Swan's Market Commons
918 Clay Street, Oakland
Call the LWVO office at 834-7640 for building entry instructions
The League sets its agenda through the Program Planning process. You voted in November because you care about who will be setting our political future; similarly, please come make your voice heard about what you want the California and the Oakland Leagues' future focus to be. Check out the ample background reading material on the positions and their uses at http://archive.lwvc.org/lwvonly/progplan/index.html..
Our state's initiative and referendum process was set up to allow for "direct democracy", allowing the public
to move forward on ideas that politicians refused to introduce. As Salerno sees it, the current process doesn't
work. "I'm not against direct democracy--it's California's version of direct democracy that I do not support."
One of the serious problems with the initiative process is the money that goes into it. In the recent election, 347 million was spent on initiatives, and much of it was "mystery money" that could not be traced to its donors. California initiatives are big business. They usually get their financial support from special interests. There should be stricter laws requiring disclosure of top financial contributors. Salerno suggests that political ads on television should have a real-time crawl, a line of text under them listing the top contributors to the initiative. There also should be stricter laws on money laundering.
Salerno feels that the state legislature has abdicated its power, perhaps because of term limits. He suggests that
elections for candidates be separate from elections about initiatives. Ideally, all initiatives would be drafted in
public and circulated widely, but for this to happen, more time must be allowed. In Switzerland, for example, it
takes a year between the introduction of an initiative and its being on the ballot.
The scope of an initiative should also be limited. An initiative should deal with a single subject, not an array,
and should not require specific budget decisions. Because of the conflicting revenue and budgeting requirements
of many initiatives, Salerno says, right now the legislature only controls 10 percent of California's
annual general budget.
On February 23, LWVO will learn more about the process, discuss the major issues, and reach consensus on how the existing California League position should be updated to allow for more effective action. In the mean-time, background material for the study is available on the LWVC website. Click on "Initiative and Referendum Study" to see the study guide and consensus questions.
Members are invited to participate in the annual program planning and policy
review on January 19 (see the article on page 1). Here's your chance to have
a say in the State and local League positions and issues for emphasis in 2013.
It's your League, help make it a voice that has an impact. Expect a lot of
lively discussion among interesting, opinionated Leaguers. The Hot Topics
meeting on January 28, talking about Oakland's many different community
gardening and urban farming initiatives, will be a refreshing change of pace.
Learn what is going on all over the city, and how you can get involved (and
get your hands in the dirt!).
Finally, on a sadder note, as I write this the nation is still in shock over the shooting deaths of twenty children in Connecticut. Maybe the time has finally come when the US will decide to prevent more violence and implement gun controls. LWVUS has strongly supported gun control legislation for decades and I'm sure the League
First Unitarian Church of Oakland
685 14th Street at Castro, Oakland, CA 94612
Join us to learn about the importance of water in California.
Experts will inform us about
Background, Governance, and Conveyance
Cost in advance: $30 ($15 without lunch); at the door $35 ($20 without lunch).
To register, please send a check payable to `LWVBA', along with your name and any guest names, to:
1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94612.
Registration is also available online via PayPal at www.lwvbayarea.org.
For more details, please call (510) 839-1608 or email the LWVBA
A chance to chat without the need to accomplish anything,
An opportunity to meet new people as well as talk with old friends
This month's Hot Topics meeting is a little different from most. It's not as political in the usual
sense, but it concerns a burgeoning movement of local citizens growing healthy natural food
and building community in parks, at schools, and on abandoned lots in neighborhoods around
Oakland. To echo the League's mission statement, gardening together is another form of
"hands on work that...leads to civic engagement."
Joining us for this event will be a number of people involved in the movement:
· Victory Lee, founder and president of the Victory Garden Foundation, which manages the People's Victory Garden (edible landscaping) at Lake Merritt
· Pete Collier, head of the City of Oakland community gardening program
· Jody London, Oakland School Board, on the school gardens program and community involvement
· Kelly Carlisle, who founded the Youth Urban Farm project in East Oakland (to be confirmed)
· Someone from City Slicker Farms (to be confirmed)
Come hear about these different programs, their challenges and successes, talk about your own involvement with such efforts, or learn how you might become involved.
Knowledgeable, enthusiastic Wikipedia volunteers helped us create accounts for ourselves and take the first steps in editing and creating. We were told the characteristics of a quality Wikipedia article, how articles evolve and how they are constantly being overseen by experienced volunteer editors for quality, truthfulness, lack of bias and other characteristics. We learned how to monitor the development of an article, which will help us to know how "good" it is. This is just a beginning for us; we will have to see how far it goes.
Following an issue means finding two or more League
members with sufficient interest in the issue to commit
to spending some time working on it. The work
might be to
· Monitor newspaper and other media reports of what's happening.
· Review agendas and minutes of committees, boards, and commissions working on the issue, e.g., City Council Committee on Community & Economic Development and the Oakland Port Commission.
· Attend a meeting of key committees, boards, or commissions to see them at work and get a feel for the people involved. Then when an agenda contains an item relating to the issue, watch the meeting, if it is streamed, or go in person.
· Make a recommendation to the League's Action Committee if you think it appropriate that the League comment on what is happening or make a recommendation to a committee, board or commission.
You can monitor the media, agendas, and minutes at
home on your computer. Then decide when it is worth
attending a meeting in person. If you are committed to
the issue, you will gradually become very knowledgeable
about it and able to evaluate what actions the
League might take in support of or opposition to
Here is an example: our November 13 program on
Oakland Army Base Development provided a lot of
information. What will the League do now? Will the
promises of new jobs be realized, what impact will the
development have on the surrounding community, will
the City's actions be open and transparent and accept
public input? How will we know, and what can we do
about it? Are there two or more League members interested
in tracking the Oakland Army Base Development?
This works best when several people are involved.
Maybe there is another issue of growing importance
that you think the League should be prepared
to address with an action or a statement.
Contact Action Chair Mary Bergan at email@example.com if you want to follow the Oakland Army Base development, or if you want to propose another issue to follow, or if you just want to know more about this idea and might consider getting involved.
Your statement as a League member will be that you are committed to providing non-biased, well-researched information to voters, and that the issues your League follows are those that affect every area in Oakland: schools, public safety, local government, parks, our economy, and more.
Join the League, one of the nation's most trusted, nonpartisan grassroots organizations where "hands-on work to safeguard democracy leads to civic improvement."
We rely on dues and donations to support our programs.
Members, please note:
If you have not renewed your membership for 2012-13, please do so NOW! We want to continue to include you in our membership roster!