Monday, September 26, 2005

Lambda Legal Event

Mina and I attended Lambda Legal's Western Divison's 15th Anniversary Liberty Awards. We were recognized for our role among others in a case that defended the right to have the legal status of Domestic Partnerships in the State of California. Mina and I were the seventh couple to register as domestic partners in California. We have been together since 1971, 34 years. Delores Huerta, co-founder of the UFW, was honored at the event for her successful effort to help the State Legislature in California pass the Gay Marriage Bill which is awaiting Gov. Schwarzeneger's signature. Although the Governor is unlikely to sign the bill, this passage by the Legislature could have a beneficial affect on the courts system which is considering whether Lesbians and Gay men have the constitutional right to have Gay Marriage in California. Kevin M. Cathcart, the Executive Director of Lambda Legal National gave a main address. Our lead lawyer, Jenny Pizer, also gave an address. A number of Hollywood types were there including Bruce Villanch, the very famous comic writer who also performed in Hair Spray in LA, Peri Gilpin who used to be on Frasier, and Kathy Griffin who has her own tv show on cable. All told it was a fun and inspiring event.

Californians, Vote No on Props 74, 75, 76, and 77

The following article urges citizens of California to vote no on proposition 74, 75, and 76 which Governor Schwarzenegger has placed on the ballot for Nov. 8, 2005. Schwarzenegger is supporting regressive legislation that will weaken unions and take away protections and funding for hardworking teachers, nurses, police and firefighters. The governor is not a man of the people but is representing the corporate interests and powerful interests in California. It is also a shame that the Governor plans to veto the Gay Marriage Bill that passed through both houses of the California legislature. The Terminator seems to be living up to his name, attempting to terminate the advances that ordinary California have worked so hard to achieve. Also Vote no on 77 which is a redistricitng measure aimed at putting more Republicans in power and chaning the way redistriciting is done by putting the decision making in the hands of judges (3 of them) rather than in Sacramento. Critics say this process would be unwieldy especially at first and cause a major bureaucratic nightmare.motives of judges can be politica too.

Share with Familes and Friends NO Vote on 74, 75, 76
by Dianne K. Jones, CTA Director, District P, Miller Elementary

Welcome to the 2005-06 school year. The beginning of a new year is always exciting and this year we have new District leadership as well. We are all hopeful that this will mean a new era of respect and cooperation as we work together to improve the achievement of all students.

While we are returning to our classrooms the Governor is moving full steam ahead with fundraising to promote an agenda that will have a devastating effect on California's schools and our profession. We must see that the agenda of the Governor and his corporate friends is defeated on Nov. 8, 2005. We must defeat Propositions 74, 75 and 76.

Proposition 74 would lengthen the probationary period for teachers from two to five years. This would apply to teachers whose probationary period commenced during or after the 2003-04 fiscal year. It would also eliminate due process rights for permanent teachers.

This initiative is deceptive, unnecessary and unfair. It won't improve student achievement or reform public education in any meaningful way. It will hurt our ability to recruit and retain qualified teachers in California. Good teaching comes from mentoring, training and support, not from the kind of negative, punitive approach imposed by Proposition 74. Vote NO on Prop. 74.

Proposition 75 would silence the voice of public employees and strengthen the political influence of large corporations. It targets teachers, nurses, firefighters and police officers.

Recently teachers have made the public aware of the Governor's broken promises to education funding; the nurses have made their case on hospital staffing to protect patients; and police and firefighters have fought against the elimination of survivor's benefits for families of those who die in the line of duty. Now the Governor and his corporate friends want to silence these voices. Proposition 75 singles out public employees in an attempt to reduce their ability to respond when politicians set out to harm education, health care and public safety. The corporations already $24 to each dollar spent by the unions. We must defeat this measure. Vote NO on Prop. 75.

Proposition 76 will cut funding for schools, health care, police and fire. It will overturn Prop. 98 and allow the Governor to permanently reduce school funding without a vote of the people. It "terminates the repayment requirement" so the Governor would never have to pay back money owed to our schools, such as the $2 billion he borrowed last year. It is a power grab that allows the Governor to unilaterally declare a "fiscal emergency" and then requires cuts to education, health care, police and fire, but prevents cuts to road projects. These cuts could be made three times per year. California
cannot afford Proposition 76. Vote NO on Prop. 76.

We need the support of everyone to see that these measures are defeated. Become informed, become involved. Talk to your family, friends and neighbors and vote No to defeat Propositions 74, 75, and 76.