Friday, December 6, 2013

Sustainable Tucson: The Economic Imperative of Energy Efficiency, Dec. 9

Sustainable Tucson is hosting a four-part series on sustainability and energy efficiency. The next event is Monday, Dec. 9. Here is the information from Sustainable Tucson.

"The Economic Imperative of Energy Efficiency: Leading Tucson to More Jobs and a Robust Economy While Mitigating Climate Change" 
Monday, December 9th, 6:00 to 8:00 pm 
At Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room, (doors open at 5:30) 
101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

This month, Sustainable Tucson brings international expertise and vision to our community to understand how our region can move to a much more energy-efficient economy while enabling a 100% renewable-energy-powered, and a more vibrant economy.

Tucson’s regional power system and economy can be planned to produce a vibrant economy AND mitigate the worst effects of climate change. In fact the components that can make this happen work in concert. Sustainable Tucson is proud to present two speakers with backgrounds and experience in transitioning from a carbon-intensive economy to one anchored by energy efficiency and powered by renewable energy.

John A. "Skip" Laitner is a resource economist who leads a team of consultants with his own group, Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates based in Tucson, Arizona. He served nearly 10 years as a senior economist for technology policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He won EPA's Gold Medal award for his contributions to economic impact assessments evaluating climate change policies. More recently, he led the Economic and Social Analysis Program for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a well-known think tank based in Washington, D.C. He has just returned from France where he works as the senior economist for a regional initiative that proposes to reduce energy requirements by half with renewable energy technologies powering all remaining energy needs.
Matthew T. McDonnell, J.D. is a regulatory and policy analyst with Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates. He has previous experience in the renewable energy finance industry and the utility regulatory process. He has worked with former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Paul Newman, providing policy analysis; and he has given testimony before the ACC. As a consultant, Mr. McDonnell has advised clients on a variety of energy projects including independent review of generation options analysis, prospects for municipalization, as well as, regulatory issues involved with the transmission and sale of electricity--in both FERC and ACC jurisdictions. Mr. McDonnell's clients have ranged from municipalities and energy firms, to public utilities and stakeholder groups.

Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Protest Low Pay for Fast Food Workers in Tucson on Dec 5

Across the US-- and here in Tucson-- citizens will be standing in solidarity with fast food workers who are demanding a living wage. The Tucson protest is at the McDonalds at Alvernon and Speedway. Here is the flyer . Here is a link to the Facebook event.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Can Public Banking Spur Economic Growth in Southern Arizona?

Tucson is one of the most impoverished cities in the country—for many reasons. The Arizona Legislature—driven by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and short-sighted, “small government” ideology—has routinely swept funds earmarked for counties and cities to “balance” the state’s budget or fund pet projects like lower corporate taxes.
Beyond the Legislature’s negative impact on Baja Arizona, the Tucson economy is not diversified enough. Manufacturing is nearly non-existent in Southern Arizona. There is an over-reliance on defense spending, University of Arizona spin-offs, tourism, low-wage service jobs, and growth/development. During the Great Recession, multiple income streams for our local economy were dramatically reduced or eliminated—resulting in the loss of hundreds, if not thousands of good-paying jobs due to budget cuts, business closures, and the housing market crash. People and jobs left the area.
In August, the Arizona Daily Star ran a week-long series on multiple aspects of poverty in Southern Arizona and just this week, the Star ran a story that stated Tucson was second only to Detroit in the proliferation of crappy, low-wage jobs. In a survey of 52 metro areas with over 1 million residents, Tucson was in the top 10 for job creation; the problem is that more than half of the projected 28,000 new jobs will pay less than $13.84/hour. (If you really want to be depressed, check out the list of Tucson’s fastest growing occupations here. None of these jobs requires a college education. Thanks to TREO’s efforts, telemarketer is #1. Thanks to Tucson’s ample supply of old folks, the next four most popular jobs are low-wage health/caregiver positions. We won’t break the cycle of poverty in this city with a jobs picture like this.)
So, we know that our city has big economic challenges. Now what?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Affordable Care Act (and Healthcare Reform)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and healthcare reform, in general, will be the focus of PDA Tucson's general membership meeting on Thursday, Nov. 14.

Andrea Witte (the Connect the Dots Lady) will present the updated version of "The American Healthcare CrazyQuilt", which looks at how the US healthcare system evolved into the most expensive system in the world but still leaves millions of people uninsured. She also will discuss the Affordable Care Act.

Dr. Eve Shapiro, local pediatrician and head of PDA Tucson's universal healthcare issue organizing team, will talk about single-payer, universal healthcare and why that should be our country's ultimate healthcare reform goal. The ACA is a step in the right direction but not the end of the road.

Concluding the healthcare portion of the program, Michal Goforth, executive director of the Pima County Access Program, will talk about local ACA outreach efforts and local implementation of the new healthcare law.

Rounding out the evening, PDA Tucson Chair Phil Lopes will discuss local and national initiatives of the Progressive Democrats of America.

The Nov. 14 meeting will be held at the Pima County Housing Center, 801 W. Congress St. The entrance faces Congress Street, but parking is on the North and East sides of the building. Doors open at 6 p.m.; program starts at 6:30 p.m.

Related Information:
Affordable Care Act Quick Reference Guide from Connect the Dots USA

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

UPDATE: Oct 16 PDA Tucson Fall Membership Meeting Postponed until Nov 14

Yesterday, I posted this story about the Fall Membership Meeting of PDA Tucson. The headline speaker was to be Congressman Raul Grijalva.

The Congressman had to cancel, so the PDA meeting is being postponed until Thursday, Nov. 14.

Here is a link to the event on Facebook. You can find updates on PDA Tucson's Facebook page or on this blog. 

We had hoped that Grijalva canceled because he was called back to DC to vote on lifting the shutdown and the debt ceiling, but given this afternoon's headlines that vote appears to be a distant dream.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Grijalva to Address PDA Tucson Fall Membership Meeting

With the government shutdown, historic gridlock in Congress, and multiple protests errupting, Washington DC has been a hotbed of political activity.
While some Arizona Democrats are cozying up to the Republicans, Congressman Raul Grijalva continues to be a leader of the progressive movement. Last week, he and other progressive Congressmen were arrested at a recent immigration reform protest in DC (at left). He also spoke with Democracy Now about the shutdown and immigration reform.
This Wednesday, October 16, Grijalva will give a Washington update at the Fall Membership Meeting of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Tucson Chapter at the Ward 6 midtown office.  
Following Grijalva, will be a two-part discussion of healthcare reform. Andrea "Connect the Dots Lady" Witte will use her usual wit and great graphics to explain the Affordable Care Act, and Dr. Eve Shapiro, PDA Tucson Steering Committee member, will discuss Medicare for All and why universal healthcare should remain our goal. Doors will open at 6 p.m., with the meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Learn About the Affordable Care Act from the 'Connect the Dots Lady': Sept 23

Andrea Witte-- AKA the "Connect the Dots Lady"-- is on a mission to educate Tucsonans about their benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She will be presenting her “The American Healthcare Crazy Quilt” next Monday. Check out the details of this one woman dynamo's latest crusade to inform us with humor, facts, and great graphics.

The Affordable Care Act exchanges (aka Marketplace) will be opening up on October 1, 2013 with coverage starting as soon as January 1, 2014.  
And that’s when pre-existing condition discrimination goes away, too. Hooray for the ACA!
For all of us that worked so hard to get some meaningful health insurance reform passed, here are a few ways you can help make the launch a big success...  
The attached PDFs — “ACA Basics” and “ACA Tax Credits” — make a wonderful two-sided flyer that you can take to your events. They were a big hit at the Labor Day picnic and UA campus. I plan to go over to campus regularly to reach the Young Invincibles.
Please let me know if you want to join me or know about other events where we can reach lots of folks.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Climate Smart Southwest: Are YOU Ready for Climate Change?

Is it hot enough for ya?
In the coming years, as temperatures rise, weather patterns evolve, and plant and animal species become extinct, that wry, old country greeting will lose it’s quaint humor. Thanks to global warming.
The Southwest is already the hottest and driest part of the US. And our region is already experiencing longer and more intense heat waves, a dramatic spike in forest fires and severe dust storms, and changes in rainfall and seasonal snowmelt. These changes threaten water resources, food security, and public health.  As extreme weather events continue to increase, we will see higher rates of heat stress, newly emerging infectious diseases, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses.
How will the Sonoran Desert change as climate change progresses? Will we have enough water? What will our air quality be like if Arizona’s dirty coal-fired power plants continue to balk at environmental regulations?  How will Arizona cope with rolling brown outs if electrical demand spikes? How will Tucson’s vulnerable populations fare with more days over 100 degrees? What can we do NOW to lessen the impact of climate change on our fragile environment?
This coming weekend, Sept. 20-21, the Arizona Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) is sponsoring an important conference for us desert dwellers: Climate Smart Southwest, Ready or Hot? 

Friday, August 2, 2013

John Nichols: US Needs 3 Constitutional Amendments to Save Our Democracy (video)

One hundred years ago, at the dawn of the last American Progressive Era, the United States was a very different place– a place of inequality, discrimination, and wealth disparity, author and historian John Nichols (above) told a gathering of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) in June.
Although slavery had been abolished in 1865 (#13), the rights of citizens were established in 1868 (#14), and the right to vote for all men was established in 1870 (#15), the majority of Americans could not vote.
At the turn of the last century, women and adults 18-21 years of age were barred from voting, and because of racist, state-level machinations and poll taxes, many African Americans and poor Americans of any color also were kept from voting. In addition, citizens didn’t have representation in the US Senate, since Senators were chosen by robber barons in back room deals (not elected by the people).
This sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it? Are Republicans trying to take our country back to 1900? Consider these current scenarios:

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grijalva Street Heat Event a Success!

Approximately 25 people came to Congressman Raul Grijalva's office to celebrate Medicare's birthday and to thank Grijalva for his progressive votes in the US House of Representatives.

Joined by Grijalva's staff, we sang "Happy Birthday" to Medicare (in honor of its 48th birthday) and ate cupcakes. It was also a productive rally, since we collected signatures to stop voter suppression in Arizona.

More photos after the jump.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

PDA Street Heat: Prosperity Not Austerity Rally at Raul's

Progressives in Congress and across the country are fighting the tide of right wing extremism on multiple fronts-- from food stamps to cuts in Social Security to stalled immigration reform to anti-woman legislation to austerity for the middle class, while the wealthy live high on the hog.

Congressman Raul Grijalva has been at the forefront of the progressive movement in Congress. As another budget battle heats up in the House of Representatives, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) want to thank our stalwarts like Grijalva, and at the same time want to celebrate Medicare's 48th birthday.

This rally at Grijalva's office  is part of a nationwide action at multiple Congressional offices by PDA and National Nurses United (NNU). The event is 10:30 a.m.-12 noon at the old YWCA (738 N. 5th Ave.)

At some locations-- like Congressman Ron Barber's-- PDA members will do letter drops urging Congressional representatives to support certain bills or issues. This month the focus is on prosperity vs austerity, Medicare expansion, jobs, and progressive financial legislation like the Robin Hood Tax. (More details below.) At Grijalva's office and others, there will be street heat rallies, as there were last month when PDA members were protesting cuts to food stamps nationwide and helped stop the Farm Bill. Read the July letter to Congress after the jump.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Progressives Battle Against Cuts to Food Stamps, Social Programs

Recent weeks have been a wild ride in politics, and progressives nationwide have been in the thick of the political battles-- particularly the fight to preserve food stamps and other social safety net programs.

In June, progressives  personally delivered 225 letters to Congressional representatives and staged street heat rallies in from of high profile offices to pressure Democrats to vote against the Farm Bill that includes cuts to food stamps and school lunches (while raising subsidies to agribusiness). In Arizona, PDA members delivered letters urging members to vote against any Farm Bill that would include food stamp cuts.

Here are some blog posts that tell how this unfolded in the streets and in the halls of Congress.

Poverty by the Numbers Report Reveals a Cruel Nation

Misplaced Congressional Priorities: Pork for the Pentagon but Not for Children

Can You Live on $4.50/day? 20 Congressional Leaders, Staff Join Food Stamp Challenge

Obama Opposes Food Stamp Cuts, Threatens Veto of Farm Bill

Street Heat: Progressives Protest Against Food Stamp Cuts Nationwide

Breaking News: Farm Bill Defeated 234-195, AZ Dems Split How Progressives Stopped the Farm Bill

Although we won this skirmish, Republicans are seeking to separate food assistance from the Farm Bill-- which would make it easier to cut or kill them. Hunger is real in America. We must work to save food stamps, school lunches, and other War on Poverty programs

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How Progressives Stopped the Farm Bill

When Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) rallied its membership and asked them to take to the streets, their computers, and their telephones to oppose food stamp cuts in the farm bill, stopping the multi-year, behemoth looked bleak.
Both versions of the bill had cuts to food stamps and school lunches; the House of Representatives version, which was defeated on Thursday, had $20 billion in cuts to food stamps + increased subsidies to agribusiness, and the Senate version has $4 billion in cuts. This is immoral– feeding the military industrial complex but not the children.
PDA mobilized nationally to stop this– and it worked– for now. PDA members hand-delivered 225 letters to Congressional members (text here) and held Street Heat rallies at six offices nationwide. Above, Jim Hannley of PDA Tucson delivers a letter to Congressman Ron Barber's office. PDA members statewide delivered letters to all Arizona Congressional representatives.
For the details of the mobilization, check out this story on here.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Obama Opposes Food Stamp Cuts, Threatens Veto of Farm Bill

President Barack Obama has issued an official statement saying that he opposes the current form of HR1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (AKA the Farm Bill).
Specifically, he opposes the deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP– food stamps) and the spending increases in the form of subsidies. Cutting food subsidies (in the form of food stamps) to the poor while increasing subsidies to agribusiness is immoral. (You’ll remember that, in public, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is all “we gotta tighten out belts and reduce spending”, but in reality, they love spending money on pet projects– like war and corporate welfare. They passed the $640 Billion Pentagon Pork Bill last week. )
Will Obama’s statement and threatened veto give weak-kneed Blue Dog Democrats the back-up to stand up for what’s right? I hope so. (The House of Representatives is still working on this bill; there is still time to call your representative and urge him/her to preserve funding for food stamps.)
The President’s full statement is after the jump. This story was originally published on

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Street Heat: Progressives Protest Against Food Stamp Cuts Nationwide

For weeks, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has been turning up the heat on Congressional Democrats in an effort to stop the proposed $20 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, AKA food stamps).
On Monday, June 17, PDA members nationwide protested athigh-profile Congressional officesfrom California to Florida to Illinois to Massachusetts.  (Above, PDA members-- including Advisory Board Chair Mimi Kennedy-- protest outside of Congressman Henry Waxman's office in Southern California. More photos of nationwide protest here.) 
PDA activists demonstrated at the offices of influential members of Congress, like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Here is the list:
  • Rep Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader, CA-12: (415) 556-4862
  • Rep Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, DNC Chair, FL-23 954-437-3936
  • Rep Steny Hoyer, House Minority Whip, MD-05 (301) 474-0119
  • Rep Henry Waxman CA-33 310-652-3095
  • Rep Richard Neal, MA-05 (413) 785-0325
On Wednesday, June 19, PDA members visited the offices of more than 200 members of Congress and urged them to vote against the food stamp cuts. In Arizona,PDA activists delivered letters to the offices of Ron Barber, Ann Kirkpatrick, and Kyrsten Sinema.
View PDA's letter Congress and related links after the jump.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rep. Grijalva on Need to Address Climate Change - House Floor, April 2013

Southern Arizona Congressman says the flow of the Colorado River-- the "life blood of Arizona"-- will be reduced by 30% by 2050.

"We need proactive solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change," Grijalva said.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Upcoming Event: Exposing Arizona's Political Corruption

PDA Tucson, along with labor and immigration rights advocates, is sponsoring an upcoming free event featuring the "United States of ALEC" and a discussion led by Sam Wercinski of the Arizona Advocacy Network on Saturday, June 1. 

Here is the announcement from the AZ AFL-CIO, PALF, IBEW 570, Tucson PDA, and Border Action Network:

WHAT: Join Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation to expose how lobbyists and Big Money buy favor with officials at the our expense. We begin with a special showing of Bill Moyers’ United States of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), exposing how Big Money uses campaign cash and freebies to buy access to OUR tax dollars for greater profit at the expense of jobs and voter priorities. We then highlight important bills being voted on by the legislature and Congress on Clean Elections, other political anti-corruption/conflict of interests bills, voting rights and election administration. Learn more about our March 18, 2013 U.S. Supreme Court hearing to defend every eligible citizen’s right to register to vote without the barriers Arizona politicians keep in place.

WHEN: Saturday, June 1, 2013

Check-in 10:00 a.m. - Film begins 10:30 a.m. - Lunch and Legislative Update 11:30 a.m.

WHERE: IBEW 570 Union Hall, 750 S. Tucson Blvd., Tucson

Facebook event:

This event is FREE, but registration is required.

Go to this website to register...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Grijalva Leads House Committee Fight Against Keystone XL Pipeline

Watch Southern Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva debunks claims related to construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

"There will be no lasting impact on the energy independence question for the American people," he said.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ashley Sanders of Move to Amend Speaking in Tucson, May 26

Are you tired of corporations running our elections with dark money donations? Join the Move to Amend movement!

On Sunday, May 26, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson will host a Move to Amend presentation by activist Ashley Sanders. 

Here is the background from the national Move to Amend website...

Ashley Sanders is touring the country for Move to Amend in an effort to build connections, inspire activism, and reveal the origins of corporate power in America.

Ashley Sanders is a long-time community activist from Salt Lake City, Utah. She began political work doing campus organizing against the Bush administration and then worked to build third parties as the Nader spokesperson in 2008. She worked for Democracy Unlimited (a Move to Amend Founding Organization) in 2009 and helped to form the Move to Amend coalition. She founded the Salt Lake affiliate of Move to Amend and serves on the National Leadership Team.

Move to Amend is a national coalition of over 280,000 people and organizations whose goal is to amend the US Constitution to end corporate rule and get money out of politics.

Sanders tells the history of the American Constitution as it pertains to Corporate Personhood and illegitimate but legal corporate constitutional rights, followed by facilitated discussion/Q and A. "Organizing to End Corporate Rule & Get Money Out of Politics" aims to help local folks understand how they can work to abolish corporate personhood and establish a government of, by, and for the people.

This event is free and open to the general public, donations appreciated, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. The UU church is located at 4831 E. 22nd St. in Tucson.

Here is a link to this event on Facebook:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

PDA to Congress: 'Austerity Is Not an Option'

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) members visited roughly 200 Congressional offices nationwide on May 15 with an urgent message for their representatives: "Austerity is not an option."   In addition, 2,000 PDA members called their Congressional representatives yesterday, and PDA/Robin Hood Tax supporters held demonstrations in San Francisco and Fresno. Over the past year, PDA's monthly letter drop campaign has mushroomed from a handful of offices visited to nearly half of Congress.

Once again, here in Tucson, PDA  visited the office of Representative Ron Barber. Once again, we asked him to back the Financial Speculation Tax (AKA the Robin Hood Tax) which would charge a tiny fee for every Wall Street transaction, stop speculative minute-by-minute computerized trading, bring stability to the financial markets, and generate billions of dollars for our economy. Once again, we asked him to protect the middle class, the veterans, and the poor by protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Mr. Barber, aren't there more regular folks in CD 2 than bankers? Why would you protect Wall Street-- and not your constituents?

The only thing I can say to you is, "We're not giving up, and we're not going away."

Monday, April 29, 2013

March on May 1: International Workers Day of Justice & Dignity

It's May Day in Tucson


On International Workers Day March for Justice and Dignity for Immigrants' and Workers' Rights on Wednesday, May 1st.

Gather at 9 AM at St. John's Church (12th and Ajo Way). March at 10 AM to rally at Rudy Garcia Park (Irvington and Old Nogales Hwy).

We demand:

  • Worker and union rights for all.
  • Stop the deportations
  • No more deaths in the desert and border patrol violence
  • Immigration reform for all 11 million.
  • Repeal SB1070.
  • End border militarization.
  • Unite - don't separate families.
  • Stop criminalization of migrants.

The march and rally are sponsored by May 1st Coalition, Derechos Humanos, Tucson Dreamers, Salt of the Earth Labor College, Alliance for Global Justice, Jobs with Justice, CPUSA, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Tucson Chapter, and other groups. For More Info call 520-770-1373 or Tucson May 1st Coalition for Immigrant & Worker Rights.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bus Riders' Union vs Developers: Should Tucson "Develop" the Ronstadt Transit Center?

For years, developers have been eyeing the Ronstadt Transit Center on Congress Street for redevelopment. This idea was raised again in late 2012. In February, the Tucson City Council decided (once again) not to move the Ronstadt Transit Center out of downtown (a move which developers have been pushing for for years). Instead, the council decided to open a 60-90 day public comment period, collect input, and determine what should be done about redevelopment.

The above video was shot at a public forum sponsored by the Bus Riders' Union. Approximately 250-300 citizens packed the Rialto Theater for this event.

For more background, check out this story: Ronstadt Transit Center: City, Developers Ponder Proverbial Political Football (video)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

John Nichols on Greed and Austerity

John Nichols, columnist for The Nation and regular commentator on MSNBC, addressed a packed house at the Tucson IBEW Hall in March. The event was jointly sponsored by PDA Tuson and the Pima Area Labor Federation.

Above is a video excerpt from his talk. For more details, check out this story:

John Nichols: Don’t Let the ‘Crooks’ Roll Back Years of Progress (video)

PDA Tucson and PALF leaders pose with John Nichols (left to right): Pamela Powers Hannley, James Hannley, Alison McCloed, Dustin Cox, Laura Hogan, John Nichols, Linda Hatfield, Michael Gordy, Barbara Warrne, and Rick Graap.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sights & Scenes from the People's Inauguration in DC (video)

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) sponsored the People's Inauguration in Washington DC over the weekend of the presidential inauguration. Activists, progressive leaders, and elected officials participated. Alison McLeod, Southern Arizona PDA organizer, was there. Here is a series of nine videos that she created from this event.

A Picture of PDA
John Nichols of The Nation orchestrates a photo of today's American progressive movement.

Rev. Jesse Jackson on the War on Poverty
"The political season is over - now we have work to do." Speaking at a Progressive Democrats of America conference in Washington, D.C., renowned civil rights, political and religious leader Jesse Jackson reminds us that the real work of social and economic change happens when people put their boots on the ground.

Monday, February 25, 2013

What Challenges Face Labor & Progressives in the Future? An Evening with John Nichols

John Nichols, political writer for The Nation and regular contributor to MSNBC, returns to Tucson on Saturday, March 9, 2013, to discuss the progressive movement, our mutual goals with labor, and the challenges ahead. 

With intransigence in the Congress and sequestration cuts swirling around our heads, Nichols will provide us with lively commentary and new insights into American politics. 

Nichols spoke to a packed house last year in Tucson. If you attended that event, you know he is both entertaining and thoughtful in his analyses of the news and the political climate.

This free event is sponsored by the Tucson Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), in collaboration with the Pima Area Labor Federation (PALF). It will be 6-8 p.m. at the IBEW Hall, 570 South Tucson Blvd. 

For a taste of what you will hear, check out this video from last year's event.

Friday, February 22, 2013

2012: PDA Tucson Reviews a Year of Activism

Two years ago, February 2011, the Tucson Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) was launched. It has been a busy two years, but 2012 was particularly active, as PDA Tucson sponsored events and worked with other left-leaning local groups in support of their activities.

Here is a look back.

January 2012
PDA Tucson defends Occupy Tucson with a Letter to the Editor of the Tucson Weekly.

PDA Tucson joins other PDA Arizona chapters in tabling at the Arizona Democratic Party State Committee Meeting and participates in the ADP Progressive Caucus.

February 2012
PDA Tucson hosts a forum on public banking with the sponsor of HB2104, which would establish a public bank in Arizona. When the bill was heard in committee, PDA Tucson steering committee members testified in favor of it.

PDA Tucson steering committee members participate in national PDA meeting in Winslow.

John Nichols, of The Nation, tells a packed house at the IBEW Hall in Tucson about the Uprising in Wisconsin at an event sponsored by PDA Tucson and the Pima Area Labor Federation. This comes as workers are attacked with six anti-union bills in the state Legislature, and labor supporters take to the streets.

PDA Tucson, Physicians for a National Health Program, and the Alliance for Global Justice  co-sponsor Single-Payer Healthcare and the 99%-- A Public Forum which features talks by Dr. Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese JD.

March 2012
PDA members protest with unionists, Occupiers, and other labor supporters against anti-worker bills in the Arizona Legislature.

Monday, January 21, 2013

UPDATED: PDA Tucson's Phil Lopes runs for Dem Party Vice Chair

UPDATE: Phil got elected!

On Saturday, January 26, 2013, the Arizona Democratic Party will hold its reorganization meeting in Phoenix. New state party officers will be elected by elected precinct committee (PC) people. If you are a progressive and an elected, please consider voting for Phil Lopes. If you are a PC and can't make the meeting, contact your legislative district chair and give someone your proxy vote.

Phil Lopes for Vice Chair

Dear AZ State Democratic Committee member,
This letter is to ask for your vote for the position of Vice-Chair of the AZ Democratic Party. I would be honored to have your support and vote. I am running for Vice-Chair to:
  • strengthen the party, especially in public policy advocacy, and,
  • to improve the public’s perception of the Party
Although the Party raises money during campaign season, it does not advocate with candidates, elected officials or the public at large for policy positions that reflect the values of Democrats. This is one reason why the public perceives Democrats and Republicans as not very different. For example, during the recent campaign, I heard no mention of developing a fairer tax system. This is inconceivable given that our State tax structure is way too sales tax reliant and the sales tax hits the poor the hardest. Likewise, most Democrats feel that there is too much money spent on campaigns but too many of our candidates chose not to run using Clean Elections.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

PDA Tucson delivers "prosperity not austerity' letter to Barber

The Tucson Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has been participating in PDA's national effort to educate Congress. In December, more than 80 letters were delivered to Congressional offices around the country-- including those of Congressman Raul Grijalva and Congressman Ron Barber.

Above, Jim Hannley, a member of the PDA Tucson Steering Committee, discusses the January 16 "prosperity not austerity" letter with Barber's staff. Below is the text of the letter, which also appears on our Facebook page.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 19: A Peoples’ Inauguration

In you're lucky enough to be in Washington DC for the Presidential inauguration, check out PDA's People's Convention.

The Progressive Democrats of America plan to bridge the gap between Capitol Hill and the progressive grassroots.

By Cole Stangler  
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), the self-described “grassroots PAC operating inside the Democratic Party, and outside in movements for peace and justice” is gearing up for its third Progressive Central, a one-day gathering of politicians from the left wing of the Democratic Party and prominent activists from the labor, anti-war and environmental movements.

The “Peoples' Inauguration” in Washington, D.C., scheduled for January 19, two days in advance of the more prominent inauguration to be held a few miles across town on Capitol Hill, is intended to kick off PDA’s lobbying and organizing efforts for the next four years. In a national political context dominated by talk of austerity, PDA is aiming to keep popular progressive demands on the agenda in Congress—issues like universal single-payer healthcare, ending the wars while slashing the defense budget, and implementing a financial transactions tax. Emblematic of the group’s “inside-outside mission” of translating the demands of existing social movements into action from sympathetic members of Congress, the event on Saturday will feature a mix of Democratic representatives and leaders.

“When we say inside-outside, if it’s the peace issue, we’re working inside the Democratic Party to support Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) [who sponsored a bill last session calling for the swift removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan]. The outside piece would be working with folks like Phyllis Bennis from the Institute of Policy Studies and Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK,” Tim Carpenter, PDA’s executive director, tells In These Times. “We’ve got to organize demonstrations, we’ve got to put together candlelight vigils, civil disobedience, the street heat, that’s the outside piece. What PDA is trying to do is be that bridge. Every great social movement starts outside the halls of Congress, but if it’s successful at the end of the day, it’s going to pass legislation.”