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Newsletter: March 16, 2021
** In This Newsletter:
Democratic Legislation in the House (#Legislation)
Republican Attempts to Rule from the Minority (#republican-minority)
Bernie Sanders Backs Newsom (#Sanders-Backs-Newsom)
Conservative Deficit Concerns Are Disingenuous (#Conservative-Deficit)
Expansions of the Valley Vaccine Program (#Valley-Vaccine)
Democratic Party HQ (#HQ)
Rule by federal legislation, instead of by Twitter. It is a refreshing and unfamiliar feeling. To all our relief, the Democratic Party has been making good use of its new control of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Presidency. California Democrats, including Rep. Jim Costa, have been at the forefront of steering this legislation to reflect the particular needs of our Central Valley.
HR 1, the For the People Act ([link removed]) , works to clean up corruption, expand voting rights and puts the needs of the American people ahead of special interests. If it becomes law, this will be the most extensive expansion to democratic protections since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It stands in stark contrast to the Republican efforts to make it more difficult for people to vote, efforts that since the election are being fast tracked everywhere Republicans hold power.
HR 5, the Equality Act ([link removed]) , prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas such as employment, education, housing, credit, the jury system, public accommodations and facilities, and federal funding. It is a clear statement that all Americans deserve equal treatment and a fair opportunity without fear of harassment or discrimination.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 ([link removed]) is designed to improve the efforts of law enforcement, therefore creating greater trust between police and our communities. Still a work in progress, the bill places into the crosshairs decades of oppressive policies and systemic racial biases that have held back Black and minority communities as equal members of society.
And at the foundation of all this effort is the monumental Covid relief bill, the first tentpole of this new Democratic regime. This legislation will help return children safely to school, increase our vaccine supply and provide financial relief to struggling Americans, small businesses, and state and local governments. The relief bill contains $4 billion for immigration so that means all the eligible people will be taking the test for citizenship and with the Democrat in the White House who made this possible, voter registration should hit record levels. The landmark bill also contains much needed aid to states and local governments, many of which had been expecting financial starvation after Trump’s “you’re on your own” policies.
Financial relief to local communities
* $194 million - Fresno County
* $177 million - City of Fresno
* $31 million - Madera County
* $22 million - City of Madera
* $54 million - Merced County
* $28 million - City of Merced
* $5.5 million - Atwater
* $3.4 million - Chowchilla
* $1 million - Dos Palos
* $1.1 million - Gustine
* $7.7 million - Los Banos
* $2.8 million - Livingston
However, we Democrats cannot ever allow ourselves to become complacent again. There is no force protecting the “right side of history” except those of us who continually fight to push in that direction.
State-level voter suppression, a Trumpist-packed federal court system and a Supreme Court made shockingly conservative for the oncoming decades are the Republicans’ tools to continue their ravages against our country after losing on the national level.
Donald Trump has made disbelief in the electoral process a fundamental Republican tenet. Now, opportunistic conservatives across the nation have taken advantage to weld that delusional worldview to a long-held tenet in the Republican party: More Republicans are elected when fewer Americans vote.
Aiding in enhancing their power, the structure of our federal government inherently favors rural conservatives. The Senate was designed from the beginning to enhance the power of low population states at the expense of high population states. There are three states with more Senators than House Representatives, all controlled by Republicans.
The Electoral College has much the same effect, allowing razor-edge victories in low population states to outweigh huge swings in big states. This empowerment of the sparse has only increased since the size of the House of Representatives was frozen at 435 members by a 1929 law, ending the House’s constitutional design of counterbalancing the Senate’s population blindness. Now California has one representative for each 745,000 people, whereas in Wyoming 578,000 have the same power.
This disparity is only rising as the population becomes increasingly concentrated in our country. So you can understand why the Republican Party has abandoned attempting to govern by convincing the majority, and instead concentrates on ruling through a carefully empowered minority.
Our own local headline maker, Rep. Devin Nunes (R–Tulare) has joined the national conservative calls for restricting voting rights. Ever a fan of Trump-brand conspiracy theories, Nunes has bought fully into the same terror-mongering swirl of propaganda that motivated the Jan. 6 Beer-Gut Putsch in Washington and is continuing to amplify them through his position in the House of Representatives. He is advocating greater restrictions on voting and for more bogus investigations into already disproved allegations of voter fraud in every area Trump lost.
“Extremist Republicans have done enough to undermine democracy already. We must all unite to oppose the recall in California.”—Senator Bernie Sanders
Gavin Newsom is facing a recall campaign from California Republicans, who are hoping to twist people’s sorrow and frustration at the death and disruption Covid-19 has caused into a rejection of government in general. But even though Newsom campaigned as more centrist than some in the California political landscape, his progressive fellows in the Democratic Party still have his back.
Prominent progressive Senator Bernie Sanders has joined Caregivers and Californians United Against the Recall to push back against this Republican narrative. Caregivers and Californians United was launched by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, one of America’s leading champions of Medicare for All, and has now been joined by Courage California, our state’s largest grassroots progressive organization.
The campaign is organizing Californians who support universal healthcare, stronger environmental protections, tenants’ rights, immigrant rights, criminal justice reform and other progressive priorities to defeat the recall and push forward with the program of real change our state’s residents want and need.
After four years of silent springs, this year we can again hear the call of that intermittently endangered species, the deficit hawk. It is a strange creature, that when in overwhelming numbers cannot be found but as soon as its population drops is suddenly seen everywhere.
Republicans only care about cutting the deficit when it can mean preventing or eliminating Democratic agendas. Border walls, military expenditures and tax cuts somehow never figure into the checkbook-balancing concerns. Neither can increasing taxes on all those companies and individuals whose secure power has been thrown into sharp spotlight as their wealth increased during the crisis of the pandemic.
Everyday Americans need their federal government. And that does not merely mean we need to roll back the damage done by Donald Trump. The Republican Party has been starving the potential of our country through decades of harmful cuts and the deprivation of conservative policy. These have measurably made our lives worse from the way we live to the air we breathe and the water we drink.
Through the 1970s, the federal government supported 30% of total spending on water utility infrastructure in our state, where water is a vital and precarious resource. By 2014, that number was down to less than 5%. Less affluent areas have been left to fend for themselves, raising their own funds from their own residents. This furthers the divide between those with money, who live in areas with good support systems, and those without. “self-reliance,” which inevitably means that “the rich get more.”
Food and agricultural workers, along with those employed in education and childcare, now qualify to receive their inoculations under Governor Newsom’s vaccine plan, with support from the Democrats in Washington. This includes cafeteria workers, fast food and restaurant employees, delivery systems, recycling operations, crosswalk guards, bus drivers, daycare providers and food, feed and beverage distribution. Childcare also includes informal childcare workers, foster care and those working in children’s residential community care facilities, and library staff.
Any members of these groups over 16 years of age can sign up for an appointment. Fresno County is currently administering vaccines to these groups, as well as healthcare workers and those with high-risk medical conditions.
There are now 43 different facilities across the county offering vaccine appointments: www.co.fresno.ca.us/Home/ShowDocument?id=52599.
Appointments can be made in advance, and the links to do so can be found on the Fresno County Vaccine website. All availability is limited by the vaccine supply. If you or a family member has received the first dose of the vaccine, remember that a second dose must be received for full effect.
For the health and prosperity of all those around you, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing and reduce your incidents of contact with people who do not dwell in your home.
Check your eligibility and make appointments here: [link removed] ([link removed]) . (Not all vaccine sites use this signup. Check other locations.)
County vaccine website:
www.co.fresno.ca.us/departments/public-health/covid-19/covid-19-vaccines ([link removed])
The Democratic Party HQ (1033 U St. ([link removed]) ) is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday–Friday. Call 559-495-0606 (tel:559-495-0606) or e-mail [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]?subject=Re%3A%20Newsletter-03-16-21) for information or to volunteer.
Support your local Democratic Party by making a donation viaActBlue ([link removed]) or by mailing a check to Fresno County Democratic Party, P.O. Box 5795, Fresno, CA 93755.
Our newsletter is prepared by Francis Horan.
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Fresno County Democratic Party . 1033 U Street . Fresno, CA 93721 . USA