May 2013


Plan to Attend Annual Meeting


We're excited to see you at the LWVSF Annual Meeting on June 8! Join us from 9:30 a.m. to noon at 582 Market Street (first floor of the Hobart Building) in San Francisco. We will discuss next year's League business and elect Board Members for open seats. Professor Chris Elmendorf from the UC Davis School of Law will deliver the keynote speech, "Voter Guides and Voter Learning in San Francisco Elections." 



Learn about the new candidates for the LWVSF Board:


Sumaya Abdurrezak would like to become our League's next Vice President of Development. Abdurrezak is a Washington, D.C. area native with a unique background in government, media and business. A political scientist by training, Abdurrezak worked on Capitol Hill and BBC News prior to joining CEB, the world's leading member-based advisory company. A recent transplant to the Bay Area, she is a Senior Account Executive with Keas, a San Francisco-based health startup.

Jaime Contreras is vying to become the LWVSF Gala Co-Chair/TV Production. He is a Program Director with The Junior Statesman Foundation and holds a master's degree in International Relations from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas. He also serves as Community Advisory Panel Chair for KQED Public Media.


Jo Elias-Jackson is a native San Franciscan who would like to serve as Secretary of LWVSF. Jackson, a systems analyst at SFGH, recently received her MPA/HAS from the University of San Francisco. 


Yumi Nam would like to be the next Membership Co-Chair of our League. She is an attorney at a boutique San Francisco law firm, specializing in intellectual property and matters in the entertainment and wine industries. She received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and her bachelor's degree from New York University. 


Melissa Wuschnig would like to be the TV Production Chair for LWVSF. Wuschnig, a Bay Area native and small business owner, has worked as a professional photographer for the past eight years. She also has experience in corporate marketing and sales. Wuschnig is an active member of the LGBT community, focusing on policy issues such as marriage equality and employment protection. 

LWVC Convention Highlights



The annual state League convention was a prime example of grassroots democracy (and a lot of fun, too). The delegation, which included members of dozens of Leagues, approved four key issues to address from 2013-2015: Money & politics, education, health care, and water. Our delegates were LWVSF Board Members Chandra Friese and Maxine Anderson.


Check out the following account of the convention from Friese:


More than 260 delegates from 52 Leagues across the state convened in San Jose on May 17 for the 2013 LWVC Convention.  In addition to the full Order of Business which was conducted each day from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., there were workshops dealing with healthcare reform, Smart Voter, money in politics, fundraising, pro/con videos, website success, and the California state budget, to name a few. Caucuses on early childhood education, electing more women, carbon emissions, news media, community college, and internet voting, among others, were available from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 in the evening. 


There was no shortage of ways to become engaged in topics with which we were familiar, and topics of which we would have liked to learn more.  The challenge was how to choose which meetings to attend.


One of the most useful to next year’s Advocacy co-chairs was the intensive hands-on workshop entitled “Taking Action in Your Community,” which covered advocacy in the local league environment. We took  a hypothetical “campaign” through the steps to identify the message, form coalitions, get good media coverage and motivate members.   


In addition, there was an actual controversy over whether or not to approve a non-recommended study of public higher education in California. While delegates all understood the challenges and need for action on higher education, at issue was primarily the LWVC resources available, both financial and staff, to conduct such a study. The pro and con microphones were humming with long lines of delegates making the case either way. In the end, on Sunday, a new study was approved, and anyone who would like to participate in getting this study underway is encouraged to contact the LWVC. 

The Scoop on Our Initiative and Referendum Panel


Our panel on direct democracy was informative, engaging, and definitely feisty. Members of the public gathered at the San Francisco Public Library on May 9 to listen to the latest insights on initiatives and referendums. The panel featured California Crackup co-author Joe Mathews, University of California Hastings College of the Law Professor Michael Salerno, and the statewide I&R Study Leader Helen Hutchison.


Here are some memorable quotes from the panelists:


Hutchison on how citizens can improve the initiative process in California: "Inform yourself, and then inform your neighbors." And then continue to broaden the informed circle, she added.


Mathews on California initiatives: "You have to have your head examined before you vote on an initiative in California."


Salerno on the initiative process in California: "It's mind-boggling that each and every campaign contribution isn't disclosed the moment it's made." The technological capability to immediately disclose each contribution exists, he said.


Visit our website, where video footage from the event will be available soon!

The 2013 "Women Who Could Be President" Gala


Above, from left: Gala Chair Bianca Velishek, the 2013 Honorees: Nancy Hellman Bechtle, Bonnie J. Addario, Naomi M. Kelly, Christine Pelosi, and Nancy E. Pfund, and President Patricia McGovern


Admirable. Strong. Gracious. 

These are just three of many positive words that describe the local leaders honored at the League of Women Voters of San Francisco's "Women Who Could Be President" Gala on May 2 at the San Francisco City Club. 

Bonnie J. Addario, Nancy Hellman Bechtle, Naomi M. Kelly, Christine Pelosi and Nancy E. Pfund were celebrated at the League's 18th annual gala because they could hold their own in the company of any national leader. 

Check out photos from the gala here, courtesy of photographer Robert Foster (


We'll see you all next year!

LWVSF Welcomes New Members


We want to give a warm welcome to the new members of the League of Women Voters of San Francisco!

Sumaya Abdurrezak 

JD Contreras

Kym Sites

Michelle  Vielledent  

Melissa Wuschnig 

Tatyana Yurovsky 


We invite you to participate on our committees to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influence public policy through education and advocacy. Call the League at (415) 989-8683 or email for further information about volunteering on committees.

New LWVC Board Members 


An inspiring group of community leaders was recently elected to the LWVC Board for the 2013-2015 term, including LWVSF's own Ellie Gonzalez! Check out their bios here.

Take Action: National Voter Registration Act


Show your support for keeping the National Voter Registration Act intact. Educate yourself on the Supreme Court case involving this law and sign the petition on the National League's website

Upcoming Events


Saturday, June 8, 2013 | 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon

Annual Meeting

Location: The Hobart Building, first floor, San Francisco 


Join League members at our annual meeting, featuring Professor Chris Elmendorf of UC Davis College of the Law as our keynote speaker. This is your chance to vote on new Board members, approve the budget, and learn what is on the slate for 2013-14.


Sunday, August 2, 2013 | 3:00 pm.m - 4:30 p.m.

League Summer Membership Tea

Please RSVP to or (415) 989-8683 for location.


October 19, 2013 | 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon

Pre-Election Breakfast

Please RSVP to or (415) 989-8683 for location.


Coming Fall 2013

Fall Candidate Meet & Greet

Location: TBD


Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Election Day





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The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, multi-issue organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.


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