Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fast Food workers have a right to unionize without retaliation


"Fast food workers plan civil disobedience as employers “freak out” over NLRB ruling"
2014-07-31 by Tony Pecinovsky for "People's World" [http://peoplesworld.org/fast-food-workers-plan-civil-disobedience-as-employers-freak-out-over-nlrb-ruling/]:
Photo: St. Louis fast food workers strike for higher wages, better working conditions and a right to unionize, July 2013. (PW)

ST. LOUIS - On the heels of what many are calling a historic convention of over 1,200 fast food workers held in the Chicago suburbs last weekend, the campaign for "$15 and a union" won a major National Labor Relations Board decision that, if upheld, could have significant repercussions throughout the industry - and dramatically change the organizing landscape in favor of low-wage fast food workers [http://www.peoplesworld.org/what-s-next-after-fast-food-global/].
The NLRB's general council on Tuesday ruled that McDonald's could be held "jointly accountable" for labor and wage violations by its franchise operators. Undoubtedly, other fast food chains are paying close attention, as they could potentially face similar rulings.
Of the thousands of McDonald's restaurants in the United States, roughly 90 percent are owned by franchise operators, a fact McDonald's routinely emphasizes in its attempts to stifle demands for higher wages, better benefits and dignity and respect on the job. McDonald's claims wages, hours and benefits are set by franchises owners.
Jeanina Jenkins, a St. Louis McDonald's employee, told People's World, "McDonald's can't hide behind their franchises anymore."
Jenkins, a member of the fast food workers national organizing committee, has worked at McDonald's for 2 ½ years. She is currently making $7.97 an-hour and is scheduled an average of 15 to 20 hours a week. "Hardly enough time or money to help take care of my family - my mother, sister and niece," she said.
According to Julius Getman, a labor law professor at the University of Texas [http://www.peoplesworld.org/fast-food-giants-cost-america-7-bil-in-mctaxes/], "Employers like McDonald's seek to avoid recognizing the rights of their employees by claiming that they are not really their employer, despite exercising control over crucial aspects of the employment relationship." If the recent ruling is upheld, "McDonald's should no longer be able to hide behind its franchisees."
In all, McDonald's employs nearly one million people in the U.S. Turnover is about 150 percent. And while the average fast food worker makes about $8 an-hour, McDonald's CEO, Donald Thompson, made a staggering $9.5 million last year.
The NLRB ruling came after its investigation of 181 claims spanning 20 months, accusing McDonald's and its franchise operators of unfair labor practices, including illegally firing, threatening and otherwise penalizing workers for pro-union activities. The charges were filed in 17 different cities, including St. Louis.
The ruling couldn't come at a worse time for the fast food behemoth, which brings in $27 billion annually in revenue, as fast food workers at the recent convention agreed to dramatically escalate their tactics and organize a wave of civil disobedience actions against fast food chains in the coming months - actions that will undoubtedly bring more attention to the industry's poverty wages and poor working conditions.
"We will do anything, whatever it takes to get $15 and a union," Jenkins added. "Workers are very engaged and ready to do anything, even get arrested."
Jenkins said convention participants were "amped-up and excited," ready to take on the fast food Goliath.
"We are all leaders. We're going to keep building this movement and expand it until they pay us more and we get a union. This is our struggle. This is everybody's struggle. We're in this together. We're going to win."
"The convention was the bomb," Rasheen Aldridge, a St. Louis area strike leader, told peoplesworld.org. "It was great to see so many folks from so many different cities fired-up and ready to go.
"It really showed our growth as a movement and helped us gear-up for the next round of strikes. We're working together state by state, city by city, building solidarity."
In all, fast food workers from 30 cities attended the convention. They discussed tactics and where to go from here. And ultimately, agreed to embark on an unprecedented wave of civil disobedience.
"We're building an army of fast food workers," Aldridge concluded. "We're going to do whatever it takes to win."
Ultimately, the NLRB ruling will be taken to administrative law judges. If the judges uphold the ruling McDonald's is likely to appeal to the five-member labor board in Washington, D.C. The case could potentially end up in the Supreme Court.
Additionally, the favorable NLRB decision comes as the AFL-CIO executive council meets to discuss a number of issues critical to working people, including union organizing.
"Under President Obama the NLRB has been getting better and better at issuing rulings that help workers. Remember though that this is as it should be. The NLRB, under U.S labor law, is there to protect and extend collective bargaining rights. This ruling will go far to help do that," said Bill Samuels the AFL-CIO's legislative director.
Companies like McDonald's will have a harder time avoiding responsibility for violating labor law and blocking union organizing efforts.
While the workers suing McDonald's are not union members yet, they do belong to a voluntary membership organization that does not have collective bargaining rights, like traditional unions.
However, "These organizations are going to be very important to the future of labor organizing in America," said Larry Cohen, director of organizing for the AFL-CIO and president of the Communications Workers Union of America. "We're going to see more and more of this kind of organizing."
One fast food leader put it like this: "The business community is scared. This ruling has far-reaching implications on all types of work, not just the fast food industry. They are pretty freaked out."

Monday, July 28, 2014

PG&E and California Public Utilities Commission collude to cover-up illegal and unsafe business infrastructure

The CPUC is currently in the stage of overseeing the penalty and fine proceeding against PG&E for its gross negligence in the 2010 San Bruno explosion and fire that killed eight San Bruno residents, injured 66 and blew a hole in the heart of the City.

"San Bruno Calls for Investigation by Governor, A.G., Legislature, DOJ; Illegal Relationship Exposed Between CPUC and PG&E"

2014-07-28 from Connie Jackson, City of San Bruno:
* Collusion Revealed Between CPUC, PG&E Executives after Emails Expose Illegal Actions in San Bruno PG&E Blast
* San Bruno Seeks Independent Monitor to Oversee CPUC
* Download the PG&E-CPUC emails and highlights by visiting [www.gaspipelinesafety.org].
San Francisco—In a series of significant legal and regulatory motions, the City of San Bruno today demanded the immediate removal of California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey and substantial penalties against the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. after it was exposed that top CPUC and PG&E staff engaged in repeated and illegal private (ex parte) conversations in the ongoing CPUC penalty proceeding related to the deadly 2010 PG&E gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno.
“Today’s disclosure demonstrates an ongoing, illicit and illegal relationship between the CPUC and PG&E,” said Ruane, who released more than 7,000 pages of documents received after San Bruno filed a Public Records Act lawsuit against the CPUC.
The documents reveal that Peevey received confidential, non-public information from PG&E regarding its internal deliberations and financial conditions outside of the CPUC public hearing process and in violation of the Commission’s own rules forbidding ex parte (private) communications between parties and decision makers.
 “Not only do these private communications violate the law, but they provide evidence of a relationship between the utility and the CPUC that is familiar, collegial and cozy,” Ruane said.
“The National Transportation Safety Board found this cozy connection to be one of the contributing causes of the PG&E San Bruno disaster and now, almost four years later, we are seeing these same types of relationships perpetuated under the leadership of President Michael Peevey and PG&E President and CEO Tony Earley. We are shocked and demand immediate action,” he added.
In addition to calling for Peevey’s immediate removal from the investigatory proceedings to determine PG&E’s fines and penalties, the City of San Bruno has requested that PG&E be sanctioned for the violation of CPUC rules. The City has also called for an investigation of PG&E’s misconduct in the case.
“When Tony Earley became head of PG&E, he told the public it was a ‘new day’ for PG&E and that a new culture of safety would happen under his leadership. Sadly, that statement is not true. PG&E is the same company today that it was prior to the tragedy in San Bruno,” Ruane said.
The City repeated its demand for the appointment of an Independent Monitor to oversee the CPUC and PG&E to ensure transparency and guarantee that the actions of this public agency are no longer subject to undue influence from PG&E.
Ruane said San Bruno filed legal challenges and demands today for investigations into the matter with the United States Department of Justice, the Office of Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris, the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation, San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, Senator Jerry Hill and others.
The CPUC is currently in the stage of overseeing the penalty and fine proceeding against PG&E for its gross negligence in the 2010 San Bruno explosion and fire that killed eight San Bruno residents, injured 66 and blew a hole in the heart of the City.
Operating under the belief that an illicit relationship persisted between California’s regulator and its largest public utility, San Bruno made its initial request for the CPUC materials on May 30, 2013 and sued the CPUC on Feb. 3 this year to force production of materials.
San Bruno confirmed the right to review public records and correspondence between PG&E and Peevey and senior CPUC staff after it succeeded in its lawsuit to force the CPUC to produce public documents through the California Public Records Act – a victory the City believes will change the way the CPUC complies with public record requests in the future.
“The communications reveal the depths of this hidden relationship between the CPUC and PG&E – one so deep and pervasive that San Bruno believes it has invaded the very soul of this alleged public agency, corrupting its ability to carry out its mandated function and blinding it to the mortal dangers faced by the public,” Ruane said.
CPUC proceedings, like traditional legal proceedings, expressly prohibit private (ex parte) communications between one party and the decision maker in the case—without the knowledge or presence of the other side in the case. There are stiff penalties and fines associated with breaking the ex parte rules.
 “These documents prove a knowing and intentional effort by PG&E to deny the public due process of law and attempt to illegally influence the outcome of four years of CPUC investigations and hearings,” Ruane said.
 “These illicit communications and meetings reveal bias on the part of Peevey to protect PG&E’s best interests. This misconduct has irreparably harmed the CPUC’s impartiality in determining PG&E’s penalty and fine for its gross negligence in the 2010 explosion and fire in San Bruno,” he added.
The private emails over the past 36 months expose more than 40 egregious violations of the law against ex parte contact by Peevey and top CPUC staff in the San Bruno case, including Carol A. Brown, chief of staff to Peevey, Paul Clanon, executive director of the agency, and others.
PG&E senior executives involved in the illegal contact include Thomas E. Bottorff, senior vice president, regulatory affairs; Brian K. Cherry, vice president, regulatory relations; and Laura Doll, director, regulatory relations for PG&E.
Cherry and Doll actively advocate for PG&E’s position without disclosing any of this communication to San Bruno or the other participating parties, in violation of the CPUC’s own regulations.
Key information within these emails expose:
1. Cherry influencing Peevey’s decision about the size and scope of the penalty by continuously forwarding Peevey private analyst reports and internal PG&E documents that illustrate the implications of a large penalty on PG&E’s financial outlook.
2. Cherry and Doll seeking counsel from CPUC staff regarding a recommended strategy for conducting the best outcomes for PG&E.
3. Peevey and his top staff providing PG&E executives with insights and updates benefiting PG&E.
4. Cherry influencing Peevey’s decision about the gravity of the situation by forwarding Peevey emails from PG&E CEO Tony Earley and others explaining why the violations are not that egregious.
5. Cherry demonstrating PG&E’s good faith in seeking compliance by forwarding Peevey press releases and other communications showing how PG&E is taking necessary steps to fix a broken system and make progress post the San Bruno explosion and fire.
When taken in its entirety, the email traffic shows that PG&E has unfettered access to Peevey, that PG&E’s executives feel comfortable enough with Peevey to email “Mike” on a regular basis and that Peevey does not discourage, warn or admonish PG&E from providing highly sensitive information on a consistent basis.
“The fact that these ‘off the record’ communications occurred with the defendant (PG&E) and judge (CPUC’s Peevey) in the most high-profile, high-stakes investigations to come before the CPUC creates a total loss of confidence and transparency in what should be an open, honest, fair judicial process,” Ruane said.
“As the loss of eight lives in San Bruno attest, this is a serious situation in which the safety of Californians, the future of investor-owned utilities and the credibility of regulatory mechanisms is at stake. These pervasive, ongoing relationships and the actions of Peevey demonstrate an utter and complete disregard for the lives Peevey has been sworn in to protect.
“Peevey’s willingness to consistently violate the rules of the CPUC similarly threatens the credibility of the State of California and its ability to adequately regulate and protect the citizens of this state,” Ruane added.
Ruane said the timing for Peevey’s removal and a state investigation is dire - the CPUC proceedings are coming to a close within the next few months and the CPUC will be confronted with levying historic penalties/fines against PG&E in the largest natural gas disaster in U.S. history.
“Consequently, we cannot have the same man who has proven to be biased presiding over the so-called ‘penalties’ that the CPUC will levy against PG&E.  Nor should the citizens of our state be endangered by the CPUC’s inability to ensure pipeline safety issues,” he said. “More than ever, now is the time to appoint an Independent Monitor who can apply the objective oversight badly needed to restore the public’s broken trust in PG&E and in this Commission.”
San Bruno has called upon the CPUC to levy a maximum fine and penalty against PG&E amounting to $2.45 billion in after-tax dollars for its gross negligence in the San Bruno tragedy. This penalty would fund ongoing safety improvements thereby alleviating the burden to ratepayers and would give no credits for past expenses. San Bruno based its recommendation on a report by Overland Consulting, independently commissioned by the CPUC in 2012, which found that PG&E could afford a penalty of this magnitude without hurting its creditworthiness.

Causes of Migration from El Salvador: Human Rights Violations and Economic Fascism

Transcript for Salvadoran Perspectives on Migration, July 28, 2014, with Blanca Flor Bonilla, FMLN International Relations Secretariat. Distributed by U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities [ElSalvadorSolidarity.org]


Note: "Neoliberal" is a phrase used to describe an economic regime which is liberal (or relaxed) in regulating business, that is to say, it describes a process that protects and enables profit making above human-rights. In other words, it describes economic fascism.
---
Good afternoon everyone. Right now we are discussing an issue that’s crucial for our families, communities, and El Salvador. I’m very pleased to be here and I thank CISPES and SHARE for the invitation, and also Sister Cities. These three organizations are doing very important work in communities in the U.S. I want to refer to a theme that we’ve already touched on a little bit, specifically the causes of migration.

Causes of Migration: Human Rights Violations -
We know that in our country we had 60 years of military dictatorship. Nearing the end of the 1970s, human rights were completely ignored and violated. And it was this situation that gave rise to the FMLN. After the first offensive in 1981, the FMLN proposed a strategy of dialogue and negotiation to address the human rights violations, as an alternative solution. This was put forward immediately following the first offensive in January of 1981. But we know that in 1983 [the US government] decided to prolong the war in El Salvador. Consequently from that decision, the U.S. came to fund the Salvadoran military and government with $2 million daily, including military advisors and equipment.
And it wasn’t until the Salvadoran people, the Salvadoran government, and U.S. government came to understand that prolonging the war was not the way forward to peace. So it was with this agreement among Salvadorans, and with the U.S. approval, that an agreement was signed on April 4, 1990 so that the UN could begin a process of dialogue and negotiation for a peace treaty. By the time that the Peace Accords were signed on January 16th, 1992, a historic date, more than 80,000 civilians had been murdered, and more than a million Salvadoran emigrated to the U.S. Just to reiterate, at the time the Peace Accords were signed, more than 80,000 civilians had been murdered, over 8,000 were disappeared and continue in this state, and over a million Salvadorans had emigrated and this emigration was primarily to the United States.

Causes of Migration: Twenty years of neoliberal policy -
After the Peace Accords we began to build our democracy. And yet, in a parallel fashion, the government of ARENA, which was in power for 20 years, advocated for a neoliberal framework where they primarily privatized government institutions, which led to a lot of unemployment and loss of economic opportunities. In addition it was the signing of the free trade agreement, CAFTA-DR that gave complete priority to transnational companies and completely overlooked or became detrimental to the agricultural sector, which 49% of the economically active population was a part of, as well as to artisanal production and tanning, which lost over two hundred businesses after the signing of the free trade agreement. Immigration rose after that because all of these jobs were gone. Between 1992 and 2009, more than 2 million Salvadorans have emigrated, mainly to U.S., more than twice as many as during the entire war, and they primarily went to the U.S.

Causes of Migration: Deportation of gang members -
On the other hand we know that in the 1980s in the 18th St. gang and the MS-13 gangs grew up in Los Angeles, and they were mostly Salvadoran immigrants, kids who went to U.S. with dreams of a better life, of a safer life and now have been deported and returned to El Salvador as criminals. Now violence has spread throughout the entire country
To summarize, there have been three push factors for migration to the U.S. – one, the complete and total violation of human rights, two, the signing of free trade agreements and the impulse of the neoliberal economic model with the stamp of approval from the U.S., and three, the rise of the gangs and the violence that have now spread to Central America and Mexico.
Historically El Salvador has had a close relationship with the U.S., and if we review each of the push factors that we talked about, for each of those there is a shared responsibility between the U.S. government and the Salvadoran government.

Humanitarian Situation Facing Kids and Teenagers Arriving to the US -
Recently I was invited to a meeting with Vice-Minister for Salvadorans in the Exterior, Liduvina Margarín, and also this past Friday, I attended a meeting with the state institution for children and adolescents (COGNA), which is charged with making sure that the laws are enforced in terms of their care. In these meetings they gave us a report of the humanitarian state of those children detained in U.S.
Between January 1st and the May 31st of 2014, 47,017 children and adolescents emigrated, or rather, were been detained at the US-Mexico border. By Friday’s meeting, it was estimated that the number had surpassed 52,000. During this period (January 1st to May 31st), 13,082 of the children and adolescents came from Honduras, followed by 11,570 from Mexico, followed by 11,479 from Guatemala, followed by 9,850 Salvadorans, and then 829 from other countries.   So, as you can see, El Salvador is in 3rd place among Central American countries with young people detained. Of these, 23.8% are 0-11 years old, and 76.2% are adolescents between the ages of 12-17.
Until now, none of the children deported from the U.S. so far have been Salvadoran. Those who have been deported are those coming from Mexico.
In 2013-14, the Salvadoran Office of Migration interviewed over 3,515 children. The children explained their reasons for leaving – 41% left to join with their family, 28% for economic reasons, and 10% because of the violence.
So you can see that nearly 90% of the children interviewed are leaving because of reasons generated by 20 years of ARENA government and economic opportunities taken away because of that. The children want to reunite their families, some have sought documentation and others have been waiting for the immigration reform president Obama promised.

Risks of the journey -
There are two main areas of risk that children and teenagers face when traveling without papers. The government of El Salvador and all agencies of the state are now carrying out an information campaign for both families here and also in the U.S. about the extreme risks and dangers that children and teenagers who are making this trip.  The route is plagued by organized crime rings, which are connected to drug cartels, and human trafficking networks, which carry out all kinds of kidnappings, crimes, and abuses against people, including the girls.
The second area is when they arrived to the US, because, and it’s important for all families here to know this, the law in the US includes undocumented migration in organized crime. For this reason, they consider undocumented migration part of organized crime because it’s included in the same law.
We know that in the US there are four steps that are taken [when a child is detained], or are supposed to be carried out, according to the law. The government of El Salvador is asking the US government to comply with its own legislation. The first stage is when the children are detained by border patrol. The second is when they are in the processing centers. The third is when they are transferred to shelters. The fourth is when they are released to their families, if they have family here, to wait for hearings.
Our government is asking for the laws that have been established to be respected. Here there is regulation that has always been applied; the migration of kids is nothing new. [The regulation states] that after being held for 72 hours, the children are released to a family member, if not a dad or mom then to another family member who has legal status and sufficient economic conditions in the US.
The current phenomena is that the 72 hour limit is not being complied with. That’s why such a big number of kids accumulated. Our government has prepared for the case in which, after applying the law, there are kids who are not reunited with their parents there. We will receive them here. There are two return centers with programs for psychological care that are being organized with the support of technical and financial cooperation to confront this situation.
The information and education campaign is being carried out with families so that they understand the risks that undocumented children and teenagers face.
On the other hand, the government, together with a civil society network, is preparing to apply a policy of Holistic Protection of Children and Teenagers in order to be able to strengthen families with children whose dads and moms are in the U.S.

In conclusion, we’d like to thank all of our friends in the U.S. for the work you are doing and invite you to take on and carry out more efforts so that the human rights of the children and teenagers will be respected and for the US government to apply the established proceedings. This is what we’ve asked the U.S. government to do, this is what our president asked during the visit he had with President Obama last Friday.
The phenomenon of the children is something we see as a humanitarian issue and we hope the US government can see it this way too.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

"SANTA CRUZ'S PANHANDLING PROHIBITIONS"

Santa Cruz attacking houseless people: [link]
NOTES BY NORSE: 
Santa Cruz's panhandling law has had one successful court challenge: http://la.indymedia.org/news/2006/05/158965_comment.php.  However the law is massively overbroad and discriminates against the homeless [See full law below]. 
MC 9.10 severely restricts panhandling times and places.  
MC 5.43 further restricts "display devices" (such as a donation cup). 
MC 4.04.010 and MC 4.04.015 add additional penalties for not paying the outrageous fines of hundreds of dollars for each begging incident and deepen the criminalization of those charged (even if not convicted) of the MC 9.10. 
An intensive campaign against "chronic offenders" has combined police, D.A., probation, and psuedo-social service workers in a  massive vendetta against the poor in Santa Cruz in the so-called Downtown Accountability Program.  The City has put in large prominent red change-collecting machines around which it is illegal to sit or panhandle within 14'.  These provide a cold steely "alternative" to panhandling (i.e. give your money to a machine and let bureaucrats decide who will benefit) are are marketed under the chilling label "Real Change Not Spare Change". 
The local ACLU has so far declined to make any public statements about this law, overtly abusive though it is to the rights of poor people (and those who want to donate to their survival). 
* "Santa Cruz ACLU ignores Human Rights abuse against those without homes in Santa Cruz" (2013-06-27) [link]

The especially egregious and unconstitutional sections of the ordinance are emboldened.  However the massive sweep of the law so restricts the place, time, and manner of the laws as to make illegal peaceful non-threatening non-obstructive forms of sparechanging.   The "forbidden zones", for instance, created for panhandling both in time and space leave very little opportunity for making donation requests.   Asking a friend for  money is illegal, for instance (and has reportedly been charged in the past if the person looks homeless enough and the cop wants to drive the person away).  People have spent months in jail panhandling.  Particularly misleading is the title of the law "Aggressive Solicitation".  Only 3 of the 28 provisions of the law [MC 9.10.040 b, c and d] can be reasonably considered restrictions on "aggressive" panhandling.  The rest seek to wash poor people from the sight of tourists and residents.

Chapter 9.10   AGGRESSIVE SOLICITATION
Sections:
9.10.010    Definitions.
9.10.020    Time of solicitation.
9.10.030    Place of solicitation.
9.10.040    Manner of solicitation.
9.10.050    False or misleading solicitation.
9.10.060    Misdemeanor.

9.10.010 DEFINITIONS.
For the purposes of this chapter:
(a)    “Solicitation” means any verbal request, or any non-verbal request made with a sign, by a person seeking an immediate donation of money, food, cigarettes or items of value. Purchase of an item for an amount far exceeding its value, under circumstances where a reasonable person would understand that the purchase is in substance a donation, is a donation for purposes of this chapter. A person is not soliciting for purposes of this chapter when he or she passively displays a sign or places a collection container on the sidewalk pursuant to which he or she receives monetary offerings in appreciation for his or her original artwork or for entertainment or a street performance he or she provides. This chapter does not apply to peddling and soliciting activity governed by Chapter 5.40.
(b)    “Person” means any individual person, group of persons or organizations.
(Ord. 2009-05 § 3, 2009: Ord. 2002-51 § 1, 2002: Ord. 2002-39 § 1, 2002: Ord. 2002-32 § 1, 2002: Ord. 94-10 § 1 (part), 1994).

9.10.020 TIME OF SOLICITATION.
Any person who solicits after sunset or before sunrise is guilty of an infraction.
(Ord. 94-10 § 1 (part), 1994).

9.10.030 PLACE OF SOLICITATION.
Any person who solicits in any of the following places, or any person who solicits when the person solicited is in any of the following places, is guilty of an infraction:
(a)    At any bus stop;
(b)    In any public transportation vehicle or facility;
(c)    In any vehicle on the street;
(d)    On private property, unless the solicitor has permission from the owner or tenant;
(e)    Within fourteen feet of any building other than those buildings referenced in subsection (f). Where any portion of a building is recessed from the public sidewalk, the fourteen feet shall be measured from the point at which the building abuts the sidewalk;

(f)    Within fifty feet of any bank building or other financial institution buildings, including their outdoor automatic teller machines;
(g)    In the parking lot of any bank, savings and loan, or other financial institution;
(h)    Within fifty feet of any ATM machine or cash disbursal machine, or any other outdoor machine or device which disburses or accepts coins or paper currency except parking meters and newspaper vending machines;
(i)    Within fourteen feet of any fence that abuts a public sidewalk;
(j)    Within fourteen feet of any drinking fountain, public telephone, public bench, public trash compactor, information or directory/map sign, sculpture or artwork displayed on public property, or vending cart;
(k)    Within fourteen feet of any street corner or intersection;
(l)    Within fourteen feet of any open air dining area or cafe extension; or
(m)    Within fourteen feet of any kiosk.

(Ord. 2009-05 § 4, 2009: Ord. 2002-39 § 2, 2002: Ord. 2002-32 § 2, 2002: Ord. 94-10 § 1 (part), 1994).

9.10.040 MANNER OF SOLICITATION.
Any person who solicits in any of the following manners is guilty of an infraction:
(a)    By coming within three feet of the person solicited, until that person has indicated that he or she wishes to make a donation;
(b)    By blocking the path of the person solicited, or other pedestrians, along a sidewalk or street;
(c)    By following a person who walks away from the solicitor;
(d)    By using abusive language as part of the solicitation or following a refusal that is directed at the specific individual or individuals being solicited;
(e)    By soliciting in a group of two or more persons;
(f)    While under the influence of alcohol or any illegal narcotic or controlled substance; or
(g)    By soliciting while in the immediate possession of a dog, by leash or otherwise.
(Ord. 2011-08 § 9, 2011: Ord. 2006-06 § 1, 2006: Ord. 94-10 § 1 (part), 1994).

9.10.050 FALSE OR MISLEADING SOLICITATION.
(a)    Any person who knowingly makes any false or misleading representation in the course of soliciting a donation is guilty of an infraction. False or misleading representations include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1)    Stating that the donation is needed to meet a specific need, when the solicitor already has sufficient funds to meet that need and does not disclose that fact;
(2)    Stating that the donation is needed to meet a need which does not exist;
(3)    Stating that the solicitor is from out of town and stranded, when that is not true;
(4)    Stating that the solicitor is homeless, when he or she is not;
(5)    Stating that the solicitor is soliciting on behalf of an organization which does not exist or which has not authorized the solicitor to seek donations on its behalf.
(b)    Any person who knowingly solicits a donation stating that the funds are needed for a specific purpose and then spends the funds received for a different purpose is guilty of an infraction.
(Ord. 94-10 § 1 (part), 1994).

9.10.060 MISDEMEANOR.
Any person who violates one or more of the sections of this chapter twice within a six-month period is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(Ord. 94-10 § 1 (part), 1994).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 24th, 2014, Northbay Uprising radio news

Tune in Thursdays 4 to 5pm (PST), with our online webstream [link], and in the San Pablo Bay Area at 89.5FM KZCT [link]. Hosted by Dr.G., Minister of Information of the Northbay Movement for a Democratic Society, with a California-wide network of journalists, organizers, and entertainers, breaking the blockade of censorship, with research archives and verified sources! View past headlines [link]. Join the Community Journalist program, send news & info to [NorthbayMDS@gmail.com]. Know more with the Community Journalist's Notebook [link]!
The managers of 89.5FM KZCT, their associates, and sponsors, are not to be held liable for the information and commentary provided by the Northbay Uprising Radio News, produced by the Northbay Movement for a Democratic Society, as a non-partisan research and education project.

ACTION HEADLINES!
Stories are reviewed and provided by Northbay MDS Committees.

THIS IS THE TWO YEAR ANGELVERSARY OF THE KILLINGS OF MANUEL ANGEL DIAZ AND JOEL MATHEW ACEVEDO - JOIN THE FAMILIES TO MAKE A STATEMENT AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY.
The event was joined by over 200 people, protected by the Brown Berets who stood guard against attacks by racist vigilantes and police! They marched on Disneyland, making the connection with Disney's support for Anaheim Police, who conduct vicious death-squad attacks against justice activists, and their families, proving yet again that Disney's magic stops when it comes to demands for Human Rights!



 

Corrupt Mayor of Vallejo petitions to remake his office into a "dictatorship" in order to let his business allies direct policies [link]

Richmond Elections: "Chevron running slick campaign to control Richmond" [link]

Santa Cruz selectively enforces "clutter laws" against people who are protesting or of lumpenproletariat (extreme lower class) status [link]

You are being poisoned by Atrazine pesticide [link], even the European Union has banned it, and it is killing frogs and amphibians!

Teamsters for a Democratic Union fight back against corrupt union management [link]

The facts about saving Social Security for ours and future generations [link]

Petition to Pardon Kerry Max Cook, An Innocent Man:

[www.change.org/petitions/pardon-kerry-max-cook-an-innocent-man]
I can't get a job because the state of Texas still says I'm a murderer even though DNA evidence proved I'm innocent. I was freed from jail, but I still need a full pardon to start my life again.
I spent 22 years on death row for a murder I didn't commit. Now, even though I've been proven innocent and freed, the state of Texas still treats me like a convicted killer.
In 1978, I was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a 21-year-old woman. After decades in prison and almost 4 separate trials, I never stopped fighting to prove my innocence. And in 1999, DNA evidence proved what I had said all along: I didn't commit that crime.
I was finally released from prison, but nearly 15 years later, Texas won't exonerate me, so I'm still on the books as a murderer. This makes it nearly impossible for me to sign a lease or get a job. Why am I still paying for a crime I didn't commit?
The only person who can officially pardon me is Governor Rick Perry of Texas, and he takes his cues from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
I started a petition on Change.org asking the Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend me for a full pardon -- will you sign it?
Despite an Appellate ruling throwing out my second conviction with findings that "Police and prosecutorial misconduct has tainted this entire matter from the outset," I feel that the Smith County District Attorney's Office was more interested in saving face than serving justice.
On the eve of my fourth trial, prosecutors offered a plea-bargain: plead no-contest with no admission of guilt, and go free. I had been offered plea-bargains before and turned them down because of my innocence. But by this point, I was facing the possibility of another death sentence and my whole life came apart -- my only brother had been murdered, my Dad had died of cancer, and my mother abandoned me. I took the offer and walked out of the courtroom.
Two months later, DNA evidence proved my innocence.
But because of that no-contest plea, I need Governor Perry to pardon me in order to be considered an innocent man. My time in prison still haunts me -- I have severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from being raped there. I just want to be free of this terrible nightmare, but as long as I am on the books as a murderer, part of me feels like I will always be in jail.
The Texas legal system ignored and abused me for decades. But they won't be able to ignore me any longer if thousands of you stand beside me.
Click here to sign my petition asking the Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend me for a full pardon.
Thanks for your help.
[signed] Kerry Cook of Dallas, Texas


Self-Defense forces, preserving the purity the dominant culture in the USA, have begun operations at the border with Mexico to terrorize and turn back the refugee CHILDREN escaping fascist Honduras [link].
More info about Fascism in the Republic of Honduras [link].
Supporters of the terror campaign held a nationwide event last Saturday, July 15th, including an action in the Northbay, at Walnut Creek (which was met with an action by human-rights advocates). 
Organized by the “American Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC)” which Southern Poverty Law Center has designated this organization a "Hate Group", plus “Overpasses for America” & “Make Them Listen”, are all coordinating an effort among other Tea Party-associated political groups, which fiercely oppose the federal government's "housing" of undocumented immigrants arriving into the country and what they consider a deliberate lack of enforcement of current immigration law.
THINK ABOUT IT! Marianne Williamson says, "Immigration laws are important, and only those seeking asylum on legitimate grounds should receive it. But in this case, due processes by which asylum would be established for those genuinely in need are being circumvented. This is nothing but child abuse on a massive scale. Many people talk today as though "protecting our borders" is some sort of sacred responsibility, while protecting children is some tawdry inconvenience for which we bear no moral responsibility."


Justice for Aloni, innocent victim of police torture (Los Angeles, 2013-03) [link].
Aloni Bonilla writes (July 24th), "Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) has awarded me the Education for Liberation Award. I had the privilege to assist the FREE LA High students in Takashi 'Gao' Matsumoto's math classes for the past 5 months. As many of you might know the incident with California Highway Patrol officer Ramirez and my record doesn't allow me to get a job not even as an academic tutor. I'm glad there is a space like YJC where I can give back and be appreciated instead of being discriminated during the application process. Working with the youth at FREE LA High was a great experience and I hope to be able to contribute more this coming year. #Lovetheyouth #fightthelockdown #YouthJusticeCoalition"



Major Bay Area Kickoff Meeting for the October 2014 Nationwide Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation
Saturday, July 26, 2-5 p.m.
at the First Unitarian Church, 685 14th Street (at Castro, right next to 980 Freeway) in Downtown Oakland
(wheelchair accessible)
Stop Mass Incarceration Network, San Francisco Bay Area [510-984-3648] [stopmassincarcerationbayarea@) gmail.com]
Just in the past few weeks we have witnessed:
​ **1000's of children being driven across the border by US devastation of their homelands and then finding themselves caught between Homeland Security rounds-ups and flag-waving racists
​**The District Attorney in Santa Rosa California refusing to charge the cop who murdered 13-year old Andy Lopez
​**2 videos that went viral showing cops brutally and unjustly beating Black women
 All these and more outrages only serve to underscore more than ever the need for powerful outpourings of resistance in October– as envisioned in the Call for a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation (www.stopmassinceration.net) that was adopted at the meeting convened in New York in April 2014.
Should YOU be at this meeting?
Yes! If you live directly under these threats, this violence, this repression and want to STOP IT!
Yes! Even If you don’t yourself live directly under it, but you know that it’s wrong and you want to STOP IT!
Let’s all come together, individuals and organizations and make real plans so this October, so our determination to end all this reverberates across the country and around the world!
October 2014 needs to be a full month of many diverse forms of resistance.
Already, prominent and respected voices are signing the Stop Mass Incarceration Network’s Call for the Month of Resistance. Join Ayelet Waldman, novelist, lawyer ; Alice Walker, author; Peter Coyote, actor, author, director; Cornel West, author, educator, voice of conscience; Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party; Noam Chomsky, Professor (ret.), MIT*; Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson; Michelle Alexander, and 100’s of others who have pledged to be part of the Month of Resistance
Take the Pledge! Endorse the Call for October. Spread the Call far and wide!
Be at! Bring others! to the Kick-off Meeting

In memorial to Eric Garner (from Black Riders Liberation Party)


New episode from SubMedia.tv!
This week it's all about Global Fuckin Warming:
Download the mp4 video at [link]
More Info:
1. Kayapo’s revenge [http://culturesofresistance.org/xingu]
2. Antarctic meltdown [http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2014-148]
3. California’s lettuce killing drought [http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/california-drought/california-drought-cost-2-2-billion-thousands-jobs-n159616]
4. Global Fuckin Warming kills! [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140331-global-warming-climate-change-ipcc-animals-science-environment/]
5. Eco Anxiety [http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/eco-anxiety.htm]
6. Blockades work [http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/2014/05/14/local-protesters-are-killing-big-oil-and-mining-projects-worldwide/]
7. Women stop Utah tar sands [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHe4868KWIw]
8. Rising tide blockades line 9 [http://canadians.org/blog/line-9-blockade-toronto-highlights-imminent-danger]
9. Support Marius Mason [http://supportmariusmason.org/]
10. Savage Fam & Alas [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cVt_KeoyQg]
11. Unist’ot’en Camp [http://unistotencamp.com/]




ACTION CALENDER!


Gaza/Israel Conflict Vigil
Thursday July 24th 7:30pm - 8:30pm
at The Crosses of Lafayette
Corner of Deer Hill Road and Oak Hill Road, Lafayette,  across from Lafayette BART.
Take BART or free parking at BART station.
Bring your peaceful selves and flashlights to the Crosses of Lafayette to honor those who have lost their lives in the Gaza/ Israel conflict and grieve the continued violence and destruction in the region.
This is a peaceful gathering, not a demonstration.
There are no planned speakers or music.
* PLEASE USE CROSS WALKS * BRING FLASH LIGHTS *

The mission of the The Crosses of Lafayette Peace Memorial is to provide a memorial for Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans and a visitors center to serve as a place for reflection, healing, reunion, and sharing of experiences for all who have been afflicted by war.
Also of interest..... 
Israeli peace activist Miko Peled spoke at the Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center on May 29th. He provided valuable historical information on the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. Video of his presentation is now available alongside other videos on our website [ourpeacecenter.org].





Vigil in Support of Detained Central American Refugees
Saturday, July 26th, 2:00PM
Hosted by North Bay Organizing Project.
St Vincent de Paul Church, 35 Liberty Street, Petaluma



Join us for a conversation about the migrant children coming to the US.
According to official reports, 52,000 children have been apprehended at the US border since October 2013, the majority from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Many make the perilous journey in order to reunite with family from whom they have been separated for years.
In the United States, the debate has ranged from vitriolic racism to compassionate calls to welcome the children with open arms and end all deportations. But the voices from the Central American peoples and governments are missing from many of the conversations.
To let these voices be heard, CISPES, Sister Cities, and the SHARE Foundation will be hosting a webinar – we hope you can join us!
WHEN: Monday, July 28th at 8:00 PM Eastern/5:00 PM Pacific
WHO:   Salvadoran social movement organizers and representatives of the Sánchez Cerén administration will discuss the unique situation on the ground in El Salvador, and together we will examine the migration factors, how decades of U.S. and U.S.-backed policies have generated the current crisis, the Salvadoran government’s response, and what we can do to help.
HOW:  
* Tune into the webinar on Monday by clicking here [link].
* Please RSVP here [link].
This is a unique opportunity to hear analysis directly from leaders in El Salvador about this important issue. Please spread the word by forwarding this email. Hope that you can join us!
Visit the websites of the hosting organizations for more information about solidarity work in El Salvador
* US El Salvador Sister Cities [www.elsalvadorsolidarity.org]
* Committee in Solidarity of the People of El Salvador [www.cispes.org]
* SHARE Foundation [www.share-elsalvador.org]


Community Engagement and Healing Subcommittee of the Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force
Monday, July 28, 6:00 p.m.
After Andy Lopez was killed, the County formed a Task Force to discuss various aspects of local law enforcement. We need the public to show up at these meetings so the County knows we care.
Room 113A, 575 Administration Dr., Santa Rosa


Black Panther Party Historical Walking Tour 'North Oakland'
Join the North Oakland Restorative Justice Council  for the August Peace n' Justice Walk
Friday, August 8th @ 6pm
Bethany Baptist Church, 5400 Adeline St. Oakland 94608

We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace and People's Community Control of Modern Technology-Point 10 of the Black Panther 10 Point Platform
Next month walk is the Summer Black Panther Party historical walking tour of North Oakland on Friday, August 8th at 6pm.  Stops include Children's Hospital, Its all Good Bakery, North Oakland Senior Center, 55th and Market, South Berkeley Drop In Center and many many more sites that highlight the Community Self-Determination work of the Black Panther Party for Self- Defense founded in North Oakland, Ca.  The walk will be Lead by original Black Panther Melvin Dickson, with assistance by Panther Aunti Frances Moore of the Self Help Hunger Program. 
The walk will highlight the Panthers work to fight structural violence and how this applicable in today's work as it relates to restorative justice.  Also come and learn about the current work of the North Oakland Restorative Justice Council.
RSVP HERE [www.northoaklandrestorativejustice.org]
[https://www.facebook.com/events/257471831108492]
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFPpAjbbwbU]
Join us for a Restorative Justice Block Party- August 5th, the way we get down for National Night Out
An introduction to Restorative Justice/Peacemaking Circles for Youth- August 12th for Neighborhood Groups, OPD, NCPC, and Neighborhood Watch


JOIN HIROSHIMA PROTESTERS THE NIGHT BEFORE
Tuesday, August 5, 2:00 - 9:00 PM check-in
Peace Camp
Ardilla group campground at Del Valle Regional Park, Del Valle Road off Mines Road, about 9 miles outside of Livermore.
Contact: Scott Yundt, scott [at] trivalleycares.org, (925) 443-7148
A group camp-out in beautiful Del Valle Regional Park the night before the annual Hiroshima Commemoration at the Livermore nuclear weapons lab. 
At 6:30 AM the next morning we will caravan to the Lab for the event.
Note:the park gate opens at 5 AM.
PARKING: Limited parking at the campground,carpooling is suggested.
COST: $10 per person. (No additional charge for parking or food.)
RSVP REQUIRED Musical instruments welcome. No pets. No alcohol.
Dinner & simple breakfast provided. Bring your own water to drink.
Tri-Valley CAREs Website: [www.trivalleycares.org]

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 10th & 17th, 2014, Northbay Uprising radio news

Tune in Thursdays 4 to 5pm (PST), with our online webstream [link], and in the San Pablo Bay Area at 89.5FM KZCT [link]. Hosted by Dr.G., Minister of Information of the Northbay Movement for a Democratic Society, with a California-wide network of journalists, organizers, and entertainers, breaking the blockade of censorship, with research archives and verified sources! View past headlines [link]. Join the Community Journalist program, send news & info to [NorthbayMDS@gmail.com]. Know more with the Community Journalist's Notebook [link]!
The managers of 89.5FM KZCT, their associates, and sponsors, are not to be held liable for the information and commentary provided by the Northbay Uprising Radio News, produced by the Northbay Movement for a Democratic Society, as a non-partisan research and education project.


ACTION HEADLINES!
Stories are reviewed and provided by Northbay MDS Committees.

* Sonoma County D.A. Report on Andy Lopez Shooting [link]
* Sonoma County DA Jill Ravitch faces demands for Justice for Andy Lopez! (2014-07-03) [link]
* "LOPEZ FAMILY REACTS TO DA’S DECISION NOT TO CHARGE ERICK GELHAUSE" press release from attorney of Andy Lopez family (2014-07-07) [link]
* Latest Incident in Sonoma County re: Harassment of Latino Youth (2014-07-08) [link]
* Massive gathering for Justice against unaccountable police practices (2014-07-12) [link]
* Brown Berets of Santa Rosa take to the streets demanding Justice for Andy Lopez  [link]

Justice for Frank Alvarado! (d.2014-07-10, Salinas) [link]


Sign the petition to FREE Rev. Edward Pinkney! STOP THE CORRUPTION! [link] [bhbanco.org].
Pinkney to Pinkney show, Every Sunday at 5 pm eastern time [blogtalkradio.com/Rev-Pinkney]
Burn Baby Burn: Burn all NAACP MEMBERSHIPS CARDS

"Well's Fargo manual shows common use of forging foreclosure documents" [link].
Well's Fargo attacks Indybay.org newswire for publishing bank manual describing systematic forgery of foreclosure documents [link]
Wells-Fargo Foreclosure Manual (Pub. 2011-11-09, current 2012) [link]

* "Timber Wars Continue: Old Growth in Mattole River Watershed Being Logged by Humboldt Redwood Co.; Humboldt Activists Begin New Tree Sit To Defend Unlogged Forest" (2014-07-11) [link]
* "Army Corps of Engineers Takes a Strong Stand Against Caltrans Multiple Violations in the Wetlands by Suspending Their Work Permit...Then Caves and Reinstates it" (2014-07-11) [link]


'Escalating Resistance' in Detroit as Residents Block Water Shut-Offs  [link]

"Montreal Student Movement Convention Stresses Need for Student Unionism"  [linkl]

Labor Unions fight back as Los Angeles slashes public programs to pay tribute to banks [link]
LA Port Shutdown for Worker's Rights! [link]

Update from the Victims of the Incident at AT&T Ball Park
[http://youtu.be/Q9nBUoOwHwc]
July 1, 2014 Members of Indigenous Community Rally at AT&T Ball Park Home of the San Francisco Giants in Response toIncident on that Happened on Native American Heritage Night June 23, 2014.
For More Information Please Read The Links Below.
https://soundcloud.com/kimbal.../april-and-kimball-interview
Quanah Parker Brightman-Executive Director of #UnitedNativeAmericans Interviews Kimball Bighorse and April Negrette recount their recent assault by SFPD and unjust ejection by the SF Giants franchise at the Giants game on Native American Heritage Night.
"Mockery and Injury: The San Francisco Giants 'Celebrate' Native American Heritage"
[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/april-negrette/sf-giants-native-american-heritage_b_5545776.html]
"Native Americans detained for protesting fake headdress at Giants game during Native American Heritage Night", 2014-06-27 by Erik Brady for "USA Today" [http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/06/native-americans-detained-for-protesting-fake-headdress-at-giants-game-during-native-american-heritage-night].

ANTI-DRONE PROTESTOR IN NY SENTENCED TO 1 YEAR IN JAIL....
Drone Resister Sentenced to One Year in Prison; Base’s Order of Protection Begs Judgement
"Drone Action" network, including Syracuse Peace Council, Ithaca Catholic Worker, Broome County Peace Action, Upstate Drone Action, Western New York Peace Center, Veterans for Peace, Amistad Catholic Worker:
On July 10, grandmother of three, Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced to one year in prison for being found guilty of violating an order of protection. A packed courtroom of over 100 supporters was stunned as she was led away, and vowed to continue the resistance.
These orders of protection, typically used in domestic violence situations or to protect a victim or witness to a crime, have been issued to people participating in nonviolent resistance actions at Hancock Air Base since late 2012. The base, near Syracuse NY, pilots unmanned Reaper drones over Afghanistan, and trains drone pilots, sensor operators and maintenance technicians. The orders had been issued to “protect” Colonel Earl Evans, Hancock’s mission support commander, who wanted to keep protesters “out of his driveway.” Mary Anne began her sentencing statement with, “Your honor, a series of judicial perversions brings me here before you tonight.” She concluded that the “final perversion is the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base whose drones kill innocent people halfway around the world, or those innocent people themselves who are the real ones in need of protection from the terror of US drone attacks?”
The orders of protection are being challenged on many legal grounds. Mary Anne had been issued a temporary order in 2012. The next year, she photographed a nonviolent witness at the base, not participating herself because she did not want to violate the order. The irony is that those who actually participated in the action were acquitted, while Mary Anne was charged with violating the order.
Even though the pre-sentencing report recommended no jail time, Judge Gideon sentenced Mary Anne to the maximum of a year in prison. As he imposed his sentence, the judge referred to his previous Hancock decision. He had stated then and insinuated now, “This has got to stop.”
In addition, Mary Anne was fined $1000 plus a $205 court surcharge and a $50 fee to have her DNA collected. Her verdict is being appealed.


Richmond City Elections: "Eviction attorney Charles Ramsey abandons mayoral campaign to run for City Council" [link]

Bohemian Grove- relevant as ever? [link]
"Bohemian Grove and the Koch Brothers" [link]

Bay Area Robin Hoods Steal from the Government to Give to the Solidarity Economy [link]

Pattern of cyber-attacks against "leftist" populist news journals [link]

* "Report: 9 out 10 Caught in NSA Dragnet Are 'Ordinary People'; Washington Post reveals unprecedented look at how 'voyeuristic' spy agency manages private communications it collects" (2014-07-06) [link]
* "Revealed: 'Collect It All' NSA Targets Those Seeking Web Privacy; 'Merely visiting privacy-related websites is enough for a user's IP address to be logged into an NSA database,' says new report" [link]

Police SWAT teams, overseen by Law Enforcement Councils (LEC), are incorporating as private entities with no public oversight [link]

"America's Real Foreign Policy: Global Corporatization by Force; Whose security is the U.S. military and foreign service protecting?" [link]

Deflating the economy by moving its corporate address was used a lot in the 1930's and again its countries like Switzerland who continue to play their anointed role...
"Sign the petition: Tell Walgreens to pay its fair share of taxes"
[https://www.credomobilize.com/petitions/walgreens-stand-with-us-stay-in-america-1]:
Walgreens was founded in Chicago and has grown into America’s largest pharmacy chain, but the Financial Times recently reported that the company is considering a change of corporate address from Illinois to Switzerland. The majority of the company's $72 billion in sales last year were made in the United States and nearly a quarter of them came from taxpayer funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid -- so don’t expect your local store to move anytime soon.
Instead, Walgreens is using a fancy gimmick called “tax inversion” that would allow it to continue cashing in on U.S. profits, while dodging an estimated $4 billion in taxes over the next five years. It’s just one of a number of tricks wealthy corporations are using to stash cash and profits overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
Dodging taxes through gimmicks like the one Walgreens is considering has a real cost for our communities. According to a recent study from Americans for Tax Fairness, $4 billion is enough to pay for one-and-a-half years of prescriptions for the entire U.S. veterans population, cover 3.5 million children under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (also known as CHIP), or provide Medicaid to over 639,000 people.
But corporate tax dodging endangers funding for vital programs that help working class Americans like me, just to line the pockets of corporate shareholders and CEOs.

"Why aren’t Nicaragua’s children fleeing to the U.S?" [link]
Refugee children are risking their lives to flee violence in their home country, only to get this welcome from Gov. Rick Perry at the Texas border.
"Advocates to Sec. Kerry: Don’t Jeopardize Successful Food Security Program in El Salvador" [link]

Fascism in the Republic of Honduras [link]
* 33 massacres in first five months of 2014 [link]
* Defend the Campesinos of Aguan, Honduras! [link]
* Fascist Honduras death-squads in Atlantida terrorize human-rights contingent organized by PROAH (2014-07-03) [link]
* Thousands of refugee children flee fascism in Honduras [link]
* "Increased U.S.-Honduras military engagement" (2014-06-06) [link]

KCSM Public Television and Community Radio [kcsm.org/info/contact.php], under pressure from their financial backers and clandestine government agencies, is censoring the popular RT News, which has covered the USA funding of nazis in the Ukraine killing Russian residents. This decision to censor a popular television news program is part of the cancellation of the entire "MHz Worldview" program package [http://www.mhznetworks.org/mhz-worldview/live]. KCSM explains on their website, "On Tuesday, July 15th, KCSM will change its program line up. All MHZ programming, including the International Mystery series, will be discontinued. KCSM will broadcast a mix of programming made available from American Public Television, National Educational Television Association, and other program providers."

Ukraine, victim of a fascist coup [link]
Defend the People of Donbass against fascism! [link]
* Moment of Truth: “Fascism As It Is” in Ukraine, a film by Andrey Karaulov [link]
* Rand Corp., a USA Private Contractor, is advising fascist Ukraine to target civilians for mass death-squad operations, internment camps, liquidation of private property (2014-07-04) [link]
* Fascist Ukraine conduct crimes against humanity in Slavyansk [link]
* Fascist Ukraine unleashes war against the Russian People of eastern Ukraine jurisdiction (2014-07-01) [link]
* Fascist Ukraine attacks asylum seekers entering Russia, and refugees in nearby villages inside Russia (2014-06-28) [link]
* "Ukraine: Slovyansk Falls To Fascists, House to House Extrajudicial Executions Reported, Concentration Camps Planned" 2014-07-06 by Steven Argue: Hatred is deeply entrenched in the Ukraine's Nazis against Ukraine's Russian speaking minority who are the majority of the people in South Eastern Ukraine. Since the suspension of the ceasefire last week, which the government had repeatedly violated with mortar fire, the Ukrainian government began bombing civilian centers from war planes once again. This has killed men women and children. As of June 18th, according to report of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, at least 356 people people had been killed in the latest military operation, including 257 civilians and 14 children. Those numbers have greatly increased since that report.
Slovyansk, formerly held by anti-fascists, has fallen to the Ukrainian government. Reports from Slovyansk residents say the Ukrainian military is going house to house and shooting people in the head who they deem to be supporters of the anti-fascists. Mykhailo Koval, the Ukraine's acting Minister of Defense, has openly been calling for a "complete filtering" of the population, a known euphemism for concentration camps.
The fate of the people of Slovyansk should be a warning to all combatants. As hard as it is to watch the collective punishment being meted out by the Kiev government, surrender will not bring peace to civilians.
It was due in part to murderous attacks from the Kiev government forces in Mariupol, with troops gunning down unarmed civilians in cold blood, that the people the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk voted overwhelmingly for self determination in May. Those attacks in Mariupol were carried out by Nazis of the Right Sector within the Ukrainian National Guard. That vote established the voter proclaimed People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk which are now under attack by the fascist Kiev government with the backing U.S. military aid.
As the U.S. government sends military aid to the fascist government, the narrative in the west is a complete lie. In fact, last week, a spokes person for the Obama administration and the U.S. State Department, Marie Helf, claimed that the UN reports of 110,000 refugees fleeing the terror of the Ukrainian government could be just people going to Russia to "visit their grandmothers".
In the narratives of the U.S. imperialists, everything is the fault of Russia. Missing is the fact that the U.S. sponsored the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine in February. Missing is the fact that the ruling junta of that coup that the U.S. brought to power contains open Nazis in key leadership posts. Missing is the fact that those government ministers are members of a Nazi party that calls for execution, without trial, of Russian speaking intellectuals and the revocation of citizenship for Ukraine's Russian speaking minority. Missing is the fact that that the Ukrainian government was unable to send out its regular military against the anti-fascist revolution in South Eastern Ukraine because the regular military largely joined the anti-fascist revolt when they were told to attack the people. Missing is the fact that the Ukrainian government then formed the National Guard composed of Nazi paramilitaries to carry out its genocidal war against the people of South Eastern Ukraine. No, none of this matters to parrots of the western corporate media and the U.S. State Department. To them, the antifascist revolt should be put down and everything is Russia's fault. Reminds me of when southern segregationists blamed race mixing on communists.

Here is a protest we did here in Santa Cruz, CA, at Congressman Sam Farr's Office Demanding:
- End Illegal U.S. Support to the U.S. Sponsored Fascist Junta in Kiev!
- Blackwater (now renamed Academi) Mercenaries Out of Ukraine!
- End U.S. and EU Sanctions against Russia!
- End the NATO Military Build-up in the Region!
Sponsored by The Coalition to End U.S. Support for Eurofascist Killers in Ukraine & The Revolutionary Tendency

Poster of Svoboda, an openly Nazi party that is one of three closely knit right wing parties that took power in the U.S. sponsored coup on February 22, 2014. Svoboda holds the portfolio of many government posts in the post-coup junta. This poster, reminiscent of Nazi posters against Jews, says, "Remember! Swearing turns you into a Moskal". Moskal is an ethnic slur that means "Russian". Open Nazi units who hate Ukrain's Russian minority are now part of the Ukrainian National Guard and are carrying out ethnic cleansing in South Eastern Ukraine, murdering hundreds and driving nearly half a million people from their homes.

Special report from IndyRadio.nu:
Sebastian Hahn was shocked to learn his activities were on tap via a database controlled by the NSA. Today we begin to get the names of specific targets, via Germany. What has been obtained is part of the source code for the NSA X-KEYSCORE program, and names of targets have been extracted from the NSA database. Thanks, John ;) [http://cryptome.org/2014/07/nsa-tor-de.htm]

By protecting your privacy online, you become a target for the NSA. Source code from the NSA spying program reveals that you can also become a target by reading Linux Journal. [https://indyradio.info/content/nsa-targets-extracted-x-keyscore-source-code-and-revealed]
A public broadcaster in Germany released NSA source code. It reveals targets, which include readers of Linux Journal and users of TOR and TAILS. Notes in the source code call the targets extremists. “During the course of the investigation, it was further discovered that an additional computer system run by Jacob Appelbaum for his volunteer work with helping to run part of the Tor network was targeted by the NSA. Moreover, all members of this team are Tor users and appear to be have been targets of the mass surveillance described in the investigation.” (drawing, arstechnica.com) [http://daserste.ndr.de/panorama/aktuell/nsa230_page-1.html]

Dear Adm. Rogers: I understand you have unauthorized postings of confidential and proprietary information from indyradio.info on your website at www.nsa.gov. Please remove these as soon as possible and send us copies of recent log files and hacking tools from your server. By the way, who is the asshole responsible for the snarky comments in the X-KEYSCORE source code? Your own people read Linux Journal, at least the ones who are literate. Kind regards, [signed] David Roknich, IndyRadio
---
Argument against "full disclosure" presented here is fatally flawed, especially in the example cited. There's no excuse for compromising the security of my desktop so the NSA and CIA can conduct a failed fishing trip in Iran. The US Government wants to jail former CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling because of his complaints about that operation, and for their treatment of minorities and whistleblowers. Consider that the authors make their living providing services for banksters. Enough said. Photo of government script kiddies trying to hack my server from a hidden location in Idaho Falls. FAIL [http://www.businessinsider.com/why-a-time-limit-on-zero-days-is-a-bad-idea-2014-7]


"We Are All Suspects: A Guide for People Navigating the Expanded Powers of Surveillance in the 21st Century": A group of Rad Ref librarians recently put together a zine for librarians about surveillance. Includes "know your rights" info; suggestions for applications, browser plug-ins, and other tech tools for online privacy; and, of course, a reading list! [http://radicalreference.info/documents/anti-surveillance%20zine.pdf]





ACTION CALENDER!


Haiti Action Committee study group...
Resistance to U.S. Imperialism   

Join HAC as we explore Haiti’s history, current political situation, and the connections to parallel struggles throughout the U.S. and around the world. We will be meeting regularly to examine texts and films, analyze the latest resources, and utilize discussion and reflection.
Saturday, July 19th
2:00 - 4:00pm
Niebyl Proctor Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, CA
Haiti Action Committee [www.haitisolidarity.net] and on FACEBOOK
This month's topic: Resistance to U.S. Imperialism (1915 Occupation & the Legacy Today)
What impact has the U.S. has in Haiti? If the U.S. is constantly giving aid to Haiti, why is Haiti still poor? 
When did the involvement in Haiti first start? Why & how did it start? What does it look like today?
Future Topics include:
The return to dictatorship; mass incarceration and political prisoners; sweatshops and privatization; the ongoing pillaging of Haiti’s resources; labor activism; COINTELPRO tactics in Haiti and the U.S.; racism; parallel struggles in Latin America; and many more!




Friday, July 18, 2014

"Homeless activists sue Sacramento County to block panhandling ban"

2014-07-18 by Brad Branan from the "Sacramento Bee" [http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/17/6563815/homeless-activists-sue-sacramento.html]:
The Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging a new Sacramento County panhandling ordinance as unconstitutional.
Supervisors unanimously passed the ordinance in May, which prohibits aggressive panhandling anywhere in the unincorporated county and bans solicitation specifically at street medians, banks, ATMs and gas stations.
The advocacy group, which publishes a bimonthly newspaper dedicated to homeless issues, is being represented in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and local attorney Mark Merin. ACLU Legal Director Alan Schlosser said the plaintiffs want a hearing within a week for a temporary injunction to suspend the ordinance, which took effect June 13.
Schlosser said the new law violates the U.S. Constitution by allowing charities to collect money in public places but banning panhandlers from doing so.
Panhandling restrictions have been approved by local governments across the state, including Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Sacramento. But Sacramento County appears to be unique in creating an exemption for a group of people, Schlosser said.
The exemption and a desire to stop the law from ever being enforced were reasons for the ACLU to challenge the law, he said.
“They were certainly not intending to limit aggressive panhandling,” Schlosser said. “They are trying to push the homeless out of town.”
County spokeswoman Chris Andis said it’s county policy not to comment about pending litigation.
However, Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan defended the ordinance.
“Staff went to great lengths to write a law that recognizes the constitutional right to panhandling, but also restricts its locations where people feel vulnerable,” she said.
Earlier this month, Rancho Cordova tentatively approved a similar restriction on “aggressive panhandling” that prohibits solicitation in places where people are a “captive audience” to pleas for money. The law must be approved a second time next week before becoming law.
A city staff report said the amendment is legal based on recent court decisions and “the regulations are content neutral, meaning the regulations do not treat individuals differently depending on their message.” The regulations must also “serve an important government interest.”
Pamela Poole, executive director of the Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, said she and other homeless members of the committee are worried that the county law will prohibit them from collecting donations in conjunction with the distribution of Homeward, which has a circulation of 8,000 to 11,000. Homeless people get copies of the newspaper free or for a nominal fee and then seek a recommended donation of $1 for each paper, which they keep.
Billy Murphy, a plaintiff in the case, said he has largely relied on panhandling for income since becoming homeless in October. He said he has stopped panhandling in Citrus Heights after being cited there in March, and he worries that Sacramento County’s ordinance will have the same effect on him.
Murphy said he generally panhandles on sidewalks and doesn’t solicit people verbally. Instead, he just holds signs, such as “Homeless Will Work Have Bike Will Travel ... Please Help.”
“I just want people to know I need help,” he said.
A county spokesman said last week that the county is spending the first two months educating residents about the law and has not yet issued citations. Under the law, violations would be cited as an infraction, with three infractions in six months resulting in a misdemeanor charge.
Representatives of the Watt Avenue Merchants Association, the Fulton Avenue Association and the Florin Road Partnership told the board in May that they support the ban. They said panhandling seems to be on the rise in certain parts of the county.

"Chevron running slick campaign to control Richmond"

by David Helvarg, posted 2014-07-18 at [www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Chevron-running-slick-campaign-to-control-Richmond-5631486.php]:
David Helvarg is executive director of Blue Frontier, an ocean conservation and policy group. His latest book is "The Golden Shore - California's Love Affair with the Sea."
---
If the Supreme Court is right that corporations are people and money is free speech, then Chevron is the biggest loudmouth in Richmond, where I live.
When people think of unlimited campaign spending, they tend to think of national elections, but the most insidious impacts may be taking place at the state and municipal levels. I know Chevron contributes to our local economy because it disbursed more than $2 million in city election campaign money since 2010, or roughly $50 each on me and every other registered voter in our small city of 106,000. The company provides jobs not only at its sprawling Richmond oil refinery but also for public relations, printers and a private detective who was hired a few years ago to smear the mayor.
Chevron wants to get rid of our Green Party mayor and progressive City Council majority because they've challenged the company on property taxes and pollution. That's why in 2012 Chevron spent $422,000 backing a single candidate for one of the seven council seats that pays $16,830 a year. The company wants to return to the days when the council majority was known as the "Chevron 5."
In August 2012, there was a fire at the refinery. I took pictures of the billowing black column of smoke while 15,000 other people went to local hospitals complaining of burning eyes, nausea and trouble breathing. Cal-OSHA fined the company close to $1 million for safety violations, and it pleaded no contest to a series of misdemeanor criminal charges. That is what corporations now do in lieu of anyone going to jail. I'll agree with the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court that corporations are people when Texas places one of them on death row.
Now Chevron wants to assure me that things are better, and we should all be "Richmond Proud." That's the name it's given a multimillion-dollar PR campaign of billboards, T-shirts, tote bags, mailers, robo-calls, highly publicized charitable contributions, a local newspaper it created, and TV ads. Phase one of the campaign was all about being proud of our parks and waterfront and youth opportunities, which all expanded under the progressive City Council that Chevron wants to get rid of.
Then I attended a Richmond Planning Commission meeting on the company's billion-dollar refinery modernization plan, which the City Council could vote on this month. A contingent of folks showed up in blue and white T-shirts reading "A Modernized Refinery. Another Reason to be Richmond Proud." I couldn't help noticing that while 80 percent of the folks in the pro-Chevron shirts were white, 69 percent of Richmond's population is not.
Now in PR phase two, the billboards, TV ads and mailers are telling us how good this plant modernization will be for Richmond. Unfortunately, the $1 billion for the refinery upgrade will not be spent in the part of the facility that caught fire but on a hydrogen plant that will allow the company to burn higher-sulfur-content petroleum from places like Iraq. This could increase air pollutants 24 percent and greenhouse gas emissions 16 percent, by one reading of the company's environmental impact report.
Chevron, which will probably make barrels of extra money burning this "sour" oil, insists there will be no net increase in pollution, thanks to new and innovative approaches like carbon trading. But even reducing greenhouse gas emissions from an oil refinery is like reducing gun violence at the Colt firearms factory. It misses the point.
Richmond has double the childhood asthma rate of Marin County just across the bay. California is experiencing a historic drought and forest fires linked to climate change brought about by carbon pollution. It's become a product liability issue. Chevron's product, used as directed, overheats our planet.
When I asked the company how much it planned to spend in this fall's city elections (that would include phase three of their media blitz), I was told the company hadn't decided yet but would support candidates committed to public safety, job creation and other boilerplate.
Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin didn't mince her words, however. "We get all their pollution not only in the air, but they pollute our elections, too. If they'd reduce their emissions and withdraw from our elections, they'd be respecting our health and democracy."
Of course, if they'd do that, then I'd be Richmond Proud of them, but I'm not holding my breath, although, living 2 miles from the refinery, I probably should.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Corrupt Mayor of Vallejo petitions to remake his office into a "dictatorship" in order to let his business allies direct policies

"OSBY DAVIS SET TO MAKE MAD POWER GRAB NEXT TUESDAY" 
 2014-07-17 by Marc Garman from "Vallejo Independent Bulletin" [http://www.vibvallejo.com/editorial/osby-davis-set-to-make-mad-power-grab-next-tuesday/]:
We all know Mayor Osby Davis is in favor of playing the role of a strong and patriarchal figure. He has also been an advocate of changing our city charter to a  strong mayor form of government.
Now, Davis has placed a call for city council (July 22 meeting) to consider putting a measure on the November 2014 ballot to modify term limits and allow him to stay in office, get full time pay as mayor and act as lord, master, king and DICTATOR of Vallejo. Funny how these things pop up from below the radar at the last minute with the deadline for placement on the ballot looming. Add sneaky to power hungry.
The measure would give him more control over the municipal budget, broader discretionary powers, more staff and the ability to take on many of the duties of the City Manager. Speaking of our current City Manager Dan Keen, it is safe to say it is very unlikely that he would stay on as essentially an adjunct clerk to Dictator Davis.
With Vallejo making great strides in its recovery under the steady hand of City Manager Keen and a divided yet operational council, this is exactly the sort of reckless and disruptive policy upheaval Vallejo does not need. The cost of placing this on the ballot and the tumult to follow should it succeed will cause an immeasurable amount of damage. Imagine the meltdown for Vallejo with Strong Mayor Hermie (I don’t have enough information) Sunga…
The strong mayor form of government has been disastrous in larger nearby cities such as Oakland, which have a considerably greater pool of talent to draw from. Considering the bunker mentality divisiveness and relative incestuous nature of Vallejo politics, this is sure to spell disaster of epic proportions. Don’t forget Davis’ track record of poor judgment…such as his advocacy for the plan of bringing disgraced and indicted former Bond King of Miami Calvin Grigsby in to take on Vallejo’s debt prior to bankruptcy. That was just one birdbrain scheme among many.
Regardless of which side of the political windmill you sit on as a citizen, this is a bad idea for Vallejo. It is a great idea however, if you are one of the well monied special interests who benefits from buying local elections. With only one candidate to buy, the special interest return on investment will be multiplied considerably.
This isn’t really about politics. This is about one man’s quest to destroy any hope Vallejo has of fair and representative governance to satisfy some great and unbalanced egotistical mania for power.
From Agenda for July 22 City Council meeting:

---
Comment:
SPECIAL INTERESTS MEET OZ-THE-EGO -
This is a perfect marriage of Special Interests Running Amuck, matched with the Monstrous Ego of someone who is so egotistical and self-serving he is toxic for Vallejo.
There’s a reason that very few cities have Strong Mayor governments, and even fewer than that do it well. It’s a bad idea on so many levels, where to start… Well, how about Vallejo’s own Charter Review Commission, that nixed the idea? You could point to Vallejo’s lack of a talent pool; the fact that you’d be trading the voices of 7 people for the voice of 1; the fact that Special Interests would then only need to control 1 person vs 7, so our city would fall prey to very narrow, powerful interests; the fact that running a city is an actual professional job, closer to a private sector CEO job than that of a Council member…
Dan Keen, our City Manager is doing a good job, truly a great job considering the shape we were in when he got here. He won’t stay under a Strong Mayor government, and that would be a huge loss for Vallejo.
In short, this would be a mistake of catastrophic proportions. I also hate that Davis wants a *special* meeting of the Council to raise it — i.e., a meeting not as well publicized nor well attended. Then there’s his pitch that he ought to have his term limits suspended, because the new position would be different. My God, we already can’t stand you now and are counting the days ’til this term ends.
It’s an absolute outrage.


"Help stop the "Strong Mayor" Initiative!"
Citizens for Vallejo strongly oppose Mayor Osby Davis’s “Strong Mayor” ballot initiative: It’s overreaching and irresponsible -
VALLEJO, CA (July 22, 2014) – With only one week to thoroughly evaluate the proposal, Mayor Davis’s ‘Strong Mayor’ ballot initiative is irresponsible and disrespectful to his colleagues, staff and the public. The ballot language has to be submitted to the Registrar of Voters by August 8 to be considered for the November 2014 election. Citizens for Vallejo (CfV) strongly oppose this proposal and encourages the public to do the same.
“It’s completely reckless to propose a ballot initiative with only one week for city staff and the council to fully vet and consider this policy direction. Let alone the public,” said Karol Heppe, CfV Board President.
Allen Wildermuth, former City Charter Review Committee Member, was surprised to hear the news and thought this issue had been 'put to bed' back in 2008: “Strong Mayor was one topic we considered over several months of review, and it was overwhelmingly rejected by a 14 to 2 vote, because it was deemed inappropriate for Vallejo. It places too much power in one person’s hands. Besides, there’s no other city of our size in the State of California with a ‘Strong Mayor’ form of government further demonstrating that it’s not a good fit for small cities.”
Outraged Anne Carr, CfV Board Member, added, "Rewriting the City's Charter is a major undertaking, one that entails meaningful public input, not just a hastily-called Council meeting to ratify a last-minute ballot measure. This is the kind of thing dictators and tyrants do.  It has no place in the turn-around Vallejo is making, with our strong City Manager, and so many good initiatives, like Participatory Budgeting, and the clean-up of North Mare Island."
Under a ‘Strong Mayor’ form of government, an administrator will still need to be hired to run much of the city’s day-to-day operations. This will result in two highly paid individuals running the city with a total compensation package that will certainly exceed the current City Manager’s compensation.
"Spending $100,000 on  a ballot measure does not seem like a wise use of funds with the city just exiting bankruptcy.  If voters approve the measure, ongoing costs will also increase as the city will still need a highly paid administrative officer in addition to a more expensive Mayor," commented Paul Norberg, retired Chief Financial Officer and CfV Board Treasurer.
Reflecting on Mayor Davis’s numerous ruminations on the city’s impending future deficit, CfV Board Member Stephen Hallett had this to say, "The Mayor recently stated that the city will face further service and employee cuts due to our looming budget deficit. Therefore, it is unconscionable for him to now ask for approximately $100,000 to place this measure on the November ballot as well as demand a massive pay raise. While we make sacrifices, he wants a substantial increase in his salary and benefits clearly demonstrating a lack of leadership and concern for Vallejo citizens that are struggling every day to make ends meet.”
CfV urges the citizens of Vallejo to oppose this initiative by signing its petition and voicing their concerns at the Vallejo City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 22 meeting at 7:00 pm in council chambers, 555 Santa Clara Street.


Update, 2014-07-22 from Dr. Kay:
 I sat through tonight's Vallejo CC meeting from 7 pm until just before midnight. A good outcome...
* 1. It showed that Mayor Davis has not only lost the confidence of his community, but he has also lost the confidence of his fellow councillors by blundering into this abrupt and unnecessary action.
* 2. As Councillor Robert McConnell aptly said, we do not need to waste time and money in changing the city charter. It already enables any mayor to speak out, give annual state of the city  statements, and bring forth proposals on any issue. A mayor is elected to a civic leadership position, which means s/he must lead, or quit.
* 3. Councillor Bob Sampayan displayed great presence of mind and accurate reading of the community spirit in recommending that further action and a meeting be deferred until 'September'... This passed, 5 -2. 
In other words, deputy mayor Sampayan displayed his ability to work in a meaningful and effective way to move Vallejo forwards as a community.
* 4. Councillor Pippin Dew-Costa made it plain  that the Mayor's action took the councillors also by surprise. Councillor Miessner registered her strong disappointment in Mayor Davis's actions in complete defiance of the combined council's agreed action plan.
* 5, Conclusion: Time for Mayor Davis to stand down and Deputy Mayor Sampayan to step into his shoes. He understands that we the people of Vallejo want full communication and respectful and enthusiastic leadership of our great city as it steers its way towards a prosperous future.

Another eye on the situation, from Vallejo resident Sharon M.:
Just an observation since others have shared their thoughts.  This whole issue has caused me a bit of concern because I'm not sure how much truth the public is getting on this matter. Truly, how "surprised" were council members regarding the mayor's proposal? I'm not a council member, work at city hall, nor an I in the loop regarding city politics - yet I've heard about this so called "power grab" for months.    It's hard to imagine  that any member of the city council  could make a proposal without the knowledge of other council members.  Had there not been the uproar and subsequent turnout that we saw this past Tuesday evening   I suspect we would be looking at a different outcome and possibly a  different vote.  My concern is  not Osby Davis, my concern is the truth.  Our local media has certainly failed us in that way


"Vote "NO" to place Mayor Osby Davis's "Strong Mayor" initiative on the November 2014 ballot. The 2008 Charter Review Commitee already showed this would not be good for Vallejo"
[https://www.change.org/petitions/bob-sampayan-vote-no-to-place-mayor-osby-davis-s-strong-mayor-initiative-on-the-november-2014-ballot-the-2008-charter-review-commitee-already-showed-this-would-not-be-good-for-vallejo]
Petition by Citizens for Vallejo
The following is a list of both SHORT and LONG RANGE reasons to oppose Mayor Osby Davis's "Strong Mayor" initiative:

SHORTER RANGE REASONS:
TOO LITTLE TIME TO VET -
The Mayor's proposal for the November 2014 ballot only allows the City Council, staff and the public one week to fullly vet the proposal and make an informed decision to place it on the ballot. Because ballot language is due to the Registrar of Voters by August 8, 2014.

IRRESPONSIBLE PROPOSAL -
The Mayor's proposal undermines the council's agreement to uphold and honor the approved 2014 Council goal setting agreements, which did NOT include a "Strong Mayor" initiative.
At a time when the city's still in a fiscally fragile state, it will cost the citizens of Vallejo approximately $100,000 to place the initiative on the November 2014 ballot.
After more than a decade of a revolving "City Manager door," the city finally has a strong and competent City Manager. This "Strong Mayor" initiative undermines the City Manager's credibility and sends a strong message that his years of experience and professionalism are not respected or wanted.
If approved for the ballot and the initiative wins, there will be two individuals (e.g., the Mayor and a City Administrator) being paid very high salaries and compensation that will likely exceed the current City Manager's compensation package.

"STRONG MAYOR" INITIATIVE WAS ALREADY PUT TO BED -
The Council-appointed City Charter Review Committee of 2007/2008 already researched and reviewed the concept of a "Strong Mayor" form of governance for the City of Vallejo. The committee concluded and overwhelmingly rejected the idea in a 14-2 vote and recommendation to the city council to NOT move forward with this form of governance.

LONGER RANGE REASONS:
LESS REPRESENTATION -
A strong Mayor government is less representative of the diversity in a city of any size. Instead of the policy-making of a group of seven or more elected officials, citizens will get the views of a dominant one.

CEO SKILLS NEEDED TO RUN A CITY -
Running a city is akin to managing a large corporation and very few people have those abilities. In addition, very few cities have the talent pool and expertise in public sector finance, large-scale budgeting and large-scale personnel management to manage the day-to-day operations of a city.

NEED FOR CHECKS AND BALANCES -
Separating operations from policy gives a City checks and balances and better accountability. Without this essential protection, there is great risk for mismanagement and fraud.  Not incidentally, checks and balances are a fundamental aspect of most public and private enterprises.

PRONE TO CORRUPTION -
A "Strong Mayor" form of government is susceptible to corruption. Special Interests only need to control one person vs a Council of seven. The notorious corruption of Tammany Hall, Boss Tweed, Boss Reuf, the Daly machine and many others led to Progressive Era reforms to eliminate Strong Mayor charters.

PATRONAGE JOBS AND NEPOTISM -
Strong Mayor charters lead to nepotism and patronage jobs based on political alliances versus professionally-qualified employees.

Text of Petition -
To:
* Bob Sampayan, Vice-Mayor, City of Vallejo
* Jess malgapo, Councilmember, City of Vallejo
* Robert McConnell, Councilmember, City of Vallejo
* Katy Miessner, Councilmember, City of Vallejo
* Rozzana Verder-Aliga, Councilmember, City of Vallejo
* Pippin Dew-Costa, Councilmember, City of Vallejo
Vote "NO" to place Mayor Osby Davis's "Strong Mayor" initiative on the November 2014 ballot.
Sincerely,
[Your name]