Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Teachers' Union Rejects Election Interference


The 2020 election is a test of who we are as Americans and what we will do to preserve our democracy when it is in mortal peril.

Throughout our history, Americans have risen to the moment to extend and defend democracy. From the abolitionists and suffragists who risked their freedom in the fights against slavery and to secure the vote, to the working people who faced violence and repression when they organized unions and defended free speech, and from the armed forces who defeated fascism in a world war, to the civil rights activists who fought the Jim Crow South, Americans have made immense sacrifices and put our lives on the line to make the democratic promise of liberty and justice for all” a reality. The American Federation of Teachers—our members, our locals, our state federations and our national organization—has been part of that democratic quest: We fought against fascism here and abroad, including our participation in the great battles of all of our civil rights movements.

Today, we in the AFT face a historic challenge. Donald Trumps presidency has been marked by a series of attacks on the democratic institutions and norms of our government and civil society: assaults on the rule of law; an independent judiciary; a free press; the separation of governmental powers; the right to protest; equality under the law; the rights of people of color, believers in minority religious faiths and immigrants; the freedom of association of working people; and more. This endless barrage has taken a deep and destructive toll on our political life, our national psyche and our national identity, threatening to lay waste to our countrys motto: E pluribus unum—out of many, one.

Now, in the final week leading up to the 2020 election, in the midst of a surging coronavirus pandemic and as Americans are voting, Trump and his supporters have mounted an offensive on the very foundation of democracy—the power of the people to choose their government through free and fair elections.

The AFT is unequivocal and unwavering in our response: We stand for American democracy. Democracy is a defining principle of our work as educators, healthcare professionals and state and local government workers, and a core value of who we are as unionists and citizens. Our vote is our voice and a sacred right upon which freedom depends. We see no choice: To be true to ourselves and the values we hold dear, we must rise to the defense of democracy.

While our opposition to Trump is clear, our defense of the right to vote, the requirement to count every vote and the assurance that the will of the voters must determine who is president must not depend on a presidential preference.

In the coming days, we will do everything in our power to support our fellow citizens in the effort to exercise their democratic franchise and cast their votes. We will remain engaged with fellow democracy defenders to see that those votes are counted and that the will of the people is reflected in the peaceful transition of power to the legitimate winners of our free and fair elections.

To ensure that the will of the people is respected in the 2020 elections, we dedicate ourselves to the following four propositions:

  • Every American citizen registered to vote must be able to vote. In the context of the current pandemic, voters must have the ability to cast their ballot in ways that do not endanger their health, such as mail ballots and early voting, as well as have sufficient ways to vote on Nov. 3. There must be sufficient numbers of polling stations and election officials for all voters to vote. Intimidation of voters must not be allowed to stand.
  • Every vote must be counted. Given the unprecedented numbers of votes that have been cast early and by mail, the final tally will not be known on election night. Indeed, there may not be enough of a vote count available on Nov. 3 to project who has won. Counting must continue until all votes have been counted.
  • The electoral verdict of “we the people” must be respected. It is not the right of those in power—whether they be in the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court, or in state capitols and local governments—to decide who governs us. It is the right of the people, and the people alone. The reins (or leadership) of government must be transferred peacefully to the choice of the people.
  • We will not be intimidated. AFT members have a proud tradition of engaging in the peaceful struggle for American democracy. In the tradition of our teachers, Martin Luther King Jr. and A. Philip Randolph, we will organize and participate in peaceful, nonviolent mass protests against any efforts to thwart free and fair elections and to undermine American democracy. When democracy is in danger, we will be in the streets and in our workplaces with our colleagues in the labor movement and allies in the community, defending it against its enemies—foreign and domestic.

Make no mistake, the AFT believes that the American people should freely elect this countrys next leader, and we will accept the legitimate outcome of the election regardless of the victor. However, as a union deeply rooted in democratic principles, we will do whatever it takes to stand by our commitment to reject election interference, threats, tampering, stealing, acts of violence or other actions that undermine the will of the people in this exercise of Americans’ democracy. We, the people, must decide.


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Key Facts About Proposition 15

Key Facts About Proposition 15, California’s Commercial Property Taxes, and Revenue for Schools and Local Communities 

Local tax revenue reflects a community’s shared effort to support vital public services that all Californians need to thrive in our cities and counties. This ranges from education for students in K-12 schools and community colleges to access to housing, health care, public parks, and libraries. These vital public services are supported by tax revenues from commercial and industrial properties – many of which are still taxed based on purchase prices that are more than four decades old. California voters will be asked in fall 2020 to vote on a measure known as Proposition 15, 

an amendment to the state Constitution that would change how commercial and industrial properties are taxed and provide more revenue for schools and local communities to support services Californians rely upon. This report outlines key facts about how Prop. 15 would change taxes for commercial and industrial properties and increase revenue for local communities. 


Ten Key Facts about Proposition 15. 






Prop 15.  Overturning Austerity 101 






Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Sacramento Bee Misinforms About School Budgets

 Marcos Bretón today in the BEE,  describes what he thinks are the facts of   the SCUSD budget. Most of the data  are cut and paste from prior articles he wrote. , The title is deceptive.  It is not factual.

SCUSD is not going broke,  SCUSD  has  a $93 million surplus at the end of this year,

And, they claim they will spend $100 million on books and supplies.

They  usually spend  $ 10 million.  

I don’t 

I don't know if he wrote the headline.

This is irresponsible reporting.   The Bee supports the School Board incumbents. But, at least they  should accurately report on  the budget. 


California itself has a major  problem of underfunding of schools. They have been doing so since 1988.  This is on the ballot as Prop. 15.  See the Prop 15 video below. http://choosingdemocracy.blogspot.com/2020/10/what-is-prop-15-explained.html

The Sacramento  funding crisis is not in teachers’ salaries, or health benefits.

California under funds its schools  and that produces large classes- the largest in the nation. We have few counselors and  almost no school nurses. Lets talk about the real issue of California school funding,   

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Seed The Vote - And Organize


By Marcy Rein

Early voting is already underway: Election Day is every day from now until Nov. 3. Seed the Vote has activists on the (virtual) ground seven days a week in swing states, and soon will add in-person crews as well. Partnering with organizations rooted in working-class communities and communities of color, Seed the Vote aims to build connections and capacities that will last past November, while pitching in on the all-important fight to defeat Trump. Its thinking is both granular and global. Coordinating Committee member Le Tim Ly:

“There’s this question of what we do inside the empire: What is our responsibility to movements and people around the world to create the best possible conditions for our side to win? Seeing the work of defeating Trump in that context is important, to check our privileges and not let down our responsibility to the most targeted and vulnerable in our communities, to the generations who come after us and to the work that’s happening across the world to combat neoliberal fascism and support people’s struggles.”


Seed the Vote’s organizers brought with them decades of experience in weaving together electoral work and community organizing. They had helped build the San Francisco Rising Action Fund and Bay Rising Action to amplify the voices of low-income communities and communities of color in local and regional elections. By July 2019, the depth and ferocity of the Trumpist attack made national work imperative. “The crisis and the movement are colliding,” said Emily Lee, a co-founder of Seed the Vote. After many informal conversations, Lee and others who would form the core of Seed the Vote got together to discuss how they could organize around the presidential election in a way that would both fight the right and build the left.


Before they began making work plans, the core spent a few months developing the political assessment that would guide them. They shared their thinking in December 2019:

“We identified defeating Trump and the GOP in the 2020 elections as an absolutely key step in beating the racist, authoritarian right wing. In addition, we must do a set of other things to build the left: strengthen unity and ties among different social justice organizations, build the influence of left ideas and a progressive program, and increase our numbers. Positioning the social justice forces within the massive opposition to Trump, including the electoral opposition, gives us the best chance to do those things.”

Seed the Vote’s analysis puts those hardest hit by Trumpism at the core of the effort to defeat it and build the left. Overlaid on the map of battleground states, it guided the project’s engagement strategy. Under the auspices of the Everyday People PAC, Seed the Vote and its sibling organization, Generation Rising, began to make plans. (Generation Rising, profiled here, organizes and trains young BIPOC for leadership in electoral work.)


At first, Seed the Vote planned to send delegations from the Bay Area to spend two weeks in Arizona in October 2020. Volunteers would work with LUCHA, an organization galvanized in the resistance to Arizona’s notorious anti-immigrant legislation, the 2010 “Show Me Your Papers” bill, SB 1070. The coordinating committee was set to go to Arizona to do more in-depth visioning and planning in mid-March. But their flight got cancelled when shelter-in-place started, and Seed the Vote had to get creative. It went virtual and expanded its reach, opening to volunteers from all over the country and adding new organizing partners.

Looking to the swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania, Seed the Vote reached out New Florida Majority and Pennsylvania Stands Up. Not only did they share politics, but they had relationships in each group through activists who had previously worked in the Bay Area.

“Between March and June, our partner organizations were swamped with working on their primary elections, dealing with COVID, and mobilizing in response to this incredible movement moment and racial reckoning we were in as a country,” Coordinating Committee member Jill Shenker said. Seed the Vote re-tooled and held three political education sessions to pull together a first cohort of volunteers. (Videos from the sessions are available here.) June phone banks began with wellness checks, helping connect people with resources and with the partner organizations.


Seed the Vote brings together progressive anti-fascist, anti-Trump forces in several ways. Individuals can sign up for phone banks with partner groups. Organizations can form “branches” so people can call together and stay connected to their political home. Seed the Vote provides the scheduling, training, and infrastructure. Activists can also form “Seed Pods,” groups of family and friends who call together, with similar support.

“I started a seed pod for myself and friends mostly because I thought it would be fun to work with people I knew,” said volunteer Shunya Anding. “They were hesitant about getting into conversations and persuasion, so I’ve talked to them about it. Most of them probably wouldn’t be calling otherwise.” The pod gives a sense of camaraderie and support: members get on Zoom and call at the same time, with breaks in the middle of their stint and a debrief at the end.

Larisa Casillas is co-leading a pod with two other longtime social justice activists. “Our worlds overlap, but not so much, so we get to meet new people. It seems like a great opportunity to build community,” she said. “I’m drawn to the idea of the election as an opportunity to bring our people in, to organize folks. And by working with Seed the Vote, we’re not only calling around the elections, but also supporting the movement building that’s happening in Florida on the ground. That’s why I was attracted to it, because it felt movement-oriented.”


In August, the number of Seed the Vote volunteers and phone bank shifts more than doubled, and new cooperative and coalition efforts sprouted. Seed the Vote joined the United Against Trump coalition in a virtual rally during the Democratic Convention, and is offering opportunities to volunteer with other coalition groups. It’s coordinating with movement networks like the Center For Popular Democracy Action Fund and People’s Action on phone banks to Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. It co-hosted a town hall with People’s Action to lift up the “deep canvassing” that network is using successfully to reach out to conflicted voters.

All this collaboration builds the movement’s connective tissue—through relationships among people who call together, and among likeminded groups regionally and nationally. “We can move at the speed of trust,” Ly said. “That practice builds trust over time so we can grow more nimble and powerful.”


By late September, Seed the Vote had 3,500 volunteers – 700 calling Florida on one day. The group has started discussing election defense, and is collaborating with Protect the Results and The Frontline, but most of its effort is concentrated on winning the biggest victory possible Nov. 3. For the final pre-election push, the group is returning to its original vision of sending delegations out of state. It’s gathering volunteers to support canvassing in Arizona with LUCHA and UNITE-HERE Local 11, in Florida with New Florida Majority, and in Pennsylvania with the Working Families Party. Organizers in those three states have already been door-knocking, working under COVID-safety protocols developed and reviewed by public health professionals – and nothing can replace in-person connections.

Those conversations are especially crucial for reaching people whose names don’t show up on lists because they’ve never voted. Florida has four million young people and people of color who are eligible to vote and not registered, or registered but not voting. Pennsylvania will have 17 early voting centers, where people can register and vote on the same day up to the Oct. 19 registration deadline.

Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania can each be pivotal in the presidential election, and in each one Seed the Vote partners are working on down-ballot races by candidates they believe will be reliable allies in building power. “If you can take a week off and go to one of these places, do it,” Ly urged.

Seed the Vote’s Political Education Committee has developed a series of info sessions to give volunteers a sense of the political contexts in the places they will be calling or visiting. At the September 23 session, New Florida Majority Organizing Director Serena Perez gave a quick sketch of that state’s complex demographics and politics.

New Florida Majority and its allies have registered tens of thousands of low-income voters and voters of color in the last several years. In 2018 they helped win passage of Amendment 4, which would have restored voting rights to 1.4 million people formerly incarcerated for felonies. The Republican legislature undermined that with a requirement that all fines and fees be paid before restoration. The U.S. Supreme Court has let this modern-day poll tax stand. Florida’s Trump-like governor, Ron DeSantis, proposes to charge many protestors with felonies; waive liability for motorists who drive into crowds in “self-defense”; and block state aid to cities that vote to defund police.

In breakout groups and then together, attendees digested this reality and discussed how the phone-banking they were doing could help to change it. Experience and ideas bubbled up. They are boosting voter turnout. Reaching people who don’t often get listened to, sharing hopes for families and communities that could be realized with people’s governance. Building solidarity across state lines. “This work that Seed the Vote is doing with our partner groups plants the seed for the kind of democracy we want to be building together,” Political Education Committee co-coordinator Jazmín Delgado said.

Ready to Seed the Vote? Sign up here or go to https://seedthevote.org for more information.


Sunday, October 11, 2020

antiracismdsa: Voices : Immigrants Struggles in the Time of Covid

Voices : Immigrants Struggles in the Time of Covid: Webinar: Immigrants’ Struggles in the Time of Covid/La lucha en los tiempos de Covid! Join us for a  webinar: Immigrants’ Struggles in the T...

Monday, October 05, 2020

Trump Tells Nation Not To Fear Coronavirus He Let Kill 200,000 Americans

All eyes have been on President Donald Trump as he battles COVID-19, the disease he has spent most of this year downplaying as hundreds of thousands of people died on his watch. But even while he’s infected with the highly contagious virus, the president continues to gaslight a traumatized America by minimizing the pandemic.

On Monday, Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center despite still being infected with the coronavirus. He was admitted to the hospital in Maryland on Friday just hours after revealing that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus, but White House physicians have not been transparent about the president’s health in daily press conferences.

“Feeling really good!” Trump tweeted. “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

Trump’s tweet not only implied that those who die of COVID-19 are weak but also suggested that the American people should not fear a virus that has already infected almost 7.5 million and killed about 210,000 people in the United States this year — in part due to the president’s own dangerous rhetoric and botched response to the pandemic.

Most COVID-19 victims have died alone due to safety precautions, leaving loved ones to navigate an already difficult mourning process, and those who survive the illness often deal with long-term health issues.

“My dad loved to talk and I miss talking to him,” said Brian Walter, an essential transit worker in New York whose father died from the virus, in a statement for the grassroots network COVID Survivors for Change. “To hear Trump say that people shouldn’t fear this virus hurts. It makes me worry for all the families who will still experience the loss of a loved one because our president refuses to take this pandemic seriously.”

From Huff Report


Our fight- Resist

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Trump Was Not Tested Before He Entered The Debate

October 2, 2020 (Friday)
Today’s media was consumed with news of the spread of coronavirus to the president and First Lady, as well as concern over the degree to which it has spread to other people associated with the White House. A number of those who attended the Rose Garden announcement of Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court have tested positive. That number includes the Trumps, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), and Fr. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame. Also infected are Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, and at least three journalists who have attended White House events in the past week.
And tonight, presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway reported that she, too, has tested positive.
As I write this, just before midnight, Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien has just announced he, too, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Five minutes after midnight (sorry for breaking the midnight rule again), we learned that 11 staffers from the Cleveland debate also tested positive.
We will not learn of infections among the Secret Service.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tested negative, as have Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden.
This evening, medical professionals transferred the president to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center “out of an abundance of caution.” He walked from the helicopter under his own power, and posted a short video to his Twitter account assuring viewers that he is doing “very well.” He remains in charge; power has not transferred to Vice President Mike Pence.
Aside from the personal implications of the spread of this illness—and let’s remember that there are 46,459 other Americans who have contracted the coronavirus in the last day-- this major news story has huge implications for the upcoming election. It also illustrates how the administration’s secrecy and lies take away our ability to make informed decisions about our own lives, as well as about the nation.
The Trump entourage has refused to wear masks, social distance, or follow the advice of public health experts for reducing the spread of the virus. Now it appears that White House officials deliberately withheld information about their condition, directly endangering other people who acted on the presumption that the Trump people weren’t infected. The Washington Post reported that Secret Service agents, who risk their lives to protect the president, are angry and frustrated: “He’s never cared about us.” The 30-50 Republican donors who met with Trump Thursday night at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, are “freaking out,” one report noted. Tickets had cost up to $250,000, and Trump met privately with about 19 people for 45 minutes. Trump knew his adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive when he left for the club, but he went anyway. He did not wear a mask.
Reporter Chris Wallace of the Fox News Channel, who moderated Tuesday’s debate and so was one of those the Trumps' entourage endangered, revealed today that Trump arrived too late on Tuesday for a COVID-19 test, as the venue required. Instead, there was an “honor system.”  Confirmed. Business Insider.

Organizers assumed the people associated with the campaigns would not come unless they had tested negative. Trump’s people arrived wearing masks, which they had to have to enter the auditorium, but then removed them shortly after sitting down, and refused to put them back on. During the debate, Trump mocked Biden for his habit of wearing a mask.
The campaign did not tell the Biden camp that Hicks, who attended the debate, had tested positive for coronavirus the day after the event. The Biden organization learned it from the newspapers. The White House did not even tell former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who spent four days in close quarters with Hicks and Trump, helping the president prepare for the debate. He, too, learned the news from the media.
This crisis shows how the administration’s refusal to share information and its insistence on its own version of reality creates confusion that leaves Americans vulnerable and anxious. Its history of secrecy and lies means that few people actually trust anything its spokespeople say. It was striking how many people did not believe the Trumps were actually sick when the news broke; we are so accustomed to Trump’s lies that many people thought he was simply looking for a way out of future debates.
The constant lies—about coronavirus and virtually everything else—destabilize the nation because we cannot know what the truth really is. And if we don’t know what is actually happening, we cannot make good decisions. Today the editorial board of the Washington Post warned that the White House simply must let us know the truth about the president’s health so that we know who is actually running national security, the economy, and the election on our behalf.
That plea did not appear to make much of an impression on the White House: it did not bother to tell Pelosi, who is third in line for the presidency, that Trump was being helicoptered to Walter Reed Hospital.
And so we are facing a pandemic spreading through the upper ranks of the government just before an election with little faith that we will learn the truth about what is happening. That, just as much as the infections in the administration, is a crisis.
To its credit, the Biden campaign has identified this crisis and is doing its best to restore our sense of a shared reality, based in our history and our better principles. Rather than expressing outrage that the Trump camp exposed him and his wife and guests to coronavirus, Biden offered his best wishes for Trump and the First Lady, as did his running mate Kamala Harris. Biden’s campaign pulled all its negative ads out of respect for the president’s illness (the Trump campaign refused to follow suit).
Biden spoke in Michigan today, assuring the audience that “We can get this pandemic under control so we can get our economy working again for everyone.” But, he emphasized, “this cannot be a partisan moment. It must be an American moment. We have to come together as a nation.” He promised to get rid of the toxic partisanship that is keeping us all off balance. “I’m running as a Democrat,” he said, “but I will… govern as an American president. Whether you voted for me or against me, I will represent you... and those who see each other as fellow Americans who just don’t live in red states or blue states but who live in and love the United States of America. That’s who we are.”


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