Voice for Democracy


Newsletter of the Northern California Citizens for Proportional Representation

March-April 2000

Preparing for the AGM and beyond

Nominations for the NCCPR Board


††††††††††† We will be electing our nine-member Board of Directors at our Annual General membership meeting in May (see other article).While I expect that many of the current Directors will run for re-election, we are

always looking for people who want to increase their level of activity with NCCPR.Also, we elect our Board using PR (we practice what we preach!) and PR only works if the election is contested.

††††††††††† The Board itself meets once every two months, for about 3-4 hours each time, in locations set by the Board members.Board members are encouraged (but not required) to get involved with some area of interest, such as membership development, outreach, communication, chapter coordination, finance, lobbying, or education.

††††††††††† Candidates may be self-nominated.To nominate yourself, send your name and a statement of up to 250 words to NCCPR Elections, c/o Steve

Willett, 6422 Irwin Court, Oakland, CA94609.You may also send your name and statement via email to stevew@initcomp.com.

††††††††††† Nominations and statements must be received by April 7, 2000, in order to guarantee appearance in the printed ballots that will be mailed to all members prior to the AGM.

††††††††††† So consider running for the Board.It's fun, and you get to help set the direction of the PR movement!

Steve Chessin Co-President, NCCPR


Presidentís review of the year


††††††††††† Three quarters of our membership year has past and soon it will be time for the AGM, the Annual General Meeting.Save the date of May 20th.That marks the time to assess our accomplishments, announce new elected board members, approve the budget, brain- storm goals for the new year, party, and plan our leadership retreat.

††††††††††† Plan to come to the leadership retreat which is open to all members.It will be held in the Marin Headlands on June 24th.This will be the second annual leadership retreat.We had a great time last year and the retreat set the tone for this year's direction and goals.


††††††††††† What have Steve and I accomplished as co-Presidents?With the addition of Marty Sproul to represent the Natural Law Party we have almost a full house in representation from all the political parties.Still looking for registered Constitution Party and Reform Party affiliates to join the Board.


††††††††† Thanks to Steve Willets we have an active membership database, orderly renewal notices, a stable list of members, a growing list of sustainers, and a regularly updated website,http://fairvotencal.org


††††††††††† Our work with the League of Women Voters to encourage and assist them in their statewide election systems study is proceeding well.I personally joined the League this year and am finding many like minded citizens in our local League.Many non-board members, activists in their own right, found ways to enhance our membership and get the word out about PR.Caleb Cleppner did a lot of work to build up the membership and provide the liaison between the Center for Voting and Democracy (CVD) and our work.There are other activities which I will save for our AGM report.††


††††††††††† What's planned for the future? Involvement in theWestern Political Science Association conference in San Jose on the weekend of March 24 will give us an opportunity to educate and recruit (see page two)Continued involvement in the LWV's election systems study for the next year (see page four).An attempt to get a local chapter meeting regularly in the Sacramento area with the first meeting to be held later this month.


††††††††††† Lastly, our outreach VPs will be presenting a few training sessions.How to explain PR, speaker training, and effective lobbying. Last month Steve Chessin pointed out that it takes a long time to effect change and we should be into this issue of proportional representation for the long haul.Some of us see the gutting of AB172 (see page three) as a setback.It is, but for me it is part of the ongoing lesson of how our government works.So don't be discouraged.The concept of proportional representation is going to make more and more sense as time goes on.Stick with us as we find more ways to spread the word.


Marda Quon Stothers, Co-President, NCCPR


Tabling at Western Political Science Association Conference


After missing opportunities at the Statewide conventions earlier this year, the South Bay chapter are starting to get ahead of the conference scheduling race.


We are preparing to have a table at the March 24-26 convention of the Western Political Science Association in San Jose. For reference, their web site is http://www.csus.edu/org/wpsa/.


Jim Lindsay, phone (510) 527-8025 / e-mail jim@jerel.com, has graciously volunteered to help recruit staff for the table. To assist, we've attached a schedule below in 2-hour time slots. We have two and a half days to cover, so anyone who can help out, please let Jim Lindsay and / or Jim Stauffer know. Jim Staufferís number is(408) 432-9148 or e-mail at jstauffer@igc.org


This convention is for Political Science professors and grad students. We need to think about what kind of literature and presentations will be appropriate. Here is a tailor-made audience for our message - letís get there and get it to them!


WPSA Convention Tabling Schedule


††††††††††††††††††††††† Friday, March 24†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Saturday, March 25††††††††††††† Sunday, March 26

08 - 10am††† ________________††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ________________††††††††††† ††††††††††† ________________

10 - 12pm††††† ________________††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ________________††††††††††† ††††††††††† ________________

12 - 02pm††† ________________††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ________________

02 - 05pm††††† ________________†††††††††† †††††††††† ________________



Tough decision for NCCPR members


At the February meeting of the NCCPR Board, it was decided to create a names committee to recommend a small number of alternative names and provide pro- and con-arguments for the names changes in preparation for the name change decsion to go before the members at the same time as the Board election and AGM. The names that we came up with (including the current name) are as follows:


††††††††††† Northern California Citizens for Proportional Representation (NCCPR)


††††††††††† Californians for Proportional Representation (CPR)


††††††††††† FairVote California (FVC)


††††††††††† Californians for Electoral Reform (CER)


We hope to have the arguments with the ballots (ED - I had hoped to have them with this edition, but had inadequate time and feedback). If you feel strongly for or against one or more of these options, please submit your arguments to Steve Willets (see page one for details) as soon as possible. We expect some lively debate at the AGM on this subject, so if you havenít made up your mind (or even if you have), attending the AGM will greatly assist you making this important decision.


Local Chapter Contacts


South Bay Chapter

††††††††††† Contact Jim Stauffer, (408) 432-9148, or e-mail jstauffer@igc.org. for details


North Bay Chapter

††††††††††† Contact Ray Yahr (707-833-6996) or e-mail at rayyahr@neteze.com


San Francisco Chapter

††††††††††† Contact Wayne Shepard (415-681-2580) or e-mail at pauldebits@juno.com


East Bay Chapter

††††††††††† Contact David Greene (510-841-6761) or e-mail at david@diana.lbl.gov


Vice President of Local Chapters

††††††††††† Contact Nat Lerner (831-442-1238) or e-mail at nl0916@sprynet.com


Contact Numbers in Your Area

You can reach us by calling the local number in your area: 415-681-2580 831-442-1238 510-527-8025†† 650-962-8412 707-523-0440 916-967-0300 408-432-9148


AB 172 gutted


††††††††††† California Assembly Bill AB 172, which would have enabled cumulative voting or proportional representation for school board elections, was gutted yesterday in a Senate committee.The bill now refers to an unrelated issue.

††††††††††† This is unfortunate, as it would have removed the legal barrier to proportional representation in school district elections.

Caleb Kleppner.


News from abroad


On May 4th., 2000 voters in London, England will have their first direct election of their mayor - and their first taste of a limited form of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). In a city where traditionally Labourand Conservative voters split 60/40, the race and the new voting system wil gather great interest, since a popular Labour candidate is running as an independent against the official Labour candidate. Unlike full IRV, the London version allows voters to mark their first and second choices only.

San Francisco News


††††††††††† Wayne Shepard is moving out of San Francisco.The San Francisco Chapter is looking for someone to take over as chapter co-ordinator for this active area.If you're interested, call Betty Traynor at 415-558-8133 or Nat Lerner at 831-442-1238.




Earn a "Thank You" Gift

†† As part of our new Membership Drive, we have a new program.Ask a friend to join NCCPR -- when they join, as a thank you gift, you'll earn a six months extension to your membership!Or, if you provide us with some leads, we'll contact them, and for each person that joins NCCPR, you'll earn a two month extension as a thank you gift.

††††††††††††††† Here is how it works:

(1) You tell a friend about PR.

(2) She thinks it is a good idea.

(3) You invite your friend to join NCCPR.

(4) Your friend says "Yes."

(5) You send your friend's name, address, phone number, and email address to us, telling us to sign your friend up as a Provisional Member.

(6) Your friend is signed up, starts getting the newsletter, and is billed.Your membership is extended 6 months.

(7) Your friend pays the bill -- $25 for a regular membership, $6 for a low-income membership, or she can become a Sustainer by making small regular donations, like $10 every two-months.

††† What does your friend get by being an NCCPR member?First, she gets to support a terribly important cause -- the cause of political pluralism, openness, and democracy; of a full and vibrant democracy in the U.S.A.†† Second, she will be "in the loop" on the latest news about the movement via our newlsetter, optionally via our email updates, and from her local chapter.Third, if she wants to volunteer, we've got plenty of opportunities -- but no pressure.Fourth, we regularly provide training and workshops that are free or very low cost for our members.

††† Who do you notify when you have a new member or a lead for us?

††† Contact Membership VP, Jim Lindsay.Email is preferred, if you have email: jim@jerel.com.You can also call the information in to (510) 527-8025 -- please speak slowly and clearly.

††† Remember, we need names, addresses, phone numbers and (hopefully) email addresses, and we need your name, so we can credit you.


Voice for Democracy is published by Northern California Citizens for Proportional Representation.Our web site at http://fairvotencal.org has more up to date information. Please submit articles or letters for publication to: c/o Nat Lerner, Voice for Democracy, 68 Penzance Street, Salinas, CA. 93906 or e-mail to NL0916@sprynet.com.


League of Women Votersí Election Systems Study Update


The first grant proposal will go out April 1st to fund the study with other proposals to follow. While we wait for funding, the League of Women Votersí state study committee is offering speakers to each local League in California to generate enthusiasm for, and encourage participation in the study.


One of the goals of the committee is to produce a video containing interviews with election system "experts" that could be distributed to all study committees.These could be used for other groups as well.If you can contribute to this effort by submitting, for the experts, questions that would be on the minds of votersor LWV members, please submit to paulalee@jps.net.


Further, if you have any suggestions for interviews, locations, 'experts", videotaping or making copies of the videos, contact Paula Lee or Pete Martineau.


On March 25th, eleven Leagues in the Los Angeles County area will be considering concurrence with the position supporting IRV taken by the Pasadena LWV.


The LWV of El Dorado County will be considering concurrence supporting this position in May.If these local Leagues concur, they can actively advocate for Instant Run-Off and pursue charter amendments.


Paula Lee




Voice for Democracy

Northern California CPR

P.O. Box 128

Sacramento, California 95812