Lessons from America in One Room Event, 10/28 at 7:00pm

How can our local community solve our problems if we can’t talk to each other?  

Learn how American in One Room bridged the divide when discussing polarizing topics and help us consider how we can apply its model locally.  Bring your suggestions for topics our community should be discussing.

Join us and enter America in One Room, a project of Stanford’s Center for Deliberative Democracy which brought together a diverse group of 523 Americans to constructively discuss some of our country’s most polarizing issues. Dr. James Fishkin and Dr. Alice Siu will share what they learned from the project and we will consider how their methods can be applied to promote more productive discussions around locally divisive topics. 

Registration is required and space is limited.  

Thursday, October 28th, 2021 at 7:00-8:30pm (Zoom)

Register 

Downloadable flyer: A1R Flyer   

Video on America in One Room Video (six minutes). For more information: [email protected].  

This event is co-sponsored by the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Mountain View.

Pre-Registering High School Students to Vote

In anticipation of National Voter Registration Day, September 28, the League of Women Voters Los Altos-Mountain View’s Participate in Democracy video was shown to more than 1300 US History, US History AP, Government, and Government AP students at Mountain View and Los Altos High Schools. The video emphasizes the importance of voting and encourages students to register (or pre-register) to vote. We are indebted to the teachers and administrators of the MVLA High School District for their help in bringing this project to the students.

Check out our video: Participate in Democracy  

After watching the video, the students who are 16 years old and citizens used the Secretary of State’s registration website to pre-register online. California legislation came into effect in 2014 which allows any citizen, by birth or naturalized, to pre-register at sixteen and automatically receive a ballot at the first election after they turn eighteen.

In addition to playing the video presentation, fifteen LAHS and MVHS teachers distributed to the students: Voters Edge bookmarks with voter information and “Future Voter” wristbands to celebrate their ability to make their voice heard in American elections.

The You Tube video was moderated by LWV member Abby Longcor. Google slides for the presentation were completed by Lisa McLain and Abby Longcor. Max Beckman-Harned provided technical support to make the video live. Claudia Hevel and Claire Noonan with support from the LWV Voters Services Committee connected with the high school teachers to make the project succeed.

Provide Feedback for State and Local Redistricting

Every ten years, after the census figures are released, local governments and agencies will redraw the district boundaries for future elections of trustees, commissioners, directors, etc. Redistricting will determine political representation for the next ten years. The League believes that districts should be drawn using fair criteria to help keep communities intact and to ensure that everyone is equally represented.

Check out the information below to learn about the various redistricting efforts and how you can provide feedback.

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisor Districts

Flyer: SCC Redistricting Info

Website Info: https://countyexec.sccgov.org/2021-redistricting-process

Valley Water 

https://www.valleywater.org/how-we-operate/redistricting

MidPeninsula Regional Open Space  (Feedback by 9/10/21)

Learn about redistricting and provide feedback

The next outreach meeting is October 27. Midpen is offering an online tool to get feedback on current ward boundaries as they start to process 2020 census data released recently. Midpen’s MyDistricting tool lets you add comments on an interactive map to provide input, share ideas and suggest things to consider when defining the new boundaries of each director’s ward. 

Foothill DeAnza College District:  Changing from At Large” to District” elections

Help Shape Trustee Area Boundaries – Learn more at a series of public hearings (9/13 or 10/4) or by completing a “Communities of Interest” survey. To learn more 

State of California 

Every 10 years, after the federal government publishes updated census information, California must redraw the boundaries of its Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly and State Board of Equalization districts, so that the districts correctly reflect the state’s population.

In 2008 California voters authorized the creation of the Citizens Redistricting Commission. It authorized the Commission to draw the new district lines. The 14-member Commission is made up of five Republicans, five Democrats, and 4 not affiliated with either of those two parties. The Commission must draw the district lines in conformity with strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of relatively equal population that will provide fair representation for all Californians.  To learn more about the: 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission.

To provide feedback:

Participate

Upcoming Meetings

Gubernatorial Recall: YOUR VOTE. YOUR VOICE.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2021 CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR RECALL ELECTION

What’s on the ballot?  

The California Governor Recall Election is on Tuesday, September 14. There will be two questions on the ballot that every eligible Californian can vote on: 

  1. Do you want to recall the governor (remove him from office)?
  2. If the governor is recalled, who do you want to replace him?

If more than 50% of voters say “no” to the first question, the governor remains in office. If more than 50% of voters say “yes” to the first question, the person who gets the most votes on the second question becomes the governor. 

How do I vote in the Recall Election?

Every registered voter in California will receive a ballot in the mail, about a month before the Tuesday, September 14 Recall Election. Register to Vote at registertovote.ca.gov.  Don’t know if you’re registered to vote? Visit voterstatus.sos.ca.gov to check your registration status or register to vote. 
The deadline to register for the Recall Election is Monday, August 30, 2021. 

There are 3 ways to vote:

VOTE BY MAIL

You can fill it in and mail it back as soon as you receive it. No postage is needed. Mail your ballot back early because it must be postmarked by Election Day, Tuesday, September 14.

DROP OFF YOUR BALLOT

 You can drop off your ballot at any voting location in your county. Some counties will also offer secure drop off locations. For details and locations check caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov. If you decide
to drop off your ballot, you must drop it off no later than 8 pm on Election Day, September 14.

VOTE IN PERSON

Your voting location may be different this year. In certain counties you can vote at any voting location. In other counties you must visit a special assigned voting location. Early voting, starting before Election Day, will be available in some locations.

At in-person voting locations you can:

  • Vote in person.
  • Drop off your completed ballot.
  • Vote with an accessible voting machine.
  • Get help and voting materials in multiple languages.
  • Find your voting location at  findmypollingplace.sos.ca.gov.

 

GUBERNATORIAL RECALL ELECTION- SEPTEMBER 14

Be sure to vote in the upcoming gubernatorial recall election on September 14th and encourage those around you, as well as friends and family, to participate! Ballots will be mailed to registered voters beginning August 16th.

On the ballot, there will be two questions and voters will have the opportunity to answer one or both:

1. Should the governor be recalled? 

2. If he is recalled, who should replace him? (If the majority of voters answer yes to the first question, the candidate who garners the most votes to question two wins, even if by only a fraction of votes). 

Check your voter status at: https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/

More information from about the election can be found here: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/

Official ballot drop box sites and early voting information: SCC ROV Drop Box Sites

Annual Meeting of LWV Los Altos Mountain View

Come and learn what your League has been doing, help us elect new officers and, once business is completed, we will be joined by State Assemblymember Marc Berman for a Q&A period. 

  • Virtual meeting, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 10:00-12:00pm
  • Marc Berman, Assembly District 24, to speak and Q&A
  • To register to attend: 2021 Annual Meeting

Download the Annual Meeting Kit   (includes revised agenda)

Bring your own tea or coffee. Doors open at 9:45 am for the virtual event. During registration you will be given the opportunity to suggest a question for Assemblymember Berman. 

 

2021 LWV Legislative Interview with Assemblymember Marc Berman

Each year Leagues across California conduct interviews with their local state Assemblymember and Senator.   These Local League legislative interviews are an opportunity for us to connect with our district representatives, expand our League’s presence, and heighten our collective impact. They are also an excellent chance to cultivate new leaders and build new relationships.

Our interview with Assemblymember Berman addressed land use and climate change; housing, homelessness, zoning, and affordability; and an equitable recovery from COVID-19.

Overall comments:  

The Assembly District 24 includes most of San Mateo County and the northern section of Santa Clara County.  As such, it includes urban, suburban, and rural/coastal areas.  Its population is diverse economically and ethnically.  The area within this district has the highest cost of living in the state.   

Assemblymember Berman’s legislative agenda is well aligned with League priorities:  Fair elections, voter protections, inequity caused by housing shortage and the impacts of COVID on low-income workers.  He was the Assembly’s lead for the 2020 Census and for the state to mail ballots to all registered voters in 2020. 

At the end of the interview, the Assemblymember commented that the issues raised during the call are interrelated.  They all must be addressed to accomplish overall goals of mitigating climate change, housing supply and inequities in our communities.    We need solutions to reduce carbon emissions, expand local denser housing, improve regional transportation while addressing inequities in our communities.  

Question 1:   Land Use and Climate Change. 

What do you see as the most important considerations and priorities in the effort to reach net drawdown from natural and working lands? How do we balance the many considerations? What are the funding priorities?

Summary of Assemblymember Berman’s response: The efforts to convert natural and working lands to lands that remove and sequester CO2 from the atmosphere is an area that the Assemblymember has not focused on.  He is supportive of the developments underway to sequester CO2.  These efforts could be implemented on San Mateo County coastal working farm lands.

Encouraging infill affordable housing in urban areas would preserve carbon sinks in the edges of urban growth.  He sponsored a law a few years ago which allowed infill development in unincorporated county land to be exempt from CEQA to achieve this purpose (AB 1804.)

Question 2: Housing and Homelessness, Zoning and Affordability.

What can be done to reform exclusionary single-family zoning in California? What reforms do you support to legalize and incentivize more affordable housing (both naturally occurring, and deed restricted) in high opportunity neighborhoods?

Summary Assemblymember Berman’s response: Housing, homelessness and the relationship and impact of zoning regulations is a topic that we need to address.   Much can be done to increase California’s overall housing supply.   He is following the work of cities such as Sacramento, Minneapolis, Los Angeles that have changed policies to allow denser housing.  The changes needed include changing single family residence zoning laws, encouraging accessory dwelling units, and allowing lot splits in R1 zoning areas.  

For his district, AD24, more housing is needed for homeless, low income and moderate-income residents. This year’s state budget is able to provide more funding for building affordable housing and homeless shelters, but that is not enough. 

To increase the housing supply takes multiple approaches.  The state has passed several laws to address bottlenecks in the development and permitting process for denser housing. Tax credits can incentivize affordable housing development.  We need to ensure that local governments approve denser housing.  We need to look for underused properties that can support temporary housing or even RVs and cars.  He continues to look for more ideas and approaches. 

Berman is interested to learn more about alternative financing approaches to expand housing.  He commented that “we aren’t going to publicly fund our way to affordable housing by building subsidized housing alone, but we need to encourage the market to build housing and encourage partnerships of public funding, private funding, philanthropic funding.”  All methods should be explored to determine how to locally expand affordable housing.  

Question 3: Equitable COVID-19 Recovery.

What can be done to ensure that California’s COVID-19 economic recovery is equitable and focuses on the needs of those most impacted?

Summary of Assemblymember Berman’s response: “Everything we do needs to be done with an equity lens.”  

Our region with its high cost of living driven by a housing shortage that has long suffered from inequities, which have been exacerbated by COVID.   The Legislature is working on the multiple areas to address equitable relief to mitigate COVID-19’s impact on our communities.   

  • Extend eviction moratorium from end of January to at least the end of June
  • Expanding and prioritizing access to COVID 19 vaccine:  
  • Expand child-care resources:  
  • Address food insecurity:  
  • Ensure that basic needs are met for community college students
  • House homeless college students and priced-out faculty

Question 4: Personal Priorities for Assemblymember Berman

    • Election reforms to expand voter participation.
    • increasing voter participation by under-represented groups by promoting voter education, awareness,  and support for multiple languages.  More state funding is needed to support these efforts.  
    • Housing:  
    • Transportation
    • Ban on sales of gas-powered small appliances
    • Additional Local Issue discussed:   Wildfire prevention and mitigation.  Need for affordable fire insurance.   

    2021 LWV Legislative Interview with Sen. Josh Becker

    Each year Leagues across California conduct interviews of their local state Assemblymember and Senator.   These Local League legislative interviews are an opportunity for us to connect with our district representatives, expand our League’s presence, and heighten our collective impact. They are also an excellent chance to cultivate new leaders and build new relationships.

    Our interview with Senator Josh Becker addressed land use and climate change; housing, homelessness, zoning, and affordability; and an equitable recovery from COVID-19.

    Question 1: Climate change and land use 

    What do you see as the most important considerations and priorities in the effort to reach net drawdown from natural and working lands? How do we balance the many considerations? What are the funding priorities? 

    Summary of Sen. Becker reply:
    Climate change is a big priority for Sen Becker and he has put forward several bills focused on clean energy. SB 67 would accelerate the state’s goal of having 100% of electricity provided by renewables or other zero-carbon sources 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Another bill is designed to speed the transition to electric powered buildings. He is in favor of the “30 by 30” initiative which Assembly Member Kalra proposed last session and which Governor Newsom took executive action on last October. Sen. Becker supports efforts in regenerative agriculture though he is not as familiar with California’s Healthy Soils initiative and invites the League to share information and resources with him. 

    Question 2: Housing and Homelessness, Zoning and Affordability 

    What can be done to reform exclusionary single-family zoning in California? What reforms do you support to legalize and incentivize more affordable housing (both naturally occurring and deed restricted) in high opportunity neighborhoods? 

    Summary of Sen. Becker reply: 

    Housing: The housing crisis has worsened during the pandemic and California needs a housing strategy. Sen. Becker will work to address strategy and to streamline affordable housing approval processes. He plans to address the crisis with bills this session to support additional rental housing, assist first-time home buyers and allow duplexes. While the state does this work, the local governments have to take the lead with the state supporting through funding, such as bonuses to cities that increase density. 

    Homelessness: The state is working to prevent evictions during the pandemic and provide more affordable housing. Mental health issues are important and we must look deeply at how to help with more supportive services for mentally ill people. 

    Question 3: COVID-19 recovery 

    As we look toward recovery, what can be done to move California to be a more equitable place for all of us? 

    Summary of Sen. Becker reply: 

    The pandemic has exacerbated the inequality in California, and it has exceptionally affected people of color and low income people. We must look deeply at how to make the state more equitable, especially for the vulnerable. A pathway to economic mobility is early childhood education and child care, and we have to help those workers, who are mostly minority, with vaccination priority and economic support. Early childhood education needs more funding. California’s education system is decimated by the crisis. There is learning loss, and problems with digital equity and inclusion. Education must prepare children for the jobs in this economy and mentor networks are necessary to help build skills too. This year it will be hard to make these issues a priority but there is a budget surplus and we are working on it. 

    Question 4: Personal Priorities of Legislator 

    What other major issues do you think the legislature must deal within 2021? What are your personal priorities? 

    Summary of Sen. Becker reply:
    The first priority is COVID recovery, including eviction protection, helping small businesses, and supporting family child care providers. Next is economic opportunity, including education and equality of education, especially early childhood education, including expanding access to higher education and criminal justice reform. Also climate and the environment, including pushing S.B. 67 and the potential for 24×7 clean energy. 

    Question 5: Trust in Government 

    These days there is a lack of trust in government. Democracy requires trust in facts and in government. How do you think we should combat misinformation while balancing freedom of speech? How do we build unity and engagement across the political spectrum? 

    Summary of Sen. Becker reply:
    Misinformation: Sen. Becker says this is in his priorities document, and he looks at the European social media policies as useful examples for his staff to analyze. In our area we have Facebook and Google and YouTube so we have a responsibility to look at radicalization and misinformation.


    Bipartisanship: Sen. Becker was surprised when joining the California Legislature that there are so many friendships in Sacramento and in Congress between Democrats and Republicans as well as bipartisan bills.  There needs to be more publicizing that legislators do work together. 

    Program Planning and Member Survey Outcomes

    Program Planning Outcomes

    League of Women Voters Los Altos-Mountain View met virtually on January 30, 2021 to discuss what local issues we want to work on and to emphasize during the upcoming year, 2021-2022, and what three issues we would recommend to LWVC to prioritize for 2021-2023.

    League program is the education and advocacy platform that we adopt to move forward our mission of promoting an active and informed citizenry.  Program planning is the tool for focusing and prioritizing our work to ensure that League’s human and financial resources are engaged where they have the most impact. Each year members are urged to attend this event to learn more about the League and offer their thoughts and suggestions about our priorities for the upcoming year.

    Locally, we decided to focus our efforts on Voter Services, Affordable Housing, and Civil Discourse Events Around Community Issues. These priorities were approved by the board at our February 1st board meeting and will be presented to the membership at our Annual Meeting for adoption as our 2021-2022 program.

    In addition to LWVC’s primary priority, Making Democracy Work in California, League members recommended that LWVC focus on Housing and Homelessness, Climate Change and Criminal Justice. Our League’s recommendations will be forwarded to LWVC by March 1, 2021 and voted on by delegates at the June, 2021 convention.

    LWVC requested a local volunteer to work on each area of emphasis that we recommended and to designate the type of work: legislative action, education or toolkits. Our results:

    • Climate Change: Donna Davies, focus on legislative action.
    • Affordable Housing and Homelessness: Sue Russell, focus on legislative action.
    • Criminal Justice: no representative.

    Member Survey Outcomes

    75 members responded to our survey about what local issues we should prioritize for the upcoming 2021-2022 year. This represented a 36% response rate of our 208 members.  The following graph represents the survey outcomes.  Please note, as Voter Service work is our core mission, we did not include it as an option.

    Program Planning on January 30th

    Join us for our virtual Program Planning on January 30th, 10:00am-12:00pm

    League program is the education and advocacy platform that we adopt to move forward our mission of promoting an active and informed citizenry.  Program planning is the tool for focusing and prioritizing our work to ensure that League’s human and financial resources are engaged where they have the most impact. We will discuss our local priorities and make recommendations to LWV California. 

    All  members are welcome to attend to learn more about the League and offer their thoughts and suggestions. Join us on January 30th. Come at 9:30 to sign in and chat, program begins at 10:00.

    Register to attend Program Planning