The annual state League convention was a prime example of grassroots democracy (and a lot of fun, too). The delegation, which included members of dozens of Leagues, approved four key issues to address from 2013-2015: Money & politics, education, health care, and water. Our delegates were LWVSF Board Members Chandra Friese and Maxine Anderson.
Check out the following account of the convention from Chandra Friese:
More than 260 delegates from 52 Leagues across the state convened in San Jose on May 17 for the 2013 LWVC Convention. In addition to the full Order of Business which was conducted each day from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., there were workshops dealing with healthcare reform, Smart Voter, money in politics, fundraising, pro/con videos, website success, and the California state budget, to name a few. Caucuses on early childhood education, electing more women, carbon emissions, news media, community college, and internet voting, among others, were available from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 in the evening.
There was no shortage of ways to become engaged in topics with which we were familiar, and topics of which we would have liked to learn more. The challenge was how to choose which meetings to attend.
One of the most useful to next year’s Advocacy co-chairs was the intensive hands-on workshop entitled “Taking Action in Your Community,” which covered advocacy in the local league environment. We took a hypothetical “campaign” through the steps to identify the message, form coalitions, get good media coverage and motivate members.
In addition, there was an actual controversy over whether or not to approve a non-recommended study of public higher education in California. While delegates all understood the challenges and need for action on higher education, at issue was primarily the LWVC resources available, both financial and staff, to conduct such a study. The pro and con microphones were humming with long lines of delegates making the case either way. In the end, on Sunday, a new study was approved, and anyone who would like to participate in getting this study underway is encouraged to contact the LWVC.
Our panel on direct democracy was informative, engaging, and definitely feisty. Members of the public gathered at the San Francisco Public Library on May 9 to listen to the latest insights on initiatives and referendums. The panel featured California Crackup co-author Joe Mathews, University of California Hastings College of the Law Professor Michael Salerno, and the statewide I&R Study Leader Helen Hutchison.
Here are some memorable quotes from the panelists:
Hutchison on how citizens can improve the initiative process in California: "Inform yourself, and then inform your neighbors." And then continue to broaden the informed circle, she added.
Mathews on California initiatives: "You have to have your head examined before you vote on an initiative in California."
Salerno on the initiative process in California: "It's mind-boggling that each and every campaign contribution isn't disclosed the moment it's made." The technological capability to immediately disclose each contribution exists, he said.
We will post video footage from the event soon at the website.
LWVSF Annual Meeting
Saturday, June 8, 2013,
9:30 a.m. - noon
The Hobart Building, 582 Market Street, first floor, San Francisco
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 989-8683.
League Summer Membership Tea
Sunday, August 4, 2013 | 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Please RSVP to email@example.com or (415) 989-8683 for location.