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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 - March 2023

Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

The Voter
The official Newsletter of the League of Women Voters of Sonoma County.
Volume28, Issue 3
In this Issue:

Monthly Monday League Meeting
braver Angels

Coming This Month

"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." --Abraham Lincoln'sMarch 4th, 1861 address to the nation.

As we contemplate the current divisions in our nation, some are reminded of the civil war and fear we are headed in that direction. How do we heal the divisions in our nation and return to the "United" States?

How do we reconnect with the "better angels of our nature" to heal our relationships with those who hold opposite views?

Active Listening for Understanding
& Finding Common Ground

A Conversation with Paul Schwebel, Braver Angels

Monday March 27th at 11:30 am Zoom Only

Registration Required.

Link to Register

See Article Below

The meeting Zoom link will be sent to you after you register.

Invite a friend to join you and then try out these listening techniques afterwards.

It’s a Zoom Party!!
Wednesday, March 22 5:00 pm
On Zoom


Come join us for a friendly, no-pressure, no-obligation, fun way to meet and mingle with other great members of our League. Something very special, warm and magical always happens at these Zoom gatherings. A little bonus: we won’t have to worry about driving in the Spring Showers.


Registration Required






APRIL 12THAT 10:30 AM.



During this Women’s History Month We RememberTwo Important WomenFor LWV Sonoma County

Hope Washburn

Memories from Jeannie Schulz

Jeannie was moving from Hawaii to Santa Rosa and was referred to the Sonoma County League of Women Voters as a potential member. Hope Washburn showed up at her door in 1962 to encourage her to join which Jeannie was wont to do because “people I liked to have as my friends belonged to the League.” She is still friends with many League members. She describes Hope Washburn as a typical Blue Stocking lady who was educated, read poetry, and was an enlightened pioneering woman. She had been a teacher in North Carolina and lived with a woman named Frances who taught piano to high level budding pianists so education and the arts were very important to her.

In those days the League members spent time doing studies. Jeannie remembers school consolidation (sound familiar?) and hospital reorganization (how many MRIs were needed in the county?). They also monitored commissions and meetings throughout the city and county. Jeannie became expertise in all things sewage after monitoring the PUC. Then they would meet with their elected officials to discuss what they had learned. “The League stuck their nose into everything.”

Hope and the League taught Jeannie to understand civics and her duty as a citizen so when Jeannie was President of the League and Hope had passed away, she set up a fund at the Sonoma County Community Foundation which would – and still does – support the work of the League. If you can help keep this fund going, please send a check to the League office at 555 Fifth Street Suite 300 O in Santa Rosa, 95401.

Ruth Bates
One of the Founders of our League Chapter

Ruth Bates was born March 11, 1905 in St. Louis Missouri. She lived and went to school in Missouri until she moved to California. She attended Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. Law writing and research work with Prentiss-Hall Inc of New York City and with the Lawlers Co-operative Publishing Co. in Rochester New York are highlights in her career.

While living in Missouri she became a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Missouri. During World War 11 she was an officer in the recruiting, intelligence and legal assistance branches of the service reaching the rank of First Lieutenant in the Women’s Corps.

She moved to Santa Rosa in March 1950, to open her law practice after being admitted to the California Bar. As well, she practiced before the California Supreme Court and several lower Federal Courts. It did not take her long before she became active in the community’s civic affairs.

She headed the establishment of the League of Women Voters of Santa Rosa in 1950, guiding it through it’s provisional period until it became an established chapter in 1951. She became it’s first president. During her tenure leading the League she worked with the Board launching numerous educational projects on voting practices and laws for the community. And was active in writing articles for the Press Democrat promoting the League and its members. When she left that office, she continued being active in the local League on the nominating committee and other responsibilities.

She was active in many other diverse sectors of the community. Ruth Bates died April 26, 1983 leaving a legacy of alifetime of community activism and leadership.

And a FunAnecdoteabout a Woman Inventor

For those of us who were once part of the essential typing pool…

White-out is a term applied to blizzard conditions with low visibility. White-out is also the colloquial name of a product used to correct typing errors. First known by the name “Mistake Out”, it was later patented as “Liquid Paper.” The product was invented by a single mother working as a typist in a Dallas bank struggling to raise her young son, Michael. She was fired for her efforts.

Fourteen years later in 1979, she sold the Liquid Paper company to Gillette for $47.5 million. That woman was Bette Nesmith Graham, mother of Michael Nesmith of the Monkees musical group.

Election Security

by Debbie McKay

Fake news/Fact

Election Interference Is Not Going Away – So How Do We Combat?

U.S. Cyber Command Director Gen.Paul Nakasonesaid on Tuesday that election interference from nation-state threat actors is still an ongoing issue that the U.S. must continue to address.Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Nakasone said that election meddling is essentially here to stay, especially as adversaries of the U.S. like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea continue to enhance their cyber capabilities.


Nakasone added that influence operations and disinformation campaigns launched by adversaries are “much more prevalent these days” than attempts to hack into election systems.“Last year,a report released bycybersecurity firm Mandiant uncovered that a pro-China disinformation campaign was aggressively targeting U.S. voters prior to the 2022 midterm elections.The report revealed that the campaign was attempting to discourage Americans from voting, divide the country along party lines and discredit the U.S. political system.” --The Hill


What can we do to combat this? We need to teach ourselves, our friends, family, children, and grandchildren how to spot fake news and to rely less on social media for our “facts” and more on trusted sources of information such as the League at the local, state & national level.

Try your hand at the game “Verify It” (developed by the Alameda League.) Share the game with others to sharper our skills on how to spot fake information.

Restrictive Covenant Modification
excerpted by Jim Masters

Property Deeds and Restrictive Covenants

(Excerpts from the County Clerk’s Office)

A Restrictive Covenant is a restriction placed on property for use. This was a common practice during the early part of the 20thcentury and earlier to prevent Black families and other people of color from buying land in predominately white neighborhoods. These illegal restrictions pertain to age, race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, familial status, marital status, disability, veteran or military status, national origin, source of income. Such restrictive covenants are now illegal and void under existing law and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. They still exist in the record itself as it was recorded in the past. As properties have changed hands over time, many property owners may not even be aware that these covenants exist. Property owners can ask the County Clerk Recorder for a Restrictive Covenant Modification, but very few have done so possibly because they are not aware that that is an option.

A new 2021 California state law imposes a state-mandated local program and opens the ability to all -- including all County Clerk Recorders Offices -- to request redaction of the illegal restrictive language.The Clerk Recorder will provide a suggested redaction to County Counsel for review. If approved, the document will be recorded anew, and the illegal restrictive language will be blacked-out on the new recording. In Sonoma County, there are about 25 million pages to be reviewed. (The original document remains recorded and will remain unmodified.) This project is underway now. The next reporting date to the Legislature is January 1, 2025.If you don’t want to wait for the county to catch up with the law, you can ask the Clerk Recorder to redact the illegal language. The process is simple and free.The description is at:Restrictive Covenant Modification

Message from Our President
Donna Roper


April is Volunteer Recognition Month and since the League of Women Voters is all volunteer, I want to recognize the current Board members and urgeYOUto consider serving on the Board or one of our committees. Debbie McKay is our secretary as well as a past president. She is an excellent writer, and she does a lot of the Facebook posting. Leona Judson is our Advocacy chair which means she stays up to date on a lot of issues around the county. She will move to the position of Program Chair in July which organizes the Monthly Monday Meetings. Ask Leona to do something – and it gets done! Jim Masters will take over as Advocacy chair (Yes! We have lots of male members). He will continue to monitor our voter registration card distribution. Juanita Roland is probably the longest serving Board member. She is our web master and will be heading up a new Communications committee. Judie Coleman has been doing an outstanding job of contacting our new members to see where they might fit within our organization. Karen Weeks and Therese Scherrer share the role of Voter Services chair (yes – you could be a co-chair and learn on the job). They both are incredibly calm and efficient considering the intensity of offering candidate forums as well as other training provided by the League. A unique position we have is VP of Administration - Lee Lipinski - who keeps our small office in Santa Rosa well stocked and operational. Lee is also helping with tabling materials and our historical documents. Linda Rosen is our Treasurer. Having had years of practice in the non-profit field, she is fabulous to have managing our money!

SOmany thanks to the current board members!!

In June we will have our annual meeting where board members are elected. The nominating committee, headed up by Susan Novak will be looking for potential volunteers to help with this important work. Our bylaws state we can have up to 15 members so the more the merrier! (And also helps spread the work around!) You can contact Susan if you are interested or want more information

Marketing Survey
Ready for Your Input

Member Marketing Survey


2023 is a year of many opportunities. With no election, we have time to focus on how to improve and grow. For this, we need your help.

The Sonoma LWV is putting together a marketing plan that will meet the goals of the organization and the membership. We are asking for your input on:

  • Our target audience
  • Our content theme
  • And, our tagline

Take advantage of this opportunity to give us your input. Thank you for participating.

Link to Survey

Leona Judson, VP

Join Our Advocacy Team!

The Advocacy committee is looking for someone to be a co-chair. Jim Masters has agreed to be a co-chair if approved by the membership in June. But he needs some help. As the saying goes, many hands make for light work.So, what would the two co-chairs do? Here is a list:

  • Plan and run monthly the meeting,
  • Work with others to carry out activities of the committee,
  • Attend subcommittees and some government meetings as needed,
  • Report to our Board,
  • Keep members informed of advocacy issues.

If this sounds like something you might consider or have questions, contactaction@lwvsonoma.orgWe would love to have you on our team.

Survey Results
Youth Outreach Programs
Lynn Dooley, Coordinator


Thank you to all who participated in the survey to determine when our Youth Meetings should be held on a regular basis. The results are in!!WE WILL HOLD MONTHLY YOUTH OUTREACH MEETINGS ON THE 3RDTUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH at 11AM!! This was overwhelmingly the best day/time to fit your schedules.


Our next meeting will be: April 18that 11AM via zoom.


Meeting ID: 856 7245 4397

Dial by phone with Meeting ID: +1 669 444 9171 US



The Youth Committee members are hard at work practicing their in-classroom presentations and setting up high school in-classroom sessions for the month of April. If this is something that interests you, please contact Lynn


The Youth Outreach Committee is open to all members. If you are passionate about encouraging Sonoma County youth to vote, please attend our meetings. For more information contact Lynn

Voter's Edge

Sue Jackson, Coordinator

(During this period between elections, Voter’s Edge is in snooze mode. From time to time, we will be posting articles that pertain in general to elections.)

Continuing from the February issue…Let’s revisit where the US stands on Voting Rights and other freedoms…

In 1965,Congress ratified The Voting Rights Act of 1965 which prohibited racial discrimination in voting, ensuring that all people of color were fully free to vote. This law secured the right to vote forracial minoritiesthroughout the country, especially in theSouth. Enforcement was through the Department of Justice. The law was re-authorized six times with bi-partisan approval, including most recently in 2006.

The 1965 Voting Rights Act had a huge positive impact on voting, especially in the Southern states. There were massive increases in voter turnout and voter registrations, in particular among Black people. Nearly one million Black voters were registered within four years of passage. The number of Black elected officials in the South more than doubled.

But everything changed in 2013. In 2013, the US Supreme Court removed key protections of theVoting Rights Actin the decision ofShelby v Holder. The result was that states no longer had to obtain approval from the Department of Justice before changing voting laws. Subsequently, a surge of anti-voter bills swept across our nation– with many being passed.

This reduction in access to voting has continued. In 2023 legislative sessions with newly elected legislators had begun in most states. By the end of January, state lawmakers in over 32 states had pre-filed or introduced 150 voting bills thatcontain provisions to make it harder for eligible Americans to register, to stay on the voter rolls, and to actually vote.


The Freedom to Vote Act, passed by the House of Representatives in September 2021, was not passed by the Senate. And it is unlikely to be reintroduced this year.


While many bills are in the cue, and while there has been success in many states to make the right to vote easier for all,we still have work to do.


And it is not just the freedom to vote which is under attack. Other important freedoms are in jeopardy.

Here are a few examples and reasons to be diligent and to take action:


  • Currently, 13 states have banned a woman’s right to manage her reproductive freedom for any reason. 5 states have gestational limits regardless of a woman’s health. Courts in 6 states have overturned the ban.


    Access to reproductive freedom is not the only right that is under attack.


  • Tennessee passed a bill that allows government officials to deny marriage licenses to same-sex, interracial, and interfaith couples.
  • Nationally, so far this year over 100 anti-LGBTQ bills are before state legislatures, including some that limit gender affirming health care for minors. Tennessee has already passed such a ban, and Mississippi, South Dakota, and Utah are expected to follow suit.


We cannot ever take our freedoms for granted. We must remain active to preserve our liberty and freedom. Every election and every vote counts.



March 16, 2023: Moderated by Mary Fricker

I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times, by Mónica Guzmán, 287 pages, 2022.
Monica Guzman is the liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who voted, twice, for Donald Trump. She is a former Seattle Times columnist who is director of digital and storytelling for Braver Angels, a group that works to heal the wounds between right and left by teaching people how to understand another’s point of view, not change their point of view. A central event in the book is a bus trip for 16 people from Seattle to travel to Sherman County. Oregon, to meet with 16 “opposite” people, not to argue, but to learn. They pair up and ask each other questions, and, most importantly, listen. Viewpoints are not changed, but people learn to look at each other differently. If you’re looking for a book to help you win arguments, this is probably not a book for you. If you’re looking for ways to find understanding and empathy with others, this is the book for you.

April 20, 2023: Moderated byJudie Coleman

The Orphans of Davenport: Eugenics, The Great Depression, and the War over Children’s Intelligence,by Marilyn Brookwood352 pages 2021

In 1934, two toddler girls at an orphan’s home had acombinedscore of just 81 on the IQ tests and were labeled as having subpar intelligence and were therefore deemed to be unfit for adoption. They were sent to an institution for the “feebleminded”. There, with the loving attention of the attendants, their IQ scores came up to normal. This challenged the then mainstream psychology which obsessively unshakably believed that IQ was determined genetically and that IQ at age 4 would always be your IQ at age 40. This was when eugenics was all the rage both here and in Europe. Remember the Terman IQ tests? Terman was one of the most adamant supporters of the idea that genetics were the sole and only determinant of IQ.

This well researched and well written book is an amalgam of three stories. The first is the heartwarming story of children given a life worth living when placed in a caring environment. The second is the story of well-meaning young scientists who challenge the status quo and are persecuted professionally and personally by senior scientists. The third story is that of confirmation bias where people cannot recognize data and evidence because they are so confident in their world view.


LWVSC Calendar


Coming Events

Check theOnline Calendarfor the latest schedule

and for location or links to virtual meetings.



Monthly Monday League Meetings

Last month we held our first Monday Monthly Meeting entitled Social Justice and Racial Equity with Kirstyne Lange, President of the local chapter of the NAACP. Many who attended were surprised to learn that Sonoma County has a long history of social injustice toward Black residents that still exists today. Kirstyne shared information from The Portrait of Sonoma County - 2021, and data from the Human Development Index (HDI). The Index is a scale from 0 to 10 that is a composite measurement of well-being that includes data on access to health resources, education & earnings, and longevity. Interestingly it does not include housing. For the year 2021 the California HDI is 5.85. The overallHDI index for Sonoma County is 6.19. But the overall Index for Blacks it was 3.99, an alarming drop from 4.68 in 2014. This is lower than for Black residents in the State as a whole. Life average expectancy for Sonoma County is 82.2 years. But for Black residents it is a dismal 71 years.


Questions came up about the problem of microaggressions toward Black leaders in our community. Kirstyne said this is an all too common phenomena that Black people experience. Diversity & equity are hard to accomplish in such a pervasive atmosphere of racial bias.


What can our League do to promote more racial justice?

  • First, we need to educate ourselves about the reality of these deeply rooted injustices in our community.
  • Next, we each need to be willing to examine and change our own hidden biases and attitudes.
  • If we see acts of microaggression, or worse, be willing to respectfully say something.
  • Consider joining the local NAACP who are doing amazing things to help the Black community.


These Monthly Monday League Meetings will happen on the fourth Monday of each month at 11:30 am on Zoom. The next one will be on March 27th. The topic will beActive Listening for Understanding & Finding Common Groundby a member of the Braver Angels. Please do join us for that conversation.And please check the League’s online calendar each month for League events and meetings at under the News & Events tab.

LWV State Convention 2023

The 69th State Convention of the League of Women Voters of California

Friday, May 19 - Sunday, May 21, 2023.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SOMA, 50 Third Street,
San Francisco, CA 94103

The Board selected the three voting delegates who will represent our League at the May convention: President Donna Roper, Program/Outreach Chair Leona Judson, and Voter Service Co-chair Therese Scherrer. Also attending as a non-voting delegate is Voter Service Co-chair Karen Weeks.

LWVC meets every other year to conduct business as outlined by the bylaws. See below for specifics. But just as important, the purpose of Convention is to inspire and empower Californians to increase their active and informed participation in civic life. Come meet passionate people from across the state who are making democracy work!

Read about the schedule, workshops, special activities, and more on our site: This site is updated as plans take shape, so please check this site frequently.

If you are interested in attending as a non-voting delegate, send an email to

Voter Service Committee
Co-Chairs Karen Weeks and Therese Scherrer

LWVSC Board Adopts Partnership Policy

Fosters Expanded Outreach to Local Partners

League of Women Voters of Sonoma County has a long history of joining in partnership with organizations whose goals and missions are aligned with the League. Together we work on committees, commissions, and boards to enhance one another’s work by creating and delivering educational information and providing non-partisan voter registration, events, and services.

In March 2023, the LWVSC board approved its Partnership Policy as a tool to formalize the practice. The policy guides both the review and approval of members’ involvement in partnering work, criteria for assessing the partnership fit, and guidelines to foster mutually beneficial work.

For example, this policy applies to Voter Service activity when LWVSC joins forces with partners to plan and conduct Candidate Forums and Pros & Cons presentations. Specifically, the new Partnership Policy works in tandem with a Sponsorship Agreement developed for specific events which details the protocol, roles, and mutually agreed upon terms of the partnership. Co-sponsoring organizations must be non-partisan and agree not to endorse candidates prior to a forum event.

We invite League members to actively consider asking aligned partners to co-sponsor Voter Service events. Potential community partners are invited to contact the Voter Service Co-Chairs to explore partnership: Karen Weeks atklweekse55@gmail.comor Therese Scherrer As much as LWVSC would like all Sonoma County organizations to partner on our work, we are not able to accept every request.

Many thanks to those that drafted the new policy and accompanying documents – Barbara Coen, Debbie McKay, Karen Weeks, and Therese Scherrer – with help from the LWVUS guiding policy documents. The documents are available under the Member Resources section of the website. Questions may be directed to the co-chairs or any board member.

Zoom Meeting
March 2023
Debbie McKay,Secretary

California LWV Convention: Once every two years the California League host a convention, which this year will be held in San Francisco. The number of voting delegates is based upon our membership. The Board selected the three voting delegates who will represent our League at the May convention: President Donna Roper, Program/Outreach Chair Leona Judson, and Voter Service Co-chair Therese Scherrer. Also attending as a non-voting delegate is Voter Service Co-chair Karen Weeks.

Partnership and Sponsorships:The Board adopted a partnership policy which will guide us in establishing partnerships with other local organizations who have similar goals and activities, such as Los Cien, NAACP, AAUW, etc. The Board also adopted a sponsorship policy which outlines the topics to be covered in an agreement with individual or organizations that wish to sponsor our candidate or Pros & Cons forums. The policies will be posted under Resources on our webpage soon.

Youth Outreach Committee: The committee reported on their activities, including the recruitment of 10 new HS Civics presenters. All presenters have completed the training content class and will be further honing their skills during March. Presentations will take place in classroom in April. The Board agreed to add a Youth page to our website where civics education and other resources for youth will be soon.

Public Meetings: As the COVID emergency resolutions expire some public meetings are changing the methods for public input. The Board voted to send a letter to local cities and town to urge then to follow the City of Santa Rosa’s approach of continuing to allowing public participation online and by phone in addition to providing an opportunity for public input in person.

Water Usage Review Letter: The Board also voted to approve a letter to the consulting firm hired by the County of Sonoma to conduct the Environmental Impact Review (EIR) on cannabis cultivation with particular regard to the issue of monitoring water resources in the county.

Finance: The Board reviewed the current year budget, voted on how to invest some reserves, and appointed a budget committee to develop a recommended budget for 2023-24to be voted on by the membership at the Annual Member Meeting. Budget Committee members are Juanita Roland, Debbie Mc Kay and Therese Scherrer.

Monthly Monday League Meetings:The Board approved a schedule for these meeting which will typically be held the 4thMonday of the month at 11:30 am. Check the online calendar for specific dates and topics.

Socials:The Board’s goal is to have a social gathering once a quarter and hopes to soon return to social gathering in-person, but the Spring Social on March 22ndwill be Zoom only.

Community Outreach:Several Board members will be gathering information on the possibility of our League participating in several local parades this year.

Intern: Our Intern is working with Lynn Dooley on setting up a peer to peer voter registration and education program at Sonoma State University. April 3rd11:30 am there will be an opportunity to learn about the college if Marin’s peer to peer voter registration program. Watch for details in our calendar closer to April.

How to Run for Schools Boards: The Board is exploring a partnership with the Sonoma County Office of Education to offering a training on how to run for a school board seat.



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: ________________________________________

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