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We the People, Not We the Corporations

East Bay Democracy for America’s Winter Meetup looks at how we can end corporate personhood. Move to Amend wants to put a constitutional amendment before the people to do just that. Learn about their plan and how you can help.

We’ll also hear from the candidates for the newly created Assembly District 18 and conduct a straw poll. There are three candidates who are running to replace Sandre Swanson who is termed out of the Assembly this year. Which candidate do you support.

6:30 pm – pizza and socialize

7:00 pm – Meetup with fellow progressives

“We the People, Not We the Corporations”

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission reaffirmed the view that corporations are persons with associated rights of speech. That’s a terrible decision and we see the effects of that decision playing out in the primary elections this year. A broad coalition of organizations has launched a campaign proposing a Constitutional amendment that would establish that money is not speech and corporations are not people.

That coalition is named Move to Amend because they know the only way to undo the Supreme Court’s ruling is to pass a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood.

Here is Move to Amends website:

While it is reasonable for corporations to possess the authority to engage in many legal actions (e.g. enter into contracts, sue, be sued, etc), a wide variety of other applications have resulted in empowering corporations to deny actual citizens’ rights. For example, the judgment has been used to strike down state laws restricting corporate spending on ballot initiatives, thereby enabling corporations to block the intent of actual citizens attempting to exercise true democracy.

MTA Spokesperson Richard Hobbs will inform and inspire us as we hear how we can join an increasing number of cities and states – from locally here in Albany to Salt Lake City to Wisconsin – that are choosing to “Move-to-Amend.” 

Mr. Hobbs is a founder of Move to Amend San Jose chapter. Hobbs said that reverting to the intention of our founding fathers that corporate money is not speech and corporations are not persons under the Constitution is the quintessential strategic initiative … 

Finding ways for us to get our voices heard is a big part of what EB DFA has been doing for the past 7 years.

Meet with Assembly District 18 Candidates and cast your straw vote for the candidate of your choice

We have commitments from all of the candidates for the seat and we’ll have a meet-and-greet panel with them. There will be time for you to ask questions about candidate positions and about their legislative agendas.

At the close of panel, we’ll hold a straw poll so you can show your support for the candidate of your choice. We think this will be a good opportunity for you to learn about this important race – the only local primary race where the Assembly seat will be contested.

Here are the candidates:

1. Rob Bonta / Alameda City Council

Throughout his career in public service, Vice Mayor Bonta, 39, has distinguished himself as a strong advocate for Alameda’s and California’s public schools. He has fought to prevent layoffs of firefighters and police officers, foster economic development, exercise fiscal responsibility, and improve recreation opportunities for families.

“My single most important priority will be preserving and enhancing the core public services that our community values most by exercising fiscal responsibility. I will exercise with the city the same fiscal discipline I demonstrated on the hospital board, where we took deliberate and intentional steps both to reduce costs and to generate additional revenue. A critical part of exercising fiscal responsibility for the City is cultivating sound and responsible economic development, particularly in promoting business attraction and business retention, as I have done as chair of the city's Economic Development Commission.”


2. Abel Guillen / Peralta Community College Board

First elected to the Peralta Board in 2006, Abel kept his promises by holding Peralta’s management more accountable and its operations more transparent through a series of financial reforms and cost-saving measures. Abel has pushed for effective educational programs in green businesses, multimedia, biotech and health care to get our community back to work. He helped to secure over $20 million for career education and green jobs, and expanded access by providing classes for 3,000 more students. He helped students by obtaining $2 million to build the Peralta Health and Wellness Center, created the Easy Pass partnership with AC Transit that saves each student over $1,000 a year, and secured funding to keep the Children’s Center at the College of Alameda open.

Guillen also has tapped into the message of the 99 Percent. He won plaudits from the Occupy movement for his plan to explore the feasibility of moving the community college district's assets from large financial institutions to local credit unions and community banks.


3. Joel Young

I’m going to make sure that state agencies are buying goods and services from California businesses. The $7.2 billion dollar Bay bridge span was built overseas by thousands of workers. Can you imagine what a shot-in-the-arm that would have been for our struggling economy?
Other Bay area cities are outpacing Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro in creating green and information technology jobs. We have the potential to attract high tech firms. We have a workforce that is ready to lead the way. What we’re missing is a support network. As a business lawyer I saw firsthand what it takes to launch a successful start-up. I worked on the Oakland Green Business Incubator program to help entrepreneurs turn a good idea into a great business. I’ll work with the California Manufacturing Association to create a high tech Manufacturing Academy, and I’ll work with our local elected officials to create a plan to recruit and retain firms.


(Note: bios were developed based on candidate-provided information).

DFA All Star – Early Endorsement

We want to strongly urge you to vote for the DFA All Stars of your choice. Here's a short version of how it works. The All Star voting is a showing of grass roots support for a candidate. DFA's been doing this for many years. Jerry McNerney was an All Star in 2006. Beth Krom was an All Star in 2010. Winning the DFA All Star designation is a strong reflection of a candidate's grassroots strength.

Here's where to vote:

There are roughly 200 candidates running for Congress. You can vote for your top three choices out of those 200.

The candidate(s) with the most votes at the end of the cycle will get some cash but more importantly they'll get some on the ground support from DFA with a field organizer and pitches to the local DFA organizations asking to support the all stars.

I (Vincent Caslaina) am personally supporting Jose Hernandez in CA-10 as my first choice. He's a former astronaut and is running in a heavily hispanic district against a tea party incumbent. The district has switched to a Blue majority from a Red majority under the new redistricting rules. Here's an opportunity to change a Red to Blue Seat.

You can learn more about Jose at his website:
Jose's campaign manager is AJ Carrillo who ran Jerry McNerney's 2006 overthrow of Richard Pombo. Here's a chance for AJ to make that Red to Blue switch happen again.

Many groups including DFA Marin are supporting Norman Solomon to replace Lynn Woolsey in CA-02. There are 7 candidates competing for the DFA All Star title for CA-2 (Norman + 6 others) so Norman has a battle to win the designation. Here's what DFA Marin has to say:

The DFA Grassroots All Star voting is already underway. The cut off for first-round voting is Noon, PST, Tuesday, February 14th. The final round will start February 17 and end at Midnight, PST, Tuesday, February 28th.

We would like all of you to do (two) things:

please vote for Norman Solomon,

After you vote, please pass the link along to your friends and family click on this link - to go to Norman's website and find out how you can volunteer, participate or donate to his campaign.

Thank you -- Mayme Hubert and Ralph Miller

This message is from DFA-Marin, a Marin County Central Committee chartered club, which was able to endorse Norman after the regional pre-primary endorsement meeting resulted in no California Democratic Party endorsement because no candidate got 50% plus 1 of the votes.

Come to the Meetup!!!

You may notice that there are some new names on the Meetup Team. We welcome their support for EB Democracy for America and urge anyone else interested in Progressive change to consider joining the team.

Your Meetup Team: Carla, Frances, Janet F, Janet S, Mark, Michael, Norman, Sumi, Tara, Vincent & Yvonne

Join or login to comment.

  • Miriam M.

    Thank you for all your effort put forth in this Meetup, but I must state that I was disappointed, because I was expecting something different. According to the header of your meeting, we both believed that this meeting would be about how to take the corporations out of our government and elections. I know that the local elections are important, but that was not the reason we attended. I want to send you an article from because this article deals with the citizens of Vermont and how they conduct their community meetings and what they have accomplished. Again, I want to acknowledge you for all your hard work and effort, but I have to sate my honest opinion.
    Thanks for your time and attention on this matter and please read the article and share with others, thanks.
    Speak Truth to Power
    Miriam Mellman

    March 7, 2012

  • Axel M.

    The title of the meeting was misleading; I was expecting more discussion-focus on the all out corporate take over of our supposed democracy, or what's left of it. Instead the priority was on introduction of local candidate's election, of which some weren’t even around to introduce themselves personally. I understand that this is essential for grassroots movement building, but it should have been a separate event, distinct from said meeting-theme/subject.

    March 7, 2012

  • Linda Andrews O.

    It would have been better to have a local Alameda County representative of the movement and to have a plan of action for the future and how to proceed. Appreciate the intent however, and the pizza!

    March 7, 2012

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