Making Democracy Work


Annual Program Planning/Policy Review Meeting

Saturday, January 15 from 9:30 to 12:30
Swan's Market Co-Housing Common Room
930 Clay Street in Oakland

Beat those post-holiday blahs by getting together with your fellow LWVO members to discuss the League's positions and objectives! Feel free to bring along someone new to the League; this meeting will serve as a great introduction to who we are and what we do.

The annual program planning meeting is our opportunity to discuss the League's current policy positions and issues of particular interest to our members, and to decide on which issues we would like to take action. We'll suggest new ideas for study or emphasis and recommend priorities for action. Our recommendations will be presented to the general membership of the Oakland League at the Annual Meeting in June.

Discussions are always fun and lively. Make your voice heard in this essential grassroots process and have an impact on the League's advocacy work in the coming year.

We'll have coffee, tea, bagels, and pastries available. There is street parking and a parking lot is available at 8th and Washington. The meeting is within walking distance of the 12th Street BART station. Call Katherine Oberle (510-843-0548) or Louise Rothman-Riemer (510-596-2580) for more information or directions.

If you are willing to serve as a "LWVO Ambassador" at this meeting to welcome new and returning members please let Louise Rothman-Reimer know (510-596-2580).

Co-President's Message

By Katherine Gavzy
It is customary to greet the New Year by looking backward and then forward. The Roman god Janus who gave his name to the month January is represented by two heads facing in opposite directions. The heads are seen in profile, which leads me to reflect that for LWVO, 2010 was a year in which we deliberately and successfully "raised our profile" in Oakland. We expect to build on this success in 2011.

We started off 2010 by playing a visible and important role in influencing the City Council to proceed with implementation of Ranked Choice Voting. Then in February we threw a fabulous 90th birthday party for the League, celebrating our history with wine and cheese and art at the ProArts Gallery in downtown Oakland. We achieved our goal of attracting both members and non-members (or as I prefer to call them "not-yet members") from a broad spectrum of the city, including younger people and downtown civic leaders. The All-City Luncheon in April was a sold-out success; people from Oakland's business, political, and non-profit communities came to hear Chief of Police Anthony Batts and Superintendent of Schools Tony Smith in conversation together. Then came the November election; it seemed as if every group in the city wanted LWVO to facilitate a candidates forum or present the ballot measure pros and cons; our volunteers were everywhere. The Mayoral Forum at Kaiser Auditorium, cosponsored with the Chamber of Commerce, the Bay Area Business Roundtable, and the Oakland Tribune, brought widespread attention. Throughout the year Hot Topics and Program meetings, open to the public and on subjects of general interest, brought in a small but steady stream of new members.

Looking forward to 2011 we see every event as an opportunity to heighten awareness of LWVO and of our mission of encouraging active participation in civic life. Having established a strong ongoing relationship with the cosponsors of the Kaiser Auditorium Mayoral Forum, we asked the much-praised moderator, Oakland Tribune editor Martin Reynolds, to be the speaker at our 2011 All-City Luncheon. LWVO Observer Corps will once again be visible at commission and committee meetings. A new project for a series of public education forums on timely topics should create excitement. LWVO is one of the most active Leagues in California, and we intend to toot our horn "loud and clear" at the League's state convention in May.

To get the New Year started in participatory fashion, we encourage members and friends to attend our Annual Program Planning and Policy Review Meeting, January Hot Topics, and Bay Area League Day. See this issue of the VOTER for details. Happy New Year

Save the Date:

Annual All City Luncheon

April 27th, 11:30-1:30
Scott's Pavilion

Featured Speaker
Martin Reynolds
Editor, Oakland Tribune
Presentation of
Making Democracy Work Awards

Making Democracy Work Awards

Call for Nominations:
Making Democracy Work Awards

Each year, The League of Women Voters of Oakland celebrates community leaders--individuals and organizations that have envisioned a way to improve Oakland and have mobilized others to work with them to effect a change that has benefited the broader community. These awards will honor two such individuals and/or organizations that have, in the League tradition, helped to make Oakland strong, vibrant and fair. These awards are conferred at the annual All City Luncheon.

Nominations are open to any Oakland resident or organization that is contributing or has contributed to our community in a significant and meaningful way. If you would like to nominate an individual or organization for an award, please go to to download a nomination form. Nominations are due by January 18.

Wanted: Vertical Response Savvy

LWVO has been using Vertical Response to send out email reminders to our members and press releases to the media. We need someone who has had experience with the program (or one like it) who would be interested in volunteering to send out these messages once or twice a month.

Wording for the messages is provided. Ability to add graphics, links, and to understand how to keep the distribution list current is what's needed.

Call Meg Bowerman if you are interested and Vertical Response savvy: (510) 531-7139.

Bay Area League Day 2011

The League of Women Voters of the Bay Area Presents Bay Area League Day 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Taking it to the Next Level

Saturday, January 29, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
MetroCenter, 101 Eighth Street, Oakland, California

Featuring keynote speaker:
Dan Reicher, Executive Director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University

And three panel discussions addressing:

What Government Is Doing

California Energy Commission Programming
Arthur H. Rosenfeld, Former California Energy Commissioner
Port Sustainability (Deconstruction, Cold Ironing, and Asphalt Reuse)
Richard Sinkoff, Manager of Environmental Planning, Port of Oakland
Municipal Waste Reduction Programming
John Stufflebean, Environmental Services Department Director, City of San Jose

What Science Is Doing

Water Recycling
Lori Steere, Water Recycling Program, East Bay Municipal Utilities District
Hydrogen and Other Alternative Fuels for Transit
Jaimie Levin, Director of Alternative Fuels Policy, AC Transit
Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Bay Area Air Quality Management District

What We Can Do

Community Service, Recycling, and Secondary School Students
Nate Ivy, Service Learning Waste Reduction Program of Alameda County
Analyzing and Upgrading Home Energy Use
Karen Kho, StopWaste.Org (Waste Management and Source> Reduction/Recycling for Alameda County)

click here to get a registration form.

Hot Topics:

State and Local Redistricting:

The Role of Citizens

City councils and other governmental bodies will soon turn their attention to drawing new district lines for 2012 and beyond. This month's discussion will center around the role of citizens in encouraging local processes that are as open and participatory as that envisioned for the new California Citizens Commission on Redistricting (which will also be discussed). Bring your thoughts and ideas for helping our local officials do the right thing.

Monday, January 24
6:30--8:00 p.m.
Redwood Heights Community Center
3883 Aliso Avenue
(Off Redwood Road just below Highway 13)

All are welcome; bring a friend

Citizen Redistricting Comes to California!

Historically, the federal census that happens every 10 years generates the numbers to enable a redrawing of the boundaries of political districts. Up until the 2010 census, the redrawing was the duty of state elected officials. With the passage of Proposition 11 (the Voters FIRST Act) in the November 2008 general election, responsibility for redrawing the legislative and Board of Equalization district lines became the responsibility of a new Citizens Redistricting Commission. A second initiative on the ballot, Proposition 20 (the Voters FIRST Act for Congress), in November 2010 was passed by voters. This gave the Citizens Redistricting Commission the task of adjusting the boundary lines for the Congressional districts as well.

California's first Citizens Redistricting Commission will be a 14-member Commission charged with redrawing California's Senate, Assembly, State Board of Equalization, and now Congressional districts based on information gathered during the 2010 census. It will have five Republicans, five Democrats, and four not affiliated with either of those two parties but who belong to another party or are decline-to-state. "The Commission must draw the State Senate, Assembly, and State Board of Equalization districts in conformity with strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of relatively equal population that will provide fair representation for all Californians. Congressional districts shall achieve population equality as nearly as is practicable according to Proposition 20."

Eight members have been chosen, and they will appoint the remaining six positions. The series of meetings scheduled for these appointments commenced on November 30th and will continue through December 17th if necessary. The meetings will be streamed live online at

The eight commissioners are: Vincent Barabba, former Director of the US Census Bureau, Santa Cruz County, Republican; Cynthia Dai, launched the Tsinghua- Berkeley Glocal Technology Leadership Program, San Francisco County, Democrat; Connie Galambos Malloy, Urban Habitat Director of Programs, Alameda County, Declined to State; Jodie Filkins Webber, litigation defense attorney, Riverside County, Republican; Stanley Forbes, co-owner of a small retail bookstore, Yolo County, Declined to State; Elaine Kuo, currently caregiver to her father, previously senior research analyst at UCLA, Santa Clara County, Democrat; Jeanne Raya, insurance broker and president of La Raza Lawyers of California, Los Angeles County, Democrat; Peter Yao, councilmember in the city of Claremont, Los Angeles County, Republican.

Here is the proposed slate, made up of six proposed members to be added to the commission. The motion to adopt this slate of the final six commissioners is currently pending before the commission and includes the following persons as proposed members of the Citizens Redistricting Commission:

Registered Democrats: Gabino T. Aguirre, Maria Blanco
Registered Republicans: Lilbert "Gil" R. Ontai, Michael Ward
Registered "Other": Michelle R. DiGuilio-Matz, M. Andre Parvenu

The 14-member 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. The Commission must hold public hearings and accept public comment. After hearing from the public and drawing the maps for the 40 Senate districts, 80 Assembly districts, and four Board of Equalization districts, the Commission must vote on the new maps to be used for the next decade. To approve the new maps, the maps must receive nine "yes" votes from the Commission-- three "yes" votes from members registered with the two largest parties, and three from the other members. The role of the Commissioner is further described at

This article was compiled by Sandy Threlfall from two sources: LWV of California press release and the website

National Women's Political Caucus

Dinner Meeting Series

Monday, February 7, 2010, 6 - 7:30 PM
Buttercup Grill

229 Broadway at 3rd Street
Oakland, CA 94607

Health Care--Where Are We Now and What's Ahead?

Presenter: Ellen R. Schaffer, Co-Director, EQUAL Health Network

Co-Sponsored by League of Women Voters of Oakland and several other organizations.

Come for an update on what's happening with health care in California and the nation, how the recent federal legislation is rolling out, and what the possibilities still are for getting Single Payer coverage.

Presenter Ellen R. Shaffer is Co-Director of the EQUAL Health Network, a project of the Center for Policy Analysis, which campaigns for Equitable, Quality, Universal, Affordable health care. The EQUAL Health Network provides both popular and technical analysis of health reform proposals, a listserve for progressive news and debate, and a speakers' bureau.

Please plan to arrive by 6 pm so you can order your dinner before the program begins.

For more information, call Program Co-Chair Ellen Augustine, 510-428-1832,; or Co-Chair Miriam Rokeach, 510-658-3805,


Welcome New Members
Wise E. Allen, Chancellor, Peralta Community College District
Marja Argue
Dawna Williams

Changes to the Roste
Judy Cox
Suzanne Loosen

Full information in the print VOTER

Action Report

Advocating open processes and transparency in government, the League has sent letters to:

▪ San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, and Montclarion, in support of the federal DISCLOSE Act, which requires disclosure of corporate and union spending in U.S. elections

▪ Mayor-Elect Jean Quan encouraging openness in selecting a new City Administrator

▪ City Council in support of transparency in redistricting Oakland's city council and school board districts

The League has also sent a letter to the Bay Conservation and Development Commission asking that an interim Bay Trail be constructed on the Oak to Ninth development site. It may be five to ten years before development takes place; an interim trail will give the public access to the bay soon and contribute to the goal of a trail all around San Francisco Bay.

These letters are on the LWVO website