California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA

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SPEAKER SERIES: CSA Announces its Fall 2008 Dinner Series


Click here for the CSA Dinners Main Page.

CSA monthly dinner lectures are moving this year to the roomier UC Berkeley Institute for
Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE).
The Institute has been a strong supporter of the CSA, and thanks
to their contribution, this year the dinners will be free of charge.

September 24: Gray Brechin, director of the Living New Deal Project

October 23: Frances Dinkelspiel, author of Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California

November 11: Rick Wartzman, director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University

The Institute is located at 2521 Channing St., two blocks south of campus. There’s a UC parking lot
open to the public across the street. There is a special email announcement list for the dinners, and
if you would like to receive them, please send an email to Dolores Dillard,
Dinner is served at 7 p.m., and please be sure to RSVP to Dolores. For other inquiries, including
suggestions for future speakers, please contact Chuck Wollenberg at

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Our Summer, 2008 newsletter (pdf file here) is now available. Inside find information about,

* Steering committee election results

* 2008 conference roundup

* 2009 conference planning

* Carey McWilliams Award

* New website and blog info

* Membership Form

csa-summer-2008-newsletter (pdf)

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ARTICLE: Jiggering the Metrics: Jonathan Rowe on the Calculus of the GDP

Jonathan Rowe, member of the CSA steering committee, wrote a fine article for the June 2008 issue of Harper’s on what the GDP measures: “stuff,” not people’s well-being, he says.

The article is called, “Our Phony Economy.”

“Governments have sought to catalogue the national wealth for purposes of taxation, confiscation, planning, and mobilization in times of war. They have not designed these catalogues to be measures of national well-being or of quality of life. Yet that is how the national wealth inventories have come to be used, especially the GDP. Somehow the tool has become the task.”

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ANTHOLOGY: 1 in 4 Drop Out of High School in California

An LA Times editorial reported that 30% of Latinos and more than 40% of African Americans do not complete high school in California.

Howard Blume and Mitchell Landsberg gave an overview in the LA Times of the figures, the data gathering, and a hint of the political wrangling.

In early 2006, Mitchell Landsberg wrote a lengthy series of think pieces for the LA Times called, “The Vanishing Class.”

Dana Hull and Sharon Naguchi reported on the state’s data for the Mercury News and the South Bay Area stats.

Nanette Asimov gave the report for the Chronicle and included a searchable stats finder for Bay Area schools.

KQED’s Forum hosted a discussion on the issue when the reports were coming out around July 19. The discussion included an official from San Francisco Unified and state superintendent Jack O’Connell.

The California Dropout Research Project at UC Santa Barbara’s School of Education has resources and news.

The Policy Analysis for California Education at UC Berkeley published a report explaining their methods of data gathering and processing. The report is a collaboration among several of the state’s urban school districts: Long beach, LA, San Francisco, San Diego, and Fresno.

You can easily search stats at the CA Dept. of Education by ethnicity and grade.

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ANTHOLOGY: The California Peripheral Canal and the recent PPIC report

Read about Steve Greenberg’s comic from 1982 here.

The Public Policy Institute of California recently issued a report renewing the call for a peripheral canal that has plagued California politics and environmentalism for so long.

View video and audio of a July 18 presentation in Sacramento by two of the report’s authors, Ellen Hanak of the PPIC and Jay Lund of UC Davis.

View the PPIC report, “Comparing Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta” with interactive maps of projected Delta flooding with and without levee repairs.

The UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences has some good explanations and resources. Jay Lund is here.

View presentations of the state’s second strategic plan draft of the “Delta Vision.”

Search no more, has a comprehensive feed listing of news reports on the peripheral canal as well as great links to maps, stats, and other resources.

Kelly Zito reported on the PPIC report for the Chronicle. She lays out the 1980s north-south debate over a peripheral canal, how the debate has evolved, and what environmentalists are saying about the potential effects for fish populations.

Tami Abdollah gives a brief overview of the PPIC report with some key quotes in the LA Times blog, “Greenspace.”

Peter King reports in the LA Times on the peripheral canal in the context of the drought.

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EXHIBIT: CalliGRAFFitti: 9 Graffiti Artists, ProArts Gallery, Oakland (through August 15)

Art Review : CalliGRAFFitti
From: KQED Arts and Culture, Claire Light, Jul 22, 2008

Imagine for a moment that you were a polyglot — that you could speak multiple important verbal and visual languages. Signs, symbols, colors, gestures, and images: imagine that you could read the surface of any culture perfectly.

It’s Indiana Jones’s superpower, and it’s one we have a great deal of respect for … provided it arises from deliberate study and not naturally from, say, migration or the diversity of your urban neighborhood. This is why connoisseurship of the traditional art of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy — reserved to the educated — is highly respected. This is why, despite years of mingling its aesthetics with those of “high art,” graffiti art, often the province of products of bilingual education, is still underobserved.

So suppose that you were an polyglot by nurture AND by study. What kind of art would you make?
Yeah, it’s a leading question. Obviously I’m trying to get you into the peculiar, headspace you need to be in to understand ProArts gallery’s glowing exhibition CalliGRAFFitti, a collaboration between Asian American calligraphy artist Minette Mangahas, and nine graffiti muralists. The connection between the aesthetic of ideogrammatic calligraphy and the tagging-based lettering of graffiti is such an obvious one, it’s astonishing that it’s been made so seldom before, much less to such lovely effect.

In a series of experiments, Mangahas and her collaborators (Apex, Coby Kennedy, Zen One, Toons One, Amend, Desi W.O.M.E, Denz One, and Lucha) match materials and canvases to see how harmony and counterpoint influence the effectiveness of each art form. Wooden panels are acrylic and spray-painted. Paper mounted on Chinese scrolls is ink-painted and magic-markered. An installation of cinder-blocks nearly takes flight with its even covering of white and purple lettering.

The often remarkable result recalls the source aesthetics of both forms in the expected manner, yet presents an energetic and unpredictably graceful fusion. One enormous scroll features a flight of black characters by Mangahas entangled with red tags by Apex. The aerial perspective created by the differently sized characters makes the piece look like a dogfight between armies of flying fonts.
The heavy paint on a set of paper umbrellas and a pair of flattened take-out containers are less successful, underlining the airy and gestural nature of both calligraphy and tagging. This is a collaboration that has its aesthetic limits. But within those borders there’s a nearly unlimited scope for typographic hybridity, and a melding of graph and image.

Broadening the theme of idiomatic syncretism are installations by Ken Lo and Ala Ebtekar, both local artists who combine orientalist images from their families’ cultures of origin with the hip hop culture they grew up in. Lo’s macho video fantasies about his legendary pick up game with Kobe Bryant and his reputation among a clutch of passive-aggressive friends are offset by his use of Chinese-style paper cut-outs and cardboard Chinese grille-work. Ebtekar’s series of drawings is a continuous manuscript of dancing text, bordered by a strip of dead warriors wearing the costume and uniforms of different eras of Persian fighting.

Taken altogether, the works in this show are an excellent answer to my initial question. The artists present as a many-headed polyglot, pointing out the hybrid and multiethnic nature of hip hop, American hipster culture, and the very pursuit of the artistic leading edge.

CalliGRAFFitti runs through August 15 at ProArts Gallery in Oakland’s Jack London Square.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: 15th Annual Robinson Jeffers Association Conference, Boulder, Colorado (Mon. Dec. 15 Deadline; Conference Fri. to Sun. Feb 13-19)

From U Penn English

Call for Papers
15th Annual Robinson Jeffers Association Conference

February 13-15, 2009 (President’s Day weekend)
University of Colorado, Boulder

Conference theme: The Alpine Jeffers

Jeffers is most frequently associated with the California coast and the
ocean he so deeply loved. At the same time, his interest in the alpine
world is everywhere evident in his work. Mountains appear throughout his
poems, from the early poem “The Alpine Christ,” to the ridge line that
California rides at night in “Roan Stallion,” all the way through to the
setting of his last long poem, Hungerfield, at the foot of a “thin turfed
mountain,” and in countless lyrics. In Jeffers’ journeys away from the
ocean, he always turned to the mountains; his only poem set in New Mexico
is “New Mexico Mountain,” and his only poem set in Colorado is “Red
Mountain.” Wherever we turn in his work, mountains appear as
manifestations of nature at the same time as they suggest the richest
possible range of symbols, from Sinai to Olympus, Parnassus, Mt. Blanc,
and all that such places represent in the history of art and culture.

For its fifteenth annual conference, the Association welcomes papers that
explore any aspect of Jeffers’s interest in and representation of the
alpine environment, from geological fact to aesthetic or religious
symbol, from setting to subject, from representation to interpretation.

As usual, serious papers on other subjects and on the relation of Jeffers
to other writers, artists and thinkers are also welcome.

Proposals should be relatively brief and must be postmarked by December
15, 2008. The conference has a number of different formats and includes
opportunities for standard academic talks (15-20 mins.), longer plenary
presentations, responses to longer talks, panel chairs, participation in
discussion sections, and poetry readings.

Please address all queries and proposals directly to Rob Kafka,
Treasurer, at

To learn more about the Robinson Jeffers Association, please visit

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STATEWIDE PUBLIC HEARINGS: CA’s Global Warming Legislation, AB32 (July 14, Fresno; July 17 Sacramento; Aug. 8 San Jose; Aug. 15 San Deigo)

From the UC Berkeley Labor Center

Dear friend of the Labor Center,

We’re writing because you’ve let us know that you’re interested in the topics of climate change and green jobs. A lot has been happening in this area in the last few months, so we wanted to give you an update.

The most important development is that the California Air Resources Board released its draft implementation plan for AB 32, the state’s landmark global warming legislation. The draft implementation plan (called a “scoping plan”) lists the many regulations and other measures the state is considering implementing in its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

The AB 32 draft scoping plan proposes measures that could impact workers in numerous economic sectors, including energy, construction, transportation, and industry, among others. It also proposes that the state implement a “cap and trade” system, which is a market mechanism that allows the buying and selling of carbon allowances – allowances that give a firm the right to emit carbon into the atmosphere – by the private sector.

It’s important that the Air Resources Board hear from labor unions, community groups and others about the proposed AB 32 implementation plan. Following are the dates of upcoming workshops during which people can make public comments on the AB 32 draft scoping plan. Comments can also be submitted until August 1, 2008 through the Air Resources website:

Link for AB 32 draft scoping plan and executive summary

Dates and locations of draft scoping plan workshops

July 14, 2008, 9:30 AM – 4 PM

Public Workshop on Draft AB 32 Scoping Plan

Fresno City Hall, Fresno

July 17, 2008, 9:30 AM – 4 PM

Public Workshop on Draft AB 32 Scoping Plan

1001 I St. – Byron Sher Auditorium, Sacramento

August 8, 2008

Regional Workshops on the Draft AB 32 Scoping Plan

San Jose

Time and Location TBA

August 15, 2008

Regional Workshops on the Draft AB 32 Scoping Plan

San Diego

Time and Location TBA

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CONFERENCE: The Fate and Future of the Colorado River, Huntington Library (Fri. Oct. 31 to Sat. Nov. 1)

From the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West


Join us for this two-day exploration of the history and future of the West’s most important river.  This interdisciplinary conference will feature scholars, policy makers, landscape photographers, scientists, and river runners, as well as the remarkable visual and archival holdings of The Huntington Library.

October 31-November 1, 2008
The Huntington Library

Co-sponsored by The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West and the Water Education Foundation.  With the support of the Trent Dames Fund for the Heritage of Civil Engineering, the Metropolitan Water District, and Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell J. Milias.

For more information, contact Kim Matsunaga at

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CALL for APPLICATIONS/PAPERS: “Minds and Matters,” a Workshop on History of Technology and the American West, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, San Marino (Deadline, Fri. Aug. 15; Event: Fri. and Sat. April 24-25, 2009)

From H-Urban

The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, April-24-25, 2009
Deadline: August 15th, 2008

The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West invites
proposals for a scholarly workshop examining the history of technology
in California and the American West.

“Minds and Matters” will bring together a small group of scholars on
April 24-25, 2009 to explore new themes in the history of technology,
and to discuss new perspectives on technology as an analytical category.
Topics or themes might include, but are not limited to agriculture and
the extractive industries, urbanization, energy and water, the history
of computers, military, popular movements and popular culture, Hollywood
and media, deindustrialization, etc. Participants will submit and share
drafts, which may be included in a possible collected essays volume.
Some funding support will be made available for travel and lodging.

To apply for the symposium, please submit by August 15, 2008: a letter,
C.V., a detailed abstract of the research on technology in California
and the West, and the names of two references. Send submissions to:
Volker Janssen Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, The
Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA  91108

David C. Hammack
Department of History
Case Western Reserve University

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CALL FOR PAPERS and AWARD SUBMISSIONS: Western Association of Women Historians, Santa Clara University (Call Deadline: Wed. Oct. 15; Award Submission Deadlines, Thur. Jan 15, 2009; Conference Thur. April 30 to Sun. May 3, 2009)

From H-California: In addition to the call for papers, there is a call for submission for a number of awards for dissertation fellowships, monograph and article prizes. The deadline for the awards is in January 2009.

40th Anniversary Conference

Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, California
April 30-May 3, 2009

All are invited to come to the San Francisco Bay area to celebrate the 40th anniversary
conference of the WAWH. The WAWH conference brings together faculty,
graduate students, independent scholars, and others for
a unique, collegial, professional weekend of history and networking.

The program committee welcomes proposals for panels or single papers on any historical
subject, time period, or region. The program committee seeks to emphasize that papers do
not necessarily have to focus on women’s or gender history, although those issues are of
interest to the membership. All periods of history are welcome, especially non-U.S.
subjects. Panels, workshops, or roundtables on issues in the historical profession are also
encouraged. Proposals for complete panels, including commentators, are preferred, but
individual papers are also welcome.

In 2009, WAWH is pleased to announce a new prize for the best paper presented by a
graduate student at the WAWH meeting. Please see for guidelines.

Proposals must include each of the following:
1) A required WAWH Cover Page (found at
2) A one-half to one-page abstract for each paper submitted.
3) One-to-two-page curriculum vitae for each panelist.

Mail six sets of proposal material to the program committee chair,
postmarked by October 15, 2008:
Barbara Molony
Santa Clara University
History Department
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053-0285

If you have any questions, please contact Barbara Molony at 408-554-4433 or

Current (2008-2009) WAWH membership and 2009 conference registration are required of all program participants.
WAWH Membership runs from conference to conference.

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CONFERENCE: Water and Politics in Southern California, Loyola Marymount University (Sat. Oct. 4)

From: H-California 

4 OCTOBER 2008

Conference Website:

Loyola Marymount University (LMU) will host a conference examining the vital
resource of water in Southern California politics and history, on 4 October
2008. Scholars from throughout California will examine current water policy,
historical sources crucial for the study of water in Southern California,
and case studies in water management and use. LMU's Department of History,
the Charles Von der Ahe Library, and the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts
are sponsoring the conference. Funding for the conference was provided by
the Haynes Foundation.


The conference is free to the public.  The deadline for pre-registration is
19 September 2008; on-site registration the day of the conference is also
possible. Only those persons who have registered for the conference by the
deadline will be provided lunch.

LOCATION: 1000 (Ahmanson) University Hall, Loyola Marymount University, Los
Angeles, California

CONTACT INFORMATION: Dr. Clay Stalls, Department of Archives and Special
Collections, Von der Ahe Library, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles,
CA 90045.  310-342-3968. E-mail:  Please see website
<> ) for

DIRECTIONS TO LMU: For directions to the campus of Loyola Marymount
University and a campus map, please consult:

PARKING: Parking is available on levels P-2 and P-3 of University Hall, the
location of the conference. Enter the campus at the Lincoln Boulevard and
LMU Drive entrance and proceed to the guards' kiosk for parking


4 October 2008

8am-8:30am: Registration

8:30am. Welcome: Dean Michael Engh, S. J., Bellarmine College of Liberal

9am-10:30am. Session I: Archival Resources

1. Dr. Paul Soifer, Consulting Historian, Department of Water and Power
Historical Records Program. "The Aqueduct, St. Francis, and Mulholland: The
Records at DWP."

2. Paul Wormser, Director, NARA, Laguna Beach, California. "Documenting the
Federal Government's Role in Native Americans' Water Rights."

3. Linda Vida, Director, Water Resources Center, University of California,
Berkeley. "Primary Source Collections for the Study of the History of Water
in Southern California."

Commentator: Dr. Peter Blodgett, H. Russell Smith Foundation Curator of
Western Manuscripts, Huntington Library

Chair: Dr. Errol Stevens, Independent Historian and Consulting Archivist

10:45am-12:15pm. Session II: History of Water in Southern California

1. Eliza Martin. Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, University of
California, Santa Cruz. "San Diego's El Capitan Dam and the Politics of
Indian Removal, 1910-1932."

2. Peter Reich, Professor of Law, Whittier Law School. "Manuscript Case
Files and the Subversion of Judicial Opinions: The L.A. River Cases."

3. Dr. Andy Strathman, Instructor, Department of History, University of San
Diego. "Water, Land, and Suburbanization in San Diego County."

Chair: Dr. Bill Deverell, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California
and the West

Commentator: Dr. Abe Hoffman, Professor, Los Angeles Valley College

12:15pm-1:15pm. Lunch

1:30pm-2:30pm. Keynote Address

Speaker: Dr. Steven Erie, Associate Professor, Department of Political
Science, University of California, San Diego

Chair: Dr. Nick Rosenthal, Assistant Professor, Department of History,
Loyola Marymount University

2:45pm-4:30pm. Session III: Water Policy

1. Dr. Joseph Reichenberger, Professor, Civil Engineering, Loyola Marymount
University. "Groundwater Management in the San Gabriel Valley - A History of
Political Cooperation."

2. Dr. John Walton, Professor, Department of Sociology, UC-Davis. "Western
Times and Water Wars Twenty Years On."

3. Dorothy Green, president of Heal the Bay. "Managing Water: Avoiding
Crisis in California."

4. Dr. David L. Feldman, Chair, Department of Planning, Policy and Design,
School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine. "Preventing the
Repetition, or What Can LA's Experience Teach Us About Contemporary Urban
Water Disputes Elsewhere?"

Chair: Dr. Janet Fireman, Editor, California History

Commentator: Dr. Sarah Elkind, Associate Professor, Department of History,
San Diego State University


5pm-7pm. RECEPTION at the Charles Von der Ahe Library for conference
participants and Loyola Marymount University attendees and their guests.
Attendees will also be to view the Library exhibit on the Owens Valley,
which includes rare photographs of the Owens Valley water wars of the 1920s.

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Call for Submissions: H-California Seeks Annual Bilbiography of New Publications (Deadline Sun. July 20)

H-California is an important listserv and online resource run through the Humanities Network.

Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2008 20:04:31 -0700
From: Denise Spooner <jmds1997@GTE.NET>
Subject: New Contributions to California History and Culture?

Dear H-Californians,

It’s that time of year, time for me to compile a list of new
publications and materials in California history and culture.

If you have a book, website, exhibition or some other contribution
you’ve completed in the last year that you’d like other subscribers to
H-California to know about, please forward to me the pertinent
information by 20 July 2008. Send it to my email address:
so that our next H-California editor, Bob Cherny, isn’t burdened
with forwarding them to me.


Denise Spooner, co-editor H-California

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WORKSHOPS: California Preservation Foundation, Long Beach and Ventura (Fri. July 18, Thur. Aug. 14, Fri. Aug. 15)

From  H-California.

Upcoming Workshops in 2008

Case Studies on Cultural Landscapes

FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2008

8:30 to 9 AM – registration
9 AM to 5:00 PM – workshop and tour

Rancho Los Alamitos
6400 E. Bixby Hill Rd.
Long Beach
, CA 90815

AIA and AICP credits offered!

Register online now

This Workshop is intended to be useful for a broad audience, ranging from architects and landscape architects to historic commissioners to city staff.  It will provide information related to identification, definitions, documentation and assessment for National Register nominations, application of the NPS’ Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes, the Historic American Landscapes Survey [HALS], and a review of the various inventory, treatment and maintenance documents typically prepared for a variety of cultural landscape documentation and treatment projects.   The Workshop will use case studies of properties in California to provide examples of the specific application of the course components.

This Workshop will be held outdoors (mostly in a covered area) and include walking tours and site-visit at Rancho Los Cerritos. Please check the weather forecast and wear layers and comfortable shoes!

Please consider carpooling to this Workshop! If you would like help finding a ride, or can offer one, please email

Coutney Ann Coyle, Esq.
Diane Kane, Ph.D.
Vonn Marie May, Cultural Landscapes Specialist
Pamela Seager, Rancho Los Alamitos
Noel Vernon, Cal Poly Pomona

Lauren Weiss Bricker, Ph.D., Cal Poly Pomon

Held in partnership with the Rancho Los Alamitos

Fees (includes lunch and walking tour):

CPF Members – $130
Non-Members – $165
AIA CEU – $15
AICP CEU – $75

Register online now

Special membership offer for workshop attendees! If you are not yet a CPF member, or a lapsed member, you may purchase a one-year individual membership for only $5, a household membership for $40 or an associate level membership for $115! (You should pay the non-member workshop registration of $150 to take advante of this offer.)

Historic Integrity

9 AM – 5:00 PM

Ventura, CA

(Day 1 of the 2-day Ventura series)

More information and online registration coming soon!

Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties

9 AM – 5:00 PM

Ventura, CA

(Day 2 of the 2-day Ventura series)

More information and online registration coming soon

Upcoming Workshops in 2008

Our workshops offer preservationists, planners, architects, engineers, historians, comissioners and board members, contractors and other interested persons to gain in-depth knowledge about important preservation issues. Below are tentative topics for the 2008 Workshop Series.

  • Heritage Tourism
  • CEQA
  • Surveys
  • Sustainability and Historic Preservation

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EVENT: Laborfest Book Fair, San Francisco (Sat. July 19)

From Julia Stein, Santa Monica Junior College.

“Next July 19, 2008, I’ll be reading poetry at the San Francisco Labor Book Fair. The poets will read 3:30-5:00. All day fine authors will discuss their books and their will be book tables from diverse presses. The Book Fair is part of San Francisco Labor Festival: 50 events held from July 5 to 31 in San Francisco and the East Bay on labor including films, videos, talks, theater, concerts, panels, walks of historical labor sites.

1st Annual LaborFest BookFair & Poetry Reading
July 19 (Saturday) 2008
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts – 2868 Mission St.,SF
3:30 PM-5:00 PM

LaborFest Poetry Reading
With Jenifer Rae Vernon, Julia Stein, Alice Rogoff, Matthew Diaz, Benjamin Balthaser, James Tracy, and others

Schedule for Entire Day–

Main Gallery (Book Presentations)
9:30 AM-10:45 AM
Fernando Gapasin on: Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice.

11:00 AM-12:15 PM
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz on: Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico.

1:15 PM – 2:30 PM
Lauren Coodley on: Putting Labor into California History,3110,0131884107,00.html

Theater 12:00 PM-1:30PM
Lincoln Cushing Presentation and Slide Show on: Art/Works – American Labor Graphic.

1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Bryan D. Palmer on: James P. Cannon and the Origins Of the American Revolutionary Left.

3:30 PM-5:00 PM
LaborFest Poetry Reading
With Jenifer Rae Vernon, Julia Stein, Alice Rogoff, Matthew Diaz, Benjamin Balthaser, James Tracy, and others.

Small Gallery
9:30 AM-12:00 Noon
The LaborFest Writers Workshop will conduct writing exercises inspired by the American Life Histories of the WPA Federal Writers’ Project’s Folklore Project. Main themes will be on the industrial and occupational lore of working class people and families. We will explore the customs, cultures, and regional traditions of our diverse backgrounds.

12:30 PM 1:45 PM
Dan Berman on: Death On The Job and the State Of Health And Safety.

2:00 PM – 3:15 PM
Suzanne Gordon on: Safety In Numbers, Nurse-to-Patient Ratios and the Future of Health Care
Suzanne Gordon; John Buchanan; Tanya Bretherton

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Paul D. Blanc, MD on: How Everyday Products Make People Sick
Toxins at Home and in the Workplace

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OBITUARY: Jules Tygiel, Baseball Expert, SFSU Historian, and Friend of the CSA, Has Died

Baseball expert, California historian, professor at San Francisco State, Jules Tygiel wrote a major book on Jackie Robinson, wrote the Chronicle today in his obituary.

The baseball blog, The Griddle, remembered Tygiel and included a video of a lecture he gave to a group of high school students.

Major League Baseball also had an obit of Tygiel.

Photo from his faculty page at SFSU.

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NEWS and FESTIVAL: Slow Food Nation Storms San Francisco (Aug. 29 to Sept. 1)

Slow Food Nation, founded by Alice Waters, is building a “Victory Garden” on the grounds of San Francisco City Hall. Its blog writes that the vegetables will be ready to harvest by the weekend of their festival to be held in the city August 29 to Sept 1, Labor Day weekend. You can join others in plating the garden on Saturday, July 12.

In addition, Slow Food Nation reps are speaking at several events in August at the Commonwealth Club.


TOURS: San Francisco Museum and Historical Society Summer Programs

From the SF Museum and Historical Society Newsletter. See the website for more information here or click the banner above. Please find below monthly featured programs at the society as well as a full prgram of architectural and historical walking tours.–ed.

July Program: Sutro Baths and Museum and Playland-At-The-Beach
Tuesday, July 8, 2008 7:30 PM

Kanbar Hall
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
3200 California Street at Presidio Avenue

What fun it all was – those halcyon days when Playland and Sutro Baths were the mecca of entertainment for San Franciscans as they flocked to the western edge of the City to swim and enjoy the rides. Playland was three city blocks of fun and games, including roller coasters, a 64-horse carousel, a fun house dominated by the infamous Laffing Sal, and the famous Camera Obscura, now at the Cliff House. It was here that the unique San Francisco treat, the It’s It Ice Cream Sandwich, was first introduced. Playland closed in 1972 and a housing development now occupies the site along the Great Highway.

Nearby this historic beachfront, financier Adolph Sutro, populist San Francisco mayor from 1894 to 1896, opened his famous Baths in 1896. It was the world’s largest indoor swimming pool extravaganza with seven different fresh and salt water pools. He also created a museum and filled it with antiquities from his world travels.

Sutro Baths burned down in 1966 and the ruins are still visible today.

The site is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. John Martini, National Park Ranger and historian, and John Freeman, historian and Richmond District resident, will tell the story of both sites through words and pictures of the time the western edge of San Francisco along the Pacific Ocean was truly our Disneyland.

Please join us before the program for a 7:00 PM reception.

In conjunction with this month’s program, National Park Service Docent Tom Bratton will lead a tour of the Sutro Baths ruins on Saturday, July 12, at 2:00 P.M. Please see the walks section for details.

There will be no program in August.

September Program: The Celluloid Era: Early Filmmaking in San Francisco
Tuesday, September 9, 2008 7:30 PM

Kanbar Hall
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
3200 California Street at Presidio Avenue

Programs are free to current SFMHS members. A $5 donation is requested from non-members, which may be applied toward membership.

Stephen Salmons, founder of The San Francisco Silent Film Festival, will talk about the early years of filmmaking and show clips of the early films produced in the San Francisco Bay Area, when this area was one of the focal points of the fledgling industry.

Niles Canyon, on the outskirts of Fremont, was home to an established film company that boosted the early careers of Charlie Chaplin and Marie Dressler. One film company alone made 315 films in Niles Canyon between 1912 and 1916.

San Francisco, with its magnificent views, was also the site of numerous movies.

Salmons, along with Melissa Chittick, created the Silent Film Festival to educate the public about silent film as an art form, and a cultural and historical record of life in the early 20th century. This non-profit organization was founded in 1992 and points with pride to the growth of its annual festival.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival runs July 11 through 13 at the Castro Theater with a series of silent films accompanied by music. Festival tickets and a schedule can be found at

Historical and Architectural Walking Tours

SFMHS Walking Tours are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Tours last an average of two hours and may involve some hills. Please be considerate of your fellow guests and leave pets and younger children at home.

Barbary Coast Trail Walks are held rain or shine.

Civic Center’s Grand Design
Saturday, July 5, 2 – 4:30 PM

The Early Film Industry and the Business of Government
with Monika Trobits

This walk starts in front of the Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market Street, appropriately enough since this area was once a host to a variety of movie palaces and the fledging days of the film industry. Long more than just a center for government-oriented business, Civic Center also offers a variety of architectural styles. Monika will talk about the City Beautiful movement and the various architects who applied it to Civic Center, the remnants of the movie theaters that once lined Market Street and the many city halls that San Francisco has had. The tour ends at Fox Plaza, former site of the Fox Theatre.

Sutro Baths
Saturday, July 12, 2 – 3:30 PM
with Tom Bratton

Meet at the Sutro Baths ruins, Point Lobos Avenue, just east of the Cliff House.

In conjunction with our monthly speakers’ series, National Park Service Docent Tom Bratton will lead a tour of Sutro Baths. Tom, whose father was engineer and general manager of the Sutro Baths from 1934 until 1956, knew almost every inch of the old building because he played there in his youth. He also worked during high school years as a locker boy at the baths, as well as DJ and skate renter at the ice rink.

The walk will cover uneven ground, so walkers are urged to wear appropriate shoes and dress in layers, since the weather could be cold and foggy or windy. Parking is available in the lot across the road from the baths site. Muni bus #18 stops right in front of the site.

Nob Hill Walking Tour
Saturday, July 19, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM

A Hill with More History than Any Other
with Harlan Hirschfeld

Meet on the corner of California and Powell by the green cable car booth. Harlan will talk about the men who built the Iron Horse and show you their homes. Many other stories include those about Flood, Fair, Hearst and the cable cars. You will hear a Da Vinci Code trivia story, tour Grace Cathedral and see a copy of the doors that Michelangelo said, “are worthy enough to be the gates to paradise.” The tour ends with a walk through the Fairmont Hotel and stories of its colorful history. This flat walk is about two hours and ends about where it began.

Mission Dolores
Saturday, July 19, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Father Serra, Graves and Vigilantes
with Lesley Walsh

Meet Lesley at 16th and Dolores Streets on the Mission steps. Learn about the history of Mission San Francisco de Asis (nicknamed Mission Dolores), completed in 1791. Hear descriptions of Indian and Missionary life on the desolate northern end of today’s Peninsula. We will visit the mission museum, the 20th century parish church next door, and the oldest remaining cemetery, with graves of Indians, Spanish, Mexicans and Gold Rush immigrants. Learn how 19th century settlers built the Mission District, and why the old Mission survived the 1906 earthquake and fire. The tour is approximately one to one and a half hours.

Barbary Coast Trail Walking Tour – Part 3
Saturday, August 16, 10:00 AM – 12 Noon

Hipsters, Paseani and Semaphore Hill
with Jeanne Beaudet

The area largely known today as North Beach was an actual beach, its shoreline at what is today Taylor and Francisco Streets. Filled in with soil years ago, it became home to Italian immigrants, and, in the 1950s, the free spirited Beats, all of whom left their imprint. Meet Daniel in front of two San Francisco icons on Columbus Avenue near Broadway-the Vesuvio Cafe and City Lights Bookstore — and explore the vibrant artistic and cultural traditions of North Beach. Visit Washington Square in the heart of North Beach, the nearby Italian bakery that still makes bread by hand, and at Coit Tower, visit the historic Depression-era murals that picture San Francisco’s tumultuous past.

Russian Hill Walking Tour
Saturday, August 23, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM

A Hill Where They Looked Down on the Rest of the City
with Harlan Hirschfeld

Meet Harlan on the corner of Hyde and Filbert. Why is this area called Russian Hill? What did David Letterman do on the Hill? Hear about the Purple Cow and what kind of house is good for your sexual vigor. Learn about cloud scrapers and skyscrapers. See where Willis Polk lived, hear about the Mormon connection and much more. This two-hour walk has some hills and steps, and ends within two blocks from the starting point.

High On The Haight
Saturday, September 6, 2 – 4:30 PM

Upper Haight Transitions
with Monika Trobits

The Haight-Ashbury experienced a cycle of growth and rebirth during the 20th century and continues to offer a fascinating variety of Victorian-era architectural styles. Monika explains how this historic neighborhood originated and transitioned and will discuss how and why, by the 1960s, this area had become a mecca for the hippies and the counterculture. This tour begins in front of 231 Frederick Street (between Ashbury and Downey Streets), winds through the Haight-Ashbury, ending at Stanyan and Haight.

Barbary Coast Trail Walking Tour – Part 4
Saturday, September 20, 10:00 AM – 12 Noon

Stevedores, Feluccas, and Windjammers
with Jeanne Beaudet

Meet Jeanne at the intersection of The Embarcadero and Kearny Street on the bay side of The Embarcadero. This tour highlights San Francisco’s maritime history and explores the waterfront from the days of sail to the era of the longshoremen. Meet Jeanne at the intersection of The Embarcadero and Kearny Street on the bay side of The Embarcadero. Jeanne begins at the Great Seawall, San Francisco’s largest public works project, and follows the waterfront to Fisherman’s Wharf, past two WWII vessels and the Hyde Street Pier. The tour ends at the Maritime Museum at Aquatic Park.

Financial District Walking Tour
Saturday, September 27, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Big Money and Tall Towers
with Jerry Dodson

Meet former SFMHS President Jerry Dodson in front of the Ferry Building for a 2 1/2-hour tour of the Financial District that will give participants both an understanding of the architecture of the area and of the financial history of San Francisco. The tour includes a visit to the 16th floor of the Steuart Tower at One Market for one of the best views of the City and the waterfront. The tour ends at Market and Montgomery Streets.

Members-only Tours of the Old Mint

SFMHS members will have the unique opportunity to get a look inside the Old Mint. SFMHS staff will discuss the history of the building, the plans for the facility, and show you the progress we have made so far.

Tours will begin on the Mint Plaza on the northeast side of the Mint Building.

* Thursday, July 10, 2008, 12 Noon
* Saturday, August 9, 2008, 10 AM
* Thursday, September 11, 2008, 12 Noon
* Thursday, October 11, 2008, 10 AM

These tours are for current SFMHS members only (each may bring one guest) and are limited to 50 participants. To verify your membership status or reserve a space, send an email to, or call 415-537-1105 ext. 106.

Tour of Muir Woods
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Time to be announced

Join SFMHS on a tour of Muir Woods. Chartered buses will depart from the main parking lot in the Presidio, at Lincoln Boulevard and Montgomery Street, for a tour of Muir Woods with a stop in Sausalito on the return trip. Cost of the trip, including park entry, is $30 per person.

You may purchase tickets online here. Or, download a printable order form here.

Save The Date for Standing Ovations 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008

For years, the San Francisco Sound has permeated the national scene. It was in San Francisco that so many legendary bands got their start. Here, musicians, recording studios, and fans have fed a vibrant musical scene that included jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and bluegrass.

Legendary venues like the Fillmore Auditorium, Winterland, and the Avalon Ballroom were home turf for so many musicians who went on to national acclaim. From the ’40s to the present, this City has produced an array of excellent, highly acclaimed musicians and entertainment.

The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society will salute their musical and creative talents with Standing Ovations 2008, Honoring San Francisco’s Musical Past, Present and Future on Saturday, November 15 at the Old Mint, an event that will fill this historic building with music, entertainment, fine wines, and fine food.

Further information about honorees and tickets will be available later this summer.

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TALK: Funding Formulas for California Schools, PPIC Fellow, Jon Sonstelie (Sacramento, Thur. July 24)

From PPIC’s RSS feed

Funding Formulas for California Schools

Thursday, July 24, 2008 from 12:00-1:30 p.m.

CSAC Conference Center
1020 11th St, 2nd Floor
Sacramento, CA

“The recent proposal from the Governors Committee, if adopted, would change how California funds its schools in important ways, by consolidating a large number of current K-12 revenue programs into just two. Such a shift would require fundamental changes: the state would have to transfer its revenue authority to local school districts and would have to allocate a larger share of K-12 revenues to districts with high proportions of disadvantaged students. Using a budget simulation, this report examines the effects of the proposal and variations, comparing the revenue that school districts would have received under the committees plan with the revenue that districts actually received in 2004-2005 from programs the plan would eliminate. Lunch will be provided.”

Jon Sonstelie is a professor of economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a visiting fellow at PPIC.