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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 - January 2023

Published on 1/15/2023
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

The Voter
The official Newsletter of the League of Women Voters of Sonoma County.
Volume28, Issue1
In this Issue:

Program Planning
January 23, 11:30 am



League Program Planning alternates between the National League and State League on a 2-year cycle. The purpose is to give input to the National League or State League (in alternate years) for discussion at their convention. Our Program Planning session on January 23rdis the opportunity for League members to give input on what the areas of emphasis should be – both locally and at the state level. The state League also might encourage us to take on new areas of emphasis. Hence, you will see a request from the LWVC Criminal Justice Committee for the Sonoma League to be more involved in juvenile justice issues.


Of course, local Leagues should focus on what their community needs the most. Although the Sonoma League Board and Advocacy committee spend time discussing these issues year- round, we want all members to have a say in what our League should try to accomplish each year. Having said that, though, we also need a “champion” to take the lead on an important issue.


Use the button belowto link to the /Program Planning Kit one our website. You will see our current areas of emphasis as well as the Juvenile Justice information. You will also see a bio on Carol Moon Goldberg who is the current president of the California League. She will be our presenter at the January 23rdmeeting. You will need to be logged in to do this.


January 23, 2023

11:30 – 1:00,Via Zoom

Program Planning Kit 2023

Meeting Details and Zoom Link

Message from Our President
Donna Roper

In a recent letter to the editor of the Press Democrat, I encouraged the Passage of the Electoral Count Reform Act of 2022. As you know, it did pass as part of a government spending package. The reform act raises the threshold to lodge an objection to electors to at least one-fifth of the duly chosen and sworn members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. It affirmatively states that the constitutional role of the Vice President, as the presiding officer of the joint meeting of Congress, is solely ministerial and that he or she does not have any power to solely determine, accept, reject, or otherwise adjudicate disputes over electors. And it strikes a provision of an archaic 1845 law that could be used by state legislatures to override the popular vote in their states by declaring a “failed election” – a term that is not defined in the law. This had bi-partisan support because of the dangerous precedent on January 6th where the repeated lies about the stolen election made people think that Mike Pence could overrule the will of the voters. But it also had bi-partisan support because most voters agree with the act.


As you can imagine, our National league was very involved in passing this piece of legislation. Virginia Kase Solomon said “While we welcome the bipartisan bill to reform the originalElectoral Count Act of 1887, our elected officials must do more to make democracy work. We need Congress to pass voting rights expansions so that all Americans have an equal opportunity to have their voices heard in our elections.”

The important point is that our calls and letters and emails to our elected officials are crucial when there are issues we want to address. Often in California we get complacent about doing this. We assume our elected officials think as we do but they still need to hear from us. Please use your voice and your vote to keep elections fair and accessible to all.


Voter's Edge

Sue Jackson, Coordinator

During this period between elections, Voter’s Edge is in snooze mode. That’s not to say there will be a break in preparing for the next election cycle. Rather, from time to time, we will be posting articles that pertain in general to elections.Information about the following Special Election will not be covered in Voter’s Edge.

Two Local Special Elections – March 7, 2023

  • On October 18, 2022, theTimber Cove Fire Protection DistrictBoard of Directorspassed a resolution calling a special election on March 7, 2023, to place a measure question on the ballot so voters can decide whether the Board of Directors should increase its number of members from three (3) to five (5). In addition, the District is asking voters to elect two new members to serve on the Board of Directors should the ballot measure pass. On October 25, 2022, a representative of the Timber Cove Fire Protection District filed the resolution at the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters Office.
  • On December 5, 2022, theSchell-Vista Fire Protection DistrictBoard of Directorspassed a resolution calling a special election on March 7, 2023, to place a measure question on the ballot so voters can decide whether the District should adopt Ordinance No. 2023-01, which would retain the District's increased limits on approriations to assure fire, rescue, and emergency medical services.On December 6, 2022, a representative of the Schell-Vista Fire Protection District filed the resolution at the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters Office.

To vote in this election, you must be a resident of either District. For more information, go to

Youth Outreach Programs
Lynn Dooley, Coordinator

There will be no official elections in 2023. Therefore, this is the perfect year to expand our Youth Outreach and register as many Sonoma County students as possible.


The Youth Outreach Committee has an exciting agenda in store. If you're interested in any of the following topics, you're going to want to get involved with the Youth Outreach Committee. Our 2023 Kickoff Meeting will be on Friday, February 3rdat 4pm. Check the Leaguewebsite calendarfor the zoom link and come help register the youth of Sonoma County!!


2023 Areas of Focus:

--The High School In-Classroom Voter Education and Registration Program

--Potential Peer to Peer College and High School Voter Registration

--Partnership with Sonoma Libraries' Youth Programs

--Civics Education in Elementary, Middle & High Schools

-- And more


Contact: Lynn Dooley,

Leona Judson, VP

Transportation--SMART Train

LWV member, Rick Luttmann follows transportation issues in Sonoma County. He regularly submits reports to the advocacy committee. This report was particularly comprehensive, including trends nationally and thoughts on future directions. We include excerpts on the report about the SMART train. For his full report go to the website Log in & go to Resources, References, Advocacy.

The Sonoma and Marin LWV chapters have a joint committee on SMART, which meets quarterly with recently installed SMART General Manager, Eddy Cumins. The Committee consists of 3 members from each chapter, including both chapter presidents (Ann Wakeley for Marin and Donna Roper for Sonoma), plus John Eells and Kevin Hagerty for Marin, and Max Bridges and myself for Sonoma. The Committee met with Eddy for an hour on 9 December. The conversation focused around three topics: Mike Arnold, SMART’s most vocal opponent; reorganization of the Citizens Oversight Committee; and preparations for the Vote on sales-tax reauthorization.

(1) It came as a pleasant surprise to the committee to learn that Mike Arnold and Eddy Cumins are now friends! They like each other. They speak on the phone two or three times a week, and occasionally have lunch together. How did this happen? It happened because of Eddy’s general approach to personal relationships. Instead of totally ignoring his enemies (as, for example, the previous GM did), Eddy’s disposition is to call him up and chat about their differing perspectives. Moreover, Eddy took seriously Mike’s concerns, and acknowledged that many of his criticisms of SMART are valid (as others including the local LWV chapters do). But Eddy pointed out that, using Mike’s criticisms as a guide, he has in the year since being appointed GM dealt with those concerns. He believes that only one valid point remains, and that is the cost per passenger. But he points out that Mike has compared SMART to the Marin bus system, and that’s not fair, because rail and bus have different purposes, and also differ in that the buses run on publicly funded roads, whereas SMART I responsible for maintaining stations, crossings, and the trains and track on its own.

Eddy is constantly talking about SMART with people he meets, both formally (Rotary, chambers of commerce, bike coalitions) and informally (the dog park, the bank, the dentist). He has discovered that even now, over two years since the failed tax-extension vote, those who oppose SMART often cite Mike’s points. So he congratulated Mike on his persuasiveness! One can see here several factors that would have impressed Mike with Eddy’s sincerity and which have taken much of the sting out of Mike’s criticisms of SMART.

(2) In response to criticism of SMART’s public relations by the Sonoma County Grand Jury, SMART has reorganized its Citizens Oversight Committee. The statutory language of the measure passed in 2008 required a COC but left details to SMART (membership, agenda, frequency of meeting, etc.). So, although the name will remain the same, the SMART COC will become more like the SCTA’s CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee), which has a wide membership, meets monthly, and considers any aspect of the SCTA’s business which concern it. (The Sonoma LWV has a right of one appointment to this body, and I hold the position at this time.) The interface between the CAC and the SCTA Board is largely through the staff, although in the past a report from the Chair of the CAC was routinely included on the Board’s monthly agenda.

(3) Eddy says he is under constant pressure to announce when there will be another vote on the tax-extension measure, on the grounds that “we’ve got to get the campaign going”. But Eddy feels that the campaign is already going, and doesn’t need a date. In fact, the success of the campaign will determine when the time is right for a vote. His goal is to get the public thinking more positively about SMART. And he believes they are moving to do so. Ridership is constantly up, even surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Initiatives such as trains to the Giants games are popular. There are better connections at Larkspur. There is a more useful interface with Google. And best news of all perhaps: there will soon be a shuttle service between the Airport Rd terminal and the Sonoma County Airport (as well as other destinations nearby). It will be Uber-style, with requests for service placed via phone. There will be a charge, but it will be compensated by a credit on the SMART fare (before or after the ride, depending on whether the ride is going from or to the terminal).

Help Wanted


We are looking for two league members that would like to co-chair the Advocacy Committee starting in June 2023. What does the Advocacy committee do? Each year the committee advises our Board and our membership which areas to monitor and advocate for. Over the last several years we have been working on climate change, homelessness, transportation & criminal justice and always, making democracy work. Our focus is on local issues related to these areas, and there is a lot going on in our county! We primarily follow key commissions, committees and other community groups. When appropriate, we advise our board to make our voice heard through various means. The league’s advocacy does make a difference in forming public policy. We are also looking for members to help champion any of these advocacy areas.


Leona Judson, the current chair is stepping down after two & a half years. While voter education is our core mission, advocacy work is also a critical part of making our democracy work. We need your help. If you have questions or are interested, please

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

We Have a New Intern


We are excited to introduce the membership to Evan Farmer, our new intern for the Spring 2023 semester. Evan, from Southern California, is a senior in Political Science at Sonoma State University.He was sent our way by Dr. David McCuan. Evan will be helping us with a variety of tasks related to social media and youth engagement. He will also be participating in the legislative interviews in the next month. Evan enjoys researching and writing, which will also come in handy.

Thanks to a generous donation by Joel Reynolds we are able to have this much needed assistance.



If you have questions, please contact Karen

We gratefully acknowledge a bequest
in memory of
Nancy Burrington

Joel Reynolds, Nancy' partner, contacted the League a few months ago and was wondering what he could do to help the League. The call was forwarded to me as Treasurer. Joel and I spoke about a number of ideas and he got excited about funding an intern to help with our community presence and help with designing our social media presence. Joel also spoke with our board president and he decided he would fund an intern for a year.

The special part of this story is that he asked that the league identify the gift as a way that he and the League could honor the memory of Nancy Burrington. We are pleased to announce the Nancy Burrington Intern Project.

Our new intern, Evan Farmer, was introduced at our board meeting on January 7. He spoke a little about himself and stated that he was excited for the opportunity to work with the League.

We want to thank Joel for his gift to the League.

Welcome New Members


We were fortunate to welcome many new members during 2022. We look forwardto working with these talented people has we further our mission of defending democracy.

Member DirectoryBe sure to say hello as you encounter them at our various events. You can locate member contact information in ourMember Directory. You must login to see this, as membership information is confidential.
You can direct any membership questions to Judie Coleman
New Members in 2022


Biggs, Dana

Santa Rosa

Binstock, Andrew


Blalock, Janice

Santa Rosa

Bulger, Paul

Santa Rosa

Carter, Amie


Caviness, Shelley

Santa Rosa

Clark, Roberta

Santa Rosa

Commons, Victoria


Cook, Elaine

Rohnert Park

Cosgrove, Jana


Cote, Joyce


Fitzpatrick, Lynn

Santa Rosa

Furch, Rue


Giambastiani, Nancy

Santa Rosa

Gillmar, Constance

Santa Rosa

Grey, Sandra


Griffin, Teresa

Santa Rosa

Halstead, Vicki


Hoffman, Mary


Hoorn, Madeline


Jones, Rebecca

Santa Rosa

Jordan, Mary

Santa Rosa

Kelman, Laraine

Rohnert Park

Kinney, Jacala

Santa Rosa

Lamb, Kenneth

Santa Rosa

Lamb, Linda

Santa Rosa

Littell, Colleen

Santa Rosa

MacDonald, Marylee


Merrill, Maureen

Santa Rosa

Nunez, Jody


Pierce, Leroy

Santa Rosa

Quibell, Catherine

Santa Rosa

Riezenman, Chris

Santa Rosa

Rosen, Ken

Rohnert Park

Skrondal, Elizabeth


Smallen, Carol

Santa Rosa

Swensen, Paul

Santa Rosa

Taylor, Lisa

Santa Rosa

Thackery, Diane


Treadway, Leslie

Santa Rosa

Walsh, Mary-Frances


Weber, Amy


Williams, Connie


Zocchetti, Kate



January 19. 2023: Moderated by Jan Randall

The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across CaliforniabyMark Arax,2019 560 pp.

“You cannot understand California without understanding water.” California water issues continue to become more serious and intense as droughts occur more frequently, last longer and are drier. In the classic 1986 book, Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner rang the alarm about the environmental and personal costs of western water projects. Arax updates the issues in this deeply researched and personal book (Arax grew up in the Central Valley and is a resident of Fresno today.). The book is a tour de force of California history and details how California went from the small farmer to today’s Big Ag’s manipulation and hogging of water resources. Arax even names the principle actors when he describes the exploits of “the nut king, grape king, and citrus queen.” For me, this book has it all: history, politics, personal stories of farmers and farm workers, and wonderful descriptions of beautiful California and how to preserve the soil and water we love.


February 16, 2023: Moderated byMarie McKinney

Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve.byLenora Chu 369 pages, 2017

When students in Shanghai rose to the top of international rankings in 2009, Americans feared that they were being "out-educated" by the rising super power. Chu and her husband decided to enroll three-year-old Rainer in China’s state-run public school system.


LWVSC Calendar


Coming Events

Check theOnline Calendarfor the latest schedule

and for location or links to virtual meetings.



January 2023
Debbie McKay,Secretary



Student Intern-A donation was received from Joel Reynolds this year, partner of our beloved Nancy Burrington, who has passed on. This is a restricted fund to support student interns. Our new SSU intern is Evan Farmer. He is a senior with a major in political science. He will be helping us with technical issues such as Instagram. Karen Weeks will be his supervisor, and any requests for intern assistance needs to go through her. He will be with us until May and will help recruit another intern for the Fall semester.

Legislative Interviews:Karen Weeks and our new Intern, Evan, will represent our League at the annual February meeting with our state legislators. We hold these meetings with other local league members from Humboldt, Marin, Mendocino, and sometimes Napa, to discuss our priorities with our local elected representatives and to hear about their priorities. Each league is allowed two representatives. Our League will take the lead on organizing the meeting with newly elected Damon Connolly, State Assembly Dist. 12


Program Planningis scheduled January 23rdat 11:30 AM via Zoom. Carol Moon-Goldberg, the President of the California LWV will be our guest speaker. The state league is asking local leagues to consider adding juvenile justice to their areas of emphasis. See the Program Planning kit with more information about Carol Moon-Goldberg and the areas of emphasis at our webpage under References on our Website.

Youth Outreach- Our League has again received a grant from the LWVC-Education Fund for $750. The goal for this grant is to increase outreach to more diverse communities and to promote peer to peer voter registration. The youth outreach committee will become active again this month, and will offer training for those wanting to go into the high school classroom civics classes to talk about the importance of voting & to register students. Lynn Dooley and Donna Roper will be reaching out to the new County Superintendent of Education, Dr. Amie Carter, to help expand our access to the high schools.

If you want to participate in the Youth Committee and/or the training, please send an email the Lynn Dooley

Member meetings- Save the date-- May 22ndwill be our Annual Membership meeting that will include the recap of the state convention.The Board also voted to begin holding monthly member meetings mid-day on the fourth Monday of the month. Watch for more details soon.

Office Issues-We now have a new 5G phone service through Verizon with our same phone number – 707 546-5943

Nominating Committee- The committee has been activated to find members to fill some vacant leadership positions.

Membership- Rebecca Jones has rejoined our local league. Rebecca was a member here before she moved out of county and now, she is back. Rebecca is a former League president.Welcome back Rebecca!

Advocacy-Rick Luttmann, who follows transportation issues, has been approved by the Marin & Sonoma League presidents to apply for membership to the newly configured SMART Citizen Oversight Committee.


Government Guide- Karen Weeks & Lee Lipinski have updated this very popular guide, which provides the names and contact information for local elected officials. The next step is to translate the Guide into Spanish.



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
555 Fifth Street, Suite 300O
Santa Rosa, CA 95401-8301
(707) 545-5943