Making Democracy Work

Making Democracy Work

The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages. With more than 850 state and local affiliates nationwide, the League of Women Voters is where hands-on work to safeguard democracy leads to civic improvements. Join us in Making Democracy Work!

Obama's Selma Talk 2015

To read the text of President Obama's talk to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma walk for voting rights, click here

Agriculture Study Results

In 2014 our local League participated in a national study of agriculture policies. Results were announced at the June annual national convention. More info will be posted here soon.

Education Study Results

Our local League participated in the national study of the federal role in education. The position states: The League of Women Voters believes that the federal government shares with other levels of government the responsibility to provide an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12. A quality public education is essential for a strong, viable, and sustainable democratic society and is a civil right.

The League believes that the role of the federal government should include the following:(see website for complete text)

Education Position

Here is a summary of the results of our local League's study on this issue: Capo Bay Ed Study

Privitization Study Results

Our League participation in a study of the privatization of federal tasks. The national position is: The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that when governmental entities consider the transfer of governmental services, assets and/or functions to the private sector, the community impact and goals of such transfers must be identified and considered. Further, the LWV believes that transparency, accountability, and preservation of the common good must be ensured.

The League believes that some government provided services could be delivered more efficiently by private entities; however, privatization is not appropriate in all circumstances. Privatization is not appropriate when the provision of services by the government is necessary to preserve the common good, to protect national or local security or to meet the needs of the most vulnerable members of society. While the League recognizes that the definition of core government services will vary by level of government and community values, services fundamental to the governance of a democratic society should not be privatized in their entirety. These services include the electoral process, justice system, military, public safety, public health, education, transportation, environmental protection and programs that protect and provide basic human needs.

The decision to privatize a public service should be made after an informed, transparent planning process and thorough analysis of the implications of privatizing service delivery. While specific criteria will vary by service and local conditions, the League believes the following considerations apply to most decisions to transfer public services, assets and functions to the private sector: (complete text can be found at Privitization)

Do Initiatives, Referendums and Recalls Make Direct Democracy Work?

It has been 100 years since Californians adopted the three-legged stool of direct democracy:
  • initiative--passing laws directly by the people
  • referendum--repealing laws already passed by the legislature
  • recall--removing elected officials from office

In the intervening years, in statewide elections, the referendum has been used seldom and the recall only once. This year, the use of the referendum is breaking all records. Nine referendums were thrown into the hopper, covering topics that range from budget-related laws concerning the fire prevention fee and redevelopment, to the California Dream Act, to redistricting maps. Several have failed to qualify for the ballot, but others still bear watching.

Referendum voting often confuses voters. The question is asked in what is sometimes described as a "backwards" manner--whether a voter wishes to retain the law under question. A "yes" vote means keep the law as enacted by the legislature, and a "no" vote means repeal the law. Join the League and participate in the Initiative and Referendum Study. Members have access to a more detailed page of initiative and referendum resources on our members only Web site.

We also have a Facebook group for this study, which members and the public use to get to know one another, share news articles and videos, and discuss this issue.

Read more about the initiative and referendum study on the League of California's website.

End the Death Penalty

Join us in supporting the SAFE California Act, an initiative in circulation to collect the necessary signatures to qualify for the ballot. This initiative would stop executions and replace the death penalty with permanent imprisonment (life without the possibility of parole), including the conversion of existing death sentences to that alternative.

Sign up for email alerts, make a donation, and find more ways to get involved on the campaign site. The link is:

A War on Voting

Read a short article by our national president about what is going to to prevent people from voting. Click here:

Be A Consensus Builder

Become a Founding Member of the Consensus Builders! You may have noticed our board chair, Jenny Waggoner, striking a Rosie pose. Why Rosie? Today's Rosie would still be defending democracy by building consensus instead of war planes. This is why we have named our monthly giving program, Consensus Builders.

Consensus Builder benefits include invitations to special virtual events to talk with League leadership and experts on the work of the state League, recognition in a winter issue of the e-newsletter, acknowledgment on our Facebook page and a limited edition Consensus Builder temporary tattoo.

It takes so little to make a huge impact. Just $25/month will pay for free online training for up to 100 League members.

Please make your year end donation to the League of Women Voters of California today!

Redistricting Maps

Here is a link to the final district maps for the 53 California Congressional districts, 40 State Senate, 80 State Assembly and four Board of Equalization districts/. This link also shows the maps from the 2001 redistricting for comparison.

Opposition to SB 1786 0 air pollution

On behalf of our millions of members, activists, and supporters, we strongly urge you to oppose S. 1786. This pro-pollution plan would block the EPA's ability to clean-up life-threatening toxic air pollution. This bill is part of an extreme, ideological agenda and it will not create jobs, but it will cost lives.

Instead of focusing on strengthening the economy and growing jobs, it includes the REINS Act (S. 299), a bill that would actually create far more regulatory uncertainty by throwing every regulatory issue into the Congress. More pollution and uncertainty won't create jobs.

One of the most sweeping and radical bills ever to be considered by a Congress, REINS would undo more than 100 years of safeguards by allowing just one chamber of Congress to block law enforcement of existing statutory protections -- from worker safety, to public health, to Wall Street reform. This would make Congress the required arbiter of every technical question and business dispute, would allow a single chamber of Congress to stop any regulation, no matter what the substantive record showed, and, in one fell swoop, would effectively rewrite virtually every environmental and other regulatory statute by making their requirements unenforceable.

S.1786 also includes rollbacks for clean air standards that will protect public health by limiting dangerous pollutants like toxic mercury, arsenic, soot, and smog, from the nation's largest pollution sources, including incinerators, and cement plants. The bill's many other health and environmental rollbacks include an attack on the National Environmental Protection Act and unnecessarily delays life-saving standards.

Let us be absolutely clear: sacrificing tens of thousands of American lives will not create more jobs. Poisoning the air our children and our families breathe will not stimulate the economy. Burdening the American people with hundreds of billions of dollars in health and welfare costs will not lead to sustained economic growth. Sowing the seeds of massive economic uncertainty will not help the economy.

Now more than ever, the American people need their members of Congress to work together to solve the nation's problems in a bipartisan manner. We urge you to reject these polluter-led attacks on public health and instead focus on real solutions that grow the economy, not cost lives.


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