Making Democracy Work

Action and Advocacy

The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue or advocates for a cause when there is an existing League position that supports the issue or speaks to the cause. The League does not take a position on candidates.

Positions result from a process of study. Any given study, whether it be National, State, or Local, is thorough in its pursuit of facts and details. As the study progresses, a continuing discussion of pros and cons of each situation occurs. Prior to the results of the study being presented to the general membership, study committee members fashion consensus questions that are then addressed by the membership.

Additional discussion, pro and con, takes place as members (not part of the study committee) learn the scope of the study. After the members reach consensus, the board forms positions based on that consensus.

It is the consensus statement -- the statement resulting from the consensus questions -- that becomes a position. Firm action or advocacy can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action/advocacy cannot be taken.

League of Women Voters of Coos County's Positions

A.Health and Mental Health Support for strong county health and mental health departments that provide quality services that the community needs. In order to provide quality services there is a need for the following:
1. Adequate staff to handle the patient load
2. Salaries at a level to attract and hold personnel
3. Adequate budgets to meet the needs of the clinics To gain input on the provision of services that meet community needs, there is support for a community Mental Health Advisory Board and also a community Health Department Advisory Board. (Adopted in 1958, updated in 1964, re-studied with state items for mental health services in 1974 and 1987, and updated in 1993).

B. Port of Coos Bay Support for the Port of Coos Bay to include the following:
1. Be a leader in cooperation among governmental jurisdictions
2. Accurately assess and plan for future needs
3. Rigorously examine the financial solvency of port users seeking public funding
4. Put the overall public interest ahead of special interests
5. Be deliberate, yet aggressive, in the practice of sound business
6. Employ adequately trained staff to accomplish all mandated responsibilities
7. Develop an adequate process through which public opinion can be heard and reviewed by commissioners, including a respected and functioning representative port advisory committee
8. Make maximum use of technical knowledge, planning, and implement expertise
9. Aggressively use the mandated powers to their maximum in order to bring all possible economic and environmental benefit to the district.
10. Develop an adequate budget and sound financial base
11. Encourage primary, labor-intensive industry which increases the total disposable income to the community. (Adopted in 1962, updated in 1981 and 2000)

C. Comprehensive Planning Support for county comprehensive plans that would include the following:
1. Coordination with planning at all levels.
2. All elements of comprehensive planning as defined by state law
3. Strong citizen involvement. (Adopted in 1973, continuously studied since then)

D. Juvenile Facilities Support for an effective plan, program, and facilities to serve each child in trouble in order to benefit the child, the family, and the community. Services and facilities available to juveniles in Coos County should include all of the following:
1. A county detention facility that at least meets minimum state standards for jails.
2. A shelter home for temporary placements
3. The existing boys' and girls' "ranches" treatment facilities should be expanded as needed for adequate space and services.
4. Foster homes and foster group homes and a home for severely emotionally disturbed teenagers
5. Screening for medical and/or learning disabilities among youths placed in detention.
6. Sheriff and city police departments with at least one officer trained in working with juveniles.
7. Adequate court time available for juvenile cases and an adequately funded and staffed Juvenile Department. (Adopted in 1976, restudied and updated 1999-2000)

E. County Budget Process Support for a system in Coos County which will encourage public education and participation in the budget process; facilitate the procedure of the budget committee; improve communications between department heads and the committee; adopt improved budgeting systems, general accounting procedures, departmental bookkeeping systems, and utilize the recommendations of the auditor to improve the system. (Adopted 1977, re-studied 1987)

F. County Library Services Support for quality services for all county residents, including the following:
1. Provision of open and equal access to ideas and information to all members of the community
2. Stable and adequate funding
3. Provision of basic public library services without charge to users
4. Development of plans and programs to achieve the most beneficial sharing of resources among all types of libraries (Adopted in 1979, updated in 1993)

G. Evaluating Public Administrators Support for a regularly scheduled evaluation process for appointing public administrators to included the following:
1. Establish goals and priorities and involve the public and staff, with possible assistance from third party experts
2. Be based on procedures agreed upon by the governing body and the administrator
3. Have the evaluation made public. (Adopted in 1983)

H. Affordable Housing Support programs for affordable housing, including the following:
1. Affordable housing for the elderly, the handicapped, the low-income, and the homeless
2. "Special Needs" housing financed by the government, non-profit and private organizations
3. Efforts to eliminate barriers that exist in providing affordable housing. Such efforts might include education materials for developers and target populations, a speakers' bureau, tax incentives, and the study of zoning laws for target populations. (Adopted in 1994)

I. Establishment of a Coos County Human Rights Commission Support the establishment and the continuation of an official Coos County Human Rights Commission. Principal objectives of the Human Rights Commission shall include the following:
1. A public statement that harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated in Coos County
2. Membership made up of county residents representing a cross section of individuals/groups who historically have been subjected to discrimination and/or harassment.
3. Public education promoting respect for cultural diversity
4. Conflict resolution for discrimination/harassment complaints. Discrimination includes acts and threatened acts that in any way infringe on an individual's human rights + based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, mental or physical handicapped conditions, economic positions, other. (Adopted 1996)

J. Water Quality Support for Coos County water programs sufficient to:
1. Accommodate the need for adequate supplies of high quality and quantity of potable water for current and future population growth
2. Maintain or exceed mandated water quality standards
3. Develop contingency water supplies in the event of a water emergency or disaster
4. Provide and protect water resources for industrial, agricultural, and recreational use
5. Protect watershed resources
6. Encourage water conservation by all
7. Inform and educate citizens about conservation, water quality, and water resource regulation
8. Develop interagency and intercity coordination and cooperation regarding water resources (Adopted 2010)