LWV-PA Annual Meeting


June 5, 2014
Women’s City Club

Photos are here

Video of the meeting is here

At the January 2013 Program Planning session, members reviewed national and local positions and recommended adoption of existing positions. No new studies were recommended. Votes for local education and advocacy priorities were:
•    Increase voter participation, targeting underrepresented groups and youth: 26
•    Promote a Housing Commission for the City of Pasadena: 18
•    Activate an Observer Corps for public education: 12
•    Promote job creation, retention, and training: 12

To summarize our annual meeting: We elected new Board officers. We approved a budget. We approved existing local positions. We recognized and thanked committee members for their good work. We applauded Ray Bennett’s twenty years of exemplary volunteer service as our office manager. We heard an excellent speaker.
The unusual element in the annual meeting was the intense table discussions on specific activities to implement our priorities for education and advocacy:

Increase voter participation
    Develop partnerships with other organizations to promote voter registration at high schools and community colleges
    Develop relationships with school districts and PTAs to work on voter registration and education
    Create teams of speakers to present pros and cons on issues, and communicate about online resources for information about issues.
    Ex-felons: Outreach for education and registration to DPSS, halfway houses, homeless shelters, food banks
    Low income population: Outreach to churches for education and registration; propose polling places at these churches; poster campaign focused on churches

Running and Winning 2015
    Continue R&W Forum and increase publicity about program
    Increase Education Committee membership
    Expand participation in R&W to school districts in other League area cities
    Seek external funding for the program.

Support an Affordable Housing Commission for Pasadena
    Provide input on Fuller Seminary Master Plan, where reduction of existing housing for students from 400 to 196 units would put additional stress on available lower income units
    Provide Affordable Housing 101 training course that could be offered to groups or cities.
    Conduct an Affordale Housing Tour to inform members and others about existing facilities

Activate an Observer Corps for Education
    The group discussed a variety of opportunities and issues to implement this priority from the Program Planning session and concluded that we do not have the volunteer base from which to draw participants
    It was moved, seconded, and carried not to include this priority in our 2014-2015 action plan

Promote job creation, retention, and training
    A resource list of job training programs will be assembled (Uma Shrivasava, Women at Work) and posted on our website (Donovan Steutel)
    The Advocacy Committee will share this list with other organizations and will develop an opinion article or letters to the editor on related issues
    League Day program will be scheduled for education on issues in this priority area

Our luncheon speaker, Dr. Caroline Heldman of the Political Science Department at Occidental College, spoke on trends and issues for women and politics. Dr. Heldman noted that progress for women in office is not linear: since the first woman was elected in 1917, the percent of women in Congress has risen but has remained below 20 percent since 2007. Barriers to women include an ambition gap, lack of recruitment of women by political parties, evaluation bias that judges women as less capable than men candidates, and negative media coverage. Women candidates receive less media coverage and coverage is less issue based and tends to have a negative tone. Media attention for female candidates tends to focus on appearance (hair, wardrobe) and is often unrelated to issues in their campaigns. The result is that media coverage usually harms, rather than helps female candidates. Heldman noted that in today’s political environment, opinion polls show that so far Hillary Clinton has good favorability ratings compared to male opponents. Analysis of voting rates shows a decline in social capital as society has become more individualized so that people feel less connected to each other, a factor in generating interest in voting.