Welcome to Transition!

Help us build a vibrant and resilient society for people and the planet.

Coming up:

October 26 Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope – Food For Change

7:30-9:00pm, Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
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Third Thursday each month Games Night, 7:00-9:00pm. Palo Alto. Please RSVP to transitionpaloalto@googlegroups.com for address and other details.
Fourth Tuesday each month TPA Community Council, 7-9pm, Palo Alto. Check your TPA email for location and details later in the month.
Fridays, except fourth Friday Transition Cafe, 6:10-8pm, Red Rock Cafe, Castro St, Mountain ViewMore about the cafe
Weekends Garden Shares:
First Saturday each month: Mountain View Garden Share,
12 noon-1pm, Heritage Park in Mountain View.
Second Saturday each month: Portola Valley Garden Share,
10-11am, Portola Valley Town Center.
Fourth Sunday each month: Sunnyvale Garden Share,
11am-noon, Charles St. Garden, Sunnyvale.
Every other Sunday, starting 5/6: Redwood City Garden Share, 1266 Connecticut Drive, Redwood City. Contact rhamsa14@yahoo.com for updates.

To get involved, check out these links: How to get involved! and What you can do about climate change. And sign up for our spam-free mailing list for information about important activities and events. And want to get in touch? Send a message to transitionpaloalto@gmail.com.

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Conversation with Asher Miller of Post Carbon Institute

On October 15, TPA had the pleasure of hosting Asher Miller, head of the Post Carbon Institute. In conversation with TPAer Bart Anderson, Asher talked about his roots in the Bay Area, his work at PCI, the connection between the Transition Town movement and Post Carbon, and the crises we’re now facing ecologically, politically, economically, and culturally.

By working with visionaries and thought leaders like Richard Heinberg, Bill McKibben, and Rob Hopkins and educating people through the resilience.org news and information site, PCI has been promoting social and cultural changes to make society more resilient and responsive. Asher wants to make sure that positive ideas and approaches are ready and available for people to grab and run with when they decide or are forced to act.

You can learn more about Asher Miller and the work on PCI by going to https://www.postcarbon.org/ and resilience.org.

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Roundtable wisdom

30 enthusiastic and thoughtful participants gathered for Fourth Friday’s election roundtable to crowdsource information and advice about the state and local ballot measures that are up for a vote in November.  The purpose was not to endorse any particular measures, but rather to look beneath the surface at what motivated the presence of each measure on the ballot and what the likely result of passage would be.

Hopefully, the following notes accurately reflect the conversation!

State ballot measures

Ballotpedia has a summary of all the measures with links to details.

State bond measures

There are several bond measures on the ballot this year. We had some general discussion about bond financing, with questions raised about reliance on bond financing instead of having the legislature simply appropriate money where needed. The explanation was that the legislature appropriates money on a year-by-year basis, which doesn’t work for long-term capital-intensive financing.

Proposition 1 and Proposition 2 address affordable housing, with Proposition 2 specifically addressing the nexus between mental health and homelessness. We learned about the complicated layers of funding required for affordable housing and how these bond measures are an essential piece of a larger puzzle. Most people who shared their views were in support of these measures.

Proposition 3 is a bit more complicated. It provides additional funds for water infrastructure but is opposed by groups such as the Sierra Club as a giveaway to Big Agriculture that may divert funds from climate funds and elsewhere. Some participants wanted to learn more about the measure, but the general feeling was that it should be opposed.

Proposition 4 would provide additional funding for children’s hospitals. Sentiment in the group leaned towards support, though it was noted that money to finance the initiative has been provided by all the major children’s hospitals in the state.

Other state measures

Proposition 5 allows homeowners who are 55 and over or severely disabled to buy another house anywhere in California without having their tax basis recalculated for property tax purposes. Current law allows a one-time transfer of property tax basis homeowners 55 and older, with restrictions as to the counties where they can move and keep the benefit.  Sentiment in the group was strongly against this proposition. The proposition places no limit on the number of times homeowners can get the benefit, so it could encourage house flipping, where people buy a house, add improvements, and then immediately sell at a higher price. It also could mean a significant reduction in property tax revenues for education and other services.

Proposition 6 would repeal the 2017 gas tax increase and make it much harder to impose future gas taxes for revenues and carbon reduction. The group expressed strong opposition.

Proposition 10 would make it easier for localities to implement rent stabilization by repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. Currently, rent stabilization policies, such as Mountain Views do conform to Costa-Hawkins, but there are constraints that could be relaxed if this passes. Participants expressed support for this measure.

Support was also expressed for Proposition 12, which would improve conditions for animals intended for food consumption.

Participants expressed opposition to Proposition 8 (dialysis clinics) and Proposition 11 (ambulance workers). Proposition 8 came across as a piecemeal proposal that is not best addressed by a proposition, while Proposition 11 came across as a giveaway to ambulance companies.

It was noted that Proposition 7 for year-round daylight savings time would have an effect only if the federal government allows the change AND the California legislative enacts it.

Local measures

We also discussed the local measures on the ballot in Palo Alto and Mountain View.

Palo Alto

Measure E would raise the hotel tax (transient occupancy tax) by 1.5% to help with general municipal funding. Raising the hotel tax to fund city services is often a popular thing to do because it doesn’t directly hit the pocketbooks of local residents.

There was no consensus on this measure, but it was noted that it would enable or continue projects that for which costs have increased since funding was last approved (the group wasn’t sure what specific projects would be involved).  And people wondered if the tax would apply to Air BNB rentals. According to my reading of the official resolution, it would (see section 2.33.010 of the resolution).

Measure F would get Palo Alto into the business of regulating health care costs. The consensus was that while keeping health care costs in line is highly desirable, it’s not an issue that can effectively or should be addressed at the municipal level.

Mountain View

Measure P would be a change to the business license tax. The new structure would be highly graduated with little change for small business but much higher rates paid by large businesses such as Google. The goal is to help improve transportation for the new developments that are planned north of Shoreline (on the Bay side of 101). Participants were in favor of this measure.

Measure Q is part of the city’s preparation for local retail cannabis sales, ensuring that a tax will be in place before any retail operations are opened. It would levy a 9% tax on gross receipts, which is in the range of rates that are already authorized by other local governments. Participants noted that this would not establish or enable any cannabis businesses, just garner revenue from ones that are established. Participants expressed support for this proposal.

Resources

There are lots of places to look for more information on the November ballot. Here are just a few. If you have information you’d like to share, please send email to transitionpaloalto@gmail.com. If your information is appropriate and helpful, we’ll add it to this post. Please remember, though that Transition Palo Altos is a non-partisan organization.

Indivisible CA Ballot Propositions Voter Guide. This is the guide that was passed out during the roundtable, prepared by the non-partisan Indivisible resistance group.

League of Women Voters. This page has links to various resources, including their ballot proposition pros and cons.

Ballotpedia very comprehensive place to go for almost all ballot information.

Sierra Club. This page has their statewide endorsements.

 

 

 

 

Transition US Online Summit Oct 27

October 27th, 9:45am to 3pm
RSVP to transitionpaloalto@gmail.com for location and details of the local gathering.

Transition US will host its first-ever national online summit, bringing together Transition US Community members and organizers from across the country for a day of education, inspiration, and celebration. The gathering will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Transition Movement with:

– Keynote sessions featuring international Transition Movement founder Rob Hopkins and world-renowned author, educator, and activist Margaret J. Wheatley.

– Engaging panel discussions focused on sharing some of the greatest success stories from our national network and deepening connections with the wider movement for community resilience.

– A live, interactive session with a talk by Transition US staff about the state of our movement and the presentation of several awards nominated by you, the community.

For more information and to participate in the local gathering, please RSVP to transitionpaloalto@gmail.com.

10/26 Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope – Food for Change

October is National Co-op month, and Fourth Friday is joining other communities across the country to show Food for Change, an acclaimed documentary about food co-ops.

Food for Change tracks the ups and downs of cooperatives since the Great Depression through rare archival footage, animation, graphics, and interviews with co-op leaders. You’ll learn about the nation’s longest surviving alternative economic system, which is also a social movement based on principles of cooperation. Food co-ops introduced whole and organic foods to the American diet in the 1970s; today they are the champions of local food systems.

Filmmaker Steve Alves, who narrates the film, sees the story’s theme of cooperation as particularly relevant to today’s political climate. “It’s American history, from the Great Depression to the present, with co-ops as the protagonist,” says Alves.

“Across the U.S. we’re experiencing both a renaissance and a challenge to food co-ops,” says Sean Doyle, General Manager of the Seward Co-op. “As food co-ops have grown to be successful businesses with annual sales of over $2 billion, they are facing fierce competition from corporate chain stores in the natural foods market they created. We want the public to know our story and what we stand for.”  See the trailer…

Friday October 26, 7:30-9:30pm 
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
FREE, Donations appreciated.

Co-sponsored by Transition Palo Alto and the Green Sanctuary Committee of UUPCA.

Food for change flyer

Halloween Scare Faire and Costume Swap

children holding firecrackers outdoors

For the fifth year, Transition Palo Alto hosts the Costume Swap – a chance to pass down old, outgrown, or simply unused costumes, wigs, and other Halloween wear for both children and adults. Then take home something new to you for this Halloween.

This year, we meet at the Museum of American Heritage, who have kindly hosted our Costume Swap and Halloween Scare Faire.

The Costume swap will include a drop-off period from 1pm to 1:20pm – those with costumes will get a number. At 1:20, we’ll admit those with numbers in order to pick up costumes.

That won’t be all – the line-up of Skill Shares is also scary fun:

  • A Story Circle to share scares and monster tales from wherever you’re from
  • Fabmo will bring fabric and offer a chance for a Costume Makeover
  • Face painting
  • Pumpkin decorating
  • Bike repair
  • Goods shares – garden produce, clothes, books, toys, crafts, and Halloween or Holiday decor

If you are able to help, please sign up here.

More details about our Share Faires is available here.

Join us for a Boo-tiful day of sharing and scaring!

When: Sunday, October 7, 1-3pm

Where: Museum of American Heritage, 351 Homer Ave, Palo Alto Map link

 

Transition Café – Heroes

There is a great graphic novel…sequential art piece…called Kingdom Come. The premise is that the Humans on Earth have become dependent on the superheroes–Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, etc, even though they complain about that dependence, hating and fearing the heroes. One day, the superheroes are called away to deal with some catastrophe somewhere else in the multiverse, and are not around when the Humans actually need them, and there are consequences. When they return, the Humans are enraged at the heroes for leaving to help all of creation instead of being around to meet the needs of the Humans who hate and fear them. The heroes are finally fed up, and retreat into their civilian identities, living out their lives unnoticed and unavailable to those who have such mixed feelings about them. Over time, new heroes emerge, with more consequences…

…leading to a pivotal crisis, leading the superheroes to wrestle with the question of whether or not to come back and take part, or just let the Humans deal with the consequences of their actions.

Barack Obama spoke in Illinois last week. Rarely have I been so relieved to hear the voice of a public figure, let alone a former President (although Berkeley Breathed and Bill Watterston come to mind). When he ran for office, he was completely clear that he could not…preside…alone, that he needed us on board, that we were a team. I heard him say that and understood completely. I had been in a similar position, myself. Not on anything like that scale, but in one fiefdom or another which could so easily have been a functional community of folks working together to create something amazing.

For all of that, when he revealed his humanity, making decisions I did not approve of, I turned away and let go of my good intentions to help him in his goals. Even so, when I heard him speak in those days, I really felt like he was one of us, someone I could easily go for a walk with, or talk with over tea, solving the problems of the world.

Hearing him speak last week, both at John McCain’s funeral (that seems so long ago), and in the longer speech in Illinois, it felt to me like a giant had awoken, a superhero had cast off their civilian garb and revealed themselves.

He is, of course, a Human (I assume), with all that that entails. He is saying similar things to what he said before: don’t wait for a hero, a savior–be that hero. Be the person who stands up and does the right thing because it is the right thing, because you’ll sleep better at night having done it, because you see in the eyes of that caged child the eyes of your own child, or maybe you see something of your own humanity in that little one.

It is being reported that Trump and Co. are working to build internment camps for children. Some are saying we have not done this since World War II, others that we never have, not solely for children. Is that the outrage which will stir us to action? Is it the appointment of a Supreme Court justice who seems to be actively perjuring himself? Is it enough to march, or do we need to do more?

I’ll leave it to you to learn the decisions of the heroes in Kingdom Come, but will offer a question…what would it take for us to be heroes, peaceful heroes, waking giants? Barack Obama is most certainly a hero, and his words are powerful and moving. He is also a Human, with weaknesses, foibles, ego, a desire to see his children succeed in their lives, to leave a legacy behind which will inspire them, and us, to remember him fondly. Progressives are creating what is being referred to as a “Rainbow Wave”, across the country. How do we help? Barack Obama speaking is important, what can the rest of us do? How do we co-lead, with them?

Who are your heroes? Why are they heroes, to you? What makes a hero?

 

Special event: ‘Sustainability in the Age of Trump’ – Conversation with Asher Miller of the Post Carbon Institute

Monday October 15, 7:30-9pm
Main Hall, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
Free, please sign up at EventBrite

You’re invited for a bird’s-eye view of the sustainability movement in the age of Trump, including where we can and should go, with Asher Miller, head of the Post Carbon Institute.

Through Post-Cabon, Asher has connected the different parts of the sustainability movement.  He was instrumental in helping the Transition Movement get started in the United States. He’s supported the work of Richard Heinberg on energy and peak oil and brought together experts such as Bill McKibben (climate) and Rob Hopkins (Transition).

Post Carbon has published many books, articles, and videos on sustainability, and supports the news site Resilience.org. Transition Palo Alto member Bart Anderson is one of the resilience.org editors and has worked with Asher since 2008.

Bart says, “Asher is that rare combination of idealist and common sense. Working behind the scenes, he is a master at networking the different groups and individuals. I always value his thoughts on strategy. If you want to learn what’s really going on, listen to Asher!”

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September 28 Fourth Friday: California and Local Election Roundtable

Want to make sense of all the California ballot initiatives? Wonder what impact the local measures on the ballot might have on your values and priorities?

Come to the 2018 TPA election roundtable to find out what other folks have learned about the ballot measures. Sometimes there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Let’s crowdsource what we all know, keeping an open mind and welcoming other thoughtful perspectives.

September 28 7:30-9:00pm 
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto

2018 election roundtable image

Rising up for our climate

Check out these sites for details about the Climate Rise March Sept 8 and other grassroots actions for this month.

350.org – Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice
Sunshine Alliance – schedule of people’s climate actions Sept 2-15

Jerry Brown hopes to use the Global Climate Action Summit Sept 12-14 to cement his legacy as a climate leader. But Brown has refused to ban fracking and limit other oil production in the state. Non-violent civil disobedience actions are underway as a last push to encourage Brown to act – and to send a message to the next state administration. Victoria Armigo participated in an action in August and shared this link with information about an action on September 13.

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August 24 Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope Soft Vengeance – Film and Discussion

“An emotive film that recognizes the power and endurance of the human spirit at its best.” – The Guardian (UK)

SOFT VENGEANCE tells the story of Albie Sachs, lawyer, writer, art lover and freedom fighter, set against the dramatic events leading to the overthrow of the apartheid regime in South Africa. His story provides a prism through which to view the challenges faced by those unable to tolerate a society founded on principles of slavery and disempowerment of South Africa’s majority black population.

As a young man, Albie defended those committed to ending apartheid in South Africa. For his actions, he was imprisoned and then forced into exile. In 1988, a car bomb by South African security forces in Mozambique cost him his right arm and the sight of one eye. Miraculously he survived and ultimately recovered. Returning to South Africa following the release of Nelson Mandela, Albie helped write the new Constitution and was then appointed as one of the first 11 judges to the new Constitutional Court.

Friday August 24 7:30-9:30pm 
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
FREE, Donations appreciated.

Co-sponsored by Transition Palo Alto, the Green Sanctuary Committee of UUPCA, and Peninsula Peace and Justice Center.

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