Berkeley Small Donor Public Financing Heads for the Nov. Ballot

Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Berkeley, CASix members of the Berkeley City Council voted to send the Small Donor Public Financing Measure to staff and requested that the City Attorney’s office  prepare the language for the ballot. Those voting yes: Anderson, Arreguin, Capitelli, Droste, Moore, Worthington.   This is the first step to putting the measure on the ballot. The League has been supporting putting the measure on the ballot.  The Council will not make its final decision about what will go on the ballot in July. The League board will also not make a final decision about whether to support, oppose or remain neutral on this and other local measures until July.  For more on the measure see update of earlier story.

Note: the League has also been supporting the measure that will create a Redistricting Commission to carry out the task of drawing lines for Council districts after each census.  As this has unanimous support from the Council, we believe this will be on the November ballot.

Vote with the League!How the League Makes Action Decisions on Ballot Measures

League members and the League Board will  consider whether to support this measure–and all the other measures on the Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville–in July.  The process that has developed in recent years is that  League voter service and action teams start gathering information about each of the likely ballot measures by June–looking at whatever written proposals and arguments are available, even though they may not yet be in the final form that will go on the ballot, and interviewing a few of the leading supporters and opponents of each measure.

Working together, the two teams then develop  preliminary “pro and con” written presentations summarizing each measure and the main arguments for and against  each.  The Action Team then identifies all League policy positions at local, state or national levels that may apply to each measure–and identify whether the positions would permit the League to support or suggest that the League oppose that measure.  If there is no relevant League position on the topic, the League takes no position.

These preliminary analyses are then published to the members and presented at a member Action meeting where League members can discuss each and advise the Board on whether they favor supporting, opposing or remaining neutral on each measure.  By mid-July, the Board considers and decides the League position on each measure and how strongly the League should act on that measure.

High Pressure Action Team Decision Making

If the League supports or opposes a measure strongly, we apply to the City Council team writing the ballot arguments on that measure –or in the case an initiative the group managing the measure– to join the team and help write the arguments and to sign our name to the arguments, since League policy requires that a League representative approve the language of the ballot arguments and campaign literature when our name will appear as a supporter or opponent of a measure.

If the League doesn’t have leaders or members who are well versed in the issue and in League policies and practices and available in late July through August, the League may decide not to sign a ballot measure and to take a more low-key position for or against–announcing our position after the official arguments are final and published in late August.

The Action Team participates in campaigning for League election positions at local, regional and state levels–taking part in the official campaigns–and publishes and distributes a “Vote with the League” flyer and disseminates our positions through social media, and perhaps public meetings or cable tv programs.

Voter ServicesVoter Services Team Intensive Work  on the Election

During July and August, the Voter Services Team goes on to further research and edit the initial pro-con presentations to produce carefully balanced and accurate pro and con publications for public distribution.  In fall of 2016 LWVBAE plans to publish a “Busy Voter Election Guide” with briefer treatment of each measure than in our traditional “Pros & Cons.”  Longer analyses may be published on our website––and disseminated through social media, press and –along with state election publications–distributed as widely as possible.

The Voter Services Team also plans to do recorded and/or live forums for key local elections and 2 minute candidate video statements for wider distribution–and possibly on the most important local ballot measures.  As time and people resources permit, we may speak to groups.

At the same time, the Voter Services Team will continue its heightened efforts to register and get out to vote as many citizens as possible–and particularly those generally under-represented in the electorate.  This includes

Nancy Bickel

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