Follow Up Action to April 17, 2017 Town Hall: The Environment


GOOD NEWS from the NRDC!  We basically know how to get the carbon out of the electricity sector, we’ve made significant progress on that front, and will continue to do so, in spite of recent events. Getting the carbon out of the transportation sector, comprised of hundreds of millions of mobile sources of emissions is a more challenging task, but this is what we have to do:

    1. Increase the efficiency of everything
    2. Reduce the need to drive
    3. Plug everything we can into a decarbonized grid, and reserve the limited supply of truly sustainable, energy-dense liquid fuels for the stuff we can’t plug in (e.g., planes).

NRDC’s transportation team works on all three of these steps. Please click on this powerpoint for more detailed information.

And GOOD NEWS, and some bad, from the Sierra Club! We are out of the drought but there are many challenges ahead of us because of California’s unique ecosystem which fluctuates the state from being a drought state and a flood state. We have to have the policies, laws, and solutions in place to always face droughts and floods.

Here is the follow up, including letters to download and send, for the legislative actions recommended by the NRDC and Sierra Club which support AB378 and oppose the Water Fix.

Follow Up Action to March 27 Town Hall (Electoral Integrity: CAVO, FairVote, We the People)


The right to vote is a foundation of the American system. The electoral process involves many factors:

  • the laws governing how candidates can run (campaign finance reform, Super PACS, PACS, lobbyists, donations)
  • the tactics employed in running campaigns (phone banks, canvassing, social media, advertising)
  • how candidates are chosen (primaries, national convention, party machinations)
  • the actual voting process (who can vote, voter ID and suppression laws, when voting is available, how one can vote)
  • how votes are tallied and a winner chosen (how votes are counted in terms of the systems used, the Electoral College, delegates, super delegates)

The Constitution has many dictates as to when elections happen and who can vote and the process involved in national elections. The Center for Voting and Democracy noted that voting rights are not federally protected or guaranteed by the Constitution. the U.S. Supreme Court declared in Bush v. Gore that “[t]he individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States.” More than a decade ago, FairVote became the leading institutional voice calling for the establishment of an explicit individual right to vote in the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution grants the states broad power to prescribe the times, places, and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives. The Constitutional provisions embrace the authority to provide a complete code for congressional elections as to times and places, notices, registration, supervision of voting, protection of voters, prevention of fraud and corrupt practices, counting of votes, duties of inspectors and canvassers, and making and publication of election returns. Thus, states have broad power to prescribe the procedural mechanisms for holding congressional elections within parameters of the Constitution but these powers are broad. Control and regulation of state and municipal elections rest entirely with the state.

In our March 27 Electoral Integrity Town Hall, we focused on only three pieces of this complex puzzle:

  1. The systems employed in tallying votes. Currently, the systems used to tally votes are corporate owned and proprietary. There is no transparency, no clear chain of command or oversight, and no security leaving these systems vulnerable to hacking. California is on the forefront of solving this to ensure votes are counted with precision and security. We invited one of the forerunners of change on this issue, the California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO). CAVO’s mission is simple: To ensure that the will of the people is being honored and that democracy is protected we must mandate the use of the most secure and transparent voting systems available.
  2. The way a winner is decided. The winner in most elections is the one with majority of votes, even if that majority entailed just one percent. FairVote believes that not only is this current method is not democratic where the majority may not be represented but it also limits the candidate pool, completely shuts out any other minority voices, and fosters polarization. What is ranked voting and can that be the answer in future elections? How can you bring it to your town? And how can you take just step to ensure voting is more accessible, by making election day a national holiday!
  3. Campaign tactic: phone banking. One way candidates garner supporters is through phone banking. Speaking to your representatives has now finally gotten attention, so being able to call a rep is also crucial for civic engagement on issues. Let We the People who work with candidates across the country explain what phone banking is, how it works, how you can participate in upcoming elections.

We the People: Phone Banking in upcoming elections

Put your phone bank training into action! Download the We the People Phone Bank Training Handout

Sunday, April 2, 2–4pm, 1117 Lord Ivelson Lane, Foster City
Bring your laptop or tablet and cell phone, and a drink or dessert to share. To RSVP or join our mailing list, e-mail wethepeople@highstakes4us.com OR join us on Meetup.com at http://tinyurl.com/lzocoue

Saturday, April 8, 1–5pm,  Howie’s Pizza, Redwood City, 837 Jefferson Avenue, RWC 94063 Come for one or both shifts!
Bring your laptop and cell phone, and any snacks you want to share.
RSVP for shift 1 (1–3 pm): http://tinyurl.com/n2kkszw
RSVP for shift 2 (3–5 pm): http://tinyurl.com/n62fzb4

FairVote: Make voting day a state holiday in California. Advocate on behalf of ranked choice voting for your town or city.

If you would like to get involved in reforming your city’s election system, please contact me at pedro@fairvote.org. Redwood City could adopt ranked choice voting! Stay updated by signing up at fairvoteca.org. Download FairVote’s one-page PDF on What is Ranked Choice Voting?

We are also supporting AB 674, which adds a new state holiday on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to coincide with every statewide general election! 

Here is our call:

Call your State Assemblymember!

AB 674 adds a new state holiday on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to coincide with every statewide general election.

Currently, the bill will go through the Elections Committee next week, followed by the Governmental Organization Committee. We are asking folks to call their state representatives from these committees over the next four weeks.

To find your state representative, visit http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/

Members of the Elections Committee include Low, Harper, Cunningham, Berman, Calderon, Mullin, Weber.

Members of the Governmental Organization Committee include Gray, Bigelow, Acosta, Aguiar-Curry, Bocanegra, Bonta, Brough, Cooley, Cooper, Daly, Gallagher, Garcia, Gipson, Gloria, Jones-Sawyer, Kiley, Levine, Low, Rubio, Salas, Waldron.

When calling your representative, here are some brief talking points you may use:

  • I support making Election Day a holiday because it makes voting more convenient, increases voter turnout, and creates a larger pool of poll workers and election volunteers.
  • Doing so would allow people to vote at any point in the day, not just before or after work.
  • This would increase access to voting and decrease voting lines during often crowded times at the start and the end of an Election Day.
  • An Election Day holiday would also greatly increase the number and diversity of pollworkers that are available to help our polling places run efficiently.
  • Election Day holidays would highlight elections as a fundamental part of our democracy and support a culture of voting