Castro Valley READS Program – Join the LWVEA Discussion Group
The Castro Valley Library is offering its first community reading program, focusing on the book Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. Their first event had such an overwhelming turnout that the library ran out of free copies of the book! Our league will be hosting our own book discussion group of Lab Girl, and we will be invited to the library’s finale event, Fri. April 6th at 6pm (by invitation only, so sign-up!).
Any league member is welcome to join our discussion group – just email Penny Peck by Feb. 10th (Pikly [at] aol.com). Our discussion meeting will be announced after Penny surveys those who have signed up.
To obtain a copy of the book, enroll at the Castro Valley Library, and let them know you are part of the LWVEA discussion group. For more information, see: http://aclibrary.org/content/castro-valley-reads-0 .
Total Respondents: 40 members (Answer Choices + Responses)
1. Why are you a member of the League of Women Voters? (Mark all that apply)
- I simply want to support the work of the League: 70.00% (28)
- Given my position in the community, I believe I need to be known as a League member: 17.5% (7)
- I appreciate the educational activities of the League and like to attend the events: 62.5% (25)
- I believe the League provides a valuable service to voters and the community: 95% (38)
- I want to be involved in growing and strengthening the mission of the League: 40% (16)
- Other: 2.5%, (1)
2. Which Chapter events do you usually attend during the year? (Mark all that apply)
- Annual Meeting: 62.5% (25)
- Holiday Party: 47.5% (19)
- Educational Forums: 65% (26)
- Candidate Forums: 65% (26)
- Ballot Issue "Pros & Cons": 4% (16)
- Meet Your Elected Officials: 52.5% (21)
- None: 10% (4)
3. If you attend, how many League events did you attend in 2016-17?
- 1 event: 29.73% (11)
- 2-4 events: 48.65% (18)
- More than 4 events: 21.62% (8)
4. If you didn't attend any, why not? (Mark all that apply)
- No interest in attending and/or no time to attend League events: 16.67% (2)
- Event topics are not interesting to me: 0%
- Day or time of day for events not good for me: 91.67% (11)
- League is outdated (topics and issues are not relevant to me): 0%
5. I believe the League is a relevant organization in today's environment.
- Yes, because the League conducts the following: (Mark all that apply)
- Voter registration: 90% (36)
- Educational forums: 92.5% (37)
- Ballot Pros and Cons: 95% (38)
- Candidate Forums: 95% (38)
- Advocacy for Policy Issues: 77.5% (31)
- Keeps Campaign Reform Advocacy alive: 72.5% (29)
- Regularly publishes The VOTER: 67.5% (27)
- No, because: (Mark all that apply)
- Topics are not timely: 0%
- Topics/Activities are out of step with needs & wants of the membership: 0%
- Activities (i.e. Annual meeting, Meet Your Elected Officials, educational and/or candidate forums) are not of interest to me: 0%
- The main League activities (i.e. voter education & registration, campaign reform, and policy advocacy) are outdated: 2.5% (1)
- The League does not disseminate information or communicate with members in a manner most effect for me: 0%
6. I want to be more involved with the League in the future if...(Mark all that apply)
- I have more time: 28.21% (11)
- I am asked: 5.13% (2)
- Topics/issues/activities are more timely and of greater interest to me: 12.82% (5)
- I am convinced that the work of the League/Chapter makes a real difference: 15.38% (6)
- I don't want to be more involved: 12.82% (5)
- I am currently involved as much time as I can for the League: 51.28% (20)
7. I want to serve on a Team Committee.
- Yes: 19.44% (7)
- No: 50% (18)
- Maybe later: 30.56% (11)
8. I believe the following three things should be League priorities in 2017-18. (Choose 3 only)
- Voter Registration: 51.28% (20)
- Voter Education: 66.67% (26)
- Candidate Forums: 51.28% (20)
- Ballot Issue/Pros & Cons: 48.72% (19)
- Campaign Reform: 48.72% (19)
- Policy Advocacy: 23.08% (9)
- Publishing The VOTER: 10.26% (4)
- I have no preference: 2.56% (1)
9. I would like to see the League take a more proactive role in the following issues. (Choose no more than 3)
- Immigration: 17.5% (7)
- Campaign Financing Reform: 45% (18)
- Voter Registration: 17.5% (7)
- Voter Education: 35% (14)
- Communication with the Membership: 7.5% (3)
- Environment: 27.5% (11)
- Governmental Transparency/Sunshine Laws: 25% (10)
- Growing the Chapter Membership: 20% (8)
- Tax Reform: 15% (6)
- Healthcare: 27.5% (11)
- Housing: 20% (8)
- Homelessness: 10% (4)
- Infrastructure: 15% (6)
- Government Efficiency: 10% (4)
- Transportation: 10% (4)
- Education: 10% (4)
10. My preference for being notified of activities is:
- The VOTER newsletter: 50% (20)
- Email notifications: 87.5% (35)
- Text: 2.5% (1)
- Twitter: 0%
- Facebook: 7.5% (3)
- Website calendar: 7.5% (3)
Five board members attend the League of Women Voters California conference held in May in Sacramento.
Here are their thoughts on the events they attended:
As a new member to the LWV, attending the convention accelerated my understanding of the LWV and the policies, procedures, and operations involved in membership, outreach, advocacy, action, and education. In addition to these logistical and practical matters, what struck me more than anything was the deep community of devoted activists--individuals who have committed the majority of their lives in many cases to the League in order to better their own communities and to promote democracy. In our current political climate, to see people from all walks of life join together and move toward a shared goal inspired great hope in me for the future. Not only did the communal-aspect encourage me to become more involved in my own League, but it also reminded me of how powerful an impact a group can have to effect real change.
On a more issues-oriented note, I used my time at the convention to learn from other Leagues: to take their enterprising works and funnel them into ideas for what the LWVEA can do. In particular, I attended a caucus on Climate Change, which was especially poignant in terms of timing, since it was held the day after the Trump administration pulled out from the Paris climate accord. The group of League members present at this caucus shared practical, innovative, and conscientious solutions for combating climate change through sustainability at the local level. Again, I was moved, and so I joined the team on Climate Change in the LVWC to learn more and become more involved in advocacy work.
A truly heartfelt thank you to the LWVEA for allowing me to attend this convention. I am full of thanksgiving and gratitude for the opportunity to learn and to grow more inspired and impassioned about the work of the League. I return home fully energized, enthused, and ready to take action!
I attended (along with April, Lynda, Rita, and Cimberly) on June 2 and 3. I attended the plenary sessions and 2 workshops and 2 caucus presentations. About 240 people attended the convention, from 54 Leagues out of 64 in California. My general impression of the convention:
- Impressed by number of informed, engaged, knowledgeable and empowered women attuned to politics and public policy issues. This helps us all, and reinforces the argument for the benefit that we would all receive if all our citizens were as informed, engaged and empowered to participate in our democracy.
- Trump administration actions and inaction, and his Republican Party support, is having a chilling effect on progressive policy across the board, which is threatening state policy and legislation progress.
- There is deep support in the LWV ranks for many progressive policies, particularly for single-payer health care.
- Good presentation, speaker has PhD in geology, was a public works director
- Reviewed the many small and large changes that could be made to improve energy conservation, reduce use, institute carbon pricing or cap & trade, discourage combustion of hydrocarbons, and switch to a green economy
- Unaddressed assumption was that everyone is already on board that climate change is real and must be addressed
- Unfortunately, the President withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Agreement yesterday
Get to The Point + Writing for Everyone
- Speaker was former journalist and teacher, well organized, young
- Talk focused on exercises to demonstrate and encourage knowing your target audience, or range of your audience, of your writing, using plain language, using visual cues to reduce the wording and aid understanding, have your writing reviewed and edited; never release first draft.
- For good web site for plain language see "The A to Z of Alternative Words"
The LWVC is introducing a new website --- My League Online (MyLO). MyLO will NOT be replacing League Easy Web (LEW); LEW will continue indefinitely. To learn more, visit lwvc.org/mylo, where you can find helpful tips and catch up on past webinars. For questions about MyLO, email the LWVC at mylo [at] lwvc.org. There is a fee to use MyLO: $400/year ($50 subsidy for CA Leagues) and a $200 set-up fee if the League does not already use League Easy Web (LEW).
Fix Proposition 13
- Presented by 3 younger new LWV members who struggled a bit to coordinate their parts, and to answer the several unknowns inherent with the uncertain political future
- Prop 13 had a good goal + to prevent taxing older people out of their homes. Property tax varied greatly from county to county, so it needed standardization. But Prop 13 was poorly written. The result was that property tax revenue plunged, and the state ended up relying too much on income tax and sales tax revenue, which primarily hurt low income people.
- The `Fix' is a proposal to deal only with the commercial property in the state, not homes or other residential property, because since Prop 13 passage in 1978, the percentage of total property tax paid by homeowners has risen from 56% in 1978 to 72% currently. So, long term commercial-industrial property owners are getting an `unfair' benefit.
- The proposal may be introduced as a bill in the legislature or it may become another proposition (God help us). This is currently very uncertain.
- If the Feds end up `punishing' California for whatever reason by withholding moneys we have been receiving, it may give passage of this proposal a boost because it would increase state revenue by $9 billion once phased in over a 3 year period.
- The LWVC is part of the "Make It Fair" Coalition which is studying and promoting this Prop 13 Fix.Single Payer Healthcare for California- Presented by a very knowledgeable speaker
- The US now spends about $10,000/person/year, an about 30 M people are not insured, 3M of which are in Calif.
- The state healthcare for all, Healthy California, proposal is SB 562
- SB 562 just passed the state Senate (without resolving the cost and needed revenue stream), now goes to the Assembly. Passage uncertain, and Governor Brown unlikely to sign bill even if it passes.
- Cost is the elephant in the room. The total health care costs in the state is in the range of $400 billion per year. In the long run, single payer would cost less than currently spent because it would greatly reduce administrative costs, while giving everyone in the state health care, including immigrants (legal and otherwise).
- Once fully implemented, SB562 would save 3.4% to 9.5% annually, or $14 B to $38 B annually.
- The difficulty in its passage is that the insurance companies would be essentially put out of business, so they are going to fight (lie, exaggerate, confuse) like hell to convince people that they will end up paying more. They'll also use the "socialized medicine" argument.
- The real difficulty will be to convince people that the needed money (which will now be coming from new taxes instead of insurance premiums and co-pays) will actually be less than currently paid by individuals and companies. Only the wealthy (with income above $227,000 per year) may end up paying more than they do now; so they will resist the change.
- A critical assumption is that the Feds will continue to give California and equivalent amount of money as we now get for Medi-Cal and other programs.
- If the Feds end up `punishing' California for whatever reason (like trying to have our own single-payer health care system) by withholding moneys we have been receiving, it will kill the proposal for single payer in California.
- She suggests that local leagues focus on the economic benefits to promote universal health care.
- She recommends videos "Fix It" and "Now is The Time" , and the book "An American Sickness" re: need for single payer healthcare
The thrust of the Plenary sessions was voting on the proposed LWVC Program for 2017 -2019, voting on the By-Laws Revisions, and voting on the proposed 2017-2019 LWVC Budget.
The convention voted to adopt Making Democracy Work, Natural Resources (especially climate change, water and land use), and Response to Changing Federal Policies & Budget Actions having an impact on California as issues for League education and advocacy.
Bylaws: Changes & Motions*
- Much discussion re: how to define "student" member. As long as age ≥16, we can define as we want.
- Non-citizens (legal or otherwise) can be members
- Companies cannot be a member
*These motions in the Convention agenda were all approved.
Additional Motions Proposed at the 2017 Convention
- Adding "Policing Practices" for study and advocating to improve community relations with police. PASSED
- Adding define "person" as a natural person (individual) citizen or non-citizen of USA (Does not agree with By-Laws of LWVUS). FAILED
- Adding Program to educate and advocate for reform of Prop 13 (Much discussion, strong feelings, but LWVC insisted they are preparing education materials to be out this summer, and they are advocating for this at state level as hard as they can). FAILED
- Allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote. FAILED
- Add "Civil engagement and civil discourse" for education and advocacy (We're supposed to be doing this now). FAILED
Schedued speaker Darrell Steinberg was a no-show.
Speaker Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners gave a very thorough review of lessons learned from the 2016 election, particularly that Hillary lost the vote of white women and men, that she won a higher percentage of unmarried women than married women, suggesting that progressive forces need to appeal to women independent of their husbands, and to appeal to women because they have different priorities than men, which are not being addressed.
She said that getting more people to vote is critical but is difficult, that shame doesn't work except to appeal by informing them that their family and friends have voted. She felt that the reputation of the LWV is strong, seen as independent and fair or objective, so voter guides and pro-con sessions are accepted. She urged need to concentrate on re-registering people sho have moved, and important for leagues to know and target their area demographics.
She urges leagues to focus more on solutions to problems and issues rather than just re-hashing the problems.
She says the big issues for the LWV should be:
- campaign finance reform
- voter suppression
- qualified Secretaries of State
- get more racially diverse leagues
She strongly urges more women to run for elective office.
Her form has a California office open to work with local leagues. She recommends book "Don't Buy It" re: the economy, and "Don't Think of the Elephant" re: know your values and frame the debate.
Speaker Chris Hoene spoke re: Federal Policy Impact on California
He says this impact will primarily impact middle and low income people. A budget reflects values and priorities, and he is concerned about this administrations values and priorities.
37% of California's expeditures comes from the feds, primarily for health care.
Currently, the feds budget prioriites threaten California:
- Healthcare (33% of state residents are enrolled in Medi-Cal) o the ACA gives Calif $22 M for Medi-Cal)
- Safety net (SNAP, SSI, etc)
- The arts
- Tax cuts
- Income from trade (40% of calif economy is from trade, which is threatened by uncertain fed policy)
Calif is not yet fully recovered from the Great Recession All growth in income is going to the top 20% of people.
The Calif state budget must be set by the legislature by June 15 + July 1 But it will be impacted by the fed budget which won't be set until September. So, next year's state budget will have to correct for this discrepancy.
Calif state revenue coming in is better than projected in Jan 2017, but still $400 M short; so more money than expected can go to colleges, home support services and child care and education, and to state reserves.
He says the legally the feds can't withhold money from Calif re sanctuary cities.
Re: Gov Brown's idea to take a loan from a special cash fund to pay down CalPERS deficit - He says it is mostly a sound budgetary idea, but is hard to sell.
For more info + he suggests we subscribe to the newsletter from the Calif Budget and Policy Center.
Speaker Michael Tubbs, 28 yr old mayor of Stockton
Inspirational pep talk with a sense of humor, emphasizing the importance of women in his upbringing, and their importance in being a part of the political life of our communities and being elected to office.
LWVC President, Helen Hutchison
Her remarks were:
- There are 53 of the state's 64 leagues are present at the convention
- The LWVC disagrees with almost everything the Trump administration is doing
- The LWV will not back down on its positions
- The LWV is growing in size and in impact
The LWVC will continue to have two entities because the LWV intends to do more advocacy:
- The League for advocacy
- The Education Foundation for education & study of issues, no advocacy