Making Democracy Work

Focus newsletter for February 2018

Focus is the monthly newsletter of the League of Women Voters of Marion and Polk Counties.

President's Column

Cindy Burgess Cindy Burgess

Greetings members and friends,

Measure 101--It was touch and go there for awhile, but by all working together we managed a very good Measure 101 Voter Service meeting at the Salem Library on February 7.  Pros and Cons were presented Deanie and Diana. Many thanks to them and to Barbara for publicity and refreshments, Kathleen and Elsa for greeting.  With the help of Rebecca Gladstone and Sarah Andrews, I developed a one-minute public service announcement for KMUZ radio. Salem City Club had done a program on the same issue the Friday before this, which may be why ours had light attendance, but from board member reports ours was quite good.  Perhaps most voters had already made up their minds, as the eventual vote tally showed the measure passing by quite a margin statewide (not so much in Marion County).

Friday's Statesman Journal reported that a state audit finds Oregon is unprepared for major disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.  So our Hot Topics meeting on January 22 was timely and included some very helpful tips on being our own first responder, which officials are now thinking may have to suffice for thirty days or more. Vernelle J. Judy, the author of a user guide, The Big One:  What to Do Before - During - After the Imminent Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake was a personable and informative speaker, and we had good attendance.

When you receive your Focus each month, I urge you to put our League events on your calendar and plan to attend these informative meetings.

Coming up this Friday, February 2, is Program Planning, and you have three choices of places to go to have intimate conversations about the future of our local League and as well as what the LWVUS ought to focus on.  Please plan on attending one of Friday's meetings.  We need your input.

Hot Topics: Homeless Families

Continuing with our emphasis on Homelessness in our area, on Wednesday, February 21, from noon to 1:30 p.m., we will hear a speaker from the Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network, who will explain how the participating churches help homeless families get back into housing.
Bring your lunch.
Bring: Donations for homeless women: tampons, pads, hygiene wipes, and warm socks.


2018 Oregon Legislative Session--The Legislative Session begins on Monday, February 5. As you know, it's a short session, so bills will have to move fast if they are to be enacted. Watch the emailed Legislative Report from the LWVOR Action Committee for background information on the bills they are watching and respond to Action Alerts they send out. One bill of special interest to the League is the Clean Energy Jobs bill. While everyone wants to slow climate change, figuring out how to do that in a way that is fair to everyone is very complex.

Federal EPA Proposed Repeal of Clean Power Plan--EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the EPA will re-open the public comment period for the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan through April 26, 2018. Written statements and supporting information submitted while the public comment period is open will be considered with the same weight as any oral comments and supporting information presented at the listening sessions (which will be held in Kansas City, San Francisco and Gillette, WY). Comments should be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355 and may be submitted by one of the methods listed on the Clean Power Plan Proposed Repeal: How to Comment web page at The link to the proposed repeal documents is also on that webpage.

More on Advocacy

Cindy Burgess

I was in Washington, D.C., on January 10 as Supreme Court Justices listened to arguments in Husted v. A. Phillip Randolf Institute on purging voter registration rolls in Ohio. LWVUS and many state Leagues are working hard against gerrymandering, for automatic voter registration and restoring the rights of ex-felons to vote.  If you go to, you can see all the issues the national League is working on, and you can easily sign on to send messages to our members of Congress.  

I wrote a Letter to the Editor in support of Measure 101 because LWVOR was supporting it.  I had earlier written testimony as a private person to the DEQ on their Cleaner Air Oregon rules, and I hope some of you did also.

This month we should all write our city councilors and commissioners to encourage them to support our legislators in passing the Clean Energy Jobs Bill, and we also need to write our legislators in support of that bill. It is so easy to write now with e-mail, and your message doesn't have to be long.  Go to for more information about the bill. There is a Clean Energy Jobs Lobby Day at 9:00 am on Monday, February 12, at the Micah Bldg., 680 State St., then go to the Oregon Capitol.  It would be helpful to attend that. Details are at .

Speaking of Lobby Days, there are several coming up this month, including the LWVOR Day at the Legislature on Friday, February 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  These are always very educational.

Lobby Days

Feb. 5--Oregon Education Association--

Feb. 6--Surfrider Foundation--Offshore drilling--

Feb. 8--Habitat for Humanity--Poverty & homelessness--

Feb. 12--Renew Oregon--Sustainable energy--

Feb. 13--Moms Demand Action--Gun safety--

Feb. 14--Causa--Immigration--

Feb. 14--Neighbors for Clean Air--

Feb. 21--Audubon Society--

Feb. 23--League of Women Voters--

Mar. 1--Partnership for Safety & Justice--

LWV Positions on Homelessness

The League has two positions on Homelessness:
Homeless Youth--LWVOR position
Criteria for Housing Supply--LWVUS position

Both positions in full can be found online in the LWVOR Issues for Action. Read positions

Like LWVMPC on Facebook!

Barbara Sellers-Young, Publicity Chair

Thanks to Kathleen Mason we were able to get our Facebook page up.

See LWVMPC page

If you click on "like" it, you'll receive notices from Facebook that will keep you updated on League events and related activities.

League Lingo

Program -- It all starts with the several steps of Program:
  • Program Planning + members submit ideas of governmental issues that different levels of League (national, state or local) should consider for study.
  • Program Adoption - Selected governmental issues are chosen by the membership at local, state and national levels for study and member agreement in the upcoming year/biennium at Conventions or Annual Meetings. Those governmental issues that League members choose for concerted study usually lead to a new position and potential action/advocacy. 
  • Programs - Forums or other meetings with speakers or discussion or other activities which may be based on League Positions or on issues the League members want to learn about.

Position -- statement of policy

To most in the public policy world, "taking a position" on something means that the organization or person actively supports or opposes a particular piece of legislation.  

To the League, a Position is the statement of governmental policy based on member research, study and agreement. A Position is approved by the appropriate board (national, state or local) once study and member agreement is complete. Positions that have been approved are written up in Impact on Issues (national), Issues for Action (state) and on our local League website <> under Position Statements. Synopses of national, state and local Positions are in our LWVMPC membership directory.

League Positions do not support or oppose any particular piece of legislation. They are statements of general principles against which specific legislation or ballot measure can be measured to determine whether or not the League can support or oppose it.

Action -- Positions form the basis for League Action/Advocacy 

The boards of the respective Leagues use the previously approved Position statements to determine support or opposition to a specific piece of legislation or to influence governmental decisions by supporting policies, budgets, comprehensive plans and initiatives or referenda. League leaders may also use public forums or other means to develop public support for League goals.

Who can speak for the League?

The president at each level of the League is the official spokesperson, although she/he can authorize others to speak for the League.  

League members are encouraged to contact their legislators and speak for themselves; applicable personal experience is especially valuable in showing legislators how proposed legislation would affect people's lives.

LWV Mission Statement Explained

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The League carries out its mission in two ways:

1) Education of voters with unbiased, factual information on issues and candidates appearing on a ballot, so citizens can cast an informed vote; and

2) Advocacy for public policy issues only after members have studied each issue and reached a consensus position.

The League never supports or opposes any political candidate or political party, and any use of the League of Women Voters name in campaign advertising or literature has not been authorized by the League.