Skip to main content

Follow Us

Social networking will appear here

Support Us

Join  |   Donate  |   Volunteer  |   Newsletter 

Contact Us

LWV - Sonoma County
555 Fifth St. Suite 300O
Santa Rosa, CA 95401 
Phone #: 707-546-5943
Copyright © 2020 • All Rights Reserved • Terms of Use Privacy Policy • Powered by ClubExpress

News / Articles

The Voter - May 2023

Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.
Your Vote is Your Voice

The Voter
The official Newsletter of the League of Women Voters of Sonoma County.
Volume28, Issue 5
In this Issue:

Monthly Monday League Meeting
Monday May 22
11:30 am-1:00 pm,Zoom meeting

Sonoma County Libraries

Register Here

How Our Libraries Are Changing

Can You Imagine a World Without Public Libraries?

Public Libraries are at the heart of democracy. They ensure equitable access to information and knowledge, with a strong commitment to intellectual freedom. But our Public Libraries are in the line of political fire these days -- some states are questioning books available through our libraries and even questioning if libraries should be defunded altogether.

Did you know that in Sonoma County, we are very fortunate to have a robust and vibrant library system?

Join us on Monday May 22ndat 11:30 am via Zoom to meet the new Sonoma County Library Director,Erika Thibault, and the Chair of the Sonoma County Library Commission, Deborah Doyle, for an overview of our local libraries: How are they funded, who decides if a book should be banned, what new services are being offered, the many ways to access our libraries, and more.
re we taking our local libraries for granted, assuming they will always be there with all the books and materials we want to read?The First Amendment to the Constitution states, in part, “Congressshall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging thefreedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (Emphasis added) So congress may not ban books, but maybe States and individuals can. What about local government and local school boards?

Ericka Thibault

Deborah DoyleErika Thibault

Books are a form of free speech, and are covered by the first amendment. Books also enhance our knowledge. Knowledge = power. So, what do you think banning books is all about? Book bans are a way to control our access to knowledge and to restrict our power. We need to protect our access to knowledge of all kinds, and our freedom of choice to read any book.

The most obvious reason why we need to protect against book banning is that it is a form of censorship. Censorship is the suppression of ideas or information. The First Amendment protects citizens against censorship by the federal government, but not by private citizens or organizations. In fact, book banning is the most prevalent example of censorship in the United States.

In the 1982 Supreme Court ruling on Board of Education v. Pico, Justice William Brennan wrote that taking books off of library shelves could violate students’ First Amendment rights, adding that “Local school boards may not remove books from school libraries simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books.”

Parents may control what their own children read, but don't have a right to restrict what books are available to other people. Parents who don’t like specific books can have their kids opt out of an assignment without infringing on the rights of others.

The National Coalition against Censorship explained that “Even books or materials that many find ‘objectionable’ may have educational value, and the decision about what to use in the classroom should be based on professional judgments and standards, not individual preferences.”

Join us on Monday, May 22 11:30 am to learn more about our local libraries and how we can support this vital community resource.

Monday Monday 22th 11:30 am - 1:00 pm Zoom meeting

Register Here

The Zoom link will be sent to you after you register

Scales of Justice
Lunch with the League
Honoring the 2022-23 Grand Jury
Save the Date

Our League has invited the current Grand Jury members to a luncheon next month, Wednesday, June 14, Flag Day! We will hold the event at Charlie’s Restaurant at the Windsor Golf Course from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Space is limited to thirty-five members. There will be a $35 charge for the lunch. Look for the registration email coming soon.

So, what does the Grand Jury do?A quote from the Sonoma County Government website:

  • A citizen watchdog function authorized by the California State Constitution,
  • An investigative body; an “arm of the Court: - Assesses action and performance of local government entities,
  • A group of 19 citizens serving a 12-month term. Every California County has a civil grand jury.

California and Nevada are the only States that have standing Grand Juries. Come join us to honor the outgoing grand jury and learn about their work.

Message from Our President
Donna Roper

One of our most exciting programs has been the high school presentations informing seniors about the registration process and the need to be informative voters. It’s interesting how onerous and intimidating just filling out the form is for some students. So, can you imagine how it is for recent immigrants or illiterate residents? The League needs to be constantly exposing Sonoma County residents to this process and assisting people to become registered. That’s why we do tabling events at many locations (and we need your help to reach more venues!). Many thanks to Lynn Dooley and her team for their tenacity in creating a curriculum, recruiting volunteers and in outreach to the schools. We have quite a few trained presenters (and many retired teachers who gave us good hints), so if you have any contact with Sonoma County High Schools, please let us know. This photo is from the government class at Petaluma High School.

Hope to “see” you (via zoom) at our annual meeting on June 26thwhere new board members will be elected and next year’s budget will be approved. You will find the annual meeting kit on our website later this month.

And hope toactuallysee you at the luncheon for the Grand Jury on June 14th. This should be very interesting to hear about the process from current jurors. The league’s issues often are in sync with what the Grand Jury is focusing on.


Gayle Peterson presenting the voter registration card training

Our congratulations to long time League memberPhyllis Clementon her 100th Birthday.
And thank you, Phyllis, for all your work with the Leauge over the years.
Happy Birthday

Meeting the Housing Crisis

By Barbara Coen

Part 2 of Coverage of the City of Santa Rosa’s Housing Programs

Homelessness is a critical concern for the Santa Rosa community and one of the City Council’s top priorities. The City’s five-year Homelessness Solutions Strategic Plan (2023-2027) outline key strategies and actions the City will take to address homelessness in collaboration with the regional system of care. The Plan follows the evidence-based practices of Housing First, which prioritizes the provision of permanent housing as the primary tool for ending homelessness in alignment with Federal and State policy. The goal is to achieve “Functional Zero” homelessness in which a person’s experience with homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring. To that end, the City is making strategic investments in five key initiative areas.

These areas are Day Services, Emergency Shelter, Community Based Solutions, Street Outreach & Encampment Resolution and Housing Support. Details on these services can be found on the City’s website.

While progress has been made in recent years, most recently the number of individuals experiencing homelessness county-wide increased by approximately five percent between 2020 and 2022, with a 13 percent increase in Santa Rosa. 57% of the overall count-wide homeless population resides in Santa Rosa.

A few of the City-funded programs and initiatives for fiscal year 2021-22 are: 219 housed, 1,271 sheltered, and an additional 3,209 served in various ways.

Current annual investment in Santa Rosa’s homelessness solutions is $4.9 million, up from $1.7 million in 2016/17.

A dedicated staff and community partners are hard at work on these issues 24/7.

Gun Violence Is Out of Control


By Leona Judson

Gun Volence

You have probably noticed that the American flag has been at half-staff recently. That is because of the most recent mass shooting in Allen, Texas. We can all agree that gun violence is out of control across the country and in California. We have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. And yet we continue to have mass shootings. As of this writing there have been 17 mass shootings so far in Californiathis yearresulting in 28 deaths. This does not count the daily shootings such as suicides, drive-by shootings, domestic violence, etc. Thus far this year there have been 15,056 all cause gun violent deaths nationwide. The Gun Violence Archive keeps a daily tally of these grim statistics.https://www.gunviolencearchive.orgDespite a public outcry for Washington to address this epidemic of gun violence, little progress has been made.

Has the LWV taken any stand on this endless gun violence? Yes, they have. On the national front the LWVUS lobbied congress in 2022 with this statement:

“As comprehensive gun safety reform is considered and implemented, it must include: (1) closing the gun show loophole, (2) providing universal background checks, (3) banning assault weapons and placing limits on high-capacity ammunition magazine size, (4) increasing penalties for straw purchases of guns, and (5) funding research and reporting on gun violence in America. Curbing gun violence is a critical matter of public safety and health to restore public confidence in our government’s ability to protect communities and vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and people of color who are often targets of gun violence.”

Most recently on the state level, the League is offering support to a bill making its way through the current legislative session to make changes in the current licensing of concealed firearms (SB 2- Portantino) to require more training and accountability.

But until the federal government gets serious about improving gun safety, strict gun laws at the state level will have minimal impact. This may not be the last time we see our flag at half-staff this year.


Youth Outreach Programs
Lynn Dooley, Coordinator

Sonoma LWV members visit Sonoma County Schools!


This month eight of our LeagueIn-Classroom Student Outreachpresenters introduced Sonoma County students to voting and set them on the path to become lifelong voters!

Elaine Covell & Nancy Lewis visitedLaguna High Schoolin Forestville, CA. Robyn Bramhall, Connie Williams, Laraine Kelman, Donna Roper, Gayle Peterson and our intern Evan Farmer all took part in the presentations atPetaluma High School. Each team was greeted with enthusiasm by both the teachers and students.

Our In-Classroom Student Outreach efforts will continue in the fall. Feel free to contact Lynn Dooley atyouth@lwvsonoma.orgif you’d like to get involved.

In addition to the In-Classroom program, we had our first outreach event with theLWV Elections Ambassadorshosted by our League Intern/College Champion Evan Farmer. Evan gathered with some of his friends to “table” on campus. They invited students to register to vote and learn more about the LWV Elections Ambassador program that would train students to register their peers to vote. League members Anisya Lustig – Ellison and Linda Rosen were both on hand to help out.

The Sonoma LWV Elections Ambassador Program will be working with students at Sonoma State University and, hopefully, Santa Rosa Junior College this fall. Volunteer to help and find out more by contacting Lynn Dooley

Thank you to all our incredible volunteers! Your work is making a difference for Sonoma County youth!!

Join us for our next Youth Outreach Meeting:

Topic: Youth Outreach Committee Monthly Meeting

Time:May 16, 2023 11:00 AMPacific Time

(join us at 10:45a to visit, we’ll start at 11am)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 886 8730 8416

Dial by phone with the meeting ID: 669 900 6833

LWVSC Calendar


Coming Events

Check theOnline Calendarfor the latest schedule

and for location or links to virtual meetings.



San Francisco Bay Area League

We often partner with local Leagues in neighboring counties, but we also do this in a more formal way through the Bay Area League, which is a regional group of the local Leagues that hare some common goals relevantto this area.

You can subscribe toBay Area Monitor and Monitor Notesby sending an email to :

We are also currently looking for a member so serve as liasson between our League and the Bay Area League. If you are interested, please contact Donna Roper



May 18, 2023: Moderated by Mary Virdeh

Lessons from the Edge. By Marie Yovanovitch. 416 pages. 3/15/2022

This is a memoir from a former United States Ambassador to Ukraine and a witness on the first impeachment trial. I enjoyed the book, first as being very well written and also as a interesting chronicle of the foreign service career. Her emphasis is on the Soviet and post Soviet world. Her father left the Soviet Union as a child, and her mother survived WorldWar II in Nazi Germany. She was fluent in the Russian Language and studied in Moscow and joined the Foreign Service in 1986. She served as ambassador under three US presidents, the last being Donald Trump. She went through many dangerous assignments and relates all with grace and composure. Her career ended with Donald Trump when she was referred to during a phone call from Donald Trump to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as bad news.This is an informative, well written and up beat book.

June, 15, 2023: Moderated by Karen Rust

An Immense World. How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us,By Ed Yong.464 pages 2022

Snakes smell with their tongues. Sunflower petals have patterns we can’t see but bees can. In fact, our inability to see infrared makes us the outlier, not the norm. Dolphins can use their sonar to identify something miles away and later visually recognize a picture of that critter. A chameleon can look forwards and behind with independent eyes. Seals use their whiskers to sense the disruption in the water of their prey. Many animals can sense electromagnetic fields.

We tend to think what we see is how things are. This book shows us how diverse and amazing our fellow creatures are in the ways they perceive our shared planet.


Zoom Meeting
May 2023
Debbie McKay,Secretary

Annual Member Meeting:The Board set the Annual Member Meeting time and date—Monday, June 26that 11:30 am. There will be a guest speaker, a vote on the 2023-24 proposed budget, and election of Board members & officers. Watch for emails with more details.

Budget: We have a planed deficit in the current year budget due to a one-time-only expense for how we pay the annual dues to the National League. We will now be on a month to month system, instead of an annual payment system. We have reserves to cover this deficit. The Budget Committee presented a proposed 2023-24 budget to the Board. The Board voted to recommend the proposed 2023-24 budget to the membership at the Annual Membership Meeting.

Nominating Committee: The Committee is still seeking League members to fill the following positions: Executive VP, who serves as an assistant to the President, Outreach Coordinator, who organizes our participation in community events such as the Wed Night Market, etc.; Advocacy Co-Chair to work with Jim Masters who will be the other Co-Chair leading our Advocacy work. And we have League members who will training you on any of these roles. Please contact Susan Novak or Donna Roper if you have questions or would like to know more about these positions.

Grand Jury Luncheon: This year our Annual League Luncheon is back. The League is hosting a luncheon on July 14that noon at Charlie’s Grill in Windsor for the Grand Jury members who are ending their term. Seats are limited, so watch for an email about this event with details and reserve your space right away. The information will also soon be posted in our online events calendar.

Interns: We heard a report from our current Intern, Evan Farmer, on his semester long activities with us. He has learned a lot working with us and is excited about the Peer to Peer Voter Registration we are implementing at Sonoma State University. This internship was made possible by a generous donation from Joel Reynolds. The Board also had the opportunity to meet and welcome Tessa Vandenberg, who will be our SSU intern for the fall semester.

Membership: Most memberships renew in June or July. You will get an email reminder to renew. If you need help with renewing your membership online contact Juanita Roland

A Statement on the Benefits of League Membership was adopted by the Board and is posted on our webpage in references.Benefits of Membership We want to have more ways to keep in touch with our members, so the Board is re-activating the League phone tree. If you would like to help with this project, please send an email

Partnering with Other Organizations: The Board voted to join Los Cien as an organization and to continue to explore how we may work together on common goals.

Youth Outreach: Trained League volunteers visited three high schools this month to register students and provide civics education resources. We have trained 7 new presenters who will join existing presenters in the fall. We are continuing to work on setting up a Peer to Peer Voter Registration at the Santa Rosa Junior College. We plan to have a League table at the May Los Cien meeting which is focused on listening to students.

Voter Service: This committee is taking a well-deserved one month break, but will be meeting with potential forum partners and sponsors soon.

Community Outreach: The League participated in the Butter & Eggs Day Parade and the Apple Blossom Parade, and we were well received with cheers from the spectators as we passed by. We gave out lots of literature about the League. Our next event is the Gay Pride Parade on June 3rd. See the event calendar for details or sign up at

We will also be that the Santa Rosa Wed Night Market once a month through the summer. Send an email topresident@lwvsonoma.orgto volunteer for a shift or sign up to volunteer at



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,membership@lwvsonoma.orgis 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
555 Fifth Street, Suite 300O
Santa Rosa, CA 95401-8301
(707) 545-5943