Homelessness & Affordable Housing:
Volunteer Charlotte Wheeler and Action Team Intern Kai Kai Spencer are tracking the implementation of Measures O & P, which were passed in Berkeley two years ago. There are commissions for both measures that are set up to ensure that the monies are spent as intended for affordable housing and services for unhoused people. As of now the commissions are suspended and will not meet until at least May 11. The team is also following the development of People’s Park in Berkeley that plans on building both student and supportive housing on the UC Berkeley property.
Charlotte and Kai Kai are also following how local and state authorities provide services to homeless people during the pandemic as “shelter-in- place” orders tighten. In the future, Kai Kai will also be tracking Measure C, a bond measure intended to fund affordable housing projects in Emeryville that was passed in 2018.
Climate Change Team:
Eric Arens, the leader of the climate change team, gave a rundown of the team’s priorities and activities. “The League here, in Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville, we are making electrification the main issue, so getting houses to be all electric,” Eric said.
The team has attended multiple electrification fairs put on by the City of Berkeley and other organizations in the past few months. At the fairs the League has had a table where members talked with the public about electric cars, heat pumps and induction stoves. Another fair the League attended was at the David Brower Center. It was hosted by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and featured movies and a panel discussion about climate change. The team also had a table at this event and had members along with the President of the Golden Gate Electric Association speak about cars, solar cells and batteries. The climate change team is having a virtual meeting on March 31st and has future plans to collaborate with the Oakland League.
Schools & Communities First!:
The Schools & Communities First! team has been a part of a large statewide effort to amend Prop 13. In the past few months, the League has collected signatures in Alameda, Contra Costa and other neighboring counties to put the latest version of the proposition on the November ballot. This round of signature gathering for the proposition, which contained amended language, ended on March 6th.
“So far, Helen Hutchinson, the immediate past president of the League of Women Voters of the State of California, has told us that we have received enough signatures to qualify this version,” Elise Mills, a leader of the Schools & Communities First team, said. This latest iteration has not officially been recognized by all of the counties yet, but it is expected to be on the ballot in November.
Over the next period, the team anticipates meeting virtually and the state League encourages writing to local newspapers about particular aspects of this effort to get more public support. Before the election in November, the team plans on having trained speakers go and talk to organizations in the area about Schools & Communities First!.
The voter services team geared up to educate the public about critical propositions and measures for the March 3rd election. They created pros and cons for local measures and propositions as well as candidate videos. Voter’s Edge, which can be accessed at our website, can be used to look up your ballot and provide information about the candidates, measures and propositions specific to your area. On the night of the primary, President Ruby MacDonald gave a pros and cons talk at William Byron Rumford Housing Development to better inform voters. The results of the March 3rd election have been updated on our website and the final vote count will be on April 2nd.
Inter-league Meeting with Buffy Wicks:
On January 31st, LWVBAE Board members, Jinky Gardner and Elise Mills, met with Assembly Member Buffy Wicks along with representatives from the Oakland and Piedmont Leagues. In the meeting, each League representative had the chance to introduce themselves and the main issues that their Leagues are focusing on. LWVBAE’s program priorities are climate change, homelessness and affordable housing, Schools & Communities First!, and voter services in the 2020-21 year. In the meeting, attendees discussed action that Buffy Wicks has taken, including writing and putting through legislation that aligns with the League’s priorities.
-Kai Kai Spencer
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