March Newsletter

March Newsletter Contents:

  1. Upcoming Meeting Preview for March 26, 2019
    1. Agenda – Janet Abelson
    2. Program – Margaret Kavanaugh-Lynch
  2. Membership Renewals – Greg Lyman
  3. Recap of February 26, 2019 Membership Meeting – Greg Lyman
  4. Recap of Interview of Hari Lamba by Paul Fadelli
  5. Recap of January 22, 2019 Membership Meeting – Greg Lyman
  6. Environmental Sub-Committee & What We Can Do to Mitigate Climate Change – Bob MacDonald


March 26, 2019

Upcoming regular Membership Meeting will be held on March 26, 2019 at the Presbyterian Church at 545 Ashbury Ave, El Cerrito 94530. Meeting will start at 6:30 pm

Agenda submitted by Janet Abelson

6:00 Doors Open:  Pizza available ($5)

6:30  Call to Order  

6:35  Minutes

6:40 Treasurer’s Report

6:45 Report from Club Representative to Central Committee

6:55 Selection of Replacement Alternate for Club Representative to Central Committee

7:00 Report from Climate Committee and Announcement of Next Meeting on April 11 at                                                             7 PM at 7 Pomona Avenue in El Cerrito

7:05 Announcements

7:20 Program

“The Mayor’s Vision for EL Cerrito” by Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto

Rochelle will outline her vision for El Cerrito.

Bio: Mayor Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto was raised by her grandparents in the Central Valley and was encouraged by them to study hard to go to college. Rochelle was very active in high school and in her community and after graduating, she was admitted to UC Santa Barbara as a Regent Scholar. Her love of math, science, and people, led her to a career in nursing. In 1998, Rochelle transferred to Samuel Merritt/Saint Mary’s Intercollegiate College of Nursing where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree. She is currently a Certified Staff Nurse III at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Rochelle and her husband Takashi, have two sons, Kai and Kiyoshi.

8:29 Good of the Order

8:30 Adjourn

Annual Membership Renewal – Must Renew Before June 1st

Thank you to everyone who has renewed their membership.  ECDC membership runs from January 1st to December 31stof each calendar year.  2018 members can renew any time before June 1st, and must be renewed to participate in any club votes.  After June 1st, members from 2018 are treated like new members, and must wait the minimum waiting time to participate in Club endorsement votes. Membership is $20 for one person at an address, $30 for two at the same address, and $5 for students. Please add an additional $12 if you request a hardcopy newsletter delivered to your mailing address.  If you do not remember if you have renewed for 2019, please email  Renew 1) online at, 2) mailing a check (made out to ECDC) to ECDC, P.O. Box 192, El Cerrito, CA 94530, or 3) brining your payment to the January 22, 2019 meeting.  If you mail in your dues payment, please provide us with your name(s), address, email and phone.  

Recap El Cerrito Democratic Club February 26, 2019 Meeting

  1. Called to Order at 6:30 PM
  2. Meeting Minutes: Betty Brown Moved and Al Miller seconded a motion to amend the January 22, 2019 meeting minutes to add quotation marks to the title of the “More Usable” Nuclear Weapons resolution and to have the amended minutes distributed to everyone who received the original minutes.  Motion passed by voice vote.
  3. Treasurer Report: Greg Lyman reported the current bank balance is approximately $8,350 and the signature card to transfer the account to Kathy Fleming has been submitted.
  4. Presentation of Appreciation was made to Paul Fadelli (present) and Mister Phillips for their service on the Executive Board.
  5. No Central Committee Report.
  6. Announcements:
  7. Betty Brown announced an East Bay Peace Action and Ecumenical Peace Institute event on 3/31, 2:00 to 4:00 PM at the Edith Stone Room, Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave, Albany.  Natylie Baldwin speaks about Russia and the West.
  8. Betty Brown announced Stand with the People’s Uprising in Haiti for March 2.
  9. Bob MacDonald announced he is developing a brochure for how El Cerrito home owners can fight climate change.  Look for a final flyer later this spring.
  10. Bob MacDonald announced the ECDC Climate Subcommittee will meet 9AM on 3/7/19.  Contact Bob at if you want to contribute to this subcommittee.
  11. Presentation: Paul Fadelli interviewed Hari Lamba – see description below.
  12. Good of the Order
  13. Al Miller recommended we promote renewal when we ask for dinner tickets.
  14. Al Miller reminded people that 100% Deep Green is a way to support solar and wind projects in the area without placing solar panels on your roof.  In his case, his roof is not a good candidate for solar panels. There was a discussion about the source of power for Deep Green.
  15. Hari Lamba reminded people about a non-profit solar panel provider

Their prices are about 30% lower than most for profit solar companies. Volunteers are trained by expert professionals and do the actual installations. This lowers the cost and provides valuable training and education to the volunteers, and some of them can use this to get employed in the same line of work.

2019 is the last year that the 30% Federal Tax Credit is available for customers of solar systems, with the tax credit decreasing in 2020 and 2021, and then going away in 2022. This makes investing in a solar system about the best investment you can make, as you get 30% back the first year from the Federal Government, and then your electric bill refunded forever annually – essentially by your utility. It’s a way to do your thing for the planet while benefitting yourself handsomely.

  1. Summary of Interview of Hari Lamba by Paul Fadelli

February 26, 2019

Hari Lamba, the El Cerrito Democratic Club VP for Publications, who worked as an engineer and has become active in environmental, economic and political issues, was interviewed by El Cerrito City, California, Council member Paul Fadelli on “The Climate Change and National Political Crisis (Problems & Solutions)” in a dialogue that included questions from the membership audience. Paul introduced Hari and summarized his work history and publications. Paul discussed the lack of national commitment to green-house gas (GHG) reductions in his opening remarks.  He stated it would be nice to have a national carbon cap-and-trade program like California has. Hari stated he was motivated to write his books to make the planet and America a better place.

Hari is an author and activist who has focused on the impacts of climate change on the Earth, and has published five books dealing with the global climate crisis, (in both prose and poetry and in water colors) and on the US national political crisis. The interview included a discussion on his life and books and his suggestions on how we all should deal with the environmental, economic and political challenges that confront us.

Hari believes the human species has an obligation to change our relationship with nature. Hari proposed that the human species needs to change from economic focused valuing extraction to an ecological focus valuing sustainability and balance with all species and nature. Hari’s writing career was influenced by economist Schumacher (wrote “Small is Beautiful”) and Mahatma Gandhi.  Hari’s first book captured his thoughts and observations made in India and United States about social inequity and climate change.

Paul asked Hari as to how and when he got involved in Climate Change. Hari described how his thinking had changed when on one hand he saw seemingly miraculous technological growth and on the other hand severe environmental destruction and impoverishment of the many. In Chicago in 1991 he found out about the global UN Conference on Environment and Development (popularly known as the Earth Summit), and organized and coordinated a group of about two dozen people and organizations known as the Earth Summit Network, that organized several public conferences, events and media interactions that sought to educate the Illinois public and apply pressure on the then senior Bush administration to more flexible at the Climate Change talks, and the US signed the Global warming Treaty (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCC).

That began over a decade of reading and writing while Hari was working as an engineer that resulted in the publication of his book, “Rethinking Progress – Towards a Creative Transformation of Global Society, “ 2005. Hari described that this book describes the global ecological and development crises, how the  world developed economically, and then proceeds to outline solutions to the ecological crisis (including the subset of the Climate Crisis), and the changes that will be needed in local to global democracy, economic principles, and education and empowerment of people.

For the next decade or so, from 2006 – 2016, Hari annually organized panels and gave talks on Climate Change problems and solutions. At that time he was proposing solutions that may be summarized as the 60:20:20 solution – reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing energy demand by energy efficiency (60%), clean renewable energy production (20%) and Bio-fuels (20%) – although the thinking on bio-fuels has changed and needs to be modified. He had proposed climate change and energy transition plans globally, and for the US, China and India.

Paul asked him about his book on Climate Change. Hari asked to describe his book of poems. Hari thought that if people’s minds could not be influenced through the head maybe the way was through the heart. For many years, as he walked and jogged through parks, and visited national parks and ocean areas, he started writing poems about the beauty of nature and the planet. He assembled this collection of poems into a book, “Our Only Home – Poems for Planet Earth”. This book was on a tradition called Verse Journalism, or poetry with a purpose. After enjoying poetry on beauty of nature, the reader was steered towards their responsibility to the planet, so that the human species would act as stewards of the planet. Lastly as the title suggests, the book emphasized that planet Earth was our only home.

Next, attendees at his talks in Chicago were asking for a boom that would introduces such a dry subject as Climate Change in a fun and interesting way, while providing useful information about our Earth and climate change. So, Hari took one of his poems and expanded and improved it and combined it with water colors painted for him by his brother into the next book, “The History of Our Earth & Our Role in its Future”, 2016. This book basically describes the history of the Earth over the last 4.6 billion years after it was born as part of the solar system. Hari described how the book took us from the time the Earth was a molten ball, to formation of the oceans, the formation of the earth’s crust and continents, the formation of the oceans, the production of oxygen by photosynthetic bacteria, the sequestering of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere first in fossil oil (fossils of animals) and then in fossil coal (burying of the carboniferous forests), and then the evolution of life as we know it, and the coming of the ice ages. He described how we now live in the Holocene interglacial period, but hat the next ice age will most probably not come because of global warming. He outlined that the book is a great one for kids to read the poems in their classrooms, while showing the beautiful watercolors.

Again, attendees at his conferences asked for Hari to produce a book that would begin to tell them as to what they could do in their own lives. So Hari assembled a book titled, The Personal Climate Change Handbook,’” 2016. This book describes as to what a person can do in their personal and family lives, and what they need to be doing in the political spheres at the local, state, national and global levels. The book provides a good summary of the history of climate change in terms of symptoms and actions, as well as what was agreed to in the Paris Agreement of December 2015. Also, Hari said that people should go to the nature conservancy website to do the calculation of their own carbon footprint. This book was written just before the 2016 elections before Trump got elected, and hence needs a revision that reflects that reality.

Paul asked Hari as to what California was doing and what needed to be done globally for climate change. Hari described how, as per the Kyoto Protocol on climate change (a global agreement to actually do something – which required certain categories of nations to reduce their green-house gas (GHG) emissions down to 1990 levels), California had a peak in emissions of somewhere near 440 Million Tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, but has already (in 2018) met the goal of coming down to 400 million tons by 2020. However, in spite of the tremendous improvement in the fuel efficiency of cars (CAFÉ – Corporate Average Fuel Economy), the increase in the numbers of fossil fuel cars and trucks and increases in the miles driven are making future decreases in GHG emissions look very difficult.

Globally, Hari described that if the whole world had started to do GHG emissions reductions of only 2% per year after 1992, the 56% reductions would have meant that there really was no crisis. Hari showed two charts, one showing increases in the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere and the other charting GHG reductions. Even if the world had gotten started sometime later after 1992, as the carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere were lower (350-380 ppm, or parts per million), the world could have reduced GHG emissions reasonably, it would still have been able to allow GHG emissions (or use some significant level of fossil fuels) at a reasonable plateau. However, by waiting and not doing much for all these years, the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has reached about 410 ppm, and the world has run out of time. As the IPCC (the UN based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and even the US national report published by 13 US government agencies report, the world now needs to reduce all GHG emissions by about 50% by 2030 (in just 12 years), and down to ZERO by 2050, if the global temperature rise has to stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius (or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit – to avoid the worst consequences of climate change). The solutions have to aim at mitigation (GHG reductions – transformation of the economy), rejuvenation of ecosystems (carbon sinks), and disaster preparation and relief. Hari’s next book on climate change intends to address this.

Paul asked about the Green New Deal. Hari’s reply was that the Green New Deal is currently a courageous statement of principles, and aspirations, together with some initial proposals, which would get the US started in the right direction, but it does not constitute a plan. It aims at solving the climate change crisis (the Green aspect) in a way that improves the lives of the many of American citizens (The New Deal aspect) – borrowing the words of FDR’s New Deal that helped this nation tide over, what was till then, the worst of times. The Green New Deal needs to be fleshed out into plans, legislations, programs and actions. That is what Hari’s fourth strategy on Jobs & Economy aims to do – all of the jobs and businesses that will be created in the transitions that need to be made in all aspects of national life – the cities, the transportation, the industry, the agriculture, and forestry.

The Carbon tax proposal HR 7173 (being pushed by the Climate Action Lobby and supported by ECDC through its Resolution), that aims at a carbon tax for fossil fuels based on the carbon emissions of each per unit of energy, and then to refund the money to all of the citizens of America, will work partially, but there is a real need also to invest in the alternatives, especially for buildings, homes and transportation. Then globally, there is the need to fund the poorer nations who will not be able to make the transition on their own (so the need for a global carbon tax) – for that one needs an effective global organization that helps the world implement all aspects of the transition, technologically, organizationally and financially.

Then Paul asked Hari about the book “Rejuvenating America”, and why Hari had written it. Hari’s response was that America was at a new low in its history and the aim now should be to make America so much better up there, so that even the lows will not bring us to the sad situation we are in today. Hari emphasized that the book aimed to do three things: describe the fascist dangers that Trump had unleashed, the need for all the Anti-Trump movements to unite and work together, and the need to define bold and courageous visions that will overwhelm all of the negativity of today and take America to a much better place. These visions are the traditional visions of the Democratic party, progressive visions ( example, like those for our Tribal nations), strong visions on Jobs and Economy, and sensible visions on defense and trade. Instead of leaving the rhetoric and strategy on Jobs & Economy to the Republicans, Hari strongly emphasized that the Democratic Party needs to also be the party of business – Ethical, pro-employment, and pro-environment business, that enables those at the lower rungs of the economic ladder to accumulate more income, assets and economic power, to begin with, rather than fight for disbursements after the economic system has already done its actions and allowed the rich to appropriate all the benefits and to further accumulate political and economic power.

Hari concluded by reading two poems from his book, “Our Only Home” – one that was of a spiritual nature, “Blessed Are They”, and another that was titled, “A New Way”, emphasizing that for the progress of the future, we needed a new way!

Hari’s interview by Paul will be posted on the ECDC website. As of now, it has been posted on YouTube with the following link:

Recap of ECDC General Membership January 22, 2019 Meeting

  1. Call to Order
  2. President Janet Abelson began the meeting of the El Cerrito Democratic Club (Club) with a quorum at approximately 6.30pm.  
  3. Minutes
  4. A motion to approve the minutes of the November 7, 2018 meeting was seconded, and approved unanimously with no abstentions.  
  5. A motion to approve the minutes of the December 11, 2018 meeting was seconded, and approved unanimously with no abstentions.  
  6. Treasurer’s Report
  7. Greg Lyman reported the Club had a 2018 year-end bank balance of $8,065, with revenue of $4,286 and expenditures of $5,979.  The deficit was in large part due to donations to Democratic Party of Contra Costa County events and fewer attendees at the Annual Dinner.  Last year was the first time in the past five years where the Club spent more than its revenue, despite proposed negative budgets since 2014.  Greg noted it is the Club’s intention to spend down reserves, and, and suggested $3,000 bank balance might be ideal.
  8. Elections of Officers for 2019
  9. In the absence of Immediate Past President Peter Chau, previous Past President Betty Brown presented the slate of officers for 2019:
  10. President – Janet Abelson
  11. Executive Vice President – Champagne Brown
  12. Immediate Past President – Peter Chau
  13. Vice President Treasurer – Kathy Flemming
  14. Vice President Membership – Greg Lyman
  15. Vice President Publications – Hari Lamba
  16. Vice President Program – Margaret Kavanaugh-Lynch
  17. Vice President Media – Rosa Esquivel
  18. Vice President Records – Glen Nethercut
  19. A motion to approve the slate was seconded, and approved unanimously with no abstentions.  
  20. A second motion authorizing the following three individuals as signatories for the ECDC checking account with Mechanics Bank was made, seconded, and approved unanimously with no abstentions.  
  21. President – Janet Abelson
  22. Vice President Treasurer – Kathy Flemming
  23. Vice President Membership – Greg Lyman
  24. Budget for 2019
  25. Greg proposed a 2019 budget which outspends Club revenue by almost $2,500 with expenses of $7,564, revenue of $5,065.  The budget was reviewed and approved by the ECDC Executive Board (EBoard) at their January 7, 2019 meeting. The 2019 budget includes $850 to increase membership and awareness of the Club, Greg said.  Possible uses of these funds include a membership postcard mailing, subsidies of ECDC representatives to encourage attendance at community functions, and ECDC T-shirts.
  26. A motion to approve the 2019 budget was seconded and approved unanimously with no abstentions.  
  27. Club Endorsements for ADEM Candidates
  28. Champagne Brown said the election of delegates to the Assembly District Election Meetings (ADEM) is Saturday, January 26, 2019 from 9:45am -12:30pm at the Emeryville Center for Community Life Gym.  ADEM delegates choose the leadership of the California Democratic Party, help shape the party platform, and provide input on the propositions and candidates the party endorses. All registered Democratic voters can vote, and select up to seven male and seven female delegates.  
  29. At the December 11, 2019 meeting, the Club endorsed four candidates, all of them Club members:  
  30. Champagne Brown (AD 15 Oakland to Hercules Union of Progressive Leaders)
  31. Hari Lamba
  32. Harpreet Sandhu
  33. Joey Smith
  34. Harpreet and Joey have since been appointed as delegates, and therefore withdrawn from the election.  
  35. Gabriel Quinto submitted the names of 14 candidates from the Union of Progressive Leaders slate for endorsement by the Club.  
  36. A motion by Champagne to endorse the Union of Progressive Leaders slate was seconded by Gabriel.  Following a discussion by the Club, a motion to amend the motion to add an endorsement of candidate Rita Xavier was made by Greg and seconded.  The motion passed with one no vote and one abstention.
  37. Announcements
  38. Betty Brown presented her two draft resolutions as posted on the Club website:  
  39. “More Usable” Nuclear Weapons
  40. Carbon Pricing
  41. Betty’s motion to adopt was seconded by Marlene Keller.  After agreeing to some minor changes to the format of the resolutions and a correction to a reference to the California Democratic Council, the resolution approved unanimously with no abstentions.  
  42. Selection of Programs for 2019
  43. The Club discussed potential program ideas as presented at the November 27, 2018 Club meeting, and agreed to the following:   
  44. Campaign experiences and stories from Young Democrats
  45. Town Hall on local issues (new Library, fire prevention, housing, etc.)
  46. Presentation/discussion on Climate Change and the environment
  47. Presentation/discussion on Single Payer Healthcare
  48. Presentation/discussion of WCCUSD School Board District elections
  49. Presentation by Assembly District 15 Assembly member Buffy Wicks
  50. Presentation by State Senator Nancy Skinner
  51. Presentations by Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Beckton
  52. During the discussion, it was agreed to form the following subcommittees to develop other programming ideas for the Club:  
  53. Environment:  Hari, Janet, Bob
  54. Health Care:  Jonee, Betty, Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto
  55. CADEM resolutions:  Hari
  56. Housing:  Champagne, Greg, Ed
  57. Transportation:  Rosa, Ed, Kathy
  58. Voter registration:  Champagne
  59. Adjourn  The Club adjourned at 8.30pm.  


Environmental Sub-Committee & What We Can Do to Mitigate Climate Change

As has come alarmingly clear, not enough progress has been made in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to prevent global warming so that we are experiencing increasingly violent storms, wildfires, migration of wildlife, acidification of the oceans, sea level rise, etc.  As serious as global warming is and may become, however, many residents are not acquainted with or are not themselves following relatively straightforward methods of fighting climate change.

The newly formed Environmental Subcommittee of the ECDC is beginning a campaign to help residents fight climate change by adapting one of the EDCD’s most important activities–distributing election endorsements–to distributing information on actions residents can take to reduce CO2 emissions.  This activity will be spread over a longer time than electioneering so that all El Cerrito residents can be contacted.  They will learn about government rebates for and money-saving ways of increasing the energy efficiency of their residences, switching from fossil fuels to electricity and upgrading to electric vehicles if possible.

This project can eventually involve a variety of important activities like setting up a web page, a possible Climate Series of events, and it is hoped that it will attract new ECDC members as well as energize current members.  Every El Cerritan must do whatever he or she can to save our environment now and for future generations.  Please contact Hari Lamba ( or Janet Abelson ( or Bob MacDonald ( for more information.

Update of Activities

The first meeting of the Environmental Subcommittee was held on March 7, 2019 at Janet Abelson’s house, and was attended by Bob, Janet and Hari. The minutes of the meeting will be published by Hari. The next meeting of the Subcommittee will be on April 11, 2019 at 7 Pomona Ave, El Cerrito. It is important that 3-4 additional club members join in and support the efforts of the committee, otherwise, its impact will not be significant.