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Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee on the march, back in the day.

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Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee on the march, back in the day.


Feminist Movement Marches On

Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee Celebrates 25 Years


Thursday, April 11, 2013
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The years 2012 and 2013 have been times of celebration and political victory for the feminist movement.

Ms. magazine recently published its 40th anniversary edition.

January 22, 2013 marked the 40th year since Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that established the fundamental right to abortion.

The 2012 election resulted in some formidable firsts for women. Although the percentage of women in the U.S. Congress still remains low, at 18%, women broke several glass ceilings in both the U.S Senate and House.

And on the central coast, the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a year-long series of events.

However, in today’s political climate, there is not only unfinished business for the feminist agenda but an imperative need to secure the gains that have been made. To do that, more women must run for national office, starting with local and statewide candidacies. But the political process can be daunting – how can women candidates get started in politics? Is there a pipeline? And if not, can one be created?

In the late 1980s, a small group of women met for several months over dinner to discuss the lack of women in public office in Santa Barbara County. Over time, the group expanded to include a who’s who list of woman activists in the community: Ruth Ackerman, Gayle Binion, Marty Blum, Margaret Connell, Anita Perez Ferguson, Nancy Franco, Hannah-Beth Jackson, Barbara Lindemann, Lois Phillips, Mary Rose, Selma Rubin, Ruth Rodriguez Schaffer, Naomi Schwartz, Sarah Shoresman and Deb Sills. (In the interests of full disclosure, the author was a founding mother also.) We asked whether women could have a significant impact at the local level. Reflecting on 25 years of political activities, the answer is an unqualified yes. Using an activist model, these feminists created a pipeline to elective office.

The Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee (SBWPC) was born in January of 1988, with a raucous reception at a popular watering hole called Zelo’s that brought out 250 women and men. Betty Friedan was the keynote speaker that evening and anti-choice opponents picketed the event.

Each of the founding boardmembers brought her Rolodex to the outreach effort. Sharing these contacts helped get the word out across sectors and disciplines, increased attendance at events, and quickly built a membership base that today includes both women and men. The time was right to organize!

From the beginning, the SBWPC defined itself as a feminist organization. Its mission states:

“The Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee is dedicated to furthering gender equality and other feminist values through political and social action, and educational activities. As a political action committee, we endorse the candidacies of women and men who actively support our goals and promote a feminist agenda.”

During these last 25 years, the SBWPC has pursued gender equity, through many avenues but with the goal of creating social change through public policy. Their belief that female elected officials would do more to make a difference in the lives of women has since been documented by academic institutes like the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Additional research from Stanford has demonstrated that female legislators perform better than their male counterparts once in office.

The organization has supported many women for school boards, city councils, boards of supervisors, the state legislature, California statewide offices, Congress, and the Presidency.

In 1988, the SBWPC endorsed the candidacies of Dianne Owens and Gloria Ochoa, the first women to serve on the County Board of Supervisors. The smell of victory was sweet! During the 1990s, more women began to run for office.

Santa Barbara County has been represented by a woman in Congress since 1999. Women have comprised as much as 80% of the County Board of Supervisors, been elected as mayors, and served in both houses of the state legislature, and a women now serves as district attorney. They also hold many positions on school boards and local commissions.

During its 25 years, the SBWPC has endorsed and contributed financial support to 95 candidates. A total of 56 of those were women (59%). Only four of the women lost. All candidates supported the feminist agenda.

The Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee has created a culture where women in public office are the norm, not the exception.

Success is best demonstrated by their impact on public policy and governance. Issues and legislation introduced by women elected to office in Santa Barbara have covered a broad range of topics. Note the wide-ranging accomplishments of women who have been supported by the SBWPC:

• Congresswoman Lois Capps has been committed to women and families by supporting legislation on health care, the environment and education including the Affordable Health Care Act;

• State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson has emphasized domestic violence and reproductive rights. Jackson’s legislation assisted victims of abuse and created access to affordable reproductive care;

• District Attorney Joyce Dudley has worked to expand rape laws, eliminate rape-kit backlogs and increase timely testing of all kits. Dudley is a strong advocate for truancy programs;

• The late County Supervisor Naomi Schwartz chaired both the local First Five Children’s Commission and the California Coastal Commission, making children and the environment her hallmark issues;

• County Supervisor Janet Wolf has focused on health care and gender balance in public appointments. Wolf has worked to expand breast-cancer digital mammography services for underserved women;

• As Mayor of the City of Santa Barbara, Helene Schneider has established a focus on living wage, housing, homelessness, human services, and education.

In its early days, the SBWPC founding board of directors created a set of tools that enabled them to ensure the election of feminist women to office. They included:

• Position papers;

• Recruitment strategies;

• Campaign skills workshops;

• Candidate assessment teams;

• Endorsements;

• State and federal PAC money;

• Media support;

These tools are still in place today and guide the board in their decision-making.

Many of the first candidates to be endorsed by the PAC were founding board members. As they left to run for office, others took their place. The board itself became a source for candidates, creating an early pipeline, joining public boards and commissions, and becoming staff members to the newly elected women.

As part of its current organizational structure, the SBWPC has a standing pipeline-committee that focuses on recruiting women for future elections.

The question of supporting male candidates arose in the early years. On the occasions when they did not have women candidates, the SBWPC endorsed men who, in turn, supported their agenda. As a result of this policy, today the endorsement of the SBWPC is highly sought after by all candidates in Santa Barbara.

While other feminist organizations have declined or disbanded, the SBWPC has been able to sustain itself over 25 years because of a diverse board of women and a membership committed to addressing issues that are current and compelling.

With a board of directors of 19 women, the 2013 organization is led by President Jane Gray and an executive committee that includes Lisa Guravitz, Yesenia Curiel, Carol Keator, and Kate Silsbury. This new generation of activists has increased the visibility of the organization and is adept at using social media. They are also reaching out to women in northern Santa Barbara County.

In Santa Barbara County, women have achieved political and electoral success by grass-roots organizing, marching, mentoring, advocating, and campaigning. The organizational model developed by the SBWPC has been tried and tested over the years and can be replicated in other communities. The SBWPC has worked on a local level, why not nationally?

4•1•1

The Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee will host a reception to celebrate the 1st Female Mayors of Guadalupe & Santa Maria on Thursday, April 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Café Noir, 1555 S. Broadway, Santa Maria. For more info, visit sbwpc.org.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

The biggest problem with feminism (as described in this article and elsewhere) is that it's #1 most quoted and celebrated achievement is the right to legally kill a living human. This feminism allows no room to celebrate women ( who might otherwise be called feminists) to fight to protect unborn living humans.

And so feminism celebrates this right to selfishly destroy life.

willy88 (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 12:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

get over your Tea Party fear and hatred of legal abortion. Ever heard of right to choice??

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 1 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If the right to life movement was really up to doing good, they'd be running foster homes instead of killing doctors. Thank you Feminists for the fight to keep women safe.

spacey (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 1:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In Janet Wolf's focus on Health Care (which to be knowledge she has no formal education) she knowingly thru cancer and a variety of other medicinal cannabis patients under the bus, whether for political expedience or Victorian hypocrisy you decide, because the science and stats are out there to prove her vote against dispensaries in the county to be cruel at best.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

in canada you can have an abortion at any time for any reason. you can have an abortion while you are in labor, you can have an abortion if the babies foot is in the birth canal. isnt that great? hopefully we will be that liberated soon.

redbunz (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 3:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

::: "in canada you can have an abortion at any time for any reason." ["redbunz"]

That is a lie, "redbunz."

Your time will be better spent educating yourself, rather than the tedious and (I'll bet) time-consuming formulation of your low-rez comments:

R. v. Morgentaler, [1988] 1 SCR 30
http://www.law.ualberta.ca/centres/cc...
http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/1...

binky (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 3:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

On the internet you can spew any nonsense that pops into your head and someone somewhere will believe it, be their bunz red or blue.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 5:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Their belief that female elected officials would do more to make a difference in the lives of women"

As such, Obama, Jerry Brown, and Charles Schumer (just to name a few) should be replaced since their Y-Chromosone DNA precludes their ability to treat all people equally.

Funny how those who make the most noise about "equality" are often guilty of the same prejudices they decry.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 6:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"my party's wars" are better than "your party's wars".

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 6:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

::: "in canada you can have an abortion at any time for any reason." ["redbunz"]

That is a lie, "redbunz."

Your time will be better spent educating yourself, rather than the tedious and (I'll bet) time-consuming formulation of your low-rez comments:
-Binky-

Redbunz is correct according to the information provided below.

"Abortion in Canada is not limited by criminal law but by the Canada Health Act.[1] While some non-legal obstacles exist, Canada is one of only a few nations with no legal restrictions on abortion.[2][3] Regulations and accessibility vary between provinces.[4]"

Supreme Court decision

In its decision (R. v. Morgentaler, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 30 at 37), the Court stated:

"The right to liberty... guarantees a degree of personal autonomy over important decisions intimately affecting his or her private life. ... The decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy is essentially a moral decision and in a free and democratic society, the conscience of the individual must be paramount to that of the state."


"Abortions in Canada are provided on request and funded by Medicare, to Canadian citizens and permanent residents (as with most medical procedures) in hospitals across the country. Abortion funding for hospitals comes from the various provincial governments (their overall health expenses are however paid for in part by the federal government). One-third of hospitals perform abortions, and these perform two-thirds of abortions in the country. The remaining abortions are performed by public and private-for-profit clinics."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion...

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 7:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

According to Planned Parenthood, 93% of abortions are done for reasons of convenience of one kind or another.

What's really going on here is clear: having an abortion is a convenient way to not take responsibility for actions you took that you knew might lead to an unwanted pregnancy.

In the process you kill a living human and several of you above, all on the left, celebrate that convenience which is possible because you have the right to kill.

What a wonderful message! "I am empowered and thankful for my right to kill a living human!". Yayyy!! Go us!

willy88 (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 9:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I love how the PP figure isn't really quoted and left vague: "reasons of convenience of one kind or another". Many of these reasons of convenience include rape (of one kind or another).

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 10:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@"billclausen"

All of the info you provide -- from my sources -- is perfectly correct.

What is left out in your comment is the fact that no physician in Canada will provide an abortion after 24 weeks without serious malformations in the fetus or serious risk to the life of the mother. It is in many ways similar to U.S. procedure, and equally rare (about 2% of total).

http://www.cihi.ca/CIHI-ext-portal/pd... (page 7)

As to further sulfurous exhaust from "willy88" -- with his bogus Planned Parenthood claim ("According to Planned Parenthood, 93% of abortions are done for reasons of convenience of one kind or another") -- Planned Parenthood has never provided such information. In fact I would welcome anything beyond Guttmacher Institute data, if it existed.

However, realize "willy88's" claims are as mephitic as ever.

binky (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 10:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sad this conversation is focused on women's uteruses and not their individual qualities and flaws; and accomplishments and mistakes.
There is a LOT more to women than "lady parts"!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 11:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And to think, women couldn't even vote until 1920.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 1:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

what i said is absolutely true. i was so shocked to hear it that i researched it extensively. there was also an estimated 1000 post birth abortions, or murders, in canada last year. and here is planned parenthood's position on post birth abortion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEv1af... from their own mouths. i grew up with girls who had 3 or 4 abortions by the time they were 16, for convenience. they gave my girlfriend a depo provera injection and she had her period for a year straight. canada has never addressed the rights of the baby no matter how many months along or where it is in the birth canal, its always about the womans "convenience" or lifestyle choice. can you imagine aborting a baby at 9 months? not to mention the serious health consequences for the woman including breast cancer, look it up. i know it doesnt go along with your eugenics conditioning, but try to be subjective. and thanx bill.

redbunz (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 9:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

one more thing, abortion law was struck down in canada in 1988 and a new law was not considered basically because it was a political football, so there is in effect no law. morgenthaler was a thoroughly disgusting person and the product of deep eugenics policy in canada that has gone unaddressed and still influences greatly the lives of aborigianals.

redbunz (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 9:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Again, "redbunz," I provide facts and you supply wind.

So catch your breath, take a moment, and follow my links. I promise you will be exposed to a bit of reality.

For example, in this link...
http://www.cihi.ca/CIHI-ext-portal/pd... (page 7)

...stats from the Canadian Institute for Health Information show that in 2011 -- the most recent information available -- 549 abortions after the 21st week were reported in all of Canada. You should notice this is a far cry from your incredible claim of "... an estimated 1000 post birth abortions, or murders, in canada last year."

binky (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 9:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/a... youre right, im convinced. this man is a hero, and abortion should be celebrated as a right of passage. my personal experience is hot air, holding my girlfriends hand while she had an abortion is a non experience. you shouldnt address the video link i gave because obviously im a fox news watching limbaugh freak. margaret sanger wasnt a deeply racist eugenicist and admirer of hitler either. for the record i dont think abortion should be illegal, but 99% of the women ive known thought it was like getting a wart removed.

redbunz (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 10:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So when you think of great women in history you only think of abortion redbunz?

I think of all the artists and political/social leaders..

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 12:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Meanwhile, the president of Malawi (a woman) has made the news by calling Madonna "uncouth".

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 2:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Did she say "uncouth" or "une cougar" ?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 3:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Did she say "uncouth" or "une cougar" ?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 3:04 p.m.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcYppA...

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 5:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Congratulations to Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee for twenty-five years of success in making sure that women and women's concerns are well represented in our area! All of Santa Barbara County and the Central Coast have benefited from the leadership of this committed and visionary group of Founding Mothers and the leaders who rose from this group.

hopeful (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2013 at 8:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I long for 1919, things went to hell beginning in 1920...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
April 16, 2013 at 8:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My four sisters celebrate 1920 and the birth of the feminist movement which has changed their lives, empowered their already considerable talents, and helped them become even more useful citizens in this democracy. Hey mephitic Willy, none of them have ever chosen an abortion, and how like you to try to sidetrack the conversation to your extremely narrow & anti-female 'right to life' views.
Our country is very much enhanced by women moving forward, and I can't wait until we have a female president, when more than 20% of the US Senate is female (that will end this stupid gridlock there), and when women force through some sensible gun control laws. It's males who are doing the killing in this land.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2013 at 5:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow DD, can you wax poetic more often?

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2013 at 6:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

and I've learned to write just "Germany" when referring to the European model.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2013 at 7:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan: You're joking, right? So it's all about getting rid of the Y-chromosone factor?

Ok then, let's bring back the most prominant female politician in history: Lady Thatcher. The Irish and Argentinians have such fond memories of her.

Indira Ghandi was also well-loved by the Sikhs. (Sarcasm here for those out of the loop)

Here is a truly liberated idea: Instead of the divisive agenda being promoted, how about not judging people by race and gender and voting for them based on their ideas?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2013 at 8:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

By the way, the abortion issue was brought up by Rose, not the other commenters.

Is this about gender equaility, or abortion? Is it just a roundabout endorsement of the Democratic Party?

As I've said before--and my challenge still stands: I call upon Ms. Rose and all others who claim that men are inherently insentive to the needs of women to name names of politicians who are standing in the way of female progress, and that includes elected officials who are Democrats. Let's start by replacing Obama, Jerry Brown and Harry Reid for starters. By Rose's logic, as well as DrDan's logic, conservative Republican women would be better than the above-mentioned men. Which is it?...chomosones or ideology?

Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2013 at 8:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think it's just a roundabout endorsement. I think most if not all of the women listed are up for re/election next time out.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2013 at 1:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Can we please just elect a Mexican woman as President and put an end to this stupidity. OK, maybe a Chinese female but they're no fun...
The union will survive much as it has a white Village Idiot(Bush) and a black guy so far out of his league that he is no longer in the game (Obama).
Hell, the Vatican survived a Polish Pope.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2013 at 6:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I think if a male can cause a female to become pregnant when neither wants a child, then the male should refrain from having sex. Ha, ha. It is always the male that wants sex more than the female. Rape statistics are bad throughout the world but vastly under-reported in the US. The good thing about the feminist movement is that women can support themselves and not have to rely on men who often treat them no better than sex objects and servants - and women can live on their own and avoid sex completely.

And as for Obama being out of his league, you really are quite blind.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
April 21, 2013 at 6:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Susan Collins might be better than those men, Bill.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 21, 2013 at 7:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Rape isn't about sex it's about violence.
Bisexuality is nature's preferred method of population control.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 21, 2013 at 7:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And your definition of rape and proof that rape is under reported are?
I can hear and smell how lame Obama is and therefore my lack of sight is not an impediment.
But, KV that's against the Bible and natural law. How dare you

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
April 23, 2013 at 8:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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