Category Archives: Grass Roots Activist Groups

Phone Bank NOW on Republican Tax Bill – Vote Expected November 16th!

The House vote on the Republican Tax bill is expected to be on Thursday, November 16. Regardless of their positions on the bill we will keep pressure up. The vote is not guaranteed until it is cast.

 

This is the instructions for anybody who is willing to make calls from home. Please make as many calls possible until the votes are cast. The script may be changed to support Rapid Response Events without notice. If they pass the bill we will switch the calls targeting the Senators.

Proposed script (slightly different from online) and Talking Points are available here.

Instructions

  1. Click one of the links below to access the Virtual Phone Bank
    CD 25 – Knight
    CD 39 – Royce
    CD 45 – Walters
    CD 48 – Rohrabacher
  2. If it is your first time calling, go to step 3 to create an account.  If already registered, go to step 6 to find password.
  3. Register to make calls by clicking the “Click Here to Register” button below the green “Log In” button.
  4. Enter all required fields including: first name, last name, email address and zip code.  Hit the green “Save” button to continue.
  5. Once saved, you will be returned to the log in page.
  6. Enter the email address used to register, phone bank password “resist” and chose “Call4ACA” or “OFA” as the organization from the dropdown.
  7. Click ‘Log In” to start calling.
  8. Use your phone to dial the phone number listed on screen.
  9. Script should automatically appear on screen if there is only one voter, if there is more than one voter click on the name of the person who answers, to see the script*.
  10. Select appropriate non-contact and survey information.  Click “End Call/Save Information” to end the call and save the information recorded.
  11. Repeat steps 8-10.

*Please note that the Call Time has an important function, if it is longer than 10 minutes, the call is redirected back into the pool.  If break is taken, be sure to log out and back in to ensure that all call information is saved.

Linda Hemenway
Sonoma County Chapter Lead
Organizing for Action
whatisworking@gmail.com
707 843 6110
Twitter  @OFA_Sonoma
Facebook – OFA-Sonoma-County



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Hotline, Network to assist undocumented immigrants in Napa, Sonoma counties

From: Bay City News Service Nov 10, 2017

A 24-hour hotline and rapid response network launched Thursday in Sonoma County to help defend undocumented immigrants from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions, organizers said.

The hotline can be reached at (707) 800-4544. It will give undocumented immigrants access to a wealth of resources organized by a network of community groups in Sonoma and Napa counties, the North Bay Rapid Response Network.

“Our goal when we interact with callers is to be sure they know their rights,” said Omar Medina, a spokesman for the network.

The hotline has bilingual dispatchers who will answer the phone and send trained legal observers to document ICE raids, Medina said. The legal observers will track, verify and document ICE raids in the workplace, homes, neighborhoods and checkpoints.

“The observers will be watching what is happening, taking video and writing stuff down to have a legal case,” Medina said.

“If anyone is detained, they (observers) will be getting the necessary details so we can get them with a lawyer, and the lawyer will know what location they are taken to,” he said.

Also, the Rapid Response Network will provide accompaniment teams to give families support, accompanying them to court and helping them deal with the system, according to Medina.

Everyone involved in the effort is helping out on a volunteer basis, he said.

The service will be extended to Napa County in a couple of months, he said. Training is still going on there, according to Medina.

“We were going to launch Oct. 12, but that was the week of the fire so we delayed our launch,” he noted.

The North Bay Rapid Response Network—Sonoma & Napa Counties is a network of various community groups and organizations in Napa and Sonoma counties working to create a way for people to cope with the increase in immigration enforcement, ICE raids and other actions.

“We want to make sure we are prepared and ready to defend our community and let people know there is a community behind them to keep families together,” Medina said.



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Welcome Calistoga Activists!

Organization Purpose:
To keep  our community informed: of local and national news, of marches and rallies where they can support progressive causes, of how they can support their Members of Congress and help in the election process of those who stand for our values and legacy. To stay abreast of news, especially where it affects or threatens our Democracy and our environment, and keep out community informed. To support a monthly local march in the city of Calistoga. To support and educate each other about the democratic and political process, and laws governing these processes.

Community Served:
The Calistoga and neighboring communities, including St Helena and Rutherford. We are inclusive and include all who support and wish to maintain our Democratic values and legacy.

Regular Meetings:
Regular Meetings: Yes

Regular Events:
A monthly march for Democracy in Calistoga on the fourth Friday of the month at 12:00 pm. We start at the Calistoga Library at the corner of Lincoln Ave and Myrtle St.

Founders:
Karen Chang
Mary Sherman, Facebook



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Are You Ready to ACT?!

Since January 20th, 2017, every day has been filled with more than a little bit of dread = and almost unbelievably – getting worse.  I am worried about what kind of country, what kind of planet I’m leaving for my children – my grandchildren.

And the possibility of a constitutional crisis seems near guaranteed.  And when that happens, we must BE PREPARED AND READY TO ACT QUICKLY!  There are a few options we can offer you:

  1. You can sign up for alerts – so you know what’s going on and  you’ll get instructions on how to participate.
  2.  Subscribe to the Napa Valley ACTS calendar to find out what’s going on around you and participate, if you can.  If you subscribe, your personal calendar will automatically be updated with events from the Napa Valley ACTS calendar.
  3.  Put together a Rapid Mobilization Kit (RMK).


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Initial Analysis of GOP Tax Bill

The Bill is H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Full text is here: https://waysandmeansforms.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bill_text.pdf

Section by section summary: https://waysandmeansforms.house.gov/uploadedfiles/tax_cuts_and_jobs_act_section_by_section.pdf

Notable Groups that immediately came out opposed:

  • National Association of Home Builders
  • National Association of Realtors expressed strong concern, still reading bill
  • The National Federation of Independent Business
  • Club For Growth
  • Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
  • Third Way
  • National Farmers Union

Topline arguments based on what we know thus far:

  • Overall, this is a tax bill that raises taxes on individuals in order to lower taxes on corporations. Republicans will argue the corporate cuts will generate economic growth and wage increases, but both are false promises. Two of the most credible, objective economic assessments of the bill’s framework show that, in the long-run, growth will actually be lower due to the large increases in the deficit. The White House’s promise that corporate rate cuts will wind up in the hands of workers has been widely contested and disproven.
  • Maintaining the top rate at 39.6% does little to change how regressive the bill is. The top 1 percent of earners will still see a massive tax cut, thanks to repeal of the AMT, repeal of the estate tax, lower taxes on non-corporate business ownership, and lower taxes on corporate profits, which disproportionately benefits shareholders as opposed to workers.
    • Under the plan, income above $1 million would be taxed at 39.6 percent. Current law applies that rate to income above $400,000 ― so even though the plan keeps the top bracket, it still represents a tax cut for high earners.
  • Republicans will sell their doubling of the standard deduction as a boon to the middle class, but they aren’t talking about how they take away personal exemptions, which nullifies most of that benefit and actually, on net, raises taxes for many in the middle class, even when child tax credit increases are factored in.
  • Even though the home mortgage deduction and property tax deduction are preserved to some degree, many families will lose the ability to write off mortgage interest and property taxes,
    because losing the ability to write off state income taxes will mean they can’t get past the now higher standard deduction threshold.
  • By shrinking the pool of taxes that are available to deduct, fewer taxpayers will be able to take advantage of itemized deductions altogether, including for mortgage interest and charitable
    giving. That will affect middle-class families in every district and every state. For details on the share of itemizers by congressional district, see this report.

Things to focus on:

  • The bill scraps state-and-local income tax deduction (SALT), but preserves property-tax
    deduction with a $10K cap for now

    • Data: Brady Tax Plan with Partial SALT Elimination Would Raise Taxes on Middle-Class
      Homeowners by as Much as 26%
    • Tax bill proponents will argue they are preserving the middle-class portion of the SALT
      deduction. But families earning $50,000 to $99,000 will, on average, lose half the value
      of their state and local tax deduction.
    • Under a property tax-only deduction, states that collect a relatively large share of their
      tax revenue in the form of income taxes, which tend to be more progressive, would be
      disadvantaged. For example, New York, Maryland, Kentucky, Oregon, and
      Massachusetts get more than 30% of their revenue from individual income taxes,
      whereas seven states do not collect income taxes at all.
  • Corporate rate cut is permanent in GOP tax plan – dropped to 20%
    • Lowers the corporate tax rate to 20% and eliminates the corporate AMT allows businesses to immediately write off (or “expense”) the cost of new investments in depreciable assets other than structures made after September 27, 2017, for at least five years.
      Corporations already do not pay their fair share in taxes and there is no reason to believe that corporations will invest more in America if the corporate income tax is cut.

      • Corporate tax cuts will mainly benefit shareholders and CEOs – not workers.
  • Repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax
    • In 2005, $31 million of the $35 million Trump paid in taxes was under the alternative minimum tax. These are the only tax returns released by Trump. Without the AMT, Trump would have paid much less.
    • The AMT does not affect the middle class. It exists to ensure upper earners pay their fair share. Only 0.2% of household making $50-$100K, and only 1.9% of households making
      $100-$200K pay the AMT. But 62.4% of households making half a million to $1 million per year would see their taxes cut by a removal of the AMT.
  • Doubles the exemption from the estate tax now, and repeals it after 6 years
    • This would double the amount of wealth not subject to the tax, and institute a full repeal in 2024. The law currently applies only to estates transferred at death worth more than $5.49 million for individuals and $10.98 million for couples. By delaying a full repeal, House lawmakers may be signaling to their Senate colleagues that they’re open to keeping the tax in some form.
  • Repeals medical expense deduction
    • More than 9 million Americans deducted roughly $87 billion in medical expenses on their tax returns in 2015, according to the latest Internal Revenue Service data. Article
    • Taxpayers who do qualify for medical deductions are often facing serious and costly health issues requiring services or treatments not covered by insurance. Often they aren’t eligible for Medicaid.
  • Repeals student loan interest deduction
    • Currently, you can deduct up to $2,500 of student loan interest paid in a given year.
  • Included Excise tax on endowments – a cost that will get passed on to students and families putting their children through college
  • Their bill makes it harder for families to adopt by Repealing both the credit for adoption and the exclusion for adoption assistance programs from an employee’s income
  • Eliminates the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC)
    • According to the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition the nmtc has leveraged over $80 billion in public-private investments and created more than 750,000 jobs in some of our country’s
      poorest neighborhoods and towns
  • Repeal of deduction for moving expenses
  • Repeal of employer-provided child care credit
  • Repeal of American Opportunity tax credit for certain higher education expenses – they replace it with a less generous Hope scholarship Credit or Life Learning Credit
  • Elimination of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) – a Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment.
  • Drops from 7 tax brackets to 4
  • Preserves the home mortgage interest deduction for existing mortgages and maintains the home mortgage interest deduction for newly purchased homes up to $500,000 – providing tax relief to current and aspiring homeowners.
    • So, big corporations get a big permanent tax cut but middle class family in high cost area loses some mortgage deduction?
    • Also eliminates mortgage deduction on second homes.
  • They’re making DARK money political spending tax deductible, by repealing the Johnson amendment – which currently prevents churches and other tax-exempt entities (all C3s) from
    participating in political campaigns. Implication of repeal.

    • So while Republicans are crowing about religious liberty, they’re also allowing the Koch Brothers and other billionaires who bankroll groups to write off those millions of dollars in
      purely political spending.
  • Creates a new one-time tax on overseas profits set at 12% for cash holdings and 5% for illiquid holdings, a provision meant to force companies to repatriate overseas profits. Creates a new 10% tax on U.S. companies’ high-profit foreign subsidiaries, calculated on a global basis, but active overseas profits wouldn’t otherwise be taxed.
    • That is a huge tax cut on overseas earnings of U.S. companies.

Other Intel

  • Doubles standard deduction
  • Doesn’t touch ACA mandates
  • U.S. companies would, generally, no longer pay taxes on their active foreign income, a move corporations and Republicans say is important in a competitive international landscape. To prevent companies from shifting profits abroad, the bill creates a new 10% tax on U.S. companies’ high-profit foreign subsidiaries, calculated on a global basis.
  • It does expand the child tax credit to $1,600 from $1,000
  • Maintains 401k system
  • Maintains charitable deduction- Because of the larger standard deduction, fewer people would have a tax incentive to make charitable donations.
  • Maintains Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)


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Thompson releases fire recovery guide for Napa and Sonoma residents

Thompson releases fire recovery guide for Napa and Sonoma residents

Atlas Fire
The top of Green Valley Road on Thursday following the Atlas Fire.

“Our district pulls together in tough times,” Thompson said. “We’ve overcome challenges before by working together, and we will do so again. Should you need anything, my staff and I are here to help.”

Fires in Napa, Sonoma, Lake, and Mendocino counties have burned more than 250,000 acres and destroyed more than 6,000 homes. More than 30 people are confirmed dead and hundreds are unaccounted for.

Information on various resources is available to fire victims at mikethompson.house.gov/FireRecovery.



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Where to Get Fire Information

I copied this from Debbie Alter-Starr‘s facebook page:

I like A LOT of information during disasters so here are my hot tips – no pun intended for emergency info locally.

In my opinion, the best way to stay informed with greater frequency and greater detail than Nixle reports provide, at all hours of the day. is to make sure you are on Facebook as well and “FOLLOWING” as “FIRST in your Facebook news feed, the following Facebook pages:

https://www.facebook.com/NapaCounty/
https://www.facebook.com/993thevine/
https://www.facebook.com/cityofnapa/
https://www.facebook.com/Town-of-Yountville-Local-Governme…/

Nixle website– if you aren’t signed up for their messages by cell phone or email: https://local.nixle.com/city/ca/napa/. Go there and chose the city/county feed you want. While Nixle remains your very best source for evacuation notices at the moment that they are made, that’s their primary focus. I like more information in addition to these notices.

I think it’s a very good idea to join Facebook even if you never have before because there is a MUCH MORE info on Facebook pages than you will find on websites or nixle.
Even the County of Napa updates Facebook more than they do their website, etc. City of Napa website has a lot of good information – most groups though seem to focusing on updated their facebook pages only with breaking news.

EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBER
The phone number for emergency information for the public that can be called that is often busy during the day but not busy at after 5pm is 707-253-4501. See also the physical location for emergency information center: http://www.countyofnapa.org/Pages/Content.aspx?id=4294989366. I don’t recommend calling this number in the daytime while you can for example in Yountville jjust go downtown to get information in person but after hours it is very nice to know there is a place to call. You can leave messages on their machine for a call back. They have bilingual staff.

PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETINGS today (THURSDAY) – they will be live-streamed on the County of Napa Facebook page above:

4pm in English at NVUSD Auditorium (corner of Jefferson and Lincoln Ave in Napa – the 2-story building.) All are welcome -but you can just watch it over your internet.

6pm in Spanish at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

For ongoing information tune in to 1440 KVON A.M. Radio. KVYN’s FM station is not working so this AM station is for now KVON and KVYN both. They often have call in options (call in on air to 707-252-6222.)

Hope this all helps!

I’m adding:  Air Quality Map – Enter your zip code



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Wildfire News from Napa County

Napa County, and neighboring counties, are inundated with wildfires.  Many residents have been evacuated.  Sadly, many have lost their homes.  Too many have died.  As of day four, the fires are still not under control.

Here is a listing of credible sources – for health, advisories,  shelters, volunteering and donations:

County of Napa Website Fire Information

Cal Fire – Current incidents in California

Cal Fire Webpage – Links to Hazard Maps

Napa Register – Webpage links to LATEST Napa County Wildfire Information 

Interactive Satellite Map of Napa/Sonoma County Fires

Interactive Air Quality Map

Donate/Volunteer

If you find other helpful links or find that the information sources here are no longer valid, please contact me at sally@nvacts.com.



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Welcome Democrats of Napa Valley Club!

Organization Purpose:
Mission Statement
Keeping Napa Valley a unique, beautiful place that is safe, healthy and has opportunity for everyone.

Like the National Democratic Party, the Democrats of Napa Valley “believe that cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better than division, empowerment is better than resentment, and bridges are better than walls.”

Vision Statement
Working together to build a kinder, more just society and healthier world.

Community Served:
Democrats and other progressive people of all parties.

Website: www.napavalleydems.org
Facebook: NapaCountyDemocrats

Regular Meetings:
Generally, 3rd Monday of each month 5:30-7pm

Regular Events:
Scheduled Events: Napa – St. Helena — monthly

Address:
Democrats of Napa Valley Club
PO Box 206
Napa, CA 94559

Founders:
Johanna O’Kelley, President
Anna Chouteau, Vice President
Karla Marquez, Secretary
Jim Test, Treasurer



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Welcome Women Stand Up – St Helena!

Organization Purpose:
Women Stand Up is a local group to promote political action with a united message, women’s rights are human rights.

Community Served:
St Helena, Calistoga, Pope Valley & Angwin

Facebook:  Women Stand Up – St. Helena

Founders:
Beth Lincoln
Mary Burton

Regularly Scheduled Events:
Monthly Meetings

Contact:
If you have any questions or comments email WomenStandUp.StHelena@gmail.com



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Providing the platform for progressive action in the Napa Valley