Our Protest Coalition
Forum on Reproductive Rights brings mixed message
At a dinner and forum on June 29 at The Club at McInnis Park, members and others heard two speakers discuss the recent vote by the Supreme Court to overturn Texas’ extreme and now unconstitutional requirements that clinic providing abortions have operating facilities well over and above what is necessary for an abortion and that physicians performing abortions in these clinics have operating privileges in a local hospital to “protect women’s health.”
While this is good news for those concerned with protecting women’s reproductive rights, and indeed, other states with requirements similar to Texas’ are rethinking their position in light of having to defend their unconstitutional laws at great expense.
However, Gabriella Jimenez, senior public affairs officer for Planned Parenthood Northern California and Rebecca Griffin, assistant director, California Programs for NARAL Pro-Choice California, outlined the challenges still facing women who wish to terminate a pregnancy in a safe and legal environment. There are still many states that have forced the closure of dozens of clinics providing abortion services. In some states women have to travel over 200 miles to reach a clinic, and in some cases they are forced into waiting periods requiring them to come back to the clinic, an economic hardship for many women seeking abortions. States with extreme laws include a wide swath through the middle of the country, from north to south, but also in every other part of the country. These states are chipping away at Roe v. Wade through numerous laws that make it difficult for clinics to stay open, find doctors willing to perform abortions when they are at risk for personal attacks, protect women who have to walk through demonstrators calling out hateful messages, and operate on reduced funding, among other tactics imposed on them.
The event was inspiring to all who attended. Fortunately, according to Rebecca, young women are aware and willing to take up the fight for reproductive freedom that has been going on since Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973.
New Members Tea – an evening of fun and fellowship
Gone are the days of white gloves and flowered hats. The Falkirk Cultural Center in San Rafael was the scene of much merriment as MWPAC introduced its new members, a number that is growing steadily, along with making a special presentation of an engraved walnut gavel to retiring Judge Faye D’Opal. Guests enjoyed a lovely spread of delicious food, prepared by Program Chair Barbara Matas, along with wine and other beverages. The New Members Tea is an annual event that marks the anniversary of MWPAC, which is celebrating its founding six years ago.
MWPAC Endorsement Night
At 7:00 PM the Endorsement Forum was held at the San Rafael City Council Chambers.This was an excellent opportunity to learn about candidates in major local races on the June 7 ballot. This forum was free and open to the public. MWPAC members who paid their dues by March 22 were eligible to caucus after the forum and vote in the endorsement process.
Katie Rice – Supervisor District 2
Kate Sears – Supervisor District 3
MWPAC Celebrate Women’s History Month
On Friday, March 11. 2016, MWPAC celebrated at Piatti Ristorante in Mill Valley, The special guest speaker was Jennifer Welch, Chief of Police, SMART.
The Keynote Speaker was Roseann Torres, Oakland Unified School Board Director speaking on “Women in Politics-Expanding Our Base”.
The capacity crowd also honored student leaders from throughout the county.
MWPAC Elects 2016 Officers
MWPAC held its election for 2016 officers on January 20 at the Redwoods Presbyterian Church in Larkspur and re-elected Gina Brewer, president and Tammi Hull, treasurer. Sharon Jackson was elected vice president and Eliana Reeves, recording secretary. The program committee served a hearty dinner of minestrone soup, pizza and salad and showed the film, This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein. This was an excellent, inspiring, soul-searching and frightening film about climate change and man’s destruction in the name of progress, and the actions we must take to prevent further damage to our planet.
Holiday Festivities Close Out the Year
MWPAC held its annual holiday party at the Redwoods Presbyterian Church in Larkspur on Wednesday, December 16. As usual, the evening was full of food, fun, and festivities. The annual White Elephant gift exchange was rousing, as each person chose a wrapped package or “stole” someone else’s previously opened gift. Certain items such as a warm red scarf and pair of salt and pepper shakers, which turned out to be grinders, made the rounds. It’s a wonderful evening of visiting with old and new friends as we prepare for an exciting 2016 election year.
In addition, party guests could choose to donate to Book Passage’s Giving Tree, which provides books for underprivileged children. Others donated items or money for Marin County’s Adopt A Family program. A few days later several holiday bags full of presents which were delivered to the county office for distribution to the chosen family.
ELECTION WRAP-UP leads to vigorous discussion
Some 40 people filled the back room at the Brick and Bottle restaurant in Corte Madera on Wednesday, November 11, yes, Veterans Day, to hear three political pundits discuss the results of the November 3 election in Marin. The three included Richard Rubin, political and business consultant and frequent guest columnist for the Marin IJ; Brad Breithaupt, Opinion Page Editor for the IJ, and Jeanne MacLeamy, Mayor of Novato.
The consensus was that several issues lead to the very low voter turnout in Marin, averaging around 30% of the voters in any city. One issue is that elections in odd numbered years don’t draw the attention of the even numbered years, especially when the presidential election takes place. Also, voters don’t feel they have enough information to intelligently vote. Only the IJ offers endorsements across the board on many races and propositions. The Pacific Sun stopped doing that this year under new management. The League of Women voters and other organizations include MWPAC do offer endorsements, but voters need to know where to look for the information.
One solution might be to consolidate all the races on even numbered years. It would be a longer ballot, but would include more races of interest to voters. Perhaps holding election day on a weekend would be more convenient. Many people vote by mail, but still the turnout was low.
Another issue was that some city council incumbents were not returned to office. This could be because the tide is turning as new people move into the county, and the old establishment is eased out. Or it could simply be that voters don’t like what’s going on.
All in all, it was a lively evening of discussion, fellowship and good food. This is an annual event that has proven to be very popular with members and guests.
Candidates’ Workshop Offers Sound Advice
A roomful of hopefuls ranging from school district to Congressional candidates heard speakers provide helpful advice on how to run a successful campaign for public office at MWPAC’s Candidates’ Night, June 15, 2015..
Speakers included Dottie LeMieux of Green Dog Campaigns, who gave the nuts and bolts for the local candidate and Lise Stampfli-Torme, a communications consultant, who spoke on creating an effective web site. Laurie Earp of Earp Events and Fundraising talked on how to meet campaign costs; Steve Burdo of Kathleen Russell Consulting covered how to organize a field campaign; and Brad Breithaupt of the Marin IJ and Michele Barni of MWPAC described their organizations’ endorsement processes. Finally, Barbara Coler, Mayor, Fairfax Town Council, shared her experience as a candidate.
Two important tips emphasized by the speakers were to develop a realistic budget for your campaign and to try and meet as many potential voters as possible face-to-face to learn firsthand what they think the key issues are in your race.
The lively evening, held at the Redwoods Presbyterian Church in Larkspur, began with a gourmet Greek-themed dinner provided by Caterer Suzy Denning.
New Members Tea
Our New Members Tea was a big success! Held at the charming Margie Belrose Theater in San Rafael, our event honoring new members attracted a good-sized turnout including several high school students and young professionals from the Young Democrats Club, plus other guests who are not members yet, but we hope they will join us soon. Guests learned about the long history of MWPAC and about our mission to get more women elected to public office. With soothing harp music in the background, guests enjoyed tea poured from beautiful tea pots, wine, finger sandwiches, pastries and sweets. It was a lovely high tea and a chance for everyone to chat and catch up, and meet new people.
MWPAC’s Elected Women’s Luncheon
MWPAC’s annual Elected Women’s Luncheon honoring elected women officials and young women student leaders was a big success. The weather cooperated with a lovely, warm Spring-like day. Some 83 people filled the room at The Club at McInnis Park.
Guest speaker newly elected State Controller Betty Yee outlined the many duties of her office, which she has only been in for two months, and the many projects already underway. Speaking to the young women, she emphasized getting some education in finance, no matter what professional field they might enter.
Keynote Speaker Nancy Skinner, who was just termed out after three terms in the State Assembly, traced her career, from being the first and only UC Cal student to be elected to the Berkeley City Council, to her future plans to run for the State Senate. She advised the young students to keep in contact with people they meet throughout their academic career and into their early profession. These people can be invaluable contacts through life, she said.
The students each received a rose, and proclamations from Congressman Jared Huffman, State Senator Mike McGuire, and Assemblyman Marc Levine.
Election Night Wrap Up
Guest speakers Greg Brockbank, attorney and former San Rafael City councilman; Jeanne MacLeamy, architect and Novato City Council Member, and Brad Breithaupt, Opinion Page Editor of the Marin IJ, discuss the outcome of November 4th, 2014 election, locally and beyond.
Candidates Training Workshop a Big Success
Approximately 35 people attended MWPAC’s Candidates Training Workshop on Monday, August 18. Considering this is an “off” year with few big races at the local level, we were pleasantly surprised at the turn out at the Redwoods Presbyterian Church in Larkspur. Ed Vorous provided a sumptuous feast before the program, which included presentations from campaign consultants, giving their hard-earned advice about how to run a campaign, and several speakers representing the media, unions and organizations that endorse. It was agreed by the endorsers that candidates have to make public their phone numbers and email addresses so that endorsers can find them. Supervisor Judy Arnold made an excellent presentation on what it’s like to run in a race fraught with controversy.
Elected Women’s Luncheon
Maureen Sedonaen, CEO of Goodwill for Marin, San Mateo, and San Francisco, Founder of The Youth Leadership Institute, and Board President of Marin’s Center of Volunteer & Non Profit Leadership, with student leaders who were guests of MWPAC at its annual Elected Women’s Luncheon celebrating Women’s History Month in March.
Anniversary Party a Big Success
Despite a number of competing (or complimentary) events taking place the same night, our 3rd Anniversary Party and New Members reception was a big success. Some people, particularly local officials, party-hopped because of the overload of engagements, but that just added to the buzz. Along with enjoying wonderful food organized by Barbara Matas and Ed Vorous, and drink graciously poured by Gary Tobin, guests honored three longtime members who received emeritus status, Dora Knell, Marvell Hamm, and Eleanor Kellogg-Smith.
Ed Vorous received the Volunteer of the Year Award.
Ed Vorous receives Volunteer of the Year Award from President Michele Barni
Guests watch the proceedings
Lynn Bornstein helps out in the kitchen
Dora Knell receives a small gift in recognition of her newly bestowed Emeritus status
“Miss Representation” Available for Home Viewing
MWPAC held a very successful film night, presenting Jennifer Newsom’s “Miss Representation,”
a documentary about how women are still being marginalized. Even though we’ve achieved some
success in the job market we haven’t reached parity at the top corporate levels or in public office.
It is a very moving and inspiring film. If you wish to show the DVD to your friends in your home,
MWPAC Marks Two Year Birthday
It has been two years since we began the Marin Women’s Political Action Committee, in response to the National Women’s Political Caucus’ decision to not allow the recommendation of male candidates in political races where no qualified woman was running. We chose to disengage ourselves from that organization and start our own, with all the same talented, enthusiastic, and very active members plus a whole bunch of new talented, enthusiastic and very active members!
So, on Monday, May 14, we held our second birthday party at the Falkirk Cultural Center in San Rafael, where everyone who attended had a fine time gossiping, or rather, discussing intelligently, the upcoming primary election, which has several hot local races including for Congress and the Assembly. Fine food was provided by Executive Chef Ed Vorous and Sou Chef Barbara Matas (honorary titles).
Very desirable prizes were raffled off. And, awards were given to Supervisor Susan Adams, who received the Don and Dori Organ award for her hard work in the county and as a member in good standing with MWPAC. Barbara Matas received the first annual Barbara Matas Volunteer of the Year Award. Sue Severin was honored for her many years of generous participation in NWPC/MWPAC. She will be moving soon to Ashland, Oregon and we will miss her enthusiasm and friendship.
1. A sumptuous buffet greeted party goers.
2. Barbara Matas received her award — a complete surprise.
3. Sue Severin was presented with a bouquet almost as big as she is.
MWPAC Endorses Katie Rice for Supervisor, Marin District 2
The Marin Women’s Political Action Committee has endorsed three candidates for the June 5 primary election:
Mary Sylla, a candidate for the Ross Valley Sanitary District board,
Katie Rice for County Supervisor District #2,
and Diane Furst for County Supervisor District #4.
MWPAC Endorses Susan Adams for Congress
The MWPAC has endorsed Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams for the 2nd District Congressional seat.
At its Endorsement meeting, held Monday, April 9, eight candidates vied for the honor. It was a challenging evening because some of the candidates had to travel for several hours since the new district reaches up to the Oregon border, but they were a peppy bunch and ready to shake things up in Washington.
The candidates were serious and brought their “A” game. We only wish there was more than one seat available. Our next endorsement night, for the Assembly, Supervisors and other races will be held Monday,
April 23 at the San Rafael City Council chambers at 7 p.m.
March 23rd–Elected Women’s Luncheon at The Club at McInnis
Some 90 movers and shakers from around the county flocked to The Club at McInnis Park to hear Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Fiona Ma and newly appointed County Supervisor Katie Rice, as well as gab with fellow politicos and political junkies, and eat pasta, prawns or London Broil.
Being an election year, there might have been more electricity in the air than usual, but there’s no getting around the fact the politicos love to talk with one another, catching up on the latest news, networking, and in general, having a good time. Sixteen young women student leaders from Dominican University, College of Marin and Terra Linda High School were honored guests and received personalized proclamations from Assemblyman Jared Huffman and State Senator Mark Leno.
Several of the girls said they were encouraged by The Honorable Fiona Ma’s story about how she was destined for a career in business, but found politics more compelling. Supervisor Rice talked about the inspiration she received from working for the late Supervisor Hal Brown.
The luncheon is a fundraiser for MWPAC and a raffle brought in an extra $200 which is earmarked for the political action fund.
Discussion on Public Banking with Ellen Brown on March 15- Well Attended
Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of 11 books including “The Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free”.
David Trujillo- Planned Parenthood
David Trujillo, Public Affairs Director for Planned Parenthood,Shasta Pacific Action fund, spoke before a sell-out crowd at MWPAC’s first public meeting of the year.
Planned Parenthood is counting on two-thirds of the California legislators, the U.S. Congress, and President Obama to continue funding for the organization.
Voter registration is being conducted by Planned Parenthood volunteers to ensure politicians that support women’s health remain in Congress, and win elections instead of anti-Choice candidates.
Trujillo highly praised Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer for their strong support of women’s rights.
Without support from office holders at both state and federal levels, funding can be reduced or eliminated,
threatening the reproductive health of thousands of women across the country who rely on Planned Parenthood for medical care, said Trujillo.
Phone banks made up of volunteers are being set up to persuade the public to lobby politicians who want to stop funding at both federal and state levels.
Funds from the public are needed to bankroll this effort.
Planned Parenthood provides abortions, birth control, emergency contraception,
the HPV vaccine which prevents cervical cancer and many other important services for women. For more information, check out www.ppactionca.org.
Holiday Party a raucous and roaring success
Our holiday party continues to be a popular gathering, filling Barbara Heller’s house with laughter, political banter, good food and plenty of it, along with warm fellowship. Assemblyman Michael Allen joined us, laden with potluck contributions.
Guests brought their elegantly wrapped White Elephant gifts, and as usual, the right people got the wrong gifts, so gifts were traded, exchanged and claimed back and forth several times until everybody was satisfied.
Officers for 2012 were elected by acclamation: President Michele Barni, Vice President Gina Brewer,
Secretary Ed Vorous, and Treasurer Tammi Hull. People gave generously to the Book Passage’s Giving Tree,
which provides books as holiday gifts for children living in shelters and other situations of extreme need.
Election Results Overview
A sold-out and spirited crowd heard Vic Canby, longtime Marin Republican political observer, radio personality and progressive political commentator Peter B. Collins and IJ Opinion Page Editor Brad Breithaupt.
November 8 election results analysis on Monday, November 14.
The event took place at Max’s Cafe, in Corte Madera.
Collins, who came armed with election statistics, said he was surprised at the significant percentage of votes separating the two candidates, Greg Brockbank, and victor Gary Phillips, who ran for San Rafael Mayor. He said the issue of the Target store coming to San Rafael, which Brockbank voted against while serving on the city council, was not the key issue among voters that Brockbank had banked on.
Canby said he wasn’t so concerned about local politics because he felt the Marin electorate made pretty good decisions, but he felt Obama needed a stronger base of advisors to get beyond his speechmaking and into action.
Breithaupt said the IJ editorial board personally talked with over 50 candidates in person to show respect to the candidates before making endorsements. He noted the low voter turnout especially compared to two years ago with the Presidential election. Perhaps, he said, county elections should be held only in even years, when big ticket races are also on the ballot, motivating voters.
They all thought the Assembly and Congressional races next year should be very interesting.
MWPAC Announces 2011 Endorsements
- Greg Brockbank for Mayor of San Rafael
- Whitney Hoyt for San Rafael City Council
- Ford Greene and Lori Lopin for San Anselmo City Council
- Bob Ravasio for Corte Madera City Council
- Madeline Kellner for Novato City Council
- Eva Long, Joan Lisetor and Stephanie O’Brien for College of Marin Board of Trustees
- Larry Chu for Larkspur City Council
- Cathryn Hilliard for Southern Marin Fire Protection District
Popular Candidates Workshop A Success- September 6, 2011
Thinking of a run this fall or next year? Want to help your favorite candidate?
Or just plain curious about the campaign process? This is the training
for you! Please save Tuesday, September 6, for the Marin Women’s Political
Action Committee’s annual fall candidate training at the Club at McInnis
Park. If you attend only one candidate training, this is the most comprehensive
and information packed event that every candidate needs to win.
Filing for November’s elections opens in July. Elections this fall will
include many City Councils, School Boards, the College of Marin and Special
Districts. Next year, we will see June primary elections for 3 County
Supervisor positions, Assembly, State Senate and Congress. With the new
redistricting maps, this will be a whole new ball game.
If you are thinking about running for any of these or are just interested
in the campaign process, please save Tuesday, September 6, for the Marin
Women’s Political Action Committee’s fall candidate training at the Club
at McInnis Park.
At this event, we invite a number of campaign professionals, elected officials
and others who work in elections, to share their knowledge on topics such
Fundraising – The art of asking for money even though
you hate the thought of doing it
Endorsements – Who endorses in political campaigns and
how to seek their support. Some influential endorsers are newspapers,
environmental groups, unions, elected officials and the Marin Women’s
PAC. We endorse and actively support pro-choice candidates!
Honing your Message and Getting it to the Voters – Direct mail,
handouts, ads, TV and more – how to tell the voter why you are the one!
Events and Debates – From house parties to formal debates,
you will want to be your best when speaking to the public.
Dealing with the Press – How to talk with reporters without
fear, and create effective press releases
Social Media – Today’s candidate must be web savvy; Facebook,
Twitter and the all important Website.
Precinct Walking and Phoning – Meeting voters, it’s what it’s
all about. Get out your walking shoes and hit the campaign trail!
This nuts and bolts tutorial will help you get your campaign off on the
right foot. Look for future announcements as we set the agenda for the
MWPAC Celebrates its First Birthday- May 24, 2011
A rousing group of celebrants marked the first “birthday” of our organization,
complete with birthday cake, a sumptuous buffet — thank you Barbara Matas,
Lynn Bornstein, and Ed Vorous; delicious wine — thank you Fan Tan Smith –
and vigorous conversation. Congratulations, MWPAC, for a thriving first year,
full of wonderful events, stimulating programs, deep friendships, and don’t forget,
the terrific women and supportive men who run for elected offices, and whom we support.
Here’s to many more years of successful campaigns bringing more women into the political process!