October 28, 2021
Hello League member,
I hope this letter finds you and your family safe and healthy. This past year has brought many challenges, but also many opportunities to engage with our community and democracy here in San Francisco. We were featured in our first podcast interview with SF Public Press' Civic podcast and we were also included in the San Francisco Chronicle (also available through the SF Public Library), both focusing on local redistricting.
One of the highlights of the year was attending LWV of California’s convention in June where we voted on the direction the League should take at a statewide level. I look forward to hosting the next statewide convention in San Francisco in 2023!
I’m pleased to submit the 2020–2021 annual financial report to our members. Despite the challenging, ever-changing reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, the League of Women Voters of San Francisco has accomplished a lot this year. Importantly, we are financially stable. We provided nonpartisan resources to voters throughout the November 2020 and September 2021 elections, and we’re establishing diverse partnerships, building our programs, and improving our operations. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank all of our members, volunteers, and supporters for their time, energy, and resources. We have reached thousands of voters and educated the public in ways I could never have imagined.
Image: Women's Equality Day, August 2021
Community safety encompasses our existing work on policing practices and Observer Corps and incorporates a focus on housing and homelessness. Redistricting is a once-in-a-decade process, and we are focusing on at a local level from now until a new city supervisor district map is finalized in April 2022. Open government builds on our long-term commitment to fighting for government transparency and accountability here in San Francisco.
Our League has also provided educational resources to voters throughout the pandemic. With your support, we continue to engage and educate voters about the people running for office through our candidate forums and statements, and about local ballot measures through our Pros & Cons Guide, Speakers Bureau presentations, and pros and cons discussions.
LWVSF has started a new partnership with State Voices to learn more about unregistered voters, with a focus on young women who are not yet registered to vote. We hope to launch a targeted voter registration effort in the coming months. LWVSF continues to support Voter’s Edge, a website where voters can view nonpartisan information about the candidates and propositions on their ballot. Our members are already making preparations for future elections in San Francisco between now and November 2022.
Image: Police transparency interview, October 2021
In addition to providing voters with election-related resources, LWVSF has also advocated on issues aligned with our core values. This includes calling for open police district community meetings, making recommendations to the city for fair redistricting, collaborating with the state League, and calling on our Public Utilities Commission to work with the State Water Board to increase water flows in the Tuolumne River. I’m excited for the role our League plays in important issues like these and know that our voices will continue to be heard at City Hall.
LWVSF also hosted a number of important educational events this year. While we were unable to host some of our traditional member gatherings, we held other meetings virtually and added new events to engage and educate our San Francisco community.
In April we repurposed our usual spring meeting to focus on the importance of local redistricting with speakers LWV of California’s Helen Hutchinson and the chair of the 2011 SF Redistricting Commission, Eric McDonnell, as part of the League’s national People Powered Fair Maps campaign. In August we gathered to learn more about communities of interest and how this impacts local redistricting. Hundreds of community leaders came to these events, including many members of the newly appointed 2021 Redistricting Task Force!
Image: Redistricting letter, September 2021
Just this past month, we hosted a members-only meeting about housing and homelessness where we heard from representatives from Compass Family Services, GLIDE, Larkin Street Academy, and the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to discuss the systemic failures that put people and families at risk of losing their homes. We’ll continue to educate ourselves as League members on important issues like housing solutions.
LWVSF members continue to take on leadership positions in our communities. Our members hold seats on the Ballot Simplification Committee (BSC), which is critical for ensuring that voters have clear, easily understandable information about ballot initiatives, and the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force (SOTF), which ensures that transparency in government is upheld. We recently appointed new members to both of these seats: Ann Merrill is our new representative on the BSC and Jennifer Wong continues to serve on the SOTF. A huge thank you to Lauren Girardin for her time serving on the BSC — voters across the city greatly appreciated your passion for clean, clear, and concise writing.
Image: Tweet about redistricting from Supervisor Aaron Peskin, June 2021
LWVSF continues our dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion and we added language to our bylaws this year to hold ourselves accountable for the years to come. The board has committed to continued education through an online platform called Leaderosity, provided through LWV of the U.S. The board intends to bring what we learn to everything we do at our League.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve flourished with our strong online presence and are thinking towards a more hybrid and accessible structure moving forward. Our website and social media outpaces many similarly-sized organizations, and we’re very proud of the work our volunteers have done to improve our online presence.
In addition, we’ve rolled out Slack, an online communication platform, to all our members (look out for your invite in November!). With this tool, members can communicate with each other, see what committees are working on and discussing, and share articles and events. I’m looking forward to seeing even more members join this warm and engaging Slack space! Many members and committees have been using Slack for several months, and it is increasing transparency between committees and fostering community connections within our League.
As always, if you are interested in getting more involved with our League, please contact us at email@example.com. We are able to accomplish all we do thanks to the many hands that pitch in every year.
Thank you for your support of the League of Women Voters of San Francisco. As always, we welcome your input, comments, and feedback, and hope to see you soon at an event!
League of Women Voters of San Francisco
Image: March for Our Rights, October 2021