Homelessness and Affordable Housing:
Charlotte Wheeler and intern Kai Kai Spencer continue to track the implementation of Berkeley Measures O & P. City of Berkeley commissions have started to meet again online. On May 10th the Homeless Services Panel of Experts met to discuss the city’s potential use of Measure P funds for issues unrelated to homelessness. The panel wrote a letter strongly urging the city to not do this and to keep the funds reserved for their stated purpose. Charlotte Wheeler has also drafted a letter to the Berkeley City Council and Mayor stating the League’s position against the use of funds in this way. The Homelessness and Affordable Housing Team is also staying up to date on local and state level actions regarding unhoused people during the pandemic.
The Climate Change Team has had to stop attending electrification fairs and in-person events due to the pandemic. Other organizations in the area have held events focused around wildfires and electrification via Zoom which people across the state have attended. In the past few months, the Climate Change Team has had a few meetings virtually to discuss current issues.
Eric Arens, the leader of the Climate Change Team, hopes to incorporate younger people, specifically high school students, into the Team and educate them on electrification, so that they can be involved in future events. “That’s the number one thing on my mind: how do we get more people involved?” Eric asked.
Face the Future:
Face the Future has not held any events recently because of the pandemic and other League events. LWVBAE President, Ruby MacDonald, hopes to hold an event centered around police reform. This could be a potential discussion focusing on reforming vs. defunding the police. This will hopefully take place in the coming months. There is not a set Face the Future Team, so no virtual meetings are taking place. However, President Ruby MacDonald hopes that the speaker series will become active again and that anybody who is interested in organizing these events will reach out.
Schools & Communities First!:
The Schools and Communities First! Team is continuing to prepare for the November election. They are looking to find more people who are interested in helping with the campaign and are strategizing on how to do this. The Team continues to meet regularly, but now virtually. In the future, they are hoping to collaborate with a teacher who has been campaigning for Schools and Communities First! and work with them on appealing to small businesses. This collaboration will hopefully make a bigger impact for the campaign as a whole.
The Voter Services Team is getting ready for the November election and the change to mail in ballots. LWVBAE President, Ruby MacDonald, explained that “We don’t know how the registrars will know voters who have changed their addresses, so it is unclear how many voters don’t have up-to-date addresses.”
She anticipates that updating addresses will be a part of the League’s voter registration drives in the coming months.
An expected kick-off meeting is scheduled for early-to-mid July to organize volunteers and what actions need to be taken. Although COVID-19 is changing the election and limiting in-person interaction, the Voter Services Team is still planning on doing their normal preparation for the election including writing pros and cons for all measures. They also plan to host candidate forums and speakers bureaus where groups in Berkeley, Albany, or Emeryville can ask for a speaker to discuss certain measures.
-Kai Kai Spencer
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