Cook Office Visit Tuesday, January 31, 2017 – re Trump’s Muslim Ban

(Report by Eric Hamburg, attending & participating in this event for Indivisible Morongo Basin.)

Over 60 members of regional Indivisible groups and others concerned about Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban gathered at Rep. Paul Cook’s Apple Valley office. Meeting with Cook’s field representative, Matt Knox, in the patio outside the Apple Valley Town Hall, the overflow attendees presented a letter expressing their “shock and outrage at (Rep. Cook’s) support for this dangerous and un-American executive order”. Read the full letter here. Many others presented their comments to Mr. Knox as well.

Quoting from the letter to Rep. Cook:

We applaud you for asking President Trump to look closer at the implications of this order for people that have already been vetted and have valid green cards and visas; however, we are shocked and outraged at your support for this dangerous and un-American executive order as a whole, and we demand that you change your position and state publicly, clearly, and unambiguously that you oppose this executive order by the end of the week. Should you refuse to, we will return frequently and repeatedly until you change your position, and we will vote you out of office for betraying American values and putting our lives at risk.

Importantly, to this meeting’s priority issue, during our discussion Mr. Knox’s, representing Rep Cook, only real “defense” of Trump’s ban was to repeatedly wave around an internet printout/article re Obama’s 2011 immigration restrictions. It was pointed out to him, in part, via this Politifact article, that this “defense” was not responsive nor relevant to the current situation.

Today’s gathering more than tripled the number of attendees from the initial Indivisible/citizen’s meeting at Cook’s Apple Valley office on January 17, 2017. Today’s meeting was initiated and facilitated by Indivisible San Bernardino Mountains, and attended by members of Indivisible Morongo Basin, Indivisible Barstow, Indivisible Victor Valley and others. The mood of the attendees  was positive, passionate, determined and respectful of the democratic process but also ready to stand for their rights to express their views to their elected representative. The interior space of the Town Hall was too small to  accommodate the attendees so the meeting took place outside the front of the building.

Today, and as at the 1/17 meeting, attendees asked when Rep. Cook would conduct a local town hall meeting with his constituents. No affirmative answer was forthcoming. Additionally, specfic concerns regarding many issues were again presented to Mr. Knox and detailed responses were requested. To date we have received no responses from Rep. Cook from the 1/17 meeting. At today’s meeting this lack of responsiveness was pointed out to Mr. Knox. It was also noted that Mr. Knox, as at the last meeting, was taking no notes to record the attendees detailed questions. This is of serious concern as it calls into question if Mr. Knox can and will actually relay the detailed concerns of Rep. Cook’s constituents and provide us with substantive responses.

Video of only some (we needed to edit for time constraints) of the remarkable presentation of views:

The Victor Valley Daily Press reported on this event.

March To Support Standing Rock And Resistance To The Dakota Access Pipeline

Anyone who supports the resistance at Standing Rock is invited to join a march in Yucca Valley this Saturday, January 28.  The action is part of a Global Prayer Action focusing on banks that fund the Dakota Access Pipeline.

This week Trump signed executive orders advancing both DAPL and the Keystone XL pipeline.  Congressman Paul Cook has supported Keystone in the past and issued a statement on Tuesday in support of Trump’s latest action on Keystone (a statement that has now curiously disappeared from his .gov and Facebook pages).

The march will gather on the frontage road outside Bank of America at the corner of Dumosa and the Highway at noon for a prayer and at 12:30 will march down the block to Wells Fargo and Citibank.  According to the United We Rise website, local organizers are the Joshua Tree-Huggers and 350 Joshua Tree.

Rally Makes The Local News

The resistance is now visible!  The rally in Yucca Valley to support the Women’s March made the front page of the HI-Desert Star.

At the other end of Paul Cook’s district, nearly 600 marched in Bishop, a town with less than 9000 inhabitants.  There was a march in June Lake, as well.

UPDATE:  The driver who jumped the curb and hit one of our marchers has been charged.  If you were on that curb or witnessed the incident, please give a report to the sheriff at 760-956-5001.  Thanks!

Today, We Organize

On Friday, Trump was sworn in as president.  On Saturday, millions of women and their allies marched, around the world and right here in Yucca Valley, in opposition to what he stands for.

Today, we organize.

We’re not going to win with just one march.  The effort must be sustained and committed.  Already, there are small nodes of organizing starting in the Morongo Basin.  We want to help them grow and find one another.  If you feel something must be done, think about inviting people you know to start working together, or look for other efforts that have started.  We will support these efforts however we can.  Below, we’ve pasted an organizing toolkit sent out by the folks at indivisible.org, to follow up on their Indivisible Guide.  You can do it!  WE can do it!

FROM INDIVISIBLEGUIDE.COM:

Some of you may be busy planning for your first group meeting, while others are trying to fit a discussion of the Indivisible guide into a packed agenda for your hundredth meeting. But regardless of how long you’ve been doing this or how many people are in your group, you’re not just a leader in that group – you’re an organizer.

So: what is an organizer? An organizer is someone who brings people together and inspires them to take action. Organizers motivate and mobilize people; they build relationships with the people around them and they build a plan to act. They are leaders who lead from behind, always thinking about how they can get other people to do more.

The most important thing you can do right now is spread the word: talk to people about your group, invite them to your meeting, ask them to commit to join you, and follow up beforehand to make sure they are there. Then what? This toolkit includes materials to help you take the next step in your organizing journey, whether it’s your first step or just the most recent one:

1. A sample agenda for your first organizing meeting to help your group divide up the work, make a bold plan, and put it into action.

2. Ideas for keeping your meeting on track, so that you can make a great plan and help your group mobilize to execute it.

3. A sign-in sheet for your meeting: organizing is all about relationships, and relationships are all about communication.

4. A potential first action plan so you and your group can start talking to your Members of Congress about standing up to Trump right away.

5. Tricks of the trade for getting press coverage and spreading the word about your actions on social media, so that what your group does has as big an impact as possible.

6. And information on watching out for right-wing tricks.

Rally In Support of Women’s March On Washington D.C – Yucca Valley

Great showing and great spirit in Yucca Valley today as our desert folks turned out to rally in support of the Women’s March on Washington and Planned Parenthood.  We estimate more than 200 people came through over the course of four hours, with a long line of smiling and cheering locals and a forest of signs along Highway 62 for most of that time.  All generations and genders were well represented, many in homemade pink “pussyhats”.  The response from drivers was often enthusiastically positive (with a few one-fingered exceptions!).  One passing gentleman took offense at a “Pussy Power” sign and returned to discuss it, with no serious consequences.  More concerningly, someone in a white van drove up on the curb close to our people and did actually brush someone; his license plate and face were photographed, and the sheriff is pursuing the matter.  Our local sheriffs were quietly present nearby through most of the event, and we’re grateful.  And there was a counterprotest – one lonely guy standing silently on the other side of the highway, holding a Trump-Pence sign.  Some folks who were driving past stopped to join us, excited to see their neighbors turn out, and then called friends, helping our crowd grow!

View posts and images at the event page on Facebook and below.  We’ll post press links when they appear.

THANKS to the Morongo Basin Democratic Club and especially Debra Thompson for taking the initiative and organizing this groundbreaking rally in the Morongo Basin!

Meeting at Rep. Cook’s Apple Valley Office Jan. 17, 2017

Cook Office Visit Group

(Eric Hamburg reporting here.) On January 17, 2017 at 2 PM twenty-five concerned citizens representing Indivisible Groups or acting for themselves, from across the high desert (including Morongo Basin communities, Apple Valley, Barstow, the San Bernardino Mountain communities), met at Representative Paul Cook’s Apple Valley Office. We met with Rep. Cook’s representative Matt Knox for just over an hour.

Some of the attendees had met in recent days and prepared detailed concerns on a number of issues including:

  • The Affordable Care Act
  • Climate change
  • Social programs (Social Security, Medicare, Veterans, Planned Parenthood funding, opposition to privatization of prisons, education, other essential public services)
  • Immigration
  • A thorough investigation of the president-elect’s and his nominees financial holdings and conflicts of interest.

Individual presentations on these topics were made and written documents related to those concerns were presented to Mr. Knox. A spirited dialog with Mr. Knox took place. While I did not expect that we would find agreement with Rep. Cook on many points I felt that Matt’s responses were in many cases vague or un-informed.

The attendees asked that the written materials be passed on to Rep. Cook and that we receive detailed responses. We also expressed that we want the opportunity to meet personally with Rep. Cook to convey or concerns.

I appreciated the degree that my fellow attendees were informed on the issues and the passion and effectiveness with which they expressed them.