Los Altos City Council September 2020

September 8, 2020

The City Council adopted a zoning text amendment to the Municipal Code to ensure compliance with new state laws affecting the development of accessory dwelling units, junior accessory dwelling units, and multi-family accessory dwelling units in the residential zone districts of the City.

The City Council directed staff to start processing an amendment to the zoning for the General Plan Land Use designation for Civic Center lands. The amendment would limit the City’s ability to sell, transfer fee ownership, or re-designate lands of the Los Altos Civic Center. The goal is to preserve park and open space areas within the Civic Center Complex.

On July 28, 2020 a virtual Police Town Hall Meeting took place with Los Altos residents, Mayor Jan Pepper, Vice Mayor Neysa Fligor, City Manager Chris Jordan, and Los Altos Police Chief, Andy Galea. The City Council offered support for a Citizen’s Task Force that would provide recommendations on the School Resource Officer (SRO) program at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools, however, the decision to approve the formation of such a task force was postponed to the September 22 meeting. If the proposed task force resolves the SRO issue, the group might address other concerns brought forth from reflections in America about systemic racism that affects all communities big and small.  The task force would include citizens of varied age groups and races.

Also, the city manager and police chief were instructed to expedite the collection of ‘police stop’ data under the Racial Identity and Profiling Act to provide more information since current data is not complete enough to draw significant conclusions.

September 22, 2020

The City Council approved the formation of a Citizen’s Task Force to review and make recommendations on the services of a School Resource Officer (SRO) and for a method to receive complaints about an SRO. The Task Force will serve for six weeks, ending on November 24, 2020. The services of the group are limited to recommendations on the role of an SRO at the high schools. A Task Force is a first attempt to resolve questions raised at the July 2020 Town Hall.

The City Council approved new amendments to the City municipal code which conformed in 2019 to the California Building Standards Code. Called Building Electrification and Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (Reach Code), it mandates newly constructed buildings to be all-electric with certain possible exceptions and electric vehicle charging infrastructure installed. According to the City Environmental Commission which has studied research since early 2019, these new regulations to the building codes are aimed to reduce carbon emissions which are part of the City’s Climate Action Plan. In addition, the changes will improve indoor air quality, support affordable housing, and place Los Altos City in sync with construction changes in other communities. Of thirty public comments, most were positive to the amendment. There were three top reasons for opposing the changes. One, Reach Code is governmental overreach. Two, greenhouse emissions reduction may be limited (not supported by the Environmental Commission research). Three, residential and consumer choice is rejected. In the end, adoption of the regulations mean that new building construction will be all-electric with the exemption of cooking appliances and fireplaces. Infrastructure for electric vehicles is part of the adoption. The amendment pertains to new residential, commercial, multi-family, ADU, and mixed-use buildings.

Vote with the League 2020

The League of Women Voters takes positions on issues and will support or oppose ballot measures that align with our League positions. Once we have studied an issue and taken a position, we take action and advocate for or against particular policies or laws related to that issue. If we do not have a studied position on an issue, we will not make a recommendation.

After careful study and analysis, the League of Women Voters of California and the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area offer these recommendations:

League of Women Voters California recommends:

NeutralProp 14: STEM CELL RESEARCH
SupportPROP 15: SCHOOLS & COMMUNITIES FIRST
SupportPROP 16: OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL
SupportPROP 17: RESTORE VOTING RIGHTS
SupportPROP 18: VOTING RIGHTS FOR 17-YEAR OLDS
OpposePROP 19: PROPERTY TAX BREAKS
OpposePROP 20: ROLLBACK ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS
NeutralPROP 21: LOCAL GOVERNMENTS & RENT CONTROL
No PositionPROP 22: RIDESHARE AND DELIVERY DRIVERS
NeutralPROP 23: KIDNEY DIALYSIS CLINICS
OpposePROP 24: CONSUMER DATA PRIVACY
SupportPROP 25: END CASH MONEY BAIL

League of Women Voters Bay Area

Support Prop RR: PRESERVE CALTRAIN SERVICE

Are you ready for the election?

Here are some steps that you can take to be prepared.

Be Informed:

LWV Election Events 

Attend LWV candidate forums and hear where the candidates stand on the pertinent issues. Do you have questions about our state and local ballot initiatives? Attend one of the LWV Ballot Initiative Pros and Cons or question answering sessions and get unbiased information and analysis.

Voter’s Edge

Look up your personalized ballot to find in-depth information about your candidates and ballot initiatives. Learn who are the endorsers and also see where the funding comes from. Start checking mid-September but check back as we will continue to add candidates’ information as it becomes available.

Easy Voter Guides

Nonpartisan information about why to vote, how to vote and synopses of statewide ballot initiatives. It is available in five languages.

Encourage your friends and family to stay safe and vote by mail. 

 

 

Racial Equality

LWVUS President’s Message

LWV’s Commitment

We Resolve First:
That the League advocates against systemic racism in the justice system and, at a minimum, for preventing excessive force and brutality by law enforcement.

We also call for prompt actions by all League members to advocate within every level of government to eradicate systemic racism, and the harm that it causes;

We Resolve Second:
That the League help our elected officials and all Americans recognize these truths to be self-evident; that Black, Indigenous and all people of color (BIPOC) deserve equal protection under the law; and that we demand solutions for the terrible wrongs done, so that regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and gender identity or sexual orientation we may truly become a nation “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”.

League of Women Voters National Convention (June 27th, 2020)

2020 Annual Meeting

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. 

Highlights:

  • 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:

Fight Today for a Better Tomorrow

Fellow League Members:

On May 25, George Floyd was murdered by an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department. He is only one of too many names on a list that should not exist. It is time that the League of Women Voters take a stand for social justice for Black lives in America.  

Over the years we have watched Black men, women, and children lose their lives at the hands of people who benefit from a system that protects them. Today we witness the rage of those who are tired of due process being a privilege not afforded to Black people.  

The League is committed to expanding our voice beyond the statement we released last week. We are joining our partners who serve in the civil rights community in fighting for policy reform that will dismantle systematic racism. We joined coalition partners on a letter calling for congressional action on police violence, and in the weeks and months ahead, the national office will be stepping up our commitment to racial justice. Virginia Kase wrote a blog, Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community, to share how the League plans to proceed as allies in the social justice space.  

 As allies in the social justice space I encourage us all to do our homework and learn more about the iniquities that Black Americans face, without leaning on Black people to educate us.  

We encourage you to continue your get-out-the-vote and voter education efforts. This is a time to highlight the power of voting, especially in local elections, and informing voters where candidates stand on issues that are important to them.

Lastly, we acknowledge that the League hasn’t taken such a strong stance against racism in the past, and as we move into the next century of work, we hope to play a bigger role in fighting for social justice. I hope you’ll join us.  

In League,

Chris Carson, President

League of Women Voters United States

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The League of Women Voters is Turning 100!

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.

The League Fights For Fair & Accessible Voting

The League of Women Voters of California is collaborating daily with the Secretary of State, elections officials, and civil rights groups to ensure fair and accessible voting this November amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Turnout of traditionally underrepresented groups is of special concern.

“The challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic are unique but not insurmountable,” reads an article on the State League’s website from April 20. “It is vitally important to understand that vote-by-mail (VBM) is not a panacea,” elaborates the State League and the other collaborating groups, listed at the bottom of this article, in a list of recommendations for the upcoming election. The list, sent to Governor Newsom and Secretary of State Padilla on April 14, cites multiple sources that report the risks posed by expanded reliance on vote by mail to already underrepresented communities, such as communities of color, youth, language minorities, people with disabilities, people with low income, and those who are unhoused, housing insecure, or geographically mobile.

“Changes to our voting process must be done in ways that will protect voters who are already underrepresented in our democratic system,” wrote the State League for their article. Accordingly, the list of recommendations has been assembled by advocacy groups carefully with the main, general objectives of maximizing voting opportunities, increasing voter education and engagement leading up to the election, and allocating resources dedicated specifically for underrepresented communities and those that do not traditionally vote by mail. The list is separated into categories that focus on vote-by-mail, in-person voting, poll workers, dropboxes, language access, disability access, voter registration and same day/conditional voter registration, provisional voting, elections administration plans (EAPs), public messaging, voter education, and voter engagement.

The LWV Los Altos-Mountain View will pursue its usual vigorous Voter Services efforts with emphasis on helping voters to sign up for vote-by-mail to comply as fully as possible with ‘sheltering in place’ directives which may still be in force at the time of the General Election in November.

–Thank you to Karanina (Laszlo) Zim, Communications Intern of the LWV Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville for this article.

List of Groups in Collaboration
American Civil Liberties Union of California
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
California Common Cause
Disability Rights California
The League of Women Voters of California
Mi Familia Vota
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educationa Fund
NextGen California
Partnership for Working Families
Voting Rights Lab

For more details read the list of recommendations here.