Dear Fellow League Members,
The LWVFNUC Board held a retreat and our first Board meeting in early August at the Starr ranch. Our retreat is a good time to take a step back and discuss our goals and priorities for the coming year. Our primary focus was on growth for the long term through mentoring new members, especially youth. We discussed ways of doing our “bread and butter” league work using the diversity, equity and inclusion lens. The scenic environment, Alex and Peter’s warm hospitality as well as several goodies contributed by attendees, helped facilitate a very pleasant and productive meeting.
We also discussed some “hotbed” issues in the Tri-City area, specifically the issue of the growth of the number of the unhoused. Ultimately, at our follow up Board meeting at the end of August, the Board voted to take a position of support for the Housing Navigation Center proposes by the City of Fremont. We did not specifically take a position on the choice of a location as we felt that the City of Fremont staff and Council, working with the service provider, Bay Area Community Services, would be able to arrive at an appropriate location. You can read our summarized statement in this voter.
The 100th anniversary celebration committee has been quite busy planning for more events in honor of the 100th anniversary of the League of Women Voters. The League was born on February 14th 1920 shortly after both houses of Congress passed the 19th amendment on June 4th 1919. However, the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote nationally, was not ratified until August 18, 1920 and finally took effect on August 26, 1920. Speaking of the 19th amendment, Elaine Weiss’s book “The Women’s Hour” is a fascinating read about the last crucial, dramatic and nail-biting fight to get the Tennessee Legislature to ratify the 19th amendment, without which, women’s voices might still have been stifled. I highly recommend the book.
We invite all of you to join in the celebration as well as volunteer your time and talents to creating a more perfect democracy.
Summary Statement of Support for a Housing Navigation Center in the City of Fremont
September 2, 2019
The increasing incidence of persons who are unhoused in the Tri-City area must be addressed for the benefit of all—for these individuals, as well for everyone living and working in our communities. Communities that have hundreds or even thousands of unhoused people cannot be considered to be healthy, effective or compassionate. The League of Women Voters of Fremont, Newark and Union City supports policies and services for those who are vulnerable and homeless, and who need support in meeting their basic human needs and thus, stabilizing their lives.
Based on our review of the services to be offered by the proposed Housing Navigation Center (HNC) by the City of Fremont and administered by Bay Area Community Services (BACS), we support building an HNC in Fremont as we believe it offers a promising pathway to housing the unhoused. Moreover, it is accompanied by an array of supportive services provided by social service professionals who have had success with a similar facility in a nearby location.
We understand that one Housing Navigation Center will not completely solve the very complex problem of homelessness in our communities. However, it can be a critical first step toward stemming the tide of human suffering due to living on the streets for both the unhoused individuals as well as the community as a whole. For the long term, we believe it is important for the City and County to develop permanent supportive housing necessary to ensure that those navigating off our streets can realize a permanent and supportive home.
The League of Women Voters of Fremont, Newark and Union City would like to thank the City of Fremont staff, the Chief of Police, and the City Council, for holding multiple public forums and providing residents opportunities to voice concerns, make recommendations and ask important questions. This input is critical in a vibrant democracy. At some point soon, the City Council must vote to implement solutions.
For our full statement, you can visit our website at lwvfnuc.org.
The Board of Directors of the LWVFNUC held its regular meeting on Monday, August 25, 2019 and discussed the following:
The Vanishing Congress: Reflections On Politics In Washington by Jeff Bergner.
Drawing on his long experience with Congress as an insider (Congressional staffer) and an outsider (public policy professor), the author offers insights on the Senate today. He argues that over time, Congress has ceded much of the power given to it by the framers of the Constitution, to the executive and judicial branches. This book argues for changes, large and more importantly small, that can restore the Congress to its role as envisioned. His examples and explanations cover rules and procedures, money in politics, political parties, budgets, and more. He asserts that “…if and when Congress decides to act in a unified way, there is no stronger force in American politics.”
We will try to include recommended Reading
and Viewing in each Voter.
HBO miniseries Chernobyl. This 5 part series documents the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. It was well done, engaging, and ended with an update on the people portrayed in the series.
Voting MattersSummary from the article How to Mobilize Reluctant Voters
IF VOTING DIDN’T CHANGE ANYTHING
We’d Still Have:
by Melissa Michelson
Is it possible to mobilize people who seem uninterested in voting? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” But each of us must exert a bit more effort to encourage those reluctant to vote. What rallies these voters is repeated personal contacts. Field experiments conducted across six electoral cycles in communities with a history of low participation show what actually get people to the ballot box—door-to-door visits and live phone calls (not robo calls). Phone banks where a potential voter is contacted twice are also effective.
Social interaction, especially for low-income citizens of color, is so unexpected that it can be meaningful. It can change their self-image to the sort of person who goes to the polls on Election Day. Voting even once can become habit forming and reinforce the person’s self-identification as “a voter” long after his/her initial interaction with the canvasser. What’s more, the effect tends to spill over into the household boosting others’ voting participation.
Actions not as effective are appeals to ethnic or racial solidarities that emphasize ethnic empowerment. Rather, general appeals to “civic duty” or telling people how to go about voting yield the best results.
So, at election time, we should each commit to personal contact with those we know haven’t voted recently and see what a difference we can make.
Schools & Communities First - for LWVC Members
Are you interested in learning more about the Schools & Communities First campaign? Would you like to help develop some League-specific material?
We have a first-time webinar specifically for League members scheduled for Sept. 12, at 12 noon. Join us, learn about the campaign, and help us shape future training. The webinar will be recorded, and we’ll share the link to that on this list.