Newsletter #1, February 2016
Dear Affordable Housing Activist,
This is the inaugural newsletter of the Berkeley Progressive Alliance (BPA). You are receiving it because you attended the affordable housing TEACH-IN on November 22, 2015, or are part of the Sustainable Berkeley Coalition.
The Berkeley Progressive Alliance works for open, transparent, and fair governance that supports our diverse community with appropriate development projects, reasonably priced housing, policies that protect the environment and equitable public education. Individuals, neighborhood groups, social justice and environmental justice organizations are invited to join us.
As we all are acutely aware, this is an election year both nationally and locally. For the past 12 years we have seen Berkeley transformed into Speculation City, with such amenities as the Shattuck Cinemas, Habitot, and treasured local businesses threatened with demolition, and the cost of housing soaring. While there are new apartment buildings constructed all over Berkeley, they are renting at exorbitant market rates and include few low-income or family units. They are not built to high energy-efficiency and water conservation standards.
All of these changes have been presided over by Mayor Tom Bates and his City Council majority, who seem to represent the interests of speculative developers and investors rather than those of Berkeley residents.
BPA is committed to electing a progressive mayor and a City Council majority that will be accountable to the residents of Berkeley, not to a handful of large real estate speculators, such as the Blackstone Private Equity Corporation, owner of the now infamous Library Gardens.
We need you to be a part of our efforts. Specifically, we are establishing working committees of the alliance, and we welcome your participation in one or more of them.
1. Voter Registration: To be successful, we need to register new voters and those who have given up on voting. We know that when there is greater voter turnout, there is a greater likelihood of progressive issues and candidates winning. If you would like to be part of this effort, please join our voter engagement/outreach committee.
2. Outreach: The ability to reach our progressive base depends in part on our ability to produce all sorts of media and communications that will engage our voter base. They include the use of social media on the Internet, producing and distributing leaflets and flyers at community events and distribution at popular locations in the city, and creating short videos that can be used for house parties as well as on the Internet. If you have media experience, we welcome your participation in our media committee.
3. Fundraising: To compete successfully in elections requires having adequate funds to produce flyers, pay for phone banks, produce campaign literature, etc. We are creating a fund-raising committee that will work to sponsor house parties where people can donate to the alliance. We need to encourage individuals to donate through our forthcoming website. Using house parties to raise money and educate voters in Berkeley requires organizers and speakers. Successful house parties not only produce funds to help in our efforts, but galvanize new people to participate in the democratic process.
If you feel as we do, that the local elections in Berkeley are critical in determining the future direction of our city, we invite you to participate in our growing organization and help move this city in a more progressive, sustainable direction. The future of our families, our children and grandchildren may well be determined by this year’s election.
Please tell us which of the above committee or committees you would like to participate in and email us at: Berkeleyprogressivealliance@gmail.com. It would also be helpful if you indicate your relevant skill sets or experience.
Follow us on Facebook at Berkeley Progressive Alliance. https://www.facebook.com/groups/172758219757361/
Membership in BPA is $10 per year, and can be waived if necessary.
Interim Coordinating Committee of the Berkeley Progressive Alliance
Don Goldmacher and Kate Harrison, Co-Chairs.