Kristin Chu

Kristen ChuFrom the Story Bank:

Like so many others, I joined the LWVSF because I wanted to help educate voters so they could make informed decisions when they cast their ballots. My interest in doing this was sparked because, before I became a member, the League had helped me in just this way.

It all began in November 2001. I was looking for materials to help me understand the issues I would be voting on in the local election. Somehow – I don’t recall exactly how — I came in possession of the Pro/Con Guide published by the San Francisco League. Little did I dream how that copy of the Guide would impact my life.

The Guide was just what I needed. To express my thanks I sent a donation to what I thought was the SF League but inadvertently, I later realized, I had made a donation to the California League. As a result of the donation I was tapped to volunteer at the next State League convention. I was impressed by what I learned at the meeting about the work of the League and decided in 2002 to join my local league. By this time I knew the difference between the California League and San Francisco League.

I was quickly invited to come onto the board and not long after I was asked to take over as Treasurer. It was a great fit and a good opportunity for me because I was in the process of getting a master’s degree in accounting at San Francisco State University.

During my time as treasurer (I served from ’02-’09) the League expanded significantly in terms of the services it provided to voters and the money it raised to perform these services. I managed an annual budget of $150,000 from multiple revenue sources (public and private grants, donations, membership revenue and fundraising events) along with forecasting and monitoring the League’s annual expenditures.

It was an invaluable experience for me and it was especially rewarding to serve as Treasurer during a time of significant growth for the League. I hope my work as Treasurer over those seven years put in place the structure and knowledge needed to sustain the organization for the next generation of San Francisco League members.

In 2006 another door opened for me as a result of my work with the League. I was invited to join the City of San Francisco’s Sunshine Ordinance Task Force. The purpose of the Task Force is to protect the public’s interest in open government as detailed in what’s called the “Sunshine Ordinance” as well as in other local and state government laws. Since last year, I have served as Chair of the group which means I manage hearings on citizen’s claims against the city for violation of open government laws and along with other Task Force members advise the Board of Supervisors and City departments on appropriate ways in which to ensure the public’s access to government.

My foray into city government expanded further in 2007 when I was appointed to the Citizens General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee. As Vice-Chair of the Committee, I work with the other members to analyze bond debt management and oversee the City Services Auditor division of the Controller’s office.

In the seven years I have been a member of the LWVSF I feel my life has been enriched. I have made great friends through the League. I have also gained valuable experience in San Francisco government learning about the inner workings of the legislative office, advocating for open government and critiquing the capital funding processes. Without a doubt, my LWV and public sector work have given me the background and confidence to align my professional goals with my personal interests. And, all of these and opportunities grew out of my fortuitous and unexpected exposure to a copy of the Pro/Con Guide seven years ago.

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