No meeting August 8

We will resume on August 22.

Also: postage rates are going up August 29. The new rates are 58¢ for a letter and 40¢ for a postcard. Remember, stamps denominated “Forever” are always good for a letter and those denominated “Postcard” are always good for a card, so there is no need for add-on stamps. You can stock up now at the lower price! (Reminder: I have never had a problem with stamps sold out at the Orinda Post Office.) Did anyone else notice that international postcards are now the same price as international letters ($1.20 now, $1.30 after increase)? Seems like a bad blow to the postcard industry.

Another reason our post office is strapped is that our rates are significantly lower than other industrialized countries’. A second-class letter in the UK is £0.66 (=92¢) and first-class in Canada is C$0.92 (=74¢).

Activate America meeting report

The Activate America webinar Tuesday reported on a specific study of postcarding that they conducted in two districts in NV.  The webinar was recorded and will be available if anyone wants to dig into the statistical weeds.  They also promised to send out a copy of the study and of the slide show synopsis that they presented on Tuesday.  I found the event and the study modestly interesting, but less encouraging than did the researchers and the org leaders.

The study attempted to measure whether receiving a postcard that told Democratic and Independent voters in two districts that Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and their Congressional Representative had supported the covid relief stimulus payment bill, while not one Republican had voted for it, had a positive effect on the voters’ favorability rating of Cortez Masto and their Rep.

The take away was that there was a statistically significant rise (at .05 level) in Cortez Masto’s favorability rating compared with a control group that did not receive the postcard. However, there was no rise in favorability for the congressional reps.  The presenter’s interpretation was that postcards work best on better known candidates, but they should be part of a broad, multi-faceted GOTV campaign.

Activate America also announced that they are launching a study in Wisconsin that will try to compare efficacy of postcards vs texting.  I believe they said that they will be testing the efficacy of negative messaging (against Ron Johnson) in that study.

Finally they reported that they are currently launching numerous voter registration campaigns (some in Virginia) including postcards, phone banks, and instagram Direct Messaging.

Minutes of July 25, 2021 meeting

I pointed people towards work by sociologist Brooke Harrington on how to reach people who have fallen for conspiracy theories. What’s most effective is finding people who were similarly conned, to help the marks cope with loss of face (“social death”). Sending facts doesn’t help; at some level the mark knows he has been conned and does not plan to admit it.

See separate post for upcoming Activate America (=Flip the West) event.

We intend to raise $5000 for Virginia Assembly candidates. Send the link to our ActBlue page to your friends.

We have fresh Virginia postcards, featuring Bruce’s design. We also have another 100 Dr. Ben Moses (HD-59) addresses. Both will be available in packs of 25 on our porch.

N.B. The Virginia postcards are to be mailed mid-September, to coincide with the start of early voting, which you can reference in the text. Virginia requires a disclaimer “Paid for by [Someone], not authorized by any candidate” on each card. I have printed small sticky labels with my name that you can use, which will be with the cards. Please return the cards to us after you write them, and we will stamp them. That keeps everything straight for the campaign finance rules.

I have slightly modified my sample postcard for Ben Moses in accordance with the campaign instructions, but as usual they wanted to cram in more than anyone will look at.

This election we have a chance to make Dr. Ben Moses a Delegate in District 59. He’s an Army vet, ICU doctor, and wants to invest in Rural Virginia and Health Care for All. Early voting has started. Vote by November 2 for Dr. Moses and the Democratic ticket.

Sample postcard

Vote Forward is also conducting a letter campaign for Virginia. They claim 325 thousand written already!

Bill Marthinsen is your contact if you want to canvass in Virginia. Note that because of the expanded (excessive?) Early Voting window, campaigns are not sure when the optimal canvass campaign would be. So, no dates yet.

In our next two meetings we will discuss the Newsom recall attempt, because we don’t want any accidents.

You, too, can post to this site. If stuck, ask me.

Activate America event on postcards

It’s happening Tuesday, July 27th at 12:00 Noon Pacific. You can RSVP HERE.

Earlier this year, Activate America (formerly Flip the West) partnered with Movement Labs to study the efficacy of postcarding as a tool to improve the way voters see their Democratic representatives. The results are in and we invite you to join us to hear Professor Shana Charles and our Data Director Andre Charles share the findings.

Other studies have shown postcards to be an effective tool for voter registration and voter turnout, but do they actually change hearts and minds? You’ll want to tune in to find out.

Minutes from July 11, 2021

  • When (not if) TJ Cox calls, discourage him from running. Bryan Osorio seems like a stronger candidate.
  • Keep up the pressure on Sen. Feinstein to not forget her support for S.B.1. (Even Sen. Manchin is now on board, reluctantly.) Her D.C. fax is (202) 228-3954.
  • Postcards for Virginia has added multiple new campaigns. All of our VA campaigns—Alex Askew, Nancy Guy, and Dr Ben Moses—are now available from their site. I also have Moses addresses; I will ask how to be sure we don’t duplicate efforts. (I have a larger list than Postcards4VA.)
  • Activate America (formerly Flip the West) is running postcard campaigns for the seven California districts that we flipped in 2018, four of which were lost in 2020. They supply a script, which sight unseen I will bet won’t fit on a card, and are especially looking for people willing to write in Spanish.
  • Speaking of long scripts, the Moses campaign sent a mere page-and-a-half script. My sample postcards had a cut-down version, with bullet points emphasizing his veteran status, his work as an ICU doctor, his support of health care for all, and his desire to develop rural Virginia. I wanted to go off-message and add that his opponent is a drunk and a poacher, but was persuaded some voters may see those as positives.

Reminder, no meeting this holiday weekend

Vote Forward has a letter-writing campaign.

Postcards for Virginia have added campaigns. Ben Moses has been added to their list, but you can also get Moses addresses directly from me!

We have not raised that much for the EBAA Intern (Fellow) Program. Reminder, for this it’s best to send us a check (or checks) made out to Friends of Alex Askew, Guy for Delegate, or both.

The indictment of the Trump Organization reminded me of a cartoon I saw at least fifty years ago. The Internet doesn’t forget! Found it! As David Frum puts it, the scale of the Trump Organization frauds is more befitting a crooked dry-cleaner than a purported Real Estate Tycoon.

Deadline for Democracy Rally July 7

On July 7 from 6 to 7 pm a large group of progressive Bay Area organizations will host a Deadline for Democracy Rally in Oakland at the Frank Ogawa Plaza in support of S-1, the For the People voting rights act.  The event is sponsored by Indivisible East Bay and Indivisible SF, in partnership with East Bay Activist Alliance, Indivisible Sonoma County, Indivisible Livermore, Rise Up To Action SF, and the Wellstone Democratic Club. 

Speakers at the include: Elisha Crader, Nor Cal Organizer from Working Families Party; Bruce Hartford, 1960s Field Organizer for  Dr. Martin Luther King in Alabama/Mississippi, webspinner for Civil Rights Movement Archive; Queen Jackson, grassroots leader with Community Change Action and MoveOn; Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Council Member-at-Large and Vice Mayo; Janani Ramachandran, social justice lawyer, artist/activist, running for CA State Assembly, and Aisha Wahab; Mayor Pro Tempore & City Council Member of Hayward.

The Oakland rally is part of a national Deadline For Democracy effort by Indivisible and 70+ other organizations during the July congressional recess to demand that lawmakers act urgently to defend democracy and pass the For the People Act by August. There should be significant media coverage.  You can sign up to attend at here.

Minutes from the June 20, 2021 meeting

Bruce Jackson approved, on our behalf, a letter sent by numerous progressive California organizations to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. You can find the text in his post below. The letter has gotten quite a bit of press, as seen in Bruce’s post.

Unfortunately, we continue to see stories that suggest Sen. Feinstein has memory issues. ACTION ITEM: It is worthwhile to FAX Feinstein and/or Padilla a short letter urging them to support voting rights including S.1 and the John Lewis Act.

There is an election this June 29, only in Assembly District 18 (parts of Oakland). This is a special election to fill the seat Rob Bonta vacated when he was appointed State Attorney General. You can sign up to be a poll worker here. Younger workers are especially useful. If they can’t work on June 29th, encourage them to sign up for the next election, which will be in November.

I talked for some time about the Manchin Kabuki Theater. Manchin’s Voting Rights Bill has been pared down to essentials that can be opposed only on totally dishonest grounds. (That isn’t so true of H.R.1/S.1.) Seeing how Republicans are still refusing to accept it is a learning experience. Which way he goes is hard to say; there are not any clues. Today, unfortunately, his partner in waffling, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, wrote a ridiculous pro-filibuster piece in the Washington Post (no link on purpose). As far as anyone can tell, there is literally no agenda she finds more important than approval from the Republican Party. If we can go +2 in the 2022 Senate elections, Sinema and Manchin lose all their leverage.

Sally and I talked about Bryan Osorio’s Zoom call. Osorio has declared for CA-21. He is young and earnest. (He also, surprisingly, does not speak good Spanish: his parents thought it was important for his future to use English at home.) Demographically, he may be a better fit than ex-Rep. TJ Cox. The district is extremely close. We will, of course, be working for whoever is the candidate. It will help if he develops some gravitas in the meantime. We will include Osorio in our fund-raising starting in a month.

Bill Marthinsen talked about the revised East Bay Activist Alliance Fellow program, who, unlike interns, will receive a stipend. The best way to do this is through the campaigns themselves, sending them checks marked for “EBAA Fellow”. The candidates, as in the last cycles, are Alex Askew [checks payable to Friends of Alex Askew] and Nancy Guy [Guy for Delegate]. To support the Fellows, send your checks to us and we will forward. (We will add Askew and Guy to our thermometer, but money donated directly at ActBlue will not count towards the Fellowships.)


Write a Giving Circle email. Here is an example, based on one from Jody Lerner.

Dear Friends and Family,

I am asking you to join me in supporting Alex Askew and Nancy Guy, Delegates in Virginia, who are up for re-election this year. Perhaps you’re tired of election stuff. I know I am. I hate to be a downer, but our democracy is in jeopardy, and that’s not hyperbole. We don’t have the luxury of ignoring the incessant attacks on our electoral process.

With gratitude for all you do, (Your name)