Tags >> activism
May 18
2010

Prop 16 Protest

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , Santa Rosa , rights , politics , nonprofit orgs , news , Green , government , environment , election , economy , current events , climate change , carbon , California , business , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

The opposition campaign to PG&E’s big-budget backing for Proposition 16 took to the streets—well, actually the sidewalks—of downtown Santa Rosa yesterday (above, with Lady Liberty joined by Santa Rosa Mayor Susan Gorin and Healdsburg City Councilman Gary Plass), blasting the measure as “another bailout” for the utility.

The Yes on 16 campaign may have a much bigger budget, but the list of local governments and other groups who have lined up against it is impressive and growing. Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign, offered a sampling of that roster of opponents at the midday rally on Tuesday.

Healdsburg was among the founding members of the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA), a coalition of 17 cities that act as their own electric utility for their residents. ( Read their  statement opposing Prop 16 here.)  There are numerous other such operations elsewhere in the state. Expanding the service areas for any of them would be subject to the 2/3s vote requirement in Proposition 16, as would the creation of any additional local power purchasing entities, says Healdsburg City Council member Gary Plass. But while many cities oppose the measure, there is little they can do to directly combat it.

The lion’s share of the electricity used by the residents and businesses of municipal Healdsburg now comes from an array of renewable sources. Councilman Plass breaks it down for us.

Want to find our more about this measure? You can read an impartial analysis of Proposition 16  or to see the video ads against Prop 16 that won't be shown on television (due to no budget, not topical censorship), go here.

 

May 14
2010

Energy Bills & Climate Protection

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , transportation , speaker , Sonoma County , resources , politics , policy , nonprofit orgs , Green , government , go green , events , environment , economy , Congress , climate change , carbon , California , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

There’s a legislative brawl brewing over national energy policy and climate change. The 6th annual Climate Protection Everybody Profits Conference in Sebastopol laid out a preview of where those battle lines are being drawn.

Since 2005, every local government in Sonoma County has signed on to a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2015. But progress toward that goal has been elusive. And while a comprehensive local plan to move this county in that direction has been developed, Ann Hancock (left) , Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign, points out that local actions alone will not be effective.

The graph below breaks down where those local emissions are coming from. As solar photovoltaic systems and other measures bring down the shares attributable to residential and commercial energy use, the relative proportion of transportation emissions has increased.

The CLEAR (Carbon Limits and Energy for American Renewal )Act was introduced jointly by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in 2009, an indication of early bipartisan backing for the “cap and dividend” measure. Peter Barnes, Senior Fellow at the Tomales Bay Institute in Point Reyes Station sees multiple reasons why that approach could find further support from Republicans in Congress.

May 12
2010

George Houser

Posted by Bruce Robinson in rights , protest , poverty , politics , peace , nonprofit orgs , justice , international , history , government , author , Africa , activism

Bruce Robinson

george-houserFifty years of support and participation in the drive toward democracy in South Africa has earned some recent recognition for a new Santa Rosa resident, both here and there.

The South African award bestowed upon George Houser is named for Oliver Tambo (left) ,  the African National Congress' president-in-exile during the years that Nelson Mandella was imprisoned.  Tambo died in 1994.  Non-violence was a consistent theme throughout his lifetime of political involvement, George Houser recalls, starting with his early participation in the American Civil Rights Movement.

The Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County will hold their annual Community Celebration and Awards Ceremony--at which George Houser will be honored-- Saturday evening, Nov. 13 at the Sebastopol Veterans Building from 5-8:30 pm. A silent auction and no-host bar with hors d'oeuvers will precede the presentation of the awards, which begins at 7:30. Tickets are $40 at the door. Information at (707) 575-8902.sit-in

Bayard Rustin and George Houser (right)  in a sit-in protest against segregated restaurants in Toledo, Ohio in 1947.

As Houser explains, South Africa was the only region on the continent that was claimed and colonized  by the Dutch, who introduced the concept of apartheid, a state-controlled form of enforced segregation.

Houser, an ordained Methodist minister, was interviewed about the role of the clergy in pressing social justice issues on the PBS/ Tavis Smiley blog.

May 06
2010

Hospital Safety

Posted by Bruce Robinson in toxic , speaker , public safety , Petaluma , nonprofit orgs , medicine , healthcare , Health , families , drugs , corporate responsibiliyt , children , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Even in the controlled environment of a hospital, human error is always a danger, too often a fatal one. That’s what Sorrel King is fighting to reduce.

As the mother of four young children, Sorell King was involved in every step of her daugther’s care when 18-month old  Josie was badly burned by a faulty water heater. Even that wasn’t enough to prevent the breakdown in communications that resulted in a fatal dose of methadone, the tragic mistake that abruptly turned King into a determined advocate for increased patient safety and better hospital procedures. It’s that painful personal experience, she says, that makes the medical personnel hear what she has to say.

King has documented her own first-hand experience with this wrenching issue in her book, the autobiographical Josie’s Story, which in turn led to the creation of the Josie King Foundation, through which she pursues her advocacy work. It’s a role she hopes to be able to pull back from sometime, but that day doesn’t appear to be coming any time soon.

Sorrel King believes that the number of near misses, when potentially fatal mistakes are caught just in time, or corrected before they have tragic consequences, is far higher than the actual number of deaths that occur. So she pushing hospitals to adopt procedures to report and track those near misses, too.

The seventh annual Gene and Evelyn Benedetti Leadership Award celebrationn honors Nancy Corda (right)  at  6 p.m. on Friday May 7 at the Sheraton Petaluma. Proceeds will be used to purchase a mobile ultrasound machine for Petaluma Valley Hospital. Information: 778-2796.