ACA Sign-Up Starts Wednesday!

Healthcare sign-ups start this Wednesday, Nov. 1. It’s important to check your plan and make sure there are no unpleasant surprises!  Plus, help others in your community take advantage of open enrollment.  Links:

Don’t let Trump’s shenanigans interfere with your healthcare!  Stay informed and share the news.

Kudos to MB Dems for Stand Against Racism

In the wake of Charlottesville, the Morongo Basin Democratic Club has issued a resolution calling for the club and its members to take action against racism and also published a letter asking local residents to take down Confederate flags.  Indivisible Morongo Basin applauds them for their stand.

Here is the text of the MBDC resolution against racism:

Whereas, racism, religious discrimination, homophobia and misogyny are contrary to American values; and,

 

Whereas, intolerance in all its forms has been shown to be learned behavior; and,

 

Whereas, it has been shown that racism and hate harm the emotional and physical health of both the victims and perpetrators.

 

Therefore, be it resolved that the Morongo Basin Democratic Club challenge laws, policies, and traditions that propagate, influence and support racism, bigotry and discrimination.

 

Be it further resolved that individually we commit ourselves to speaking up and out whenever racism, discrimination, homophobia or misogyny is present.

Resistance In The Press

The opinion page of local press is one of the most effective tools we have for making ourselves heard.  Resistance members in the Morongo Basin have been making full use of this opportunity!

Following on the events in Charlottesville, the Hi-Desert Star published an editorial on August 24 calling racism repugnant and stating “the area’s partisan political groups, its service organizations and its clergy should be forming a united front to condemn racism.”  The editorial notes “a new political group, Indivisible Morongo Basin, has joined in the effort to stand up for values of unity and justice”, but that the “brunt of the responsibility for ending white-supremacist racism should not be borne by its victims, or by a small group of churches or activists”; rather, “it’s a journey all of us in the Morongo Basin should be taking together.”

Rebecca Unger responds in a letter to the editor, and in another letter Wendy Hadley demands Rep. Paul Cook take a moral stand and censure President Trump’s statements on Charlottesville. You will find more voices from your community in the local press here.

Keep those letters coming, Indivisibles!  Get tips on how and where to write on our Use the Press page.  And remember, you can extend your impact by sending letters to newspapers throughout Congressional District 8 – find the links here.

ADDENDUM:  In response to the Hi-Desert Star’s August 24 editorial, the Lincoln Club of the Morongo Basin submitted a letter to the editor which states “We gladly go on record as joining other Morongo Basin groups and organizations in opposing racism of any kind.”

And since that time the Morongo Basin Democratic Club has approved a resolution against racism and also submitted a letter to the Star calling on fellow residents of the Basin to take down their Confederate flags.

“We Don’t Feel OK Here” – Adelanto in the LA Times

Problems at the Adelanto Detention Facility, a focus of the IMB Immigration Issues Team, have hit the front page of the Los Angeles Times:  “‘We don’t feel OK here’: Detainee deaths, suicide attempts and hunger strikes plague California immigration facility.

Located in the high desert 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles, the Adelanto Detention Facility can house nearly 2,000 men and women. Officials say more than 73,000 detainees have passed through since it opened in 2011.

 

Among those held there are asylum seekers, people caught in immigration sweeps and those identified by authorities as potentially deportable after landing in jail. Some have lived in the U.S. for decades, others were sent to Adelanto soon after crossing the border.

 

The GEO Group, which operates dozens of private prisons and detention centers around the country, owns and operates the facility. GEO Group receives a fee of up to about $112 per day per detainee from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with the city of Adelanto serving as a go-between.

 

Detainees and advocates have long complained of medical neglect, poor treatment by guards, lack of response to complaints and other problems. Government inspectors have also noted significant deficiencies at the facility — often related to medical care.

A guard escorts an immigrant detainee from a segregated housing unit back into the general population at the Adelanto Detention Facility in 2013. (John Moore / Getty Images)

…Rivera Martinez pointed to his mouth, where he had a gap in his teeth, and his nose, which crooked to the left, to show Peñalosa damage he alleged was caused by guards.

 

Attorney Nicole Ramos told the judge she was struggling to communicate with Rivera Martinez because the facility had blocked her phone number. (ICE officials say they sometimes block phone numbers for security reasons.)

 

Peñalosa said he would take note of the complaints. But he also explained to Rivera Martinez that his court is charged with deciding immigration cases, not resolving problems within the facility.

 

Rivera Martinez came to the U.S. this spring in a caravan with dozens of asylum seekers from Central America.

 

He said he fled El Salvador after a gang killed his brother and kidnapped him, his wife and teenage daughter when they witnessed the slaying. After the family escaped, Rivera Martinez said, he learned that the gang had occupied his house.

 

“I can’t return home anymore,” he said.

 

 

The Victorville Town Hall: We Didn’t Miss Paul Cook That Much, After All

It was no surprise that Congressman Paul Cook did not show up for the Town Hall he was invited to in Victorville on Saturday, but over 100 spirited constituents did.  A panel of five experts addressed issues of concern then took questions from the audience – as did a cardboard cut-out of Rep. Cook, who responded only, we’re sorry to say, with No Comment.  😉

The event was hosted by Indivisible Victor Valley and supported and attended by Indivisible groups from throughout Congressional District 8.  Here Joe Murphy of Indivisible Victor Valley gives a shout-out to some of the groups, including Indivisible Morongo Basin:

The jumbo “Where Is Paul Cook?” milk carton created by members of Indivisible Morongo Basin for the April 15 Tax Rally in Yucca Valley made the trip up to Victorville and struck a handsome pose outside the hall.  Everyone wanted their picture taken with it – here including organizers from Indivisible groups in Victor Valley, San Bernardino Mountains, and Yucaipa:

The Victorville Daily Press covered the event.

Indivisible Morongo Basin is so grateful to Indivisible Victor Valley and especially organizers Jason Graham and Joe Murphy for taking this on and hosting the event and doing a terrific job; as well as to all the District 8 Indivisible groups for their contributions.  Our own volunteer crew from IMB came a long way across the desert to do set-up and clean-up and staff the sign-in table – thank you Beth, Jaycene, MaryLou, Phyllis, Richard, Rick, and Yolanda. Thanks to our Relentless Callers team for showing up to sign up new members.  And a very special thank you to Yolanda and Greg for hauling our milk carton on to its next set of adventures – now with Indivisible Victor Valley!

Still Dishing It Up In The Cook-House

The resistance to the Trump agenda continues on the opinion pages of the Hi-Desert Star.  Keep it up, people!  You’re getting the message out, and it makes a difference.

Letters to the Editor:

(Reminder:  Find contact information for submitting your letters to the editor of newspapers throughout the 8th District here.)

Indivisible Morongo Basin was also one of eight District 8 Indivisible groups that signed on to a response to Rep. Paul Cook’s February op-ed that rejected the calls for a town hall.  The letter was published in the Victorville Daily Press and the Barstow Desert Dispatch.  Full text:

An open letter to Rep. Paul Cook

 

Posted Mar 13, 2017 at 9:34 AM

 

By T.C. Corrigan

 

Congressman Cook: Thanks so much for your op-ed last week. We’re glad to hear you’re safe. The “missing person” milk cartons that we saw on the news had us worried!

 

We’re writing you today as everyday citizens from California’s 8th District who, in recent weeks, have formed several local Indivisible groups in response to the Trump agenda. Indivisible is a national, non-partisan, grassroots movement working to resist that agenda, but our local, 8th District groups operate autonomously and democratically.

 

For weeks we’ve asked you to schedule a public town hall. Town halls are a time-honored means for constituents to directly inquire about their representatives’ policy positions and share their thoughts on the country’s direction.

 

Despite our many requests, you declined to schedule a public town hall during district work week (Feb. 18-26) — a period when legislators were expected to be in their districts interacting with constituents. In last week’s op-ed, you explained your reticence. We would like to respond to your main points.

 

First, you argued that February’s nationwide town halls were “wholly unproductive and oftentimes unsafe.” Citizens asked their representatives tough policy questions and shared personal stories about those policies’ impacts on their lives. What could be more productive for a democracy? The vast majority of town halls were also entirely peaceful. And where constituents did vent their frustrations, is it not their representatives’ responsibility to listen and consider their views?

 

Second, you accuse us of “creating not a dialogue but an indoor protest space with ample media coverage.” We’ve had several productive, if passionate, discussions with your staff, and we are committed to a productive town hall where constituents can ask questions, share stories, and respectfully listen. And if your positions are so popular, you should have no problem packing the place with grateful constituents, right? Your spokesman called us a “fringe group,” after all.

 

Third, you say the 8th District “voted for President Trump by a wide margin,” and that he “must be given the latitude to govern.” President Trump did receive 54 percent of the 8th District’s vote, but does that justify ignoring constituents who disagree with his agenda? Indeed, our members include Republicans who voted for you, but recoil at the president’s agenda and want you to address it at a town hall.

 

As for the president’s “latitude to govern,” we ask, “how much latitude, and at what cost?” He has twice signed un-American Muslim bans that — according to a leaked DHS report — will not make us safer. He also called for a border wall that American taxpayers (not Mexico) will pay tens of billions to construct, and his deportation directives disrupt our non-violent neighbors’ lives. Rather than “drain the swamp,” he tasked career politicians and billionaire lobbyists with dismantling decades of pro-social regulations. He seeks to repeal the Affordable Care Act despite your party’s inability to present a replacement that would make quality healthcare affordable to all Americans. And every day we learn more about his campaign’s communication with Russian officials while that country meddled in our election. Again, how much latitude, and at what cost?

 

You say you “will not be a rubber stamp for the President.” But according to fivethirtyeight.com you have cast every single vote this Congress in support of the Trump agenda. Further, your Jan. 30 statement defended the illegal, un-American, and unsafe Muslim ban, and only quibbled with its rollout. We are heartened to read about your concern with Russian meddling in our election, but why haven’t you called for an independent investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia? In short, if you’re not a rubber stamp for the President, prove it.

 

Finally, you argue that despite this year’s “hectic calendar” you have “met with groups of veterans, off roaders, conservationists, and active duty troops — among many others.” Sure, but you have not given advance public notice for these meetings (as you did prior to the Trump administration). So you meet with groups of your choosing on your terms, and anyone else can send an e-mail and wait for a generic response. Taxpaying constituents deserve more.

 

You served our country courageously. Now we ask you to find a bit of that courage and hold a public town hall during April recess. It not, we’ll arrange one for you with plenty of advance notice. If you decline, we’ll invite others who are interested in your job, and we’ll save you an empty seat. We hope it doesn’t come to that, though. Many of us would love to put a face (other than the one on missing posters and milk cartons) to the name.

 

T.C. Corrigan is founder of the Indivisible group of the San Bernardino Mountains. He penned this op-ed with the help of and on behalf of other members of Indivisible groups of California’s 8th District from Barstow, Big Bear, Eastern Sierras, Morongo Basin, Mount Baldy, Victor Valley and the Yucaipa area.

It’s Getting Hot in the Cook-House!

The Hi-Desert Star Opinion pages have been flooded with resistance action over the last week.  Thank you to all you letter-writers, and please keep it up!

Guest Soapbox:

Letters to the Editor:

(Note:  Find contact information for submitting your letters to the editor of newspapers throughout the 8th District here.)

In the Star March 2 edition, the feature “Word on the Street” posed the question, “Do you think Congressman Paul Cook should hold a town hall meeting?”  Of the six responses from residents across the Basin, five were in favor of a town hall.  Several comments made note that courtesy and avoiding shouting were necessary to have a productive event, and one suggested that Cook “could livestream it as well, seeing as how his district covers a large territory and not everyone can be there in person.”

Indivisible MB puts the pressure on Cook as vigil comes off without a hitch

Indivisible Morongo Basin made its local protest debut in Yucca Valley on February 28 with our “Pray for Paul” silent candlelight vigil, with over 80 people in attendance. The action came off perfectly as a result of really impressive planning and execution by a dedicated team of Indivisible members who made it look easy. THANK YOU for your skill, commitment, and vision to Yolanda, Patty, Marya, Kit, Jill, Eva S., and Eva M., as well to our security volunteers, sign-makers, and everyone else who contributed. We’ll append photos/video when we have them.

The inspiration for our vigil came from the hardworking members of other District 8 Indivisibles, especially Victor Valley and SB Mountains, who developed their own vigil in Apple Valley.  View the video from Apple Valley here, and read about it in the San Bernardino Sun.

Here’s coverage of our local vigil and the standoff with Congressman Paul Cook from the March 2 edition of the Hi-Desert Star:

At an impasse over town halls:  Cook says no to ‘chaotic meetings’

 

By Stacy Moore, Hi-Desert Star

 

YUCCA VALLEY – Residents of the HI-Desert tried to keep up the pressure on U.S. Rep. Paul Cook with a mock candlelight vigil Tuesday, but the congressman isn’t budging.

 

The locals are calling for Cook to hold a town hall in his 8th District, but Cook is standing firm on his decision not to host a public meeting.

 

“I’ll continue meeting with constituent groups just as I have in the past – including those which disagree with me, but do so in a constructive manner,” Cook wrote in an editorial Wednesday.

 

“However, I won’t attend chaotic political protests which accomplish little and jeopardize the safety of participants, my staff, or me.”

 

The congressman and his spokesman’s descriptions of demonstrators as politically extreme agitators who could turn violent are not playing well with the residents taking part in the “Where is Paul Cook” movement.

 

“We are not a fringe.  We’re upstanding Americans who value our democracy and we want an opportunity to express our views for him to take back to Washington, “ Eva Soltes, a spokeswoman for indivisible Morongo Basin, said at Tuesday’s vigil.

 

Chapters of Indivisible, a group founded in the wake of Donald Turmp’s election, are using a tongue-in-cheek “missing” campaign to spotlight his choice not to host a town hall.

 

At the candlelight vigil, constituents stood at the corner of Twentynine Palm Highway and Old Woman Springs Road as the sun set.  They held LED candles and “missing person” fliers with Cook’s image.

 

“He has nothing to fear; we are very peaceful people,” Soltes said.  “We just want to explain our concerns.”

 

One of their biggest concerns is health care; Trump voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act before under the Obama administration, and Republicans are now working on what they say will be a repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

 

Cook spokesman Michael Fresquez said last week the Indivisible members refuse to accept that the ACA must be repealed, and that makes them a fringe group.

 

“The extreme part of their political agenda is their unwillingness to accept changes to Obamacare or admit that any part of it has failed,” he said.  “It has resulted in higher premiums for many people, many aren’t allowed to see the doctor they want, and fewer and fewer insurance companies are participating in the exchanges.  The result for many is reduced quality of care and less affordable care.”

 

Soltes said Tuesday their concern about health care is a life-or-death matter.  GOP proposals would lower tax credits for customers on the health care exchanges, raising costs, according to reports from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute. “Because of the health care agenda being proposed, people could die,” Soltes said.

 

A post from Cook’s office on his Facebook page Tuesday asked for constituents’ thoughts on the ACA.  It had garnered 199 comments by Wednesday evening.

 

Another topic at the candlelight vigil was immigration and deportation.

 

“I’m a citizen of the United States and because of Trump’s immigration policy, I feel compelled to carry my birth certificate with me at all times,” Yolanda Brown, another Indivisible spokeswoman, said.

 

“If I’m in fear, and I was born here, I’m sure I’m not the only one.”

In Cook’s editorial, he said he has been “unwavering” on both health care and immigration for years.

 

“Voters made a clear choice in my last election, and I plan to keep my word to fight for my long-held positions:  Obamacare is deeply flawed and must be repealed and replaced with a better plan,” he wrote.  “Any new plan must roll back Obamacare regulations and mandates while ensuring that Americans have access to quality care to fit their budget.”

 

He said America must secure its borders before reforming immigration law.  “The borders are not secure; we must provide more resources for our border enforcement to stop not only illegal immigration but the flow of drugs, criminals and victims of human trafficking into the United States,” he wrote.

 

While Cook stood firm in his vow that he won’t host a town hall, Indivisible members said they aren’t going to stop.

 

“I hope he realizes our group is persistent, we’re strong in our beliefs and most importantly,” said Brown, “we’re not going anywhere.”

Resistance Recess in Cook’s Kingdom

There’s been so much happening here in Rep. Paul Cook’s district during the congressional recess, we thought we’d do a round-up:

WHERE IS PAUL COOK?:  The campaign initiated by Indivisible chapters in Victor Valley and San Bernardino Mountains has gone viral and was on the front page of the Feb 25 Hi-Desert Star.  We’ll post a link when the electronic version becomes available.  It’s also been featured nationally and internationally on Rachel Maddow, CNN, the BBC, and elsewhere.

YUCAIPA:  The newest 8th District chapter of Indivisible held its first visit to Paul Cook’s Yucaipa office, with great energy and a turnout that surprised the organizers, who said,  “We went during the publicly posted business hours and of course it was closed again. But we put up our ‘missing’ poster and had our event. We have only just begun!!”   Watch their video.

JOSHUA TREE:   #notmypresidentsday was marked by local participation in “Bad and Nasty” at the Sun Alley Stage, led by Tania Hammidi.  Per the front page of the Hi-Desert Star, “Bad and Nasty stands for Bad Hombres and Nasty Women and is a nationwide movement….The movement spurred a series of DIY performance events held around the country and the world Monday that aimed to mobilize ongoing resistance to the current administration and channel their anger into art and activism.”

ACROSS THE BASIN:  In that same edition of the Star were hard-hitting letters from Melissa Spurr and Eric Mueller, responding to Cook’s statement disparaging his constituents who are requesting he provide a town hall.  As well, this week’s Star and The Desert Trail have been full of letters addressing hate and discrimination.

AND FROM THE FRINGE:  In the wake of Cook’s statement Melissa has also started a Facebook action, “Notes from the Fringe”.  Per Melissa’s description: “California’s 8th district representative, Congressman Paul Cook, has dismissed the large minority of voters who didn’t vote for him as ‘fringe local agitators’ with an ‘extreme political agenda’ with whom he refuses to meet in a town hall forum. Please join us in sending him a ‘Note from the Fringe.’ Let him know that we on the so-called ‘fringe’ are ordinary people with legitimate concerns….You don’t need to leave home to attend this event. To participate, you simply need to write a letter to Congressman Paul Cook letting him know just how you feel about being dismissed as a fringe element. Please invite anyone who may also want to participate.  And feel free to fringe the edges of your letter and be as creative as you please. And please post photos of your letters if you don’t mind going public with them. They will serve to inspire and encourage others, and a large collection of them will help to underscore constituents’ frustrations with their lack of representation.”   Find Cook office addresses here.

Use The Press

Write Letters to the Editor

“Letters to the editor and opinion pieces are very powerful advocacy tools.  The editorial section of a newspaper is widely read by the public and is monitored by elected officials. In a letter to the editor or opinion piece, you can bring up information not addressed in a news article, and can create the impression of widespread support or opposition to an issue.”NCTE

Want to have real impact on your elected officials and the public?  Write a letter to the editor (LTE) of your local newspaper!  Below we have links for newspapers throughout Congressional District 8.  If you feel you’ve written a good letter, send it on to one or more of these papers – no reason to limit yourself to only the Morongo Basin.

Got something to say, but not sure how to write an effective letter and get it submitted?  Indivisible Morongo Basin has a Letters-to-the-Editor Mentor Team that will be happy to help you; just contact us here.  

More resources:  Indivisible National has a new guide for how to write letters that really get attention!  Other on-line sources for guidance:  American Library Association, Community Tool Box, WikiHow, National Council of Teachers of English

Press/Newspaper Sites

Local (Morongo Basin)

Hi-Desert Star (Yucca Valley) – Editor e-mail: editor@hidesertstar.com
The Desert Trail (29 Palms) – Editor e-mail: kurts@thedeserttrail.com
Both use this form for Letters to the Editor and Twitter Handle: @HiDesertPubCo

Regional

San Bernardino Sun – Write Letters to the Editor – Twitter: @sbsun
Press-Enterprise   – Write Letters to the Editor – Twitter: @PEcom_news

Community papers

High Desert Media Group, including Victorville Daily Press, Apple Valley Review, Hesperia Star – Twitter: @VVDailyPress
Desert Dispatch (Barstow)
All use same Letters to the Editor form

Coyote Chronicle – independent student voice of California State University SB – Twitter: @sbchronnews

The Big Bear Grizzly – Write Letters to the Editor
Yucaipa/Calimesa News Mirror – Write Letters to the Editor

Needles Daily Star – Contact

Call local media to express your opinions

On 107.7 the Up Close Show hosted by Gary Daigneault can be heard every Friday from 10-11AM.

Some weeks the show has a featured guest and topic but many weeks the forum is open to discuss whatever is on the mind of local citizens.

You can join the discussion each week. Call in live 760-366-8471. Or you can even direct your questions and letters to Gary in advance by emailing him at z1077fm@gmail.com.