A Year of Action – Annual Report

Diz Swift cu LWVBAE 2016Diz Swift, Vice President, Action

The year has been highlighted by advocacy at many levels and across a number of topics, with a focus on climate change. Adding to the effort as elections approach, we are ramping up with advocacy for ballot measures in the Primary Election and preparing for the General Elections.

Climate Change:  Our League has been actively working on climate change issues for over a decade, with advocacy at all levels.

Local:  Advocating for a local tax on natural gas in Albany. Participating on the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition Steering Team, with upgrading of Community Choice Energy (CCE) from the local to the county level. CCE is now being considered by Alameda County, rather than Berkeley alone.

Regional: Advocating for Measure AA (on June 7 primary ballot) to mitigate flooding related to sea level rise; the measure won by 75%.  Monitoring the Bay Area Air Quality District meetings and activities. Connecting with realtors and others to promote increased energy efficiency in buildings.

State:  Strong advocacy for SB 350 which passed in 2015, requiring an increase of renewables in California’s electricity portfolio to 50% by 2030, and an increase in energy efficiency in buildings by 50% by 2030.  Monitoring SB 32, which would extend the landmark AB 32 goals to 2050.

National:  Leading a national League effort to put a price on carbon emissions at state and regional levels (see PriceonCarbon.org).

Albany Action:  Our activity in Albany has increased significantly this year.  In addition to the effort to get an increased utility users tax on methane, we have supported multi-seat ranked choice voting, and school bond measures.

Emeryville Action:  We have a report on Emeryville at every Action meeting and have initiated a look at how proximity to public transportation affects property values and associated tax rates, based on Emeryville concerns.

Berkeley Action:  Expressed concern to Mayor and Council regarding the weakening of the Section 8 program administered by the Berkeley Housing Authority, and urged attention and action.  We supported the measure to have an independent redistricting commission for Berkeley in a manner mirroring the California method, which the LWVC strongly supported.  We also worked with a coalition to get public campaign financing on the ballot for November.

Election Action:  In the primary election we advocated for California Prop 50, Bay Area Measure AA and Albany bond measures B and E – all passed.  Advocacy included passing out nearly 2000 flyers, work with the Measure AA coalition, and tabling at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market.  We are in process of evaluating the ten potential Berkeley measures and eleven potential Albany measures for the general election [See story p. 6], and building a joint plan with Voter Services for the election season [See story p. 5].

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