of the East Bay


(This site last updated: March 27, 2015)

Our office is located in the rear of the
Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library
This is on the west side of Telegraph, just north of Alcatraz.
It's accessible via #1 and #1R buses.
Gray Panthers of the East Bay
6501 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609

Phone: 510-595-9696.
Manager of this Web Page -- Steve Geller --

Edie Hallberg --
Leeza Vinogradov --

Put Medicare for All on 2016 Presidential Agenda

Help Put Medicare for All on the 2016 Presidential Agenda
Hold Banners for Single Payer At Hillary Clinton’s Fundraiser Thursday 6 to 7pm March 19
3075 Adeline in Berkeley (Across the Street from Ashby BART)
Call Don Bechler 415-695-7891

March Membership Meeting

The March membership meeting was held at North Berkeley Senior Center on March 25. Attorney Jim Chanin spoke on the First Amendment and Women's Rights
Click here for Steve Geller's summary report.
Even today, some people still can't vote. Click here

Free Legal Advice

March 12 @ 6:30 p.m. Claremont Library - 2940 Benvenue Ave

The “Lawyers in the Library” program offers free consultation and referrals on a wide variety of issues including landlord/tenant disputes, probate matters, employment problems, and general consumer issues.

Sign-ups start at 5:00pm for a spot with our visiting lawyer.
Names are chosen at random at 6:00pm for appointment times.

Eviction Nightmare at Oregon Street Senior Apartments

Click here for news article.

Report on March Membership Meeting

The March membership meeting was held at North Berkeley Senior Center on March 25. Attorney Jim Chanin spoke on the First Amendment and Women's Rights
Click here for Steve Geller's summary report.

How to Fight the Republicans

The newly elected Republican majority in Congress has begun Destroying Social Programs

Here are some details and what you can do to fight back.

This page was supplied by Harry Brill. Click here

Monthly Peace Rally

Every 3rd Friday, Gray Panthers and Strawberry Creek Lodge sponsor a Peace rally, at Acton and University in Berkeley. Next rally will be on Friday March 20, 2-3 pm. Come sing, wave signs, listen to approving honks. For info, Call 841-4143

February 2015 Membership Meeting

The February membership meeting was held on Wednesday, February 25 at 1:30pm at North Berkeley Senior Center. The speaker was civil rights lawyer Moni Law.
Click here for Steve Geller's summary report.

January 2015 Membership Meeting

The general membership meeting was held on Wednesday, January 28. The subject was Low Income Housing Needs for Seniors.
Click here for a summary report.

December Membership Meeting

There was no membership meeting in December 2014. Instead, there was a holiday party, held jointly with the staff of North Berkeley Senior Center, on December 17.

It was a great success. Food was provided by the Senior Center. Panthers Claire and Steve brought some mandarin oranges. The masters of ceremonies were panther co-convenor Edie Hallberg and the senior center's Rodney Wong. The center's Tuesday sing-a-long group led everyone in Christmas carols and other seasonal songs, accompanied by piano.

Elliot Kennan played his banjo and sang songs, including some Hanukkah favorites. He gave the group a quick history of the origin of Hanukkah, the story of the one-day supply of oil for the temple lamps that miraculously lasted 8 days.

To celebrate the possible re-opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba, there was a performance of afro-Cuban percussion and songs. Some people got up and danced.

Beautiful dances: A Chinese group of women, exquisitely dressed, performed a dance.

Then there was more sing-along of seasonal songs.

Different dancers performed a Korean dance, and a bunch of long-braided cowgirls ended with country-western line-dances.

November Membership Meeting

The Subject of the November 19, 2014 general membership meeting was "Where Does Stuff Come From?" including a short film "The Story of Stuff," created by Annie Leonard.

Click here for a summary of the movie and presentation.

October Membership Meeting

The October 2014 membership meeting was held on Wednesday, October 22.

It featured two women from WILPF - "Talking with our Grandmothers" about women who tried to stop World War One.
Click here for the summary report.

Save Shattuck Theater

Click here for report.

CARA Alert

Click here for current CARA activity.

Koch Brothers Products

The notorious Koch brothers own major shares in a wide variety of companies.

One big one is Georgia Pacific. This company makes products familar to us all.

Paper Towels: Angel Soft, Quilted Northern, Soft'n'Gentle, Brawny

Zee Napkins, Vanity Fair, Dixie Cups

Sign the pledge not to but their stuff.

Truth about Old People

This article was provided by Gray Panther Ruth Maguire.

Aha!! Now we know why.....

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally a study that makes sense.

Brains of the elderly are slow because they know so much...... The brains of older people only appear to be less speedy, because they have so much information to access, much like a full-up hard drive, scientists believe.

Elderly people have so much information in their brain that it takes longer for them to access it, scientific studies show.

Older people do not decline mentally with age. It just takes them longer to recall facts, because they have more information in their brains, research suggests. Much like a computer takes longer as the hard drive gets full up, so do humans take longer to access information, it has been reported.

Researchers say this slowing down it is not the same as cognitive decline. The human brain appears to work slower in old age, said Dr. Michael Ramscar, but only because so much information has been stored over time. Older people simply know more, so selecting a correct choice from the trove of stored data may take a bit longer.

So there!!!!!!

Better Hygeine Through Humiliation

(clipped from The Atlantic Monthly August 24, 2014)

AS DOCTORS and nurses move through hospitals, they aren’t the only ones making rounds—hitching a ride on their hands are dangerous bacteria that can lead to infections ranging from antibiotic-resistant staph to norovirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health-care-related infections affected nearly 650,000 Americans and led to about 75,000 deaths in 2011 alone.

Clean hands would have helped prevent many of them. Yet studies show that, on average, fewer than half of health-care workers clean their hands as often as they should. In recent years, a number of companies have designed systems that aim to nudge doctors and nurses into washing their hands regularly. One of these devices, a badge made by Biovigil, aims to exploit a very powerful emotion: shame. When a doctor enters an exam room, the badge chirps and a light on it turns yellow—a reminder to the doctor as well as an alert to the patient that he is about to be touched by someone with unclean hands. If the doctor doesn’t wash her hands, the light flashes red and the badge makes a disapproving noise.

After the doctor waves a freshly sanitized hand in front of the badge, alcohol vapors trigger a sensor that changes the light from red to green. Other systems include HyGreen, which also uses badges; Hyginex, a wristband that can tell when a user dispenses hand sanitizer (and vibrates if he or she doesn’t); and SwipeSense, which includes a hand-sanitizer dispenser that clips onto scrubs.

Each of these devices generates a log that’s uploaded to a database of what HyGreen calls “all hand hygiene events in the hospital”—a rundown of who’s washing up, and who isn’t.

The data could help hospitals engage in after-the-fact analysis of how an outbreak occurred, and, with any luck, might help them to prevent the next one.

Resources and Links

For links to all US Government departments and agencies, plus to special federal portals for disability and senior citizen resources and information useful to parents, teachers and youth.

Go to this page.

Tax Break for Wealthy Hedge Fund Managers

Congress has granted an especially generous tax break to some of our very richest citizens. Managers of Hedge Funds make huge amounts of money, yet pay income tax at a rate lower than most of the middle class.

Have a look at this.

Our East Bay Gray Panther Newsletters Online

To display the February 2015 Newsletter click here

To display the January 2015 NewsletterClick here

To display the November-December2014 Newsletter click here

To display the October 2014 Newsletter click here

To display the September 2014 Newsletter click here

(no August 2014 newsletter)

To display the July 2014 Newsletter click here

To display June 2014 Newsletter click here

To display May 2014 Newsletter click here

To display the pages of the March 2014 Newsletter, click here.

To display the pages of the Jan-Feb 2014 Newsletter, click here.

March 2015 newsletter draft preview

Tax The Rich

Every Monday, the "Tax the Rich" rally gathers near the top of Solano Avenue to protest the inequality of taxes in our country. We hold signs saying “Tax the Rich” and “Tax the Big Corporations.” Cars passing by honk in support. Pedestrians take leaflets.

October 27 was the last 5-6 pm rally time. The following Monday, November 3, with the end of Daylight Saving Time, rallies will be 4-5pm . The obvious reason is to avoid rallying in the dark.

Senator Bernie Sanders has Ten Fair Ways to Reduce the Deficit and Create Jobs.

For the Gray Panther Calendar of Events click here.

How to update this calendar, add events.

For a CHART to help you understand Obamacare, click here.

Social Security 78th Birthday

Read article on the 78th birthday of Social Security.

Here's a great letter responding to the notorious Senator Alan Simpson about Social Security.

Protecting Seniors from Financial Abuse

Here's a summary report on a presentation at South Berkeley Senior Center.

Reports on Past Membership Meetings

The September 2014 membership meeting was held on September 24.
Omar Rodriguez, Operations Manager for the Bay Area Alternative Press (BAAP)
spoke on the subject:
"The Death of Journalistic Ethics -- What News Are We Getting?"
He discussed how BAAP helps improve news and information for communities of poor and disadvantaged people.
Here is a report on the talk.

(no meeting in August)

The July 2016 Membership Meeting was on Wednesday July 23.
There were speakers about Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Click here for a report.

The June 2014 membership meet in was on June 25

The featured speaker was Richmond's Mayor Gayle McLaughlin speaking on the topic:
The Road to a Progressive Future Runs through Richmond, CA
Here is a summary report.
If you as an individual are interested in working on her campaign, click here.

The April 2014 membership meeting was on April 23
The speakers were Larry Kolb and Sonia Diermayer from the Sierra Club
Here is the summary report on their talk.

The March 2014 membership meeting took place on March 26.
The speaker was Tessa D’arcangelew, Organizer for ACLU of Northern California
Topic: "Big Brother IS Watching You and How It Is Done"
Here is the summary report.

The February 2014 general membership meeting was held on Wednesday, February 26, 1:30 p.m. at North Berkeley Senior Center. The speaker's topic was Obamacare.
Click here for a summary report.

The January 2014 membership meeting wwas held at 1:30pm on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at North Berkeley Senior Center. The speaker was Victor Menotti, Executive Director of International Forum on Globalization. He gave a talk on the TPP -- Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Click here for a summary report.

The October 2013 general membership meeting of Gray Panthers of the East Bay was on October 16. The speaker was Pennie Opal Plant, on the subject: "The Tar Sands: Pipelines and Climate Chaos"

Here is a summary report on what she said.

The September 2013 membership meeting was held Sept 25 at North Berkeley Senior Center.

The speaker was Toby Blomé. An activist with CODEPINK, Toby has been very involved in the drone warfare resistance movement in the U.S. She was part of a CODEPINK legation to Pakistan, to learn firsthand about the consequences of drone warfare in Pakistan and to support the growing resistance to U.S. drone strikes.

Here is Steve Geller's report on her talk

There was no meeting in August 2013.

The July 2013 membership meeting was held July 24 at the North Berkeley Senior Center.
The speaker was Gray Brechin, on the subject of the Post Office (Berkeley and elsewhere)
Here is the summary report.
Here's a Daily Cal article written by Gray Brechin.

On June 26, 2013, Steve Geller spoke on public transit for senior citizens.
Here is a report and summary.

Here's a report on the David Bacon talk, on immigration at the May 22, 2013 membership meeting.

David Bacon passed out a model letter to DHS Secretary Napolitano, urging her to stop the I-9 audits.
Click here for an abbreviated version which you can print out, sign and send personally.

The Panther Membership Meeting on April 24, 2014 featured Adam Scow of Food and Water Watch, talking about fracking.
Here is the full report.

Click here to read the report on the Cindy Sheehan talk at the March 27, 2013 membership meeting.

Click here for the report on the February 27 membership meeting, during which new officers were elected. Speaker was Keith Carson..

Membership meeting January 23, 2013 the featured speaker was Gus Newport.
Here's the report.

Here is a report on the general membership meeting held on October 24, 2012, about the present and future of the Occupy Movement

Gray Panther General Membership meeting on June 27,2012 speaker was Nicky Gonzalez Yuen, Trustee, Peralta Community College
Topic: The Crisis in Education
Here is the report

The Gray Panther membership meeting on May 23, 2012 featured a talk by Cecile Pineda, about Fukushima and the nuclear industry.
Here is the report.

April 25, 2012 Gray Panther Membership Meeting was about the changing nature of War under Obama
Speaker: Activist Janet Weil of Code Pink.
Here's the report.

March 28, 2012 Membership meeting on was about the Attack on Women. Here is the report.

Membership meeting on February 22,2012 was about prison reform. Here is the Report.

***We're open to ideas for future general membership meetings. What are your interests? Send us a postal mail with suggestions.


Berkeley's Mayor Bates has shown some exciting leadership in the fight against downtown traffic congestion. It's called goBerkeley.

Affordable Housing

There's plenty of housing available for low-income people, but the system does not manage it well.
Read this article from the SF Chronicle about the public housing mess in The City.
There really should be better ways to connect people with affordable housing. A Panther project?

Richmond's Eminent Domain

The City of Richmond proposes rescuing people who are "underwater" with their homes by using eminent domain to get the mortgage adjusted. This article is from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here's another article, from SALON


Colonoscopy procedures are a leading reason for high health care costs.

Read this article from the New York Times.

Panther Position

Gray Panthers believe that post-retirement years should be spent in dignity and security. In addition to our strong support for Social Security, we support union movements that gain and protect pension rights for both government and private-sector jobs. Existing government pensions must be protected for both current and future retirees.

We are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
We are not allowed to support candidates for office, but we may support Propositions and Measures.

Click here for a list of Progressive Principles.

Interesting Items

Report on the April 15 debate at UC about Single-Payer vs Market-Based health insurance.
Click here.

Article about impact of sequestration on Medicare

Report on The Health Care Movie about efforts toward universal national health insurance.

Open House for California Assembly in Oakland

Report on meeting about single-payer, held in San Francisco, basement of Saint Mary's Cathedral
Click here.

Training Bus Drivers -- Prodded by mail we received from a bus driver, I sent an inquiry to the AC Transit Board about how they train their drivers, especially on unfamiliar routes.

Here's the letter, followed by the nice response I received.
Click here.

LA Times Article on the nefarious motivation for privatizing the US Post Office.

Ecumenical Peace Institute

Website: click here.

Read this letter from Alan Simpson to CARA, complaining about CARA's leafleting of the Simpson-Bowles talk at Paramount Theater.

CARA (California Asociation of Retired Americans) has a list of Priority Bills

Housing Issues

***Eleanor Walden, housing chair, is especially looking for any news/rumors about housing issues.
Contact her at 510-848-6397 or 510-847-2579 (cell)
Her email is
She has a website:

Current Gray Panthers office Address in Oakland:
Berkeley - East Bay GRAY PANTHERS
6501 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609

Phone: (510)595-9696

East Bay Gray Panther Officers and Board
Election was held during the membership meeting on October 22. Seven (7) ballots were cast. New officers are:

Co-convenors -- Edie Hallberg and Leeza Vinogradov

Secretary -- Claire Risley 
Treasurer -- Chris Caldwell 
Newsletter Publisher -- Steve Geller

Committees, go-to persons:
Margot Smith -- co-convener emeriti, Coalition Health Care, Post Office
Carolyn Scarr -- United for Peace and Justice,(Ecumenical Peace Institute)
Leeza Vinogradov -- Code Pink liason
Edith Hallberg -- Labor Commission liason
Fran Rachel -- Third Friday Anti-War Rally with Strawberry Creek
Jeanne Dritz -- Health Care
Charles Robinson -- Kaiser
Steve Geller -- Transportation, Web Site, Tabling at Events
Eva Bluestein -- National and International Issues of Importance
Eleanor Walden -- Housing
Henry Clarence -- letter writing; help with Newsletter

Schedule for Staffing Panther office on Telegraph
Mondays    1-3   Jeannie Dritz
Tuesdays   1-3   Edie Hallberg and Leeza Vinogradov
Thursdays  10-12 Margot Smith
Thursdays        Chris Caldwell
Fridays    1-3   Henry Clarence

California Gray Panthers website:
List of all California networks
US National Gray Panthers website:

This Website:

Webmaster: Steve Geller

CARA Website -- California Alliance for Retired Americans

United Seniors of Oakland website

***Here are some letters sent from East Bay Gray Panthers to public officials by GP Secretary Henry Clarence

Letter to Senator Feinstein about Social Security

Letter supporting ILWU Local 10

Letter showing support for SB810

Some more LETTERS

What Class War Looks Like

It is most interesting to match up the "programs at risk" (targets for budget cuts) with selected tax breaks for the wealthy.
Click here for chart "This is What Class War Looks Like". (Sources for the figures are listed at the bottom of the page)


Here is a statement by Dylan Ratigan. About "get money out of politics," the protesters today and some good history.

Social Security

Letter from GP National Vice Chair in Monday Jan 31 SF Chronicle
Strengthen Social Security
In the State of the Union address, while speaking at length on deficit reduction, President Obama referenced a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security. The program deserves far more robust support. For 75 years, Social Security has been America's most successful anti-poverty program. It is the most fiscally responsible part of our federal budget, paying entirely for itself and adding nothing to the deficit. The funds surplus is expected to reach $4.3 trillion by 2023, and the program is able to pay full benefits through 2037. About 85 percent of Americans oppose Social Security cuts. There is no reason it should be part of any deficit reduction plan. Yet the program faces threats from Congress. John Boehner calls for cuts in benefits and an increase in the eligibility age, delaying benefits for future recipients and unfairly burdening America's most vulnerable populations. Some seek to privatize the system, putting it into the hands of Wall Street, the very people who created our current economic crisis. President Obama appears to oppose these ideas, and as vice chair of the Gray Panthers national board, I urge Congress to lift the cap on taxable income, guaranteeing the benefits promised to current and future beneficiaries.
Brooke Hollister

For a guide to rebut all the lies about Social Security, click here.

Letter sent to President Obama about Social Security

Reparations for Women?

Proposal for Action Item calling for Reparations for Women who have been underpaid in the past and thus are getting lower social security today.


Summary of ObamaCare talk at May 26 General Membership Meeting Click here for a summary.
If you have MicroSoft WORD installed, click here for a copy of the entire handout.

Housing Committee

Click here for information on senior and low-income housing.

Need Help Paying for Utilities?

Click here

Other Items

HICAP -- medical advice for seniors, call HICAP 1-800-434-0222

Roger Sanjek's book on the history of Gray Panthers.

Don't like banks paying their execs big money? You can move your money to another bank or to a credit union. Here's some information.

Checklist form for actions.


Click here for other useful phone numbers and websites.


"Word of Mouth trumps everything, even money"

Join Gray Panthers

Membership dues: $35/year, $15 low-income.

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East Bay Gray Panthers
6501 Telegraph Ave
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