Indivisible: Conejo Weekly Newsletter


Indivisible: Conejo Celebrates as Assemblymember
Jacqui Irwin Votes "Yes" on SB 54!

Over the last six months, Indivisible: Conejo activists have worked hard to swing Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin's vote on the California Values Act: numerous office visits, innumerable phone calls, our May General Meeting, hundreds of signatures on petitions, and recently a lobbying trip to Sacramento (pictured above, with Immigration Team Leader Julie Diaz Martinez in the far back). Today, Irwin's Ventura County constituents are rejoicing that she has sided with our hard-working immigrant families and voted to pass SB 54. We anticipate the Governor's signature, based on the compromise amendments he agreed to last week with bill sponsor Kevin DeLeon.

Our activists were expecting Irwin to abstain -- and we would have counted that result as a win, given Irwin's ties to anti-immigration Sheriff Geoff Dean. However, her "yes" vote is a strong statement that she values her progressive base and strongly rejects the strain of racism that has entered the national discourse on immigration, as painfully highlighted by the events in Charlottesville. We're looking forward to providing Irwin with strong support as she enters her 2018 re-election campaign. Thanks to all of you who fought for our immigrant neighbors!

(clockwise from top left) State Sen. Henry Stern and Rep. Julia Brownley address the Indivisible: Conejo September General Meeting; IndivConejo co-founder Jon Cummings introduces our "All Politics Is Local" panelists -- Ventura Co. Supervisor Linda Parks, Thousand Oaks Mayor Claudia Bill-de la Peña, and CVUSD Trustee Betsy Connolly; Connolly, Bill-de la Peña and Brownley chat before the meeting; and Stern and Brownley pose with Cummings and fellow Indivisible: Conejo co-founder Gina Muscatel.


Local Officials Share Stories, Advice

On How To Run, Engage & Win 

An all-star assemblage of Conejo Valley public officials discussed the challenges and rewards of running for, and holding, elected office during Indivisible: Conejo’s September General Meeting last Sunday, September 10. Their message to activists was clear: Changing the direction of government at the federal and local levels in 2018 will require careful choices of candidates and messages, along with the hard work of campaigning and fundraising.

Rep. Julia Brownley and state Sen. Henry Stern headlined the meeting, which was organized around the theme “All Politics is Local: How We’ll Run, Engage & Win in 2018.” Local politicians participating in a panel discussion included Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, Thousand Oaks Mayor Claudia Bill-de la Peña, and Conejo Valley Unified School District trustee Betsy Connolly.

If you were unable to attend the meeting, you may watch the proceedings on Indivisible: Conejo’s brand-new YouTube channel at (part one) and (part two).

While our local officials’ perspectives differed on issues of partisanship and messaging, they agreed that public engagement of the kind encouraged by Indivisible: Conejo – including issue advocacy as well as volunteering on campaigns – helps them do their jobs and is crucial to shaping good governance. They also discussed the struggle to balance “partisan” governing values with the “nonpartisan” nature of local governing bodies; the role of political parties in advocating and fundraising for local candidates; and the right-wing extremism that has taken over the CVUSD board. 

Attendees also heard the officials’ personal stories of their first campaigns, as well as perspectives on what it takes (both professionally and personally) to run successfully and govern effectively at every level. Those perspectives varied sharply on occasion, between Mayor Bill-de la Peña’s call for candidates to be open to bipartisan cooperation and Dr. Connolly’s fiery discussion of recent conflicts on the CVUSD board. Supervisor Parks sought to bridge the gap with a discussion of her “Honesty Counts” initiative.

Mayor Bill-de la Peña insisted that bipartisanship is still possible. “I simply cannot surrender to this notion that because someone has a different philosophy from mine, I cannot work with him,” she said, noting that she considers right-wing council colleague Rob McCoy a friend. “You have to be able to work together and respect each other’s opinion, or else you can’t get anything done. Look at what’s happening in Washington – they’re getting absolutely nothing done.”

Dr. Connolly, on the other hand, said she had “learned some terrible lessons” over the last few years of school board dysfunction. She received a standing ovation when she declared her intention to keep fighting for progressive values. Referring to her battles with arch-conservative board president Mike Dunn, she said, “I feel like I’m living a miniature version of what happened in our presidential election. I don’t feel as optimistic, as positive, as confident that good governance and respect always win the day … I’ve had to learn that sometimes you have to ask for help, and the people in this room have been part of that.

“There are some issues that I don’t believe we should rationalize and accept, and assume that there are good-thinking, kind, caring people on the other side. There is such a thing as a bad person, and people who mean to do harm, and who want to be involved in public education or in city life for their own self-interest, and not to serve those who elected them.

“Hyper-partisanship is a terrible thing. But I don’t think we should sell out our values in order to avoid confrontation.”

Indivisible: Conejo Tees -- Now Taking Orders!


At long last, we're now taking orders for stylish Indivisible: Conejo tee-shirts in a variety of colors and cuts! Unisex crew shirts are available, as well as women's-cut crews and v-necks. Available colors are navy/midnight blue, white, gray and black. Available sizes range from Small to 5XL!

We are selling these shirts AT OUR COST -- not as a fundraiser. Assuming we place a minimum order, the cost per shirt is $13, payable with CASH ONLY upon receipt of your order. Please use this form -- -- BY SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, and we'll make sure your request is included in our first group order!