Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s thirty years of service in the Senate will end soon—she has previously said this is her last term and she will not run for reelection.This year has been one of uncertainty, most recently due to her coming down with shingles. Hospitalized in late February, she had planned to return to the Senate in March—but she’s still out, with no clear time frame for her return at this point.This has introduced a logjam in the Committee on the Judiciary, which is responsible for confirming President Biden’s nominees into the federal courts. Without Senator Feinstein, the Committee is tied, so they can’t get the majority vote needed to recommend nominees to the full Senate. The Committee also can’t take any actions to dig into the growing scandals of Justice Clarence Thomas’s alleged corruption. The Republicans, predictably, are happy with the Committee’s paralysis and are refusing to help the Democrats unblock it.This whole episode has caused a fresh round of both public concern for Senator Feinstein’s health and calls for her resignation. Senator Feinstein has responded with a novel proposal to ask the Senate to allow another Democratic senator to serve on the committee in her stead until her return. The Senate has been considering that proposal this week, but as mentioned above, the Republicans are refusing to cooperate.
Read about it in our Deep Dive.
If you’re 50 years or older, you can get vaccinated to prevent shingles.
Assemblymember Ting got it wrong with AB 642: we need to stop this Surveillance Bill!
Our own Asm. Phil Ting has authored a terrible surveillance bill, AB 642, which proposes to create “standards” for the use of facial recognition technology by police—and in so doing, normalizes that practice by enshrining it in state law.
The Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee will be hearing this bill next. To view the progress of the bill, you can use the California LegInfo website.
We don’t need cops scanning the faces of innocent people looking for people to harass or worse. Cops don’t need these tools. This is a waste of time and money that will make every one of us less safe through the risk of an unnecessary encounter with lethally armed police.
Tell your Assemblymember: Stop the surveillance bill AB 642!
Tell the City Capital Planning Committee: Make Climate a Priority
San Francisco has decent climate goals on paper, but we need the City to seek the funding to fulfill those goals. To build or refurbish infrastructure to protect our climate, it is necessary for the voters of the City to pass bonds. These bonds can be put on the ballot as soon as next year—if they receive the committee approvals they need. Three ideas for such bonds were endorsed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in December:
- A dedicated $300–500 million General Obligation bond for building decarbonization and to fund efficiency and electrification retrofits for existing residential buildings;
- An increase of $50–100 million in the upcoming affordable housing G.O. bond to fund the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund for Climate Action Plan-aligned housing investment;
- A dedicated $300–500 million transportation G.O. Bond to fund public transit, active transportation, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
The SF Capital Planning Committee, an interdepartmental body, makes annual recommendations to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors on the city’s capital expenditures and plans. However, the committee hasn’t included any such ballot measures in its planning for 2024. The time is late, and the need is dire for the committee to consider one or more climate bonds.
Add your name to the SF Climate Emergency Coalition’s demand letter on climate bonds and make your voice heard.
Tax Day is not behind us: It’s October 16 this year
If you live anywhere in the Bay Area, your deadline for California and federal income taxes is October 16. In fact, all residents of 51 of California’s 58 counties—every county that was affected by this winter’s flooding—get this extension. This applies to both filing and payment. You don’t need to do anything; it’s automatic. Mission Local provides details.
Continue to support Pajaro farm workers through long recovery
The Major Disaster Declaration for California, including relief for the town of Pajaro, has been signed and FEMA has arrived. Senator Padilla has visited, promising to “pressure” the pace of Pajaro levee repair. Volunteers have continued to support rehabilitation efforts including a clean-up day. Most of the more than $200,000 raised by local mutual aid groups has been distributed. However, many challenges remain for the farm workers and other Pajaro residents who had to evacuate when the Pajaro River levee broke on March 11 and flooded their homes and fields.
While FEMA aid is critical and will be helpful, it’s not straightforward or convenient, nor does it include a significant portion of those living in Pajaro, because they are undocumented. While there is a California bill proposed to provide disaster aid to the undocumented, there is extremely limited state-provided help for them. The livelihood of all the farm workers remains at great risk.
To continue to help those who face a long and difficult recovery, many community groups are providing cash, clothing, food, and cleanup supplies to the victims of this disaster, and they could use your financial support:
- Center for Farmworker Families provides direct support to farmworkers (donation page)
- Santa Cruz Community Ventures Undocufund (the previous Campesina Womb Justice GoFundMe is directing remaining funds here)
- Raíces y Cariño
- Watsonville Campesino Appreciation Caravan GoFundMe
- Second Harvest Food Bank
- Community Foundation of Santa Cruz Disaster Fund
- Community Foundation for Monterey County Storm Relief Fund
If you’re interested in participating in activities like drafting letters to our Members of Congress and developing our strategy for influencing them, the Indivisible SF Federal Working Group is where it happens.
TODAY: End the Era of Fossil Fuels Mobilization Call: April 19, 5 PM. Want to learn more about where the movement to Stop Fossil Fuel Projects is at and how YOU can plug in? Join this mobilization call, hosted by the 350 Network Council and more climate-focused organizations. This virtual event is open to all and ASL interpretation will be provided. Register here.
Indivisible SF Federal Working Group: Thursday, April 27, 7:30–9 PM. Planning meeting where we discuss strategy to influence our Members of Congress and the Biden administration to enact a progressive agenda. Meeting starts promptly at 7:30 PM. All are welcome. Register here!
If you’ve seen our newsletter posts on Twitter and Facebook, you might have noticed that we include a photo or graphic with each issue.
Today’s image is a photo of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room before the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford on the sexual misconduct of Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh in 2018. It was taken by J. Scott Applewhite for AP Photo and featured in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Keep Fighting,The Indivisible SF Team
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