Making Democracy Work

VOTER June 2013

Annual Meeting

Wednesday, June 5th, 5:45 PM
Dinner/Meeting followed by:

Ensuring Public Safety in Oakland:
What Community Groups Can Do

Robert Wasserman, Chairman of Strategic Policy
Partnership, LLC
Public Safety Consultant with the City of Oakland

FAZ Restaurant 1111 Broadway at Oakland City Center - parking available on the street and City lots nearby
City Center BART Station

$15- Dinner*, meeting and program
Wine available by the glass, full no-host bar also available
All LWVO Members are called to attend the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Membership of the League of Women Voters of Oakland. Guests are welcome.
It's not too late to reserve your space! Call the League office at(510) 834-7640 then mail your check to the League office, 1305 Franklin Street, Suite 311, Oakland CA 94612, or bring it to the meeting.

The Call to the Annual Meeting was included in the May VOTER on pages 5-8. It is also available on the LWVO website. The Call includes an agenda and the items requiring a vote of the membership. To save paper, please bring it with you to the Annual Meeting.
*Please Note: The cost of each dinner is greater than the $15 charged. If you are willing and able to pay more, please do so.

President's Message

By Katherine Gavzy

Our 22nd annual All-City Luncheon on May 1st was possibly our most successful ever: most guests (we totally filled Scotts Seafood's expanded tent!); most numerous, generous and diverse table sponsors; most interest and "buzz" all around Oakland. The April 22nd Hot Topics discussion was successful in reaching out to the city's burgeoning community of technologically savvy young people with an interest in civic engagement. LWVO is growing: we gained 18 new members between February and May, and at 321 we are one of the largest local Leagues in California. Oakland was a major presence at the State League Convention in May - see stories in this issue.

We have the wind in our sails; where are we going and how will we get there ? How will we build on this energy and momentum to fulfill our mission of making democracy work? The best tool to do this is a single piece of paper enclosed in this VOTER : the Member Interest Survey. This is a quick look at all the areas LWVO will be active in over the next year, and you are sure to see at least one thing that matches your own interests and passions. We will be collaborating with other Oakland community organizations to help improve public safety and combat violence. We will study our position on local education to make sure it allows us to respond to and take action on the evolving OUSD strategic plan. We will make our League voice heard loud and clear on local government issues of budgeting, open government, ethics and elections. We will participate in state League study and advocacy on higher education finance and governance, money in politics, water, health care, public financing of public education. Land use policies are the focus of regional advocacy and a new LWVUS study. We need your passion and we also need your skills : look at the bottom section of the survey. It is quick and easy to complete the survey, fill out renewal information, write a dues check and mail it all to LWVO. I just tested it out: 3 minutes ! We need to hear from you, our members, so Oakland can hear from us



These three words sum up what we took away from the Convention, and what we hope to share with all our membership throughout the year.

The unique value of the League's role in public life, and the deep respect for our policies and actions, were affirmed by speakers including the chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the director of the California Budget Project, and local elected officials. It is good to be reminded of this.

We were inspired by the accomplishments of other California Leagues. Pasadena grew membership by 20% using personal outreach and informal gatherings in member homes. San Diego has been speaking out and affecting decisions on development and land use.

We were informed by speakers and workshops. The California Budget Project talk on the State budget was an awesome combination of solid data and easy-to-grasp presentation: look for a link on our website. Workshops taught us how to take action in our communities, how the League can support work for healthcare reform, what we can do to control the impact of money in politics, and much, much more. Look for articles in future VOTERs, and COME TO ANNUAL MEETING JUNE 5th as we share what we learned.

The Convention was conducted with the usual League-like passionate but civil debate. Election of the new State Board of Directors included two LWVO members: Helen Hutchison continues as Program and Advocacy VP, and Mony Flores-Bauer will be the new Voter Service chair. Delegates approved a new State Program, retaining all existing positions and including the updated Initiative and Referendum position that resulted from our recent discussion and consensus. A new study of the financing and governance of the public higher education system (Community Colleges, CSU and UC) was proposed and approved by a majority of the delegates after hot debate. LWVO member Leslie Smith is on the study committee and will tell you more about it in September. Delegates also approved four issues for statewide education and advocacy: Money in Politics, Education, Health Care, and Water.

LWVO at the LWV California Convention: from top left:. Ernie Ting, Marion Taylor, Louise Rothman Riemer, Trisha Gorman, Katherine Gavzy, Mony Flores- Bauer, Mary Bergan, Zabrae Valentine. From front left: Annmarie Hallin, Bev Solo, and Yolanda Schonbrun.

Dispatches from the Convention
"I attended a caucus (an unofficial discussion program) to consider the role the League should play in supporting the community college system. The caucus was a not-to-be-missed opportunity to learn a bit about how to get this interest in the community college system from an idea to an actual study by the League."
            Annmarie Hallin
"Bev and I are learning how to make our webpage more compelling."
            Leslie Smith
" `What News Can You Trust' was led by Stanford's John McManus. Use the SMELL test to determine if the news item is trustworthy. SMELL stands for:
S Source: Who is providing the information?
M Motivation: Why?
E Evidence: What evidence is offered that it is accurate?
L Is it Logically supported or only an assertion?
L What is Left Out?"
            Louise Rothman-Riemer
"Carole Agnello and I attended a program on the importance of providing early education for families and young children. It provided background information about how to close the readiness gap before it becomes the achievement gap."
            Yolanda Schonbrun

Here is a link to the California state budget referred to above.

All City Luncheon an All-Round Success

Our annual All City Luncheon held on May 1st at Scott's was among our most successful ever by any measure. We had a big crowd--almost standing-room only--to enjoy meeting and greeting, listening to our speaker, Jennifer Pahlka of Code for America, and honoring our Making Democracy Work award recipients. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and the League raised a significant amount of money to cover costs of our programs and outreach. It was a pleasure to see so many segments of Oakland--politicians, business people, representatives of non-profits, interested citizens--in animated conversation. It really is an All City gathering.

As always, these good things happen only because of the efforts of many people. The Development Commit-tee, chaired by Bonnie Hamlin and Kathy Collop, worked hard for many months planning this event and making it happen. Other committee members were Judi Bank, Lorraine Force, Katherine Gavzy, Richelle Lieberman, Rosalee Schubert, Sandy Venning, and Emily Wilson. Many League members volunteered in a variety of ways, helping send out invitations, encouraging award nominations and selecting award recipients, soliciting contributions, and working on the day of the event to keep things running smoothly.

Thank You to our Contributors

This year we had more financial contributors than ever before, and more at a higher level. We are grateful for their support. They make the League's work possible.
Clark Construction Company
Terry Kulka, Coldwell Banker Residential Sales

Patrons Bay Area Rapid Transit
Bell Investment Advisors, Inc.
California HealthCare Foundation, Oakland
The Clorox Company
Coalition of Advocates for Lake Merritt
Earl and Bonnie Hamlin
East Bay Municipal Utility District
East Bay Regional Park District
Elected Officials of Oakland
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Peralta Community College District
Rotary Club of Oakland
San Pablo Avenue/Golden Gate Neighborhood Assoc.
Tim O'Reilly and Jennifer Pahlka
Torrey Pines Bank

Kaiser Permanente

ABC Security Service, Inc.
AC Transit
Alameda County Public Defenders Association
Bay Area News Group
Clear Channel Outdoor
Holy Names University
Leaders of the Oakland Unified School District
Madison Park Financial Corporation
Matson Navigation Company, Inc.
The McConnell Group
Oakland Housing Authority
Ronile Lahti
Saint Paul's Towers
Samuel Merritt University
Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP

Making Democracy Work Awards

This year produced a record number of excellent nominations, and it was a challenge to choose the four award recipients:

Esperanza Tervalon-Daumont, Executive Director, Oakland Rising

Naomi Schiff, Coalition of Advocates for Lake Merritt & Oakland Heritage Alliance

San Pablo Avenue/Golden Gate Neighborhood Associations

West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project.

The hard-working members of the Making Democracy Work awards committee were Kathy Collop (Chair), Annalee Allen, Mary Bergan, and Gloria Fangnon-Hitz.

Many Hands Make a Great Event

Luncheon Volunteers were almost too numerous to mention, but really deserve a League-wide thank you. Whether before, during, or after the luncheon, or sometimes all of the above, these members all helped make it a success. Apologies if we missed anyone.
Carole Agnello
Annalee Allen
Polly Amrein
Louise Anderson
Nancy Auker
Judi Bank
Mary Bergan
Helen Bersie
Nancy Blackman
Meg Bowerman
Sandra Coleman
Gloria Fangnon-Hitz
Katherine Gavzy
Mary Gormly
Sharon Griset
Ruth Hafter
Annmarie Hallin
Bonnie Hamlin
Gretchen Hayes
Helen Hutchison
Ann Killebrew
Sari Kulberg
Terry Kulka
Shinal Lakshman
Ronile Lahti
Miriam Laska
Eleanor Luce
Barbara Newcombe
Louise Rothman- Riemer
Joyce Roy
Bea Rudney
Laura Schlichtmann
Rosalee Schubert
Alice Schultz
Deborah Shefler
Keiko Shimada
Leslie Smith
Mary Strauss
Ruth Vaughn
Sandy Venning
Julie Waldman
Emily Wilson
Iris Winogrond

Development Stars--Bonnie Hamlin and Kathy Collop

The Development committee has had two excellent leaders at its helm for the past two years, Bonnie Hamlin and Kathy Collop. Both of these women are very hard working, supremely organized, and fun.

Bonnie has been very active in the League for many years and has held a variety of positions. She knows everyone, knows the history, knows Oakland's movers and shakers, and they know her. Her insight is very helpful in knowing whom to contact, whether to ask for advice or to ask for financial support. She knows how to get things done. Besides leading the Development Committee, she is part of the Membership Committee, and also keeps the LWVO office running.

In addition to her League work, Bonnie is very active in her church, where she sings in the choir. She and her husband, Earl, live in Rockridge.

Kathy Collop has been a member of the League for almost ten years, but she tends to keep a low profile. She's one of those wonderful volunteers who work behind the scenes to keep things going--taking meeting minutes, stuffing envelopes, doing whatever needs to be done. Besides her work on the Development Committee for the past four years, she is an office volunteer and a member of the Budget Committee. She has been co-chair of the Development Committee with Bonnie for the past two years.

Before retiring, Kathy was a computer programmer. She's also found time in her life for music (she plays the viola and violin and has been the bass player in a country western band). Kathy's creativity is obvious when you come to her Montclair home. She is an artist, and her watercolors adorn the walls. Most impressively, her whimsical sculptures are scattered throughout her colorful garden. It is impossible to look outside without smiling.

Invite a Friend to Join

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.

Time to Renew Your Membership

Most LWVO memberships expire on June 30, 2013. Please take this opportunity to renew your membership for 2013-14 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. You may also use PayPal from our Website to pay your dues (but be sure to fill out the Interest Survey and mail it to us).

Our membership year runs from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. We ask EVERYONE to renew before July 1, even if you have joined in the months since last July 1st. (If you just joined since April 1st, you do not owe further dues at this time, but, if you did not fill out an Interest Form when you joined, please do so now.) To calculate your pro-rated dues if you joined mid-year, see the table available on the League's Web page.

Please note that the date your membership expires is at the top of the mailing label on your paper VOTER. Everyone who fills out the Interest Survey and returns it to us when renewing will be entered in a drawing that will be held next September at our Kick-off Meeting. The grand prize is a free ticket to our 2014 All-City Luncheon.


Welcome, New Members
Sam Berris
Marisel Brown
Lenore Gallin
Laura Ingram
Ellen McFarland
L. Karen Monroe
Jennifer Pahlka
Ashley Roaseau
Lawrence W. Schonbrun
Christine Shields
Eddie Tejeda
Please Note Changes
Nyeisha Dewitt
Liz Hendrickson
Eleanor Luce
Courtney Ruby


We rely on dues and donations to support our programs.

Print out a Contribution Form or donate online.

Thank you for your support!