Portlanders: Share Public Testimony with the Charter Review Commission

Important topics for comments now

Do you think Portland should have a city manager? Should city commissioners be elected by districts? Does the Portland City Council need more members? Should the City Council be primarily a legislative body (and not also an administrative one)?

League members and the public are invited to share their thoughts with the Portland City Charter Review Commission. The commission has decided to focus their initial research on two topics. These may result in ballot measures in the November 2022 election, if they identify the need for change:

      • the city’s form of government;
      • the election methods used for selecting city councilors.

After the Portland League restudied our city government in 2017-19, we adopted our current 2020 LWVPDX position. This position features the two topics the commission selected (as well as several other topics). Here is an excerpt from our position:

“The highest priorities for change are to improve citizen representation by increasing the number of commissioners, to institute a city manager, and to establish the city council as a legislative or policy-setting body. We also support electing some or all city councilors by district.”

Transparency is important too

The issue of transparency in city government is also of concern to the League; we offered testimony about it to the Commission in June, and will follow up this topic next year when the Commission returns to study the issue.

How to share your ideas

The Commission accepts written public comment from Portlanders at any time, not only at meetings. Now is the time to share your support for changes in these two important areas! We encourage you to submit a public comment about why these two topics are important to you. If you are a League member, please remember that when you do so, you are testifying as a private individual and not as a representative of LWVPDX. If you agree with the League’s positions, you  may quote LWVPDX statements in your testimony as a private individual.  Of course you also may offer your own ideas or ideas from other organizations. (Learn more about League testimony guidelines here.)

Three steps to speaking out at this important moment:

  1. Read some background about the Commission’s two subcommittees on Form of Government and City Council Elections.
  2. Refresh your memory of the LWVPDX position on local government.
  3. Share your public comments. (When you send your comments, please thank the commissioners for their service. They are volunteers.)
More about the Charter Review Commission

In July 2021, the League posted an explanation about the work of the Charter Review Commission. You can read that here.

Thanks for taking action!

Let’s pass the For the People Act

please contact Oregon’s senators

THE FIGHT HAS JUST BEGUN. THE SENATE NEEDS TO AGREE TO DEBATE THIS BILL WHEN IT IS INTRODUCED AGAIN. AS VOTERS AND CITIZENS, WE CAN KEEP PUSHING. OUR VOICES COUNT. 

Thank Senator Merkley for sponsoring this important legislation. Ask him to keep pushing for it. Call 202-224-3753, or email from: https://www.merkley.senate.gov/contact

Urge Senator Wyden to speak out and vote for it! Call 202-224-5244, or email from:  https://www.wyden.senate.gov/contact/email-ron

on June 22, Senator Schumer asked for a vote on S1, the For the People Act. Even though Republican senators filibustered it,  supporters can try again. We need to persuade the Republicans that debating and voting on this bill will benefit them too. All Americans will benefit from passage of the For the People Act. It gives all eligible voters the freedom to vote easily, securely and according to their values. It helps all political parties, and also voters who do not belong to any party. Making voting accessible to all eligible voters is not a partisan value; it is an American value.

We want a government that works for all of us—that gives us all a say and puts our needs ahead of special interests. The #ForThePeople Act is a sweeping reform package that addresses everything from voting rights, to campaign finance reform, to redistricting. The House of Representatives has passed this bill.  Demand that the Senate also makes a bold show of support for our democracy and the #ForThePeopleAct. Call 202-224-3121.

Ask your Friends and family To contact their senators too, by calling 202-224-3121 or with the direct number. (See below)

If you have friends and family members in Oregon, please ask them to contact Senators Wyden and Merkley too.

If they live in other states, please ask them to call or email their senators. They can find their senators on this US Senate website: https://www.senate.gov/senators/

Help Fight Climate Change

Opportunities for member-volunteers

The fight against climate change has become more urgent as we face hotter temperatures worldwide. You can join the League in this fight.

There are 3 ways to help from your home

1.      Observer: a few hours a month. Sign in from your computer to listen to public meetings and hearings. This is an easy way to follow a legislative policy committee, a state agency and/or a commission. Take notes and report back to the LWV of Oregon.

2.      Advocacy representative: a few hours for many weeks. As an advocacy representative, you can work with the LWVOR Natural Resources and Climate Emergency teams. You can review proposed climate-related plans. Then, help these advocacy teams influence rules and policies. The League especially  needs volunteers to help us advocate for:

      • Energy Efficient Buildings
      • Protecting Public Health
      • Capping and Reducing Industry Emissions

3.      Legislative liaison: 10-30 hours – most months. Actively participate in the legislative process. You can recommend or write testimony on bills related to your policy topic. You also could lobby legislators, and/or work with other organizations fighting climate change. (This could mean spending some time at the Capitol with other volunteers. Choose how you want to work!)

What happened earlier this year

After years of work to develop a comprehensive climate bill, the 2020 Oregon Legislative Session ended without passing the bill. On March 8, 2020, the Governor released her Climate Policy Executive Order. You can read a summary of the Oregon Climate Action Plan (OCAP) and why it matters here. Or read Renew Oregon’s quick overview of the plan. Following the governor’s order, state agencies began making plans for reducing state greenhouse gas emissions.

Where does the LWV fit in?

The League works along with many other climate organizations, through Renew Oregon. We follow and have input into the rule-making process, as agencies carry out the governor’s order. We are focused on facilitating rapid reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

The governor’s Executive Order moves the work on climate change into the work of state agencies and their commissions. Across the board, there is much to do.

New volunteers will be supported. Experienced volunteers will provide information and help.

Contact lwvor@lwvor.org to learn more and to volunteer.

Support Fair Redistricting

The “People Not Politicians” initiative would put an independent citizen commission in charge of redistricting in Oregon. That means that a balanced group of citizens – instead of partisan politicians – would design the maps of election districts. Passing this initiative would protect the rights of voters to elect representatives who truly speak for them. This is because it would prevent gerrymandering the districts. Gerrymandering separates groups of voters with similar values and interests, which decreases their voting power. This initiative also calls for the commission to hold ten public hearings to hear people’s comments about their plans.

Here’s Why It’s Important

Here’s How It Would Work

Check the People Not Politicians website for updates on our signature-gathering progress.

We Need Fair Redistricting!

Link to https://www.peoplenotpoliticiansoregon.comLet’s end Gerrymandering.

Below are quick, easy ways you can help make Oregon’s redistricting process fairer, more transparent and impartial. The League of Women Voters of Oregon is one of nine main  supporters of a citizen initiative, “People Not Politicians.” We need more than 150,000 signatures to get this on the November 2020 ballot. And we need to submit them by July 2nd!

How to help:

That’s a short timeframe, but here are easy ways you can help—even with social distancing.

  1. Go to the “People Not Politicians”website to read about Initiative 57 and to print and sign a single-signature petition.  Then follow the instructions to mail it in.
  2. Email the link to the “People Not Politicians” website to Oregon friends and family; ask them to download, print, sign and mail in the petition too.
  3. If you would like to gather more signatures, you can ask for a 5- to 10-signature sheet by emailing sign@peoplenotpoliticiansoregon.com. We’ll probably need some extra help in June. Stay tuned!

Create an independent redistricting commission

Now is our chance to put a nonpartisan commission in charge of redistricting in Oregon. This would prevent gerrymandering. In other words, it will keep future legislators from creating district maps that favor them and their parties. Getting enough signatures to make Initiative 57 into a 2020 Ballot Measure—and then passing that measure—is important to ensuring a fair and impartial redistricting process and protecting voters’ rights. Thank you for your support and help.