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IN THIS EDITION
President's Message: The Midterms Matter!
Board Notes:
 February Highlights
Bay Area League Day: Equity in Action
Community Bulletin Board: March
Legally Speaking: Three Wins for Gender Equity
Celebrate With Us!: International Women's Day & Women's History Month
Herstory: Harriet Tubman––A Life of Service
LWV Quiz: Who Do You Know? 
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
The Midterms Matter!
By Bernadette Brooks, LWVNC President
Even though the federal elections for president and senators don’t begin for another two years, the media is already abuzz about who the candidates might be. We appear to be a nation obsessed with who is politically in charge at the national level.

In contrast, the press seems glaringly quiet about the news that both primary and general elections will be held this year for top state and local offices. Voting tends to significantly decrease for “midterm” elections, which is ironic because the candidates who win will be the ones who make community decisions that often impact our lives most of all. 

Voting in the 2022 primary election begins only two months from now! Ballots are mailed on May 9th, the same day early voting begins. You have 30 days to cast your ballot; “election day,” June 7th, is the last day to send in your ballot. Dedicated ballot drop boxes will suddenly appear in all cities and towns, making 24/7 voting secure, free, and easy. When you put your ballot in the mail, no stamp is required; however, the postage is paid out of the registrar’s budget.

Now is a good time to reregister if you have changed your name or address. New voters who register electronically by May 23rd––15 days before voting ends––will still receive their ballots in the mail. To fill out a paper form, look for League tables at farmers markets and the Earth Day event, or visit the elections office. Those who register online will automatically have their ballot signature compared to the one on their driver’s license. After the deadline, you can register and vote in person at a vote center or the elections office. Go to www.sos.ca.gov/elections or www.countyofnapa.org/elections

It is not necessary to declare your political party to vote in the 2022 primary and general elections; party affiliation is only required when choosing candidates for the US presidential election in 2024. By law, local candidates cannot state any party or no-party preference. Candidates for state offices may note their party preference on the ballot, but anyone can vote for them and candidates from the same party often campaign against each other.

A “primary” election indicates “the first time.” For state offices, the top-two candidates who rank highest in the primary election results face off again in the November general election. An election is not necessarily primary in local races: a candidate who receives 50 percent plus 1 or more of the vote wins outright. If there is not a majority winner, the top-two vote-getters continue to the general election. Winning candidates will take office in January 2023.

Most local offices to be voted on are uncontested: only one person is running. Two candidates are campaigning for sheriff-coroner. In the race to replace two supervisors on Napa County’s Board of Supervisors, four candidates are running to represent District 1 (currently Brad Wagenknecht) and seven are running for District 3 (currently Diane Dillon). These seats are held for 4 years. Anyone who follows local politics knows how important these seats are, particularly since incumbents tend to be re-elected (Wagenknecht will have served for 24 years, Dillon for 20 years). Based on the redrawn redistricting maps, District 1 encompasses most of downtown Napa and south through the Carneros area. District 3 covers rural areas that include Calistoga, St. Helena, Angwin, and Lake Berryessa.

The Napa County League will be holding candidate forums for the three contested races, so save these important dates, all taking place between 6:00 and 7:30 pm:

  • Tuesday, April 19th, Sheriff-Coroner’s race (2 candidates)
  • Wednesday, April 20th, District 3, Board of Supervisors (7 candidates)
  • Thursday, April 28th, District 1, Board of Supervisors (4 candidates)

The forums will be held by Zoom webinar and will be simultaneously translated into Spanish (the recording will be available in English only). Watch this column for more election news in April, May, and June. If you have specific election questions that you would like answered, please email lwvnapa@gmail.com.


BOARD NOTES
February Highlights
Compiled from February 18th Board Minutes,
By Ingrid Swenson, Secretary

Actions
The board voted to support the work of Voter’s Edge, the LWV of California’s elections website, with a $200 donation to the LWVC Education Fund.

Discussion of the upcoming primary election included: 
  • scheduling and publicizing three candidate forums in late April for Districts 1 and 3 county Board of Supervisors and for county sheriff and coroner, with forums to be translated simultaneously into Spanish
  • generating questions to candidates about local issues and financial support, with answers to be published in Voter’s Edge (seeking more information)
  • discussing local measures on the June ballot
  • writing a feature article for the Napa Valley Register for Napa Climate Now! (NCN!), to be published on March 14th.
  • Sheri Thomas was voted to serve as our delegate to LWV of the Bay Area.
  • The March board meeting was moved to Friday, March 18th, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, on Zoom.
  • The annual meeting date was set for Saturday, June 18th, on Zoom. 
Committee Reports
Committee chairs or members reported on or discussed the following subjects:
Action/Portfolio
  • Housing and Homelessness: the Housing Coalition’s key objectives to educate public about available housing limits and to support the inclusion of workforce housing in commercial developments.
  • Climate Change: implementation of SB 1383 (recycling organic waste); a request from NCN! regarding an ordinance on disposable food utensils (tabled for more information); a request from NCN! to participate in “Cool Cities for California” (rejected for lack of enough volunteers).
  • Criminal Justice: the recently completed interviews with Napa County Undersheriff Cullen Dodd and Chief Probation Officer Amanda Gibbs.
  • Redistricting: the near completion of redistricting maps, with few surprises or changes.
Administrative
  • Program Planning: commitment to the previously selected issues for local focus (money in politics, criminal justice, and climate change).
  • Legislative Interviews: completion of the annual interviews of Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Senator Bill Dodd, summaries to be sent to LWVC soon.
  • Membership/Voter Service: reservations of information tables at Napa’s Earth Day and 175th birthday celebration in April and at Napa’s Farmers Markets on Saturdays in April,  May, and June.
  • Communications: Black History Month articles in Voter and images on website and social media sites, plus an outline for March’s Voter.
  • Nominations: notification that member interviews will include whether they would like to volunteer for any of the upcoming election activities.
BAY AREA LEAGUE DAY
Equity in Action
February 18, 2022
By Sheri Thomas 
 
Each year LWV Leagues from the nine Bay Area counties meet for a day of action. The day-long League Day 2022 was conducted on Zoom and speakers covered a number of hot issues: diversity, equality, and inclusion; housing and homelessness; criminal justice; and climate change.
 
Some speakers focused on the intersectionality of many issues, such as how housing is affected by racial inequality, community demographics, and climate change. The Bay Area Equity Atlas was demonstrated as an accessible tool for studying housing, resources, and economic output. Additional information was shared by a speaker from the National Equity Atlas.   
 
Stephanie Doute, LWV of California’s executive director, drove home the message that these tools provide an “equity lens” through which we can analyze the impact of policies on under-resourced and diverse individuals and groups. Doute urged that we use this equity framework to educate voters and diversify League membership. She suggested that local Leagues:
  • ACKNOWLEDGE and explore the impacts of early League history on how we engage with society today. 
  • ASSESS any barriers to encourage a diverse membership in your League. Listen to current and past members and seek information from community partners to inform your assessment.
  • ACT on what you learned. Create an equity plan that is doable for your League. Be specific about your intent and make sure the goals you set out to achieve are measurable.
Watch the entire program here: YouTube
Download the presentation by clicking here
COMMUNITY BULLETIN BOARD
March
THE NEW KITCKitchen CompostingHEN COMPOSTING LAW AND YOU
Thursday, March 24th, 5:00–6:30 pm
Webinar via Zoom presented by AAUW
(American Association of University Women, Napa Branch)

Panelists: Naama Brenner-Abramovich, Napa Recycling & Waste Services; Christy Pestoni, UpValley Disposal and Recycling Service & Clover Flat Resource Recovery Park & Landfill; and Kevin Miller, City of Napa’s Solid Waste & Recycling Division

Learn about SB 1383, California’s new composting law. Have your questions ready!
Free. Click this link to register. 

 
TEMPORARY WVote HereORK FOR PRIMARY ELECTION 
Napa County is hiring now for May–June workers at vote centers. No experience required; training included. Being bilingual is a plus. 

Vote center clerks click here to apply.  
Vote center leads click here to apply. 
LEGALLY SPEAKING
Three Wins for Gender Equity
By Robyn Orsini
Let’s get the bad news out of the way. The Equal Rights Amendment appears to be permanently stalled. Since 2019, the Senate has refused to reauthorize and thus re-fund the national Violence Against Women Act. And women’s rights to reproductive freedom are being severely eroded by some states as the Supreme Court prepares to weigh in on Roe v. Wade.

On the plus side, women, transgender folks, and employees can celebrate three big wins lately: more financial equity for women, less sexual discrimination in health care, and more power to fight back against sexual harassment in the workplace.


US Women’s Soccer Team Wins in Court. Remember the breaking news a few years ago that the US men’s soccer team got astronomically better pay than players on the US women’s team? News flash: the women’s team won in court! The US Soccer Federation must pay current and former team members $22 million, plus another $2 million to help support players when they retire and to promote the increase of soccer teams for women and girls. Importantly, the settlement decrees that women and men must receive equal rates of pay from now on––and that means lots more $$$ for female players.

Access in Health Plans for Equity in LGBTQ+ Care. Each presidential administration gets to revise the rules that insurance exchanges must abide by. A rule called “Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters” has a history of changing who cannot be discriminated against. The Obama administration required health coverage plans to stop discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, birth gender, age, race or ethnicity, or sociodemographic factors. Under Trump, the sexual/gender orientation/identity categories were removed. The proposed regulations for 2023 from President Biden’s office would restore the deleted language.

Opponents claim that “gender-affirmative” care would drive up costs and they object to paying for such elective procedures as hormone blockers or gender surgery. Proponents say plans are not required to cover every possible service; however, coverage cannot be denied outright for procedures such as the ones listed above or care specifically denied for LGBTQ+ or transgender people. While subject to some interpretation, the newly proposed rules do address barriers to health-care equity among disparate groups.

#MeToo Milestone. Recently, Congress overwhelmingly approved legislation that allows employees who feel they are sexually harassed at work to take an employer or workplace colleague to court. First introduced in 2017 by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the bill was originally intended to help end sexual misconduct in the military. The subsequent shocking headlines that have empowered the #MeToo movement have also brought about a change in emphasis to office culture. Passed unanimously by the Senate and by a 335-97 vote in the House, the bill is retroactive, voiding all “forced arbitration clauses” in employment contracts. That’s a huge step forward for employment rights!

Before this ruling, workers who claimed sexual misconduct––the vast majority women––could only arbitrate or mediate allegations privately; thus, victims’ claims remained a secret and settlements were often low to nonexistent. There was no future recourse either. Even if employees who filed a complaint were punished by being fired (for some other stated reason, of course), they could never speak out publicly. This bill changes all that. Hey, #MeToo!
CELEBRATE WITH US!
International Women's Day: #BreaktheBias!
March 8th
Break the BiasImagine a gender-equal world.
A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Together we can forge women’s equality.
This year, around the world, let’s #Break the Bias.





Women's History Month:
Proving Healing, Promoting Hope

March 1st–30th
In March we celebrate the vital role of women in US history. The theme in 2022 is “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” recognizing the work of frontline workers and caregivers during the ongoing pandemic, as well as the ways women have provided healing and hope throughout history.
 
For programs and videos, check out the websites of the National Women’s History Alliance and the National Constitution Center. Also please visit our favorite website, the National Women’s History Museum, which has an offering for every day of March concerning influential women, past and present: womenshistory.org. NWHM seeks to “bring to light the contributions women have made, and continue to make, in the world as we know it––a world in which women are vibrant, significant, and worthwhile contributors.” In “this light,” we are honored to tell you about the numerous contributions of the incredible Harriet Tubman in the herstory below.
HERSTORY
Harriet Tubman––A Life of Service         
By Connie Wolfman 
During this 200th anniversary month of Harriet Tubman’s birth, let us celebrate the arc of her service to our nation. Although Tubman is revered for leading slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad (URR), that was only her first exploit in a life story of mythic proportions.

One of nine children, Araminta Ross, aka Minty, was born in Maryland in March of about 1822. As a slave, Minty was beaten and whipped during her childhood. As a teenager, an overseer cracked open her skull with a heavy metal object, which caused painful headaches and seizures for the rest of her life. Subsequent strange visions and dreams also caused her to become extremely religious.

Her fear of being sold and separated from her family was ever present. Minty’s mother stood up to her owner after three of her daughters were sold, thus managing to save the remaining six. Her mother’s resistance, her own suffering from extreme cruelty, and her faith informed her future actions.

Minty took her mother’s name, Harriet, when she married John Tubman, a freeman. In 1849, knowing she was about to be sold, she escaped to Philadelphia. She later explained, “I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty, or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.” Shortly afterward, Tubman returned to Maryland to rescue three family members when she learned they were headed for the auction block. Usually traveling by night in the winter, this 5-foot- tall, disabled, illiterate woman made 13 trips into slave territory, guiding more than 70 people on the long, perilous route to freedom. She once told an audience, “I was conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say: I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”

When the Civil War began in 1861, Tubman joined a group of abolitionists headed to a Union Army camp in South Carolina where many fugitive slaves had gathered. First serving as a nurse, her expertise in covert travel—navigating difficult terrain, using disguises, and occasionally brandishing a small firearm—served her well as an army scout and spy. In 1863, Tubman became the first woman in US history to help plan and lead a military expedition: the Combahee River raid, aided by a regiment of former Black slaves. That operation alone freed more than 750 slaves.

When the war ended in 1865, Tubman returned to her home in Auburn, New York. There, she married Nelson Davis and they adopted a baby. After her husband died, Tubman became an activist for women’s voting rights. She reconnected with Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott, suffrage leaders and longtime friends whom she had known from URR days. Although impoverished, at her own expense Tubman toured the country giving speeches in support of women’s rights. She was reportedly a dynamic speaker, often describing her own and other’s actions as evidence of women’s equality to men.

In 1903, Tubman donated a parcel of land to a church to be used for a home “for aged indigent and colored people.” The Harriet Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Negroes opened five years later, and Tubman became a resident in 1911, where she died of pneumonia on March 10, 1913. She was buried with semi-military honors at the Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn.

While she was well-known and respected during her lifetime, Harriet Tubman has become an American icon in the 111 years since her death. Among other honors, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1973 and was featured on a US postage stamp in 1978. In 2013, President Barak Obama authorized the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument on Maryland's Eastern Shore at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. 
 

The painting above is by local artist Jody Keane and is part of an exhibit called Her Story in America (see herstoryinamerica.org). The black and white image is a woodcut portrait depicting Tubman during the Civil War.
LWV QUIZ
WHO DO YOU KNOW?
Q: Who is the CEO of the League of Women Voters US?

Quiz1. Deborah Ann Turner
2. Eleanor Smeal
3. Virginia Kase Solomón
4. Carrie Chapman Catt

For the correct answer and information/links for the other three names, go to our website, www.LWVNapa.com.
Joining the League of Women Voters is a great way to get involved in your community and play an active role in our democracy. Be part of a nationwide community of League members in over 700 nationwide Leagues, 40+ California Leagues, and 20 Bay Area Leagues in 9 Bay Area counties. Click here for more information on how you can become a member today!
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