THE VOTER
Making Democracy Work
  April  2017-Volume 69, Issue No.8

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

In these important times our League and the League of Women Voters US continue standing for individual rights and the continuance of a vibrant democracy for all Americans regardless of religion or national origin. We also act to ensure a high quality of life for all. To achieve this in our local area our League acts on issues of affordable housing, adequate transportation, and stewardship of our environment and climate matters.

Central to our mission is the encouragement of civic involvement -- registration of voters begins this process. Registration occurs at many community events, especially naturalization ceremonies. On April 25th, we will be registering voters at the naturalization ceremony.

Also, the League of Women Voters is launching a program of outreach to high school and community colleges. Suzanne Sikora, our voter service member, engages League in our naturalization registration and outreach efforts. If you would like to participate in either of these, contact Suzanne HERE.

With the rollback of federal environmental protections and regulations, our local programs become even more important. Our climate action committee has spearheaded our league actions supporting the City of San Jose's Clean Energy Plan. Actions have included letters to the City Council supporting the plan, and attending community study sessions and council meetings considering the issue. The group continues to educate and stand for actions reinforcing the importance of reducing greenhouse gases. You can join the committee and/or participate in observing council meetings. Contact Rita Norton HERE.

It is encouraging to see that LWV will participate in the People's Climate March in Washington this April 29th to support solutions to the climate crisis and confront the issue with members of Congress. San Jose is hosting a sister climate march.

The City of Santa Clara has taken up the issue of development impact fees to provide funds necessary for affordable and low-income housing. We have attended city council meetings speaking in support of this program. Our league was invited to participate in a committee to provide further recommendations to the council, and Roma Dawson is doing so. Members continue to monitor the meetings. Contact Liz Bogatin-Starr if interested  HERE.

The County Council agreed to form a committee on housing as well as a committee on transportation. If you would like to join either committee, contact me HERE or Roberta Hollimon, County chair HERE .  Katie Zoglin is considering a program on the independence/impartiality of the judiciary and is looking for members from other leagues to participate. If you are interested contact her  HERE.

On April 29th, the Bay Area League convention will be held in Sausalito at the Bay Model Visitor Center, Sausalito. Details follow below. The meeting is open to all members, with each league having two voting members. There will be a business session followed by an overview of all regional work by the League. The keynote speaker will be Melissa Breach, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters California.  Melissa is a wonderful speaker; she shared insights with us this year at Lunch with League. 

Looking forward, our Annual Meeting will be June 10th after the state convention June 1-4. Save the dates! More information will follow.

As always, I thank you for your support and participation in keeping our League a vigilant and powerful actor for democracy.


 
Membership
Thank you to the following members 
for contributions for our League:

Gerald Hunt, Nancy Ianni
Socorro McCord, Eve Orton

Welcome  to our newest  Members:
     Tanis Crosby, Sandra Dilling  
 
 
 
 
 
Lunch with League - San Jose Conservation Corps: 30 Years of Creating a Sustainable Community for All
Speaker: Dorsey Moore, Exec. Director, SJ Conservation Corps & Charter School
March's featured speaker was Sharon Erickson, San Jose City Auditor.  Sharon educated us on the role of the City Auditor's office whose mission is to track and report on the performance of various departments with the goal of improving their performance. Since the auditor's office is an independent entity within the City, through her audit reports, Sharon and her team "speak truth to power".

Our speaker for April, Dorsey Moore, Executive Director of the San Jose Conservation Corps and Charter School, takes us in an entirely different direction. The topic of Dorsey's presentation is "San Jose Conservation Corps: 30 Years of Creating a Sustainable Community for All". The Conservation Corps and Charter School is a job training and charter high school for under-resourced young adults ages 18 to 27.  It is interesting to note that the San Jose Conservation Corps was started by then Mayor, Susan Hammer.

For the past two decades, Dorsey has worked in the non-profit and public sectors making local communities more sustainable places to live, work and play. Since 2012, Dorsey has served on the Board (District 4) of the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority.  He previously served on the Open Space Authority Citizens Advisory Committee from 2005-2012. In July 2013, Dorsey started a four-year term as a Santa Clara County Planning Commissioner.  He holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio School of Management and a BA in Geology/ Geography from Denison University. 

We look forward to hearing about the history of the San Jose Conservation Corps and role it plays in providing education and work experience to these young adults. Please join us and take the opportunity to hear about this vital program.

Dorsey Moore
Executive Director of the San Jose Conservation Corps and Charter School
San Jose Conservation Corps: 30 Years of Creating a Sustainable Community for All
 
T hursday, April 20, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
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, March 13th
                   (No shows may be charged for their lunch.)

League Member and Advocate - Claire Benson
Leader in San Jose City Growth Policy, Planning, and Investments in Schools
Claire Benson
Claire Benson
In 1955, Claire and Jack Benson moved to Richland, Washington, the bedroom community for the Hanford Nuclear Plants. Richland was a company town, owned by the U.S. Government and managed by General Electric. Most of the men - engineers, scientists, and tradesmen - had Q clearances, while the well-educated wives had housework and children! It wasn't long before Claire joined the League of Women Voters to meet like-minded women, discuss issues, and work on goals, just as today.

In the 1960's, Claire, as a League member, worked on the complex process of helping Richland become a first-class city, also writing a booklet called "Schools in the Tri-Cities" for new contractors. She also helped League develop policies to further multi-cultural education in the public schools. Claire also was appointed to the Richland Planning Commission and served 4 years.

In 1969, Claire and Jack Benson moved to San Jose CA, in "The Valley of Heart's Delight" - soon to become a bedroom community for manufacturing and high-tech industries. Claire joined League immediately and soon became active with the "Voter" pamphlet and with the highly-regarded Registrar of Voters, Mr. Mann. She was also League's representative to Model Cities.
In the early 70's, it became apparent that school overcrowding was becoming a problem - thus the measure B campaign of 1973, of which Claire was Chair and which League supported. She was also president of Almaden Homeowner's Ass'n, member of the County Charter Commission, and, in the early 80's, became a San Jose Planning Commissioner. 

In March, Terry Christensen interviewed Claire Benson on CreaTV's Valley Politics. The 1973 Measure B campaign changed the community, listen  Here.

STAYING IN TOUCH WITH OUR REPRESENTATIVES
Leagues Meet with Assembly Members and State Senators in March

In March, League members visited Senator Bob Wieckowsi,  Assembly member Ash Kalra, and Assemblymember Kansen Chu..

Bob Wieckowski SD 10
Pam Vavra, Martha Hull, Liz Bogatin-Starr, LWVSJSC
LWV Eden, LWV Fremont-Newark-Union City
Sen. Bob Wieckowsi, SD10

Ash Kalra, AD27
Ann Clarke, Connie Hunter,
Asm. Ash Kalra, AD27
Martha Beattie, Pat Reardon 
Senator Bob Wieckowsi, SD10, met with League constituents, Fremont-Newark-Union City, Eden, and San Jose-Santa Clara. See our interview here.







The League interviewed Assemblymember Ash Kalra, AD27. See our interview here.

League interviewed Assemblymember Kansen Chu, AD25 (no picture). See our interview here .


READ IN-DEPTH LEGISLATIVE INTERVIEWS  HERE .

Bill Status Report: A Look behind the Scenes
By Martha Beattie, LWV San Jose/Santa Clara
We have just concluded our Legislative interviews that the California League (LWVC) asks us to complete. You probably know that the questions asked are helpful to LWVC as it works with members of the legislature to support measures we support, and to oppose measures that we oppose. Yes, we do have our very own lobbyist, Trudy Schafer, who represents us very ably.
 
Trudy does not work alone!  A Legislation Committee, composed of both LWVC Board and off-Board members - including Gloria Chun Hoo! - meets regularly, with Trudy of course, during the first half of the year (when bills are introduced and starting through their committee hearings) to consider which bills will be supported or opposed during that legislative session.

The Legislative Committee gets their information from many Legislative Consultants who concentrate on bills in specific areas. Gloria and I wrote an Op-Ed several years ago encouraging our state legislators to make their calendars public, as San Jose City Council members already had done, so LWVC dubbed us the go-to "experts" on Open Government. I agreed to take on the role of Open Government Consultant.

The process I go through is one that you can follow, at least in part, and I encourage you to do so! The very first step would not be easy for you to do, but once I, and other legislative consultants, have identified bills of interest to us, you too can jump in. To identify those bills, Trudy sets up a "CapitolTrack" tracking mechanism based on key words - in my case including open government; transparency; public participation; my key laws governing transparency - the Brown Act, the Public Records Act, and the Bagley-Keene Act; and so forth. Bills start being introduced in December and continue until a cutoff about the end of February. I read through the short summary of each bill that CapitolTrack gives me, and then look up all that look relevant. This year I selected 17 to follow.

Now you'll be able to follow my process for any bills in which you are interested. I tell Trudy which bills I've selected, and she adds those numbers to the Bill Status Report with a notation that we are "Follow"ing that measure. The Voter always gives you the link to the Bill Status Report. Clicking on the bill number takes you to a page with more information. This report has similar information to the one I see on my Open Government CapitolTrack report.  For those bills I plan to follow, I not only print out the current version of the bill (I click on "View Bill Text" on that page), but I click on the "Track Bill" option, and am able to Subscribe to that bill and get an e-mail whenever its status changes - such as a Committee Hearing scheduled, a Vote taken, and so forth.

Sometimes I get a surprise from my Subscription notice. One that I had decided to follow, SB-273, was about some PUC regulations that would have increased the Commission's transparency. I got an update notice, clicked on it, and the title changed!  It now refers to "Marriage: minors". It was what is called a "gut and amend": Everything except the name of the Senator introducing it, and the date it was introduced, was crossed off, and new language replaced it. So now I'm following only 16 bills.

Then my hard work begins. I need to decide which bills I am following should be written up for the Legislative Committee to consider supporting or opposing.  I need to condense the information on the current law, the bill, the League justification for the support or opposition based on our positions, and any other relevant information onto one page. This is the stage I'm at right now. I might call to talk with the bill author's staff, look to see what other groups investigating transparency issues say, and otherwise try to educate myself further before writing it up.

If the Legislative Committee decides to support or oppose the bill, it is usually the case that a letter would be sent to the Chair and committee members of the committee to which it has been assigned. I would be involved in that, and in any further actions LWVC takes. This part can get exciting - as it did last year when Proposition 54 was on the ballot - what a road was taken for it to get there, and then to win!  (It requires that bills be in final form and posted 72 hours before a vote and that there be video records of every public legislative meeting.)

Try tracking your favorite bill of interest! Go to the link below, choose your topic (ranging from Air Quality to Water), click through to see what's happening and read the text and Legislative Counsel's Digest. Then stay informed by "Track"ing the bill. 

Martha Beattie, LWVC Legislative Consultant  

Based on our positions, League of Women Voters California (LWVC) periodically reviews bills before the California State Legislature and makes recommendations.
  
2017-2018
  • Bill Status Report for 2017: Bills on which the LWVC has taken a position and recommends action
  • Bills of Interest:This report includes bills being "followed" by the League, on which no formal position of support or opposition has been taken, as well as bills on which the LWVC has taken a position and recommends action.  
Need help with legislative terms? Try this useful glossary .

April 3 Press Release, Sacramento
SACRAMENTO, CA - A broad-based coalition of Proposition 54 supporters today sent a letter to the California state Legislature urging lawmakers to create rules to properly implement the new law's transparency measures - or risk important legislation being invalidated. Proposition 54, a constitutional amendment, was approved by 65 percent of California voters last November because they supported more legislative transparency, including requiring bills to be in print and distributed in their final form for 72 hours prior to any vote in the Assembly or Senate that would pass the bill out of a house. Indeed, Prop. 54 states that "No bill may be passed or ultimately become a statute unless the bill, with any amendments, has been printed, distributed to the members, and published on the Internet, in its final form, for at least 72 hours before the vote."

Unfortunately, the Assembly rules adopted on Prop. 54 would result in clear violation of constitutional requirements under Prop. 54 because they do not require 72-hour notice prior to voting on Assembly bills that have not yet been approved by the Senate. In addition, Senate rules do not contain an explicit 72-hour notice requirement. 

Read More
Save the US Election Assistance Commission
LWVC Action - Tell Your Representative to Oppose HR 634

The Election Assistance Commission is an independent bipartisan agency charged with ensuring the integrity of our elections. They provide guidance to states on federal election law, maintain the national voter registration form, and certify new voting machines.

Read More
The California Values Act (SB 54) passes Senate
LWVC Action - Tell Your Representative to Vote Yes on the California Values Act
Take Action: Protect Immigrant Families
 
VICTORY! Thanks to you, the California Values Act (SB 54), was approved by the Senate on a party-line vote! It now heads to the Assembly! 
 
Thank you for standing with the League in support of landmark protections for immigrant families in California.

Over 10 million immigrants live and work in California. They are our family, our friends, and our co-workers. In recent weeks federal agents have taken actions to detain and deport our law abiding neighbors while tearing families apart. The California Assembly will soon vote to create these landmark protections for immigrant families living in California. Tell your Assemblymember to vote Yes on The California Values Act (SB 54).

SIGN UP FOR LWVC ACTION ALERTS  HERE

Affordable Housing 
City of Santa Clara Impact Fees, and Affordable Housing Week, San Jose

City of Santa Clara Affordable Housing and Impact Fees

April Meetings with Working Group before recommendations to City Council in May
Tuesday, April 11 and Tuesday, April 25, 2:30 - 4:30 p.m

Topics for Discussion:
- Residential For-Sale Inclusionary Requirement
- Affordability Levels
- Impact Fees Applicable to Residential Development
- Impact Fees Applicable to Non-Residential Development
 

Affordable Housing Week in San Jose, May 12-19

Affordable Housing Week (AHW) is a week-long celebration of affordable housing and effort to bring our diverse community together to raise awareness, educate, engage, activate, and unite around affordable housing issues and how we can work together to make Santa Clara County a more affordable place to live for all of our residents. This year's theme, #ItsUpToUs, Silicon Valley, emphasizes the need for collective action and unification around the idea that everyone should have access to a safe, stable, and affordable home.

Volunteer Opportunity - Registering Voters, April 25th
By Suzanne Sikora, Voter Service
On April 25, the League of Santa Clara/San Jose will participate in an event to register new United States Citizens.  

There will be three voter registration time periods:
10:30 - 11:30 am
1:30 - 2:30 pm, and
3:15 - 4:15 pm  
 
Please email me at:  Suzanne  if you would like to participate in this event.

LWVBA Biennial Council, 2017 Annual Meeting
April 29, 9:30am - 12:00pm in Sausalito
LWVBA Council will present an overview of our regional work - discuss our purpose, Position Papers, Board member assignments, and education strategies for League Day and the Monitor Publication. We will also share our strategies regarding addressing the fiscal sustainability of the Monitor, solicit your thoughts and suggestions about its future. We will also invite you to join us in our efforts as part of our Observer Corps.
Speaker: Melissa Breach, Executive Director
League of Women Voters of California

9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Bay Model Visitor Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito 94965

Cost: $25 per League (covering voting members) | $10 for each non-voting member
                                                                                        EVENT INFO HERE

LWV California Convention 2017
June 1 - June 4, Sacramento - REGISTER TODAY


When: Friday, June 2 - Sunday, June 4
with add-on events on Thursday, June 1.
Where: Sheraton Grand Hotel, in Sacramento CA
Cost: Full registration is $450
(early bird rate at $395 ends April 15)
More information to be added, so please check back often!

Speakers confirmed:
Alex Padilla, Secretary of State
Darrell Steinberg, Mayor of Sacramento
Celinda Lake, Lake Research Partners
Chris Hoene, California Budget and Policy Center
Lisa Garcia Bedolla, Professor, UC Berkeley
Jill E. Darling, USC Center for Economic and Social Research

 REGISTER for CONVENTION Today!

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 or Suzanne Sikora.

LWV Presents: Insights and Perspectives
Comcast Channel 30, Mon, 7:30pm and Sun, 4:30pm; Ch 27, Wed, 5:30pm
The best way to describe Channel 30 and Bay Voice Channel 27 is TV "by the community for the community." Channels 30 and 27 air non-commercial, member-produced videos that educate, express views, and expose talents to the San Jose community and beyond.  
Don Rocha
Don Rocha, Rosaleen Zisch

Schedule of Airings in April (partial list)
Channel 30, Mon, 7:30pm, Sun, 4:30pm
Channel 27, Wed, 5:30pm 
        
Weeks of April 10 and April 24
Rosaleen Zisch interviews Don Rocha, City Councilmember, District 9.

Weeks of April 3 and April 17
Gloria Chun Hoo interviews Sharon Winslow Erickson, City of San Jose Auditor

Sharon Wilson Erikson
Sharon Wilson Erickson, Gloria Chun Hoo
March Recorded Broadcasts:
Rosaleen Zisch interviews Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County Supervisor VIDEO

Roslaeen Zisch interviews Damon Gustafson, Executive Director, Bay Area Glass Institute    VIDEO

CREATV CHANNEL 30 Live Streaming from your computer 
Watch CREATV Channel 30 shows on your  computer with an internet connection. 
Helen Hayashi, Woman of Distinction
Mentorship Honoree, District 15
By Judy Chamberlin
Helen Haybashi honored
Judy Chamberlin,Sen. Jim Beall, Helen Hayashi, Suzanne Malone, Sally Pyle, Trudy La France
What a great day to see Helen Hayashi honored as a Senate District 15 Woman of Distinction by State Senator Jim Beall. In presenting the award Senator Beall referred to meeting Helen when she worked for Mayor Susan Hammer. The City Council was comprised of a majority of women, and he was a  young councilmember (28). 

Hayashi has played an instrumental role in preserving the heritage of San Jose's historic Japantown and is  president of the Japantown Community Congress of San Jose.  She has also served on the city's Project Diversity Screening Committee, now known as the Council Appointment Advisory Commission, reviewing and interviewing candidates for appointments to municipal boards and commissions. She is a former staffer to Congressman Norman Mineta and San Jose City Councilmember Alice Woody. 

Helen is a longtime LWV member and has had major commitments to the YWCA, the city, and, I will add, her church. Senator Beall issued the award for her lifetime of "Mentorship". Congratulations, Helen! Richly deserved! 
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.

April 20 Lunch with League
April 25 Register Voters
April 29 2017 Biennial Council, Bay Area Council - Sausalito
May 6 Board Meeting
June 1-4
LWVC State Convention
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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