Immigration issues in Marin Highlight Fall Kickoff

Here are snippets of what we can now see in the clouds of immigration, as offered by Public Defender Jose Varela, San Rafael Police Chief Diana Bishop, Canal Alliance Director Omar Carrera and West Marin advocate Maria Niggle:

  • Everyone in the United States who is not Native American (indigenous) comes from an immigrant family.
  • Fifty years ago there was no border between the United States and Mexico.  Residents walked freely between countries as neighbors, co-workers, friends, family.
  • Today more Mexicans are leaving the United States than are coming in – because the Mexican economy is improving.
  • Immigrants come to the United States for jobs - and jobs are plentiful here in Marin County.
  • Fear in the local immigrant communities is pervasive and contagious.  West Marin maintains a telephone hotline to alert residents of impending ICE raids.  Residents in the Canal report being afraid to leave their homes. 
  • Crops are dying in American fields today because farm workers are not coming out to work.
  • Children have been taught what to do when (not if) their parents are taken away during the day and don’t pick them up after school.  Worse:  children are being taken out of school.
  • Congressman Jared Huffman has established an Advance Authorization Form for immigrants to give his office permission to act on behalf of a detained immigrant.
  • In San Rafael, police are well trained to be advocates of safety for all residents, without regard to immigrant status.

What do you see in the immigrant clouds?  The League of Women Voters is paying attention; will you join us and our Kickoff speakers to help blow the clouds away?

It is Membership Renewal Time

It’s time once again to renew your annual membership in the League for 2017-2018 (September 1, 2017 through August 30, 2018).

Each member has been sent renewal instructions correspondence August 1. That mailing was followed by an email to your member address on file with us. The email contains a link to your member record where you can pay your membership renewal dues online.

In the event you did not receive the mailing, email or have other membership questions please contact us at:  memberdbadmin@marinlwv.org

We hope you’ll continue to support the League as we move into our ninth decade of civic activity in Marin County, reaching toward our 100th anniversary as a National League (in 2020).

At the July 12 Board Meeting

In spite of vacation absences and busy schedules, the League Board had another productive meeting. Here's some of what we accomplished:

Acknowledged Veda Florez' resignation from the League Board and from the Bay Area League's Inter-League Network as LWVMC representative.  Veda continues her League service as a Board member on the Bay Area League.

Appointed:

  • Suki Sennett to the Bylaws/Policies and Procedures Committee
  • Kevin Hagerty to the Transportation Authority of Marin's Citizens' Oversight and Expenditure Plan Advisory Committees, replacing Pamela Gach, who, with Steve, has moved to San Diego.
  • Regina Bianucci Rus as League Observer for the Novato Unified School District Board of Trustees
  • KC Casey as League Observer (one of many) for the Novato City Council

Discussed:

  • New Novato Cohort (next meeting is July 28; contact V-Anne for more information)
  • Member mentoring program (contact Michael)
  • Membership renewal process
  • Changes to voter service subcommittee
  • Directions to the Board from members' meeting on July  10

League Honors Outgoing Civil Grand Jury Members

Last Thursday (June 29) the League welcomed a dozen outgoing members of the 2016-17 Civil Grand Jury and heard stimulating summaries about their eight reports for this year. Outgoing Foreperson Jay Hamilton-Roth (left) opened the discussion with an amazing summary of lessons learned during the jury's year of serviceConversations among League members and jurors, coupled with champagne and appetizers, ate up the remaining hour of the event.

The very next day, eight intrepid League members who also happen to live in Novato met at the Novato Administrative office to launch a discussion about the possibility of pursuing League action in Marin's northernmost city.  The discussion was robust and broad, including some of our favorite program topics:  housing, transportation, education, healthcare and justice.  The self-named "cohort" plans to meet again on the fourth Friday of every month at noon to further craft education, advocacy and action for Novato League members.

Board initiates start of 2017-18 year

On, June 14, the new 2017-18 League Board met to start organizing itself for a new year.  Here's some of what was accomplished:

Appointed

  • Ann Wakeley to the Board
  • Michael Chernock to the Executive Committee
  • Julie Monson and Michael Chernock to the Nominating Committee
  • Annie Layzer to the Marin County Election Advisory Committee
  • Kay Noguchi as alternate to the TAM Citizens Oversight Committee 
  • Julie MonsonScott McKownKay Noguchi, Sondra Wuthnow and Elaine Biagini to the Education Foundation Board as Class "B" Trustees

Approved formation of a six-month ad hoc Bylaws Committee, which will also review League policies and procedures:

  • Linda Deer
  • Scott McKown
  • Julie Monson
  • Sondra Wuthnow
  • Michael Chernock
  • DeeDee Butori
  • Beverly Savitt

Approved formation of a Climate Change Committee (whose next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 6 at 9:45 a.m.)

Introduced several new initiatives that will be fleshed out in the coming months:

  • Observer Corps
  • Novato Cohort
  • "Third Monday"
  • Interactions with Sonoma and San Francisco Leagues

TRANSPORTATION/LAND USE/HOUSING COMMITTEE

On April 11 the committee heard Bill Guerin, San Rafael Director of Public Works, discuss the city’s transit-related issues.  There was good news about the relocation of the Bettini Transit Center when SMART begins service through San Rafael.  He said that only one of the bus platforms would have to be closed, and the others would be config-ured to allow the trains to go through without relocating the center and putting buses on the streets.   He said all parties were working together on the crossings between San Rafael and Santa Rosa and on the Larkspur extension and creating the multi-use path through San Rafael to Larkspur, for which the Transportation Authority of Marin would provide the funding.  Ideas for the permanent transit center are being considered, with no agreement yet; consultant Steve Kinsey is pushing for enhanced com-munity input.

On May 1 the committee sponsored the Membership Meeting that focused on housing options for seniors who want to age in place rather than move.  Leslie Klor, who has worked at the Whistlestop Senior Center and the Mar-in Housing Authority, spoke about housing options for seniors who want to share their homes to bring in extra income or support services.  Jean Gunn, Chair of the Nova-to Village Steering Committee, spoke about seniors who prefer to age in place without tenants but occasionally need the help of outside services to do that.  (Novato Vil-lage is an affiliate of the Marin Villages program.)

On May 9 the committee heard Kevin Haggerty discuss the inaugural meeting of the Highway 37 Policy Committee, composed of representatives from Marin (represented by the Transportation Authority of Marin), Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties.  The Metropolitan Transportation Agency is also involved.   It will deal with the future of the highway vital to the four counties but severely damaged by the winter storms and facing sea-level rise that caused some closures last winter.  The committee will meet quar-terly and attempt to reach consensus on how to meet the divergent goals and requirements of the four counties, pay the enormous costs involved, and find public support for the growing costs. 

LWVMC CA League Convention Delegates report

Our Marin League leaders – President V-Anne Chernock and Board members Veda Florez, Laurie Nardone and Michael Chernock – attended the California League’s biennial convention in Sacramento this month and came away with many amazing stories and ideas about strengthening the League here and across the state. 

California President Helen Hutchison commented in her opening remarks that the League has never experienced a time when we disagree with Washington on 100% of issues.  To that end, one of the state League’s new issues for emphasis 2017-2019 will be response to changing federal policies and budget actions that have an impact on California in areas such as health care, immigration, the environment, and tax return.  

Other issues for emphasis adopted at the convention were: 

  • Making democracy work in California, with a focus on election reform, voting rights, expanding the electorate, and money in politics 
  • Natural resources, including climate change, water, and land use/CEQA 

While much of the convention’s activities were focused on League business – adopting a budget and electing the new State Board – we had opportunity to attend interesting workshops, visit our state legislators’ offices, and network with sister leagues across the state.  We who attended will be incorporating what we learned into our own activities going forward into a new year.   

Annual Meeting Report

At our annual meeting on June 5, 2017, the League of Women Voters of Marin County elected Doug Cooper  (Secretary) and Nancy Bell to the Board of Directors for the next two years.  The next day, the new Board appointed Ann Wakeley to a one-year term. 

Other League members continuing in officer positions for 2016-2018 are V-Anne Chernock, President; Ann Batman, First Vice President; Laurie Nardone, Second Vice President; and Regina Bianucci Rus, Treasurer.   

Continuing Board members are Judy Binsacca, Michael Chernock, John Eells, Veda Florez, Linda Jackson, Anne Layzer, Julie Monson and Suki Sennett.
  
The Board bid a fond farewell to retiring Board members Elaine Biagini, Steve Gach and Marcia Hagen.