<b>GATHER ’ROUND: </b>Susan Epstein ran this week’s Progressive Coalition meeting, where participants broke into groups that focused on immigration rights, health care, and other topics.
Paul Wellman

About 85 people showed up for a meeting convened by the Santa Barbara Progressive Coalition, reincarnated by the election of President-elect Donald Trump after an eight-year hiatus, to hammer out local actions they could take in response to political changes promised by the new administration. The group, meeting at La Casa de la Raza, broke into five sub-groups that focused on immigrant rights, health care, reproductive choice, the environment, and what, if any, counter-inaugural action would take place in Santa Barbara.

To date, the Women’s Political Committee has chartered 10 buses ​— ​enough to carry 585 people ​— ​to the Million Women’s March in Los Angeles on January 21. The Santa Barbara Independent chartered four more. As of deadline, there’s been talk of a rally taking place at De la Guerra Plaza at 3:30 p.m. on January 20, with those assembled marching from City Hall to the County Administration Building a few blocks away.

Those focusing on immigrant rights announced they will ask the county supervisors to declare Santa Barbara a “sanctuary county” and the City College Board of Trustees to declare the campus there off-limits to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

Paul Wellman

Those seeking to protect the Affordable Care Act from repeal ​— ​and similar cuts to Medicare and Medi-Cal ​— ​are planning to host a rally at De la Guerra Plaza this coming Sunday at 3:30 p.m., the same time Senator Bernie Sanders is scheduled to deliver a major speech on the issues.

Part of the challenge confronting organizers was what elected officials to target. Salud Carbajal, Hannah-Beth Jackson, and Monique Limón ​— ​congressmember, state senator, and assemblymember, respectively ​— ​have already indicated their support on most issues having to do with Trump. Many in attendance were mainstays of the left-liberal environmentalist Democrat establishment, and the event could be described as the choir singing to itself. But others ​— ​like one prominent land-use attorney who frequently represents development interests ​— ​were less expected. She was heard recounting how she grew up in the South during the 1960s.

Editor’s Note: The story has been updated to reflect more solid plans for the rally on Friday, which takes place at 3:30 p.m., not at noon.


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