Pink alert for Auburn

She’s run for a U.S. Senate seat from California. She founded Global Exchange, which took on Nike in 1998 and persuaded the company to increase worker pay and allow independent monitoring for abuses in its foreign factories. Most recently, Medea Benjamin started CodePink, one of the most active of the groups protesting the U.S. war in Iraq.

Benjamin will be in Auburn this Friday, February 10, to talk about why the occupation of Iraq is failing. She’ll also be discussing a book, How to Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism, which she edited, along with Jodie Evans and Arundhati Roy.

CodePink is a peace and social-justice movement that has become noted for creative protests and actions in opposition to the war in Iraq. The name of the organization is a play on the Bush administration’s “color-coded” terrorist warning system. The group has sent “pink slips” (as in pastel-colored women’s lingerie) to public officials and media stars (including Bill O’Reilly), demanding that they do a better job of representing the people, and also has focused on the health-care and rehabilitation issues of returning Iraq-war vets.

The event is sponsored by Veterans for Peace Gold Country (Chapter 122) and will be held at the Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists Church, 190 Finley Street in Auburn. Benjamin speaks at 7:30 p.m., and tickets ($5 for adults and $2 for students) will be sold at the door. The Veterans for Peace won’t turn anyone away for a lack of funds, but they may have to turn folks away for limited space, so be sure to arrive early.

For more information, call (530) 885-9837.

—Kel Munger

Hey! Is this your money?

What if we could put $40 million into the pockets of low-income families in Sacramento County? We can, and it won’t cost anybody a dime. County officials calculate that more than 20,000 families here don’t take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax credits they are entitled to. The result: Low-income families in Sacramento are missing out on about $40 million. Guess which neighborhood is entitled to the most unclaimed money: 95823, South Sacramento.

Assemblyman Dave Jones is joining other civic leaders in organizing free tax-preparation help for low-income residents. Jones’ aide Alex Barrios said the average unclaimed refund is $1,500-$2,500. “That’s enough to feed a family of four for a year.”

“We’re always talking about putting more money into the local economy,” Barrios added. “This is one way to do it.”

To find out where you can get help preparing your taxes, call (916) 498-1000.

—Cosmo Garvin

Abortion law reproduced

Despite being defeated by 52.8 percent of California voters in November’s special election, Proposition 73 is back. The ballot initiative that would have prevented abortions from being performed on minors without parental notification has been resurrected in the form of two new ballot initiatives just cleared by state Attorney General Bill Lockyer for signature gathering.

Paul E. and Barbara R. Laubacher, who both identified themselves as registered nurses from Sacramento County, were listed as the proponents of Proposition 73. Paul Laubacher alone is listed as the proponent of one of the new initiatives. Rosemary Avila, an Orange County woman who became a proponent of parental notification after learning that her now-adult daughter had sought an abortion as a teen, is the proponent of the other almost-identical initiative.

Opponents of the initiatives, including Planned Parenthood of California, feared Proposition 73 was an attempt to slip a pro-life definition of abortion into the state Constitution. “Abortion” is defined differently in the new versions of the initiative.

Supporters of Proposition 73, which included newspaper publisher James Holman and former Assemblyman Don Sebastiani—opined that their initiative suffered a defeat only because it was put on a ballot alongside Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ill-fated reform agenda. It won by significant margins in several inland and rural counties, including Amador, Butte and Placer.

Each initiative needs nearly 600,000 valid signatures by July in order to be put on the sure-to-be-crowded November ballot.

—Jeffrey M. Barker