveLives on Twitter for photos, videos, and reports from the protests last week, many by seniors and people with disabilities.

Our next meeting — and happy hour!
Saturday, July 22
2:00pm – 4:00pm
Noe Valley Public Library, with drinks to follow at Phyllis’ house nearby
REGISTER NOW

This week’s Stand Up SF actions

  • Fix unfair bail laws: Call Assemblymembers David Chiu and Phil Ting and say: “Thank you for supporting bail reform, standing up for justice and California families, and voting YES on AB 42, the California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017. Please also vote YES on SB 10!”
  • Take action for campaign finance reform: AB 1089 sets limits on campaign contributions. Call Assemblymember Phil Ting and say: “Hi, I live in California and I am a constituent. I am calling to ask you to vote YES on AB 1089, to close loopholes in California’s campaign finance laws and protect us from unlimited special interest spending.” Then call Assemblymember Chiu and thank him for sponsoring the bill.
  • Ban toxic chemicals: This week, Scott Pruitt – the anti-science head of Environmental Protection Agency – has ignored his own agency’s recommendations and reversed the ban on chlorpyrifos, the toxic agricultural pesticide known to damage the nervous systems of infants and children. Call Governor Brown and tell him to ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Actions with other groups

  • Tue 7/11: Join ACLU People Power at a phone bank to support CA SB54, the California Values Act, to protect immigrants from mass deportation. Sign up.
  • Tue 7/11, 6pm: Kick ICE out of Oakland! Join ACLU People Power at an action at Oakland’s City Hall. Raise your voice for immigrants. RSVP now.
  • Wed 7/12, 6-9pm: Cervezas for Civics fundraiser for Generation Citizen – an organization that empowers young people to become engaged and effective citizens. RSVP for drinks and lively conversation.

Constitutional crisis

Great news: SB 562, the Healthy California Act guaranteeing single-payer health care for all, has passed the Senate! This is a huge win for health justice in California. The bill now proceeds to the CA Assembly, where there will be a lot of work to do to ensure the plan is affordable and equitable. Please make sure Assemblymembers Ting and Chiu know where you stand on single-payer!

In federal news, this week the House votes on H. R. 10: the so-called “Financial CHOICE Act“, which eliminates major consumer safeguards created in the wake of the disastrous financial crisis of 2008. In essence, it would deregulate banks and financial institutions, destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and obliterate consumer protections as we currently know them, including allowing banks to gouge consumers with debit card fees.

House Republicans are hoping to sneak this bill through without Americans knowing. Meanwhile, the constitutional crisis continues. Last month, Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the person charged with investigating his Administration. This Thursday, Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee. To get you ready for that, we’re sharing Indivisible Guide’s Truth or Trump: Constitutional Crisis and What You Need to Know. This document outlines Trump’s obstruction of justice, the sham congressional investigations that are covering up the evidence of Russian collusion, and what we need to be asking our MoCs for. And if you’re confused about all the different investigation options (what’s a special counsel? what’s an independent commission?), this explainer breaks them down for you.

On Wednesday, we’ll be asking Senator Feinstein to prioritize funding for the EPA as budget negotiations move forward. We’ll also pressure her to co-sponsor S. 1127, the Justice Safety Valve Act, to undo Jeff Sessions’ return to mandatory minimum sentencing and help reform our racist, shameful incarceration system. Please join us to bring your issues to the table!

This week’s Stand Up SF actions

  • Expose Russian collusion: Call Senator Harris and ask why she has not yet signed on to S. 27, Ben Cardin’s bill to establish an independent commission to explore Russian interference in our election. (script)
  • Don’t let the GOP deregulate Wall Street: Call Congresswoman Pelosi and find out where she stands on the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10). Make sure she knows that you oppose it. (script)
  • Bring single-payer health care to CA: call California Assemblymembers Ting and Chiu and tell them you support SB 562 and single-payer for California, or send a letter of support! (call script and letter template)
  • Protect women from discrimination: Call California Assemblymembers Ting and Chiu and ask them to support the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA) to protect women from discrimination for their reproductive choices. (script)
  • Support Governor Brown’s fight to protect California’s environment: contact him and thank him for forming the U.S. Climate Alliance to defy Trumps’ retreat from the Paris Agreement. (background). Extra credit: call Mayor Ed Lee and thank him for pledging to honor the Paris Agreement.

Actions with other groups

  • Sat 6/10: Phone bank for ACA and for Archie Parnell (South Carolina) with Democracy Action. RSVP
  • Resist reproductive rights rollbacks! NARAL is looking for activists to host reproductive freedom action parties. Learn more and sign up here.
  • SwingLeft asks that you donate and volunteer for Jon Ossoff’s runoff campaign in Georgia. Help turn this red state blue! Learn more.

Learning opportunities

  • Tue 6/6 10am: Join a webinar on Advancing Police Accountability in the Trump Era. Register here
  • Tue 6/13: Leading activists from 350.org, Last Real Indians, and the Student Divestment Network present a webcast on The Power of Divestment. RSVP
  • Wed 6/14: Join Ben of Ben and Jerry’s for ice cream and a discussion on how to overturn Citizens United. RSVP

Your actions for recess week

A little good news on the immigration front: Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly announced last week that he has extended the temporary protected status (TPS) designation for Haiti for an additional six months. Many thanks to everyone who called and emailed on this issue.

And in local news, California SB 562, the Healthy California Act that would transition our state to single payer healthcare, has made it through committee and is now up to the CA Senate for a vote! Please make your voice heard on this issue.

It’s another recess week, and members of Stand Up San Francisco will be attending Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s sold-out public event at the Commonwealth Club. We’ll be preparing questions to take with us. If you have tickets to this event, please email Paul so we can coordinate and make sure you have the questions in hand.

Many thanks to Suzanne for leading last week’s action at Congresswoman Pelosi’s office. We learned from her staff that many Republicans are not expected to go along with Trump’s horrible budget, which is likely to face significant opposition in the Senate. We also discussed Pelosi’s reluctance to use the word “impeachment” even as the Russia investigation continues to reveal more evidence of collusion, and the “big tent” approach she is taking to support for abortion rights within the Democratic party. Read Suzanne’s full summary of the action here.

This week’s Stand Up SF actions

This recess, we’re focusing on four key topics: Saving the ACA, resisting Trump’s budget, protecting our families from the depredations of Wall Street, and fighting mass incarceration.

  • Republican Senators are hoping we’re all so distracted by Russia that they can secretly repeal the ACA and pass Trumpcare. Call both senators and demand that all members of the Senate, not just an all male working group, are allowed to participate in debate and offer amendments. Say “Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent of the Senator in San Francisco. I am very distressed to learn that Senate Republicans are trying to ram through ACA repeal. Please ask the Senator to demand that all members of the senate are allowed to participate in debate and offer amendments. In addition, I want to know why the Senator has not proposed legislation that provides equal or better access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare as the Affordable Care Act does.”
  • Demand parity between defense and non-defense spending in our budget. Since 2011, increases to defense spending have been matched with increases to non-defense spending. The Trump Budget would violate this principle by slashing non-defense spending while increasing the already huge U.S. military budget by $54 billion. Call all three MoCs and tell them not to approve any budget that over-funds our military at the expense of protecting our environment. Say “I’m [NAME], a constituent from San Francisco, [zip code]. I’m calling to ask [Senator or Representative’s NAME] to fight Trump’s proposed budget cuts. I’m particularly concerned about his plans to slash the EPA budget by 31% in order to increase military spending. These cuts would cost the EPA 3,200 jobs and more than 30 individual programs. That’s unacceptable, and I want my lawmakers to fight these proposed budget cuts. Please pass my concerns along to [Senator or Representative’s NAME]. Thank you for taking my call!”
  • Protect Americans from losing their jobs, homes, and savings. In June, the House is voting on the Financial CHOICE Act, HR 10, which would dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act and remove consumer protections from banks, predatory lenders, and other financial institutions. Call Congresswoman Pelosi and tell her you oppose this legislation. (script)
  • Stand up against mass incarceration: Call Congresswoman Pelosi and ask her to support HR 2435, the Justice Safety Valve Act, against Jeff Sessions’ return to mandatory minimum sentencing. (script).

Actions with other groups

  • Wed 5/31, 5:30pm in the Mission: Learn how to help local immigrants! Join the SF Rapid Response Network for a volunteer orientation and get the info you need to become a volunteer dispatcher, report ICE, and help protect your community. Contact Marisela at DSCS to sign up.
  • Thu 6/1, 6pm: Sister District Project is throwing a big Happy Hour/Fundraiser to benefit Democrat Lee Carter for Virginia House of Delegates. Learn more.
  • Sun 6/4, 12pm at Fort Mason: CA Senator Scott Weiner speaks at ACLU’s People Power Rally. This is a great opportunity for local action, especially to ask the Senator to support single payer in California. Sign up here.