I’m optimistic and energized about the coming League year. We’ve recruited talented new board members to lead us into the future. We are poised to wage vigorous campaigns to register young people and under-represented groups and to fight ever more strongly to reduce climate change, expose dark money and big money in politics, strengthen our health care system, and work to reduce economic inequality and win a living wage for everyone. And, heads up, LWV California is joining an effort to fix Prop. 13.
Three new studies will begin in the fall – California Higher Education funding and access [see box p.2]; and two related LWVUS studies: on the process of amending the Constitution as a way to change law or court decisions; and does the Constitution really indicate that money equals free speech and corporations are equivalent to people.
We thank our outgoing board for helping lead us to this effective future. Sherry Smith, who led the League for more than 10 years and extended her yeoman service when I became president; Pat Day, our secretary, who also helped organize outstanding community luncheons; Dean Metzger, who shared his long experience in local politics; and Carol Stone, whose passion for fair local government and battling climate change helped make our lobbying effective.
Some highlights of the past year
Our website, edited by Diz Swift and managed by Linda Carothers, won the award for best website in our category among all the California Leagues. As part of a team, I won an award for the best idea for a campaign to encourage voting and oppose big money in politics.
Renaming the South Berkeley Library. We joined forces with Charles Austin and hundreds of local residents to campaign to rename the South Berkeley Library for the remarkable local African-American leader Tarea Hall Pittman, whose weekly radio program “Negroes in the News” and work with the NAACP led to passage of the California Fair Employment Practices bill.
High visibility and effectiveness of our League at state and national levels: Our delegates and attendees at last year’s national and this year’s state conventions stood out for running effective campaigns to enable Leagues to lobby to raise minimum wages, learn more about economic inequality, fight more powerfully against climate change, and work for health care for immigrants in California.
Independent Redistricting Commission and Public Financing of Elections for Berkeley: our work continues on these two measures.
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