Lively Election Meetings

Karen Nelson and others listen to candidates debating

Program Chair Carol Stone organized a series of lively and well-attended election events, starting off in the summer with debates between supporters and opponents of the West Berkeley Plan changes, Measure T, and the “Sunshine Initiative,” Measure U. About 60 community and League members challenged the speakers with vigorous questions, as reported in our September Voter.

Equally well attended was the candidate debate at the fall meeting. Candidates for contested districts 2, 3 and 5 expressed their differing views clearly, particularly on the West Berkeley measure, and, surprising everyone, generally agreed in opposing or criticizing the “Sunshine” initiative, as reported in our October Voter.

Members reviewed the pros and pons on the State Propositions at the October “Conversation” at Albany Library and learned, from our own expert Anne Henderson, how the state League decides its positions on these measures. About a dozen different groups heard at their own September and October meetings the pros and cons on the state props–as presented by League members who volunteered and trained to provided this community service, including Mim Hawley, Bill Chapman, Diz  Swift, Nancy Bickel, Sherry Smith, Carol Stone Sarah Miyazaki, Dean Metzger, Angharad Jones, Phyllis Gale, Jean Safir and Helene Lecar.

The Civic Engagement and Global Studies Clubs at Berkeley City College, the Berkeley Adult School, a fifth grade class, two different chapters meeting at the Center for the Blind, Senior Centers, including two for Japanese- and Chinese-Americans. and civic and church groups–all requested League speakers–some very far in advance and some belatedly.  Leaguers accepted the challenge.   Bobbie Spike reported that she had a delightful time responding to John Muir teacher Maggie Knutson request to speak to her fifth grade class about voting rights. “We did a ‘secret ballot’ on Propositions 30 [to fund schools and government services] and 1A [to raise taxes for Oakland Zoo]. Both won overwhelmingly,” Bobbie recalled. The student vote coincided with the adult vote on November 6.

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