Author Archive

Voting Rights Act on Thursday Night Talk

February 27, 2013 2 comments

Tonight on KHSU at 7:00.  We’ll discuss what looks to be a SCOTUS gutting of the Voting Rights Act.  It was argued yesterday (or it will be yesterday in less than an hour), and there were some pretty remarkable comments, including an extraordinary statement from Justice Scalia arguing that because the 2006 extension of the provisions applying to problem areas of the country was practically unanimous, it means that voting rights have become a “racial entitlement.”

My guests:

Ryan Emenaker is a professor of political science at College of the Redwoods. His research  focuses on judicial politics and separation of powers. He has written numerous pieces on the history and role of the Supreme Court. His most recent article, on why the Supreme Court should uphold the Voting Rights Act, appeared on SCOTUSblog the premier news and research site on the Supreme Court.

Mohamad Alnakhlawi is an honors student at College of the Redwoods majoring in political science who plans to apply his education of political institutions and interests to a career in journalism and or public policy and law.

Mercedes Scoles- is an honor’s student, a political science major and plans on a career in public policy or education.

Planning Commision Politics

February 22, 2013 22 comments

The Board of Supervisors selects an at-large P.C. rep on Tuesday. Some great names on the list. Hank has an excellent post on the matter, and he’s probably right about the outcome.

Still, in my opinion the best name on the list is John Rogers, a Redway resident who has served with the Institute for Sustainable Forestry and spent a long time on the Redway Community Services District. Will the BOS have the good sense to appoint him?

I’ll be writing a more detailed post in support of John over the weekend. Now is the time to contact your Supervisor!

A Little Bit of SF Political History

February 19, 2013 16 comments

Why the War in Vietnam

Click on the title above, and it will take you to a PDF of an old anti-Vietnam War leaflet.

Spent Sunday night at my mother’s and she had found it in her storage. Simple black and white thing – no graphics. My parents believe it may have been the first anti-Vietnam war leaflet in San Francisco. It was their creation.

They first pulled it out when I was in high school. Having read some of the SWP stuff I was bringing home – triggering bad memories of their own run-ins with the SWP and similar groups back in the 60s and early 70s, they took it out to show me how political literature ought to be written.

But first a little history. Note that the group members all put their names, addresses, and phone numbers on the back. Naivete. They learned quickly that it was a bad idea. Note that there are four Kirks on the list. Evelyn, my aunt, died a few years back.

At least one other person on the list, Gayle Figueroa, was a family friend who died just a couple of years after this leaflet was printed.  Joseph (now goes by Jose) is still alive and kicking.

My parents don’t remember much about the others on the list, except that they were all in their late 20s or older – some of them from radical families and others Civil Rights Movement veterans (with plenty of overlap between the two). Ace Delosada was a bit older, and was active in the CIO before it merged with the AFL – I know this from an old library archived newspaper article I found online.

There was plenty of political activity in Berkeley at the time, largely the Free Speech Movement on campus, as follow-up to the CORE activities against job discrimination in grocery stores and the anti-HUAC demonstration which radicalized so many of them at City Hall. There was not much outside of labor happening in San Francisco. The North Beach scene was never really political in anything other than a cultural way, and the Haight Ashbury was just starting to percolate. I did not know until I saw this leaflet again (and didn’t notice it 30 years ago) that my parents had moved us from Mill Valley to Castro Street. By the time I was two, we lived on Cole Street in the Haight (and left for Moss Beach and the Blue Lady well before the Summer of Love when I was three). So this leaflet was printed in 1965 or perhaps early 1966.

And it generated an enormous response.

These were older activists – some of them seasoned. Grounded. And they understood the Socratic approach to rhetoric. I think it is one of the best written leaflets I’ve seen. It doesn’t tell you how to think. It’s primarily a series of questions. Designed to simply make you think. It avoids words like “imperialism.” And it avoids slogans like “Say No to the War in Vietnam!” It invites the reader to find his/her own voice. It respects the reader.

And the activists who understand this concept are far and few. Part of the reason I was drawn into the Christian left movements, even before I seriously considered religion itself, was the approach of humility and respect sometimes lacking in the secular movements, particularly in the hard old and new left milieus.

Still, the leaflet resulted in threatening phone calls, and other harassment. But the group grew rather quickly.

The group that formed would evolve into the San Francisco contingent of what would become known as The Peace and Freedom Party. My parents didn’t stay involved. They thought that Eldritch Cleaver was a bad choice to run for President in 1968, but supported him anyway. By 1972, they were supporting McGovern even though they liked the P&F candidate – Dr. Benjamin Spock. When I want to cast a protest vote because the Democrat is too conservative or otherwise undesirable, I opt for the P&F Party candidate more often than the Green, and I wish they would merge. We don’t need our fringe groups splintered at the ballot.

Anyway, just thought I would share.

Rally for Homecare Workers Tomorrow

February 4, 2013 48 comments

The California United Homecare Workers (CUHW) union will be holding a rally on Tuesday and we need your help to make it a success. Please join us as we continue our fight to improve the lives of those who keep our seniors and people with disabilities healthy at home. Here are the details:

What: Rally for Homecare Justice – Wear red to show that you “have a heart” for homecare.

Where: Humboldt County Courthouse, 825 Fifth Street, Eureka

When: Tuesday, February 5 at 12:30 pm

Why: Negotiations with the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, acting as the Humboldt County In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Public Authority, have dragged on for over a year as the Supervisors have refused to offer a single penny to the lowest paid caregivers in California. After the workers put forward a Settlement Proposal last December, the Board of Supervisors unilaterally ended negotiations and refused to consider the proposal.

The Supervisors have yet to provide a valid explanation for their refusal to pay homecare workers more than minimum wage. Last September, an impartial Fact Finder (paid for by both the County and CUHW) determined that “the County Clearly has the ability to pay the modest increases sought (as it has acknowledged) and has even budgeted sufficient funds to cover most, if not all the costs.”

Since then, the County has received more than $164,000 in federal funds through the Community First Choice Option (CFCO), a funding source specifically intended to support home- and community-based care options like IHSS. Other counties, including Yolo, Los Angeles, and San Joaquin have committed to using CFCO funds for homecare wages.

Not only does the County clearly have the ability to pay its modest portion of the proposed raise, it also has an opportunity to leverage additional funds that would otherwise be spent in other communities. Because IHSS is primarily paid for by state and federal dollars, approval of CUHW’s Settlement Proposal would infuse our local economy with more than $1.5 million.

If you agree that homecare workers deserve a raise, please join us on Tuesday. CUHW will also be joined at the rally by allies from local non-profits, other unions, the disability rights community, and senior advocates, among others. Following the rally, community supporters are invited to attend a reception at the union’s office, located at 314  L Street, Eureka.


For more information, email shaneb@cuhw.orgor call (707) 382-7270.


To contact the Supervisors:

Rex Bohn   <>
Estelle Fennell  <>
Mark Lovelace <>
Virginia Bass <>
Ryan Sundberg <>

Allan Dollison to join me on KHSU

January 22, 2013 19 comments

He is an Army veteran who was stationed in Afghanistan within the past few years.  He will discuss his experiences, and policy and peace propositions pertaining to the scheduled international force withdrawal.

This Thursday evening at 7:00 on KHSU.

We need third wave coffee in Humboldt County!

January 18, 2013 17 comments

Remember this documentary I raved about a few months ago?  It’s a low budget thing this young woman did.

Well, it’s much more than an anti-Starbucks rant.  It also documents the emergence of the “third wave coffee movement.”  The first wave was Folgers and the like.  The second wave was coffee houses and Starbucks capitalizing on the idea to spread it well beyond the borders of bohemianism.  The third wave is represented by efforts like Blue Bottle Coffee, and Ritual Coffee Roasters, the latter of which was started by former Blue Bottle employees who may have pushed the standard even higher.

Read more…

Estelle Picks Bob Morris for the Planning Commission

January 12, 2013 44 comments

Third item on the BOS agenda for Tuesday.

He replaces Clif-appointed Mel Kreb.

Mr. Morris, a professional forester, is known for his lawsuit against the federal government alleging that certain portions of the Endangered Species Act amount to a property “taking.”

He is also the agent for process for HumCPR, and serves as the organization’s treasurer.

He has recently served on the Grand Jury.

I’ll post more information as I get it.