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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 - September 2022

Published on 9/4/2022
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

The Voter
September 2022
The official Newsletter of the League of Women Voters of Sonoma County.
Volume27, Issue 7
In this Issue:

Annual Kickoff Meeting
Saturday, September 10th
10:30 AM on Zoom

Please join us on Zoom Saturday, September 10that 10:30 AM for our Annual Kickoff Meeting. This is the opportunity where we discuss what we have lined up for a busy Fall election season and beyond. It’s more fun in person, but at least you don’t have to worry about parking. We’ll be talking about some of the following:

  • Partnership with Vote Forward the letter writing campaign targeting reluctant voters in swing states. We’ll have some in-person letter writing group as well. Debbie McKay’s Garden parties have shaped up to be big hit. She had her first party, and they wrote 300 letters! But we have other opportunities as well.
  • Candidate Forums-We are putting on a total of eight candidate forums throughout the county. Of course, they are all Zoom. We will have simultaneous Spanish translation. Karen Weeks and Therese Scherrer are busy coordinating the teams to put these on, no easy task. Check our calendar for forum near you.
  • Ballot Measures Pros and Cons: Wondering about the ballot measures for the November election? Lynn Dooley is heading up this effort. We are combining forces with the Marin league, and will soon have a presentation, which can be viewed on our YouTube channel as well as a live presentation to various groups.
  • Youth Outreach- Lynn Dooley is heading up the effort to re-start our high school voter education and registration that was shut down during the pandemic. She hopes to train several teams to go into senior civics classes to register these young voters. There are many opportunities there for our league members.
  • Roseland tabling- As of this writing, it is not confirmed. But we are looking to set up voter information and registration at the Head Startschools when parents pick up their children that will take place later this month.

Yes, there is a lot happening, and we encourage you to learn more about our activities and possibly consider signing up for one of them. We need lots of letter writers!

To join the meeting on Sept 10th click the Zoom link--

Meeting ID: 898 1071 6039

Passcode: 994877

Voter Service Committee
Karen Weeks and Therese Scherrer, Co-Chairs


Candidate Forums


We are gearing up for the City Council candidate forums. From mid-September to mid-October the Voter Service team will be hosting a total of eight forums. With a number of communities in Sonoma County now in districts, we will be having multiple forums in a number of cities/towns. The candidate forums will be live streamed on ZOOM, YouTube, Facebook. Each forum will have Spanish interpretation available.

Watch for more details. Each forum takes a team of dedicated people to put on the event. Many folks are filling multiple roles in multiple forums. Thank you so much to our amazing group of volunteers.

The following is the schedule of forums:

  • Rohnert Park City Council Districts 1, 2 & 5 on Sept 19th at 6:30 and 8:15pm
  • Sebastopol City Council on Sept 21st at 6:30pm
  • Windsor Mayor and District 1 on Sept 27th at 6:30pm
  • Santa Rosa City Council Districts 2 & 6 on Sept 29th at 6:30pm
  • Petaluma CIty Council and Mayor on Oct 5th at 6:30pm
  • Santa Rosa CIty Council District 4 on Oct 6th at 6:30pm
  • Petaluma City Council and Mayor on Oct 6th at 6:30pm
  • Windsor City Council District 2 & 4 on Oct 10th at 6:30pm

Again, thanks and gratitude to those who have stepped up to make this all happen!

Ballot Measure Pros and Cons


Tune in and team up for the PROS & CONS of the 7 state ballot propositions! There’s still time to get involved in this important (and FUN) work.


The Sonoma & Marin Leagues are researching the props, recording them on Zoom and virtually presenting them to non-profits, retirement communities, libraries, etc. around both counties. Come join the team. You can be involved in any or all parts of the process.


Teams are researching now. We start presenting on September 19th. Contact Lynn Dooley IMPORTANT:If you know of an organization that would like a presentation, we’d like to know about that, too.Hope to see you soon.


Vote Forward Project
Get out the Vote
Letter Writing Campaign
by Leona Judson
Vote Forward


The general election is fast approaching. We in Sonoma County are lucky that we have many ways to cast our ballot. Our election process here is safe and accessible. But many states are not so lucky. If you’re interested in encouraging voters in swing states, then the national Vote Forward campaign is for you.

Vote Forwardis a non-partisan letter writing campaign targeted at reluctant voters, primarily young people, and people of color. Our league has recently partnered with Vote Forward to promote more letter writing opportunities. This will also include some in-person events throughout the county.

For more information about how this works go to: can also sign up at this site. Once you sign up Vote Forward will send you your own “dashboard” where you can select a social campaign and download template letters to specific voters. All you have to do is write a brief, non-partisan paragraph on why you think voting is important.

If you sign up for one of our in-person event we will supply stamps, envelopes, and good time. You can, of course write letters in the comfort of your own home, or both!We welcome non-members as well. So, do encourage your friends and family to join in.

You can access and sign up for our in-person events through our webpage calendar.Just click on the event you want,and click the “Party “Sign-up” Button whichwill take you to the sign-up page.That way we’ll know who to expect.

Have questions?

Youth Outreach Programs
Lynn Dooley, Coordinator

TheHIGH SCHOOL IN-CLASSROOM STUDENT VOTER EDUCATION & REGISTRATIONis in full swing once again. Team creators Elaine Covell and Nancy Lewis are training interested League members to be a part of this fun and impactful program.


We have invitations from 4 schools already and more in the works.WE NEED YOUR HELPto register as many students as possible before the November Midterms.


Contact Lynn Dooley atyouth@lwvsonoma.orgfor more information and get involved becauseIf you can engage a voter early in life, they will become a voter for life!





We will be presenting a fun, engaging and informative program to 16-24 year olds at Sonoma County Libraries beginning mid-September and running through October. This is an in-person opportunity, so you’ll be able to see the impact of the presentation firsthand.

Voter's Edge

Sue Jackson, Coordinator


Ballots will be mailed to you on October 8, 2022

Vote and return your ballot early, but no later than November 8, 2022


There’s a lot at stake this November:

  • Federal and State offices
  • Municipal Offices: Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Windsor
  • School Districts and Special Districts
  • 7 State Propositions
  • 12 Local Measures


Voter’s Edge California is a comprehensive, nonpartisan online guide to elections covering federal, state, and local races in the state of California. By entering your zip code or street address, you can research your candidates, their priorities, backgrounds, endorsements, and you can submit questions to your candidates. Check it out.


Voter information will be available in Voter’s Edge California the second week in September.


Message from Our President
Donna Roper
Your hardworking board met in August to plan out the upcoming yearly activities to register, educate and involve the community in saving democracy. Most of us who join the League do so to protect voting rights but also to have an influence on important areas of emphasis. This year the League is focused on climate change – particularly water issues, housing, criminal justice, and transportation. There are several other issues, such as reproductive rights, gun safety and the ERA but we need more volunteers to make this happen. Please join us on September 10 at 10:30 via ZOOM so you too, can make a difference.



Linda Rosen, Debbie McKay, and I attended the plaque ceremony in Sebastopolhonoring the Suffragette movement.

Suffragist Honored

Maurine Ida (Pierson) Olson


Maurine was of the generation of middle-class women that built a home, raised children, and got involved in local community.Maurine became a lifelong member of the League of Women voters in 1955 and served in many capacities during those years. She served as President of the Sonoma County League from 1978 to 1980. Maurine connected strongly with the League's mission and made many close friends.She was also active in many community concerns, including running the re-election campaign for State Senator Barry Keene, serving on the Sonoma County Grand Jury, working in early environmental politics, and serving as volunteer foe the local Red Cross.Thank you, Maurine, for all you did.

L. Willard Richards



After retiring from a long and successful career in research science, Will decided to focus his energy on community interests, specifically transportation. Although he had been a member of the League for many years, he became actively involved after retirement and served on the board in a number of capacities over the last twenty years:Action Chair, Voters Service Chair, Co-editor of the Voter, Secretary, and At Large. As a League representative with Public Access TV and served on the SCTA Citizen's Advisory Committee. He was a strong advocate of SMART from its beginning and worked hard to promote public transportation forSonoma County.Will's wife Nancy, with encouragement from Will and his mother, who was also a member, joined the League over fifty years ago! She too was active in our League and remains so today, serving in many positions over the years.

Thank you, Will, for your support of the League and of the community, and thank you, Nancy. We wish you well.

LWVSC Calendar


Coming Events

Check theOnline Calendarfor the latest schedule

and for location or links to virtual meetings.



  • Annual Kickoff Meeting, Saturday September 10, 10:30 AM on Zoom
  • Climate Change Subcommittee Meeting,Wednesday, September 14, 2022, 2:00 to 3:00 PM, Zoom

  • National Registration Day,Tuesday, September 20, 2022

  • Candidate Forums, Ballot Measure Pros and Cons, Vote Forward Letter Writing Parties, numerous meetings, checkcalendarfor latest details

Standing Meetings

  • Board of Directors,1st Saturday of the month from 10:30 AM to Noon. September meeting after Kickoff 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


Invitation to LWVSF Event Focused on Equitable Water Access

The League of Women Voters of San Francisco would like to invite you to join us for the next of our “Spotlight On” series of educational events:A Climate-Resilient and Equitable Water Future for California. This is the first of two events that LWVSF will be hosting on water in California, a pressing issue as California and the Bay Area struggle with climate change, drought, and water crisis. This first event will cover the history of water systems and infrastructure in California, demand and what needs to change, and visions for responding to future water use and needs. Our featured speaker is Dr. Newsha Ajami. Dr. Ajami is the Chief Strategy and Development Officer for Research in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and a mayoral appointee to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. We will also be joined by a member of the League of Women Voters of California’s Water Committee, who will discuss the League’s positions on water resources, what we are doing to support these positions, and what issues we are monitoring and actions we are recommending.
Join us onSeptember 22nd at 6 PM PSTfor this virtual event.

Dr. Newsha Ajami is the Chief Strategy and Development Officer for Research in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. A leading expert in sustainable water resource management, water policy, and the water-energy-food nexus, her research throughout the years has focused on the improvement of the science-policy-stakeholder interface.

Dr. Ajami was a gubernatorial appointee to the Bay Area Regional Water Quality Control Board and is currently a mayoral appointee to the San Francisco PUC. She serves on the National Academies Water Science and Technology Board, is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, and sits on several state-level and national advisory boards. Before joining LBL, she was the founding director of the Stanford Urban Water Policy program and a senior research scholar at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Earlier in her career, she was a Science fellow at the California State Senate’s Natural Resources and Water Committee where she worked on various water and energy-related legislation.

Dr. Ajami received her Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC, Irvine, an M.S. in Hydrology and Water Resources from the University of Arizona, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Tehran Polytechnic.

Debbie McKay, Sectreary

The Board held a retreat on August 6th to work on our Strategic Plan for the upcoming 2022-2023 year. The board members acknowledged that this is a big election year at all levels -- National, State and Local. There will be many city & town council races. The Board recognized that the November election and getting out the vote will be our main focus for the fall. Voter Service Co-chairs Karen Weeks and Therese scherrer will be seeking volunteers to fill important roles to make our on-line candidate forums a success. If you can help, please email them

As a part of our Get Out the Vote effort, the Board decided to hold several Vote Forward letter writing parties, both indoors and outdoors. (The parties are now posted on the League’s webpagewww.lwvsonoma.orgevents calendar.) There is another article in The Voter letting you know more about Vote Forward.

Since the League is all about Voter Education, the Board endorsed several projects in addition to the candidate forums. Education on Ballot Proposition Pros & Cons is a long-standing tradition with our league. This year Lynn Dooley is taking the lead on working in partnership with the League of Marin County to do the research and presentations. Lynn & Debbie Mc Kay have been meeting with SSU professor, David McCuan, to have his senior year students involved in this project. Dominican College students will also be involved.

And continuing the Voter Ed& youth theme we are going to give a boost to our Youth programs. Once again Lynn Dooley is taking the lead on getting our presentations back into the high schools this fall, along with Elaine Covell and Nancy Lewis who have done a terrific job. If you would like to help, email Lynn Dooley

And the final effort in our youth trifecta is to partner with the Sonoma County Libraries to offer voter registration and education in their 16- 24 year-olds youth program Debbie Mc Kay is leading this effort and several League members will be joining her. If you’d like to participate, send her an email

The Board also looked past the fall elections to spring-time, when we may partner again with the Marin League to offer more presentations in our Making Democracy Work and Learn with the League Series. In addition, the Board would like to develop a speaker bureau of members willing to give brief talks to community groups about the League and what we do. If you are interested contact our President Donna Roper

During the lunch break the Board members broke into committees to review our existing brochures and recommend revisions.

We are getting back into the community with our League table at various community events. The Board set a priority of finding a person to coordinate our community outreach. If you want to know about what is involved, please contact Debbie Mc Kay or Donna Roper.

The Board set up a Communications Committee, which will be responsible for our publicity, Voter’s Edge, our Facebook page, our Webpage, email blasts, and other communication issues. Contact Juanita Roland atcommunications@lwvsonoma.orgif you have questions or would like to join the committee.

Members socials are a newer feature the Board wants to continue. The Board decided to keep them online right now, but asked Donna Roper to look into venues for an in person gathering in the future. The Board would also like to re-instate our phone tree so that we have a way to let member, who don’t go online a lot, know about our League events. If you would be willing to be part of a phone tree, please let Judie Coleman or Donna Roper know. Send an email tomembership@lwvsonoma.orgor

Mary-Frances Walsh
New Member Profile
Mary-Frances Walsh

Interview by Leona Judson

Welcome our new member: Mary-Frances Walsh

Mary-Frances is the executive director of our local NAMI chapter. To learn more about NAMI go to: I Interviewed Mary-Frances recently. Her responses here have edited for brevity.

Me: What made you to decide to join the league?

M-F:I like being informed, and like to think of myself as critical thinker -- taking my time to be informed before supporting or not supporting policies, laws, candidates that impact day-to-day life.


Me:What are the issues our league is dealing with that are of most interest to you?

M-F:Housing-I'm keenly aware of the lack of supportive housing and residential treatment programs for individuals living with serious mental illness, and often substance use challenges as well.Too often these are individuals who cannot successfully live without some kind of ongoing support. Without support, they often fail at independent living and end up requiring costly crisis-level care.

Criminal Justice-The Sonoma County Jail is by default the largest provider of mental health services in the county.Too often, this includes individuals with an illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.Such individuals may be arrested for minor offenses such as loitering, trespassing, drinking in public.They might be released from jail with no engagement in treatment or they might be declared incompetent to stand trial, spending months in jail while undergoing restoration to competency.This isa pattern that happens again and again, a failure of both the behavioral health care and criminal justice systems…

Me:What do you think the league should be doing more of?

M-F:Aiming to engage younger people or people who are not engaged in civic life.


Me:Mental health and particularly NAMI is your focus. Do you see any role that the league could play?

M-F:Creating awareness of the challenges our community faces today in behavioral health (both mental health and substance use); and educating your membership and the community at large about these conditions and resources that can help. Mental health is being talked about publicly more than ever since COVID-19, but I think there remains a fundamental need to grow understanding and empathy towards those who live with these disorders, the families who are trying to support them, and the gaps in our mental health and substance abuse care systems.


Me: Welcome Mary-Frances to our League!


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.

October 16, ModeratedbySukey Robb-Wilder

Hidden Valley Road:Inside the Mind of an American Familyby Robert Kolker,400 pages,April 2020.


Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the American dream. After World War II, Don's work with the Air Force brought them to Colorado, where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years, there was an established script for a family like the Galvins--aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony--and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after another, were diagnosed as schizophrenic. How could all this happen to one family?What took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institute of Mental Health. Their story offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy, and the schizophrenogenic mother to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amid profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. And unbeknownst to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, offering paths to treatment, prediction, and even eradication of the disease for future generations.


November 17: Choose books for 2023. Be thinking about what you would like to recommend.

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
Open, Programs
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: ____________________________________
Email: ________________________________________

Please circle any topics you are interested in knowing more about:

Voter RegistrationCandidate ForumsTransportationHousing/Homelessness Climate Change Immigration Newsletter Website ManagementLocal Governance
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