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The League's History of Environmental Activism
By Kim Farmer and Bernie Brooks

The national League (LWVUS) has long been an advocate for the protection of our air, water, and natural resources. In the 1920s and ’30s, concern about the depletion of natural resources led LWVUS to study flood control, erosion, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. In the 1950s, water resources were the focus of activity. In the 1970s, during the birth of the environmental movement, the US League broadened the scope of its activity to become a leader in the environmental protection movement. As environmental awareness gained momentum, LWVUS helped to pass the Clean Water Act and fought efforts to gut the Clean Air Act. More recently, with the recognition of climate change as a serious threat to our planet, the League has intensified its involvement in climate action.

In 2019, the LWVUS board added a position statement supporting climate action, which allows state and local Leagues to make policy and take action on climate change.

The LWV of California (LWVC) has developed a Climate Change Action Policy that supports actions to “mitigate and adapt to climate change in order to protect our state from the negative physical, economic, and public health effects.” Among these are actions to promote energy conservation and efficiency in transportation, buildings, and infrastructure, as well as measures to advance a clean, low-carbon, sustainable energy economy. LWVC also supports carbon pricing by market mechanisms and more.

In the current legislative session, LWVC is advocating for passage of SB 27 (Skinner), requiring carbon sequestration goals as a next step toward moving the state to carbon neutrality and ultimately to net negative carbon emissions thereafter. SB 27 is completely in line with positions stated in LWVC’s Climate Action Policy.

LWVC has an active Climate Change task force with over 300 League members across the state working on issues locally, regionally, and statewide. All League members with an interest in climate action are welcome to join the task force.

LWV of Napa County’s (LWVNC’s) Climate Change Committee meets virtually from 12:30 to 1:30 pm on the 4th Wednesday of the month. The committee often collaborates on events with other local environmental groups. If you are a member and would like to participate, please send an email to


Statewide and Local Action on Climate Change

By Joyce Kingery
On Wednesday, April 21st, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm, the Napa League’s Climate Change Committee is sponsoring a virtual event to examine statewide climate-related bills sponsored by Senator Dodd. If passed, this legislation will affect our community for years to come. We will also be presenting information about a local movement to ban gas-powered leaf blowers throughout Napa County. There will be plenty of time for questions from the audience. This event is free and open to the community. To receive the Zoom link, sign up here. 

SB 99: The Community Energy Resilience Act of 2021 would enable local governments to create “energy resilience” plans to ensure continuous electricity service during power outages. If passed, SB 99 would provide reliable clean-energy “mini-grids” in counties like ours that are vulnerable to forest fires. SB 109 would create an agency to identify more effective ways to address wildfires, and SB 52 would make wildfire disaster relief more available.

Bay Area ImageCitywide Bans of Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers. Gas-powered leaf blowers generate significant noise and air pollution. Yountville has passed a ban on their use and other cities are planning to proceed along the same lines. Join the discussion and volunteer to help with petitions in your neighborhood. 

Joyce Kingery is chair of the Napa League’s Climate Change Committee.
Earth Day Napa 2021: April 19th26th

Join the local salute to Mother Earth during the week-long festival being hosted by the Environmental Education Coalition of Napa County (EECNC). This community event will offer both virtual and outdoor, socially distanced, in-person activities.

LWVNC is proud that our event concerning local climate change was selected to be featured during the festival (see above article). To participate in any of the free activities, click here.

Voter Suppression––Yesterday and Today
A Conversation Inspired by the Film "All In: The Fight for Democracy"
Wednesday, May 19th, 5:006:00 pm 
Pour a glass of wine and join the discussion in our new quarterly film series, whether you have watched the film or not.

We will show clips from this powerful documentary, produced by Stacey Abrams, that highlight the history of voter suppression and the current fight to make every vote count. You can access the entire film on Prime Video.

We're the League and We've Got Issues! 
By Yolanda Schonbrun

In League parlance, “program” means the issues that we choose to emphasize for education or action at either local, state, or national levels. The program planning process is part of what makes the League a grassroots organization; each League member has the opportunity to influence the selection of issues on which a local, state, or national League will focus time, talent, and money.

The California League’s Issues for Emphasis. Every two years, all 67 local Leagues in California engage in program planning. Based on this statewide feedback, the League of Women Voters of California (LWVC) Board of Directors makes recommendations to the biennial convention delegates about the program to be adopted for the coming two years. This year, LWVC’s convention will be held June 7–13 (save the dates).
The LWVC Campaign for Making Democracy Work continues to be a priority. This campaign includes many issues and positions Leagues traditionally work on, such as voting, elections, voter registration, and applying an “equity lens” by analyzing what we do from the perspective of how it impacts underrepresented individuals and communities. Another priority continues to be enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) among its membership and communities.
The League of Women Voters of Napa County (LVWNC) Program Planning meeting, held virtually on Saturday, February 6th, was attended by 14 members. One purpose was to gain consensus among participants about our program recommendations for LWVC. After proposing six topics from the LWVC list to consider, attendees voted for the top three, which are in order of priority Climate Change, Immigration, and Affordable Housing and Homelessness. To learn more about League positions on these and other issues, again check out
The Napa League’s Issues for Emphasis. Then it was time to discuss LWVNC’s program for the next year. After a spirited debate, participants voted to narrow our local focus to the following three issues, in order of priority: Affordable Housing and Homelessness, Climate Change, and Criminal Justice.
Members have until April 19th—two months before LWVNC’s annual meeting date—to submit any additional LWV issues that the Napa League should consider (see positions link above). Submit a new recommendation to, along with a brief explanation of that issue’s importance to the League and the community. The board will then decide whether to add any new suggestions to its list of recommendations.
Voting on LWVNC’s annual program is only a part of the annual meeting agenda; others include voting for new or returning board members and a new budget. Save the June 19th date for the annual meeting; and stay tuned for the toolkit coming in May–June.
Yolanda Schonbrun is the chair of 2021’s Program Planning Committee and board vice president.

Interview with Bill Dodd, State Senator, District #3
Every year the California League asks local Leagues to interview their California legislators to better understand their positions on certain key issues. The virtual interview of District #3's senator, Bill Dodd, took place on February 10th.

In attendance were members from six Bay Area Leagues located within the sprawling boundaries of District #3. Bernie Brooks and Robyn Orsini represented Napa County. Other League participants represented Diablo Valley from Contra Costa county, Davis and Woodland from Yolo county, and Sonoma and Solano counties. The questions posed are shown below; click here to read the full interview.  

Question 1: Land Use and Climate Change
What do you see as the most important considerations and priorities in the effort to reach a net drawdown of greenhouse gases from natural and working lands? How do we balance the many considerations? What are the funding priorities?

Question 2:  Housing and Homelessness, Zoning and Affordability
What can be done to reform exclusionary single-family zoning in California? What reforms do you support to legalize and incentivize more affordable housing (both naturally occurring and deed restricted) in high-opportunity neighborhoods?

Question 3: Equitable COVID-19 Recovery
What can be done to ensure that California’s COVID-19 economic recovery is equitable and focuses on the needs of those who are the most impacted?

Question 4: Legislator’s Personal Priorities
What other major issues do you think the legislature must deal with in 2021? What are your personal priorities?

Notable League Member: Lady Bird Johnson

By Kayla Vix for LWVUS, March 2019          
Updated by Connie Wolfman for LWVNC, April 2021
As we prepare to celebrate Earth Day later this month, the timing seemed perfect for a look at the remarkable life of former League member, Lady Bird Johnson.

According to historian Rita G. Koman, “Lady Bird Johnson’s legacy was to legitimize environmental issues as a national priority. The attitudes and policies she advanced have shaped the conservation and preservation policies of the environmental movement since then.” It will not comes as a surprise to environmental activists that this First Lady is finally receiving her due in a new, best-selling biography titled, "Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight,"  by Julia Sweig. 

Lady Bird Johnson was First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) from 1963 to 1969, a role that she helped to reshape. She was the first to employ her own press secretary and chief of staff. Breaking from tradition, she embarked on solo campaigns for legislation, including the Civil Rights Act.

Her sponsorship of the Highway Beautification Act became a defining moment in FLOTUS history. Robert Dole (R-Kan.), then a US House representative, actually proposed an amendment to replace the term “Secretary of Commerce” with the name “Lady Bird” wherever it appeared in the bill.  Although the amendment did not pass, when President Johnson signed the bill, he gave the pen to his wife as a memento. 
Lady Bird often expressed concern that the term “beautification” was too superficial. Rather, the intended magnitude of the legislation meant “clean water, clean air, clean roadsides, safe waste disposal and preservation of valued old landmarks as well as great parks and wilderness areas.”
Lady Bird remained a League member while residing in the White House. Both she and President Johnson addressed the League’s national convention in Pittsburgh in 1964, where she declared that the League’s work had a major influence on “Lyndon's own determination to give women a better break in government.”
Lady Bird’s commitment to the environmental movement was a lifelong journey. In 1977, President Gerald Ford presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom award, concluding with the words, “Her leadership transformed the American landscape and preserved its natural beauty as a national treasure.”
On her 70th birthday, Lady Bird co-founded the National Wildflower Research Center with a donation of 60 acres of land near Austin. Today it is home to the most comprehensive native plant database in the nation.
Hate, Legally
By Robyn Orsini
A diverse crowd gathered recently in Atlanta to protest the killing of eight people at three massage businesses. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent.* The protestors called it a hate crime based on xenophobia, misogyny, and racism.

The man who confessed to the shooting, Bob Long, claims he was motivated to stamp out temptation due to his sex addiction. A controversy has arisen about whether the murderer should be believed or whether it was also a crime motivated by hate.

Someone who is xenophobic has a prejudice about or a dislike of people who originate from other countries. In Greek, xenos means stranger or foreigner; from Greek-Latin, phobia indicates a seemingly irrational, abnormal fear of or aversion to something.

A misogynist hates women or at least displays dislike or contempt for this gender. Misogyny derives from the Greek word misos (hatred) + gune (woman). The closest equivalent for the hatred of men is to be a sexist or a chauvinist, although both terms can be applied to any gender.

A racist is prejudiced against a particular racial or ethnic group. Such bias can be so ingrained that people are not even aware of it. Overt racism is a negative action specifically aimed at an identifiable group and is considered a hate crime.     

A hate crime usually involves violence motivated by a pejorative belief about some human characteristic, such as race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or having a certain gender or sexual orientation. Perhaps someone hates homeless people or members of Congress; hate can come in many forms. There is no law that says people cannot hate; nor is the motivation involving hate itself considered a crime. If such a motivation is proved, however, someone convicted of a legal crime can have time added to their sentence.

So far there is no evidence that the Georgia slayings were overtly race or gender based. Having confessed, it is likely that Bob Long will be convicted of mass murder. The jury is out on whether his sentence will be extended due to a determination that his motivation was hate based rather than self-hate based. 
*The murdered victims were six Asian women (not all massage workers), aged 41, 44, 49, 63, 69, and 74; one white female customer, aged 33, and one white male handyman, aged 54. One Latino man, aged 30, was gravely injured; a second Latino man, in hiding during the attack, was unhurt.
March Highlights
By Ingrid Swenson, Secretary
Here are the highlights of the board meeting held on March 8th
  • The Action Committee reported that the Housing Coalition is reviewing workforce housing proposals.
  • The Climate Change Committee is following a proposal to ban single-use plastic containers and utensils and gas-powered leaf blowers, and an event about climate issues is being planned by the committee to honor Earth Day in April.
  • Members of our League attended a virtual Bay Area League Day, held on March 6th, called “Equity in Action.” Assembly member Ash Kalra spoke about AB 286, the Racial Justice Act, which is supported by LWV California. Attendees then viewed a film called “The Untold Story of Women of Color,” dealing with the treatment of Black women in the suffrage movement.
  • The board voted to amend the League bylaws, adding a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy and correcting a technical error. Amendments will be ratified by members at the annual meeting on June 19th.
  • The Membership Committee announced a change of meeting date to the 4th Wednesday of the month from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. 
  • The Communications Committee reported a continued growth in readership for Voter and other online resources, and invited members to submit articles of interest.
  • The Nominating Committee is soliciting interested applicants for the 2021–2022 board.
  • The Voter Services Committee discussed possible roles for our League to further the use of online civics teaching tools available through NVUSD’s website.
  • The next board meeting is April 12th from 12:30 to 2:30 pm.
Putting Your Best Face Forward on Zoom!
By Sheri Thomas

As 2020 unfolded, everyone tried to find new ways to socialize and communicate. Most of us have ended up on Zoom as one way to stay in touch with everyone in our world.
If you’re ready to up your online game, there are several ways to put your best face forward! Try adding an interesting background or improving lens height and lighting. Do you wear glasses? There are some wonderful tricks in these YouTube videos produced by photographer Gia Goodrich, including amazing tips for glare-free Zoom lighting:

How to Look Better on Zoom     
How to Look Good on Zoom with GLASSES    
How to Get Better Zoom Quality

And here’s a bonus video: 20 Zoom Tips by Kevin Stratvert
Another issue that plagues Zoom meetings is a poor internet connection. Here are a few tips to make sure you have the strongest signal possible:

  • Wired connections are better than wireless (WiFi or cellular) connections.
  • WiFi connections are better than cellular (3G/4G/LTE) connections.
  • Mute your microphone when you are not speaking. When your microphone is on, Zoom devotes part of your internet connection to an audio stream, even when you are not speaking.
  • Stop your webcam video when you don't need it.
  • Disable your HD webcam video. Sending high-definition (HD) webcam video requires more bandwidth than sending non-HD. Disabling the HD video will free up more of your internet connection for other parts of your Zoom meeting. See Disabling HD video in Zoom.
  • Close unneeded applications on your computer. Zoom meetings demand significant memory and processing power from your computer. Closing other applications that you do not need during the session will enable Zoom to run more efficiently.
  • Avoid activities that steal bandwidth. Don't start other bandwidth-intensive activities immediately before or during a Zoom meeting.

To make your on-line life easier and look like a pro, visit for more tips and tricks.

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