We have updated our website with recently sent advocacy letters.
We updated our housing glossary, including new pages on the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority, SB 330, and the Tenant Protection Act. See the full glossary!
The League’s end-of-year business meeting, Annual Meeting, took place on June 20 via Zoom. Thirty five members attended and helped pass a budget for 2020-2021, the slate for a new board, by-law updates and our program priorities for next year.
- Our priorities for next year are housing, voter services and climate change. Each of these issues has a committee and always welcomes new members.
- Our speaker was Jerry Hill, State Senator, who spoke about the state budget, Covid-19, e-cigarettes, the future of PGE and social justice.
- Dues will remain the same – $75 individual, $110 household and $5 young people between the ages of 16 and 25.
- Our League is in good financial standing due to prudent budgeting and a generous donation from Erika Richards.
The Annual Meeting Kit is available online and was emailed on June 1st to the membership.
Below is a video of the 2020 Annual Meeting:
Making Voting Even More Convenient in Santa Clara County
We will have a new method of voting in Santa Clara County starting with the March 3rd, 2020 election. Passed by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, the Voter’s Choice Act gives you more choices on how to vote in our elections.
What will be new?
- Every voter will receive a Vote By Mail ballot in the mail.
- You can vote at any of 110 Vote Centers in Santa Clara County.
- 22 Vote Centers will open for 11 days including Election Day.
- 88 additional Vote Centers will be open for 4 days including Election Day.
- Vote Centers will offer more space, additional services and new enhanced voting equipment.
Our League is an outreach partner with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters (ROV) to educate the community about the Voter’s Choice Act so that we are ready for the March 2020 primary. Many of our members attended the ROV’s “Train the Trainer” program in September preparing us to speak to community groups about our new voting system. Please contact Karin Bricker about speaking to your group about the VCA or the Census.
Learn more about the VCA on the ROV website.
Everyone Counts! The 2020 Census
Census Day is April 1st, 2020, the day when the U.S. Census Bureau starts to count every person in the United States. The U.S. Constitution requires a count of the nation’s population every 10 years to determine the number of congressional representatives for each state. The government also uses census data to distribute an estimated $600 billion dollars in federal funding annually.
To find out more about why it is so important for every California resident (not citizen) be counted, check out the City of Mountain View’s website on the Census.
Core to the League of Women Voter’s mission is to uphold our democracy and ensure that all voices are heard. We are partnering with Santa Clara County’s Census Complete Count Campaign to reach out to our community about the importance of the census. The County of Santa Clara has dedicated resources and expertise to develop a comprehensive, collaborative and ongoing effort to identify hard-to-count populations and identify the most effective ways to encourage participation in the census.
Julie Cates, as the League of Women Voters Santa Clara County representative to the Census Complete Count Campaign, is working with League members to share their community partnerships and education expertise to reach hard to count populations. To learn how League members are supporting the Census locally, visit the LWV SCC 2020 Census Resources Website. Contact Julie Cates if you would like to be involved in securing a complete and accurate count.
In 2020 the League of Women Voters (LWV) will celebrate its 100th anniversary and the LWVC joins more than 700 other local and state chapters to celebrate this historic milestone.
As we look to a vibrant future on the threshold of our next 100 years, the League is excited that dedicated members across California continue to steadily attract significant numbers of activists who share the League’s commitment to Making Democracy Work.
The League of Women Voters president, Chris Carson, issued the following statement regarding the League’s efforts ahead:
Today we are faced with many challenges that threaten to compromise our democracy. Our efforts to support voting rights and to fight against voter suppression and discrimination at the local, state and national levels have been very successful, and this has been achieved primarily by educating and empowering voters, circulating special petitions, and intervening in several critical court cases.
The League’s historic commitment to register, educate and mobilize voters is not only stronger, but more effective than ever, utilizing such tools as Voter’s Edge—a cutting-edge election information website utilized by millions of voters each election cycle.
Dora Rose, Deputy Director of the LWVC, had this to say about the LWVC’s work to come:
We will continue to fight voter discrimination and to keep secret money out of our elections to ensure that our elections are fair, free and accessible. We’ll also continue to push for improved access to housing as well as recognizing that Climate Change is a scientific reality that must be addressed to ensure a sustainable planet for everyone.
One hundred years after the League was founded in 1920, members of the League are proud of the great progress achieved when it comes to truly Making Democracy Work.
Thanks to LWV North County San Diego for article content
Council Chambers was packed for this primarily ceremonial session as outgoing Councilmembers Ken Rosenberg, Pat Showalter, and Lenny Siegel stepped down; newly elected Councilmembers Ellen Kamei, Lucas Ramirez, and Alison Hicks took their seats; and Vice Mayor Lisa Matichak and Councilmember Margaret Abe-Koga were elected Mayor and Vice Mayor, following the standard progression.
Most of the council members made brief remarks regarding their priorities. First, Kamei spoke of her goals of working on creating more housing (and offering rental and ownership opportunities particularly for those with a middle income), housing the unhoused, transportation, climate change, and diversity.
Ramirez, noting “I was conditioned by the candidate forums to speak briefly”, simply listed three requests:
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to me.
- Please be respectful in your speech and in your deeds
- Hold me accountable when I fail you.
Hicks spoke about affordable housing, homelessness, climate change, and making sure to speak to every city in and out of the county for regional solutions. She thanked Progressive Action and Livable Mountain View (which she noted she founded but was no longer a part of).
Matichak, upon her election to Mayor, listed three personal areas of emphasis for 2019:
- Being very proactive to push back on federal and state attempts to reduce local control.
- Working towards greater regional consistency and collaboration
- Most importantly, addressing what residents have been asking Council for regarding quality of life issues (including tree canopies and traffic).
Council first held a study session interviewing the candidates for the Rental Housing Commission for two positions and one alternate. After a brief discussion after the interviews, they decided in a unanimous straw vote to promote the current alternate (Julian Pardo de Zela) to a full member, citing his experience on the board during a time of transition; then appointed Susyn Almond as the second full member and Nicole Haines-Livesay as the alternate.
Later that evening, Council held a second study session regarding whether Mountain View should adopt a formal Vision Zero program. Vision Zero, first pioneered in Sweden and primarily adopted by larger cities than Mountain View, (quoting the staff report) is a set of policies, plans, programs and approaches based on the philosophy that loss of life from traffic collisions is unacceptable and preventable. Council was supportive of adopting a Vision Zero policy, primarily to add measurable goals to the project and work already underway to decrease traffic collisions.
In this session, Council discussed the policy they would use to establish their two-year Major Goals and Work Plan. This year, they agreed to submit project ideas during the initial brainstorming workshop (on February 28) in addition to discussing the goals. Ramirez proposed that councilmembers could optionally submit their list of potential programs early so it could be included in the agenda.
Also during this session were two transportation items. The first was on the Downtown Valet Parking Pilot Program (as explained, valet parking increases parking lot capacity by enabling cars to be parked in the aisles, blocking others, since the valet could move cars as needed), and the second was on approving appropriating funds to implement a redesign of the intersection of State Route 237 and Middlefield Road.
Council also discussed their priorities for their visit to Washington DC as part of the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference in March; deciding that the most fruitful meetings to schedule were with NASA, the Department of Transportation, the Pentagon, and Anna Eshoo.
This was a special Council team-building session, held in the Library. Your observer was late due to unexpected work on-call duties and arrived at the tail end of the session; where Councilmembers compared and contrasted the “Brown Act” style of San Jose (where groups of councilmembers release proposals before meetings) and Mountain View (which as Vice Mayor Abe-Koga stated, where councilmembers come with an open mind, listen to public input, and then make a decision). They closed with a discussion on staff and council relations, agreeing that Council’s job was policy and Staff’s job was implementation and day-to-day decisions.
—Max Beckman-Harned, observer
Get information on the November general election
The League of Women Voters strongly urges you to vote NO on Measure C, which would require a vote of the public before most city-owned land could be sold or leased. Based on our analysis, there is no need for this restrictive measure since we are not aware of any instances where the City has sold parks or open space lands. Leases to provide services and to meet city goals and objectives are routine occurrences in city operations.
The LWV believes in representative government and holding elected officials accountable. The LWV believes initiatives should be supported when they are clear and unambiguous and limited to a single subject. They should contain a sunset clause or allow for modification to meet future city needs and challenges. Measure C meets none of these tests of good governance.
The Los Altos City Attorney has stated that Measure C language is ambiguous and could lead to litigation to clarify intent. It could also lead to costly elections if lease terms are changed for our libraries, fire stations, the History Museum, Bus Barn Theater and other beloved community assets.
The ambiguity of the so-called “Protect Our Parks and Public Lands” measure has caused many to request their names be withdrawn from the petitions they signed and many more believe they were misled about its scope. Not only does the measure affect the kinds of leases described above, but also any proposed lease of downtown parking plazas for uses envisioned in the Downtown Vision. In a recent city survey over 80 percent of the respondents supported increased downtown vibrancy. Due to the delay and the uncertainty of a vote, developers will be reluctant to propose public/private partnerships or invest in our city if the initiative passes. Voters elect City Council members to demonstrate leadership and make decisions about the fundamental functions of local government. Hindering routine city decisions with costly elections uses scarce financial resources that are better used to expand services to senior and youth or better maintain city streets and buildings.
To download a PDF copy of this statement and a fact sheet, click here.
This year’s League of Women Voters of the Los Altos-Mountain View Area Annual Meeting will be on Saturday, June 2nd, 10am-1:30pm at Michaels at Shoreline. Our guest speaker will be Maya Perkins of Bay Area Forward, a broad-based coalition fostering inclusive communities as a special project fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
Annual Meeting is our end of year business meeting where we approve next year’s budget, approve a new slate of officers and directors and agree upon our priorities for next year. We will also present our new position on Rent Stabilization. All members are encouraged to come. Non-members are welcome too.
The 2018 Annual Meeting Kit is available here.