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League of Women Voters reorganizes in Placer County

By: Gus Thomson, Gold Country News Service
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After a 27-year absence, the Placer County League of Women voters is back and taking an active role in local politics. The league – which accepts men as well as women – has been a high-profile national player as a non-partisan political organization since 1920. But the league – after several years as a presence in Placer County – hadn’t been active locally since 1980. Granite Bay’s Kathy Souza was asked by the state league to start a chapter in September and a kickoff meeting in January drew 100 people. Membership now stands at 53, with the league now strongest in South Placer County. But members have joined from throughout the county, said Auburn’s Karen Tajbl, a member of the league board. The Placer County group taps into an organization with a high national profile. There are 900 state and local leagues in all 50 states. And while it neither supports or opposes candidates for office at any level of government, it is unabashedly political and works to influence policy through advocacy. Souza, president of the Placer County league, said that positions on issues come through establishing a consensus on local, state and national levels. For example, the state league has come out in favor of a redistricting measure headed for the November ballot that proposes formation of an independent commission to establish political boundaries. The league sponsored a candidate’s forum for District 5 supervisorial hopefuls in March and is already planning a candidate forum for Oct. 11 that would provide an opportunity for District 4 congressional opponents Charlie Brown and state Sen. Tom McClintock to square off, possibly at Sierra College. Voter education is also part of the league mission, which is known for non-partisan information it publishes and provides through the Web on candidates and issues. The league is open to all citizens of voting age. There are also associate memberships available for young people and non-citizens. Information on the local league is available at its Website at lwvplacercounty.org. The phone contact is 791-5187.