Making Democracy Work

VOTER June 2012


WEDNESDAY, June 13th, 2012, 5:45 PM

Lake Merritt Hotel

1800 Madison Street between 17th and 19th Streets
Parking available on the street and City lots nearby

Dinner/Meeting followed by:
Natasha Minsker, American Civil Liberties Union

$15- Dinner, meeting and program

There will be a no-host bar
Guests Welcome
All LWVO Members are called to attend the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Membership of the League of Women Voters of Oakland

RSVP by Friday, June 8th, by mailing your check to the League office,
1305 Franklin Street, Suite 311, Oakland CA 94612, or by calling the office at(510) 834-764

To save paper, please bring the "Call to Annual Meeting" found on pages 5-8 of the May VOTER to the Annual Meeting. It includes the agenda and items requiring a vote of the membership. If you no longer have it, you can print it from the LWVO website:.

President's Message

By Katherine Gavzy

The League year has its own rhythms and seasons. A League version of the Old Farmer's Almanac would circle the date of the spring All-City Luncheon, note the bustle of Voter Service work preceding June primary elections, and celebrate the Annual Meeting as an end to the cycle when we harvest the fruits of our hard work. During the brief season of relative quiet that follows, we strategize and prepare for the November elections, particularly in a presidential year like 2012.

As you receive this VOTER, we are in the midst of all this. The Luncheon, as you can tell from the story in the following pages, was one of our most successful ever. This event has always had twin goals: first of course to raise funds, but also to reinforce LWVO's presence on the Oakland scene. We did it all: a larger and more diverse group of sponsors brought in more money than any previous year, a dynamic speaker on a relevant topic captured everyone's attention, and all our guests had a good time in each other's company. The Development Committee is now considering how to make it even bigger and better next year, and they would love to hear your thoughts; come to Annual Meeting and contribute your ideas.

An enterprising group of Voter Service volunteers spent much of the spring working on a project that we have always wanted to do but never seemed to accomplish: to register students in Oakland high school senior classes and at the same time motivate them to vote. This year, as you will learn from the story on page 6, it worked. The enthusiasm of the teachers and the students was exhilarating; don't you love that photo of the three proud new voters? Here again, if you come to Annual Meeting (you may have detected a theme in this letter!) you will learn more about the program and how you can help make it a success again next year.

At the Annual Meeting you will also vote for new members of our dynamic Board and approve the goals LWVO has prioritized for the coming year. Meet the committee chairs and hear their plans for making the coming League year our most exciting and productive ever, and think about what fits best with your own interests and goals. I look forward to seeing you there so we can all share in the spirit of energy and commitment that makes the League such a special organization.

Election Day is Tuesday June 5th; Vote with the League

California League of Women Voters has the following recommendations for the June ballot:

Yes on Prop 28: The League of Women Voters of California supports Proposition 28, which will modify California's term limits law. Legislators are currently limited to three terms in the Assembly and two terms in the State Senate. Prop 28 will reduce this fourteen-year limit to twelve years. Legislators will be allowed to serve the whole twelve years in either house of the legislature or serve a combination of terms in the two houses. Prop 28 will not benefit any current or former legislator. This simple measure is a step in the right direction that will improve accountability. Legislators will no longer be constantly looking for the next office to run for; they will have time to develop expertise and get things done.

Neutral on Prop 29: Proposition 29 establishes an increased tax on cigarettes, with the money collected from this tax earmarked to fund research on cancer and other tobacco-related diseases. The League does not generally support earmarks but is neutral on this measure because of the health benefits that would come from reduced smoking and the increased funding for medical research.

Alameda County Leagues support Measure B, a new parcel tax to support the Peralta College District.

Congratulations to a Long-Time League Member

Susan Schacher is in her 24th year as a part time temporary instructor at Laney College. She is the recipient of the Margaret Quan Part Time Advocate of the Year award presented by the Faculty Association of the California Community Colleges (FACCC). There is a nice video interview of her here:

Time to Renew Your Membership

Most LWVO memberships expire on June 30, 2012. Please take this opportunity to renew your membership for 2012-13 and make a contribution to the League. You'll find the renewal form and interest survey in the middle of your VOTER, along with an envelope addressed to the League office.

There's an incentive for you to renew before (or at) the Wednesday, June 13th Annual Meeting at the Lake Merritt Hotel:

Your name will be entered in a drawing for prizes including a ticket to next year's Annual All-City Luncheon IF you renew before the Annual Meeting (or bring the form and your check to Annual Meeting), AND fill out the Interest Survey to tell us how you would like to be involved with LWVO. (If you can't be active, use the survey to tell us that.)

Our membership year runs from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. We ask EVERYONE to renew before July 1, even if you have joined recently (or in the months since last July 1st). To calculate your pro-rated dues if you joined mid-year, see the table available on the League's website:

Kudos to the Development Committee

On the next two pages you will read about our very successful and fun All-City Luncheon. It is the product of a lot of work by the Development Committee, this year chaired by Bonnie Hamlin and Kathy Collup, who both put in months of sustained effort on the luncheon. The committee's primary projects are the All-City Luncheon, encouraging donations, and finding grants to help fund LWVO programs. In addition to Bonnie and Kathy, current members include Judi Bank, Lorraine Force, Katherine Gavzy, Terry Kulka, and Sandy Venning. If you like to plan events (or want to learn how), or know how to seek grants (or want to learn how), the Development Committee needs you! Call the League office at 510 834-7640 and leave a message for Bonnie or Kathy.

All City Luncheon a Great Success!

The stars were aligned--or at least the sun was--for an enjoyable and inspiring All-City Luncheon on May 2. We had wonderful success signing up Patrons and Donors this year; these generous supporters make our programs such as the Easy Voter Guide possible. Many League members came and brought friends with them. A sign of the luncheon's success is that some guests who attended joined the League right on the spot or shortly thereafter.

President Katherine Gavzy called the meeting to order promptly at noon, and after an excellent lunch the meeting began with words of welcome from Mayor Jean Quan.

The Making Democracy Work awards came next. Street Level Health Project, which does health outreach for low-income communities in Oakland touched us with their gratitude for the award, and The Honorable John Sutter, Vice President of the Board of Directors of the East Bay Regional Park District, honored LWVO with his kind words about the League in his acceptance remarks.

Our keynote speaker, Alex Briscoe, Director of the Alameda Health Care Services Agency, gave a witty and informative presentation about The Affordable Care Act: Innovation and Equity in Alameda County. If you missed his presentation or want more in depth information, you can see and download an excellent slide show. You can also get more information about the Alameda Health Care Services Agency here and more here.

As always, a large part of the fun of the All-City Luncheon was meeting and chatting with people from all over Oakland.

Thanks to Our Generous Luncheon Supporters

We are so very grateful to the following Patrons and Donors for making the League's 21st Annual All-City Luncheon on May 2, 2012 a financial success. Their generosity, and that of all who attended the luncheon, make possible League products like our Oakland Easy Voter Guides in English, Chinese and Spanish, Who Represents Oakland, and our distribution of LWV California's Easy Voter Guides and Pros and Cons of state ballot measures.

Bell Investment Advisors, Inc.
California HealthCare Foundation, Oakland
The Clorox Company
Earl and Bonnie Hamlin
East Bay Regional Park District
Emerge, California
Kaiser Permanente
Rotary Club of Oakland
Terry Kulka, Coldwell Banker Residential Sales

ABC Security Service, Inc
AC Transit
Barbara J. Parker, Oakland City Attorney
Bay Area News Group (Oakland Tribune)
Bay Area Rapid Transit
Clear Channel Outdoor Northern CA
Great Oakland Public Schools
Holy Names University
Law Offices of Wilson & Casey
Madison Park Financial Corporation
Margo Dunlap, Exec. Dir., Pro Arts
Matson Navigation Company, Inc.
Northgate Environmental Management
Oakland City Councilwomen: Jane Brunner, Rebecca Kaplan, Pat Kernighan, Nancy Nadel, and Libby Schaaf
Pacific Gas & Electric Company
St. Paul's Towers
Samuel Merritt University
Torrey Pines Bank
Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean, LLP

Thank you! We can't do it without you!

Many, Many Hands Made Light Work!

The glowing comments about our May 2 All-City Luncheon are partly due to people's enthusiasm for our speaker, Alex Briscoe, but also are a credit to our many efficient volunteers who helped the event run smoothly. Mony Bauer organized the crew that placed flowers and handouts on each table and then acted as guides, directing people to their tables and away from the entrance to the Pavilion. Thank you Ann Killebrew, Miriam Laska, Louise Rothman-Riemer, and Sandy Venning.

Mony also directed the group that helped people find the front door to Scott's and to direct them away from the Boardwalk entrance. Thank you Louise Anderson, Nancy Auker, Carol Beck, Jill Broadhurst, Judy Cox, Karen Ivy and Mary Stevens.

Bonnie Hamlin set up the nine volunteers who helped guests pick up their name tags. Thank you Lorraine Force, Mary Gormly, Annmarie Hallin, Gretchen Hayes, Helen Hutchison, Judy Merrill, Janet Rodriguez, Joyce Roy, and Bea Rudney. Bonnie and Lorraine staffed the table for those with questions or no reservations, or who hadn't yet paid!

Meg Bowerman and Suzanne Loosen coordinated clean-up with help from many of the people who had helped set the tables.

Special thanks to Kathy Collop who made a zillion calls to recruit all these good helpers and then fielded calls that came into the League office Wednesday morning before the luncheon.

It was a good event!

Voter Service Projects

Teen Voter Registration
Allene Warren, our Voter Registration Chair, led a project organization team including Katherine Gavzy, Judy Merrill, Carole Agnello, and Gail Weininger of LWVO, along with Evelyn Hogan Jackson of Alpha Kappa Alpha, an African American service sorority that partnered with us. The goal was to go into high school senior classes to register new voters and make presentations on the value of voting. We went to 10 classes of 3 teachers in 3 high schools (Castlemont, Oakland High, and Oakland Tech); we recruited 3 Laney College student presenters. The high school students and teachers were very appreciative and said they learned a lot from the interactive presentation, which was based on the one used in 2007-8 by Jill Ratner. Of the 210 high school students, 110 students registered and approximately 10 affidavits were taken home. Helping with the registration were LWVO members Sandy Threlfall, Karen Ivy, and Ruth Hafter, as well as three members of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Lauren Perez of ROV was present at each class to help with registration and invite students to help (and earn money) on election day.

We considered this a very successful experience, both for voter education and community outreach; we will do it again in the future. We now know more about how to reach teachers and presenters, and we hope that more LWVO members will be inspired to join us in this effort next time: it takes a lot of planning and contacting and scheduling, but it is really worth the effort . If you are interested in learning more about how you can help, leave a message for Allene Warren or Judy Merrill at the League office: 510 834-7640.

Candidate Forums
On May 11, we ran two successful forums for races in the June primary election. For Superior Court Judge, Office #20, the candidates were Catherine Haley, Tara Flanagan, and Andrew Wiener. For Congressional District 13 the candidates were Justin Jelincic, Barbara Lee, and Marilyn Singleton. Judy Merrill contacted the candidates, reserved City Hall and arranged for taping by KTOP; Joey Hansell recruited the volunteers, and Karen Anderson Forde coordinated the forums that night. Volunteering at the forums were Sandy Threlfall, moderator; Barbara Newcombe, Kathleen Cha, Katherine Gavzy, and Helen Hutchison, question sorters; Louise Anderson and Sandy Venning, question collectors; Christopher Hadley and Annmarie Hallin, timers; and Ann Killebrew and Peter Crigger, hosts.

Joey and Karen deserve our heartfelt thanks for stepping into their roles an election earlier than they had agreed to do. It was a good learning experience for each of us and came off very successfully.


Membership in the League of Women Voters of Oakland is a bargain and a statement. A bargain because you will have access to valuable information and insights via the VOTER newsletters and LWV Web sites, through membership not only in LWVO but also in LWV Bay Area, LWV California and LWVUS, and via a variety of events and dialogues with key leaders throughout the year.

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."

Join here.


Welcome New Members
Saundra G. Andrews
Peter Crigger
Cynthia Dorsey
Karen Long
Carmen Murray

Welcome Back
Carol Beck
Mayor Jean Quan

Changes to the Roster
Deborah Cooper--new address
Judy Merrill--new email address
Rebecca Salzman--new address

Details are in your paper VOTER

Support the League

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