|Racial Justice, SF: Urge D.A. to Drop Charges Against Prof. Akom
SFSU professor Antwi Akom was racially profiled when he went to his campus office on Oct. 25, 2005. He then faced criminal charges arising from his confrontation with police. Student activists demanded that San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris drop the charges. Local Impact featured the issue, and 250 messages were sent through Local Impact to the District Attorney, demanding dismissal of the charges. In March 2006, the DA dropped all charges against Prof. Akom. For more information, see the website set up by student activists: www.justice4akom.org.
Tenant Rights, SF: Support anti-eviction condominium law
SF Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin introduced ground-breaking legislation to make buildings with specified evictions ineligible for condominium conversion. The legislation would provide a disincentive for speculator evictions. Local Impact’s action campaign targeted supervisors Dufty and Ma, who had opposed similar legislation in the past. Supervisor Dufty ended up voting in favor of the legislation, and it passed. This was a major victory for tenant rights advocates in San Francisco.
Death Penalty, CA: Support the death penalty moratorium
Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) introduced legislation that would place a 2-year moratorium on executions in California. The bill would have temporarily suspended executions while the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, a bi-partisan commission formed in 2004 to study the problem of executions of innocent persons, did its work. Local Impact launched an action campaign in support of the measure. The bill did not gather the requisite support to move forward in the state assembly. However, a recent court decision has resulted in a de facto moratorium on the death penalty in California for now.
Education, SF: Stop Public School Closures
The San Francisco Board of Eduction was about to vote to close many public schools in the Western Addition, Bay View and Mission districts. Local Impact featured an action campaign urging members of the Board of Education demanding to keep schools open in SF’s poorest neighborhoods.
Tenant Rights, SF: Stop Landlord’s From Severing Housing Services from Tenancies
On June 27, 2006, San Francisco Supervisors passed a law to protect tenants’ rights to keep their parking spaces, yards, and storage areas. Fearing a Mayoral veto, tenant advocates called for the mayor to support the legislation, or at least not to veto it. Over 150 messages were sent to Mayor Gavin Newsom through Local Impact. The Mayor did not veto the legislation, which became law, providing important protections to tenants under rent control.
Tenant Rights, Oakland: Protect Rental Housing in Oakland
The Oakland City Council was considering special interest legislation from the real estate industry that would allow 800 units per year to be converted from affordable rental housing to high priced condominiums. East bay residents took action, appearing at hearings and sending messages through Local Impact to City Councilmembers urging them to vote against this attack on rental housing. Despite early indications that the measure would pass, it was tabled and sent to a committee for further review. This was a significant victory for tenant advocates in Oakland.
Worker Rights, CA: Support Household Workers
Local Impact launched an action campaign in support of AB 2536, a new law that would provide improved labor protections for household workers. The measure passed the California assembly.
Animal Cruelty, Bay Area: Tell Andronico’s to Stop Selling Eggs from Chickens Confined to Battery Cages
Andronico’s Market, a grocery chain in the San Francisco Bay Area, claimed to be “committed to the highest standards of animal husbandry” but was selling eggs from chickens confined in battery cages. East Bay Animal Advocates launched a campaign to pressure Andronico’s to join with its competitors like Whole Foods and Wild Oats markets to adopt a cage-free egg policy. Over 130 messages were sent through Local Impact to Andronico’s president. The campaign was a success. Andronico’s president agreed to feature only cage free eggs, effective October 1, 2006. Now EBAA has turned its focus to other local chain stores. For more info about EBAA’s ongoing efforts on this issue, www.cal-eggs.com.
Open Government, SF: Restore TV Coverage of Commission Hearings
Until January 15, 2005, SFGTV (Channel 26) broadcasted Planning Commission and Police Commission meetings. This allowed San Franciscans to become more educated about local issues and engaged in local politics. Mayor Newsom’s office eliminated television coverage of these Commission hearings as part of midyear budget cuts.
Local Impact featured this issue on its site, urging concerned community members to send faxes to the Mayor. Within days, 30 letters were faxed to the mayor through Local Impact. SF Supervisors called for the Mayor to reinstate the coverage. Community pressure had its effect. The Mayor reversed his position within weeks, and the Police and Planning Commission hearings are back on the air.
Public Transit, SF : Stop MUNI Fare Increases and Service Cuts
San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Authority (MTA) threatened to balance its budget on the backs of transit riders by increasing MUNI fares and decreasing service. A broad coalition of transit riders, environmentalists and social justice advocates demanded that the MTA tap other revenue sources and refrain from taxing poor and working people who rely on public transit.
Approximately 100 people sent faxes to the MTA through Local Impact, and many turned out to testify at public hearings. Despite widespread opposition, the MTA board of directors approved by a vote of 4-2 a budget with the proposed fare increases and service cuts. The budget will be before the SF Board of Supervisors in June 2005.
Worker Rights, Berkeley, CA: Stop Union Busting at Berkeley Honda
The new owners of Berkeley Honda (formerly Doten Honda) dismissed 15 union workers after taking over the dealership, and were replacing them with non-union labor. Local Impact featured an action campaign, and supporters sent messages to the owners urging them to rehire these workers. A deal was finally reached in April 2006 under which workers were to be rehired and phased in as business improved. (Business had plummeted during the ten months of rallies and public protests.)
Tenant Rights, SF: Tell Bank of Marin to Stop Financing Evictions
Upon learning that Bank of Marin was financing mass eviction projects in San Francisco, Local Impact launched an action campaign demanding that Bank of Marin make “no Ellis act evictions” a condition on any of their apartment building loans. Activists from the San Francisco tenants Union are continuing to pressure Bank of Marin and other local banks to stop making these loans.
Death Penalty, North Bay (San Quentin): Demand Clemency for Stan Tookie Williams
More than 300 messages were sent through Local Impact to the Governor urging him to stop the execution of Stan Tookie Williams. Williams’ impressive anti-violence work in prison led to his being nominated twice for a Nobel Peace Prize, and his execution was strongly opposed by a broad and diverse coalition of civil rights advocates. The Governor refused to intervene. Williams was executed at San Quentin on December 13, 2005.
Tenants’ Rights, SF: Support the No Fast Pass to Eviction Ordinance
Responding to a wave of evictions for condominium conversions, Supervisor Chris Daly introduced legislation at the request of AIDS Housing Alliance/SF that would give preference to condo conversions in buildings where owners had not evicted senior or disabled tenants. Local Impact’s fax campaign targeted Supervisor Bevan Dufty, the Castro supervisor who was thought to be a key vote on this pro-tenant legislation. Before casting his vote in favor of the controversial ordinance, Supervisor Dufty publicly noted the large number of correspondence his office had received urging him to support the law. The ordinance passed on first reading on November 23, 2004. To get involved in this issue, contact the AIDS Housing Alliance/SF at AIDSHousing@aol.com.
Environmental Justice, SF: Shut Down the Hunters Point Power Plant, August
Greenaction and Communities for a Better Environment continue to work for the shut down of the unnecessary, highly polluting and dangerous Hunters Point Power plant. In the run up to the October California ISO Board meeting, 47 faxes were sent through Local Impact to ISO Chairman Michael Kahn demanding that the plant’s contract not be renewed. Local Impact urged site visitors to send faxes and attend an upcoming ISO hearing. Mounting public pressure appears to be having an effect. To get involved in this issue, contact Greenaction or Communities for a Better Environment.
Homeless Services, SF: Save the Tenderloin Self-Help Center
Central City Hospitality House serves about 6,000 members of the city’s “chronic” homeless population each year through the Self-Help Center. Facing a budget shortfall, Mayor Gavin Newsom and city officials opted to eliminate the model used by the Tenderloin Self-Help Center. Nearly 100 people sent faxes through Local Impact urging city officials to save this important program. Thanks to overwhelming support from the community and from many San Francisco supervisors, the Self-Help Center was saved by a January 25, 2005 vote of the Board of Supervisors.