A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Convention Update: Caucuses PLUS Equal Pay Day in Alameda

I was going to write about the caucuses at the California Democratic Convention, specifically the women's caucus, and propitiously as I entered Julie's Coffee and Tea Garden this morning (from where I write this) I noticed a prominent sign in the window announcing "Equal Pay Day" (link to PDF flyer) in Alameda, coming Tuesday April 28, a week from today. The goal of the day is to highlight that "on average, women are still paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men for the same position."

Although the numbers aren't the same, this reminds me of these lyrics from Laurie Anderson's "Beautiful Red Dress" from the late eighties:

OK! OK! Hold it!
I just want to say something.
You know, for every dollar a man makes
a woman makes 63 cents.
Now, fifty years ago that was 62 cents.
So, with that kind of luck, it'll be the year 3,888
before we make a buck.

Anyhow, that day features discounts for women from businesses all around Alameda, but more importantly, it raises awareness of an issue that just doesn't go away. Men and women around the island are asked to wear RED that day to help raise awareness.

So what does that have to do with this weekend's California Democratic Convention?

My friend Karen Weinstein is running for chair of the Women's Caucus of the Party. She's currently Political Development chair of the caucus, and is one of Alameda County's elected representatives to the Democratic Party. She's a 2008 alumna of EMERGE. And she's an amazingly dedicated activist.

She is running on the platform that the Women's Caucus should be a great opportunity for activism regarding Women's issues, but that the current leadership is just not taking enough leadership. A bit over a year ago, for instance, progressive members of the caucus managed to introduce and pass a resolution censuring Dianne Feinstein for her Republican-like stances on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment and her support for Mukasey as Attorney General. This was against the leadership of the caucus. I've heard several stories like this.

Karen has been racking up endorsements, notably from the California branch of the National Women's Political Caucus. She will have my support and my vote at the convention. (Yes, men can be members of the Women's caucus - it's about women's issues, not a club for women.)

I've also been a member of the Progressive Caucus, almost from its inception. (I unfortunately missed the first meeting of the group, before it was officially recognized by the party. Some of the grassroots-vs.-Party-establishment fireworks that happened in that meeting have become legen....wait for it ...dary. Anyhow, for some reason the North vs. South co-chair sharing of leadership in that caucus is in jeopardy (Hmm, sounds like the party vice-chair issue I mentioned yesterday!) and if that change in leadership structure happens, I am supporting Karen Bernal for the leadership of that caucus. Actually, I'm hoping that this change in structure doesn't happen, at which point I don't know what will happen.

Ah, politics.


Blogger JuelleAnn said...

Thanks for the "Shout Out" re: Equal Pay Day. Business women around the world celebrate this milestone event, but on the day in their country when their pay equals what a man earned in the previous calendar year. Our sisters in Switzerland for example celebrated on March 15th. Hmmmm.....


10:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home