November 21 - A Scandalous Nomination: Bush's Peace Corps Pick

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez: The Gaddi Vasquez Nomination to Peace Corps Director: November 14: The Gaddi Vasquez Hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: November 21 - A Scandalous Nomination: Bush's Peace Corps Pick

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, November 21, 2001 - 5:36 pm: Edit Post

The latest message from John Coyne of the Committee for the Future of the Peace Corps:

Dear Folks,

The November 26 issue of the weekly newspaper, New York Observer (which came out today) has a great article entitled: A Scandalous Nomination: Bush's Peace Corps Pick. Gaddi Vasquez of Orange County, An Ill-Equipped Political Hack. It was written by Philip Weiss. Try to get it a copy locally at your library or a good news stand.. The article as of today is not up on their website: www.nyobserver.com. It might be up later this week; I'm not sure.

Other news.

First, we want to wish you and your family and friends a wonderful Thanksgiving. We hope that you eat well, drink well and relax well because we are down to the wire and you will need your energies next week because we have to continue the great work you have been doing for the past 6 weeks for another 7 days! We are into the home stretch. The Senate comes back on November 27 and we have to continue hammer our message to everyone on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as well as our own Senators.

You have been doing an absolutely fabulous job of calling, faxing and emailing your Senators because they and their staffs now know we are totally opposed to Gaddi. It is absolutely wonderful to stand in an elevator in the Senate building and hear folks talking about all the calls coming in from the "Peace Corps People" about how bad the director nominee is - that would be us.

We on the organizing and coordinating end of these messages are indeed thankful to all of you for your unfaltering commitment to the Future of the Peace Corps -- and for your willingness to respond to the call to advocate for a director of the Peace Corps worthy of its Volunteers.

While this morning's Washington Post indicated that Dodd knows Vasquez is a mediocre candidate and will probably vote for him, the key word here is probably. That means that there is a little room for convincing him to vote otherwise -- and we believe that we have the power to do that.

The ad that you all chipped in for has had a powerful rippling affect - everyone in town is talking about it and that's what we want -- everyone in town talking about how unqualified the nominee for Peace Corps Director really is!!!

Yes, we do still have a small window of opportunity and here's how you can be most effective in the next week. Please don't stop now -we've come so far together and it has been wild ride.

Go back to past emails and dig out the phone numbers, faxes and emails and get busy next Monday, or this Friday, if you can.

1. Continue to call, email and fax your own two Senators to oppose Gaddi. Remember to say that you are a constituent, RPCV and a voter.... and then ask to speak to the Senator, then his/her foreign affairs staff person, get the name and ask them if they can call you and let you know the Senator will vote NO on Gaddi.

2. Continue to call Dodd, Sarbanes, Rockefeller, Kerry, Chafee and others on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - but really put the pressure on Dodd (Sarbanes and Rockefeller) - as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer - Dodd knows firsthand how important the PC is to the countries where we serve! He needs to hear from all 15,000 of us in this network! Urge him to vote NO on Gaddi. We really need the CT residents to take a big lead on this effort - call on your friends and families to help - even call those neighbors that you haven't talked to over the fence in years and give them Dodd's phone numbers and email and fax numbers and blitz the district and Washington offices with your messages.

3. Senator Sarbanes was absolutely eloquent and to the point in his questioning at the Hearing. Call, email and fax him - thank him and urge him to vote NO on Gaddi. Again, if you are a MD resident - blitz the district and Washington offices with your messages! Talk to his staff and get names and assurances on a NO vote on Gaddi. (Weiss in his article talks about Sarbanes questioning of Gaddi, writing, "AT 6 o'clock, they (audience at hearing) witnessed as fine a piece of rhetorical surgery as you are ever likely to see, when Paul Sarbanes, who is plainly nauseated by the selection, quizzed Mr. Vasquez about why he wanted the job." Weiss then gives a compressed version of the questioning.

4. Senator Rockefeller served as a special assistant for Sarge in '61. Call, email and fax him and urge him to vote NO on Gaddi.

5. Write letters to the editors of your newspapers - both about the nominee and the fact that in less than two months nearly 15,000 RPCVs around the world have mobilized on this issue. It is really incredible - because no other federal agency of the government can claim a family as diverse and as a committed to the goals of Peace Corps. I have received a dozen or more letters from RPCVs that are wonderfully written and state our case so well. We have a lot of fine writers in our group, that's for sure. We have raised the level of discourse on this topic.

Finally, our deepest gratitude to each and every one of you for all of your efforts -- we are on the side of right on this issue and you know it. We all know it.

John Coyne for the Committee

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, November 21, 2001 - 7:57 pm: Edit Post

In 1989 when Vasquez was on the Orange County Board of Supervisors he voted with the majority (in a bitterly divided Board) to bar people with AIDS in employment, education and housing. In January 1992 a broader measure was brought before the Orange County Board of Supervisors that would bar discrimination in business, employment, education and housing against those infected with HIV and AIDS sufferers or those perceived to be infected. Vasquez did not change his position. He was quoted in the LA Times as saying, "There are already laws on the (federal) books and nothing's changed as far as I'm concerned."

The bottom line is that he voted twice to oppose providing housing and employment services to HIV AIDS clients in the county.

Philip Weiss in his New York Observer article (November 26, 2001) writes about the same issue. When Senator Dodd asked Vasquez at the hearing about his vote against housing rights and job protection for people with H.I.V. and AIDS, asking, "How would you vote if you had to vote again?" Vasquez answered, "I don't know." Vasquez said he would have to assess all the information. Dodd at this point grinned in astonishment and said, "I'm trying to help you here. This is a help," he explained. "Would you vote the same way?" Vasquez replied, "I would look at the issue and evaluate the merits of the legislation." Philip Weiss then writes, "Senator Dodd sank back, rubicund and pained."

So, we ask: how does this political position/record affect his ability as Peace Corps Director to lead the HIV Prevention, Education and Health projects that involve thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers, and to act as a world leader in the fight against AIDS?"

Barbara Ferris this afternoon contacted the Greater Washington Advocacy Coordinator of PFLAG - (parents and friends of lesbians and gays). The director--Sharon Rosen-- is sending a letter next week to Dodd, Sarbanes, and others on the committee to oppose Vasquez.

Sharon Rosen of PFLAG gave us the phone numbers for the advocacy coordinators in each city of the states that we are targeting and said that we can go ahead and call the number for contact. Look over the list and try to make a call to the phone numbers listed in your city, introduce yourself, explain that it was suggested by the PFLAG national advocacy coordinator. Explain that we are opposing Vasquez and ask them, after reviewing our information, if they would be willing to send a letter to Dodd and others on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging them to oppose the nomination. You have the details of Vasquez's voice and his current position, based on what he said at the hearing.

Below is the list of PFLAG local advocacy coordinators. We only have phone numbers. Again, introduce yourself when you call and let them know that you got their number from the national headquarters of PFLAG. If you are in this area (or not) please call and make our case. Thank you. John Coyne

CA
Fremont 510-226-6816
South Orange 949-494-7712
Long Beach 310-984-8335
LA 310-472-8952
Modesto 209-527-0776
Pasadena 626-450-9279
SF 415-921-8850-

CT
Danbury 203-322-5380
Hartford 860-633-7184

DE
302-654-2995

FL
Tampa 813-961-6684
Tallahassee 904-422-3211

MA
Boston 866-427-3544

MN
St Paul 612-825-1660

WI
Madison 608-255-0533

WV
Charleston 304-345-6934
Wheeling 304-232-8743

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, November 26, 2001 - 10:28 am: Edit Post

Good Morning RPCVS,

Monday, November 26, 2001

We are in the home stretch. The Senate comes back in on Tuesday, tomorrow, and we need to continue to blitz them with calls, emails and faxes so that they are crystal clear about our opposition to Vasquez as the Peace Corps Director, that he is the wrong person for the wrong job at the wrong time.

As soon as we know what day the committee will schedule the vote for the whole committee, we will let you know: that is the day we really need to blitz them - non-stop with calls, faxes and emails.

Our hopes are:

Vasquez will withdraw his nomination or The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote NO on Vasquez....But until we hear either of these, you have to continue calling, emailing, and faxing the Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee to voice your opposition to Vasquez. The fact that both the Senators and the staff know we are opposed - is the highest compliment that they can pay all of you. Your phone calls and emails and faxes really work.

1. If anyone in this network lives in Washington, DC, we want to strongly encourage you to take an hour out of your day this week and please call to schedule a meeting in person with Senator Dodd, Biden, Rockefeller and Sarbanes to voice your opposition (in person) to Vasquez as PC Director to them or to their staff. The personal contact will be powerful -- and a lot of folks in the Senate know that we believe he is the wrong guy for the job. We just need to hammer our message home this week in person. We have to show that this organization is large and spreading through the ranks of RPCVs.

2.When you call your Senators, tell them that you elected them to Represent You; they are your representative in Congress and you want them to represent your opposition to Vasquez with a NO vote on him as Peace Corps Director. Remind them that you served in the Peace Corps (not them) and that you know better than they do what the agency needs at this moment in time. Senator Dodd should especially know that this is a poor candidate and he should be taking the lead in a NO vote and convince his colleagues to do the same. You have all the information you need to make the case, and if you don't, let me know, and I'll email you the background.

Remind them that they are elected by you and other citizens - all of whom are opposed to Vasquez. And remember, you pay your taxes and you have a right to meet with your Senator.

You are doing great work --- and we would not be where we are today without your voices.

If you can get a copy of the most recent New York Observer, November 26 issue, please do and read on the front page the article by Philip Weiss on the hearing for Gaddi Vasquez. It is not on their website, but it is priceless.)

Thank you.

John Coyne for The Committee for the Future of the Peace Corps

By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 5:05 pm: Edit Post

Over the weekend, a Latino USA radio program (based in Texas) did an unfavorable piece on Gaddi - we are trying to get the transcripts so that we have all the details of exactly what was said on the program. As soon as we get it, we will share it with you.

While we are waiting for the facts, we want to strongly encourage you to start calling your local talk shows and raise the issue of the nominee Gaddi Vasquez's lack of credentials as Peace Corps director. The list is attached. Find the one or two in your town and start dialing!!

Please do the following:

1. Call your local radio and TV talk shows and ask to speak to the host or the show producer - state that you are a RPCV, a member of The Committee for the Future of the Peace Corps and that you want to make them aware of your opposition to the nomination of GV for director of the PC. Say that he was an OC Supervisor in charge when the county went bankrupt costing taxpayers 1.7 billion. Twice he voted to deny housing and employment services to HIV/AIDS clients in the county.

2. Tell them that in Senate Foreign Relations hearings held on Wednesday, November 14, 2001, Vasquez was unable to articulate the mission, history, and a plan for how he would lead the agency. Please cite all the negative news articles written, hearing testimony, his poor fiscal management track record, etc.

3. Offer to speak on the radio about this. Tell them what you did in the Peace Corps, talk about how other cultures spend Christmas, use any hook to get on the air and make the point that we need a director who is worthy of the service that you gave to your country. The point is: unleash your voice.

4. Attached is a list of programs across the country (it's on a spread sheet) - find the local station in you town and pick up the phone and make the call now!

Again, our deepest gratitude as we would not be where we are today if you had not taken action - and lots of it.

Thanks,

John

By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 10:45 am: Edit Post

As we all know, advocating for change is a lot of work - and you have been doing an amazingly great job of phone calling, faxing and emailing for the past couple of months to ensure the future of the Peace Corps has the necessary, skillful leadership to navigate our new world. Your opposition to Gaddi must continue, louder and more forceful and we must now expand our reach. You have all the information - please continue to use it to voice your opposition to Gaddi for PCD.

Below is the next step of our campaign. RPCV Lesa Morrison has sent us a great ideas. Write a letter and/or send an email to the President and make our case. When you do, also please copy it to your local papers, radio, and TV outlets so that your opposition to Gaddi has the opportunity to be very public and his lack of qualifications are very known. We want the American public to be disgusted with the fact that his only qualification for his nomination is a $106,000 donation to the Bush Campaign.

In your own words give the reasons why you believe that Mr. Vasquez isn't qualified to be the Director of the Peace Corps. (Addresses are at the end of this email message.Also, please forward this email to everyone you know who cares about the future of the Peace Corps.)

Here is some language you might use.

"In the aftermath of September 11, everything in American life has changed. What hasn't changed is the basic mission of the Peace Corps. For 40 years, Peace Corps Volunteers have used their skills and training to promote development and seek understanding in the world. Then they have come home to teach Americans what it means to cross cultures in the name of peace.

Today, the mission of the Peace Corps is more urgent than ever, and more difficult. To carry out this mission, the Peace Corps needs a visionary leader with international experience, superior judgment, idealism and ideas.

These are the qualities--along with the stature to inspire confidence inside the U.S. and around the world--that, you, President Bush must insist on in the woman or man who will direct the agency in the age of terrorism.

Today, Volunteers dedicated to peaceful change are vital in any effort to improve both the appearance and substance of U.S. involvement overseas. The Peace Corps should play a significant role in that effort. And its Volunteers are prepared to do so. They donít need a billion dollar increase in their budget. All they need is an experienced and knowledgeable Director, someone as committed as they are to promoting peace in the world."

Also, next week, Friday, novelist and country-western singer, Kinky Friedman (Boreneo 1967-69), will be in the White House. He will speak to President Bush about this appointment. Kinky agrees with us and will make our case in person. So email and mail the president today so he'll be aware of what Kinky is talking about.

president@whitehouse.gov

The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Many thanks,

John Coyne for The Committee

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, November 30, 2001 - 2:41 pm: Edit Post

NOMINATION OF GADDI VASQUEZ FOR PEACE CORPS DIRECTOR

As of Friday, November 30, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reports that it is holding off on scheduling a meeting to forward the Vasquez nomination to the Senate, until it is ready to do all the pending nominations. Therefore this meeting could occur not next week as originally anticipated, but the following week of December 10-14.

This means we have another week to email and fax Congress. Hit the Internet and the phones. The more calls made, the greater the impression. And we are making an impression on the Hill. Thank you.

John Coyne, for the Committee

By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, December 04, 2001 - 5:18 pm: Edit Post

Dear Friends:

We can't thank you enough for your unfaltering commitment to the Future of the Peace Corps. Be assured that your calls and faxes and emails are going through. Our sources on the Hill say that the Senators are beginning to talk about the nomination among themselves--and we hear they are saying that it's not such a good idea.

In addition to the direct calls, faxes and emails to the Senators, our network is now starting to write letters of opposition to Vasquez to the editors of their local papers and calling in to the local TV and radio shows with strong comments. You have the information, please take action and call your radio and TV stations and make your position known.

A letter from the Committee for the Future of the Peace Corps has been written to Senator Dodd asking for a written explanation into 3 very serious discrepancies in the testimony from the hearing on November 14.

The NPCA is reporting that as of today, Tuesday, the Foreign Relations Committee meeting to act on nominees (i.e., Vasquez) may not take place next week, and thus perhaps not until January. We will keep checking on when and if they meet to vote.

We will continue to forward new information as soon as we get it. We are a classic example of grassroots organizing that can make a difference.

Know that each and every one of you have made a significant difference in letting the Senate know that we are here - nearly 15,000 of us (and our number is growing) and that we care deeply about the future of the Peace Corps. Please pass this email onto your RPCV friends.

Meanwhile, we have learned that Senator John Kerry has taken an interest in this nomination. If you live in or near Massachusetts please phone or fax the Senator. Have your friends phone or fax his office. The numbers are:

Boston

617.565.5819 (P)

617.248.3870 (F)

Springfield

413.785.4610 (P)

413.736.1049 (F)

If you live in Washington, D.C. (or want to call the Senator in Washington) the numbers are:

202.224.2712 (P)

202.224.8525 (F)

This is important, so if you can call or fax, please do.

If you would like to read (or print out) the testimonies made by the Committee for the Future of the Peace Corps, (and also read about some great Peace Corps writers) go to: http://peacecorpswriters.org. The information on Vasquez Nomination is on the homepage, on the left. Click and read the details.

Thanks again for all your great work.

John Coyne for The Committee for the Future of the Peace Corps


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