Sunday, December 16, 4:30-8 p.m.
Join us as we commemorate the hopes and struggles, the victories and losses of 2018 -- and as we celebrate the hard work and achievements of Indivisible: Conejo activists as well as Conejo Together, NeverAgain SoCal, and the candidates we've supported locally and nationwide. Each attendee is expected to bring a favorite holiday appetizer, dessert and/or beverage. Space is limited, so please be sure and RSVP, letting us know the names of everyone you'll bring with you. We'll send you the address in the days before the party.
Looking Back at Fall 2018 --
And Looking Forward
To Indivisible 2.0!
A Message from Gina & Jon
November 2018 is a month no one in the Conejo Valley will ever forget. It seems beyond our capacity to summarize the events and emotions that have surrounded the Borderline shooting and the Woolsey and Hill fires. We won't even try to do so; instead, we join you all in mourning our community's losses and admiring the many ways in which our community has come together in their wake. And we offer our hopes that you and your loved ones have made it through these trials and emerged on the other side.
Even four weeks later, it remains difficult to sit here in the Conejo and think about politics, or events and people beyond those touched by our community's tragedies. Still, the rush of events has hardly slowed on the other sides of our surrounding hills. As December has begun, new leaders are beginning their work. In Sacramento, for example, newly elected Assemblymember Christy Smith began representing Simi Valley and AD-38 this week, alongside our re-elected ASM Jacqui Irwin and a freshly installed Democratic supermajority. Meanwhile, at Conejo Valley USD headquarters in Thousand Oaks, Jenny Fitzgerald, Bill Gorback and Cindy Goldberg will assume their places on the Board of Trustees on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
At the same time, Conejo Valley residents (and, indeed, the entire nation) are beginning to process the policy challenges raised by the Borderline shooting and the wildfires -- which brought home to us a pair of issues that have been insufficiently addressed by our government and our society for far too long: gun violence and climate change. In the wake of the murders, in particular, Indivisible: Conejo and other activist groups have tried to approach our advocacy with an appropriate sensitivity for our community's still-raw emotions. A month later, we have joined with the student leaders of Never Again SoCal and the local Brady Campaign in organizing a Town Hall on Gun Violence that is tentatively scheduled for Friday, December 14, at 7 p.m. in the Carpenter Theatre at Westlake High School. Please see the details in this newsletter's calendar, and watch for more information in the days to come.
As the smoke has finally (and, in our case, literally) cleared following the November 6 midterm elections, the scale of progressives' success has become more and more apparent. Nationwide, Democrats picked up 40 seats in the House of Representatives and won the aggregate congressional vote by the widest margin in history. In California, Democratic candidates took every one of the seven most flippable congressional seats, turning Orange County blue ... as well as Simi Valley and northern L.A. County!
Indivisible: Conejo activists can be justifiably proud of our role in Katie Hill's victory in CA-25. Our canvassing, phone banking, postcards and other efforts were a key part of Hill's ground game, which swamped Steve Knight's attempt to ride incumbency to another term. Hill already has emerged as one of the stars among DC's freshman class, as one of two new members elected to the Democratic leadership team. Meanwhile, Rep. Julia Brownley is preparing to take over as chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, among her other committee assignments in the new majority, while Rep. Ted Lieu is joining the Democratic leadership team as co-chair of the party's Policy and Communications Committee.
Locally, the transfer of power on the CVUSD board commenced on Tuesday, Dec. 4, with the final meeting for retiring trustees Pat Phelps and John Andersen, as well as defeated incumbent Mike Dunn. Dunn, who along with continuing trustee Sandee Everett was primarily responsible for policies and behavior that severely divided our community over the past two years, finished a dismal sixth among the 8 candidates on Nov. 6. The resounding victory by Goldberg, Fitzgerald and Gorback (the race's top three finishers, in that order) rewarded the extraordinary efforts of the Conejo Together campaign committee. Thanks to all the Indivisible: Conejo activists who played invaluable roles in Conejo Together! We hope you'll join in celebrating this achievement on Dec. 11, as the new trustees' first board meeting is preceded by a reception at 5:15 p.m. in the lobby outside board chambers, located at 1402 E. Janss Road.
Hopefully that transfer of power will be accomplished with relatively little drama -- or, at least, less than we've been witnessing this week in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio. There, Republicans who have lost governorships and other statewide races are attempting to cement continuing right-wing dominance by stripping those offices of their traditional responsibilities, in a naked, anti-democratic and alarming power grab.
Their behavior offers hints of what we can expect as Democrats unwind the GOP's House majority and aim for the Senate and the presidency in 2020. Republicans clearly will not give up power with any grace or respect for the will of the American people -- and that's one of the reasons why our efforts as Indivisible activists will continue to be just as crucial to American democracy over the NEXT two years as they have been in 2017-18.
Like 6,000 other groups in all 50 states, Indivisible: Conejo organized in early 2017 by taking the prescriptions for effective political advocacy from the Indivisible Guide and tailoring them to our own needs. In the process, we built an organization that has moved the needle dramatically on issues ranging from saving the Affordable Care Act to passing the California Values Act, to fighting censorship in our local schools.
In the wake of our midterm victories, Indivisible's national brain trust has wasted no time putting together ANOTHER blueprint -- two of them, actually -- for affecting change during the new era that begins in the coming months. One is a guide to Playing Offense with our Members of Congress in the new Democratic House -- promoting progressive values and agendas, while holding our representatives accountable for their actions (or failures to act). The other is a primer for action at the state level. Once again, we at Indivisible: Conejo will pull from these guides the ideas and instructions that suit our circumstances, and we'll use these precepts to mount effective actions that tilt the legislative playing field now, and set us up for even bigger victories in the 2020 elections.
Please follow the links in the paragraph above, and take some time to digest the new Indivisible 2.0 guides. We'll begin to discuss our future activism during Indivisible: Conejo's January General Meeting, happening on Sunday, Jan. 13, from 4-5:30 p.m. at CLU's Ullman Conference Center. Please see the details in this newsletter's calendar, RSVP here, and plan to join us!
Until we see you next, be well. Look out for your families and neighbors, and please continue the efforts in our community to support the victims of the shooting and wildfires. Enjoy the holiday season, and rest up for the work to come -- because there will be plenty of it, and this is no time to become complacent. Instead, let's recommit ourselves to preserving American democracy -- and let's remain Indivisible!