THE VOTER
Making Democracy Work
    January  2017-Volume 69, Issue No.5

In This Issue
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League of Women Voters

San Jose / Santa Clara

P. O. Box 5374
San Jose, California 95150 

President's Message
Mary Collins
 Mary Collins  President,  LWV SJSC

2016 was an eventful year which involved so many of you in a variety of activities: registering voters, interviewing legislators and council persons, staffing information booths at a variety of events and locations, attending council meetings, producing shows on CREATV, working at the Registrar of Voters, presenting candidate forums and pro/con sessions, to mention a few.  I want to acknowledge all your efforts and support of our League in this challenging time.

Certainly, 2017 will have its own challenges and opportunities. I am confident that your continued engagement will enable us to actualize the League of Women Voters US program 'Making Democracy Work for All' in our area. As you consider your New Year's resolutions, plan to place your League activities among your personal priorities.

There will be many ways for your participation to continue this year. This January and February will present three activities I want to highlight: Lunch With League, Program Planning, and Bay Area League Day.

Program Planning, Saturday, February 11, provides the venue for you to suggest the focus of our League and the League of Women Voters California for the next several years. Your input directs the focus of our energy and resources.The Program Planning article gives more details and contact information.

Lunch with League continues its educational/social program this January 19 with a presentation from Melissa Breach, the executive director of League of Women Voters California. She will have many interesting insights to share with us. Be sure to register as seating is limited to thirty. Paula's article provides all needed details.

The Bay Area League of Women Voters is holding its annual education day on Saturday, January 28. For the first time in a long while, it will be held here in San Jose. The day will deal with the important issue of Housing, a challenge to all nine Bay Area counties. Hopefully, the location will enable more of us to be able to attend.  Registration information follows in Roma Dawson's article.

As you can see, the year is starting with a bang. Together we form an unstoppable force for our democracy in our community. 
 
Happy New Year!
Mary

Membership
Thank you to the following members 
for special annual giving campaign contributions for our League:
 
Phyllis Bail, Martha Beattie, Judy Chamberlin, Mary Collins, Bonnie Gold-Mace, Leslie Hallenbeck, Helen Hayashi, Gloria Chun Hoo,  Trudy La France,
Carol & Jim Lathrop, 
Brenda McHenry, Sandy Mory, Rita Norton, Eve Orton,
Sally & L.E. Pyle,  Paula Radzinski, Pat Reardon, Sandy Remmers,
Bonnie-Jo Salera, Annemarie Stahr, Kathleen Sutherland, Sharon Sweeney,
Diane Trombetta, Suzanne Wilson, Edy Young, Carol Watts

Welcome to our Newest Member:

Susan Devencenzi 
              

Bobbie Fischler (1937-2016): Long-time LWV Member & past-President
By Cecilie Schulze
Long-time League member and past-President Bobbie Fischler died on December 13th.  Her intelligence and dedication will be greatly missed.
 
Although I met Bobbie when she rejoined the board in 2002, she had been an active member earlier, serving in numerous positions and working on our League's first TV program, Left, Right and Center.   
 
Bobbie served three terms as President of our League, from July 2004 - June 2007.  She was a passionate advocate for good government and preserving open space.  During that time, transparency in local government was an overriding concern (remember the garbage contract?).  Bobbie's experience working in government was invaluable in understanding reports and agendas.   The League was active in supporting Sunshine laws for San Jose and working to preserve Coyote Valley.  
 
Believing that we needed a monthly program that included a social aspect, Bobbie asked Marie Arnold and Tat Blesch to institute our Lunch with League program. She knew that it was the social bonds that held members together.  That carried over to our Board meetings, which she hosted in her beautiful home in downtown San Jose.  I remember much laughter and camaraderie at those meetings.  
 
A dog lover, Bobbie also organized one of our most unusual fundraisers - monitoring the Irish Setter club elections.  
 
Bobbie's intelligence, good humor, and respect for everyone defined her.  She will be greatly missed.

Cecilie Schulze

Lunch with League - Upheaval: How the Changing Policy Climate Will Impact CA
Guest Speaker: Melissa Breach, Executive Director of the LWV California
Happy New Year!  Ju st months after the election, we have  an opportunity to hear from Melissa Breach, LWV California Executive Director, on League's strategies and thinking on how we can approach the changing policy climate and impact on California. 

Ms. Breach has also been the Executive Director of the League of Women Voters Education since 2011. Prior to joining the League, she served as Director of Programs for the Center for Volunteers and Nonprofit Leadership and was Executive Director of Resourceful Women. Ms. Breach is eager to join us for lunch and to meet our members personally. 

Melissa Beach, Executive Director, LWV California
Upheaval: How the Changing Policy Climate Will Impact California 
 
T hursday, January 19, 11:30 a.m.
The Fish Market

You may choose from the following menu items:
* Caesar Salad with your choice of Bay Shrimp or Chicken
* Market Burger w/ crisp bacon, cheddar cheese, and your choice of fruit, cucumber salad or fries
* Liteaters Plate with Fresh Pacific Rockfish, Roasted Veggies and Fishwife Rice
* Teriyaki Mahi Sliders (2) with your choice of fruit, cucumber salad or fries
 
Cost for the lunch is $22.00 which includes your choice of coffee, iced tea or soft drink, tax and tip.
Check in will start at 11:30 a.m. Please come prepared to pay cash.
 
RSVP to Paula at LwL@lwvsjsc.org by Monday, January 16, 2017. 
                   (No shows may be charged for their lunch.)

Bay Area League Day 2017: The Bay Area Housing Crisis
By Roma Dawson

"We have plenty of transportation problems, but we have a housing crisis."  Steve Heminger, Executive Director, Metropolitan Transportation Committee (MTC)

Bay Area League Day 2017 - Saturday, January 28 - focuses on our housing affordability gap. California ranks 49th in home ownership rates and 50th in affordability in the U.S. No permanent source of funding exists to compensate for the loss of $1.7 billion a year since the elimination of California's redevelopment agencies and the depletion of state housing bonds. A recent report says California needs an additional 3.5 million homes by 2025 but is on track to add only one million ( read more here). Since 2010, the Bay Area added only one new housing unit for every 5 jobs resulting in the most expensive housing market in the country. The chronic mismatch between housing supply and demand is having significant impacts on the Bay Area economy, social equity and the environment.  
                                                                                                                                                  
Hear academics, housing developers, urban planners, elected officials and other experts suggest policy choices that could increase the Bay Area's housing supply if implemented. Participants on four panels will tackle topics like social and economic impacts of affordable housing, impediments to housing production, displacement policies, lack of enforcement teeth for housing allocations made by regional government, streamlining of state environmental process, by-right zoning and others. Time will be allocated at the end of each panel for questions. Assemblymember Tony Thurmond delivers the day's keynote address before lunch.  Advance registration is available online or by mail at League of Women Voters Bay Area website, www.lwvbayarea.org or  EventBrite.   
 
Date:               Saturday, January 28th
Location:          Camden Community Center Multipurpose Room
                        3369 Union Avenue
                        San Jose, CA  95124
 
9:00am            Welcome and Coffee
9:30                 Panel 1: Measuring the Affordability Gap and Its Impacts
10:30               Panel 2: The Relationship between Housing Production,
                                    Affordability & Displacement in the Bay Area
11:30               Keynote Address by
                       Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, District 15
Noon   Lunch 
12:45pm           Panel 3: State, Regional & Local Roles in  Addressing Affordability
1:45                 Panel 4: The Agenda Moving Forward

Advance Registration: $35 including lunch; $20 without
Day of Event: $40 including lunch; $25 without

A CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS for a successful Bay Area League Day
Saturday, January 28 - Housing conference, held at Camden Community Center
Bay Area League Day is here in South Bay and everyone should participate. Volunteer your time. We'll want to register members and guests coming from nine Bay Area counties. Help is needed for registration, set up beginning at 7am, clean up after the event ends at 3pm, and picking up/sorting written questions from attendees.

Contact League Bay Area board member for housing at  Roma Dawson . Encourage other League members to attend and remember event is open to anyone interested in housing policy.

Program Planning Meeting, Saturday, February 11
By Roma Dawson and Mary Collins
The League is a truly grassroots organization that sets its agenda through the Program Planning process. As members, this is our chance to help choose what we want California's and our League's future to be.

Join us at 9:00am on February 11, 2017, when we will be discussing League policy and positions at the state level. Where should the League focus its energy and resources for the next two years?
What are the issues of concern to us here in San Jose/Santa Clara?  Where is there need for legislative activity and advocacy, both in Sacramento and in our cities and county?

Advocacy is a key League activity year-round. For example, LWVC supported or opposed 11 of the 17 statewide ballot measures in November, but in addition 19 bills the League supported - from climate change to voting rights - were signed into law this year alone (see LWVC Bill Status below).

What will we do to participate in LWVUS' campaign to 'Make Democracy Work'? Should we focus on community education? Was there an issue on the ballot this year on which we wished the League had been able to take a stand - so that we should have a new or updated study?

This is your opportunity to make your voice heard. Join us and invite  a guest.

Program Planning, February 11, 2017, at 9:00am, location TBD.
Contact Roma Dawson with any questions or input on issues, whether or not you will be able to attend.

Affordable Housing Update
By Judy Chamberlin
When San Jose's Affordable Housing Impact Fee (AHIF) on new rental units was adopted in 2014, several issues were left to be revisited. At its December 6th meeting, Council asked the City Attorney to prepare a legal analysis of changing the threshold size of rental projects covered by the AHIF from 3 units to 20 units. Staff recommended this change to put AHIF in line with San Jose's inclusionary housing ordinance and also, in reality, very few new developments are in this range.

Council also directed the City Manager to consult with the Office of Economic Development on how the AHIF might be affected in mixed-use projects. In addition, based on a councilmember's memo, Council voted to ask staff to prepare an amendment to AHIF that would allow developers to build Below Market Rate (BMR) units in place of paying the impact fee. Our League did not speak at this meeting, but many community organizations did, including Affordable Housing Network, Sacred Heart Community Services, and the Law Foundation. To read the most recent consultant's report on the AHIF and the staff recommendations presented at this meeting: Read more here.

San Jose's Apartment Rent Ordinance - City Auditor's Suggestions
By Marie Arnold
San Jose's Apartment Rent Ordinance (ARO) seeks to "limit excessive rent increase, alleviate undue hardship to tenants and provide a fair and reasonable return to landlords." The ARO's rent control provisions apply to rental apartment properties with 3 or more units permitted before Sept. 7, 1979.  There are about 45,820 such units in San Jose, which make up about a third of the City's 140,000 rental housing units.

These are the two main suggestions that Sharon Erickson, SJ City Auditor, read from her 3-page summary of the booklet presented. It is on the City's website:  Office of the Auditor ARO report to City Council

One was that the Housing Department has been challenged to meet expectations of the ARO with only 1.5 full-time equivalent employees. The Rental Rights and Referrals Program did not provide the level of service that it was intended to provide. Mediation and arbitration services were delayed.  Lack of review and follow up followed. So enforcement suffered. Second, the Program's efforts to inform residents and landlords of their rights and responsibilities have been sparse and untargeted.  Providing online services, like online petition filing and a property look-up tool, would offer convenience and cost savings to both customers and staff.

Two of the Auditor's suggestions that impressed some members of the Neighborhood Services and Education Committee are:
1.  Use of AMANDA, the citywide integrated permitting system, as it would provide the data base attached to, e.g. the department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement (PBCE). It would keep both departments apprised on matters of mutual interest. And: Use of the City's Call Center during periods of high demand.
2.  In light of the modest benefits compared to the burdens and costs associated with the banking provision, suggestion that the City Council consider eliminating the banking provision in the final ordinance. 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR INVOLVEMENT
Action, Events, Voter Education
ACTION COMMITTEE - Be part of the Action team. Join League members and meet with California elected officials, observe City Council meetings, engage in League advocacy.  Contact  Judy Chamberlin.

VOTER REGISTRATION  - Volunteer and help coordinate registration at the Naturalization Ceremony several times each year and Get Out the Vote registering Voters. Contact Sandy Mory.

BAY AREA LEAGUE DAY, Saturd ay, January 28 at Camden Community Center. Volunteer and help at this important conference on Bay Area Housing. Contact  Roma Dawson.

Bills
League of Women Voters California
Based on our positions, League of Women Voters California (LWVC) periodically reviews bills before the California State Legislature and makes recommendations.
  
2016-2017
Bill Status Report: Bills on which the LWVC has taken a position and recommends action.
 
Need help with legislative terms? Try this useful glossary .

LWV Presents: Insights and Perspectives
Comcast Channel 30, Monday nights at 7:30pm, Comcast guide lists re-broadcasts
The best way to describe Channel 30 is TV "by the community for the community." Channel 30 airs non-commercial, member-produced videos that educate, express views, and expose talents to the San Jose community and beyond. 
Wildlife Center Silicon Valley
Laura Hawkins, Ashley Kinney
Rosaleen Zisch 

Schedule of Airings in January:
        
Sun, Jan 8, 4:30pm and Mon, Jan 16, 7:30pm 
Rosaleen Zisch interviews Laura Hawkins, Exec.Director, and Ashley Kinney, Hospital Manager,  Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley.

Mon, Jan 9 and Jan 23, 7:30pm
Trixie Johnson interviews Norberto Duenas, City Manager of San Jose.


Duenas_ SJ City Manager
Trixie Johnson, Norberto Duenas
December Recorded Broadcasts:
Gloria Chun Hoo interviews Terry Christensen on the impact of 2016 Local Elections: VIDEO

Rosaleen Zisch interviews Paul Bernal,  California Pioneers of Santa Clara County: VIDEO

CREATV CHANNEL 30 Live Streaming from your computer 
Watch CREATV Channel 30 shows on your  computer with an internet connection. 
League Holiday Party
Holiday Party Mary and Martha
Mary Collins, Martha Beattie
Holiday party Maryann Haggerty
Maryann Haggerty
Sandy Mory
Sandy Mory

Calendar
Information on many of these events is available in this newsletter. See our  website calendar  for current listings and more information.  If you'd like more information but don't have web access, contact the League at (408) 271-7163.

January 7 Board Meeting
January 28 Bay Area League Day
February 4 Board Meeting
February 11 Program Planning Meeting
March 4 Board Meeting
June 1
State Convention begins
June 10 Annual Meeting

Address / Email Change
To keep our records current please send any changes to your address, email address, or phone number, to our Dues Secretary, Sandy Remmers.  The only updates she receives are on the renewal form which is only sent once a year.
 
The Voter
Submissions due the 20th of the month
The LWVSJ/SC Voter is distributed monthly.  Article deadline is the 20th of the month.  If you have questions or comments, contact Liz Bogatin-Starr, the Voter Editor.

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  Democracy is not a spectator sport!  Educate!  Advocate!