Oppose Proposed Federal Cuts to School Meals

Budgets are a statement of our priorities. Ensuring children are well-fed, and can concentrate and learn in school, is critical to growing our future healthy, educated workforce. The United States federal SNAP program, subsidizing meals for low income working families and their children, is a wise investment in our future workforce.

For many students, this is their one nutritious meal of the day. According to the Santa Clara County Office of Education, two million California children currently receive for free-and-reduced cost school meals.

We state the obvious in saying a hungry child can’t concentrate of learn. Beyond that, chronic hunger impacts a child’s developmental growth.

The federal government, however, currently proposes to decrease eligibility for SNAP (food stamps), taking food from low-income families and preventing children from receiving school meals.

Simultaneously, the federal government proposes to increase yacht purchase tax write offs for  the wealthy, increasing the maximum tax deduction for yacht purchases from $500,000 to $1 million. The wealthy can write off a yacht purchase as a “second home” if the yacht includes a bathroom, sleeping berth and a kitchen.

The deadline to oppose these federal SNAP cuts is Sept. 23, 2019

Oppose these proposed cuts with two-taps on your iPhones by signing up for mobile alerts from the Palo Alto PTA Council, the San Ramon PTA Council or Orchard City Indivisible.


End Draconian Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration of CA Inmates (Yes on AB 32)

By Rachel Barkin

Image Source: Carlos Avila Gonzalez for The San Francisco Chronicle

In response to the overflow of prison inmates around 2006, California lawmakers contracted two corporations (GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America) to open five private prisons across the state. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced creating private prisons would resolve the issue of maximum capacity and reduce costs for the state.

Private prisons were intended to alleviate financial burdens but in practice accumulated more costs, increased rates of recidivism, and lead to egregious civil rights abuses of inmates.

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Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault/Protect our Community from Rapists (SB 22)

By Rachel Barkin

Under California state law, victims of sexual assault are not guaranteed the right to have their rape kit tested. A person who has been assaulted can undergo all the appropriate steps— not shower, go to the hospital, request to have a rape kit collected— and still be denied their request to have the DNA of their assailant tested. DNA evidence strengthens the validity of sexual assault cases and prevents future assaults. Storing the information of perpetrators allows law enforcement agencies to solve crimes more efficiently and protect a community from a repeat offender.

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Restore CA Schools to Fully Funded: AB 39

Close your eyes. Imagine California K-12 public schools with no PTA fundraising and no education foundations. Imagine no more parcel taxes to fund our schools. This is not a fantasy. This is the state of California K-12 schools before Prop. 13, when our schools were top ranked – fully funded and performing at the highest level.

CA K-12 schools now rank near bottom in per-student funding (cost of living adjusted) and in academic performance (math, reading). Despite being a top taxing state, we rank 45th in the percentage of our income spent on education. We rank 45th in student-teacher ratios and 48th in staff per student.

California has the world’s 5th largest economy. Yet, 4 out of 5 states spend more on public education, on a per-student basis (cost of living adjusted). We rank 45th in the percentage of taxable income spent on K-12 education.

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Full Mitigation for PAUSD Schools in the Stanford GUP

Protecting PAUSD school quality is a top priority of the Palo Alto school community

Stanford, under its proposed 2018 GUP, proposes to build 550 additional rental units on Quarry Road. Santa Clara County is considering, to address the County’s acute housing shortage, requiring Stanford to build additional high-density rental housing

The Stanford GUP family rental housing, based on County planning staff projections, is expected to generate between 275 (Stanford proposal) and 1445 (County proposal) additional students for PAUSD.

PAUSD , as a Community Funded (“Basic Aid”) school district relies on local property tax dollars to fund a large majority of its operating funds.

Stanford is exempt from paying property taxes on its rental housing units, by CA law.

Adding hundreds of new students with little or now additional property tax revenue would cause permanent PAUSD budget shortfalls, class size increases, and program reductions – irreparably damaging the quality of all PAUSD students, including those coming from Stanford.

Additionally, the Quarry Road housing development is miles from the nearest PAUSD school.

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Prevent Discrimination and Harassment in CA Workplaces

By Rachel Barkin

If you are familiar with the #MeToo movement, you may have come across the term “hush money.” Actress Rose McGowan was offered $1 million of hush money from Harvey Weinstein to sign a non-disclosure agreement after speaking out about sexual harassment claims. The unfortunate reality is that hush money is not only prevalent in Hollywood, but in every industry from food corporations to law firms. Continue reading “Prevent Discrimination and Harassment in CA Workplaces”