All posts by Julia Rosen

Prop 8: Volunteers Near Polling Locations Getting Kicked Out

Inside the No on 8 boiler room the phones are ringing.  The most common issue is volunteers being challenged for being 100 feet away from polling locations as required by law.

The first problem to crop up was schools, where principals were shooing them away.  This is a pretty typical issue and generally not worth fighting.  In those situations, volunteers can still wave signs by the public entrance on public property.

Now we are starting to get calls from volunteers in front of churches.  Unsurprisingly, the churches are not happy with people urging voters to vote No on Prop 8 and are wielding whatever power they have to try and drive our people away.  In several locations the police were called.  

The No on 8 campaign is armed with a statement from the Secretary of State with a legal interpretation that polling locations are public spaces for the election day and people are allowed to be on property at least 100 feet away.  Each of the volunteers is armed with this letter.  I am trying to get a copy of it and will post it when I have it, but that is my understanding of what it says.

In at least one location our people were shooed away from a Catholic Church, but were letting Yes people to stay.

Prop 8: Greetings live from the boiler room

( – promoted by Julia Rosen)

This election day I will be camped out at the No on Prop 8’s boilier room.  Every major campaign has a room where key staffers field calls from volunteer locations and poll monitoring stations.  No, we are not literally in a boiler room, but rather a conference room.

The phones are already starting to ring, but not with bad problems.  It’s more like Sacramento calling up with more volunteers than they expected and looking for more turf to cover.  It is fairly quiet in here, other than the volunteers waving No on 8 signs out front, getting cars and trucks to honk in support.

Stay tuned here at Calitics for live updates today from the heart of the No on 8 campaign.

[UPDATE: 7:30 am] The phones are starting to ring some.  It is mostly people at polling locations calling in to say that they are at schools and janitors or voters are trying to shoo them away.  Each volunteer in their packet of supplies has a letter from Sec. Bowen that lays out the basic rules that state people are allowed to be 100 feet away from the polling location.  Schools are always a touchy location and it is understandable that they don’t want politicing happening on their property.

[UPDATE: 8:00 am] We just got a report in from a polling location in Contra Costa that a poll worker just came out and berated our volunteers, stating that she was morally opposed to what they were doing.  Not exactly within the job description for a poll worker.

Also, final fundraising report from the AP on Prop 8: $73 million was raised by both sides. $37.6 million from No on 8 and  $35.8 million from the Yes campaign.

[UPDATE: 8:15 am] Another report in, this time from Alameda of a poll worker coming out and ripping up a No on 8 sign.

Prop 8: Live from SF It’s Election Eve

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign and this post is part of a live series from the No on 8 SF offices)

I dunno about you, but I am nervously tapping my foot, counting down the hours until the polls open.  It is storming outside here, rain is pouring down, but volunteers warm and toasty inside phoning voters and inputting data.

To my left is Shumway from the web team and is scrambling to create the graphics and content for the the last push emails going out today and tomorrow. Lilia is to my right and constantly on the phone and email figuring out the logistics of getting a presence up on 167 campuses across the state.

Stanford deserves some mad props.  They not only had close to 200 phone bankers on Saturday, but they just pulled together teams of 3 or 4 students to take a boatload of material to dozens of colleges across NorCal and plaster them with No on Prop 8 literature all through the night.  Fricken awesome!

Here are a few volunteer tidbits reported in from yesterday’s activities.

This is from a couple who walked door-to-door talking to their neighbors about why it was so important to them that we defeat Prop 8.  This scene was repeated all over California today.

“We had what I think are two success stories.  In both cases we were talking to African American women.  The first one hadn’t made up her mind yet and we didn’t speak for long, but at the end she invited us in to dinner!  (We regretfully declined and continued our walking.)  The second one told us that she had already made up her mind to vote yes.  We asked her why and then had a very heartfelt conversation where we talked about marrying the person we love, the difference between civil and religious marriage, and that schools wouldn’t be teaching anything about marriage, same sex or otherwise.  At the end, I think she came around!”

This is such a wonderful story.

My wife, Pepper and I have started a grass roots effort here in our hugely populated Mormon “Yes on 8” neighborhood (Rancho Bernardo, CA).  After weeks of having to drive through their signs morning and night, we finally stopped feeling depressed and angry and decided to do something productive.  We got as many signs as they had at the No on 8 headquarters in Hillcrest and then went to Kinko’s and made our own signs.  My wife stood on the corner by herself (shaking!) with her one sign.  Soon she was joined by about a dozen others–gay, straight, whatever!–Now, we have grown to about 50 staunch supporters.  They bring their children, their mothers, husbands.  It’s absolutely empowering and life-affirming.

Keep up the hard work everyone.  I hope everyone has their staging locations for tomorrow and is fired up and ready to go.  Let’s bring this one home.

Prop 8: Speaker Pelosi Addresses Volunteers in SF

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign and this post is part of a live series from the No on 8 SF offices)

This morning Speaker Nancy Pelosi came by the San Francisco No on Prop 8 offices to surprise several hundred volunteers who were for training.  She stopped at the office after church and her good friend Phyllis Lyon was with her.  The two (and Del) go way back to the days when Pelosi was a young up and coming San Francisco politician and are close to this day.  I am still trying to track down a great picture someone showed me of Pelosi giving Phyllis a big kiss on the cheek.

Pelosi recalled the time she called Del Martin and it took a few minutes for Del to figure out who was calling.  She repeated that it was Nancy a few times, but Del said “I’m sorry, I don’t know who this is.”  Pelosi finally said “Del, it’s the speaker.”, which prompted a big “Oooh, hi Nancy.”

Unfortunately, it was hard to hear the rest of the Speaker’s remarks.  She didn’t have a mic and I was towards the back.  Heather Cronk from NOI is out here volunteering and captured it all on her flip camera.  It is hard to hear and a bit shaky.  Flip it for the video and more pictures.

Volunteers are here for the final training of the evening.  They are signing up for shifts on election day at voting locations all over the Bay Area.  Thousands have come through this office over the weekend.  The same scene is repeating at offices across the state.

Staffers are busy allocating literature for election day, having to re-calibrate their estimates given the flood of volunteers coming into the offices.  The staff is a mix of Californians and out of state veterans of the MA marriage fight and other GLTB battles.  They have been sleeping (a little) on futons and couches and everyone is a little in awe of the scale of this campaign.  For some of the staff this is officially “vacation” time as they have taken a leave from their day jobs to join the campaign trail.

Speaking of staff, the Oakland team organizing the African-American literature drop returned recently, exhausted but with smiles on their faces.  They had a great turnout and covered a ton of turf.

On the more good news front, the campus program continues to expand.  There are GOTV activities on 167 campuses across the state, from small rural community colleges to the big UCs.  That is a lot logistics to sort out to get literature to all of those locations, but that is a great problem to have.

Only 48 hours until the polls close.

Phyllis and Pelosi sitting in the crowd.

Office packed listening to Pelosi

Speaker Pelosi

More photos up on my No on 8 flickr photoset.

Prop 8: Updates from the Field, Pushback on the Obama Flier and More

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign and this post is part of a series live from the No on 8 SF offices)

Yesterday, the No on Prop 8 campaign had Interfaith Call to Action Services all over the state.  Over 2,000 attended one of three masses in LA, San Diego, or San Francisco. Mayor Newsom attended the SF event at Glide Memorial Church. Many parishioners wept as Reverend Dorsey Blake spoke about our country’s painful history of discrimination and connected it to the discrimination on the ballot on Tuesday.

The No on 8 campaign is fighting back today against our opponent’s targeting of African American voters with misinformation about Barack Obama’s position on Prop 8.  Volunteers are passing out a new flyer in heavily African-American precincts and churches.  Flier is below the fold along with more pictures.

LA City Council President Eric Garcetti and actor Martin Sheen were on-hand in LA,and SD Mayor Sanders led a candlelight vigil in the hours after the service in San Diego.

Today, same-sex couples, many of them accompanied by straight friends, neighbors and co-workers will go “Door-to-Door Against Discrimination” in over 20 cities to urge fellow voters to defeat the unfair initiative on Tuesday.

This happening right now in Chula Vista, Fresno, La Verne, Livermore, Marin, Palm Springs, Pasadena, Sacramento, San Bruno, the San Fernando Valley, San Francisco, San Jose, and Tracy.

One couple went door-to-door today and left copies of a personal letter at over 200 homes in their neighborhood. Here’s part of their report: “Actually we got around twenty calls to our home ranging from “Thanks for doing this,” “You really didn’t think we would vote yes, did you?” to “You shouldn’t have used your phone number or address. It was brave of  you.”

Front of flier:

Back of flier:

Pastor at Glide Church:

Inside Glide Church:

Student rally:

Prop 8: Tidbits from the Campaign Trail

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign and this is part of a series from inside the No on 8 SF offices)

Every night I get an email which usually contains a little anecdotal story from the campaign trail as well as a report of the day’s activities.  Here are a few from yesterday.  And a few of my favorites over the last few week are on the flip.

If you needed more motivation to pull away from your computer and come by a campaign office here you go.  The No on 8 office locations are all listed here.

At a volunteer training yesterday, a volunteer expressed her outrage that Barack Obama’s position on Prop 8 was misrepresented by the Yes on 8 campaign in a direct mail piece.  She challenged her fellow volunteers to fight back by donating to No on 8. Within a few minutes the volunteers raised $9,000 amongst themselves to defeat Prop 8.

The student body president of Stanford asked campus program

director Lilia what the largest phone bank had been in the state. When he found out that it was 130 people in SF, he decided that it would be Stanford’s mission to put together the biggest phone bank of the campaign.  Today the campus program coordinator:  We just had a rush from two dorms and hit 190! There are more than 100 in the building right now!

A local church had plastered the entire front lawn with ‘Yes on 8’ signs.  A neighbor was so upset that she decided to single-handedly hold a candlelight vigil in front of the church. Within hours, she was joined by others from the neighborhood, including some of the church’s parishioners.  When the Priest came outside upset by the vigil, some of the parishioners engaged with him about why they were opposed to Prop 8.  After some discussion, the Priest agreed to remove all of the signs.

Last night, when our speaker asked who would contribute $50, a 12 year-old girl raised her hand and asked, “Is $48 okay?”  Turns out that was all of her birthday money, which she donated because she wanted her cousin to be able to marry her partner.

Dear Editor,

Please print my editorial.  I am six years old and my moms tell me my voice counts and my opinions matter.  Vote No on Prop. 8, because it means my moms can be married forever.  Please don’t put up any Yes on Prop. 8 signs.  They make me feel bad.  

Love, Abigail.

On the way to work early each morning a volunteer stands on line and orders his large latte at a crowded Peet’s Coffee. When asked for his name for the order he says, “No on Prop 8.”  Minutes later, with latte in hand, the barista shouts out, “No on Prop 8” and the caffeinated crowd lets out a large cheer.

A woman called the office tonight upset about seeing people holding our opposition’s signs in her suburban neighborhood while she and her husband were walking their dog last night.  She asked what time the campaign office opened in the morning.  When I told her 7:30am, she told me that she’d meet me there for coffee and will volunteer all day.

A woman at the Silver Lake headquarters was making a homemade sign to express her support of marriage equality.  She carefully drew a face and took time to slowly draw a big smile. She told me it was important to show just how joyous it is to have the right to marry. Hopefully, with such dedication, we will all be smiling on November 5.

A 30-something gay latino couple in tuxedos came to the headquarters with their grandmother.  Wearing a beautiful corsage pinned onto her dress and beaming with pride, she sat down next to her grandson and soon-to-be grandson in-law and made calls to voters for an hour before heading to church to witness their wedding.

$1.48 for a better future. A nine-year-old girl donated $1.48 to Equality for All outside a grocery store in the San Fernando Valley. She said “My grandfather was gay and I wish he would have been able to get married.”  

Which one is your favorite?  If you didn’t get verklempt reading at least one of these, then there is something wrong with you.

Live from the SF No on Prop 8 Campaign Offices

(full-disclosure: I work for the Courage Campagin)

img034From now until the polls close I will be camped out in SF helping out the No on 8 campaign.  A lot of that work will be helping live blog and push out information and updates as volunteers hit the streets and people head to the polls.  So stay tuned to Calitics for updates.

We are in a battle here.  Polling is tight.  They are lying, blackmailing and doing everything possible to try and eek out a victory.

We need your help.  Do you have a few free hours to help out?  The volunteers here are fired up.  Gavin Newsom got choked up earlier today addressing the 300-400 volunteers packing the office for the first of four trainings this weekend here.  There are similar trainings going on at offices across the state.  

We need you.  

We need you to sign-up to volunteer, wander into a campaign office and say I am here to help.  We cannot let discrimination be written into the California constitution.  We should always have the same fundamental rights and equality for all Californians.

Sign-up here to volunteer and note that Calitics sent you!

More pictures from the SF offices below the fold.

Prop 8 Spokesman Says Defeating Gays is Like Defeating Hitler

Yes, he went there at an official Sacramento Yes on 8 rally yesterday.  This is Brad Dacus, an official Prop 8 spokesperson speaking.  He is the President of the Pacific Justice Institute, a religious-right lawyers 501c3 organization.

Here is the transcript:

“There was another time in history when people, when the bell tolled. And the question was whether or not they were going to hear it. The time was during Nazi Germany with Adolf Hitler. You see he brought crowds of clergy together to assure them that he was going to look after the church.

And one of the members, bold and courageous, Reverend Niemand (sp?) made his way to the front and (inaudible) said “Hitler, we are not concerned about the church. Jesus Christ will take care of the church.

We are concerned about the soul of Germany.” Embarrassed and chagrined, his peers quickly shuffled him to the back.

And as they did Adolf Hitler said, “The soul of Germany, you can leave that to me.” And they did, and because they did bombs did not only fall upon the nation of Germany, but also upon the church and their testimony to this very day.

Let us not make that mistake folks. Let us hear the bell! Vote on Proposition 8!”

Dacus is the guy who was the chief architect of the movement to get an opt-out law for parents to take their child out of any school activity that violates their religious or moral beliefs.  Like say if a charter school asks the parents if they want to take their kids on a field trip to celebrate their teacher getting married.  You know, the one they are conveniently forgetting about and then lying in their ads about education and teh children.

The best way you can answer back to Dacus is to get out this weekend and election day and volunteer for the No on 8 campaign.  There is a special netroots volunteer sign-up form.  Fill it out and tell them you came from Calitics.

Heck you can even find instructions on how to get an opt-out form on his organization’s website.  This is the guy who is comparing me to Hitler in an attempt to take away my rights.

Oh and there is another outrageous clip on the flip, where another spokesman from the Prop 8 campaign says the gays are trying to recruit children.

Where is the LA Times on the Mormon Church and Prop 8 Story?

Seriously, this is the biggest race in California and members of the Mormon Church are responsible for at least 40% of the cash into the Prop 8 campaign and who knows how many volunteers.  Quite honestly, the California papers have been following the lead of the Salt Lake Tribune, but the LA Times is nowhere to be found.

First, the SLT reported on Friday that the Mormon Church was closing their church based call centers in Utah and other states.  The SacBee picked that one up on Saturday, mentioning the Courage Campaign’s petition (delivery is Tues AM) to the LDS Church.

Yesterday, the SLT reported on the strife within the Mormon Church about their unprecedented level of involvement.  Here is the lede:

The thought of going to church in her southern California LDS ward makes Carol Oldham cry. She can’t face one more sermon against same-sex marriage. She can’t tolerate the glares at the rainbow pin on her lapel.

Oldham, a lifelong Mormon, is troubled by her church’s zeal in supporting a California ballot initiative that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. She feels the church is bringing politics into her sanctuary.

“It has tainted everything for me,” Oldham said, choking up during a telephone interview/.  “I am afraid to go there and hear people say mean things about gay people. I am in mourning. I don’t know how long I can last.”

Now check out this lede by the Chronicle today:

Christine Alonso’s body trembled and her lips quivered as she walked up and spoke to a few of the 50 protesters in front of the Mormon Temple in Oakland on Sunday.

“Don’t think they’re all against you,” said Alonso, 27, explaining that she was Mormon and that despite her religious leaders’ support of a ballot measure banning same-sex marriage, she was actively opposed.

As she walked away, she said, “I’m afraid that a gay or lesbian friend might hear that I’m Mormon and think that I want to tear their marriage apart.”

Oldam and Alonso are not alone in being extremely troubled and distressed about their Church’s overwhelming involvement in the Prop 8 campaign.  You don’t have to look much further than right here on Calitics for the same anguish. Chino Blanco wrote earlier today:

The “Yes on 8” campaign has directed more than $10 million dollars (so far) from Mormon donors to a narrow political campaign. Much of this money was raised after the Church reviewed its tithing records and identified wealthy Mormons to recruit even larger donations from, using special conference calls with Church elders. Why are tithing records being utilized this way? What does this reveal about the way the wealth of individual members has played a growing role in church leadership decisions? How many lives could this money save through the Church’s Humanitarian General Fund? How many educations could this money pay for through the Church’s Perpetual Education Fund? Why does our concept of morality focus so zealously on gender and sexuality at the cost of efforts to end death by disease or starvation, proclaim peace, relieve the debtor, or show stewardship for God’s creation?

The whole thing really is worth a read.  This path that the proponents of Prop 8 have taken is tearing people apart, inside and out.

The LAT is the biggest paper on record here in California, one of the largest in the country and they are missing this wrenching story.  How about we suggest some story lines here in the comments.

I will go first: dig into the enemy of my enemy is my friend story to look into how well the evangelicals, who are no fans of the Mormon Church are working with Mormons within the campaign.

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign)

Under Fire, Mormons Are Backing Off (A Bit) on Prop 8

Estimates of donations by Mormons to Prop 8 are now up to $10 million, funding all of those lies and distortions on our airwaves.  They have been fueling their volunteer base from here in California and across the country, using their church organizing networks to turn out volunteers to phone bank and knock doors.  And Mark Jansson, a “Yes on 8” Executive Committee member and self-described LDS member, was one of four signers to the blackmail letter sent to Equality California donors. The Mormon Church is heart of the Prop 8 campaign, but for a long time the scope of their involvement was not known.

Well, now that it is out in the open and attention is being paid to it, the Mormon Church is squirming and at least in one case, backing down.  They are simply not enjoying this attention. From today’s SacBee:

The Mormon church, whose members have emerged as the leading backers of a ballot measure to end same-sex marriage in California, is scaling back its Utah campaign operation but will continue to support the initiative.

Church members will no longer be making phone calls from Utah to California voters, Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a prepared statement Friday.

Good.  They shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.  Pressure on the Mormon Church to cease their funding of the lying, blackmailing Prop 8 campaign is working.

The Courage Campaign has been keeping the heat on with our petition to LDS President-Prophet Thomas Monson demanding that his church cease funding the Prop 8 campaign and all forms of advocacy for the ballot measure, which was referenced in the SacBee article.   Flip it:

(oh and full disclosure: if you didn’t know it already, I work for the Courage Campaign)

Opponents of the measure have criticized the church’s involvement in the campaign.

The Courage Campaign, a liberal advocacy group, plans to deliver a petition to a Mormon church in Los Angeles next week demanding the church stop funding the Yes on 8 campaign.

But a spokesman for the church, which holds traditional marriage is a sacred institution ordained by God, said the church continues to support the measure despite curtailing its Utah phone bank operation.

We are not the only ones ruffling their feathers.  Dante sure got under their skin with his Daily Kos post suggesting kossacks work on a distributed research project to look into the Mormon donors to Prop 8 and see if there is any dirt.  The info is all out in the public domain and he was not doing anything illegal and unethical, but when the blackmail story broke the Prop 8 campaign tried to use it as an excuse.

His post was the subject of a story by the Salt Lake City ABC affiliate.  It’s really funny to watch the newscaster emphasize “damn” and “hell” as in Hell to Pay, the competition on Daily Kos that netted $150,000 for the No on Prop 8 campaign.

The lesson we should take from all of this is to keep it up.  Keep up the focus on the Mormons.  Keep exposing their lies and blackmail.  Keep pointing out the hypocrisy of a religion funding lies and distortions.  We can respect their freedom to choose not to conduct same-sex marriages, we only ask that they respect Californians to make up our own minds on whether we should take away the rights of loving couples to marry.

And if you haven’t already, go sign the letter to the President-Prophet.  We are going to deliver it on Tuesday and invite the press.  The more names we have with us the better.