The League of Women Voters of Palo Alto will host a series of pros and cons events kicking off this Thursday aimed at explaining the arguments for and against six measures coming before Bay Area voters on the June 5 ballot.
"Our role is to educate the voter so that they're making an informed vote," said Mary Jo Levy, who coordinates pros and cons events for the league every election year.
Incoming league President Aisha Piracha-Zakariya emphasized the politically neutral nature of the pros and cons events, which she said will help foster a "non-partisan understanding of the issues (on the ballot)."
Levy echoed this sentiment.
"We don't state our personal views," Levy said. "The league has principles that, when we do these presentations, we don't talk about the league's position (on the measures)."
In fall 2016, about 400 people in total attended the league's pros and cons sessions, according to Piracha-Zakariya. This year, the league aims to attract a wider audience for the event series in hopes of boosting local voter efficacy and encouraging community discourse.
"We have a very diverse membership," Piracha-Zakariya said. "This year, we hope to see more young voters (at the events)."
Anyone who attends one of the four events in the series will learn about the following measures:
• Proposition 68 which would provide state-issued bonds for projects that support the maintenance and care for local natural resources, including wildlife conservation, flood protection and water quality.
• Proposition 69 which would require revenues from a new state tax on diesel fuel and a new annual car registration fee (Transportation Improvement Fee) to be spent solely on transportation-related tasks and projects.
• Proposition 70 which would require cap-and-trade revenues from state greenhouse gas regulations to accumulate in a reserve fund beginning in 2024. It also proposes that any projects that would spend the reserve funds to receive two-thirds supermajority support from both houses of the state Legislature (current law requires a simple majority), also starting in 2024.
• Proposition 71 which would change the time that voted-approved measures take effect from the day after to five days after the California secretary of state certifies results of the election.
• Proposition 72 which would exclude newly constructed rain-catcher systems completely built on or after Jan. 1, 2019 from property tax reassessment.
• Regional Measure 3, also called the "Bay Area Traffic Release Plan" proposes an incremental toll increase on all Bay Area bridges except the Golden Gate (seven affected bridges in total) over a three-year period. Revenue from this toll hike would be used to fund transportation and infrastructure improvements within the Bay Area in years following its enactment. In order to take effect, this measure must pass by a majority in all nine Bay Area counties.
The meetings will be held at the following days, times and locations:
• Thursday, May 10, at 2 p.m. at Avenidas' office, Cubberley Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road.
• Thursday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at the Channing House, 850 Webster St.
• Saturday, May 19, at 2 p.m. at the Downtown Library, 270 Forest Ave.
• Sunday, May 27, 11:30 a.m., at the Kennedy Room, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Ave.
More information about the events is available at lwvpaloalto.org.