Indivisible: Conejo Weekly Newsletter

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Candlelight Vigil Mourns Vegas Victims, Pleads for Tighter Gun Restrictions


Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas took a heavy toll on the Conejo Valley and Ventura County in general, claiming three lives and injuring several more. On Monday, about 50 activists from Indivisible: Conejo, the Ventura County Brady Campaign, and SWAN protested this most recent episode of gun violence with a candlelight vigil in Westlake Village. That day we called on Republicans in Congress to abandon their efforts to make weapons (and accessories such as silencers) even easier to obtain, and to finally begin considering gun-violence-prevention measures that are supported by the vast majority of Americans. Through the week Republicans (and even the NRA) recognized that their efforts to deregulate silencers was inappropriate; now we can support efforts by Democrats (led by California's Dianne Feinstein) to criminalize "bump stocks" like the one the Vegas shooter used to convert his semi-automatic weapon into a rapid-fire killing machine.


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An Indivisible: Conejo Primer On the Upcoming Tax Reform Fight
 

Congressional Republicans are late getting started with their plans to achieve “tax reform” this year, having spent months longer than they anticipated while going back to the well on their doomed ACA repeal attempts. Now, however,  they’ve turned their full attention to taxes – and as a result, we should expect this fight to dominate our activism this fall in the same way healthcare did through the spring and did through the spring and summer.
 
It will be days, or perhaps weeks, before the specifics of the GOP’s plans come into focus and we begin offering Daily Actions to combat them. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of current information about the cuts they hope to make, and their consequences.
 
Last Friday, House Republicans passed a budget resolution – a nonbinding outline of their budgetary goals for the coming fiscal year – that proposes more than $5 trillion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other social-welfare programs over 10 years. Even with all those spending cuts, the House GOP’s tax-cut proposals still would blow a $2.4 trillion hole in the nation’s budgets over the next decade, adding significantly to the national debt.
 
Of course, those tax cuts would benefit the wealthy and corporations far more than middle- and working-class families. They include $2 trillion worth of cuts to corporate taxes, as well as $1.2 trillion in cuts for individuals. They also include deep cuts for taxes on offshore corporate holdings, and for rates paid by persons whose incomes are dependent on “carried interest,” such as hedge-fund managers and real estate developers (such as a certain White House occupant). And, of course, they include an end to the estate tax, which will rob the treasury of $240 billion and put it in the pockets of a few hundred heirs to uber-wealthy individuals (again, like Trump).
 
Meanwhile, many middle- and working-class individuals and families will actually see their taxes go up under the GOP plan – thanks to the elimination of various deductions and the shuffling of tax brackets. Speaking of those deductions … as Republicans have begun to move forward with their plans, they have realized that many of the deductions they had planned to shrink or erase (such as those for mortgage interest, and state and local taxes) are broadly popular, particularly with the constituents of Republican members of Congress from high-tax blue states like New York, New Jersey and California.
 
As a result, the final GOP bills are likely to look far less like true “reform” than simple supply-side tax cuts, the likes of which Republicans pass every time they take power (despite their atrocious track record, racking up debt and failing to create growth).
 
Last week’s budget resolution includes parliamentary language that will allow the Senate GOP to pass these tax cuts via “reconciliation,” with 51 votes instead of a filibuster-proof 60. Of course, Senate Republicans circumvented the filibuster in their ACA-repeal efforts as well, and still were unable to pass a bill. And if their tax proposals add to the long-term deficit, they may run afoul of Senate reconciliation rules and be unable to proceed that way.

Still, tax reform is a universally popular concept among Republicans, so our struggle will be difficult as we try to stop them from saddling the nation with more debt and harming millions of Americans who rely on everything from food stamps to Pell Grants, not to mention Medicare and Medicaid.
 
Rest assured, though – we will fight our hardest to defeat these shameful and inhumane plans. In the coming weeks you’ll begin to see Daily Actions that target specific elements of the Republicans’ tax and spending cuts, and as the fall progresses we will participate in protest rallies and public advocacy aimed at turning public opinion against their efforts. We’ll also use the more despicable cuts, particularly the ones that clearly benefit Trump himself, against Rep. Steve Knight and other Republicans running for re-election in 2018.
 
Please stay tuned, and gear up for an autumn of Indivisible activism!
 


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Don't Wait! Our Day of Action Is Oct. 28 -- Sign Up Now &  Show You Have Simi's Back! 

How serious are you about flipping the House of Representatives next year? How angry do the GOP's constant attacks make you? Angry enough to commit to action? Have you been putting it off for a more convenient day? We barely have 52 weeks left before the midterm elections; it's time! RSVP now to register voters in our sister district in Simi Valley.

We in the Conejo Valley have been given an easy way to do our part in this fight. We all live 15 minutes away from the 25th District, represented by Congressman Steve Knight, considered the most vulnerable member of the California Republican caucus. Why is he so vulnerable? Because his district is just 15 minutes from activists like us ... and because groups like the Simi Valley Democratic Club are working hard to register voters. Our work is cut out for us: to have their back. 

The weather is lovely, and there are no excuses left: please join Indivisible: Conejo as we support the Simi Valley Democratic Club on their monthly Day of Action on Saturday, October 28th at Houghton Schreiber Park. They'll train you, and it's a lot of fun.

Please be sure to RSVP, so they can plan for enough walk packets. Don't hesitate to contact the SVDC's VP John Casselberry with any questions. Don't put this off -- and don't let your neighbors down!


Indivisible: Conejo Tees --
Accepting Orders Thru This Sunday 10/ 8 ONLY!

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We're taking orders THROUGH SUNDAY ONLY 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 -- https://goo.gl/forms/vX5rkTMukm3OUjEH3 -- BY SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8, and we'll make sure your request is included in our first group order!

NOTE: PLEASE SUBMIT A SEPARATE FORM FOR EACH SHIRT DESIRED.


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!



Upcoming Issue Action Team Meetings


NEWS FROM THE ISSUE ACTION TEAMS
 

Is there a group below whose work you'd like to join? Take a moment to fill out our "Join Us" form so you can stay in touch with the issues that concern you.
 

Swing District/2018 Election
It's time to create the team's 365-Day Plan of Action for Indivisible: Conejo's role in flipping the House in November of 2018. The team nailed down the election calendar at the September meeting; the focus on October 22 will be calendaring the actions to support those elections. Bring your planners and your tactical know-how: time for nuts and bolts.

Disability Rights
The next twelve months present a unique opportunity to seize on upcoming school board elections and a vacant CVUSD superintendent seat, and enact needed change. In addition, the team expects to see Executive action to attack Medicare in the next few weeks. Stay on top of these issues by following the team's Facebook page, Indivisible: Conejo Disability Rights Action Team.

First Amendment
On Tuesday evening, following extensive debate, the CVUSD board of trustees voted to create a "superintendent's committee" to discuss a potential policy allowing parents to opt out of works in the Core Literature curriculum.

The committee will not include board members, but will comprise relevant district administrators, members of the "articulation committee" that considers works for the curriculum, and other English teachers. The committee will meet with educational and legal experts as well as interested members of the community -- including parents who can offer perspective on their efforts to use the district's longstanding opt-out practice.

This "superintendent's committee," in turn, will report its findings and recommendations to a two-member, ad-hoc board committee. Board president Mike Dunn will choose those committee members, though the trustees agreed that one should come from each side of the board's ideological divide. When that ad-hoc committee is satisfied with the other committee's work, they will take a proposal to the full board for a vote -- hopefully by the end of the first semester.

This result was the best one possible for advocates of the freedom to read, as it will be dominated not by the board's right-wing extremists, but by education experts. Congratulations to CVUSD's interim superintendent, Dr. Mark McLaughlin, for arriving at a sane solution for the shape of this committee and then sticking to it through a drawn-out discussion. And congratulations to board members Betsy Connolly at Pat Phelps for their fortitude in fending off a series of untenable proposals from Dunn.