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  • 28 May 2024 1:54 PM | Anonymous

    By JPT, B-Toons Artist

    There is no error of circumstance, no drug, and certainly no trauma that could ever change a person's first and most permanent identity: human. Yet, people experiencing homelessness in Burien have had their dignity stripped away to such an extent that a casual observer might think that they were mere insects under Burien's leather boot.  It was therefore my great pleasure to interview and share the stories of people trapped in Burien's homeless-hostile landscape in an endeavor to remind readers of the B-Town Blog that they are and will always be human. Human, and owed all the basic dignity inherent to the condition, no matter how much money they make. 
     
    I hope that the simple things
    food, water, and shelter do not evade less-fortunate Burienites any longer. 

    These experiences and interviews come from the perspective of those in Burien, but the related issues of high housing costs  and homelessness are a significant problem throughout the state of Washington. Learn more about the LWVWA's work on the issues of housing and homelessness here.

  • 28 May 2024 12:22 PM | Anonymous

    By Shelley Kneip, LWVWA Director

    On May 20, the LWVWA sponsored a public forum to hear from candidates seeking election to the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The forum was held at Ridgeline High School in Liberty Lake, and candidates answered questions posed by the area's high school students.

    The three candidates in attendance were David Olson, Chris Reykdal and Reid Saaristhe fourth candidate, John Patterson Blair, could not attend the forum. Central Valley School District graciously provided the new Ridgeline High School auditorium as the venue for the forum and Dr. John Parker, Superintendent of Central Valley School District offered invaluable assistance. The OSPI Candidate Forum was broadcast and recorded by TVW. Members from the LWV of the Spokane Area also provided volunteer assistance for the forum.

    As we know, high school students are our future votes, and many students work closely with civics teachers in their senior year to learn how our government works. Teachers encourage students to be informed voters, to understand issues, and to learn more about candidates for office. The LWVWA aims to encourage future votersespecially 17-year-olds who are eligible to vote in the August primaries. The OSPI Candidate Forum provided an incredibly hands-on civics education opportunity for six future voters from Central Valley School District.

    The League worked with Brittney Bergman, a civics teach at Ridgeline High School (who is also the school's Civics Bowl Coach and Junior States of America Club Advisor) and some of the students from the area's local high schools. These students included: Jason Cloward, Spokane Valley Tech; Hailee Elkins, Mica Peak High School; Lucy He, Central Valley High School; Gracie Newell and Vivian Van Buren, Ridgeline High School; and Everett Stinson, University High School.

    The students studied the requirements for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction and developed questions for the candidates. The forum was moderated by Renee Radcliff Sinclair, president and CEO of TVW, who called on the students to present their questions to the candidates. The public was also able to submit questions in advance.

    Make sure you watch the recording of the OSPI Candidate Forum to see these high school students in action. We know you'll be impressed by these future voters! Our readers are encouraged to share the TVW recording with voters who have not yet seen the forum. Readers can also find more information about the forum and candidates in this piece published in The Spokesman Review.

    The LWVWA will be holding another forum for the primary candidates for WA Attorney General. The forum will be held at WSU's Tri-Cities campus in Richland on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 6:30 PM. The forum is open to the public, but seating is limited. Northwest Public Broadcasting will record and air the forum.

    The public is invited to submit questions for the candidates here.

  • 28 May 2024 11:40 AM | Anonymous

    By Sarah Philips, LWV Seattle/King County

    The Board of the League of Women Voters of Washington voted to OPPOSE Initiative 2117. 

    The League of Women Voters—at all its levels—is a nonpartisan organization that does not support candidates or political parties. The League is not apolitical though, and does take positions on Initiatives and referendums at times.

    Taking a position to vote NO on Initiative 2117 aligns with the League's state and national positions, as well as our long standing policy positions on climate change.

    Initiative 2117 proposes to prohibit enforcing the Climate Commitment Act (CCA).

    The CCA was passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2021. The CCA program, effective beginning in 2023, is aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are warming the planet. This Act generated significant funding for statewide and local efforts to reduce GHG emissions and assist frontline communities to reduce the impact of historic emissions as well as to fund projects that protect our water and air quality.

    The CCA raises funds through the sale of pollution credits. The total amount of credits (and thus, allowable emissions) are reduced every year. The law requires the money raised from the sale of credits be invested to reduce emissions and create jobs. In 2023, the sale of pollution credits raised $2.2 billion. These funds are being invested in GHG reduction by reducing the state's dependence on fossil fuels in transportation, buildings, and power generation.

  • 28 May 2024 10:54 AM | Anonymous

    By Ann Aagaard, former LWVWA Shorline/Landuse/Wetlands Chair

    The WA Department of Ecology is beginning the rule-making process to amend the Shoreline Management Act Guidelines. This process aims, not only to make amendments, but also to update and add clarity around the act's procedures and approvals. It will also add requirements for local governments to address the impact of sea level rise and increased storm severity on people, property, and shoreline natural resources and environment.

    You can find more information on the Department of Ecology rule-making and its timeline here.

    Find the League of Women Voters of Washington's 2022 study "Shoreline Management Act at 50+ Years. Shorelines Study" here.

    To sign up for notifications about this project, contact Rebecca Rothwell, at the WA Department of Ecology.

    For any further questions, please contact Ann Aagaard.

  • 28 May 2024 9:40 AM | Anonymous

    By Susan Daniel, LWVWA Director

    When reflecting on your estate plan, consider how it can serve as an opportunity to extend your impact beyond your lifetime. Of course, providing for loved ones is a primary concern, but including the League of Women Voters of Washington in your estate planning can also be a rewarding and transformative impact. Here are a few reasons why:

    • Fulfilling your Valuesincluding the League in your estate plan allows you to align your financial legacy with your values and beliefs. Your gift helps us continue our important work, ensuring you and your values continue to make a difference beyond your lifetime.
    • Creating Lasting ImpactsThe LWVWA plays a crucial role in protecting democracy and empowering voters. When you include the League in your estate giving, you contribute to the sustainability and growth of work that resonates with you. Your contribution could fund candidate debates, community forums, get out the vote efforts, civics education and other voter resources to your community, or to underserved communities.
    • Leaving a Meaningful Legacy —Your estate plan is more than just a financial document; it's a reflection of your life's work and the values you hold dear. When you include the League in your plan, you are leaving a meaningful legacy that reflects your passions and priorities. Your generosity can inspire future generations and serve as a testament to the positive impact individuals can have on the world.
    • Tax Benefits—Incorporating the League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund into your estate plan can also offer significant tax benefits. Charitable bequests are typically deductible from the value of your estate, potentially reducing estate taxes and providing additional resources for your chosen causes. By strategically planning your charitable giving, you can maximize the impact of your estate while minimizing tax liabilities.

    When you name the LWVWA or LWVWA Education Fund to receive a gift through your estate, you play a personal role in protecting democracy’s future. Learn more about legacy giving at our website.

  • 23 Apr 2024 9:24 AM | Anonymous
    At the LWVWA's 2023 Convention a new education project was approved, one focused on Multi-Member Districts. The project's Education Group, with Washington for Equitable Representation (WER), presented during Democracy Lobby Week. The group is now working to make program presentations to local Leagues and other groups around the state.

    You can help by:

    • Sending us comments and/or questions
    • Joining our project working group
    • Invite us to meet with your local League! We can do presentations either in-person or over Zoom, and will look at the way our current electoral systems silently shape the way politics work and how we can improve it.

    Look for the Multi-Member Districts Education Project at the LWVWA Council in June!

    Contact the Multi-Member Districts Education Project at MMD@LWVWA.org.

  • 23 Apr 2024 9:22 AM | Anonymous

    The LWVWA, together with our host Leagues, the LWV Thurston County and LWV Mason County, cordially invite you to beautiful Lacey, Washington, for our 2024 Council. This year's theme is "ignite the Vote" and Council will organize around how the League can get folks excited and prepared for the 2024 elections. Council will be held on June 1 and 2, with optional activities on Friday, May 31. It will be held at the South Puget Sound Community College's Lacey Campus

    Registration

    Registration is now open! Early bird registration continues at a discounted price until May 5. There are both in-person and virtual options available. In-person registration includes lunch, happy hour, a buffet dinner on Saturday, and a continental breakfast on Sunday. Coffee, tea, water, and other beverages will also be provided.  

    Schedule

    There are several engaging activities planned over the weekend! League-specific activities include caucuses, workshops, and plenaries throughout the weekend. There will also be plenty of opportunities to socialize via shared meals, a complementary happy hour, and a walking tour of the Capitol Campus.  

    Lodging

    There are two hotels within an easy 6-minute walk from the Council venue:

    • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lacey—we have a block of 15 rooms with 2 queen beds reserved for a discounted group price. See our Council website for more information and booking instructions.   

    • Candlewood Suites Olympia/Lacey—while we have not reserved a block of rooms, if you prefer to make your own meals, you may prefer staying at this hotel, as their rooms have fully furnished in-room kitchens.
    Homestays are also available, though limited in number. Priority will be given to those with financial need. Contact Darlene Hein for more information.  

    We Want YOU to Help Shape Council

    We invite local Leagues, committees, and other groups to set up (and staff) display tables for Council attendees so folks can learn more about your work!  

    We are also seeking folks interested in holding a caucus on topics of their choice! Caucuses are informal gatherings outside of the regular business meeting times (after the evening program). They may encompass a wide range of topics, from resource/knowledge sharing about the League’s work to generating interest in a new taskforce, committee, or toolkit.  

    For more information about caucusing/tabling, or to request a caucus or a table, see our Council website.

  • 28 Mar 2024 2:29 PM | Anonymous

    By Alison McCaffree, Redistricting Issue Chair

    For the 2024 election, new legislative map boundaries will switch half a million people to different districts. On Friday, March 15th, Federal District Court Judge Lasnik handed down the final order for the Soto Palmer v Hobbs lawsuit that declared a Yakima Valley district (LD 15) discriminatory to Latino voters. The order creates a new District 14 with the intent of giving better opportunity for Latino voters to elect a candidate of their choice on an equal basis with other voters. The court’s map also adjusts boundaries in 12 other districts. The unnecessary churn and uncertainty for voters caused by having to make changes at this late date demonstrates why LWVWA supports redistricting reform. A new kind of commission putting people first would minimize partisan influences and emphasize a consensus around what’s best for all communities.

    To learn more, please join the Redistricting Reform Task Force for one of two briefings on the Washington State’s new legislative maps. How did we get here? Where do we go next? Register for the virtual discussions taking place on Wednesday, April 10th at 6:30pm and Saturday April 13th at 10:30am.


    Where voting district lines are drawn affects every voter’s opportunity to elect representatives who best reflect their thinking. This line-drawing process, known as redistricting, is fundamental to establishing individual voting power, your voting power. Our Washington State maps were redrawn in 2021 to account for population changes following the census. But now, in March 2024, Washington has once again redrawn legislative district lines.

    The Swirl.

    The new legislative map changes thirteen legislative districts: 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 31—with the most significant changes to LD 14 and LD 15. An analysis by The League of Women Voters of Washington’s Redistricting Reform Task Force shows that over 502,000 voters are affected by the changes (See the pink areas in the map below). The new LD14 connects the Latino communities in East Yakima, Yakima Valley and East Pasco and combines it with the Yakama Nation’s main reservation and its fishing villages. According to the court, in this district Latino voters have a better opportunity of electing the candidates of their choice. Creating the new LD14 caused a ripple effect, as the changes swirled through Western Washington districts (note green arrows) to balance population numbers. The Office of the Secretary of State has confirmed that these lines will displace 5 sitting legislators. On March 22nd, the appellate court denied an emergency stay which means the new map will remain in place for the 2024 elections. An appeal process will continue during the summer.

    The Swirl: Pink areas highlight the population shift incorporated into the new legislative districts (approx. 502,000 people). Smaller pink areas starting in SW LD14 and moving along the arrows to Wenatchee represent approximately 15,600 people shifted from one district to the next.

    The Swirl: Pink areas highlight the population shift incorporated into the new legislative districts (approx. 502,000 people). Smaller pink areas starting in SW LD14 and moving along the arrows to Wenatchee represent approximately 15,600 people shifted from one district to the next.


    The challenge to the map drawn by the 2021 Redistricting Commission was based on a violation of Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act. According to Yurij Rudensky of the Brennen Center, Judge Lasnik’s order applied well established legal principles reaffirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2022 Alabama redistricting case. The court order concluded that 1) the desires of the Yakama Nation were granted, 2) district changes are reasonable given the redistricting process and 3) partisan interests play no part in the new legislative map development and only necessary changes were implemented. Overall, the court’s decision stated that the new map supports the Latino community of interest in Central Washington that has long been underrepresented. The test of the map will be in November when we will see if voters have the chance to elect people who truly represent them.

    The Solution.

    LWVWA believes the uncertainty and churn caused by this lawsuit illustrates the need to change our state’s redistricting process. People may or may not like the outcome of a lawsuit. Regardless of the ongoing debate, the League believes that this disruption is not good governance. A better process would likely have created a more representative map in the first place and avoided this new change of districts for so many voters.

    The Washington State Redistricting Commission, as currently structured, is often described as independent. It is not. Commissioners are put in place by the two major political parties, with work facilitated by a non-voting chair. Court records show that in the 2021 process, Washington State legislators and their staff members were in regular contact with the redistricting commissioners, essentially lobbying for partisan interests. Additionally, court records show there was no public view into their final deliberations. These records report commissioners worked in partisan pairs, finally voting on maps that neither they nor the public had time to study or evaluate. Many LWVWA members directly experienced this exclusion. Ultimately, Commissioners were fined for violations of the Public Meetings Act and faced several lawsuits, including the Soto Palmer action that resulted in the new map.

    The League of Women Voters’ national position supports a new type of redistricting commission with expanded representation beyond the current two-party structure. The Redistricting Reform Task Force is calling this a People First Commission. All members of this type of commission are ordinary citizens who represent Democratic, Republican, and other points of view but who are not officially affiliated with the political parties. A People First Commission puts people’s interests above partisan tradeoffs. The League believes district line drawing should be accomplished in an open, unbiased manner with citizen participation and access at all levels and steps of the process. Our position supports a prompt review and rule by the courts on any challenge to a redistricting plan and requires adjustments if the standards have not been met.

    Good models exist in other states. According to analysis of California’s commission, their People First approach is more transparent and accountable, maximizes opportunities for involvement, and ensures the broadest possible representation. The 2020 California Citizen Redistricting Commission’s final report states that they produced fully vetted maps designed to best serve the people of the state. Recent research from University of Southern California, “Fair Maps in the State of California,” shows that these types of commissions have higher public trust and have resulted in legislatures that are more representative of the people in their state. This Fair Maps report concludes, “The result is a process that empowers communities and reduces the influence of political actors.” The LWVWA supports a People First Commission for Washington.

    See lwvwa.org/redistricting for more information on how to get involved.


  • 28 Mar 2024 10:19 AM | Anonymous

    In three months, delegates from the Washington state League will travel to the LWVUS national convention in Washington, D.C., to seek national concurrence of the LWVWA’s Local News and Democracy position:

    “It is the responsibility of the government to provide support for conditions under which credible local journalism can survive and thrive.”

    If adopted at the national convention in June, the position will empower Leagues throughout the country—at the local, state and national levels—to advocate for national legislation as well as local efforts to rebuild local news.

    You can help Washingtonians mount a winning campaign. We will send as many of our potential 53 delegates as possible from local Leagues throughout our state. But doing so is costly. With the registration fee ($550), airfare, hotel, meals, and ground transportation, we estimate costs for each in-person delegate to be at least $2,200. Sending delegates to attend in person will allow us to mount a more powerful and effective campaign, but some of our delegates will attend virtually, with a $150 registration fee.

    We could use your financial support! Perhaps this story will inspire you.

    One Washington League member never met the man who inspired her recent donation to the LWVWA’s efforts to help address the local news crisis. While growing up, our benefactor said she’d heard her parents praise the Pulitzer Prize-winning World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle, who chronicled the trials and tribulations of thousands of ordinary American airmen and soldiers, first on the battlefields in Europe and then in the Pacific.

    “Pyle told people back at home how the ordinary soldiers were doing,” said the League member, who asked not to be identified by name, but explained her father was severely wounded in the Battle of Okinawa. “People on the home front heard from someone who was in the trenches with their loved ones.”

    Ernie Pyle

    Ernie Pyle with a tank crew from the 191st Tank Battalion, US Army at the Anzio Beachhead in 1944. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Center of Military History.


    Nearly 80 years later, that human connection, made possible by newspaper reports of both life-altering and every-day events of friends, neighbors and family, is among the several losses we’re experiencing as the local news crisis continues.

    The crisis, which has closed one-quarter of the nation’s newspapers and is on track to close one-third by next year, also has been linked with lower voter participation, less civic engagement, fewer candidates for public office, higher government costs and challenges to public health.

    As a result of our two-year study, “The Decline of Local News and Its Impact on Democracy,” and concurrence of local leagues across the state, the position earned consensus of our Washington league last year. This enabled the LWVWA to advocate for legislation and programs in the Evergreen state to support local news, media literacy and greater access to local news.

    Now you can help the Washington delegates take our position to the national stage. Support local news with a donation to help offset costs for all Washington delegates to the national convention. Rebuilding local news is a cornerstone of the League’s mission of empowering voters and defending democracy, an ever-so-important effort at this time in our nation’s history.

    As a Washington State University professor interviewed by the study committee two years ago described the news crisis: “It’s not a journalism problem. It’s a democracy problem.”

    DONATE

  • 26 Mar 2024 3:56 PM | Anonymous
    As you reflect on your estate plan, you have a unique opportunity to extend your impact beyond your lifetime by leaving the League of Women Voters of Washington a bequest. In fact, there are a number of benefits that leaving a bequest to the LWVWA can have:
    • Supporting a Cause: Donations to the LWVWA help ensure the continuation of our work, and a bequest enables you to support that work and the causes you believe in even after you're gone.

    • Legacy Preservation: A bequest to the LWVWA provides an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy through your support of us and our work.

    • Tax Benefits: Any kind of bequest made to the LWVWA Education Fund is tax-deductible, which can reduce the estate tax burden on your heirs.

    • Recognition and Honor: Your bequest can be recognized by the LWVWA, providing a meaningful tribute to your support and commitment.

    • Inspiring Others: Your act of generosity may inspire others to consider similar gifts, thereby perpetuating a culture of philanthropy and sustaining the League of Women Voters of Washington.

    • Ensuring Sustainability: A bequest to the LWVWA can provide long-term financial stability for the League, allowing us to continue our work and impact for years to come!

    • Flexible Giving Options: You can specify how you want your bequest to be used, whether that be for general purposes, to be put toward the LWVWA Endowment, or even toward funding a specific program you're passionate about.

    Leaving a bequest to the League of Women Voters of Washington can be a powerful way to make a lasting impact. 

    Extend Your Impact


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