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LWV - Sonoma County
555 Fifth St. Suite 300O
Santa Rosa, CA 95401 
Phone #: 707-546-5943
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The Voter-Summer 2022

Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

The Voter
Summer 2022
The official Newsletter of the League of Women Voters of Sonoma County.
Volume27, Issue 6
In This Issue:

Donna Roper

Your Sonoma League had three delegates to the national convention (the number of delegates is based on the size of our membership). I attended in person and Judie Coleman and Leona Judson attended virtually. Jim Masters was an observer for the convention. There was so much to learn and lots of people to talk with about future work in the League.

Notably, the 2022 Convention coincided with the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion. In her opening remarks, LWVUS board president Dr. Deborah Ann Turner reflected on her experiences as an obstetrician/gynecologist and the League's dedication to reproductive justice.

"We hold the power to create a more perfect democracy. Women’s rights are human rights, and we will continue to fight until the right to abortion is restored," Dr. Turner stated. "This is the work that the League of Women Voters does...We fight for our freedom. And that’s why we are here today at Convention." I was very inspired by our president, and she was voted in for another two- year term.

Many of us marched to the State Capital and joined Coloradoans (many of whom were young men and women) for inspiration to keep on fighting! It was good to be amongst like-minded people. It was heart warming to meet such passionate and smart League members throughout the convention and I came away thinking that the organization is in good hands.

Dr. Turner closed by announcing the League's next "moonshot" goal: abolition of the Electoral College. The League has long supported this goal due to the college's racist history and many shortcomings. The League will also keep pushing for other voting reforms through “Making Democracy Work”. There was also a resolution on passing the ERA as well as other areas of emphasis that our League supports – climate change, housing, criminal justice reform and gun violence prevention.

SO much work ahead of us! The Board will meet for its annual retreat to plan out the next year so watch this space for how YOU can get involved.

For details of the convention proceedings go the the Convention Web Page.

July 4th
Annual Members
Debbie McKay
Guest Speaker Presentation:Maraskeshia Smith, Santa Rosa’s City Manager, shared her background, education, and past accomplishments, her leadership styles and some of her priorities in her new role of City Manager. She plans to be a role model for young women so that they can see themselves in positions that have traditionally been male dominated. One of the reasons she accepted the City Manager position with the City of Santa Rosa is that she wants to make a difference. She saw challenges that she is ready and willing to accept.

Ms. Smith wants to bring back a “people’s government.” She said that she is here to listen to the public, to organizations, and to constituents. One of her goals is to refocus the city on basic services. We have been buffeted by so many disasters that the basics got lost, and maybe neglected. She let us know that she welcomes input and plans to be visible in the community. She looks forward to working with the League on areas of mutual interest. She then answered questions from the members in attendance.

Recognition: Donna Roper recognized Nancy Richard and Will Richards as Lifetime members. Unfortunately, Will passed away this month. He was a highly active member of the League serving in many rolls. His wit, intelligence, knowledge of the League and wisdom will be missed. Juanita Roland asked any member who has been a League member for 50 or more years to please let us know so that we may acknowledge them as well.
Donna also acknowledged Maureen Olson, who was a long-time member and passed way this year.

President’s Report:Donna Roper reported that we are rebuilding as COVID’s impact diminishes. Our League website is improving, and she encouraged anyone who needs assistance with signing in to contact Juanita Roland our Webmaster. Donna gave an overview of all the activities we have done this past year and acknowledge various member’s contributions.
Donna also looked forward into the new year 2022-2023. We will be doing more forums in the fall and most likely will continue to do them via Zoom, which enables many more people to view these events. We will be focusing on voter education in other ways such as more Learn with the League sessions.
Donna encouraged members to attend the book club meeting, or if that is not possible, to read the book selections as they are very informative and thought provoking. The Board will hold a planning retreat in August and Donna invited members to email her at with their input on where they would like us to focus our attention and resources.

2022-2023 Budget:The members approved the 2022-2023 budget. This will be a busy year in terms of election activity.

By-laws Revision:Linda Rosen and Juanita Roland explained that we need to revise our by-laws to reflect the move to ongoing renewals based upon join date rather than a fixed date. This renewal process is in accord with Club Express. The members approved the recommended by-laws changes.

Advocacy:Leona Judson reported on the activities of the committee and reviewed some of the issues we are following, including the current areas of emphasis for our local League and who is taking the lead on each issue: Making Democracy Work (All), Child Care (Leona Judson), Criminal Justice (Carrie Anabo and Judith Levy), Climate Change (Gene Zingarelli & Jan Randall), Housing/Homelessness (subcommittee has been formed), and Transportation (Rick Luttmann & Max Bridges).
Leona also mentioned two national issues: Reproductive rights and Ending Gun Violence. These are not areas of emphasis, but we will monitor these issues. She encouraged people to sign up for “bans off our bodies” and to sign up for action alerts from the State & National Leagues. Support for the enrollment of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) may help preserve women’s freedoms on reproductive rights.
Democracy on Fire: It is all about getting the vote out for the Fall Election. We will do this through Vote Forward to get voters in swing state to go to the polls and vote. We will be joining forces with AAUW to do letter writing campaigns. Members are encouraged to sign up for Vote Forward at . We will have group writing parties in the fall. We hope to collaborate with the Registrar of Voters to ID low voting communities in Sonoma County and we will write to prospective voters in those communities.

Membership:Judie Colman reported that we now have 138 members and she introduced some of the new members who were attending the meeting.

Voter Service:Karen Weeks reported that there is a small, but dedicated group of doing the work and forums. This year we did the Windsor Town Council, Supervisor District 4 race, and the Sheriff Race with La Luz. There is the possibility of a large number of forums in the fall. There will be training on how to conduct a successful forum at the next Voter Service meeting on July 7th at 2 pm. See the League website calendar for the Zoom link.
Youth Subcommittee: Lynn Dooley made a report on the Youth subcommittee. We registered over 100 students this past spring. We plan to increase these activities in the fall and will be providing more training for presenters. We are working with SSU’s Political Science Chair Dr. David McCuan, and we plan to continue to collaborate with him. These students are our future, and Lynn invited all members to join the effort. We receive a $1000 grant this year for these activities, and we hope to re-apply next year.

Nomination Committee: Susan Novak introduced the slate of Board and Officers recommended by the Committee: Donna Roper, President; Lee Lipinski, VP Administration; Leona Judson, VP Advocacy; Debbie Mc Kay, Secretary; Linda Rosen, Treasurer; Judie Coleman, Membership Chair; Juanita Roland, Communications Chair; Jim Masters, At-large; Karen Weeks and Therese Scherrer, Voter Service Co-Chairs. The new officers and board members were approved by the membership.

The following board seats are vacant: Program Committee Chair, Executive VP and Outreach Chair. If you are interested contact Susan Novak. Susan Novak agreed to serve as the Nomination Committee chair again for next year.

Fall Kickoff Meeting:Donna announced that the Fall Kickoff Meeting will be September 10th, hopefully in-person.

Volunteer Opportunities


Volunteer Opportunities—We invite you to Pick One

Staff the League’s Booth at the SR Wed Night Market: We will have a League table at the Santa Rosa Wed Night Market again on August 17th. You may sign up here

Peacetown Concerts:Concerts are held in Sebastopol and the organizers have agreed we may have a table at their performances each Wednesday from 4:30 pm on. If you are interested or want more information, you may want to contact Donna Roper or Carolyne Sybelle. The Peacetown concerts take place at the Barlow Center in Sebastopol. Send an email

Fall Candidate Forums:Help put on the fall candidate forums in September and October, contact Karen Weeks is a free training on July 7thin the afternoon. (See Below)

Learn with the League Presentations: Help put on these quarterly presentations by the Advocacy Committee on current areas of emphasis to inform our members and the public. Contact Leona Judson for more information

Making Democracy Work Presentations: The next one will most likely be after the fall election on Voting as a Civic Duty. These are presentations we do about 4 times a year in cooperation with the Marin County LWV. To learn more contact Debbie Mc Kay

Communications: Learn how to assist with our Newsletter, emails to members, or updating our Web page. Contact Juanita Roland

We hope one or more of these opportunities sparks your interest. We look forward to working with you in whatever way works best for you.


You are invited to --


  • Make New Friends
  • Meet Other League Members
  • Learn Something New


Volunteering is a great way to make new friends, learn new skills, or tune up rusty talents.



Opportunities to volunteer--


Candidate Forums:

It is going to be an exciting mid-term election in November.The community depends on us for non-partisan information about candidates, and hundreds of voters tune in to our forums.


It takes a village to put on forums and we anticipate the need for a number of them this fall, either independently or with a trusted partner. That means we needyouto help out with this essential part of the League. And we will teach you all you need to know to be successful!


We invite you to learn more onJuly 7th at 2:00 pmat the Voter Service meeting where we will provideFREE TRAININGon the various roles needed to put on a forum.Take the training, and then decide.
ClickHEREon July 7th at 2:00 pm.

If you would like to participate in some way or are just curious about the different roles, please attend.
Have Questions? Send an email to Karen Weeks, Voter Service Co-chair,

Pro/Con Forums. Help local votersunderstand ballot measures through our informative Pros /Cons forums. And you guessed it -- we depend on League members likeyouto do the research and presentations. We also need help behind the scenes with the publicity and Zoom. There are many different roles you can do to make these a success. And we will partner you with other League members.


If you want to know more about helping out on Pros/Cons, please email Karen Weeks

If you are interested in helping in ANY way, send us an email

Voter's Edge

Sue Jackson, Coordinator

A Bipartisan Online Resource for Voters


Notes from the June 7thPrimary Election

Voter’s Edge Sonoma County can boast one of the highest candidate participations in recent state elections - 76% of the county’s candidates participated, giving our readers critical information about their positions on vital local and statewide topics, their education and experience, priorities, political philosophies, as well as their responses to questions submitted by individual members:

“Thanks, Voter’s Edge. You really helped this new CA voter.”


“As a newcomer to this county, Voters Edge is a lifesaver and I forwarded to some friends as well.”


“All my friends use Voters Edge.”


“As someone new to CA, the 4-page ballot was daunting at first... but then I tapped into Voters Edge and found exactly what I needed. I shared this info with my community of 30 voters.”


“I love the new section that includes questions submitted to candidates by League members.”


Next up:November 8thConsolidated General Information

Check out Voter’s Edge for current information about these races at

Getting More From Our Website
Membership Renewal

Renewing Your Membership on Our Website


Membership renewal for most of our members is in process. If your renewal date coincideswith thefiscalyear and you haven't yet renewed, please do so soon. Either way, active members will receive an email renewal reminderwhentheir membership is due to expire. They will also see the following when they log onto the website.

When you get this reminder, please follow the link to the renewal section. You will first be asked to verify that you information is up to date and your membership type is correct. Once these steps are completed, you will proceed to the payment screen.


Renewal 2

First you must select your payment method. You may pay by either credit card via PayPal or check. You do not need a PayPal account to use PayPal, and it is the quickest for everyone. Just select PayPal and click on the PayPal button, which will take you to the screen to enter your credit card information. Once you complete these steps, your renewal is complete, and your membership is extended for another year.

If you prefer to pay via check, there is a button at the bottom of the screen that allows you to print a copy of the invoice to mail in with you check. This helps our office to process you payment correctly. Please remember whenever making payments to send accompanying paperwork so our treasurer doesn’t have to guess your intentions. If you do pay by check, please note that you will continue to see a reminder until you check arrives and is processed in our office.

Please remember to click thesubmit paymentbutton to finalize your payment, whichever method you choose.

If you need help navigating this process, or you have questions, you can contact Juanita Roland atcommunications@lwvsonoma.orgor Judie Coleman

We hope you will renew as soon as you get your reminder. There is much work for the League to do, and we need you help.


LWVSC Calendar


Coming Events

Check theOnline Calendarfor the latest schedule

and for location or links to virtual meetings.

Fall Kickoff Meeting, Saturday, September 10, 2022, 10:30 AM until 12:00 PM, Location to be Announced




Standing Meetings

Please note that some committees may not meet during the summer months. See the Online Calendar for the most current information.
  • Board of Directors,1st Saturday of the month from 10:30 AM to Noon, No July meeting.
  • Advocacy Committee-1st Wednesday of the month from 10:00 AM to Noon
  • Voter Service Committee- 1stThursday of the month from 2:00 to 3:00 PM
  • Book Group: 3rd Thursday of the month from 10:30 AM to Noon
  • Observer Corp , MostFridays, 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM. Check calendar for meeting that apply to you and to register..


Debbie McKay, Sectreary
Board Retreat: Donna announced that the Board Retreat will be the first Saturday in August, which is August 6th. We hope to meet in person. Debbie Mc Kay offered her backyard as a possible location.

Executive Committee Actions: The actions approved by the Executive Committee in May were approved: The League’s participation in Vote forward, approval of the letter presented by Debbie Mc Kay for contact with voters in Sonoma Count, and the purchase of up to $500 worth of Forever Stamps to be used by members in the Vote Forward program and other letter writing campaigns.

The Executive Committee reached consensus to go ahead with a new Learn with the League presentation for the June Primary and approved letting participants know who the incumbents are. The Ex. Committee also agreed to do a debrief after the event to decide if we want to change anything about how we provide this information and to decide if we will do similar events in the future.

Awards: Various Leagues have been nominated to receive an award at the National Convention. Any League member can vote on these and they have some good ideas that we may want to consider for next year.

National Convention:
Jim Masters is an observer. Our delegates are Donna Roper attending in person, and Leona Judson and Judie Coleman attending online.

Leona Judson, VP

Some Highlights from our Areas of Emphasis

Housing Report- Advocacy covers several housing agencies in the county. Barbara Coen follows the Santa Rosa Housing Authority.Their rental housing assistance program provides funds for the section 8 voucher program. The SRHA Santa Rosa Housing Trust partners with many other organizations to provide funding for affordable housing projects in SR.The agency just celebrated their 50-year anniversary.


We also follow the county Continuum of Care Committee CoC), which is part of the Sonoma County Community Development Commission. The CoC oversees homeless services throughout the county. The committee consists of members from all the cities as well as key providers of services. Therese Scherrer & Leona Judson follow the Strategic Planning committee under the CoC. This committee recommends to the CoC board homeless projects, provides oversight, etc. At their last meeting there was an interesting presentation about a state-wide case management program for at-risk individuals on Medi-Cal called CalAIM. Prospective clients would be the homeless, those with mental illness, high users of the ER and others. These clients would have certain benefits not available to others on MediCal.


The city of Santa Rosa is in the process of updating their housing element as required by California law. The plan includes proposed number of housing units for all income ranges.Santa Rosa will need to produce a total of 4,685 units over the next eight years. Of that, 1,218 will be for very low income group. To learn more about the housing element plan go to:


Athena House-This drug & alcohol recovery program for women & their children will have to close their doors. TheCalifornia Human Development, who has provided the funding for this organization that resides in the old Stone House, can no longer afford to. The NOW organization recently held an informational virtual meeting that several members of our league attended, including one of our newest members, Mary- Frances Walsh. She also is the executive director of the Sonoma County chapter of NAMI. There are many organizations and individuals that want to see this model program survive. Mary-Frances will make their various support groups available to their clients for free.


Childcare-Our Kids Our Futureorganization has gathered enough signatures to possible qualify a tax measure for the November ballot. This would be 1/4c sales tax that would fund greater access to childcare and early childhood education. The First 5 Sonoma County Commission would administer to funds. It has been widely endorsed by many elected officials and organizations. Go here for more information: tuned on this one.


Criminal Justice-The long running battle between two labor unions for law enforcement and IOLERO, the independent oversight committee of the sheriff’s department, has finally been settled. IOLERO can now move ahead in their authority to investigate citizens complaints. This is good news. For more information on this go to:


Learn With the League-Our next public forum will likely take place in September as part of our annual “Kick off” meeting. The topic will focus on the unsheltered: how to move forward. Although recent threats to our democracy, this could change. Again, stay tuned.


All are welcome to our Advocacy meetings, which take place on the first Wednesday of each month at 10 AM. If you just want to receive our minutes to stay informed e-mail me and I will put on the list.

Youth Outreach Programs

Lynn Dooley, Coordinator



The 2021-2022 school year ended in June marking the end of a very successful year for the Youth Outreach Committee’s In-Classroom program. Our fabulous presentation team: Elaine Covell and Nancy Lewis held 20 classroom sessions, spoke to over 500 students and registered or pre-registered 178 students.


Our league was awarded a Youth Grant from the national League of Women Voters’ Education Fund which our in-classroom team put to good use. It allowed us to print and distribute a number of valuable handouts to the students. We printed some eco-friendly pens with “Your Vote is Your Voice” on them alongside the League website for distributions. And, some, “Don’t Just Vent, Vote” posters for distribution to the classrooms and Sonoma County Libraries with teen programs. It has been a real boon to our program!!


We will be starting up the in-classroom program again at the end of July to start working with schools again at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. This will be an especially important program leading into the midterm election.


We will also be starting up our partnership with Sonoma State University again in the Fall semester, also in time for the midterms.





There is no more crucial a time to be involved!


Please contact Lynn Dooley





July 15, Moderated by Jan Randall

The Code Breaker, Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, by Walter Isaacson, 560 pages, 2021.

Doudna and Charpentier — one American, the other French — are the sixth and seventh women to win the chemistry Nobel in its century-plus history. The landmark research that brought Doudna and Charpentier to the pinnacle of global acclaim in 2020 has the potential to control future pandemics — either by outwitting the next viral plague through better screening and treatment or by engineering human beings with better disease resistance programmed into their cells. The technique of gene editing that they patented, which goes by the unwieldy acronym of CRISPR-Cas9, makes it possible to selectively snip and alter bits of DNA as though they were so many hems to take up or waistbands to let out. Jennifer Doudna, a genuine heroine for our time, may be the code breaker of the book’s title, but she is only part of Isaacson’s story. The subtitle promises a wider reach: “Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race.” Isaacson devotes much anguished discussion to the ethics of gene editing,


August 19, Moderated by Carole Sunlight:


Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynastyby Patrick Radden Keeefe, 560 pages, 2021.

The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions—Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing a blockbuster painkiller that was the catalyst for the opioid crisis.

This is the saga of three generations of a single family and the mark they would leave on the world, a tale that moves from the bustling streets of early twentieth-century Brooklyn to the seaside palacesof Greenwich, Connecticut, and Cap d’Antibes to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C.Empire of Painchronicles the multiple investigations of the Sacklers and their company, and the scorched-earth legal tactics that the family has used to evade accountability. The history of the Sackler dynasty is rife with drama—baroque personal lives; bitter disputes over estates; fistfights in boardrooms; glittering art collections; Machiavellian courtroom maneuvers; and the calculated use of money to burnish reputations and crush the less powerful.

September 16, Moderated by Mary Fricker

The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter,byKai Bird, 628 pages plus bibliography and notes, 2021.

Remember Jimmy Carter? If you do remember him, it may be more for his post president activities than for what he did during his presidency. Although Carter’s one-term presidency is often depicted as a failure, his four years resulted in some formidable accomplishments, and, yes, some notable failures. Carter was not only an outsider, having no direct Washington experience, he was also an outlier as a born-again Christian and peanut farmer from the Deep South. His humility, honesty, and predilection for doing what is right, rather than political, made him unique but vulnerable, and he lost his re-election bid to Ronald Reagan. Kai Bird, an award-winning historian, delivers an evaluation of a leader whose legacy has been misunderstood and traces Carter’s administration with insights into the Oval Office, through Carter’s battles with the political establishment and the press, and his aggressive domestic and foreign agendas. In many ways Jimmy Carter was ahead of his time, which became more and more obvious as I read the book. The book reminds us what Americans can still learn from him today.

Connect with the League

We want to hear from you!
LWVSC Board of Directors

Contact Us

Donna Roper, President
Lee Lipinski, VP Administration
Leona Judson, VP Advocacy
Debbie McKay, Secretary
Linda Rosen, Treasurer
Judie Coleman, Membership
Open, Community Outreach
Karen Weeks, Therese Scherrer, Voter Service
Juanita Roland,, Web, Communications
Jim Masters, Member at Large

Some Useful Links
LWV of
LWV of the United




Join Us
League of Women Voters Sonoma County
555 5th St, Suite 300O
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
We'd love to have you join us. The most direct way to join is to go to our web sitehttps://www.lwvsonoma.organd click on theJoin Usbutton to fill in your contact information, preferences, and even pay your dues online, or you can print out your invoice and send it along with your dues to our office. If that does not work for you, you can fill out the information below and send it to us. Judie Coleman, is always available to answer your questions.
Individual Membership $75
Household Membership $110
Elizabeth Cady Stanton Membership $100
Carrie Chapman Catt Membership $200 or more

Additional Household Member: ____________________________________
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Membership dues and donationsare tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law

Here are some links of interest.
LWV Sonoma Web Site
LWV Sonoma YouTube Channel
555 Fifth Street, Suite 300O
Santa Rosa, CA 95401-8301
(707) 545-5943