Happenings at LWVBA Biennial Council Meeting!

Photo of some Zoom participants

Timely updates on Bay Area matters were given at the May 1 Biennial Council Meeting of LWV Bay Area, the Inter League Organization or ILO of 22 local Leagues around the Bay Area, including 1) a report from 3 members of the LWVC Climate Task Force, 2) highlights of current action on state housing legislation by Michael Lane, the Policy Director of SPUR (acronym for San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, a non-profit think tank focused on regional planning and public policy in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1910) and 3) reports on Bay Area local League activities by attendees. LWVBA President Sherry Smith called the meeting to order, briefly greeted the group and introduced LWVBA Board Directors prior to the main program.

LWVBA Transportation Director Kathleen Cha introduced Diz Swift, leader of theLWVC Task Force on Natural Resources focusing on Climate Change, who described recent Task Force efforts (https://lwvc.org/climate-change-task-force). Two other Task Force members expanded on their special expertise: Candace Hyde-Wang on Wildfire Dangers and LWVBA Board Director Eric Arens on Electrification of Buildings and Vehicles.

SPUR Policy Director Michael Lane then gave a quick rundown on progress on SPUR-supported housing measures being pursued in the state legislature, including AB 71 to collect state revenue from special business sources for homelessness solutions, AB 602 on development impact fees, AB 215 to encourage governments to meet regional housing needs, SB 6 to allow housing developments in commercial zones if meeting certain criteria, AB 1090 to increase abysmally low homeownership rates in California, SB 9 to expedite permission granting for certain “infill” or additional housing units in single-family residential zones and SB 10 to allow building of up to 10 housing units if located in a transit-rich or jobs-rich area or on an urban “infill” site.

New LWV Bay Area Director Danielle Crider moderated the third and innovative Town Hall segment, in which local League members briefly described their Leagues’ recent accomplishments and/or current concerns. A variety of topics were covered: requests for suggestions on implementing Social Media (LWV Diablo Valley), prohibition of infill from wildfire zones (LWVBAE) [N.B. Housing Elements typically disallow infill in zones of wildfire and other dangers], DEI promotion (LWV Oakland), activism on housing and homelessness (LWV Napa, LWV Palo Alto, LWV San Jose/Santa Clara, LWV Oakland), recruitment of young people to become involved in various civic actions (LWV Eden Area, LWV Solano, LWV West Contra Costa County, LWV Fremont, Union City, Newark), outreach to minority and/or disadvantaged groups (LWV Sonoma, LWV Southwest Santa Clara Valley, LWV Oakland, LWVBAE).

An update on online Bay Area Monitor beginning July 1 by outgoing Monitor Editor Alec MacDonald, announcements on BART and Measure RR Oversight Board openings for LWV volunteers by Alex Starr and National Day of Action May 8 by Veda Florez ended the fruitful meeting. See accompanying video for complete recording of this event.

–Ruby MacDonald, President

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