Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Voting, Peace Pole, War Taxes, and Not One More!

Happy Voting Day! i hope you're excited and empowered to cast your votes today, and that you'll make it a priority. Although i've already sent in my absentee ballot, i'm looking forward to what is currently a one-person national holiday. Perhaps next election you'll join me...
i'm very excited to be sharing some upcoming new projects with you that give us opportunities to create a culture of Peace, and i look forward to your feedback and participation.
Find your polling place here.

Proposition 93(Term Limits): NO

Thank goddess for Citizen education! A letter from Carol Smith, President of the
Ojai Valley Democrats:

Dear Editor,

I am writing to urge Ojai citizens to vote "NO" on Proposition 93. Please consider the following arguments before you cast your vote for an initiative that is simply bad public policy.

The backers of this proposition would have us believe that it will further limit the number of years someone can serve in the legislature. But if passed, it would give current officeholders who would be "termed out" in 2008, the ability to remain in office for 6 more years if in the Assembly and 4 more years if in the State Senate. This would only apply to current officeholders; legislators termed out in previous years would not be eligible to run for their old seats.

Those pushing for the passage of this initiative are not thinking of what is best for California. This proposition will only make a bad situation worse and we should all be opposed to this blatantly self-serving proposition. In our own Senate District, we have an opportunity to finally lose Tom McClintock, who has never voted with Ojai Valley interests in mind and is due to be termed out this year. Former Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson is a strong favorite for this seat, if it becomes an open race between her and probably Tony Strickland. Because of a strong voter registration effort being led by Vote Blue in Ventura County, we hope to have a Democratic majority of registered voters by July 4th - an excellent prospect for Democrats to gain another State Senate seat.

Because of existing term limits, we lost in 2004 and 2006 some excellent legislators who, under the terms of this proposition, would not be eligible to run for office again. These include Jackie Speier, Liz Figueroa, Helen Thomson, Rebecca Cohn and Hannah-Beth Jackson, to name a few. Further, if someone who had served 6 years in the Assembly and was elected to the State Senate, he or she would only be able to serve one term if this proposition passes. While current and future legislators would be able to serve a total of 12 years, former termed out members of the Assembly who are elected to the State Senate would only be able to serve a total of 10 years, or 1 term in the State Senate.

I have studied this measure and feel strongly that it is bad public policy, is detrimental to the democratic process, does nothing to increase the number of Democrats in the legislature and will only make a bad system worse. It is time Ojai was represented by a legislator of the caliber of Hannah-Beth Jackson. I urge you to vote NO on Prop. 93.

Carol Smith, President Ojai Valley Democrats


Peace Pole Project

With a goal of having the pole planted at Ojai House by June, this project is under way! The pole has been basically designed, and i'm very close to contacting a few local artists to create it. Much more to tell by our next message, i'm sure.

War Taxes: Why Pay 'Em?

Tax Day is coming, and we're certainly all aware of the role we play in financing the violence and destruction that we deplore. i'm in contact with the Los Angeles team of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, and they'd be willing to come to Ojai to give a presentation on protesting war through nonviolent tax resistance. There are many ways to do it, and a responsible action means understanding the history, risks, and benefits. This is likely to take place in either early or late March...more details to come!

As of now, there have been 3,945 U.S. military members killed in Iraq. As this number approaches 4,000, most groups and individuals calling for an end to the war will use that as a "milestone" date on which to protest. Locally, we're wondering why we should passively wait for a specific number to react to, and instead will stand together whatever the number and be heard: Not One More!

We are in communication with the City and a few other entities in order to commit dates and resources, but here are is the preliminary plan:

· Our action will take place on the weekend of March 14-15-16 in the fountain area of Libbey Park. Volunteers will staff the area in two-hour shifts during the day. Sunday evening the action will close with a candlelight vigil after the last name is written.

· It will be a community-created memorial to those already killed in Iraq by providing opportunity for specific high-profile guests as well as volunteers and passers-by to write one or more names on the concrete in chalk.

· It will be paired with a petition to the Ojai City Council to urge drafting and adoption of a resolution to end the war and bring the troops home, built on the example and model of the resolutions recently passed by the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara city councils.

· Signers will also recieve a blue ribbon to wear, signifying their desire for and commitment to Peace.

This is BIG, and EXCITING! There is certainly a desire and need for volunteers, primarily to sign up for any of the several two-hour shifts that will comprise the days of our action. This is subject to slight tweaking, but we're thinking 9am - 3pm on Fri and Sat, and 1-7pm on Sunday. i could also use a volunteer to call through the OPC Phone List and alert those non-email folks about this (as well as our other exciting projects!). If you can support this community action with a gift of your time and/or talents, please contact me to volunteer. You can also forward this message to friends and family!

Not One More!

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