Making Democracy Work

October 2017 Newsletter

The October 2017 Voter was mailed to members who have chosen to receive a hard copy.

Bridging the Divide: Saving Democracy One Conversation at a Time

Can We Talk...and Listen to One Another?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

1:00 - 3:00 pm

Silicon Valley Community Foundation

1300 S. El Camino, San Mateo CA 94403

Join the League for an interactive workshop on civil discourse, led by Marieann Shovlin,Communications Director, LWV Cupertino-Sunnyvale.

We will begin by learning the basics on civil discourse, break into groups to work on rules and roles, and finish with a discussion on what we have learned.

Groups in Berkeley facing off over conservative and liberal views. Fights breaking out as everyone screams their views at each other. Arguments started over Facebook and Twitter postings. Everyone is talking, but no one is listening

In these contentious times it is more important than ever that we learn how to discuss issues in a civil manner. As defined by the LWV San Luis Obispo and the LWV San Diego, civil discourse is courteous, constructive communication characterized by mutual respect, fairness and attentive listening. At a minimum, it is mutually respectful, courteous, constructive, and orderly communication.

This meeting is open to the public.

For more information, email Susie Raye, Program Director or leave a message on the League phone (650-342-5853).

2017-2018 Member Handbooks will be distributed to members who attend the meeting.

Brown Bag Lunch Series Continues with a Discussion of Free Speech

Wednesday, October 11

League Office, 444 Peninsula Avenue, Suite 1, San Mateo 94401

Join us for another informal opportunity to talk about current issues with fellow members.

The brown bag lunch series kicked off on September 13 with a lively discussion of health care issues. The news that day featured a proposal at the federal level for universal health care which added to the discussion. We also looked at questions raised in a recent analysis by the California Budget & Policy Center about impacts on California if the state were to adopt its own single-payer health care system. This proposal died in the Legislature during this year but it could be proposed in the future.

Those who attended the lunch agreed that the topics should be chosen based on issues that are currently in the news. The topic for October 11 fits that criterion; so join us to talk about Free Speech and what it means for the U.S.

The Federal Constitution as originally framed in 1787 had no reference to inalienable human rights. Immediately, there was a cry for a Bill of Rights and on December 15, 1791 the first ten amendments to the Constitution were ratified.

What does the provision that "Congress shall make no law...........abridging the freedom of speech or of the press........" mean for us? This discussion is happening daily in the news, in op-eds and articles in the newspaper, magazines and online. The Soul of the First Amendment, a recent book by Floyd Abrams, offers an interesting perspective on this issue. There are many other ideas of what it means.

Voter Service for the November 7 Elections

Several local jurisdictions in San Mateo County will hold elections on November 7. The League will moderate and provide other assistance for several candidate forums. These include city council elections in Brisbane, Burlingame, San Bruno, and San Mateo, as well as school board elections in San Carlos and San Mateo-Foster City school districts.

Check the calendar for dates and locations or see p. 4 of the October 2017 Voter.

There are also several local ballot measures. See pages 5 & 6 of the October 2017 Voter for a list.

For more information on these measures and the candidates, be sure to see Voter's Edge.

Register Voters at the CSM Farmer's Market

The League will set up a voter registration table in the free speech section at the College of San Mateo Farmer's Market on one Saturday of each month.

In addition to registering voters, we will use this opportunity to inform people about the Voter's Choice Act and to let them know about our League activities and meetings.

The first tabling will be on Saturday, October 28 from 9 am - 12 noon. If you can come for an hour or two, please email Ann Kuchins. Or if you are shopping, stop by and say hi!

In case of rain, we will cancel!

Make America Tolerant Again?

Nazi salutes in Charlottesville, VA. Bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers. Mosques and Islamic Centers defaced. Intolerance, discrimination and public expressions of hate are not new in American society. They've gone through periods of higher visibility throughout our history. And since the 2016 election, we seem to have entered into one of those periods.

After making so many strides towards becoming a more inclusive society, America has become polarized along lines of race, gender and political affiliation. Not long ago, Democrats and Republicans in Congress would work together for the good of the country. But gridlock has become the norm in Washington. And this stalemate has trickled down to the rest of us, sometimes spilling into open animosity. Dialogue between progressives and conservatives is rare. Social media, with its opportunity for anonymity and its lax policing of hate speech, has made it easy to demonize those of opposing political and social views, and of different races and ethnicities.

See the full article on pages 5 & 6 of the October Voter

Did You Know?

Voting rights of incarcerated or previously incarcerated residents of California

You are eligible to register and vote if you are:

  • In county jail serving a misdemeanor sentence. A misdemeanor never affects your right to vote.
  • In county jail because jail time is a condition of probation
  • On probation
  • On mandatory supervision
  • On post-release community supervision
  • Done with parole.

Your right to vote is automatically restored when you complete your parole. You just need to fill out a voter registration application either online or using a paper registration card. You are not eligible to register and vote if you are:
  • Currently imprisoned
  • In state prison
  • In county jail serving a state prison sentence
  • Currently on parole

Community Outreach Toolkit: California Online Voter Registration

Other Articles

See the October 2017 Voterfor other articles and pictures of recent events:

President's message, p. 2

Board Highlights, p. 3

State Action, p. 6

Bay Area League Day, Saturday, February 3, 2018, p. 6

Voter's Choice Act, The Next Step, p. 7

Woodlake Association Election, p. 7 & 8

Member Handbooks Available in October, p. 9

Legislators for North & Central San Mateo County, p. 9

Calendar, p. 10