By John Steven Calder, Argonaut Correspondent
Chronically under funded by the City and County of San Francisco, the County Veterans Service Office (CVSO) is a one-stop shop for all support resources, for U.S. Military Veterans , Spouses and their dependents.
Staffed by Accredited Claims representatives, John W. Gallagher, Diana C. Kremer and Shan Yu, this office provides services to San Francisco 6000 plus Veterans. Historically underfunded and understaffed this hardworking staff helps veterans of all ages and eras of service, and their dependents, navigate the complex and sometimes hopeless red tape of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The impact this office has for San Francisco Veterans as well as Taxpayers is almost incalculable.
Every Homeless Vet the CVSO gets VA services for is a Vet NOT living on the street, NOT receiving health care at SF General or on Medi-Cal. Every San Francisco Veteran they get into the VA system is a Veteran potentially exiting San Francisco General Assistance or Food Stamps. The CVSO should be though of as a ‘profit center’ for the County an not a liability.
Sadly, other Counties do not share San Francisco’s vision. Alameda County laid off its last CVSO worker this year. The city of SF has never funded a full time permanent position as administrative help for the SF, County Veterans Service Office, yet stories like this abound in California, but other stories emerge as well.
Because of the SF CVSO, a student, whose father was found to be a Service Disabled Vet, now goes to college ‘free’ in California, a benefit of Service Disabled Veterans of California Residence. A homeless Vietnam Veteran now has a home, a pension and a chance for a new life. A guy like me, an Air Force Veteran from the Cold War, now receives a monthly pension, outstanding free health care and enables my 3 children to go to state college at no cost.
The impact of this small office at 27B Van Ness and Market is overwhelming and life changing.
If you have a friend, a son, a daughter, a father or mother, who are Veterans, send them to the CVSO office. If your mother or father was a Veteran, go to the CVSO office. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has made massive changes in the last 10 years and the Obama Administration has appointed smart and compassionate Administrators.
If you were in Europe, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan or any other theatre of war, you have benefits waiting for you. If you lost your hearing, were injured during your service, you have benefits waiting for you. Your income? Does not matter, you have benefits waiting for you. If your parent was a veteran, they may have benefits for you.
Contact the County Veterans Service Office at 27B Van Ness and Market. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org (415) 503-2000.
These folks change peoples’ lives. They save San Franciscans tax dollars and get Veterans the Support and Services they Earned and Deserve.
John Steven Calder – A Proud Veteran
For more information, visit: http://www.sfhsa.org/134.htm
Hours: 27 B Van Ness Ave. Mon to Thursday 9 to 12 and 1 to 4 PM only and the SF, VAMC 4150 Clement Street (Tuesdays Only 830 am to 530 pm ) (walk inns welcome at either location).
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Peskin Challenges Feinstein Reform Moves, Slurs Against Brown and Burton Family Included in Torrent of Invective – He Defends Machine After Party’s Candidates Lost 4 Out of 4 Races in 2010 — “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”
From Our Political Correspondent
The San Francisco County Democratic Central Committee (DCCC) is made up of members elected from each of the city’s present two assembly districts and San Francisco Democrats elected to state and federal offices. Its meetings this spring have been flavored by the slurp of political wounds being licked and the balm of bravado to ease the pain of the devastating electoral defeat last year when the party’s top picks for supervisor unprecedently lost all four of the seats in play.
The D-Triple C’s monthly gatherings in the Milton Marks Auditorium in the cavernous basement of the State Building on Golden Gate Avenue have been distinguished by a palpable tension between Aaron Peskin’s occasional flirtations with resigning his position as party chair and his combative resistance to reforms pushed by senior party officials who wanted to stop Peskin from spending Democratic party funds to defeat fellow Democrats running against his hand-picked candidates.
Peskin has peppered the meetings with increasingly strident public attacks on former San Francisco mayor, now California Lt. Governor, Gavin Newsom. The party boss’s unvarnished enmity toward Newsom is expected to surface again Wednesday night at the regularly scheduled meeting after Peskin last week questioned Newsom’s right to a vote on the DCCC because he is living outside the city with his family in Marin County for the summer.
Peskin’s move was read by some observers as a slam at the late Phil Burton who lived most of the year in Washington but was registered to vote in San Francisco at his mother’s house on Sloat Boulevard. Newsom plans to be out of town only during the summer and remains a registered voter in San Francisco.
Reform motions from Newsom’s proxies on the DCCC have especially nettled the Chair and last month’s meeting degenerated into outbursts of political Tourette’s. Peskin and his acolytes challenged the rectitude of Democrats such as Senator Dianne Feinstein to make motions affecting the way his committee conducts its dirty business. Peskin led the charge by stating that “in the last quarter century, no ex-officio on this committee has ever made a motion.” Democratic elected officials like Feinstein automatically become DCCC voting members. They rarely attend meetings in person and appoint official proxies to vote for them and are called in DCCC-talk as “ex-officio” members.
This upset visibly emotional Peskin loyalist Gabriel Holland who said that because he had been “on the ballot” to be elected to the DCCC his voting rights were superior to someone like Dianne Feinstein who was only a United States Senator “No ex-officio members has a right to make a motion from the floor,” Holland said.
This brought a spirited rejoinder from George Broder, Feinstein’s proxy on the Committee. “I represent a person who was also on the ballot and was dully elected and as far as I know is a member in good standing who has the right to vote here ,” he said.
Broder, the son of George Broder, the late dean of Washington political, said that Peskin’s DCCC allies appeared to be attempting to establish second-class citizenship for the voting rights of elected officials. “What is this, Upstairs, Downstairs?” he asked.
Peskin was particularly incensed by a Newson motion to amend the DCCC bylaws to conform to the state Democratic party standard requiring a 60% vote for an endorsement; the present San Francisco rule of 50% plus one.
The local party has used this procedure for decades but it was never a matter of contention until then- Supervisor Chris Daly manipulated the more easily obtainable 50% plus one rule to electing Peskin the party chair in 2008. Daly threatened DCCC members with never eating a Democratic lunch in this town again if they didn’t vote for Peskin, asserting in an e-mail that a DCCC member “would never receive the endorsement of the Bay Guardian or the Harvey Milk Club” if he didn’t vote for Peskin. This extortion-as-politics method was the subject of articles in The Argonaut raising public awareness of the Peskin machine’s methods. In the 2010 supervisorial elections, all of the Peskin machine’s main candidates were defeated.
Peskin nonetheless insisted that the party should not change its endorsement methods – “Don’t fix what ain’t broken,” he said.
Peskin belittled Newsom’s suggested reform saying that he had nothing better to do, rather indelicately stating – “All the Lt. Governor has to do is get up in the morning and check to see if the governor is still alive.” This remark was taken by many in the audience as insulting to Governor Brown. A 60% endorsement standard in the upcoming mayoral election would have meant a No endorsement policy by the party and left a wide open field in an election without an incumbent where a confusing ranked choice system of voting was being effectively employed for the first time in mayoral race. Mayor Gavin Newsom had no significant opposition for re-election four years ago.
A no endorsement policy by the Committee would not have been without precedent. In 2000 the party decided to make no endorsements in the district elections for Supervisor where many qualified candidates – many of them DCCC members – were running.
John Shanley, Newsom’s proxy on the Committee, said the Lt. Governor favored official party neutrality in a mayoral race with more than a half dozen qualified Democrats running. He said that Peskin’s intra-party partisanship last year had diminished the coin of the party’s official endorsement, and a repeat this year could be disastrous for the party’s reputation.
Peskin’s reaction to Newsom’s plea for even-handedness was to turn on the machine and go all-in attempting to make the next mayor, ending the wide-open field in the mayor’s race by insisting that the party will officially pick favorites among equals.
The likely result will be two for the three candidates for mayor now leading in citywide polling – City Attorney Dennis Herrera snd Board of Supervisors president David Chiu – are unlikely to gain the Peskin machine’s endorsement and will campaign for mayor either ignoring, or attacking, their party’s official endorsement.
At this point, the likely beneficiaries of the Peskin power play are expected to be Supervisor John Avalos and State Senator Leland Yee, but more candidates could file before the August deadline.
During increasingly harsh debate Peskin was rebuked by former party chairs Scott Weiner and Matthew Rothschild for violating party rules and voting procedures and repeatedly making personal distasteful personal attacks on fellow Democrat Newsom.
At the end of the day, Aaron Peskin never misses an opportunity to bite the hand that isn’t feeding him.
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By Peter Weverks
You probably missed it, and Apple Computer probably hopes you missed it, especially if you read the news while listening to an iPod, but buried in last February’s business news was a blip about a visit by Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, Tim Cook, to the Foxconn Technology Group factory in Shenzhen, China. Foxconn is where Apple manufacturers its iPod. Cook went to Foxconn to look into why 11 workers at the factory committed suicide.
Most of the 11 workers killed themselves by jumping from Foxconn’s high-rise dormitories. To prevent more suicides Apple recommended hiring counselors, opening a care center, and installing nets. Why nets? I presume because working conditions can’t be improved enough to prevent workers from trying, and the best Foxconn can do is catch workers when they try.
Companies like Apple manufacture their products in China because, if you ignore workers’ rights and well-being, manufacturing in an authoritarian police state has distinct advantages. Workers are either docile or unemployed. Their wages are low. Pesky environmental regulations don’t apply. Union organizing is almost unheard of. The state-controlled media doesn’t report about workplace safety violations or worker-management relations because China — but I mentioned this already — is an authoritarian police state.
I believe most Americans who groove to music coming from an iPod would like to groove safely without having to fear whether the people who made the device are prematurely dead, and to that end, I would like to propose a sticker system for imported Chinese electronics similar to the one used to identify fruit and vegetables in the United States.
You can, by examining the sticker on a vegetable or piece of fruit, tell whether it was grown organically (it has a five-numeral code beginning with 9), it was grown conventionally (a four-numeral code), or it was genetically modified (a five-numeral code beginning with 8). The Produce Marketing Association devised this sticker system to speed checkout lines at supermarkets, but shoppers can also use the codes to make better purchasing choices.
Suppose there were a similar sticker system for electronic goods made in China? You could look at the sticker on the back of an electronic device and learn about the conditions under which it was manufactured. A numeral code beginning with 8, say, would mean that workers committed suicide where the device was made; a 9 would mean that working conditions are deplorable and wages extremely low, but no worker had yet succumbed to despair and jumped from his or her high-rose dormitory window; a 7 would mean that factory managers were kind enough to install nets for workers who jump.
You get the idea. In time, the sticker system could help Chinese workers, as American shoppers take into account the working conditions under which Chinese products are made, and factories scramble to improve working conditions in order to satisfy the discriminating American shopper. American shoppers care about Chinese workers, don’t they? That is the real question. American companies aren’t the only ones who are indifferent to the rights and well-being of Chinese workers. The American shopper is too.
Tags: Calders Rants · Uncategorized
By Warren Hinckle
San Francisco Democratic Party boss Aaron Peskin is the master of the strategic stall. Last week he managed to put off, for the second month in a row, votes on two significant reform measures before the county central committee — including an effort by Senator Dianne Feinstein to send him to the party woodshed for a good spanking.
Feinstein’s proposal would bar Peskin from spending Democratic Party money against fellow Democrats, as he did last fall in supervisorial races involving Scott Weiner and Mark Farrell who were running against Peskin’s machine-picked candidates in Districts 5 (Rafael Mandelman) and 2 (Janet Reilly). Despite, or in spite of, Peskin’s brazen use of Democrat money against Democrats, both lost.
The other Peskin-stalled motion would amend the San Francisco county committee’s bylaws to change the requirement for endorsing candidates from the current 50% plus one and return to the California Democratic Party statewide standard of a 60% vote to endorse.
The fifty-fity+one deal was engineered into the bylaws by Chris Daly as recently as 2006, when then-Supervisor (now-termed-out-bar-owner )Daly played the role of D’Artagan to Peskin’s Cardinal Richelieu in the take-over of the Democratic Party machinery. The lower endorsement threshold made it easier for Peskin to gain power by electing Supervisors the left-leaning likes of John Avalos, David Campos and Eric Mar — the electoral weapon was control over the endorsements on the all-powerful Official Democratic Party Slate Card received by all San Francisco registered Democrats before each election. (The slate card is almost invincible — in the last two decades, only three candidates in this exhaustively Democratic city have made it to the Board of Supervisors without the DCCC slate card endorsement.)
David Broder, the son of recently-deceased dean of the Washington press core David Broder, introduced in January the bar on Peskin freely spending party money against other Democrats who are not graced with his blessing. The by law change was proposed last month by this correspondent, doing his civic duty representing Newsom while the Lt. Governor’s regular DCCC proxy former Deputy City Attorney John Shanley was in Ireland taking the Irish bar exam.
The bylaw change motion and my comments — something to the effect that Peskin had used the narrow- track endorsement process for divisive purposes, and its use in the ranked-choice voting for Mayor this fall would turn the DCCC into the bloodiest political battleground since Shiloh (before the voters get to have their say) — were dutifully recorded in the minutes. They were subsequently elided from the minutes, along with removing the original motion, by Peskin. This ecclesiastical cleansing of the party minutes before they are distributed to the faithful is apparently routine for Cardinal Peskin.
Peskin seemed to be in a hurry to adjourn last week’s meeting. Newsom proxy Shanley rose in a wait-a-minute moment and asked why the by-law change Newsom’s appointed representative proposed last month wasn’t on the night’s agenda. Peskin said he didn’t think it had been a “serious” motion — as if asking his San Francisco Democratic central committee to conform to the statewide rules of the California Democratic Party which had given the DCCC its charter was a notion beyond all credulity.
Shanley said that Newsom wished a timely vote on the possibility of a return to Demcoratic Party rules and procedures, and distributed copies of the proposed bylaw change. Peskin said that if that was indeed the Lt. Governor’s wish, he would schedule a vote for the end-April meeting. Shanley assured him that it was thus so.
Feinstein representative Broder said he welcomed waiting until the April 27 meeting to vote because that would give him and the other proxies of elected Democratic Party officials time to consult with their bosses, since they had not received prior notification of the bylaws change due to the DCCC’s busybody prelate’s editing wizardry . The proxies of elected officials usually keep their counsel and vote to abstain during most DCCC meetings, but the reps of Feinstein, Jackie Spier, Harris, Mark Leno and group were outspoken in an unprecedented manner in January expressing outrage at Democrats throwing party money against other Democrats. If the proxies of the ”electeds” as they are called in dccc-speak vote more or less en bloc for the reform measures on April 27, Peskin’s machine-ensembled majority vote on the panel could be up for reformist grabs.
Members seemed to have some questions about what in hell had been going on, but Peskin quickly adjourned the meeting in memory of Broder’s pundit father and flew out the door as fast a a red-crested bird in flight.
(It is not often that the Argonaut reprints another publication’s product, but the Rolling Stone’s exclusive on horror in Afghanistan deserves the widest possible readership, and thus we offer it here. – Editor)
- How U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan murdered innocent civilians and mutilated their corpses – and how their officers failed to stop them. Plus: A look at the war crime photos censored by the Pentagon.
There is some small sweet solace for those of us rooting for, say, the cutting-edge The Social Network” or the Pat O’Brien-esque “The Fighter” for an Oscar TKO - anything but the Monarchy-polishing English soaper “The King’s Speech” which brushed over Britian’s pre-WW Duece appeasement of Hitler and Edward’s resigned-King brother’s tea dancing with Nazis.
The small comfort is in Hollywood’s version of Ranked-Choice Voting, installed last year in anticipation of a ten picture race. The Academy called it “preferential voting” but it was just as confusing for many Academy members as it was to the voters of San Francisco and Oakland.The New York Times, sort of scratching its head over this unfamiliar voting system, theorized that”the key to winning this year may lie in being almsot everybody’s second choice.” That was the strategy that promoters of “The King’s Speech” were pushing to the Motion Picture Academy voters. Only the tally-up Academy accountants know if the Oscar winning movie had enough first-choice picks to make No. 1, or if it slithered in by being the second pick of the backers of the other front-running movies. This is democracy, Hollywood style.
Be careful what you wish for. There is an undeniable distinction to running for, and getting elected to, both policy making bodies of this overwhelmingly Democratic city’s political aristocracy – the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee – but that can also create potentially embarrassing complications.
Witnesss Wednesday night’s meeting of the D-Triple C, as it is informally known, where four Supervisors who had also been elected to the DCCC – John Avalos, David Campos, David Chiu,and Scott Weiner – rushed to abstain from voting on a resolution calling for “further study” – i.e. delay – of the Parkmerced expansion – on the grounds that the long-studied matter would doubtless come before the full Board. Eric Mar, a fifth Supervisor also elected to the DCCC, was absent Wednesday but he would likewise have had to abstain.
The Supervisors are, belatedly, realizing that their also holding seats on the DCCC could potentially place themselves in violation of the Brown Act – a state law mandating political transparency which prohibits San Francisco Supervisors from getting together to discuss legislative matters in any forum but their regularly scheduled public meetings. (Copies of the Brown Act would indeed be a nuisance if posted in the bathrooms at former Supervisor Chris Daly’s bar.)
Since the purpose of the DCCC is both to get out the Democratic vote and take positions on policy matters that are in the legislative domain of the Board of Supervisors, it is not difficult to imagine the confusion and complications that will arise from so many Supervisors also hogging seats on the DCCC. If a sixth Supervisor were to run for and be elected to the panel, that would consititute a majority of the Board meeting outside the chambers of the Board of Supervisors, a clear no-no under the Brown Act.
Either ironically or purposefully, the DCCC voted last year to oppose Proposition H on the November ballot, drafted by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, which would have barred Supervisors from running for the County Democratic Central Committee – forseeing the type of conflicts that arose Wednesday night forcing the Supervisors present to pull a abstention en masse. There was also the issue of Supervisors hogging the seats – the county Democratic committee exists to get out the Democratic vote and weigh in on policy recommendations presumable from the neighborhoods. But when Supervisors use their superior name recognition and fund raising ability – imagine a businessperson who might have a matter before the Board in the future telling a Supervisor asking for a contribution for his/her DCCC campaign committee No! – which gives Board members a hugely waited advantage over candidates from neighborhood Democrat clubs seeking a policy-making voice.
The defeat of Newsom’s reform Proposition H by a narrow margin has been attributed to the No on H recommendation on the superpowerful official Democratic Party slate card sent to all registered Democrats . Control of that slate card ‘s recommendations in the name of the Democratic Party was artfully used by former Supervisors Chris Daly and Aaron Peskin to pack the DCCC with like-minded fellows.
A motion was made at Wednesday nights meeting by the designated Proxy (full disclosure, Argonaut editor Warren Hinckle made the motion sitting in for Newsom’s regular Proxy John Shanley who was in Ireland) for now-Lt. Governor Newsom to change the DCCC bylaws to conform to the state Democratic Party county committee standard for endorsements which is 60 per cent of the members. Daly and Peskin used a change in the San Francisco County committee bylaws to 50 per cent plus one vote to endorse candidates, which manifestly enabled their takeover of the party machinery
. That motion will be voted upon at the March 23 DCCC meeting and is expected to be opposed by Chair Peskin and his allies.
State Senator Leland Yee, who is running for mayor of San Francisco, has let it be known, via leaks and an unprecedented official “death threat” press release, that he has been the target of death threats and vile racial slurs. Thus far, Leland’s cries for attention have been met with what can only be described as a big yawn from the media. Meanwhile, Ed Lee, who is the Mayor, has been sunning himself in the warmth of an extended honeymoon of positive press comment, with no prodding from him. One can only imagine Leland’s frustration.
Leland’s cry for attention began in the wake of the Tucson shootings, when Yee’s San Mateo office leaked to the San Mateo Times the news that Tucson Sheriff”s investigators had called them inquiring if there was any link to threats Yee received from Sara Palin fans when he was hot to trot about the secretive nature of Saran Palin’s speaking fee for an address last summer at California State University, Stanislaus. Lee got some really good ink out of that beef, particularly in the Chronicle, after University authorities went into stupid mode and there was talk of faxes being shredded and that sort of thing.
The San Mateo paper dutifully published a lengthy January 14 exclusive: “Death Threats to Bay Area Senator catch eye of Giffords investigators.” The rest of the Bay Area media didn’t pick up the story – KGO-TV did give it a mention – possibly because the San Mateo paper, having done its best to stir the death-threat pot, concluded , after talking to the CHP which investigates threats against state officials: “Despite some rough similiarities, a CHP spokesperson noted that detectives think Loughner acted alone. And he has no known connections with Yee or the Bay Area.”
Not to be deterred, Yee then picked a public fight with right wing totem Rush Limbaugh singling out “offensive comments” (as if everything Limbaugh said wasn’t offensive) he made and calling for a boycott of advertisers on his syndicated radio show. This, predictably, generated yet another racist death threat — as Yee’s office pointed out in a January 26 press release: “After condemning offensive comments by Rush Limbaugh, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) today was sent a racist death threat via fax to his San Francisco and Capitol offices…” – and reproduced the offending communication replete with noose and references Yee as a “Fishhead” and “Rectum Sniffing Moron.”
- Yee Death Threat?
Just about every elected official gets death threats and there is an unwritten political etiquette between politicians and press such deranged threats are not to be publicized – and certainly never bragged upon by a politician – because of commonsense monkey-see, monkey-do concerns.
The death threat press release was apparently too much for the Chronicle’s usually mild-mannered Matier & Ross, who in their Sunday column gave Yee a bow shot to stop this, noting that prior to Yee’s unprecedented and slightly loopy press release and apparent attempts to suggest that he might have been on the Tucson shooter’s hate list, Yee “had previously advertised death threats over his call to regulate violent video games.” (Note the verb “advertised.”)
“Yee, who is running for San Francisco mayor, isn’t the first lawmaker to get death threats. But he’s the first we’ve known to announce them with a press release – then go on every TV news show that will have him to talk about it,” Matier and Ross wrote.
The ever-obliging web site Fog City Journal printed Yee’s press release verbatim including posting the ugly racist death-threat fax Yee’s office had sent out to the media. The Fog City Journal added: “Spread the word! Bookmark on Delicious, Digg this post, Recommend on Facebook, share via Reddit, Share with Stumblers, Tweet about it…” Wonderful. Generate more death threats.
Matier and Ross quoted the head of the Senator’s San Mateo office, Adam Keigwin, who appears to have played a central role in the bragging of Leland death-threats, as explaining that the blameless Yee “can’t control the interest the media has in this.”
Odd. The only real interest the media has shown to date is to tell Yee to shut up already spreading this self-promoting, dangerous claptrap.