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Progressive News and Views July / August 2009
Greening Affordable Housing
Because it just makes sense
By Meg Johnson
new housing communities that meet high standards for In 2002, when the nonprofit Sacramento Mutual green construction? How will they keep rents low and Housing Association (SMHA) was completing construcstill incorporate cutting edge green features? tion of Victory Townhomes in North Sacramento, people The choice at Victory Townhomes was an easy one. would often stop their cars to inquire as to the cost of the Low income people are challenged by meeting their utilhomes, assuming the attractive buildings were marketity bills each month. Many elderly residents won’t turn rate condominiums. They were further intrigued with on air conditioning, at great risk to their health, because the solar panels on each townhome. Most were shocked they can’t afford to pay the electric bill. to learn that the housing would be for SMUD had a special program that, rent, and income restrictions would The SMHA’s recent combined with incentives created by limit occupancy to very low income housing designs then State Treasurer Phil Angelides families. under the Low Income Housing Tax In 2002, solar panels were unheard will be models for Credit program, cut the cost of the of in rental communities. Victory other developers. solar components by about 50 percent. Townhomes was the first multifamily In the City of Davis, the mutual development in SMUD’s service area to Some steps are nohousing association owns land upon install solar components. In addition brainers. which it plans to build 69 apartments to solar panels on the townhomes, the for disabled and low-wage households. building at the front which houses a City leaders are committed to sustainable development. large community gathering space, offices for organizers There is a city ordinance that creates a minimum green and service staff, and a computer learning lab, has a roof standard for all new development. SMHA’s New Harmowith solar roof tiles. ny housing development will exceed this standard. The Why did the mutual housing association break the SMHA believes that exceeding the standard will elicit barriers of installing solar energy components in its good will among city residents, something that affordaffordable development? Why is the association planning
New Harmony, a green mutual housing community, is scheduled to start construction this winter in Davis.
Image courtesy of Kuchman Architects, rendering by Sawyer Fischer.
able housing could use. The SMHA’s leaders also want to push the envelope to bring down the cost of operations, resident utility bills and add to the sustainability of the larger Davis community. The staff of SMHA has had to develop new capacities in green building methods and materials. They became members of Build it Green, the creator of the GreenPoint Rating System, and the US Green Building Council, the creator of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. The two organizations provide training, networking and professional certifications to advance sustainable development of commercial and residential facilities. By hiring local architects whose staff are certified green designers, including Cynthia Easton, Bob Kuchman, and Jim Zanetto, the SMHA’s recent housing designs will be models for other developers. Some steps are no-brainers. Sensitivity to placement of buildings on See Green housing, page 11
By Rachel Iskow
Bringing fresh produce to low income residents
SMHA proved that the concept could work in SacramenCecilia’s mom lives in a Sacramento inner-city neighto. The farm stands fulfill two goals. They provide access borhood lacking a major to fresh and affordable grocery store. She can’t afford Residents of Sacramento’s aging produce and because of the a car, and many months, she two nonprofits neighborhoods have always had way thesethe program, the lacks the money for a bus pass designed to get her to a retail center in a problem getting ready access farm stands build commuanother neighborhood where nity. They encourage resito fresh and affordable fruits produce is sold. The local mom dent interaction by bringing and pop stores a couple of in local musicians, by utilizand vegetables. blocks away from her aparting volunteers, and offering ment carry bananas, mostly aging, a few apples, and perchildren’s activities and community organization booths. haps wilting lettuce—this is on a good day. The cost of Unlike farmers markets in which farmers come to this produce in that small shop is double the price found the people, urban farmstands require an intermediin conventional grocery stores. ary to bring the farmers’ produce to the customers. In Cecilia has heard accusations in the media that lowtheir urban farmstands, the two sponsoring nonprofits income moms are not feeding enough fruits and vegpurchase organic and conventional produce directly etables to their kids. They don’t mention the access issue. from area farmers and turn around and sell the produce Residents of Sacramento’s aging neighborhoods have weekly at farm stands located in public areas. These are always had a problem getting ready access to fresh and typically public parks or mutual housing communities affordable fruits and vegetables. Last year, Alchemist with large open spaces. Community Development Corporation (ACDC) and Volunteers staff the stands, with one paid ACDC Sacramento Mutual Housing Association (SMHA) partemployee coordinating the operations. Through a grant nered to bring Sacramento’s first urban farm stand to the from The California Wellness Foundation, SMHA procommunity of Alkali Flat. The year prior, residents of vides stipends to neighborhood young people who intern Alkali Flat had mourned the loss of their neighborhood in the farmstands. These youth get training on the differgrocery store. Access to fresh produce became an issue ences between conventional and organic produce. They of concern. Leaders of ACDC came up with the urban also get customer service skills and benefit from positive farmstand concept as a means of providing that access. interaction with adults in their neighborhood. In Alkali Flat, as in other poor and aging neighborThis year, the SMHA and ACDC farm stands are hoods, farmers perceive there is an insufficient market to located in both Alkali Flat and Oak Park. The Oak Park justify bringing their produce out for a farmers market. See Urban Farmstands, page 9 This is where urban farmstands come in. ACDC and
Inside this issue:
Editorial .................................................... 2 Thank you Paulette! .................................. 2 Pastors for Peace Caravan ........................ 2 My Story:Time for Single Payer ............... 3 Support Soapbox ....................................... 3 Derailing Obama’s Health Plan ............... 4 Mimic US Capitalism? ............................. 4 Budget Woes Spark Death Penalty Decline ........................... 5 Daniel Singer Millennium Essay ............. 5 Fundamentalists in the Military .............. 6 Confessions of a Conspiracy Theorist ....... 7 Let Progressive Secretary Write For You .. 7 What To Do With All Those Cucumbers .. 8 Growing Sacramento’s Future ................. 8 Farms Not ‘Burbs ..................................... 9 Visions of a Nuclear Weapons-Free World.................................................... 10 Taking a Look at Islam ............................ 10 Ask A Socially Responsible Therapist .... 11 Californians Know What To Do ............. 11 No Hope Ending the War on Drugs ....... 12 Death Penalty Focus ............................... 12 Calderón Failing ..................................... 13 What’s Up With Homeschoolers ............. 14 Calendar .................................................. 15
2 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
Volume 18, Number 4
Published Bi-Monthly by the Sacramento Community for Peace & Justice P.O. Box 162998, Sacramento, CA 95816 (Use addresses below for correspondence) Editorial Group: Jacqueline Diaz, Jeanie Keltner, JoAnn Fuller Coordinating Editors for this Issue: Jacqueline Diaz, Muriel Strand Design and Layout: Ellen Schwartz Calendar Editor: Chris Bond Advertising and Business Manager: Edwina White Distribution Managers: Distribution Manager Emeritus: Paulette Cuilla Subscription Manager: Gordon Kennedy
Muriel Strand, Co-Coordinating Editor for this issue
marinated in public relations’s breathless miasma for granted. Excess can turn anything into a nuisance or a hazard, like plastic trash or corn syrup. of psycho-social manipulation that the boundaries between virtual and reality, between fact and So people will matter more if they are in profiction, are fading fast. portion, which is another way of saying when Another opposing force is within us. It is the social and ecological sustainability are in har“dominator culture,” a concept mony, when we are living as we People can make named and described by Riane were evolved to live. her book, The Chalice Then, fake dilemmas like a difference, and Eisler inBlade. The dominator and the jobs vs. environment will fool people deserve culture is the centralized, hierarno one. We will realize that our chical, authoritarian worldview true needs—clean air and water, consideration that we are all somewhat infected healthy food, and shelter—are from others. with. This toxic mindset is, I more important than jobs or believe, more fundamental than money, that money can only buy our fossil fuel addiction. what’s for sale. Only Mother Earth can provide So it’s really simple. Do you want to be somefor our survival; people can simply share. one who matters, who makes a difference? Then But huge forces oppose ecological and social do unto others as you would have them do unto harmony. One force is cheap gasoline. We are you, a policy recommended unanimously by addicted to our oil ‘energy slave,’ who works world religions. Put yourself in other people’s for less than 1% of the minimum wage. We are shoes, and don’t be mean. Be kind if possible, but spoiled, hence the petulant comments provoked definitely don’t be mean. Now put yourself in the by higher energy prices. The fear and anger shoes of people who look different, talk funny, voiced by many reflect our addiction. and/or live on the other side of the world, such The institution of advertising is an underappreciated and formidable opponent of the clear as those who are homeless, foreign, refugees, terthinking and non-attached compassion that rorists, etc. And also behind the eyes of wolves, social and ecological harmony calls for. News mosquitoes, trees and our other nonhuman kin. media’s addiction to advertising income has They all have natural and rational reasons for contaminated public discourse, and we are so their feeling and actions.
It’s Not That Easy Being Green
How People Matter
As I write my first BPM editorial, my mind wanders back to when I helped start the Sacramento Greens, before the Green Party, when we met in Dale Crandall-Bear’s New Society bookstore. Why the Greens? Because the integration of social and ecological sustainability is a key Green principle. A few years later this newspaper was created Because some Sacramentans believe People Matter. People can make a difference, and people deserve consideration from others. But how much do people matter? Well, we (usually) matter more to ourselves than to each other, or to other species, let alone to the planet. (Although now what probably matters to the ecosphere would be recovering from the infection.) There’s no denying that the more people there are, the less each one matters. That’s the reality of diminishing marginal returns, a fundamental of economics. Scarcity makes things more valuable, ceteris paribus, and abundance can make them invaluable, like water or air that we generally take
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HaNG oN to tHat stoRY!
With the new web-based format, we can run more timely stories, and readers will be able to comment on them. We want your articles, punditry, opinions, comments and letters! But, we won't be able to publish any of it until the new website is set up. Watch for it at www.bpmnews.org.
Thank You Paulette!
Farewell to our BPM distribution team From the BPM Editorial Board
HaVe soMe a LIttLe tIMe?
Our new format will require much less time from our volunteers than the paper version. For Editing we need people who are (mildly) geeky rather than fanatically grammatical. Editors will post articles when they are submitted, though it need not be immediate. No meetings. No deadlines. Articles may be reviewed for spelling and grammar errors (or not), but in general the content will be the responsibility of the writers. Distribution is also transformed: we need people to promote the website, to email their friends, put it on their FaceBook pages, Twitter about it, ask owners of other sites to link to it, hand out business cards with our web address. Can you help? Call Ellen at 916-369-5510 or email email@example.com. Because PeoPle Matter is an all-volunteer endeavor to present alternative, progressive news and views in Sacramento. We invite and welcome your responses. Please reproduce from any of the written contents, but do credit the author and BPM. Printed at Herald Printing by Graphics Communication Union DC2 pressmen.
hanks to Paulette Cuilla for all her work and years of service. Paulette has been an indispensable help in getting our words out! She took on the distribution of BPM at a time when our network wasn’t working. She took an unorganized distribution concept and somehow got the paper into the hands of readers. She recruited and organized distributors into an efficient team. Not content to let things rest, Paulette strategized placement of BPM stands and got new stands into new outlets in our communities. She also kept after those of us distributing the paper, reminding us to do our part! The role of Distribution Manager is a behindthe-scenes job that makes it possible for our precious thoughts to have readers, so we thank you, Paulette, for having done this work!
And to our loyal, hardworking distributors, many who have happily picked up and delivered papers for years throughout the Sacramento region, we thank you for your work and support. Today BPM is ready for Paulette in front of the US Capitol with other Code a change, so we are saying goodbye to stands, print Pinkers for the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war in papers and distributors. But, March 2008. we are saying hello to a new online format! We hope that our extended BPM family of distributors will continue to spread Thank you again, Paulette and distribution the word that BPM is going online! Distributors team, for keeping BPM’s print-form available to and readers can continue to read BPM in a new the community for so many cherished years. online format coming soon to the webstand near Details to come about the new online format at you! www.bpmnews.com.
The 20th US Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba
Is coming to Sacramento Saturday, July 11, 2009
Please join the Sacramento Area Black Caucus (SABC), the Central cal, painting, etc.) for rebuilding after recent hurricanes. Educational and America Action Committee (CAAC), Black United of Sacramento Valmedical books (English and Spanish only), new educational and medical ley (BUF) and others for an afternoon of friendsupplies, functional computers (Pentium III or Please join us for an ship, as we gather to welcome the Caravan to better) and accessories, bicycles, Bibles in Spanish, Sacramento, and to break bread together at the foods in factory-sealed afternoon of friendship and nonperishable dryhelpful. Items are being colOak Park United Methodist Church, 3600 Broadpackages are also very as we gather to welcome lected at the office of the Black United Fund: 4104 way, Sacramento, 5–8pm. This 20th anniversary event is a potluck, free 44th Street (at 16th Ave.), Sacramento. the Caravan and break and open to the general public. Please bring a Please call 916-484-5025 to arrange a time for bread together. a volunteer to receive your donation. Your supdish to share. We are seeking co-sponsors of $25 (individuport and participation are deeply appreciated. als) and $50 (organizations) to help with the shipping costs and event If you want to know more about our work and about upcoming caracosts. Sponsors will be listed on all outreach materials. Co-sponsors can vans please contact John Waller, National Cuba Caravan Coordinator at make checks payable to: BUF (Black United Fund of Sacramento Valley 212-926-5757 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.pastors(a 501c3)). Mail to SABC, P, O. 5528, Sacramento, CA. 95817, Attn: Pas- forpeace.org. tors for Peace Event 2009. Please include your name, address, phone and email contact information. For more information please contact: Friends of the Cuban people are also invited to donate essential goods Faye Kennedy, Caravan Coordinator for Sacramento County such as construction supplies of all kinds (carpentry, plumbing, email@example.com or (916) 484-5025
On the cover
Farmstands mean fresh, local food. See stories beginning on page 1, continuing on 8 and 9. Photo courtesy SMHA.
3 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
By Cres Vellucci
It’s time for single-payer, universal health care
I have been very healthy most of my life. It “dirt poor” to escape a co-pay/deductible. Howall came crashing down in February of this year ever, the co-pay can be very low, and certainly when I found myself in the hospital without nothing compared to thousands, or tens of thouhealthcare insurance. sands of dollars in medical bills. And the county Like tens of millions of Americans—the will give you time to pay. government says 48 million are uninsured but Third, investigate other options. As a Vietnam how long can that figveteran (I was drafted), I did receive care, but was ure remain the same I discovered, thanks to with millions of people a hospital worker who left with a $40,000 bill for losing their jobs and mentioned it, that I benefits?—I did not have four days of treatment. qualify for health care health care because I through the Veterans could not find it at a reasonable price. Administration. Again, they may have a co-pay, I did receive care, but was left with a $40,000 but it is low. bill for four days of treatment. Half of the bankNone of this would be necessary, and people ruptcies in the US are related to medical bills. would not be unnecessarily dying, if we had Millions more Americans don’t seek medical universal, single-payer health care in place in this help, or simply cannot get it, so they wait until state, or country. they die or are critically ill before seeking care. But don’t hold your breath. They lose more than their money or credit—they As was said on Bill Moyers Journal on PBS in lose their lives. May (www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/05222009/ Although I was aware of the health care crisis watch2.html), once upon a time Senator Obama in this country, my unexpected stay in the hossaid he supported universal single-payer health pital gave me a whole new perspective. It gave care, and that after the Democratic Party retook me a glimpse of what people can do if they find Congress and the Presidency (which they have) it themselves in a similar predicament. In short, not would be ours. all is lost. Fast-forward six years, and now President First, seek treatment for an emergency situaObama, under a full press of the insurance tion whether you can afford it or not. Hospital lobby, is saying single-payer, universal heath emergency rooms cannot deny you care, and care is “impossible.” We all know why—the same your life could depend on receiving that care. You HMOs, insurance and drug companies who can deal with the circumstances of the bills later. killed the health care plan in the Carter and ClinI waited two days to go to the emergency room. It ton administrations are about to do it again. did not cost me my life, but it easily could have— The consequence will be millions of Americans I suffered a small stroke, and left untreated even not receiving desperately needed urgent health for a mere few hours can lead to death or perma- care. We’re not talking about losing a chance to nent paralysis. go to the doctor with the sniffles (never a good Second, don’t worry about paying the bill. Your idea whether you have insurance or not). We’re health comes first. Hospitals have what they call talking about the kind of care one should receive “charity” payment plans that can allow you to pay as a basic human right—to prevent or treat a at a reduced amount, or they can forgive the debt major disease or ailment. in its entirety. “What we’re up against, essentially, is the health There’s also the County of Sacramento Mediinsurance industry…the people who are on top, cally Indigent Services Program (CMISP)—all who could have an enormous amount of influcounties have similar programs, largely paid for ence, are too afraid of the health insurance indusvia Medi-Cal, that can pay medical bills, and try. And in some serious ways, they are as in bed afford you after-care. with them as Wall Street and the banks were in This program is largely unadvertised, as is the bed with the Congress and have gotten their way, charity program at hospitals. It’s not by accident. with their kind of bailout,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, People might easily seek care in increasing numacting president of the non-partisan group Public bers if they knew this “universal” coverage was Citizen, as heard on the Bill Moyers Journal on available. PBS. CMISP can pay for your bills without any coAccording to the Center for Responsive Polipay/deductible if you earn something far below tics, more than $46 million in 2008 was given by the poverty line—in 1984. Apparently, according the insurance industry to the campaigns of Demto staff I spoke with, the figures representing ocrats and Republicans to maintain the industry’s cost-of-living have not been updated for 25 years control over health care (www.opensecrets.org/ which unfairly skews it so you have to be below industries/indus.php?ind=F09).
Artwork: Kjersten Jeppesen
The Green Party is the only national political party to support full universal single-payer healthcare. It’s a real shame. Single-payer would cover every American regardless of employment, income, ability to pay, age, and prior medical condition. Everyone could enjoy guaranteed quality health care, including prescriptions, and no American would face financial ruin because of illness or injury. Everyone could choose his or her own physician, health care provider, and health care facility. It would cut national health care costs by as much as a third and reduce what working Americans pay for health coverage. Medicare (which would be made universal under Single-Payer) has three percent administrative costs, which is highly efficient compared to the 15-30 percent administrative costs (profits, paperwork, CEO salaries, etc.) of for-profit insurance. Plus, it covers everyone. Private HMOs and health insurance companies increase their profits by denying treatment to people with medical emergencies and by denying coverage to those they consider “high-risk.” Finally, single-payer would boost the ailing US economy and provide relief for businesses, since it would cancel the high expense and burden of employer-based health care benefits. It seems Americans understand. Polls show popular support for a national health care program that guarantees universal coverage (www. wpasinglepayer.org/PollResults.html). I understand. I’m recovering from my stroke, and my eyes are wide-open to the need to push for universal, single-payer health care now, before even more people die on the altar of insurance company profits.
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With a contribution of $30 or more, you can support Sacramento Soapbox! and get 10 colorful little art pieces by Jeanie Keltner. Soapbox! is Sacramento’s only progressive TV talk show discussing issues important to BPM readers. Aired on Channel 17 every Monday at 8pm for 15 years, Soapbox! reaches 30,000+ viewers. Checks can be made out to Jeanie Keltner and sent to 403 21st St, Sacramento 95814. Help keep Soapbox going!
4 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
Ready for the Son of Harry and Louise?
Derailing Obama’s health plan
By Charlene Jones
Shortly after the American Hospital Association (www.aha.org) and America’s Health Insurance Plans (www.ahip.org) changed their minds in May about volunteering to save Americans $2 trillion over 10 years, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina hired a public relations firm to derail President Obama’s public health plan. The Washington Post’s May 18 story about Blue Cross/Blue Shield revealed a campaign as slick as the infamous ad couple Harry and Louise who helped kill health care reform in the 1990s. Some portion of what consumers, along with their
struggling local and state governments, pay Big Blue for health coverage will fund ads aimed at convincing Americans they will be denied choice and wait weeks for care because of government bureaucrats—while most Americans are currently denied choice and wait for weeks for care in for-profit HMOs. Dizzy yet? The health care industry is doing what it’s done for decades when things heat up—spending money where it counts and volunteering to serve their country only long enough to distract. According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, they’ve spent more than $134 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2009 alone. They are also suiting up, like doctors before a major operation, with major publicity assaults on any reform that threatens profits from disease and dying. When then-President Jimmy Carter talked about controlling costs, according to a May 11 New York Times story, drug makers, insurance companies and hospitals agreed to help slow the spiral but bills soared higher than ever a few years later. By the early 1990s, Americans were pinched again. This time the health industry financed one of the most expensive and devious public relations campaigns ever launched. Harry and Louise prevailed and profiteering grew.
The health care “In saying they can volin ‘swiftboating’ presidential untarily slash $200 billion a candidate John Kerry. Recentindustry is doing year off the country’s medical ly, CPR aired a 30-minute what it’s done for bills over the next decade and TV “documentary” in late still preserve their profits, May which, along with $5 decades when healthcare companies implicmillion ad campaign starring things heat up— itly acknowledged they were Scott himself, are both bent plotting to fleece consumers on scuttling public support spending money and have been fleecing them for any meaningful reform to where it counts and American health care. for years,” wrote David Sirota of Creators Syndicate on May While polls convincingly volunteering to 15. “With that acknowledgshow that Americans, includserve their country ment came the tacit admission ing Republicans, want major that the industry’s business care reforms, with a only long enough to health insurance plan open is based not on respectable public distract. returns, but on grotesque to everyone, insurance comprofiteering and waste—the panies collect premiums and kind that can give up $2 trillion and still guaranco-pays that may well bankroll propaganda to tee huge margins.” defeat any significant change to better serve the Huge margins became the mantra of a costpublic interest. cutting, profit-incentive health industry culture Remember, Blue Cross of California, the largchampioned by Rick Scott, the Sam Walton of est insurer in the state, was in the news for alleghealth care industry, according to Fortune Maga- edly “rescinding” health insurance policies based zine in an April 9 profile. Scott’s maneuvering upon the illegal practice known as “post-claims is renowned for a couple of reasons. Columbia/ underwriting,” leaving the insured individual HCA, the company he founded in 1987, skyrock- with the outstanding bills not paid by the health eted in a few short years to become the largest insurer. And then only after exposure by the Los hospital corporation in the country, leaving Angeles Times did Blue Cross cease asking physiother providers dead or dying in its wake. Then cians to alert them to preexisting conditions of a US Justice Department investigation into false their patients. claims submitted to Medicare and other federal These are the suits who volunteered, and then programs resulted in Scott’s forced departure in didn’t, to help out a nation in a double economic 1997 and a 2003 fraud settlement, the largest in crisis—not the mortgage crisis but the gaping US history, for $1.7 billion. wound in health care—millions without health Profits from his current investments in health coverage, thousands losing coverage every day, care and plastics continue, however, to enable and budget-busting medical costs the leading Scott to fund more propaganda, including the cause of bankruptcy. Dizzier yet? Coming soon, front group Conservatives for Patients’ Rights the son of Harry and Louise. (CPR), according to the Huffington Post. The Charlene Jones is a consultant who writes for group hired CRC Public Relations, a key player BPM.
Mimic US Capitalism? No Thanks!
Unemployment rate in Venezuela is significantly lower than in the US
By Gustavo Lopez
The Venezuelan employment rate in 2009 totaled 92.3 percent, which accounts for 12,065,593 employees, according with The National Institute of statistics. But strangely, the bourgeois US and Venezuelan media doesn’t seem to know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. In April 2009, the Venezuelan unemployment rate stood at 7.7 percent according to the National Statistics Institute. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the job situation in the US is not doing as well. Non-farm payroll employment has continued to decline in the US, and the unemployment rate has risen from 8.5 to 8.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Since the recession began in December 2007, 5.7 million jobs in the US have been lost. In April, job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major private-sector industries. Overall, private-sector employment fell by 611,000 jobs, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, the unemployment rate in Venezuela is significantly lower—1.2 percentage points lower than the unemployment rate in the US. But many bourgeois economists, especially the VenEconomy crowd—a Caracas-based publication and consulting firm that analyzes the Venezuelan economy, and much of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie still believe that Venezuela should ape or mimic the policies of US capitalists—policies that produced a world capitalist crisis in the first place! Again, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major private-sector industries. Over 611,000 jobs were lost, so this is a tragic situation for the hundreds of thousands of US workers who lost their jobs in April alone. But guess what the bourgeois US and Venezuelan media and economists say about the US economic situation? “It’s a correction.” Yeah, that’s right, they call it a correction! In other words, Gustavo Lopez some bourgeois media and economists believe it was “correct” to put 600,000 workers out of work in April. And some of these media and economists are asking, “Why doesn’t Venezuela also correct itself and throw a lot people out of work—how can Venezuela be doing better?” The answer to this question is that Venezuelan revolutionaries are deliberately economically and politically “incorrect.” Why, Venezuelan revolutionaries are so economically “incorrect” that they intend to reduce the unemployment rate in Venezuela to below 7.7 percent. Gustavo Lopez is a Sacramento activist originally from Venezuela, and a supporter of BPM. See more from Gustavo Lopez at www.programabolivariano.com.
5 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
Budget Woes Spark Death Penalty Decline
By Stefanie Faucher, Program Director of Death Penalty Focus
In March, New Mexico took the historic step of replacing the death penalty with permanent imprisonment—making it the fifteenth state to abandon capital punishment and the second state to do so legislatively in the last two years. New Jersey’s legislature passed a similar bill in December 2007. In signing the legislation, New Mexico’s Governor Bill Richardson cited the extraordinarily high costs of retaining the death penalty and the 130-plus inmates freed from death row since 1973 due to wrongful conviction. He stated, “The sad truth is the wrong person can still be convicted in this day and age, and in cases where that conviction carries with it the ultimate sanction, we must have ultimate confidence, I would say certitude, that the system is without flaw or prejudice. Unfortunately, this is demonstrably not the case.” At least 10 other states have considered similar measures this year, citing the significant savings that could result from ending the death penalty; Montana, Nebraska, Illinois, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Kansas are among them. Just weeks ago, Connecticut’s legislature passed a bill to abolish the death penalty, although Governor Jodi Rell has stated that she is likely to veto. Also this year, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley called on his state’s legislature to end the death penalty citing both financial and ethical concerns. In response, the Maryland legislature passed a bill making it extremely difficult to seek the death penalty—stopping just short of outright
States across the country consider scrapping the ultimate punishment
abolition. Governor O’Malley praised the legisla- imprisonment.” tion and indicated that it was a step in the right In a March interview with Marin Magazine, direction. Assemblyman Huffman came to a similar concluIn June 2008, the California Commission on sion, “It’s time to seriously reconsider the death the Fair Administration of penalty—it makes no sense This country’s fiscal from any angle you approach Justice found that California annually spends approximately it crisis has made one it. It’s hard to make the caseIt’s $137.7 million dollars on the deters anyone from crime. death penalty. By replacing the thing certain: the even harder to make the case death penalty with permanent many death penalty’s days we can afford it. In soridiculous.” imprisonment, the Commisways, it is absolutely sion noted that the state could are numbered. Recent polling shows that save in excess of $125 million California voters are likely to per year. The California State Legislature also agree with them. doled out an additional $136 million this year The State of California could save $1 billion in for a new death row housing facility—for which five years by converting the sentences of the nearthe total project budget is expected to reach $400 ly 680 persons currently on death row to sentencmillion. es of life without the possibility of parole, and by Several California state legislators including suspending all new death sentences for a period Senator Mark Leno and Assemblyman Jared of five years. This would also allow the legislature Huffman have called for an end to the death pen- to consider selling the prime real estate currently alty. Both legislators have cited the state’s budget occupied by San Quentin State Prison for an esticrisis as a good reason to consider getting rid mated $2 billion dollars—a goal that has united of capital punishment. In a recent op-ed for the some Democrats and Republicans, including Marin Independent Journal, State Senator Leno Senator Jeff Denham from Merced. argued, “We are cutting the very programs that This country’s fiscal crisis has made one thing help reduce violent crime, and without them, certain; the death penalty’s days are numbered. violent crime may well increase. Meanwhile, we When that happens, the US will finally join continue to waste more than $250 million on an the vast majority of countries—135 and countineffective and broken death penalty, and it’s a ing—that have abandoned capital punishment. price we can no longer afford. For Californians For opponents of the death penalty, that day can’t who want to live in safe and healthy communicome soon enough. ties, the answer is clear. The time has come For more information, please visit www.deathto replace the death penalty with permanent penalty.org.
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Daniel Singer Millennium Essay 2009
Annual prize for best essay on a selected topic
By Muriel Strand
The Daniel Singer Millennium Prize Foundation annually recognizes an original essay that helps further socialist ideas in the tradition of Daniel Singer. Singer, a writer and journalist who passed away in 2000, was for many years the European correspondent for the US magazine The Nation. Singer’s last book was Whose Millennium? (1999), a polemic against market fundamentalism and the rule of capital. Daniel Singer’s ideas can summarized as follows: First: By radically transforming the production process, capitalism created the potential for meeting the basic needs of humankind. However, the capitalist system is unable to fulfill that potential because the satisfaction of human needs conflicts with the relentless search for maximum profits by a privileged propertied elite. Second: Against a society based on the market and regulated by the profit motive, socialists pose a planned economy based on the socialization and collective ownership of production, distribution and communication. Third: Only the working people and their allies can themselves bring about this transformation, beginning with their assumption of state power and their active participation at the head of this process. The transformation of society is only possible on the basis of full democratic participation of the working people in the political, economic, and social arenas, as well as the spread of this transformation throughout the world. Fourth: The discredited and now-defunct regimes of “actually existing socialism” were mere caricatures of socialism, the result of the absence of democracy, underdevelopment, and the failure of socialism to spread to the advanced capitalist countries. Fifth: Because society will be able to meet basic human needs and gradually reduce the time required to be devoted to work, socialism will lead to the flowering of human potential. These principles will guide the judges in weighing prize entries. The 2009 prize will be $2500 and will be awarded for the best essay, of no more than 5000 words, exploring the question: “The global economic crisis has revealed capitalism’s inability to meet the needs of the vast majority of the world’s population. Given the experience of the last century, how can a case for socialism be made?” Essays may be submitEssay contest entries must be submitted by July 31, ted in English, Spanish or 2009. French and will be judged by an international panel of distinguished scholars and activists. The winner will be announced in December 2009. Submissions must be received by July 31, 2009. Essays can be mailed to: The Daniel Singer Millennium Prize Foundation P.O. Box 2371, El Cerrito, CA 94530 Essays can also be e-mailed. Links to the 2008 winners and other information can also be found on the website: www.danielsinger.org/.
CAAC Goes to the Movies
“The global economic crisis has revealed capitalism’s inability to meet the needs of the vast majority of the world’s population. Given the experience of the last century, how can a case for socialism be made?”
ALMoSt EVEry MoNtH the Central America Action Committee shows interesting and informative videos on social justice, labor struggles, and so much more! Call to see what’s playing this month… WE ALSO HAVE A VIDEO LIBRARY YOU CAN CHECK OUT. 1640 9th Ave (east off Land Park Dr) INFo: 446-3304
Pizza by the slice
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6 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
Onward Christian Soldiers
Fundamentalist orgs mixing ‘church and state’
By Henry Clark
Most Americans know about the scandal that rocked the US Air Force Academy a few years ago. Very few are aware that the same tactics used to proselytize members of the armed forces are still being carried out today in military facilities all over the world. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is a private watchdog organization that tracks the use of tactics such as bullying (including physical beatings), denial of promotion and punitive duty assignments to force military personnel who are not evangelical Christians to declare themselves as such. The MRFF has filed lawsuits on behalf of dozens of atheists. Jews, Roman Catholics and members of mainstream Protestant denominations have also been subjected to such treatment because of their refusal to submit to these pressures. According to MRFF, our military ranks do contain a small but impassioned cadre of evangelical Christians who seek theocracy. They have made it clear that, in their view of human destiny, misconceived understanding of Christ down the in this war against Satan.” Buchanan went on to declare that Boykin “seems to be exactly the kind throats of everybody in the world. It is a threat which truly patriotic Americans must acknowlof warrior America needs to lead us in battle edge, expose and oppose as resourcefully as against the kind of fanatics we face.” possible. Pentagon spokesmen have denounced such Find more information at www.militaryrelerhetoric and seek to exercise damage control giousfreedom.org. in its wake. Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona responding stating, “in the age of the internet, remarks like these do reach Iraq and the rest of the Middle East” and when they are heard in the light of photos showing “soldiers posed with their rifles and Bibles” that appeared in the Fort Jackson Campus Crusade for Christ “God’s Basic Training” website, Iraqis can hardly be blamed for thinking that the invasion of their country really is part of a new crusade aimed at Islam. American military commanders have equated God and country in a number of violent attacks which conflate religion and war. One such operation is described in a scary article by Jeff Sharlet in the May 2009 issue of Harper’s, which reports that a Special Forces unit of the First Infantry Division in Iraq was ordered to send an impregnable Bradley Fighting Vehicle into the Muslim holy city of Samarra with the slogan “Jesus Killed Mohammed” blatantly displayed on its armor “in giant red Arabic script.” Some of the Iraqis who reacted to this inflammatory incursion were annihilated by firepower so massive that it destroyed the buildings in whose windows they dared to appear. Watch the movie “Constantine’s Sword” for more The MRFF is deeply information about right-wing evangelizing in the concerned about the legal military. and constitutional issues posed by these developments. Mikey Weinstein, head of the MRFF, condemns such activity as “a national security threat internally to America every bit as formidable as the external threat challenging America from a revitalized Taliban and an al Qaida that is now at least as strong as it was on 9/11.” Weinstein claims that the MRFF has acquired “a ton of irrefutable proof ” of how our Islamic fundamentalist enemies are using, to their full advantage, the multiplicity of disgraceful instances of unconstitutional proselytizing within the US Armed Forces. More than one senior national security official has thanked the MRFF for the job it is doing to expose and denounce the complicity of Formerly the the US military in massively forcing fundamentalist Christianity upon its own members as well as the foreign populations. No longer distributed free: Every citizen who believes in the importance of It was either switch to subscriptions or Church and State separation, and everyone who go out of business. The good news: understands the enormous boomerang effect of we’ve added a lot more great content, and it’s CHEAP! Just $17.95/year attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity (12 issues) when you sign up online! must see the problem with linking fundamentalist ideology with the military. This isn’t fiction. What we are dealing with here are grim, real-life it gives us hope fanatics who see themselves as defenders of God, and it’s implacably determined to shove their tragically darn funny too!
Our military ranks contain a small but impassioned cadre of evangelical Christians who seek theocracy.
the ultimate mission of all those who regard themselves as true believers in Christ are charged with the work of Christianizing the armed forces in this country and abroad. The God-and-Country ideology emerging today is especially alarming for two reasons. First, it is not just an underground activity carried out here and there by a few individuals, but rather a quasi-official position being taken by high-ranking officials with positions of great authority and prestige. Second, it receives a certain amount of support from a number of politicians and media celebrities who audaciously violate the doctrine of Church and State separation enshrined in the Constitution. It was Major General William Boykin who gained instant notoriety by taunting a Somali warlord, boasting, “My God is bigger than his.” And it was Major General, Pete Sutton and former Secretary of the Army Pete Geren who appeared in uniform promoting a video produced for Campus Crusade for Christ by Christian Embassy, a fundamentalist ministry based in Washington DC that is known to make presentations during military basic training sessions. A video called “Red, White and Blue Spectacular” prepared by the Trinity Broadcasting Network featured Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp—the same General appeared in a 2003 Billy Graham rally—televised around the world on the Armed Forces Network where the baptisms of 700 soldiers under his command were used as evidence of the Lord’s plan to “raise up a godly army,” proclaimed Van Antwerp at the event. Political endorsement of the God-and-Country ideology comes from elected officials such as Robin Hayes (R-NC), who defended Boykin for proclaiming that stability in Iraq ultimately depends on “spreading the message of Jesus Christ.” As Hayes put it in a speech to the Concord, North Carolina Rotary Club, “Everything depends on everyone learning about the birth of the Savior.” Pat Buchanan praised the general for believing that “Christianity is the true faith, that Jesus is God and that God is guiding America
Great Holiday Gift Idea!
Last Print Issue of Because People Matter! See back cover for details!
Current issue available at Newsbeat and fine comic book stores.
w w w. H u m o r T i m e s . c o m
7 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
Confessions of a Conspiracy Theorist
Explosive new 9/11 evidence
By Jeanie Keltner
How the World Trade Center (WTC) buildings came down—especially the 47 story Building 7, which wasn’t hit by a plane but collapsed completely into its footprint in 6.5 seconds—is a major sticking point in the official 9/11 narrative. More than 700 professional engineers and architects have called for a new investigation because of the incompatibility of the official pancake theory with the laws of physics (www.youtube. com/watch?v=ssuAMNas1us&feature=related). Likewise much evidence has been discovered of traces of the explosive thermate at the collapse site. But now a paper by nine scientists published in a peer-reviewed physics journal conclusively shows the presence in dust samples from the Twin Towers of unignited aluminothermic explosives, whose chemical signature matches documented residues Jones found earlier— extrapolating from the samples, there were tons of nano-thermite, which can only be created by sophisticated technology (www.911research. wtc7.net/ essays/thermite/ explosive_ residues. html). Niels Harrit, the Danish scientist in the study, called this not the smoking gun, but the loaded gun—conclusive proof of demolition. But almost as intriguing as this evidence is the information that has surfaced about The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the agency that officially analyzed the WTC collapses. NIST never even considered the possibility of explosives, even though fire investigation protocol as well as outside scientists demanded it. When a reporter asked why NIST hadn’t looked for evidence of explosives, NIST’s spokesperson replied, “Right, because there was no evidence of that.” Reporter: “But how can you know there’s no evidence if you don’t look for it first?”’ NIST: “If
A paper by nine scientists published in a peer-reviewed you’re looking for something physics journal conclusively that isn’t there, you’re wasting shows the presence in your time…” dust samples from the Despite the many conTwin Towers of unignited nections between NIST aluminothermic explosives.
and nano-thermites, NIST’s complete lack of interest in explosives is not surprising when one looks closely at this supposedly neutral agency. Arden Bement—appointed director of NIST by President Bush immediately after 9/11—was formerly the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Defense and an executive from TRW, the aerospace contractor, both involved in developing and producing nano-thermite. In addition, the largest contingent of nongovernmental investigators working on the NIST WTC investigation came from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a multibillion dollar private contractor known for fraud and deceit, which Donald L. Barlett and James L. Steele called the “ invisible hand behind a huge portion of the national-security state” and the “fraternal twin of the intelligence establishment” because of the many former CIA operatives, National Security Administration executives, and Pentagon officials who make up the company— which profited astronomically in the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. (www.vanityfair.com/ politics/features/2007/03/spyagency200703). SAIC also developed and formulated nanothermites. Interestingly, SAIC evaluated the WTC for terrorism risks in 1986 and also oversaw the late 1990s security upgrades at the WTC (www.911review.com/articles/ryan/nist_thermite_connection.html). This, of course, is pure coincidence. Unless you’re a conspiracy theorist. But then my connection to politics has always been conspiracist. From the Kennedy and MLK assassinations, to Watergate, IranContra, the S&L collapse and Enron—in each event, the “conspiracy theory” turned out to be the truer
explanation. Conspiracy—collusion of two or more people pursuing illegal means to effect some illegal or immoral end—happens all the time. Michael Parenti writes, “Those who suffer from conspiracy phobia are fond of saying: ‘Do you actually think there’s a group of people sitting around in a room plotting things…’ Indeed, they meet in rooms: corporate boardrooms, Pentagon command rooms, at the Bohemian Grove, in the choice dining rooms at the best restaurants, resorts, hotels, and estates, in the many conference rooms at the White House, the NSA, the CIA, or wherever. And, yes, they consciously plot—though they call it ‘planning’ and ‘strategizing’—and they do so in great secrecy, often resisting all efforts at public disclosure” (Dirty Truths, 1996, pp 172-191). Yet “conspiracy theorist” is the term of choice to discredit those who search out better explanations of 9/11—used as often by the left as by the right! Nonetheless, the 9/11 truth movement may be the largest grass roots movement happening these days. With no sponsors or outside funding, and despite mockery, angry denunciations, and total media silence, the movement has attracted “truthers” of all ages, from all classes, and from left to right. Beyond their differences, “truthers” are united against government deception and usurpation of power, illegal wars, and attacks on the Constitution. United by the internet too, with thousands of people investigating, researching, interacting, and by necessity making their own media. The absolute and total blackout of this huge quantity of substantiated 9/11 information in corporate news seems, paradoxically, proof it’s too hot to handle. But I am more and more confident that truth will out.
After the July-August 2009 issue of Because People Matter, the paper will move to a websiteonly format. Please see the back cover for details.
Some of the Places You Can Find BPM
On the web:
www.bpmnews.org For July and August:
Let Progressive Secretary Write For You
Alternative for busy citizens
By Cathy Hodge McCoid
Progressive Secretary is a cyberspace organization that sends letters to Congress about peace, death penalty, women’s right to choose, poverty, ecology, racism and other concerns. Its focus is on the current progressive agenda and on making email lobbying easy. With a membership of 4000 people, Progressive Secretary revolves around two Quakers, Jim Harris—the California computer guy—and Pat Murphy—the Florida letter writer—living at opposite ends of the country. A longtime activist, Harris—a self-identified computer nerd who has an MS in Electrical Engineering—says “I’ve been a left winger all my life.” When he started PS, he said he needed someone who could write, and “Pat (Murphy) stepped up to the plate.” Murphy is a retired academic, a scholar of African and African American history. Jim Harris founded the organization in 1998 when he was recovering from leukemia and on disability. He says, “I came across a technical article on how to control sending emails, so I could send my emails from a database, with any return address.” He demonstrated this to Because People Matter production artist Ellen Schwartz— a long-time friend—by sending her an email with her return address on it. Today, he runs Progressive Secretary from eight computers in his living-room/office in suburban Sacramento. Since Congresspeople now have web sites and do not generally accept email, Harris spends much of his time telling the computers to enter membership information and letters on congressional web sites. However, they had “a hard time at first,” and had to work out an agreement on the style of writing letters. When Harris was president of Technical Training Center in San Jose in the 1980s, he learned about mass communication, and those lessons stayed with him. He said, “I believe that the first half dozen words influence if the reader will read in detail or just skip. Wells Fargo found that, on a web site, retention goes down as length goes up, and that material in paragraphs of more than five lines is seldom remembered.” “Pat and I worked on our writing style, and Pat began to turn out letters—about 2000 so far,” Harris explained. Hallmarks of PS letters are being short and to the point. Harris said, “We try not to do scholarly letters on esoteric topics. We want to send the letters you would write yourself, if you had the time.” Progressive Secretary’s volunteers help in various ways, such as writing, editing, proofreading, testing, and communicating to members and others. In addition, it takes volunteers to coordinate all of the other volunteers. Decisions on which letters to write are heartfelt by Harris. “There are so many righteous issues that we cannot do. Some of our limitations are staff. If Pat does not feel inspired from a writing standpoint, we don’t do a letter. If we had more writers, then someone else might feel inspired.” Harris described the reasons topics are selected. “Often our decision about which letter to write is based on the focus of our struggles at this moment. Marx called it a class struggle, and when I was active with the farm workers, we called it ‘la Causa’ or ‘the cause.’ Whatever you call it, there is certainly a struggle by most people for a better world. On the other side, a small number of people struggle for profit and power because their ‘way of life’ depends on it. The struggle between progressives and reactionaries has central issues whose time is ‘now.’ The economy, health care, and the war are central issues. Many other issues, no matter how righteous, are not on the public agenda.”
Whatever you call it, there is certainly a struggle by most people for a better world. On the other side, a small number of people struggle for profit and power because their ‘way of life’ depends on it.
Harris said that generally an issue is considered central and timely if major organizations, news media and web organizations are pushing it. These organizations include Greenpeace, Common Cause, the ACLU, AFL-CIO, etc. He added, “We could do more issues if we had people willing to take a few hours to work with us to regularly write letters. Writing is hard. Our FAQ (at www.progressivesecretary.org) has more information on letters we do, and of course a sign up page.” Harris emphasized that electronic communication is not a substitute for other kinds of activism, like visiting legislators, attending meetings and rallies and writing to newspapers. To him, electronic communication is just “a marvelous addition.” “The kind of member I’d rather not have is someone who says, ‘now that I am sending Progressive Secretary letters, I can stop attending vigils, meetings, etc.’” He grinned and said, “My ideal member— who I was just corresponding with—is an 83 year old guy in Florida, who goes to 2 vigils a week, to his local Peace center and sends Progressive Secretary letters.” Cathy Hodge McCoid is a cultural anthropologist (Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of Central Missouri). She is also Jim Harris’s partner.
Coffee Works Crest Theater Dimple Records, Arden Wy Flowers Restaurant Galleria (29th & K) Grinders Hart Senior Center Lido Cafe Light Rail: 65/Folsom 4th Ave/Freeport Los Jarritos Luna’s Cafe & Juice Bar Mercy Hospital, 40th/J Pancake Circus, 21st/ Broadway Planned Parenthood:Franklin Blvd, Watt Ave., 29th St. Queen of Tarts Quick Market Sacramento Bagel, 47th/H Sacramento Natural Foods Coop Sacramento Public Library (Main & many branches) Starbucks (B'wy & 35th) The Beat The Bread Store Time Tested Books Tower Theater (inside) Tupelo (Elvas & 57th) Underground Books (35th St. near B'way) Weatherstone Coffee
Chico Area Davis
Espresso Cafe Roma Davis Natural Food Coop Newsbeat University Mall
Briar Patch Sacred Bee
Buckthorn’s Coffee, 7465 Rush River Dr For a more complete list, visit our web site: www.bpmnews.org.
8 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
What To Do With All Those Extra Cucumbers!!?
Share by gleaning and trading locally
By Karen Hansen and Muriel Strand
Gleaning—the ancient practice of picking over farm fields after the harvest—is making a comeback. Joe and Chris Miller’s fields at a Colorado farm were picked so clean in one day last November that a second day of gleaning was canceled Sunday after 40,000 people showed up the first day. There are Gleaning Projects all around the nation. In Sacramento, Valley Vision mentions the Senior Gleaners in their “Report on Food Access in the Sacramento Region: An Assessment of Access to Healthy Foods In Low-Income Communities of the Sacramento Region,” available at http://www.valleyvision.org/ The Sacramento Senior Gleaners have been receiving and distributing food donations for almost 33 years. Farmers markets are one source of donations that have certainly become more important in recent years. www. seniorgleaners.org/ Randy Stannard, the Food Access Coordinator for the Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture Project (www.soilborn.org) in Rancho Cordova, says, “Soil Born donates (or has donated) regularly to Sierra-Arden Food Closet, Cordova Food Locker, Sacramento Food Bank and Food Not Bombs. I am pretty sure that River City Food Services also accepts donations.” Also, Soil Born recently joined with other organizations, community groups and interested community residents to form a new group called Harvest Sacramento. According to Stannard, “It started from a couple in East Sacramento that wanted to organize in their neighborhood to glean the many citrus trees that they saw going to waste. We gleaned about 3000 pounds this early spring over 3-4 gleaning days.” The group is beginning to look for grant funding to facilitate better coordination of their efforts, via a web interface to collect information on homeowners with trees that they want to have gleaned, volunteers who want to do the gleaning, and neighborhood information that will include toolkits for them to start their own neighborhood-based gleaning efforts that tie into the larger effort. Another local resource for urban farmers is the Raphael Garden at the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, and the biodynamic workshops held there. www.steinercollege.yellowpipe.com/?q=node/162. The Sustainable Urban Gardens website at www.sacgardens.org/ offers lots of tips for beginning gardeners, as well as the story of how. just two years ago, Sacramento Citizens for Sustainable Landscapes insisted that the city council make food legal in Sacramento front yards.
Crop swaps are about trading what you’ve gleaned from your own garden. The Oak Park Crop Swap meets from June to September, every Monday at 6-7pm at McClatchy Park, to swap vegetables, fruit, flowers, and gardening stories.
Growing Sacramento’s Future
By Kim Glazzard
With the continuing escalation of national and global economic challenges, many Sacramentans not only wonder what the future holds, but also at what point they may need to worry about having money for basics such as food to feed their families. Sacramentans are blessed, however, to be located in the middle of one of the most abundant agricultural meccas of the country (if not the world), at the confluence of two rivers and with a climate which supports a nearly 365-day growing season. They are in an ideal position to take control of their situation and turn the treasure of Sacramento’s rich river-bottom soil into food for their dinnerplates.
Gardens yield green that’s better than money
Increased gardens can reduce Sacramento’s green-waste generation, conserve water resources, reduce stormwater and chemical runoff, as well as provide fresh and healthy food for Sacramento families.
At the forefront of a movement to see vegetables pave the front, side, and back yards where grass is traditionally grown, the City of Sacramento, Organic Sacramento, and the Sacramento Area Community Garden Coalition are spearheading a large-scale movement with aspirations of inspiring thousands of Sacramentans to turn much of their yards into productive and water-conserving vegetable gardens. Transitioning conventional lawns into edible organic landscapes and gardens where our valuable water resources can be conserved through sustainable water irrigation practices and with an end-product of food rather than mere aesthetics, not only makes sense, but is a win-win-win-win situation. Increased gardens can reduce Sacramento’s green-waste generation, conserve precious water resources, reduce stormwater and chemical runoff, as well as provide fresh and healthy food for Sacramento families. As an initial orientation phase, the City of Sacramento launched their “Grow Gardens Grow” campaign on April 18 with a total of four introductory garden trainings throughout the city during April and early May. This year Sacramento plans to sponsor a series of additional free gardening classes and workshops on various topics such as soil structure, vegetable gardens, drought tolerant
Garden being prepared by students at A.D. Harris High, Panama City, FL.
plants, water conservation, mulching, composting and much much more. Sacramento’s Community Garden Coordinator Bill Maynard explains “We want to give people the basic tools and encouragement to try to grow things. Everybody thinks they have a brown thumb and can’t do it, but the most important thing is to just get out there and try.” Like any worthwhile endeavor, gardening has its own learning curve, but the pure joy of eating fruits and vegetables that you grow yourself is well worth the nominal effort and investment in time and resources that it takes to be successful. Additionally, growing gardens can help address major health and obesity concerns by allowing Sacramentans access to the greatest nutritional value of freshly picked produce—right off the vine. Gardens can also help build and rejuvenate communities, beautify neighborhoods, and reduce an area’s carbon footprint. How much food can be grown in a normal yard, you might ask? While advanced bio-intensive methods and compost teas can greatly improve the quality and quantity of produce, food yields primarily depend on basic
variables such as the health and composition of the soil, access to sunlight, and attentive care and watering. These “anti-depression” or “prosperity” gardens need not be considered incidental however, as the Victory Gardens of World War II produced nearly 40% of our country’s food at the time. While the City of Sacramento is taking the lead, Organic Sacramento, the Sacramento Area Community Garden Coalition (www.saccommunitygardens.org), as well as other community organizations, are all working to mobilize this effort through outreach and education, arranging supplementary classes and workshops, in addition to initiating sample prototype gardens throughout the greater Sacramento community. Who knows, but if this “garden in every yard” movement takes hold and Sacramentans are able to significantly help supplement their monthly food budgets, there may again be a sense of hope and empowerment to reestablish at least a semblance of control over Sacramento’s economic future. For additional gardening information, go to www. organicsacramento.org.
9 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
Farms Not ‘Burbs
Healthy communities still more useful than sprawl
They soon began removing the trolley tracks and replacing them with buses manufactured by GM, fueled by By Rick Bettis Standard Oil and riding on Firestone tires. The dedicated group of young volunteers at “Food This was also the era of very inexpensive fuel, and Not Bombs” prepares and serves weekly meals to those affordable, if not always reliable, autos. Prominent in need. Their name makes a clear and cogent statement among are cultural icons were such advertising jingles about the need to change our national priorities. Thinkas “See the USA in your Chevrolet.” As observed by one ing of this organization makes me long for a “Farms enlightened urban planner, the Executive Director of the Not ‘Burbs” because the history of land use in the SacraLocal Government Commission: “we became a society mento area has been characterized by who will jump in their SUV and drive Prior to World War II, a mile or two to a health club and get poorly planned urban sprawl. This development pattern is largely Sacramento, like other on a treadmill for some exercise.” a result of our car culture that rapidly Included in the many problems cities throughout developed following World War II. caused by urban sprawl are potentially The private automobile had made catastrophic global warming due to the nation, had an earlier inroads following Henry Ford’s greenhouse gas emissions, health excellent public transit damaging air pollution, overuse of invention of the assembly line, making cars affordable for many. However system. resources such as water and energy, during the post-war period, local, lack of exercise from walking and state and federal governments adopted policies to fund biking, loss of agricultural lands and the availability of major road construction projects that accelerated this locally produced foods, the loss of open space, natural unwise trend. habitats, and biodiversity, as well as the economic and The decision to construct the federal Interstate Highnational security issues mentioned previously. way System was made by the Eisenhower administration Another significant impact is the loss of a sense of in the 1950s. The largest of these freeways comprised the community that can result from the “my home is my cas“Interstate Defense Highway System,” a road network tle” mentality, in contrast to the “neighbors and friends intended to provide routes for the transport of military on the front porch” culture of the past. The current ecopersonnel and weapons. Ironically the increased travel nomic meltdown taking place can in large part be traced enabled by these highways has resulted in our reliance on to this seemingly “Wild West” culture of uncontrolled oil imports with the resulting international competition and unsustainable growth where GM has finally gone and insecurity, and the “war for oil” syndrome. bankrupt. The legislation establishing the Interstate Highway In recent years there has been progress made in the System specifically designated these freeways for “interattempt to reverse this trend toward an automobile domurban travel”—between cities, and not “intraurban inated suburbia. Locally the Sacramento Area Council travel”—within a city. However, as the result of pressure of Governments (SACOG) conducted a public planning from developer interests, this rule was dropped resulting process that resulted in the “Blueprint” conceptual plan in the many off-ramps and interchanges that facilitated for growth in six Sacramento county regions for the next urban sprawl. 50 years. This plan was based on such “Smart Growth” Prior to World War II, Sacramento, like other cities principles as making development more compact and throughout the nations had an excellent public transit using “mixed” land uses such as integrating commercial system. Trolley routes were within approximately a and residential uses to reduce travel. three-block walk of area locations throughout the city. SACOG has prepared a Metropolitan Transportation However, following the war, a consortium including Plan based on this Blueprint. They are working with and General Motors, Standard Oil, and Firestone tires purconducting educational workshops for local Planners in chased the transit system in Sacramento and elsewhere. an effort to implement the “Blueprint” principles. Local
governments including the city and county of Sacramento have updated their general plans for future development based on the “Blueprint” principles. They have also adopted, or are preparing, sustainability and climate action plans that are intended to reverse the problems caused by sprawl. The State has also seen some positive action since Assembly Bill 32, which was passed in 2006, set strong goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Senate Bill 375, authored by Sacramento Senator Darrel Steinberg, will potentially improve chances for state transportation funding to communities that adopt plans and policies to reduce sprawl and implement the Smart Growth principles. Similar measures, such as the Waxman-Markey “American Clean Energy and Security Act,” and accompanying land use planning legislation are sitting in the US Congress. Public awareness and involvement have markedly increased. There are many conferences and workshops addressing these important issues. Examples are recent workshops on energy conservation and on the implementation of the SB 375 land use legislation. On July 10 there will be a “Complete Streets” symposium that will explore ways to enhance the walk-ability and bicycle usage in our communities (see www.lgc.org for more info). We have not yet reached the “Tipping Point” described in the book by Malcolm Gladwell of the same name; however we have turned a corner that can put us on a path toward healthy, livable and sustainable communities. Rick Bettis is a retired civil engineer. He is a member of Common Cause, Sacramento Media Group and League of Women Voters.
Urban Farmstands from page 1
farmstands are produced in collaboration with the Oak Park and Curtis Park Neighborhood Associations. Most farmers markets are cash only. To make the produce more accessible to low-income households, the Sacramento farmstands accept electronic benefit transfers, EBT—most commonly known as food stamps. Soil Born Farms is also operating farmstands in several local neighborhoods, including North Highlands and Del Paso Heights. To further expand the program, it is critical that advocates push for policy changes that clear present road blocks. One successful change was state legislation sponsored by local Assembly member Dave Jones. AB 2168, signed into law this year, made it legal for farmstands to purchase directly from farmers. Prior to passage of the bill, farmers took the risk of breaking the law when they sold to the farmstand operators, and even to restaurants that needed access to fresh, organic produce. The legislation also relaxed restrictive industry regulations on packing, labeling and grading produce, while still ensuring quality and safety of food. The new law helps sustain small farms by providing access to a larger customer base. Other laws that have yet to be addressed are those that restrict sales to the public, even of fresh produce, to places that are zoned for commercial use. This prevents the farmstands from being held at community gathering spaces like churches, parks, and community centers. The city of Sacramento is a welcome exception. In the city, unlike in the unincorporated county, farmstands can be held in most public locations and outside apartment communities. BPM readers are invited to use the coupon in this issue to get a discount on produce at the Oak Park farmstand in McClatchy Park (3500 5th Avenue) every Saturday between 10am and 2pm, or in the Alkali Flat farmstand held in J. Neely Johnson Park at F and 11th Streets every Tuesday evening from 4pm to 7pm. Both are community gathering events, often with music, face painting, and health and nutrition information. Rachel Iskow is the Executive Director of Sacramento Mutual Housing Association. The Association develops and operates housing for Sacramento and Yolo counties’ diverse households. For more information visit www. mutualhousing.com
Upcoming Local Government Commission Events
Complete Streets: The road to safer, healthier, livable communities Date: July 10, 2009, Sacramento, CA from 9am –4:30pm On-site registration is from 8:30am–9am or register online www.lgc.org/events/index.html Sheraton Grand Hotel 1230 J Street (corner of 13th and J) Sacramento, CA 95814 Implementing SB 375: What local governments need to know about climate change legislation Date: July 30, 2009, Sacramento, CA from 9am –4:15pm On-site registration is from 8:30am–9am or register online http://www.lgc.org/events/index.html Sheraton Grand Hotel 1 2 3 0 J St re e t ( co r n e r o f 1 3 t h a n d J ) Sacramento, CA 95814
25% off your purchase, (Expires 8-15-09)
Bring this coupon to the Urban Farm Stand 20% off of your entire purchase! May not be combined with other coupons or discounts. 20%! Locations: off Tuesdays 4-7pm, Neely Johnson Park, F & 11th, Sacramento Saturdays 10am-2pm, McClatchy Park, 3400 4th Ave., Sacramento
10 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
916-448-7157 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.sacpeace.org
Sacramento Area Peace Action (SacPeace)
Visions of a Nuclear Weapons-Free World
August 6 and 9 are the 64th anniversaries of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, by the United States, the only nation to have actually used nuclear weapons in a war. Will President Obama deliver “change” in US nuclear weapons policy? On April 1, standing next to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, President Obama made the stunning statement that he and Medvedev had “committed our two countries to achieving a nuclear-free world.” Was he being pragmatic or pessimistic when he added “this goal will not be reached quickly—perhaps not in my lifetime”? In Prague on April 5, the President said all nations must work towards the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons, and the US has the moral responsibility to lead because it is the only country that has used nuclear weapons. This is a welcome change from previous US policy, and has support from, among others, prominent Republicans such as former Secretaries of State George P. Shultz and Henry Kissinger, and prominent Democrats such as former Defense Secretary William Perry and former Senator Sam Nunn. The President spoke about “aggressively” pursuing the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), replacing the soon-toexpire Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between Russia and the US with a treaty with additional reductions, and pursuing a new Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), a treaty to halt the production of materials used in nuclear weapons. This is heartening news for long-time advocates of nuclear disarmament, especially Abolition 2000, a movement to abolish the weapons by the year 2000 that gained momentum in the 1990’s (www.abolition2000.org). The movement ran up against a wall of established interests and has reset its goal to 2020. In addition to opposition from conservatives in Congress, however, other nations may resist a treaty for a weapons-free world if the US doesn’t concurrently reduce its conventional military power. At a conference in mid-April, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev welcomed President Obama’s call for the abolition of nuclear weapons, but referred to the huge US defense budget as an “insurmountable obstacle” (Charles J. Hanley, Associated Press, Apr. 16). It appears that President Obama’s first step will be to send the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to the Senate for ratification. (When President Clinton tried in 1999, the Senate vote was 51-48, but a treaty requires 67 votes, a 2/3 majority.) Vice-President Joe Biden is the point man on this measure, with much experience in foreign affairs and a major role in herding the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty to successful passage. Peace Action is part of an international coalition pressing for a commitment to negotiate an abolition treaty as part of review of the NonProliferation Treaty next year.
IN MEMORIAM: Sacramento Area Peace Action mourns the passing of Pallo Deftereos, 90, on May 20. He was a founding Board member of the Sacramento Nuclear Weapons Freeze (our predecessor organization), and founder of the Sacramento Committee for Nuclear Arms Control.
Taking a Look at Islam
By Brigitte Jaensch
Although one in five persons on earth identifies as Muslim and Islam is second only to Christianity in the number of adherents worldwide, it’s a religion about which most of us don’t know much. If you’d like to know a little more, here are some reading suggestions. What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam, John L. Esposito, Oxford University Press, 2002, 204 pages. This compact primer by one of America’s preeminent Islam authorities is written in questionand-answer format. Georgetown University’s Professor John Esposito not only explains that Islam, Christianity and Judaism are variants of the Abrahamic faith, he includes basics about Islam beginning with the five pillars; clarifies the differences among the sects; discusses some religious practices; and dispels some of our misunderstandings. He covers heaven and hell, Jesus and the Virgin Mary, why Muslim women cover, whether Muslim men get circumcised and lots more. The questions are direct and the answers are succinct and even-handed.
Reading suggestions for understanding
Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, John L. Esposito and Dalia Magahed, Gallop Poll, 2007, 204 pages. Between 2001 and 2007, Gallup World interviewed tens of thousands of Muslims in 35 predominantly Muslim nations. This book summarizes some of the findings in five easy-toread chapters that cover who Muslims are, if they favor democracy or theocracy, what makes a radical, what Muslim women want and how Islam can clash and coexist with other religions. Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, Robert A, Pape, Random House, 2005, 352 pages. Among the commonly expounded myths is that Islam does not value life. But after studying every suicide bombing which occurred between 1983 and 2003, University of Chicago’s Professor Robert Pape discovered that suicide bombing campaigns are primarily nationalistic, not primarily religious. The goal is to end foreign military occupation. Per Professor Pape, “What creates the coercive leverage is not so much actual damage as the expectation of future damage.” It’s “an extreme strategy for national liberation” resorted to only by groups with no conventional or guerrilla military option. And as for the individuals who agree to become suicide bombers, they “see themselves as sacrificing their lives for the nation’s good. ... Typically ...[they] have better than average economic prospects..., are deeply integrated into social networks and emotionally attached to their national communities.” Places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine have practiced Islam for more than 1,400 years; suicide bombing was unheard of until they were under foreign military occupation. A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide, Mark D. Siljander, Harper One, 2008, 222 pages. Former Congressman Siljander recounts his conversion from Muslim-bashing evangelical Christian to Muslim-embracing “follower of Jesus,” who for the past couple of decades has been trying to get everybody to get along. He’s trying to do this by “clarify[ing] long-standing Biblical misinterpretations” and thereby revealing the agreement between the Bible and the Quran. One can definitely disagree with Siljander’s premise and his approach, but his efforts are sincere and his journey is interesting; where he goes, the challenges put in his path and the people with whom he meets.
Resources for Enlisted Personnel & Veterans
Discharges • DEP • Discrimination • Gay • AWOL/UA • Harassment • Hazing• Conscientious Objection Call for information from a network of nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations. The service is free. The call is confidential.
The GI Rights Hotline, www.girights.org, 800-394-9544
Send your Name, Address, Email and Phone, with your check made payable to SAPA: $30/individual; $52/family; $15 low-income to: Sacramento Area Peace Action 909 12th St, Suite 118 Sacramento, CA 95814
Join Sacramento Area Peace Action!
Free & confidential counseling: 916-4475706; www.therapistsforsocialresponsibility.org;
11 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
Ask A Socially Responsible Therapist
Why do activists get busy and disappear from our groups?
Dear Shauna, I want to know your thoughts about activist burnout. It seems as if many of our groups are in trouble, often held together solely by the sheer force of will of one organizer. Fewer and fewer people are real participants or come to events. What’s been discouraging is that when we call and ask what people want, often it’s not other actions, guerrilla warfare or silent vigils or poker nights, but rather, they say they are not participating because they’re “busy.” Not with other organizations though, because all of our groups are in a similar situation. What is going on? Ellen (not my real name) Schwartz Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
By Shauna L. Smith
from page 1
Step 5. Choose one or two or several, or a combination of those left, imagine how they might be implemented, and try them. If they don’t work, go back to the drawing board. Save your list! Please let us all know how things go. Readers, how have you or your group dealt with burnout? Please send ideas or thoughts as well as your questions to BPM email@example.com with “Ask A Socially Responsible Therapist” in the subject line.
Dear “Ellen,” Since burnout is a core issue affecting many of us in others, doing what we the activist community, I will respond to your questions Shauna L. Smith, MSW, love, taking care of with thoughts and ideas that MFT is an author and ourselves… apply generally. psychotherapist in private First, though, I want to practice in Sacramento and thank you for all you’ve done and for inspiring can be reached at 916-447-5706 or gushauna@ me personally. A gentle reminder to take time to yahoo.com. She is coordinator of Therapists for appreciate yourself and your work. Social Responsibility www.therapistsforsocialreSome of us tend to take on the bulk of work sponsibility.org wherever we are, for personal and social justice reasons, and it can deplete us. It’s important to Editors note: watch our website, www.bpmreplenish ourselves by connecting with others, news.org, for future columns of “Ask a Socially doing what we love, taking care of ourselves, Responsible Therapist.” getting rest when we need it, having a centering practice, expressing our feelings (as you, “Ellen,” have just done), making sure we are heard and understood, and balancing our lives. Another term for burnout is “compassion fatigue.” We seem to be at a particularly difA way to help California lawmakers ficult juncture at this time. War, injustice and ignorance continue to bleed on. People are conbalance the budget fused by the shift from the easy-to-abhor Bush/ By Willie L. Pelote, Sr. Cheney administration to Obama’s, still relatively First published at InsideBayArea.com unknown, and confusion disrupts momentum. Now that California voters have handed Gov. Arnold The destabilized economy is touching more Schwarzenegger and his cadre of special interests another people directly, and many have turned even further inward as a result. Many if not most of us resounding special election defeat, proponents of public services, fiscal responsibility, child care and mental health pro(non-professional opinion) are experiencing at least a mild case of post-traumatic stress disorder grams are gearing up for the battle over the 2010 state budget. Schwarzenegger has threatened deep cuts, but a majority of (PTSD), anxiety, and/or depression. voters throughout California oppose cuts to public services And yet we go on, because of the importance such as roads, public transportation, environmental regulaof our work. tion, water storage, programs for the disabled, mental health Paul Hawken in Blessed Unrest reports that programs, child care, public schools, health care and higher there are well over 130,000 small, diverse groups education, according to a poll of registered voters taken April working for human rights and the environment 16-26, 2009. worldwide. We aren’t doing the work alone. The same poll also found that voters favor cuts to the state’s On a personal note, our Therapists for Social prison-industrial complex and would support higher taxes on Responsibility steering committee, also feeling the wealthy and specific industries like oil, tobacco and alcocompassion fatigue, found that openly talking hol. These findings offer a working blueprint for a progressive together about feeling overwhelmed and undistate budget in 2010. rected allowed us to reconnect and renew. SharState spending on prisons should be cut, and Schwarzeneging with our community can reduce burnout. So, what can we do to help our groups function ger’s November 2008 proposal to enact an alcohol tax, oil severance tax and a sales tax on services such as amusement at their highest potential, in a sustainable way? parks and entertainment and sporting events should be Instead of specific suggestions, I would like to revived. offer a process I use with clients I call “Common Independent analysis by the California Tax Reform AssociGround: A Friendship Model for Problem Resoation has also shown that it would be possible to immediately lution,” which is a basic way to figure out your raise $13 billion by: (1) restoring the state’s high income and own and others’ real needs, expand options, and corporate tax brackets to their levels under Republican Govmake (and execute) decisions. Here’s what you can do, alone, with a friend, or ernors Ronald Reagan and Pete Wilson, and (2) instituting a tax on carbon dioxide pollution. (preferably) with members of your group. Get a That would shore up about two-thirds of the $20 billion pencil and paper and begin: budget shortfall that analysts say California now faces. Step 1. Write down the problem you want to The remaining $7 billion or so can be obtained through solve. For example, “How can we get more parthe aforementioned cuts to prison spending and higher taxes ticipation and decrease burnout?” Step 2. List each person’s personal and political on oil companies, alcohol and tobacco producers and professional sports teams, the same special interests that bankrolled needs (take plenty of time on this step!) the May 19 special election ballot measures in order to avoid Step 3. Brainstorm on paper, without judging ideas as good or bad, possibilities for actions that industry taxes that could help to balance the budget, accordmight solve the problem. Include ones you know ing to the Sacramento Bee. Willie L. Pelote, Sr. is an assistant director of the American you wouldn’t do, like “drop out.” One possibility Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFLcan be “leave things as they are.” CIO, the largest public sector union in the country. For more Step 4. Cross out any ideas that are unacceptinformation, visit www.calafscme.org. able to anyone involved.
Disclaimer: The “in-depth therapy” part of questions, if there is one, is not covered in this column. For anyone seriIt’s important to ously struggling with replenish ourselves anxiety, depression, or PTSD, please see a licensed by connecting with therapist.
the site will lower energy use by maximizing sunlight in the winter and shade in the summer. Landscaping that clusters together plants that need similar levels of irrigation can significantly decrease water usage. Using building materials that are locally produced, are toxin-free or lowtoxin, and are manufactured with renewable resources, purchasing energy efficient lighting and appliances, and installing air filtration systems inside the housing all contribute to improving the health of residents and a sustainable community. Locating housing near public transportation decreases use of cars by residents. Architect Jim Zanetto said, “We recogMutual Housing with nize the significant contribution buildings solar panels. make to global warming and environmental degradation generally and feel obligated Photo courtesy SMHA to minimize these impacts.” The answer is not to halt housing for low-wage workers. Lack of access to affordable housing near jobs creates its own environmental problems, as people are forced to drive long distances to their places of employment. Low income people can’t afford newer vehicles. They are driving older vehicles that lack modern energy efficient features, thus contributing at a higher rate to air pollution if we don’t provide housing convenient to their jobs. More information on the Mutual Housing Association’s green building efforts is available on their web site at www.mutualhousing.com or call Wendy Carter at 916-453-8400 ext. 11. Readers may visit solar community Victory Townhomes, located at 1075 Dixieanne Avenue (at Lexington) in North Sacramento.
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12 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
No Hope Ending the War on Drugs
Obama signaled left, turns to the right on drug war
By Roger White
The initial euphoria surrounding George Bush’s departure and the election of the first Black president in US history is just about over. For decades people advocating for an end to the war against drugs have been fighting an uphill battle against law-and-order conservatives and a liberal establishment that has shown more ambiguity than moral clarity on the effects that harsh enforcement practices, mass incarceration and deadly foreign policy programs have had on communities of color all over the globe and many poor and working class whites in the US. Obama’s election gave many of us a reason to be hopeful. He had expressed some support for pot decriminalization in the past. He’d also cosponsored the Second Chance Act in Congress, a law providing resources to prisoner reentry efforts across the US. Obama also signaled that he would end Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids on cannabis clubs that were in compliance with their own state’s medical marijuana laws. He even admitted to smoking pot and snorting cocaine in his youth. Finally, a leader who would be a partner in the development of new approaches to drug policy. Well, not so fast. Over the last hundred days we’ve seen the new president develop plans to ratchet up drug war border enforcement, continue DEA raids of cannabis clubs in compliance with their state’s medical marijuana laws and scoff at online advocates of pot decriminalization at a town hall on economic recovery. If this is what we have to look forward to from the Obama administration on drug policy, it’ll be a long three and a half years for drug reform advocates. Perhaps the most ominous sign that the Obama administration plans a “business as usual” approach to war on drugs foreign policy was a www.WashingtonPost.com story on April 24, 2009, indicating that the White House was requesting a $350 million appropriation from Congress to send National Guard troops to the US Mexico border to “expand the US military’s role in the war on drugs.” This $350 million is in addition to the massive $1.4 billion “Merida Initiative” anti-drugtrafficking plan that Congress signed off on a year ago. The Merida Initiative funds military and law enforcement efforts in Mexico and several other Central American countries. But according to the article the fear about Obama’s request for the extra $350 million is that “the [US] military could use the money to set up a parallel counter-narcotics program with little oversight.” On the campaign trail, Obama, in an effort to they apparently made no effort to contact the appeal to critical Latino constituencies in border local authorities who monitor and license medistates, was adamant about not cal marijuana providers.” wanting to “militarize the border.” There are It appears that the problem was In the wake of increased drug war ominous signs all of these Bush holdovers nested violence in Mexico’s border towns, in the DEA that were following that the Obama the old policy of targeting clubs in and stories about kidnappings in the US linked to Mexican drug car- administration compliance with their own state’s tels, Obama has seized the oppormarijuana laws under Michele plans a tunity to increase the presence of Leonhart’s direction. When asked armed US personnel at the border. “business about the discrepancy between The cover story that concern over the Justice Department’s newly arms trafficking into Mexico from as usual” announced “hands off ” policy the US has driven the request from approach to for cannabis clubs and the DEA’s the White House to fund a new continued raids, the response from war on drugs wave of “contingency” border solWhite House spokesman Nick diers, has little credibility. US-based foreign policy. Shapiro was that Obama “continues arms dealers don’t walk their way to appoint senior leadership to fill to the Mexican border with duffle out the ranks of the federal governbags of M-16’s. They use airplanes and ships to ment, he expects them to review their policies.” smuggle their contraband south. Any serious Breathtaking. I have a plan. Fire all the Bush attempt to disrupt arms smuggling would have to appointees in the DEA tomorrow. Let the career start where all serious attempts to disrupt smugbureaucrats run the place until you can find a gling rings start—with the banks and “legitimate” decent, progressive replacement or, better yet, corporate manufacturers. abolish the agency altogether. Now, I don’t get But so far Obama has been unwilling to take paid to consult or advise the president but I’m on drug money laundering by major banks or willing to give that pearl away if it saves one illegal gun distribution by arms manufacturers cannabis club worker from spending a day in in the US. On the second point his virtual silence jail, court or prison. And if anyone is in the dark has been deafening. In the midst of the worst about how low this issue falls in the hierarchy of mass murder wave in over a decade, the president priorities for Obama, consider that it’s three and hasn’t even pushed for a renewal of the assault a half months into his administration and he still weapons ban. It should be no surprise that highhas not picked a DEA replacement for Leonhart. powered military arms are finding their way to Could this be symptomatic of a larger attitudithe cartels. nal problem? Obama knows that any reasonable Another campaign promise from Obama sounding president must be music to the ears was to end DEA raids on medical marijuana of anyone who has been against the police state shops that are in compliance with their state’s tactics and repression at the heart of the drug war laws. Since Obama has taken office the DEA has over the last eight years. Could it be that our own raided four facilities in California. Their latest President Obama doesn’t feel any particular need raid of Emmalyn’s California Cannabis Clinic in to respond to civil libertarians with any urgency April, 2009 makes clear how loosely they plan to because we’ll be satisfied with whatever bones he interpret their own conditions for federal drug throws our way? My suspicion is that the answer enforcement. Aaron Smith of the Marijuana to the above question is a yes which means we Policy Project claimed “despite the DEA’s vague need to raise the bar on Obama rather than lowclaims about violations of state and federal laws, ering it.
Noon Hour Witness Against the Death Penalty. Third Mondays 12noon to 1pm. 11th and L Streets State Capitol INFO: 455-1796
Progressive Talk Show Access Sacramento, Channel 17 with Jeanie Keltner. Monday, 8pm, Tuesday noon, Wednesday, 4am. Now in Davis, Channel 15, Tuesday, 7pm.
Death Penalty Focus Fundraiser
Documentary & discussion
by Muriel Strand
“The Empty Chair: Death Penalty Yes or No,” a documentary film about the death penalty, will be shown on Thursday, July 15, 2009, 6-9pm, at the Sierra 2 Community Center, Curtis Hall and Courtyard, 2790 24th Street, Sacramento. Death penalty expert Ellen Eggers will lead a Q&A discussion after the showing. The film tells the stories of four families confronting the murder of loved ones and voicing different perspectives on the death penalty. The movie also features Sister Helen Prejean, author and spiritual advisor to those condemned to die, and Donald Cabana, former death row warden in Mississippi. Among the family members featured in the film are Renny Cushing, whose father was murdered; Suse and Peter Lowenstein, whose son was killed by a terrorist planebombing over Lockerbie, Scotland; Sue Norton, who chose to forgive the man who murdered her step-parents; and Susan Gove Ramunda, a tireless advocate for capital
Mention Because People Matter or Sacramento Soapbox when making a purchase, and 50% of the purchase price will be donated to that project!
punishment whose daughter was murdered. Each family member retraces the crime that took their loved one, the trial that followed, and their personal response to the punishment that was given to the person convicted of the murder. Rafﬂe Tickets for a DVD Player, as well as for DVDs, books, and CDs related to the death penalty will be offered to attendees. All of the funds raised will go to Death Penalty Focus. Information: www.deathpenalty.org Contact: Christine Thomas at babysoft777@ hotmail.com or 916-730-2489
13 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
By Jaime Díaz
Nothing changes in the war on drugs
and support of the war on drugs must be Hooray for the war on terror! Hooray for the strong to prevent Mexico’s narco-trafficers war on drugs! These battlefronts continue to from entering the US market, even if this show success after success don’t they? means compromising Mexico’s sovereignty. The media has shown But how did this Mexican military officers Mexican war on drugs But if you ask US or arrested for working with begin? Didn’t it seem Mexican officials, Beltran Leyva’s organizalike this problem used tion—the “Gulf Cartel” and “Mexico has not to be a lot less violent? in December of 2008 even In July of 2006, the become a failed state.” Mexican presidential beauty queen Miss Sinaloa, the girlfriend of a gangster, elections were in full was arrested while traveling with narco-traffickswing and the race was close. On Election ers because they were working with the Gulf Car- Day, former Head of Government of the Fedtel. Gulf Cartel members are continually being eral District, Andres Manuel López Obrador, extradited to the US; Alfredo Beltran Leyva, now and the former Governor of Michoacán, behind bars, is the leader of the cartel. Felipe Calderón, were neck and neck and it Well, it sounds like a happy ending, right? Not looked as if a recount would be inevitable. really. Because the Gulf Cartel is only one of the Despite the small and contested 0.56 permany Mexican drug cartels in the country— centage point lead that was used to declare attacking and weakening one cartel only increas- conservative PANista (Partido Acción Nacioes market-share for the others. The Calderón nal) Felipe Calderón the victor, Partido de government argues that they are winning this war la Revolución Democrática candidate López obama and Calderon “committed” to war on drugs. on drugs even if the majority of the drug dealers Obrador and his supporters struggled to Photo: mexicohabla.com being arrested, extradited, killed and harassed rally international observers and Mexican tend to belong to Beltran Leyva’s Gulf Cartel. law to their cause, but the media and US officials informers and anyone else who dared attack him. painted López Obrador as He ordered bombings in the capital of Bogotá. little more than a sore loser. His goal was to terrorize the nation into submisThe result—the Michoacano sion and it almost worked. PANista was deemed the winBack then in Colombia, government officials ner and exiting President Fox argued that this was a war against a drug baron left the presidency in the hands and that the country was winning. Increased of a fellow party member. bloodshed and violence were seen as a positive However, the actual Mexican sign—the government was winning; when a people were much less inclined rat is cornered, it fights. And so the bloodshed to rally behind Felipe Calderón continued and the government sought the help of as their president-elect. los PEPEs (a group comprised of right-wing paraSound familiar? militaries, competing drug cartels from Cali, and Having “won” the elecother evil elements that supported the elimination, whether legitimately or tion of Pablo Escobar and his cartel). Extraditions illegitimately, Felipe Calderón to the US moved his allies into new markets. encountered a country deeply Finally, with the help of los PEPEs’ brutal mistrustful of him and his tactics, the government cornered and executed party. He even had to sneak Pablo Escobar. The war on terror had been won. into office to take the presiden- The country was saved. Right? tial oath. What’s a president to Today we know the war on Pablo Escobar do in such a situation? Who to only weakened the Medellín Cartel and allowed look to as a role model? Bush! its competitors to gain an advantage against Of course! them by working with government troops and And so began his campaign resources. In sum, a competitor in the drug trade against the drug cartels and was eliminated; nothing more, nothing less. Their Coffee from A Mexican policeman arrests teodoro Mauricio their evil ways. At least that is civil war continues to this day. The drug trade has Nicaragua Fino, member of the Gulf Cartel. the smoke and mirrors precontinued to thrive and Colombia has become Support Sacramento’s Photo: Getty Images sented to the public, because even more synonymous with cocaine and heroin sister city, San Juan in reality, the war against the than it was in the past. Violence is commonplace. de Oriente, Nicaragua, narco-traffickers has really Civilians are terrorized in the countryside as by purchasing organic There are daily accounts about the escalating been applied against only one cartel and any drug dealers move into their lands. Colombian whole-bean coffee violence in Mexico being fueled by arms that opposition to this rule has been attacked in this nationals traveling abroad are treated with suspi- grown in the rich volcanic soil on the come in from the US. And the violence itself is ever-expanding war on drugs. Throw in some cion. Nothing has changed. island of Omotepe, deemed a clear indication by Calderón’s governH1N1 hysteria and guess what happens? The The future may hold a similar fate for Mexico. Nicaragua. ment that the war on drugs and terror is being Mexican people are scared and want to feel safe. It will show that Mexico’s remaining drug cartels Thanks to the efforts of fought and won, and that brave Mexican soldiers, Calderón’s approval ratings in June, 2009 reached have benefited from the war on drugs, just as the the Bainbridge-Omotepe police and civilians are giving up their lives in an all-time high (www.newsdaily.com/stories/ ones left behind in Colombia did after the Medel- Sister Island Association in Washington, we are defense of their country. tre5506n8-us-mexico-calderon/). lín Cartel’s power was diminished. Mexican able to bring you this But escalating violence means Mexicans can no But who is benefiting from this violence? Will cartels will benefit by having one competitor, the wonderful medium roast longer travel safely outside of their own homes. Mexico finally be free of drug dealers—narGulf Cartel, weakened and gain market share. coffee. Shootouts and murders along the highways con- cotraficantes—and their cartels once the violence The drug business will continue; they will continYour purchase helps the necting cities and towns have become common winds down? What has Mexico lost by trusting in ue to bribe police and other officials to join their farmers on the island (www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/ Calderón? sphere of influence and continue to bring down and helps support jan/02/obama-faces-mexican-drug-war/). We know the Mexican people have lost peace those who refuse to work with them and those Sacramento’s long relationship with San Gangs and narco-traffickers extort and kidnap because of this new violence. We know the Gulf working for competitors. These new PEPEs will Juan de Oriente. openly and freely as they regroup and expand Cartel continues to take heavier losses than any become the beneficiaries from Felipe Calderón’s All profits go directly their operations into other parts of the country. other drug cartel. We know Governor López illusory war on drugs. Nothing will change. back to the Nicaraguan On Mexican Independence Day in 2008, sevObrador “lost” the election. We know the US But Calderón will find it harder to get the communities. eral civilians, including children, were killed continues to build a wall at the border where Mexican people to believe his lies as they begin $9.00 a pound. by grenades thrown at the celebrating crowds hundreds of lives are lost every year. The sum to see through his smoke and mirrors. They will Available in Sacramento at: The Book Collector, in Morelia’s plaza (www.cbsnews.com/stoof all these errors eventually leads to the same continue to see a failed president. They will real1008 24th St. ries/2008/09/16/world/main4454035.shtml). conclusion that history has taught us time and ize that declaring H1N1 an epidemic really just The attack was said to be narco-related. again—people get hurt in conflicts, poor people crashed the economy and left its borders closed To offset illegal importation of arms used by usually bear the brunt and drug problems persist. to its own business exporters. They will continue cartels, the US plans to send armored vehicles Yet we fail to listen to history’s lessons and insist to see a failed president who, rather than fighting to bolster the Mexican army. But if you ask US on repeating them. for the rights and needs of his countrymen would or Mexican officials, “Mexico has not become a For example, take Colombia in the 1980s. rather meet with President Obama to discuss failed state.” Clouding Mexican sovereignty is a Former Senator Pablo Escobar had his immunity how they can work together to fight Calderón’s US mantra that became apparent with the Bush status removed so that he could be prosecuted as war on drugs, while avoiding the country’s real Administration and somewhat continued by the the leader of the Medellín Cartel. He ordered the social and economic problems. And so nothing Obama Administration that claims US efforts executions of any judges, police, army soldiers, changes.
14 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
What’s Up With Homeschoolers?
Homeschool conference comes to Sacramento
By Craig Usher
Sacramento, California. The HSC Conference is According to the Department of Education’s renowned for being many conferences in one, National Center for Education Statistics, the and features a full slate of diverse activities for number of homeschooled children in the US adults, teens, and children at all stages of their hit over 1.5 million in 2007, a 74% jump from homeschooling journey. their 1999 figures. And while religious or moral The HSC conference can also be a place concerns were once a top reason parents were to learn about non-traditional educational deciding to homeschool, a January 2009 USA approaches and think about education as a famToday poll found that more parents cite concerns ily-centered and community-centered endeavor. about the school environment over religion, and Numerous conference sessions include topics that also list dissatisfaction with traditional schools will interest parents and educators regardless of and a desire to use non-traditional approaches as their current educational setting or philosophy. reasons they homeschool. The 2009 Conference will feature innovative Today’s growing workshop sessions homeschool community The HSC conference can also on homeschooling by chooses homeschooling well-known authors, be a place to think about for a broad range of reainformative panels, education as a familysons, but at the root of educational exhibitors most parents’ decisions and vendors, a wealth centered and communityis the desire to meet the of exciting workshops centered endeavor. individual needs and for families, hands-on address learning styles activities for all ages, and interests of their kids and families. and a unique teen-friendly conference designed After a February court ruling in 2008, many by and for teenagers. Californians thought homeschooling would Featured presenters at “Finding Our Balance” surely decline due to the prospect of stringent include Jon Young, founder of the Wilderness regulations, but in August of the same year, the Awareness School; Blake Boles, author of College California Court of Appeal for the Second Appel- Without High School; Mark Schlichting, creator late District ruled that homeschooling is a legal of Broderbund Living Books; Tammy Takahashi, option in California, reversing the earlier ruling author of Deschooling Gently, mind coach Chance that stated parents must hold a teaching credenMassaro; David Albert, publisher, author, and tial to homeschool their children. storyteller; and Sharon and Mark Tollefson, enviThis August, The Homeschool Association of ronmental mentors with the Youth Wilderness California (HSC), a statewide, volunteer-driven Project. In addition to the featured presentations, non-profit organization, presents its 19th annual there will be workshops on homeschooling, spehomeschool conference, “Finding Our Balcial needs children, non-violent communication ance,” on August 6-9, at the Radisson Hotel in and many more topics.
The HSC conference is known for offering an incredible diversity of hands-on activities, discovery adventures, and the opportunity for all ages of children and their parents to have fun while learning! The 2009 Conference will feature many hands-on science workshops, as well as Solar Sunday—an opportunity to explore the ways that nature and technology can work together. Additionally, the HSC Teen Conference Committee, made up of homeschooled teens from all over California, has been working over the last year to create an entire conference program especially for teenagers. Whether you are interested in education, alternative teaching styles, considering the possibility of homeschooling, just starting out, or a homeschool veteran, the 19th annual Homeschool Association of California “Finding Our Balance” conference offers something for everyone. For more information, please visit, www.hscconference.com.
All photos above are from the Homeschool Association of California’s 2008 Homeschooling Conference. Photos by Luke Girard.
If you are a tenant and you are worried
Time Tested Books
AUDIO-VISUAL & VIDEO
that your landlord has allowed the rental property to go into foreclosure, see this site for information that might help you! www.tenantsforeclosure.blogspot. com/ Alison Brennan is a long-ago tenant activist. She lives in Sacramento.
Political posters, handbills & pamphlets books on history, labor, & politics Records of blues, jazz, rock, punk, world, R&b, & spoken word. And, of course, we are selling books & records, too! we are located at 1114 21st Street, Sacramento. our new hours are M–Sat: 11am–7pm, Sunday: 11am–3pm (Please call for appt. if selling.) 916-447-5696.
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15 Because People Matter July / August 2009 www.bpmnews.org
July / August Calendar
11th OF EVERY MONTH: Sacramento 9/11 Truth Demonstration. 11th and L Sts. INFO: www.truthaction. org, 916-372-8433. MONDAYS: Sacramento Poetry Center hosts poetry readings. 7:30pm. 1719 25th Street. www.sacramentopoetrycenter.org. 1st MONDAYS: Organic Sacramento: Counter ongoing threats to our food. 6:30pm. INFO: www. organicsacramento.org. 3rd MONDAYS: Capitol Outreach for a Moratorium on the Death Penalty. 12 noon–1pm, 11th & L Street. INFO: 916-455-1796. 3rd MONDAYS: SAPA Peace and Sustainability Committee. 6–8pm. INFO: Peace Action, 916-448-7157. 3rd MONDAYS: Sacto 9/11 Truth:Questioning the “War on Terror.” 6–8pm. Denny’s 3rd & J St. INFO: firstname.lastname@example.org 916372-8433. 3rd MONDAYS: Lesbian Cancer Support Group. 6:30 Bring partners or support people with you. INFO: Roxanne Hardenberg; ROXANNE1040@aol.com. TUESDAYS: Tuesdays, ongoing. Pastel Landscape drawing class for ages 50+. 2:30m-5:00pm. Ethel Hart Center, 915 27th Street. $25/lesson. INFO: (916) 916-808-5462. TUESDAYS: Call for Peace Vigil. 4–6pm. 16th and J St. INFO 916-448-7157. TUESDAYS: Improv workshop. Solve the world’s problems through improv games! 7–9:30pm. Geery Theatre, 2130 L street, Sac. $5.00, first time free. INFO: 916-821-4533, email@example.com. 2nd TUESDAYS: Gray Panthers. 1–3pm. Hart Senior Ctr., 27th & J St. 2nd TUESDAYS: Peace Network (speakers and discussion), 6:30pm. Luna’s Cafe, 1414 16th Street. INFO: Sac Area Peace Action 916-448-7157. 4th TUESDAYS: Peace and Justice Films. 7pm. Peace Action, 909 12th Street. INFO:916-448-7157. 4th TUESDAYS: (Odd num-
Because People Matter will no longer appear in print after this issue! Please see the back cover for details. We will be available in an updated website, using our same address, www.bpmnews.org. We will need volunteers to make this work, so please let us know if you can help. For the most current listing of Sacramento peace & justice events, go to www.sacpeace. org. For weekly updates, email firstname.lastname@example.org and put SacPeaceUpdates in the subject.
bered months) Amnesty Int’l. 7pm. Sacramento Friends Meeting, 890-57th St. INFO: 916-489-2419. 1st WEDNESDAYS: Peace & Freedom Party. 7pm. INFO: 456-4595. 3rd WEDNESDAYS: CAAC Goes t o the Movies. 7:15pm. INFO: 446-3304. THURSDAYS: Urban Farm Stand, 4–7pm, River Garden Estates, 2201 Northview Dr. THURSDAYS: Daddy’s Here. Men’s support group: custody, divorce, parenting. 7–8:30pm. Free! Ctr for Families, 2251 Florin Rd, Ste 102. INFO: terry@father sandfamilies.com. 568-3237x 205. 1st and 2nd THURSDAYS: Storytelling at the Hart Senior Center, 27th & J sts. 7pm. Free. INFO: 916362-9013, or PaulIdaho@ comcast.net. 4th THURSDAYS: Sac Media Gr p. 6–8pm. Coloma Comm. Ctr, 4623 T Street. INFO: 916-443-1792, email@example.com. FRIDAYS: Oil, acrylic and watercolor painting class for experienced and beginner painters ages 50+. 9:30am-11:30am. Ethel Har t Center, 915 27th Street. $20 for 4 lessons. INFO: 916-808-5462. FRIDAYS: Movies on a Big Screen. Independent, quirky movies and videos. 7pm. 600 4th St, West Sac. INFO: www.shiny-object. com/screenings/. 1st FRIDAYS: Community Contra Dance. 8–11pm; 7:30pm beginners lessons. Clunie Auditorium, McKinley Pk, Alhambra & F. INFO: 530-274-9551. 2nd FRIDAYS: Dances of Universal Peace. 7:30– 9:30pm. Sacr ament o Friends Meeting House 890 57th St. $5–$10 donation requested. INFO: Joyce, www.sacramentodancesofuniversalpeace. org, 916-832-4630. 4th FRIDAYS: Dances at Christ Unity Church, 9249 Folsom Blvd. All Welcome $5–$10 donation requested. INFO: 916-457-5855, www.sacramentodancesofuniversalpeace.org.
1st SATURDAYS: Health Care for All. 10am–noon. Hart Senior Ctr, 27th & J. For single-payer universal health care. INFO: 916-424-5316; cnegrete@ comcast.net. 1st SATURDAYS: Sacramento Area Peace Action Vigil. 11:30am–1:30pm. Arden and Heritage (entrance to Arden Mall). INFO: 916-448-7157. 2nd & 4th SATURDAYS: SPC Poetry Workshop, All levels, all poets. 10-11:30 am. South Natomas Community Center, 2921 Truxel Rd, Sacramento FREE. 2nd & 4th SATURDAYS: Community Contra Dance. 8–11pm; 7:30 lessons. Coloma Center 4623 T Street. INFO: 916-395-3483. 3rd SATURDAYS: Writers of the new Sun/Escritores del Nuevo Sol. Writing group. 10am potluck. La Raza Galeria Posada, 1024 22nd St. INFO: 916-456-5323. 3rd SATURDAYS: Sacramento Area Peace Action Vigil. 11:30am–1:30pm. Marconi & Fulton. INFO: 448-7157. 3rd SATURDAYS: Underground Poetry Series, open mic plus featured poets. 7–9pm. Under gr ound Books, 2814 35th Street (at Broadway), Sacramento. $3. INFO: 916-737-3333. 4th SATURDAYS: Sierra Permaculture Guild general mtg. 6:30–9pm. The Sacred Bee, 1451 E. Main St., Grass Valley.INFO: SierraPermaculture.org SUNDAYS: Zumba fitness class for people 50+. Ethel Hart Senior Ctr., 916 27th St. 916-808-5462. SUNDAYS: Sacto Food Not Bombs. 1:30pm. Come help distribute food at 9th and J Streets. 1st SUNDAYS: Zapatista Solidarity Coalition. 10am– noon. 909 12th St. INFO: 916-443-3424. 2nd SUNDAYS: Atheists & Other Freethinker s. 1:30pm. Sierra 2 Center, Room 10, 2791 24th St. INFO: 916-447-3589.
Friday, July 3
House concert coming up with the Greek band Hohlax. You may know Jaime Smith, the violin player in the group. She grew up in Sacramento and moved away to Greece to study the music. Doors open 7:30, Concert starts at 8pm. 2548 8th Ave. Sacramento. Suggested donation $15 with all proceeds going to the band. RSVP to Paul & Candy Anderson to reserve a seat. paulncandy@ comcast.net, or 916-455-6312 welcome. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-484-5025. See article, page 2.
Monday, July 13
7pm, Elk Grove Peace and Justice Forum, Dr. Glennah Trochet, Healthcare Reform-Local, State, National. Elk Grove Library, Community Room, 8900 Elk Grove Blvd. Elk Grove. Info: 916-685-3612.
Thursday, July 9
Wednesday, July 15
Talk and signing by Chuck Durrett, author of “CoHousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves,” and “Senior CoHousing Handbook.” 7pm. Time Tested Books, 1114 21st Street, Sacramento. INFO: 916-447-5696.
Book talk and signing with Jaimal Yogis, author of “Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to Find Zen on the Sea. 7pm. Time Tested Books, 1114 21st Street, Sacramento. INFO: 916-447-5696.
Thursday, July 16
Saturday, July 11
Sacto 9/11 Truth demonstration. 11th & L Sts, facing Capitol north entrance. Time and INFO: www.truthaction.org, 916-372-8433.
Saturday, July 11
The Empty Chair: Death Penalty Yes or No, followed by Q&A with death penalty expert Ellen Eggers. 6pm–9pm. Sierra 2 Center, Curtis Hall, 2790 24th St., Sacramento.Free. Light refreshments. See story p. 12. INFO: Christine Thomas, email@example.com or 916-730-2489.
20th US Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba. 5 - 8pm. Oak Park United Methodist Church, 3600 Broadway, Sacramento. Potluck dinner. Free, donations
Tuesday, August 11
Sacto 9/11 Truth Demonstration. 11th and L Streets, facing Capitol north entrance. INFO: www.truthaction.org, 916-372-8433.
No more Hiroshimas No More Nagasakis
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Alumni Center, California State University,
64th Annual Day of Remembrance and Action
4 pm: Doors open for light refreshments, displays 4:30 pm: Program featuring • The story of Sadako • Presentation of origami cranes • Winners from Physicians for Social Responsibility High School Essay Contest • Music—and more! Free admission. Donations welcome. For more information: Marielle Tsukamoto, 916-685-6747 or Patricia Pratt, 916-482-3018
The Marxist School of Sacramento
August 12, 2009 Special Event, 7-9pm Sierra 2 Center, Room 12 2791–24th Street, Sacramento,
Top Picks for Progressive Media!
Soapbox!—Jeanie Keltner talks with activists and analysts from Sacramento and beyond about the issues of the day.
Where to watch: Access Sacramento Cable Channel 17. Every Monday at 8pm. Call in comments on 2nd and 4th Mondays. Repeats Tuesday at noon, Wednesday at 4am. In Davis, on Channel 15, Tuesdays at 5pm.
Special Event Wednesday, August 12
Martha E. Gimenez
Martha Gimenez is a retired Profressor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has taught, studied and written on issues of Marxism and Feminism; Class, Gender and Race; Exile and Immigration. The Marxist School is honored to have Professor Gimenez speak.
Media Edge—Sacramento’s own magazine format show, covering local progressive events and speakers, as well as internationally known commentators, with clips from some of the best independent political videos being made now.
Where to watch: Access Sacramento Channels 17 and 18 and Davis Channel 15. Sundays 8–10pm Nevada County Channel 11 Mondays 10:30pm–12:30am, West Sacramento Channel 21 Mondays 9-11pm. See scheduled segments at www.WeTheMedia.tv.
INFO on classes and discussions: www.marxistschool.org; 916-799-1354. firstname.lastname@example.org. All activities are free and open to the public.
Last Print Issue of Because People Matter!
See back cover for details!
Because People Matter
July / August 2009
Progressive News and Views
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Veggies Go Urban: see page 1, 8 and 9.
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Here’s a hot tip! If you don’t have cable TV, and you do have a PC (doesn’t work on Mac), you can watch Access Sacramento programs as they are being aired by going to www.accesssacramento. org and clicking on the “Watch Channel 17” button at the top of the first page.