Michael Rembis on Disability History

March 27, 2020, 2:30-3 pm, KPFA
As you shelter-in-place, take a break from strengthening your support network to spend 30 minutes contemplating the lives of the courageously ordinary amazing people with disabilities who came before us.

Lessons from past disability community movements help us move more steadily through the days ahead.  You can count on it. In this program, we focus on the Mad Movement, and early U.S. pioneers with emotional and mental disabilities who fought for liberation and rights for their people.

We’re joined by Michael Rembis, co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Disability History and Director of the Center for Disability Studies at the University at Buffalo (SUNY).

Mr. Rembis has worked with Kim Nielsen, a pioneer in contemporary disability history, and Catherine Kudlick of the Paul Longmore Center at S.F. State University.  His studies include the histories of institutionalization, mad people, and eugenics.  He is currently working on a book entitled, A Secret Worth Knowing: Living Mad Lives in the Shadow of the Asylum.

With a commentary by Mary Ann Tidwell Broussard.  And, your host, Eddie Ytuarte.

Technical assistance by Sheela Gunn-Cushman and Mike Kohn.

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Corona Virus and People with Disabilities

Listen, March 13, 2020, 2:20 PDT, KPFA

How is the disability community dealing with being among those constantly told they are the “most vulnerable?”

We put this question to some of our community experts, Andrew Pulrang and Shaun Cartwright.

Here’s some great links for more information about these crucial questions:

Healing Justice “Coronavirus: Wisdom from a Social Justice Lens”,
Creaky Joints  “Coronavirus Facts: What You Need to Know If You Have Chronic Illness or Are Immune-Compromised”, and 5 Things To Know About Coronavirus And People With Disabilities

And here’s a Change Your Frame poem by Dori Midnight called “Wash Your Hands”

Wash your hands

like you are washing the only teacup left that your great grandmother
carried across the ocean, like you are washing the hair of a beloved who is
dying, like you are washing the feet of Grace Lee Boggs, Beyonce, Jesus,
your auntie, Audre Lorde, Mary Oliver- you get the picture.

Like this water is poured from a jug your best friend just carried for
three miles from the spring they had to climb a mountain to reach.
Like water is a precious resource
made from time and miracle

Wash your hands and cough into your elbow, they say.
Rest more, stay home, drink water, have some soup, they say.

To which I would add: burn some plants your ancestors burned when there was
fear in the air,
Boil some aromatic leaves in a pot on your stove until your windows steam up.
Open your windows
Eat a piece of garlic every day. Tie a clove around your neck.

My friends, it is always true, these things.
It has already been time.

It is always true that we should move with care and intention, asking
Do you want to bump elbows instead? with everyone we meet.

It is always true that people are living with one lung, with immune systems
that don’t work so well, or perhaps work too hard, fighting against
themselves. It is already true that people are hoarding the things that the most vulnerable need.
It is already time that we might want to fly on airplanes less and not go
to work when we are sick.

It is already time that we might want to know who in our neighborhood has
cancer, who has a new baby, who is old, with children in another state, who
has extra water, who has a root cellar, who is a nurse, who has a garden
full of elecampane and nettles.

It is already time that temporarily non-disabled people think about people
living with chronic illness and disabled folks, that young people think
about old people.
It is already time to stop using synthetic fragrances to not smell like
bodies, to pretend like we?re all not dying. It is already time to remember
that those scents make so many of us sick.

It is already time to not take it personally when someone doesn’t want to
hug you.
It is already time to slow down and feel how scared we are.

We are already afraid, we are already living in the time of fires.
When fear arises,
and it will,
let it wash over your whole body instead of staying curled up tight in your
If your heart tightens,
and expand.
science says: compassion strengthens the immune system
We already know that, but capitalism gives us amnesia
and tricks us into thinking it’s the thing that protect us
but it’s the way we hold the thing.
The way we do the thing.

Those of us who have forgotten amuletic traditions,
we turn to hoarding hand sanitizer and masks.
we find someone to blame.
we think that will help.
want to blame something?
Blame capitalism. Blame patriarchy. Blame white supremacy.

It is already time to remember to hang garlic on our doors
to dip our handkerchiefs in thyme tea
to rub salt on our feet
to pray the rosary, kiss the mezuzah, cleanse with an egg.
In the middle of the night,
when you wake up with terror in your belly,
it is time to think about stardust and geological time
redwoods and dance parties and mushrooms remediating toxic soil.
it is time
to care for one another
to pray over water
to wash away fear
every time we wash our hands.

– Dori Midnight

This program hosted by Eddie Ytuarte, Adrienne Lauby and Shelley Berman with production help from Mark Romoser. Graphic courtesy of Creaky Joints.org

Andrew Pulrang, author of the Forbes article listed above, is freelance writer with lifelong disabilities. He has 22 years of experience as a service provider and executive in nonprofit disability services and advocacy.  He also co-coordinates #CripTheVote, a Twitter-based discussion of disability issues and electoral politics.

Shaunn Cartwright has been an advocate for unhoused people for decades. She’s also a low-income housing advocate and member of the disabled community.

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Defending Homeless Moms

Moms 4 Housing

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

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“Disability, Aging and Power” (PG&E Shut Offs)

Friday, January 3, 2:30-3 pm PST on KPFA radio.

Deborah Kaplan

Are you mad as hell about the PG&E shutoffs?

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.

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Bay Area Accessible Performances

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.

Please visit the website, http://bayareaaccessibleperformances.org, give us some feedback, and check back often for any upcoming events near you.

If you’d like your accessible event to be listed, please visit our website for more details and click on the “submit an event” button.

For more information on making your event more accessible, please email access@jesscurtisgravity.org to find out more.

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“Such a Pretty Girl” with Nadina LaSpina (funddrive edition)

Nadina LaSpina ~ arrested in a direct action protest

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!

Follow Nadina LaSpina on Facebook, Twitter, & YouTube

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#Close The Camps – Protest Coverage

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.

Photo by Leslie Mah

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)

Photo By Regan Barshear

More information about the protest

Check out the photos gathered so far.   Add yours to the collection.

Hundreds of people supported through an online campaign.  Check the #NoBodyIsDisposable hashtag on social media for hundreds of photos.

Read and share scholar activist Caleb Luna’s remarks from the action.

There was a companion action on the same day organized by Fat Rose folks in Indiana! They had 100 folks come out! Check out the photos.

Here’s the short list of actions people can take from home.

One group to connect with locally is the Coalition to Close the Concentration Camps Bay Area, whose campaign is targeting the tech companies who support ICE.

The organizers encourage you to stay in touch with Fat Rose, Disability Justice Culture Club, Hand in Hand and Senior and Disability Action.

Organizational Sponsors:

Access-Centered Movement (accesscenteredmovement.com)
AXIS Dance Company
Big Moves Bay Area (bigmoves.org)
Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL) (crilhayward.org)
Disability Justice Culture Club
Disability Visibility Project (disabilityvisibilityproject.com)
Diversability Inc. (mydiversability.com)
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) (dredf.org)
Fat Lib Ink (fatlibink.com)
Fat Rose (fatrose.org)
FAT!SO? (fatso.com)
FLARE (The Fat Legal Advocacy, Research, and Education Project)
Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network (domesticemployers.org)
Health Justice Commons (healthjusticecommons.org)
The Icarus Project (theicarusproject.net)
Idriss Stelley Foundation (ISF) (bit.ly/IdrissStelley)
Justice 4 Kayla Moore (justiceforkaylamoore.wordpress.com)
Krip Hop Nation (kriphopnation.com)
Making Waves fat swim (makingwavesswim.com)
National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (naafa.org)
NOLOSE (nolose.org)
PleasureNess Literary Academy/Reclaiming Ugly (pleasurenesslitacademy.com)
POOR Magazine/PrensaPobre (poormagazine.org)
Pushing Limits Radio (KPFA) (pushinglimitsradio.org)
Reclamation Press (reclapress.com)
Senior and Disability Action (sdaction.org)
Sins Invalid (sinsinvalid.org)
Urban Jazz Dance Company (realurbanjazzdance.com)
Women’s March Disability Caucus


  Town Hall On Long Term Care

  Expanding Long Term Services and Supports for All

Thursday, September 19
9:45 am – 12 noon
Korat Auditorium
Downtown Library
100 Larkin St, San Francisco

Join us for a town hall about the solving the State’s need for affordable long-term supports and services so that we may all live and age with dignity.   Get your free ticket here.

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.

Original air date: 9-16-19

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Smart Ass Cripple Mike Ervin

Mike Ervin is a blogger, a blogger with a disability who does not say the nice things nice disabled people are expected to say.

Scott Nance (with bullhorn) and Mike Ervin at Indiana ADAPT Protest, at Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse.

Pushing Limits radio has invited him to talk to the Northern California audience about all things crip.

Mike calls himself “Smart Ass Cripple.”  Host Eddie Ytuarte wants to be a Smart Ass Cripple. Let’s see what these two gentlemen come up with on Friday afternoon.

Read Mike’s latest essay Disability and the Myth of the ‘Public Charge’.

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Taking Back Our Power: PG & E’s Electric Grid Shut Off Threatens People with Disabilities

Deborah Kaplan

Listen (28 min)

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

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.


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  deirdre.walke@pge.com


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.

Wednesday, July 24, 1:00 PM & 6:00 PM
Elihu M.Harris State Building, 1515 Clay St, Oakland
Submit comments online.
Find a hearing near you.
Facebook Event for Oakland Hearing.

General Information

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)

Information on PG&E Open Houses on Wildfire Preparedness

Important Links

Op Ed by Richard Skaff: Power Outages and De-Energization Can Be Deadly to People with Disabilities

Emergency Power Planning for People Who Use Electricity and Battery Dependent Assistive Technology and Medical Devices

Home Health Care in the Dark: Why Climate, Wildfires and Other Risks Call for New Resilient Energy Storage Solutions to Protect Medically Vulnerable Households From Power Outages  Excellent 34 pp report.

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.

Using Customer Batteries as a Power Source Saved Vt. Utility $500K

Sun Run “Building a More Resilient Grid: Home Solar & Storage Mitigate Wildfire Impacts”

The Solar Bill of Rights for California


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Establish a grant program to provide eligible customers with disabilities with backup batteries, and other emergency-related items to prepare for power outages.
  8. 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.
  9. 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/

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Letter from Supervisor Keith Carson to PG & E


August 20, 2018

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. Sincerely,

Keith Carson, Alameda County Supervisor, District 5
Chair of the Personnel Administration Legislation Committee

Kimi Watkins-Tartt
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 www.acgov.org

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