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Voter Education and Advocacy: Determining Priorities for Our Work

Though the League is especially active before elections, we work throughout the year on priorities set by League members through a grassroots process. Through this approach, the public can depend on--and be directly involved in--a process that promotes full voter participation, government transparency and accountability.

Each League—and each League member—has an opportunity to influence the selection of issues on which the local, regional, state, and national Leagues will focus time, talent and money.  Members are invited to participate in a planning meeting every year from which recommendations are passed on to the Oakland League’s Board of Directors (and on to regional, state and/or national leadership). The Action Committee in consultation with other Committee Chairs plays a central role in helping shape the priorities that are considered by members, the Board and later adopted by League members at the Annual Meeting. 

These recommendations form an education and advocacy program and set in motion the League’s work over the subsequent year.

The 2021-22 Priorities for education and advocacy were adopted by Membership on June 5, 2021 as follows:

I. Government Oversight and Reform: City of Oakland, Alameda County


A. New

1. Research the budgetary and other impacts of following through on the 2020 ballot measure authorizing the youth vote in school board elections with an ordinance implementing that change.

2. Inquire regarding the feasibility of Oakland creating a digitally searchable record of City Council proceedings. If it is economically and technically feasible, advocate for the creation of such a record.

3. Examine responses to public record requests across all city departments with respect to timeliness and completeness.

4. Investigate accountability regarding Oakland’s Equitable Climate Change Plan.


B. Ongoing

1. Work to improve City of Oakland laws and procedures regarding local ballot measures, both those proposed by the City Council and by citizen initiative, to provide timely discussion and debate;

2. Review laws and procedures regarding transparency and open discussion of issues and items considered by City Council and by boards and commissions, with particular attention to the city budget and revisions made necessary by the COVID 19 response, and including the role of technology in assisting or hindering adherence to the Brown Act and the Sunshine Ordinance;

3. Review the roles of Council, Mayor, City Attorney, City Administrator, as well as of  boards and commissions, in making and implementing City laws and policies; 4. Work with other organizations and with Council members and Mayor to develop  agreement on good government policies and steps to achieve them; 5. Continue working to improve LWVO’s own voter education and participation  activities, including timely in-depth analyses of ballot measures and other issues  before the Council, and development of recommendations for League action. 


II. Redistricting (ongoing)


A. Support the work of the new independent Oakland Redistricting Commission to ensure adequate financing for experienced, competent staff and consultants to carry out its work;


B. Work with the City, OUSD, and with other community organizations to provide outreach to and participation by city residents in the development of fair district lines that reflect the diversity and the communities of Oakland;


C. Develop ways for LWVO to review proposals for new maps as the Commission’s work gets underway.


III. Campaign Finance Reform (ongoing)


A. Continue working with coalition partners on a 2022 ballot proposal for a new system of public financing of elections in Oakland;


B. Actively participate in a broad-based effort to educate the public about the need for and the potential benefits of a fair, publicly financed campaign system;


C. Seek ways that the League can work with other organizations to encourage knowledgeable, committed candidates to run for elected office in Oakland.


IV. Housing and Homelessness


A. New: Specifically, review the use of Oakland parcel taxes and Alameda County Sales taxes which are spent on providing supportive services and housing to determine the goals of these expenditures and the measures of accountability. Present a program for the community in spring, 2022 to promote understanding of these programs and to make these programs more transparent and accountable.


B. Ongoing: 

1. Task Force on the Unsheltered (established 20-21) will review programs designed to alleviate homelessness in Oakland to determine their goals and accountability system(s), and to make recommendations regarding how the League can promote understanding of the way these programs interact and how their implementation can be made more transparent and accountable.

2. Monitor spending of Measure Q funds devoted to homelessness services and outreach. 


V. OUSD: Public Education, K-12


A. New: Look at equity issues connected specifically with deep learning and distance learning, financial solvency, and school safety which arose over the past year of COVID conditions.


B. Continuation: work re: educational equity issues, financial solvency and school safety.

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