The forced eviction of the moms in west Oakland, complete with tanks!, has been all over the news lately. 28% of Alameda County’s homeless population are children and these mothers are standing strong to do something about it. The disability community played an important role in defending the “Moms 4 Housing.”
Hear all about it from Mom Defender Jay Salazar.
Mark Romoser produces and hosts.
Photo description: Seven people of various ages laugh as the huddle in for a photograph. One of the smallest humans, a child, wears a tee shirt that reads “Close Youth Prisons, Build…” Thanks for the photo: Moms 4 Housing facebook page
Did you, or someone you know, endure a nightmare scenario, trying to navigate disability-or-age-related power needs during a PG & E or So Cal Edison shutoff?
Does the thought of more shutoffs fill you with dread? Rage? Both?
Listen in as Debbie Kaplan tells Pushing Limits listeners about a forum to hear where things stand now and listen to front-line activists and experts from our OWN community discuss possible solutions.
Electricity Equals Life (EEL) is producing this forum to make a space where we can brainstorm a way forward, build a network of interdependence, and envision an Electricity Grid That Works for Us AND the planet without reinventing the…transformer.
The forum will occur on Friday, January 17, 3-5 PM at the Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline St, Berkeley (above Ashby BART).
ASL & CART (captioning) provided, light refreshments, wheelchair accessible.
PLEASE refrain from wearing scented products
The forum is being financially sponsored by World Institute on Disability (WID), Service Employees International Union Local 2015 (SEIU) and The Utility Reform Network (TURN)
Sheela Gunn-Cushman hosts.
Deborah Kaplan is the founder of Enterprise Accessibility, a consulting company that brings accessibility expertise to businesses. She has been involved in technology accessibility for many years and in a variety of roles. At the World Institute on Disability, where she also served as Executive Director for 8 years, she pioneered projects on technology policy focused on universal design in technology as a goal. Her work history includes her membership on the Steering Committee of the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Planning Committee for the M-Enabling Summit.
Looking for accessible performance events? Jess Curtis/Gravity is
excited to launch a new website sharing accessible live performances and
events in the Bay Area for patrons with diverse sensory modalities!
The site focuses primarily on events that provide sensory access
accommodations such as Audio Description for blind and visually impaired
audience members, as well as Deaf community events or shows that provide
American Sign Language interpretation. We also list ‘Relaxed
Performance’ events that make provisions for neuro-diverse audiences.
For this program, we bring back long-time disability activist, Nadina LaSpina, to talk more about her memoir, Such a Pretty Girl: a Story of Struggle, Empowerment, and Disability Pride.
LaSpina has worked with several disability activist groups including ADAPT, Disabled in Action: NYC and The Disability Caucus. She’ll be in the Bay Area in person in December where, among other appearances, she will address the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.
LaSpina comes from a poor and working class town in Sicily where she contracted polio and was pitied, told she’d never be “normal” or have a family. She spent her younger years in a series of hospitals and surgeries — and she met other disabled teens for the first time. Then she entered academia and the disability movement. From there, LaSpina’s life became a life of making history, with all the ups and downs that entails.
LaSpina has been a leader in our movement for decades, thinking, speaking, writing and being arrested numerous times in civil disobedience protests. Her articles, essays, and stories have appeared in publications as varied as AbleNews and Ragged Edge, New Politics, And Then, and Bookwoman. After teaching Italian for many years at New York University and at Fordham University, LaSpina created and taught courses in Disability Studies at The New School. Tune in to listen and learn from this vibrant, passionate disability path maker.
This is a special KPFA fund drive program, with an expanded hour-long format. We’ll be offering LaSpina’s book as a thank you gift to those who join KPFA at a $60 or above level. Call during the program at (510) 848-5732 or toll free at 800-439-5732. You can also pledge securely on line at KPFA.org
Eddie Ytuarte, Adrienne Lauby, Shelley Berman and Josh Elwood will be in the studio for the hour. Don’t miss it!
Listen, 29 min. What do you get when you put a group of people with disabilities, people who are fat, LGBTQIA+, elders and many other sorts on one street corner?
No, not a bad joke!
You get…a PROTEST to #CloseTheCamps because #NoBodyIsDisposable.
Hear highlights from speeches, interviews and other live recordings from this powerful show of solidarity at the August 28 ICE protest. The protest was designed to bring together fat & disability communities as a united front. It was part of the Month of Momentum: 30 Days of Action to Close the Camps (ICE SF)
By 2030 9 million Californians will be over the age of 65. That’s 3 million more than there are today! This unprecedented growth in the senior population is driving a skyrocketing demand for long term services and supports (LTSS), yet we see increasing evidence that paying for these services is bankrupting middle class seniors and their families throughout the state.
The event will include a panel discussion with state legislators, Senator Scott Wiener, Assembly member David Chiu and Assembly member Phil Ting on the challenges that seniors and people with disabilities face when seeking affordable long term care and the caregivers who provide these essential services.
Food, childcare, Spanish interpretation and other accommodations will be provided. Be sure to fill out the RSVP.
This event is hosted by the San Francisco Care Council, including UDW/AFSCME Local 3930, SEIU Local 2015, Caring Across Generations, the California Domestic Workers Coalition, SF Family Caregiver Alliance, Senior and Disability Action, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, and Hand in Hand: Domestic Employers Network.
———— Agenda de Cuidado: Apoyo a Largo Plazo En Expansión Para Todos
Únase a nosotros para un ayuntamiento sobre la solución de la necesidad del estado CA de servicios y apoyos asequibles a largo plazo (LTSS) para que todos podamos vivir y envejecer con dignidad.
En 2030, 9 millón Californianos serán mayores de 65 años. Eso es 3 millón más de lo que hay hoy. Este crecimiento sin precedentes en la población de adultos mayores está impulsando una demanda vertiginosa de servicios y apoyos a largo plazo (LTSS). Sin embargo, vemos más y más evidencia de que pagar por estos servicios está llevando a la bancarrota a las personas mayores y a sus familias de clase media en todo el estado.
Únase a nosotros para una discusión con legisladores del estado de CA sobre los desafíos que enfrentan las personas mayores y las personas con discapacidades que buscan cuidado a largo plazo asequible y los asistentes personales que brindan estos servicios esenciales.
Se proporcionará comida, cuidado de niños, interpretación en español y otros alojamientos. Asegúrese de completar el forma para RSVP.
Este evento es organizado por el Consejo de Cuidado de San Francisco, que incluye UDW / AFSCME Local 3930, SEIU Local 2015, Cuidado a Través de Generaciones, la Coalición de Trabajadoras del Hogar, Alianza de Cuidadores Familiares de SF, Acción de Mayor Edad & Discapacidad, La Fundación para Centros de Vivir Independiente de California, y Mano a Mano: El Red de Empleadores Domésticos.
P.G.& E. expects to cut off power when fire conditions are strong this year — it’s a fire prevention measure. But the consequences for people who use electricity for ventilators, oxygen, and other disability life supports have not been taken seriously.
These sustained power outages will have dire consequences if better preparations aren’t made — as this letter of protest from Alameda Supervisor Keith Carson makes clear.
Richard Skaff and Deborah Kaplan tell us what shut-offs will mean, how long they might last, how widespread they might be, how we may know they are coming and, most importantly, What We Can Do About It, both as individuals and as a community.
Richard Skaff is the Executive Director of Designing Accessible Communities, a member of the Coalition of Disability Access Professionals and retired from the San Francisco Mayor’s Office on Disability. Deborah Kaplan is the founder of Enterprise Accessibility. She has been involved in technology accessibility for many years in various roles, and was the executive director of the World Institute on Disability for 8 years.
WARNING: SPARKS OF RAGE MAY OCCUR AS A RESULT OF LISTENING TO THIS SHOW. We suggest grounding them in the well of activism and channeling them to keep that renewable energy resource strong! We’ll tell you how.
Richard Skaff has gathered treasure trove of documentation, reports and detailed solutions, and provided them to Pushing Limits. Inform yourself by reading the documents and following the links below.
Stories of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E’s) egregious escapades and dastardly deeds have been a recurring theme of our news feeds for almost a decade, at least since the San Bruno pipeline explosion in 2010. People with electromagnetic sensitivity have been the canaries in the coal mine when it came to smart meters and the stories have become even more prevalent in the recent fire-ridden years. . . NOW THE FIRE’S GETTING HOTTER!
Sheela Gunn-Cushman produces and hosts. Background support from Adrienne Lauby and Mark Romoser.
TAKE ACTION – GET INFORMED
Save These Dates:
PG&E Wildfire Safety Webinar PG&E will share information about their Community Wildfire Safety Program (CWSP). This webinar will provide an additional opportunity for anyone who is interested in PG&E’s wildfire safety efforts to receive a presentation from PG&E leadership, ask questions and provide feedback. Topics include: –Expansion of the Public Safety Power Shutoff program –Accelerated safety inspections of electric infrastructure –Enhanced vegetation management around power lines –Hardening the electric system for the future by replacing equipment and installing stronger and more resilient poles and covered power lines
Monday, July 22, 2019, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Access by clicking this link Additional options for audio listening: Toll-Free Attendee Dial In: 855-247-4312 Passcode: 8482036 *Event Notes: Please note that for optimal viewing, it is best not to use VPN, but instead to connect directly to the Internet. Please disable your pop-up blockers in order to view the content in its entirety. This event is being streamed. It is recommended that you listen via your computer speakers.
If your question concerns disability issues, contact: Deirdre Walke PG&E ADA Program Manager Phone: 916-386-5240 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
PG&E Rate Hearings for Gas and Electricity
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is asking the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to increase rates for electricity and gas. This is on top of other bailout charges on your bill. We need more Oakland residents to speak up at next week’s hearing in Oakland! Other hearings are coming up. See below for a link to the schedule.
Prepare for Powerdown is a site with general info about the public safety power shut-offs and contact info for the utility companies that will be, and are, implementing them: San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Southern CA Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)
Long Term Solutions: Green Mountain Power in Vermont is leading the way with innovation for energy storage. The system will allow customers to store their own energy and power their homes during outages, and when paired with solar, the system can last even longer during a power outage. Customers can participate in the Pilot for $15 a month for 10 years or a $1,500 one-time fee. In doing so, they will receive backup power to their home for at least the next 10 years, eliminating the need for traditional, fossil-fuel-fired backup generators.
Disability Stakeholder Deenergization Program Recommendations
The following deenergization recommendations, when implemented, would provide immediate relief, reassurance, and increased safety for Californians with disabilities who rely on electrical power to meet their medical needs. While public utilities must continue to provide information about deenergization programs to the state’s whole community, they are also responsible for taking proactive steps to assure those who depend on electricity to operate needed/required life-sustaining equipment (medical and mobility equipment) will have it. The following recommendations (again, when implemented) will provide actual electricity-providing systems or other equivalent alternatives for individuals to ensure their safety and life functions continue during the utility’s proactive deenergization actions.
Establish a “loan closet” program for individuals with disabilities to borrow generators in advance of power outages. Safety training would need to be incorporated as part of the program and provisions to address the installation of transfer switches when using a generator, so those using generators won’t accidentally reenergize the utility power lines, will need to be developed. This program should also include the provision of multiple power units (generators or whole house battery systems like the Tesla home battery system) to local fire stations, so the first-responders can take a unit to individuals who have not been identified.
Continue working in partnership with disability stakeholders to present at conferences, meetings, and events to inform the community about the deenergization program and the options the utilities will make available to people with disabilities. That interaction should also take place during the utility active deenergization events.
Establish a mechanism to inform customers with disabilities, who require climate control, where local cooling and warming centers are located. If such centers do not exist, PG&E should open them. PG&E should also contract with local paratransit companies to provide immediate transportation for customers with disabilities with free shuttle service to/from climate control centers on very short notice from the time power is turned off.
Provide all individuals who are eligible for the reduced cost power program with a medic alert membership and a plug-in alarm that sounds when the power goes off and calls the medic alert program.
Identify high-risk customers, especially in the urban wild land interface areas, and put them on an emergency follow up list. During power outages and/or evacuations, first responders and volunteer disaster workers (local CERT volunteers-statewide) should coordinate with PG&E to contact those individuals to confirm they are safe.
Provide eligible disabled customers with emergency planning information and assistance with a needs assessment and emergency plan. Plan preparation includes technical assistance with the plan and power-related equipment needed to implement it.
Establish a grant program to provide eligible customers with disabilities with backup batteries, and other emergency-related items to prepare for power outages.
Create a zero-interest loan program whereby individuals with disabilities can borrow funds to purchase emergency preparedness equipment to increase their overall emergency preparedness posture.
Supply individuals with disabilities with KnoxBox units so if they are unable to mobilize themselves and first responders are sent to the person’s home/apartment, fire and paramedic personnel who have the KnoxBox master key (no one else, including family can have a KnoxBox key for security) in their vehicles can easily and quickly get to those individuals. For more info regarding KnoxBox, visit their website https://www.knoxbox.com/
Nick Stavropoulos, President and Chief Operating Officer Pacific Gas and Electric Company P.O. Box 997300 Sacramento, CA 95899-7300
RE: Community Wildfire Safety Program
Dear Mr. Stavropoulos:
On behalf of Alameda County Board of Supervisors and Alameda County Public Health
Department, we write to express concern regarding the Community Wildfire Safety Program’s
possible unintended consequences for medically vulnerable residents and those who may need
special consideration in planning for emergency preparedness.
The Community Wildfire Safety Program is an important preventive measure to increase public
safety, potentially necessitating the shut-off of electricity to customers served by PG&E electric
lines that run through extreme fire-threat areas. As a local health department, Alameda County
Public Health (ACPHD) is responsible for our county’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness
program which entails supporting community resilience to prepare for and recover from
emergencies; incident management to coordinate an effective response; information
management; deploying medicines and supplies where needed; expanding medical services to
handle large events; and investigating and identifying health threats. As wildfires and other
climate-driven extreme weather events continue to expand and pose greater risk to more
communities, our county would like to offer our partnership to more effectively coordinate
efforts that protect public safety.
In addition, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors believe our role is to support strong policies to ensure access to resources that support the health and well-being of all our communities, including our most vulnerable. It is important that programs take into consideration certain households in any preemptive service shut-off, namely people with serious medical vulnerability, elders, and young children. Energy insecurity is also increasingly an important social and public health concern. Utility shutoffs in general disproportionately impact lower-income families, which predominantly consist of communities of color, people for whom English is a second language, as well as those who are elderly, physically disabled or have serious medical conditions. The loss of basic electricity or gas service causes tremendous hardship and undue stress, including increased risk of pneumonia, flu, bronchitis, colds, heat stroke, sanitation issues, over-reliance on emergency services and underutilization of
preventive programs. For medically vulnerable residents dependent on health devices, the loss
of service could represent not just a temporary inconvenience but a potential risk to their lives.
For these reasons, we would like to raise the possibility for PG&E to consider adapting its
Community Wildfire Safety program to take into account special needs for its customers with
medical baseline, life support needs, or certification that they have a serious illness or condition
that could become life threatening if service is disconnected. In addition, we believe it is
important to include special consideration of low-income customers without the resources to
make alternative arrangements in the event of blackouts.
Please contact us with any questions. Thank you for your consideration.
Keith Carson, Alameda County Supervisor, District 5
Chair of the Personnel Administration Legislation Committee
Interim Director, Alameda County Public Health Department
Erica Pan, MD, MPH
Interim Alameda County Health Officer
1221 OAK STREET SUITE 555 OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA 94612 510 272-6984 FAX 510 272-3784
By Richard Skaff, Executive Director of Designing Accessible Communities
Innovative technology for electricity can mean the difference between life and death for people with
disabilities. Ways to ensure more reliable sources of electricity, such as solar and battery backup, should
be part of the dialogue at this week’s Wildfire Technology Innovation Summit in Sacramento.
The agenda is devoted to the use of high-tech measures, such as big data and artificial intelligence, to
predict wildfires. These are exciting tools that could eventually reduce wildfires in California. But those
tools only go so far to protect “us.” Nobody is discussing the immediate and dire challenge of supporting
California’s vulnerable population of seniors and people with disabilities—many of whom may be hurt or
worse when our electricity doesn’t work.
As California grapples with the devastation left by recent wildfires, de-energization has emerged as
PG&E’s main solution to avoid their power lines sparking fires. This is a grave concern for the millions of
Californians living with a disability, as well as the more than 8 million seniors in the state. For us, access
to continuous and uninterrupted electricity is a matter of life and death.
At a community workshop in Santa Rosa, a PG&E representative warned that a public safety power
shutoff could occur, at a minimum, once or twice a year within PG&E’s service area. Attendees were told
that in most cases, PG&E expects to restore power within 24 hours, but outages could last two to five
days. The outage may continue even longer in some cases because once the high wind/low humidity
event has ended, PG&E staff must visually check every mile of de-energized power line before
electrifying them to assure none are damaged. PG&E also says they will try to provide a 48-hour notice
to area residents but may have to immediately de-energize in some situations.
Even 24 hours without electricity poses a great risk to people who rely on electrically operated life-
saving medical equipment. This includes the thousands of Californians who rely on respiratory
equipment and dialysis machines, or who need to refrigerate critical medicines like insulin. On a very hot
or very cold day, the loss of air conditioning or heating (both systems that require electricity to operate)
puts vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities at risk of death. Even simple actions, like opening a
garage door, become an impossible task for many within this population during a wildfire, flood, or
utility de-energization event, because they may not be able to manually open their garage door. That
task may be the difference between life and death for someone with physical limitations.
When a person with a disability who uses a breathing machine or other electricity-dependent medical
device doesn’t have access to power, they are put at risk. When PG&E determines an area it serves must
be immediately de-energized but is unable to warn residents and visitors in the area, it could mean a life
threatening situation for this vulnerable population.
We need innovative energy solutions in the home and at healthcare facilities that support people with
disabilities and address these power issues.
One simple and effective innovation is already available: Home solar systems with individual backup
batteries that can be connected to the grid. Solar and batteries are an immediate and important part of
the solution to help provide continuous or backup power during planned or unplanned outages.
But existing programs and policies do not enable the immediate deployment of these options for
California’s vulnerable population. Policymakers must recognize this deficiency and work with regulatory
agencies, utility companies and other energy providers to encourage the installation of solar and energy
storage for backup power.
We need resources dedicated to help this community that is the most vulnerable during a power
outage. Here are a few steps that make a big impact:
Track, research, and analyze the impacts on vulnerable populations caused by man-made or natural disasters. For many of the state’s vulnerable population, utility de-energization is considered a man-made disaster!
Develop tools to reduce risks of power outages, such as solar and storage.
Prioritize the deployment of local clean energy resources among vulnerable populations in fire hazard zones, as well as in rural areas throughout the state.
Target solar and storage incentives to medical baseline customers, other customers with disabilities, and the frail elderly.
Significantly increase the medical baseline allowance to enable customers to cover the costs of tools for energy security, management and savings. The Solar Bill of Rights (Senate Bill 288), introduced this February, is an important step. It would protect the right of consumers to own solar systems and more importantly for seniors and people with disabilities, batteries that could store enough electricity to save lives during a power outage. Congress must pass this legislation. The technology industry, academic researchers, utilities, and government and consumers must look at ways to help this defenseless community. We must develop acceptable mitigation measures to protect the lives and health of seniors and people with disabilities. I’ve never felt more passionate about the importance of solar power as the right solution than after seeing my friends in the community suffer because of the lack of electricity. California must incorporate solar and storage to keep the power on for our state’s most vulnerable citizens.
We’ve all heard or said things like, “My attendant is part of my family,” or “I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning without an attendant – literally.” For many people with disabilities, attendants are a crucial part of daily life
The Independent Living
Movement fought for attendant wages so we weren’t entirely dependent on
family members and friends. Women of color, who provide most of the
attendant care in California, were the force behind the permanent
adoption of the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2016.
Hannah Karpilow has spent years deep in the trenches of care giving for disabled people as well as providing support for other home care workers.
Hannah’s List: How to find clients as a Home Care Worker
Call the Alameda County IHSS Registry worker information line at 510-577-5694.
More information about IHSS Easy Does It Emergency Services maintains a list of available workers510-845-5513 Craigslist or help wanted health/ medical or place your own ad or on your local nextdoor.com. Or make your own flyer or business card and post it at senior centers, libraries, etc. Meet with social workers at senior apartments and let them know you’re available.
If you have any questions about the work in general, and want to talk to someone about it before you put yourself out there, feel free to contact me, Hannah Karpilow at email@example.com
This program produced and hosted by Adrienne Lauby,
Access-Centered Movement®️ presents an ACCESS-CENTERED DANCE PARTY BENEFIT FOR STACEY MILBERN
Saturday, July 6th, Noon – 4:00pm
Where: Oakland Sustaining Ourselves Locally, 1236 23rd Ave, Oakland
What: Dance classes, a raffle, food, and nonalcoholic drinks!
Wheelchair Accessible, Scent Free, ASL Interpretation, Non-Fluorescent
Lighting, Low Stimulation Area, and No one turned away for lack of funds This is a benefit for Stacey Milbern, beloved community member, Disability Justice co-founder, and activist.
P.G & E WILDFIRE SAFETY OPEN HOUSE– Activist Alert
People with Disabilities are attending to demand that P.G. & E start – Right Now, before the next wildfire – to address the impact of electrical power shutoffs on consumers, especially seniors and people with disabilities. Monday, July 08, 2019, 6 – 8 p.m. Oakland Marriott City Center, Junior Ballroom 1001 Broadway Oakland, CAh
Featuring Francine Atosha Mbusa and her band from the Congo
Sunday, July 7th, Eastside Arts (East Oakland) 2-5 pm
Tuesday, July 9th, Ed Roberts Campus (Berkeley) 7-9pm
Wed, July 10th, All Of Us Or None (Oakland) 7-9pm
Friday, July 12th Cafe Leila (Berkeley) 7-9:30pm