California Partnership

Summer 2006 Newsletter The California Partnership is a statewide coalition of community based organizations that fights poverty in California. We work together for our common goals by organizing and advocating at the local, state and national levels for the programs and policies that reduce and end poverty.

Happy Summer and Greetings from the California Partnership!

As we spend time this summer with our families and friends, we have many reasons to celebrate this season with recent victories that many of you have helped to make happen.

In this issue while you read about the wins that we've had with CALWORKs, SSI/SSP, education, and childcare, give yourselves a pat on the back and congratulate your comrades in struggle! These were significant victories and we cannot let the fire in our fight burn out. We must keep moving forward and seeking, even demanding, more changes that will continue to help move low-income families, seniors and the disabled out of poverty. Our voices must continue to spread like wildfire!

This issue also includes topics on the upcoming November election and some resources you may find useful in your voter work. We've added upcoming events that CAP and its members are planning so that you can keep up with what's happening in your area and go out to support the work that many of us are doing. We also want to introduce you to our newest CAP staff. Nancy Berlin joins us as our new Director. She has had a relationship with CAP for many years and is familiar with our work as a Coordinating Committee member and organizer with the Los Angeles Chapter. So as you read her words below, please join us in welcoming Nancy!

Unfortunately our wins did not come without some loss. We recently received terrible news of the death of a beloved member of our organizing community. Below you will find a picture of Wendy Vielman, a woman with “gentle strength and confidence” and a beautiful (informal) obituary written by CAP member, Maria Luz Torre of Parent Voices of which Wendy was an active leader. At a recent Parent Voices celebration in Oakland, parent leaders and staff came together to celebrate their "Defrost the SMI" campaign victory, and to take time out to remember Wendy. And while we honor and pay tribute to this beautiful spirit, let us also remember to honor, support and pay tribute to each other while we're here. We are in this fight together!

Finally, we'd love to have you join the CAP team! We are only as strong as our members and increasing our membership makes us all stronger. It also allows you to take advantage of the benefits that CAP offers including low or no cost trainings; eligibility to serve on our Coordinating Committee; travel and accommodations to participate in CAP events such as our Fair Budget Delegation in Sacramento; and much more. Our membership dues structure is designed to fit every budget, so we can continue to bring these benefits to you at a price you can afford! If you haven't already joined the CAP team, please take a moment to read and sign our membership form at the end of this newsletter. For those members who have signed on and sent your contributions, we'd like to thank you for your support. It is our members who help shape our work and keeps us going. There is strength in numbers-and in your donations!

Wendy Vielman, Parent Activist:
July 23, 1974 to July 17, 2006

Wendy was a dynamic Parent Voices leader and parent activist.  She was on the Parent Voices Steering Committee, the Members Advisory Committee of the SFHealth Plan, the Leadership Council of the Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network, the Asthma Relief for Kids, the Save Bernal Preschool Campaign, and the CEWR (Coalition for Ethical Welfare Reform) Board, among others.  She graduated from SFSU with a Masters in Social Work and was a Case Manager  for one of the programs at DHS in San Francisco.  She was our spokesperson for the local Earn It and Save It Campaign (EITC), a fighter for the defrosting of the child care eligibility (she was cut off before SB 701 passed), and never compromised for what she believed in.  I cannot forget a public hearing at the Bernal Heights Library where she said, "We cannot keep pushing our children to the back of the bus.  These are mostly Latino children and children of color. All children deserve the best we can offer them."   She hit institutionalized racism in the head without fear and fought for quality child care with consistency and determination.  Wendy had a gentle strength and confidence that were evident when she spoke out for causes she believed in.  We will all sadly miss her.

--Maria Luz Torre, Parent Voices, San Francisco

California Partnership Scores Wins in This Year's State Budget

The state budget just signed by Governor Schwarzenegger includes increased money for CalWORKs families and the restoration of the federal cost-of-living adjustment for SSI recipients, two of California Partnership's key campaigns this year.  Thanks to all of you who traveled to Sacramento to testify at hearings, who visited your legislators, who faxed and called the Governor and elected officials during our call-in fax-in days, who attended our rally in Sacramento and who supported our sign-on letters.  Our collective actions convinced the Legislature and the Governor to pass a budget that invests in families by providing more opportunities for low-income families, and provides a fairer budget for all Californians.

CalWORKs -- According to federal law, California must substantially increase the number of CalWORKs participants meeting federal work requirements or face substantial penalties. California Partnership, along with our allies, used this law change to push for more funds for education and jobs programs, and rule changes to help families get back to work, instead of punishing them. The $143 million plan includes $100 million in new CalWORKs funding, funds that had not been included in the Governor's May Revision, and the first time the state has budgeted CalWORKs funds above the required Maintenance of Effort (MOE).

The CalWORKs package includes:

  • Increased funding that counties use to provide employment services and child care for CalWORKs participants.
  • $9 million to increase the number of work study positions available to CalWORKs participants enrolled in a community college.
  • $5 million for an initiative to reduce homelessness among CalWORKs families.
  • A change in state law to allow individuals who have been sanctioned for not meeting program rules to come into compliance at any point, rather than having to remain sanctioned for a specified number of months. 
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) -- The state budget agreement restores the federal cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for SSI/SSP grants in January 2007, eliminating the three-month delay included in the 2005-06 budget agreement.   This is an especially important victory for low-income elderly and disabled Californians who have been hurt by the Medicare Part D prescription drug costs.

Education -- As part of the budget package, the governor restored $3.2 billion to education. Bay Area PLAN played a significant role in this victory. They were strategic in their planning and pounded the pavement at the local and state levels to get this money back into the education coffers where it belongs. Job well done, PLAN!

Child care another win in state budget -- The State Median Income (SMI) used to determine child care eligibility has been frozen through the state budget for five years, despite the provision in the Education code stating that it should be adjusted for family size, adjusted annually (California Education Code, Section 8263.1).  Furthermore, the SMI that has been used for the last five years is based on 1998 income data!  Parent Voices engaged in a three part grassroots strategy campaign in order to educate and inform legislators about the negative impact outdated eligibility levels have had on their stability and economic self-sufficiency.  After attending several key budget hearings, visiting legislators at our annual Stand for Children Day in the Capitol, and making phone calls to key budget committee members, the conference committee voted to update child care eligibility and remove language in the budget that froze it.  On June 30th the Governor signed his 2006-06 Budget Bill which included the estimated 67 million to cover the cost of “defrosting the SMI.”  Although there were slight changes to the family fee schedule, Parent Voices marked this victory as a true success, not only for our own members, but for the estimated 300,000 families who remain eligible, or will become eligible for subsidized child care!

Thanks to all of our members and allies who worked so hard on our campaigns for a fair budget for all Californians! Let's keep the momentum going. Visit our website at for updates and what CAP and our members are doing around these important issues.

Greetings from Newest Staff Member Nancy Berlin

As the new director of the California Partnership, I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself.

I have been connected to the California Partnership since its beginning, and even before!  I was a member of the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support and then a Coordinating Committee member of the California Partnership.  Most recently I worked at the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness, and have been fighting for social justice and an end to poverty for the last 30 years.

The California Partnership's strength comes from its members.  I have been fortunate to work with many of you, and I am eager to meet more of you in the future.  If you have any questions, suggestions or ideas regarding the work of the California Partnership, please don't hesitate to contact me.  I can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at (213) 385-8010.

Thank you for all the good work you do, and I look forward to our continuing collaboration for a more just world.

Nancy Berlin

Anti-Immigration Bill Brings Community Together

This summer, CAP joined forces with a number of community organizations in San Bernardino to defeat a potential special election initiative authored by Joseph Turner, director of the Save Our State organization. Turner's initiative, which failed to get the number of signatures required for the ballot, would have denied city permits, contracts and grants to businesses that employ undocumented workers, and require that city business be conducted in English. Landlords who rented to the undocumented would also be sanctioned.

The initiative took the community by surprise and most people found out about it when it was first brought before a board of supervisors meeting to vote it into law via the legislative (not ballot initiative) process. At that time, community groups indigenous to the city of San Bernardino as well as groups outside of the city and county (leaders in the immigrants-rights marches) began to organize.

Several groups organized to bring people to the first hearing. Participating community groups in the opposition included CCAEJ, Librería Del Pueblo, the Archdiocese, San Bernardino Community Services and ICUC (Inland Congregations United for Change). Major outside-city groups included Armando Navarro’s group National Alliance for Human Rights (NAHR), Hermandad Mexicana, and many other immigrant-rights advocates like professors, etc.

The mayor got his people involved and there began three “campaigns” to defeat this initiative once the vote had been taken to put it on the ballot:

  1. Mayor and the business community
  2. Local community groups
  3. Outside San Bernardino Immigrant Rights organizations

Alicia Lepe, CAP's organizer helped to organize the local community groups to develop a plan and clarity around what they wanted to do together -- which was to target infrequent voters -- and how they wanted to work with the various resources that each organization brought to create a strong coordinated field opposition. Both fortunately (and unfortunately), these campaign plans were never implemented because the initiative, in the end, didn’t qualify! However, Turner promises to return with an even "more draconian" initiative, so we can be sure that this is not over, but we want to congratulate Alicia Lepe and the folks in San Bernardino for their quick and strategic response to this issue. The community organizations will continue to meet in order to avoid being caught by surprise again; they will be involved in the Mobilizing the Immigrant Vote (MIV) campaign and other efforts to involve the San Bernardino community in civic participation. This was a great exercise in community building. Way to go!

CAP will keep you posted on this and other voter-related work through our e-mail alerts and on our website.

Upcoming Events, August 1 through November 15

Please SAVE THE DATE for the following CAP and member events:

Please join the Alameda County Community Food Bank in an afternoon of information and celebration on Community Based Advocacy—August 3rd, 2006, 1-4pm (location to be announced). For more information contact Giana at (510) 635-3663 x305.

The Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network (Bay PLAN) has two special events this fall. They include the PLAN to LEAD Training of Trainers Orientation on Tuesday, September 26, 9:30am-12pm. Their Fall Parent Action Forum will take place on Saturday, October 28, 9am-12:30pm. Both events will be held at the First Unitarian Church in Oakland. For more information, visit PLAN's website at

California Partnership will be hosting our 3rd Common Ground Forum this fall in the Bay Area. Each year we hold this forum to bring together members and allies of the Partnership to discuss important issues impacting and driving our work, and to bring people together to share common goals and strategies. Location and date to be determined. Planning begins on August 24. If you would like more information or would like to join our planning committee, contact Rochelle Robinson at (510) 292-6941.

On October 17, 2006, St. Mary's Center will be hosting an observance along with groups around the world. International Day for the Eradication of Poverty: Oakland Stepping Up. Please join St. Mary's Center, 635 22nd Street, Oakland, for this special day of observance and dedication towards ending poverty for all. Please plan to take public transportation, as parking will not be available on site. For more information or to become involved, please contact Margaret at 510.893.4723 x226

The CAP Los Angeles chapter meets the 1st Wednesday of the month at 3 PM at our offices located at 2533 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90057.  The San Bernardino chapter meets most Mondays.  For more information on these meetings, call Alicia Lepe at 626-224-8189.

November 2006 Election Mobilization

In partnership with the Mobilize the Immigrant Vote Campaign, we are planning a full range of campaign activities for the November general election, including community based issue analysis forums, a free training for community-based organizations on elections work, multilingual voter guides with analysis of the propositions, multi-lingual voters rights palm cards & more! The voter palm cards will be available in six languages: English, Spanish, Tagalog, Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese. Voters will have 13 ballot propositions to consider including propositions 85 & 86:
85 -- Waiting period and parental notification before termination of a minor's pregnancy.
86 -- Funding for hospital emergency services, through an increased tax on cigarettes.

You can learn more about the ballot initiatives at the Issue Analysis Forums being held throughout the state. Basic Electoral Trainings using the MIV toolkit will also be held in a number of areas. See below for details and continue to check our website for more about the upcoming election including a summary of the initiatives --

Mobilize the Immigrant Vote Campaign 2006
The dates and locations are as follows:

Issues Analysis Forum

  • San Francisco/Oakland, August 1
  • Los Angeles, August 5
  • San Diego, August 12
  • San Jose, August 19
  • Madera (Central Valley) TBD

Basic Electoral Training

  • San Francisco/Oakland, September 8
  • San Jose, September 12
  • San Diego, September 23
  • Los Angeles, TBD

Join the MIV 2006 Campaign and become part of a statewide movement to get out the immigrant vote! Together, we represent thousands of informed, active voters and demonstrate the collective political power of California immigrant voters.

There is no cost to join. However, any donation you can give would help offset the cost of printing the voter materials. California Partnership has membership and Voter Palm Card forms available, and you can contact Rochelle Robinson in Northern California at (510) 292-6941,; Alicia Lepe or Nancy Berlin in Southern California at (213) 835-8010,,

For more information on MIV 2006, check out: Our future website,, is currently under construction and will be launched in September.

The MIV is non-partisan project. We do not endorse or work with political parties or political candidates.

Join and Support the Partnership

Support the California Partnership and Build Power for Low-Income Californians!

Be part of a growing movement! We're sure you understand the importance of all of us sharing the ownership of the California Partnership and being invested in its growing strength. Three years ago we had less than sixty members, just two chapters, and a non-representative coordinating committee. We now have over 120 member organizations, five chapters, and an elected and accountable coordinating committee. The move to implement dues is part of the effort to create an infrastructure that will continue to strengthen our network and our work.

The minimum dues structure is:
$10 non-staffed/start up organizations
$25 small organization-less than $75,000 operating budget
$50 medium organization---less than $300,000 operating budget
$100 large organization---over $300,000 operating budget

We of course encourage you to donate more if you are able! We are keeping the dues low because of our commitment to include all organizations, and especially small, grassroots organizations, to participate. Community-based organizations who agree with our mission are eligible for membership. We will also invite allies and individuals to join for $25 and up.

Also starting in January 2006, we will implement small fees for non-members to receive our tool kits, trainings, listen to teleconferences, and other resources we offer. As a member, these resources will continue to be free. We think you'll agree that the resources and growing community we offer as a member of the California Partnership are worth the very minimal dues, including:

  • eligibility to serve on the Coordinating Committee
  • eligibility to apply for small grants and stipends
  • quarterly newsletter
  • free access to teleconferences on subjects of interest
  • free access to popular education materials
  • free or low-cost trainings (e.g. how to talk to the media, how the state budget works, etc.)
  • travel and accommodation funds to participate in California Partnership events
  • work with organizations around the state with diverse constituencies and strategies that have united to fight poverty in California
  • exchange information and best practices with similar organizations around the state

Thank you and we look forward to working with you.

In Solidarity,
Nancy Berlin      Alicia Lepe     Rochelle Robinson


I'm Joining the California Partnership

I agree with the California Partnership's mission and would like to join:

___ $10 non-staffed/start up organizations
___ $25 small organization-less than $75,000 operating budget
___ $50 medium organization---less than $300,000 operating budget
___ $100 large organization---over $300,000 operating budget
___ $25 individuals

In addition to dues and I/we are including an additional donation of: $_________.

Please make check payable to California Partnership, write in the memo area of your check that it is for "dues," and mail to:

Nancy Berlin
California Partnership
2533 West 3rd Street, #101
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Organization: ________________________________________________________________

Name: __________________________________ Title: ______________________________

Phone:___________________ Fax #: ___________________ Cell: ____________________

Address:_________________________ City: _________________State: ____ Zip:_______

Email:____________________________ Issues of Interest:__________________________

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