The Conejo Valley Democrats sent out their February newsletter. Click on continue reading to see it.
Click here for their website.
I have been very impressed that many of the Democratic clubs haven't taken time off after the campaign but instead are holding events with guest speakers, helping local charities and making future plans. With the change in registration numbers and the better organizations locally Democrats should continue to make gains in Ventura County.
February seems to be a time to reflect on our good fortune, and to share with others who aren't so fortunate. In that spirit, our charity of the month is the Agoura Hills Animal Shelter. Gov. Schwarzenegger has suggested that veterinary bills should be taxed at a higher rate to make up some of the budget deficit in California. This will strain already hard-hit families who are struggling in this recession. Animal shelters are bursting at the seams with newly abandoned pets whose families could no longer take care of them. We are hoping our members will give what they can to help those who help the animals. Thank you. Suggested donations: For Cats and Kittens: Kirkland Dry Kibble Nutro Kitten Food Friskies or Fancy Feast Canned Cat food KMR milk replacement for kittens For Dogs and Puppies: Pedigree and Nutro canned dog food for puppies Pedigree and Nutro canned food for Adult and Senior Dogs Dog Beds with foam inside and zipper covers, fleece blankets and towels Petsmart or Costco gift cards to buy supplies. Newsletter Note: Hard copy newsletters are being mailed only to those individuals who are paid current (2009) members and who request a hard copy. If you would like your newsletter sent via snail mail, call Kara Altshuler.
DCCV Meeting, February 11
The February 11th meeting is at the Newbury
Park Library, starting at 6:30 PM. Our guest speaker is Professor of Communication Beverly Merrill Kelley, Ph.D. She teaches mass, interpersonal and campaign
communication as well as politics in cinema.
She founded the Communication Department
at CLU in 1980.
Dr. Kelley has written two books - Reelpolitik:
Political Ideologies in '30's and '40's
Films and Reelpolitik II. She also writes a
regular newspaper column for the Ventura
County Star and has been a contributor to
the Los Angeles Times. To celebrate President's month, Dr. Kelley is speaking to us about the campaign advantages and disadvantages George Washington and Abraham Lincoln would face were
they to run for President in 21st Century
California Democratic Party Assembly District Representative Elections
The 37th Assembly District elected 6 women and 6 men to 2-year terms as members of the California state central committee and delegates to the state conventions. The election drew a crowd of about 150 people from the assembly district. Winners of the election were Joan Adams, Jody Avery-Smith, Debbie Birenbaum, Sue Boloorchi, Roni Flowers, Kim Stephenson, William Carter, David Maron, Sean Keenan, Ron Adams, Cleo Navarro, & Paul Markowitz. William Carter was also elected as the representative to the executive board.
Jay Kapitz was elected from the 41st Assembly District.
Congratulations to all representatives!
"O" Day--January 20, 2009
by Jay Kapitz
I had been awake for 24 hours. DCCV Logo
I had been sandwiched and squeezed and pressed against 2 million to gain access to a plot of earth that would become "home" and where I would stand for half a day. I opened my door at 6 AM and thousands of marchers were marching in unending rivers. Four of us tried to meet three more friends, but the river was blocked by buses and barriers. We called and impossibly our missing three were almost next to us. The sign ahead said silver tickets, our match, but we did not move forward for an hour. Then we gambled and reversed against the human gridlock until we found a moving river that flowed to our target. Cold feet and warm spirits were our foundation. We danced and sang non-stop for hours. You watched it on television. We needed to be there. We chanted goodbye to Bush as the chopper lifted. We cheered our heroes and booed the villains. Mainly we squeezed and shivered because that is what history required today. We cried and laughed a lot.
A party, a ball, another party, a pub. Our ball was too formal, sedate...boring. Barack spoke, and he danced with Michelle. It was special after all. We made new friends on trains, street corners, wherever and whenever. Is DC so great or was this moment just special?
TODAY WAS MY BIRTHDAY. A special thanks to all my friends everywhere for making it the best ever, especially the 50 who attended the dinner the night before the inauguration. Thanks for the text and voice messages.
Congrats to all of the hardworking volunteers. We are the change we have been waiting for.
Obama Inauguration--Thrill of a Lifetime
by Sandy Emberland
Attending the Inauguration of President Barack Obama & Vice President Joe Biden was truly a thrill - one I will never forget. Before leaving for Washington DC I had received word that I had a ticket from Senator Boxer's office and an invitation to a reception immediately following the inauguration in her honor.
One of the highlights of the trip happened early. On Thursday Betty Spilker & I were privileged to be in the Senate Gallery to hear the end of Senator Biden's farewell speech, Senator Clinton's farewell and the accolades that followed by fellow Senators. After lunch that day we saw Roland Burris sworn in as the senator from Illinois, who replaced President-elect Obama. That evening our Night Tour of DC took us to many famous monuments & memorials, with the unique opportunity to see them after dark - and in the cold! One that really stood out for me was the memorial to President Franklin Roosevelt. The 4 scenes that represented his 4 terms were amazing - and the fountains were frozen in places.
Friday's highlight was visiting the reception rooms at the State Department and dinner at the Capitol Hill Brewery including an InaugurAle. Saturday's tour of the Capitol included the Hall of Statues and was a good history lesson. The day ended in Georgetown, where we visited an art museum devoted to Obama and walked past the former home of then-Senator John F. Kennedy. We met Alyssa Roberts and Olivia Rudeen from Colorado, who were creating a video blog for NPR. We celebrated Alyssa's 18th birthday & cheered for their camera. Sunday, Penny Strowger & I joined Karen Peters & Kitty Stokes at Obama Radio Nation, a live taping of Bill Press's show, featuring Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes & Ed Schultz. We met them at a reception after the taping.
Monday, we attended a workshop sponsored by Alliance for Justice, then hurried back for a photo op with Lois Capps and other Ventura/Santa Barbara visitors on the Capitol steps. The day was highlighted with a rousing birthday bash for Jay Kapitz where I met up with my convention roommate, Mattie.
Tuesday was THE BIG DAY. Karen, Kitty & I had silver tickets, and walked (shuffled) to the silver area (about 2-3 blocks). After going through security, we found a spot for viewing the jumbotron, which was inconveniently placed near a row of trees. Every photo has a tree branch obscuring the screen. We were bundled up - toe warmers, hand warmers, layers of silk underwear, turtlenecks, stocking caps, hooded coats and warm boots. The weather was cold - about 20°, but sunny & a bit breezy. We waited patiently for hours with hundreds of other ticket holders. Some were old and had waited a lifetime for this moment. Others were young and carried their children to witness this special historical event.
As the ceremony started, the jumbotron showed the dignitaries arriving at the Capitol. The audience reaction was probably not captured on TV, but loud boos went out for Senator Lieberman & VP Cheney. When Bush was shown, they started singing - na,na,na,na, bye-bye, good bye. Priceless. Loud cheers for Senator Kennedy.
The huge crowd was hushed during the swearing-in ceremony and Obama's speech. Later, as we inched our way out, there was a calm you could
feel among those attending. Karen and I walked and walked to get to Senator Boxer's reception at the Dirkson building. We walked by the frozen Reflecting Pond, where people were sliding. After the California List reception, we met up with Penny & headed home via taxi. We were very cold & our feet were beyond tired & sore - we had been on our feet for hours & I don't think we could have walked another block. Of course there were many closed roads, so we got the grand tour to our hotel. Unlike others, we did not attend a fancy ball - we ate dinner at the hotel, toasted Obama with a bottle or two of wine & reflected on what a privilege it was to witness history. Cold, sore feet, chapped hands & faces didn't seem to matter - we had been there - at a defining moment in our country's history. It was truly the thrill of a lifetime.
National Day of Service--Jan. 19
Dr. King's birthday was celebrated this year with a national day of community service. Here in the Conejo Valley, several activities took
place. The weekend prior, the TO Free Clinic got a facelift with 9 professional painters and numerous volunteers. (See article on page 5) This is an on-going project.
A Day without Plastic Bags helped bring awareness of the need to eliminate plastic bags for bringing home food or other purchases. Lisa Sloan Strom headed this campaign & hopes to expand it so that stores ASK if you want a bag, and customers bring their own reusable bags for all purchases.
The local Manna food bank was overwhelmed with the food brought in by various volunteers who collected food at local grocery stores. Good job everyone-Dr. King would be proud!
"To Be or Not to Be" -- A Volunteer, That Is
by Shoshana Brower
The dictionary defines "to volunteer" in a
variety of ways. For me, it means working on
an activity or for an organization without compensation, often driven by personal passion. I
might start off thinking that I want to help others
and in the end I frequently feel like I received
more from the experience than I gave.
Currently most of us would think of examples
such as working on political campaigns or participating in the National Day of Service.
I began volunteering in the 70's when I was
part of a group of parents who developed an
integrated alternative elementary school in Los
Angeles. When I moved to Westlake Village, I
started a diversity round table. Yes, there was
diversity in Thousand Oaks back then. In the
90's, I coordinated a youth-at-risk program for
five years and ran some political campaigns.
Then it all stopped. My priorities shifted to
graduate school and building my own consulting
firm. There are times in our lives when it
is difficult to fit in volunteering. Parenting can take all of our energy and we can't imagine having enough left over to do volunteer work. On the other hand, if "paying back" and serving others is a value you hold dear, then what better way to model to your children by volunteering and engaging them with you. Currently, in addition to the satisfaction I receive by working with youth in the Middle East to become peacemakers or helping to raise money for microloans for women in poverty in Malawi, the pleasure of volunteering doubles when I can teach my grandchildren the value of helping others. Recently my grandson, Leo, 3 ½ years old, went with me and a friend to deliver Meals on Wheels. We experienced instant gratification when smiles came to the faces of those homebound as Leo handed them a carnation. It was a win-win.
So pick something that excites you and that
makes you feel good. Follow your passions.
You can make a difference in this world.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. CELEBRATION LUNCHEON
The luncheon was held in the beautiful Library Room at the Thousand Oaks Inn on Tuesday, January 27. We were honored to have as our guest speaker, Dr. Russell L. Stockard, Associate
Professor at California Lutheran University.
Dr. Stockard talked about his father, R.L.
Stockard, Sr., who after fighting in World
War II, went on to become a college professor
and one of the first African-American
sportswriters in the United States. He broke
the color barrier at three newspapers in the Deep South in the 1950's. Most recently a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, Russell L. Stockard, Sr. is truly one of the "Greats" of the Greatest Generation,
and his story is an inspiration to us all.
Our next luncheon will be in March to commemorate Cesar Chavez. Details will follow.
Running for all the Right Reasons--Book Review
by Sylvia Navarro
The book was inspiring and taught me much about the Arab culture, especially the joys and struggles of women in these countries. I was moved by the challenges she overcame on her road to success. Her hurdles and heartaches she faced during her run for political office inspired me to continue on my personal journey to work for democratic principles in this country. I hope to see many of our Democratic club members at Ferial's book signing.
Join Ferial Masry at the book signing of her book
Running for All the Right Reasons
on Mon. Feb. 23 at Barnes & Noble, Westlake Village Promenade, at 7:00 PM
Also, Ferial has been invited to Valley Grassroots for Democracy regular monthly meeting (Feb 18, 7PM, State Building Auditorium) to talk about her book, sign copies, and answer questions.
Volunteer Recognition Dinner
The second annual Volunteer Recognition dinner was attended by nearly 100 volunteers on Fri, January 30 at Naylor's Banquet Center. Volunteers from Obama's campaign as well as Hannah-Beth Jackson & Ferial Masry were honored. Club President, Debbie Birenbaum, also recognized the 2008 club officers, including Jody Avery-Smith, Jim McIntyre, Jay Kapitz, and Mary Wallin.
Keynote speaker for the evening was Matt Simon, Obama Regional Field Director. Matt noted that volunteers from the Thousand Oaks-Simi Valley area were the most politically active during the campaign compared to other areas in the entire US. We had the most phone banks, the most personal contacts & most outreach to other states. Good Job, Volunteers!
Matt spoke on the rewards of volunteering, both personally and for the country, and urged
everyone to continue President Obama's desire to continue to work towards betterment on
the local level. Look for Organize for America projects.
Each year our Volunteer Recognition Dinner benefits a local charity. This year's beneficiary was The Greater Contribution. Karon Wright, Executive Director, explained how they raise funds to give micro loans to poverty-stricken people (mostly women) so that they
can start businesses aimed at supporting themselves and their children. Locally
they go into schools to educate children in our area about poverty. The club presented
The Greater Contribution with a check for $1,230.
Candidates Ferial Masry & Hannah-Beth Jackson's deputy campaign manager,
Chris Lanier, thanked their volunteers for their heroic efforts in the 2008 campaigns.
Sandy Emberland, event coordinator, opened the evening with a poem - We Walk in Hope, and recognized some outstanding volunteers - Roni Flowers, Pat Beals & Patti Carpenter. Also acknowledged were Deborah Dent, Lisa Sloan Strom, and Karon Wright. Each volunteer received a pen so they can continue to write & work on issues.
Our auctioneer, Jim McIntyre, auctioned two vacations. A week in Sayulita, Mexico, was won by William & Debbie Carter, and a week at an RCI condo of her choice was won by Chin Sung Ling, a guest visiting from Canada. President Debbie Birenbaum also presented gifts of lavender plants to Sandy Emberland, Kara Altshuler, and Sylvia Navarro for their continuing support.
Volunteers Give Face Lift to Conejo Free Clinic
Thanks to 45 hard-working, fun volunteers the Conejo Free Clinic got a fabulous face lift on January 17 and 18. In response to the call for a National Day of Service, Linda Ronske and Pat Beals met with Clinic Director Teresa Seeley to inquire if any help was needed at the clinic. An ecstatic Teresa responded that the volunteer
help appeared at the perfect time. She explained that the clinic is in the process of a ground-up reorganization so that it can better serve our community. She detailed an exhaustive agenda of needs, but said painting and cleaning up the clinic were at the top of her wish list.
Much gratitude goes to the nine professional painters who donated their hard work and skill. They are:
Dan Johnson Custom Painting (805 496-9160) Ernesto Chavaria, Carlos Chavarria (805 217-9588)
Ruben Escuto, Edwin Escobar & Apo Garcia.
Dunn Edwards generously supplied paint and supplies. California Pizza Kitchen, Mimi's and Starbucks graciously provided great food & snacks for the volunteers. Co-chairing the event were Cathy Cole, Andrew Parada and Pat Beals.
Volunteer Opportunities at Conejo Free Clinic
Our local free clinic is in the process of re-organizing itself to upgrade and expand its role in our community. If you're committed, but selective, about what you volunteer for, but can only work a few hours a week, the Free Clinic may be the right place for you. This is a warm, close, hard-working team of "can-do" volunteers who come together regularly to provide a much needed service to our community.
DETAIL ORIENTED VOLUNTEERS: Immediate need for 2-3 volunteers to organize our files for credentialing process. Requires detailed review of manual file system to assure all info is accurate and current. Project consists of 40-50 hours of work for 2-3 volunteers over a one month time frame. After training, you can work on your own time schedule. Requires careful attention to detail. Clinic has MS Office 2003 and Access 2003.
RECEPTIONISTS: (need 5-6) to handle phone and walk-in patient needs. Medical experience
preferred. 12-3 shift Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, 9 am-Noon Thursdays
ATTORNEYS: (need 2) Specialty in family law or bankruptcy. Work one Tuesday night per month (7-9 pm). No court appearances.
SPECIALIZED RN'S: For Medical Chart Review and follow up - (need 2)
Immunization Nurses - (need 2-3). Monthly commitment of two shifts, 3-4 hours each shift.
PATIENT ADVOCATES: Need 2-3 volunteers with excellent interpersonal and organizational skills to obtain outside referrals for Clinic patients who require additional care.
NURSES: RN, MA and LVN volunteers to work scheduled clinics.
To apply or for more info, please contact Teresa Seeley, Executive Director, (805) 379-1918.
Conejo Free Clinic, 80 East Hillcrest, Suite 102, Thousand Oaks.
Eye on the Issues
This month's Eye on the Issues is a re-run of
a show that was taped last summer. Our host,
Constance Starkey discussed the state of the
economy and the mortgage crisis with guests
Ray Freeman (banker), Richard Gunther
(business professor) and Guada Isomaki
(realtor). Our panel discussed the causes and
possible solutions to our economic woes. They
predicted the crisis would get worse and current
events show they are right.
Eye on the Issues airs on Time Warner Cable
Channel 25 on Thursdays at 6:00 pm. The production staff includes Jody Avery-Smith, director; Sue Gunther, producer; and Teri Smolarski, co-producer.
March DCCV Meeting
March 11, 2009
Location: Thousand Oaks Library, 6:30 pm
Speaker: Dr. Grady Hanrahan
Topic: Global Water Rights
Service: My Stuff Bags
For our charity of choice, DCCV is requesting items for abused children and teens who have been removed from their homes. Items can include school supplies, stuffed animals, blankets, books and toiletries. All items must be new and fit a 12" x 20" duffle bag. No food items.
CA Democratic Convention
The California Democratic Party is looking for volunteers for the State Convention. This year the Convention will take place on April 24 - 26 in Sacramento. Over 800 volunteers are needed. For further information, please call Christopher Guerrero, Volunteer director, at (916)442-5707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Democratic Club of the Conejo Valley