Making Democracy Work

LWVPA's 79 years

79 Years of Achievement

1938
  • The League is founded by Mrs. Paul Eliel who had served on national and state League Boards. Mrs. Eliel invites forty women from Palo Alto and Stanford campus to organize the League of Women Voters of Palo Alto. By January 1940 membership grows to 128.

1940s
  • Supports price controls, rationing and higher income taxes
  • Campaigns for the establishment of the United Nations
  • Studies the Palo Alto school system
  • Successfully supports campaigns for school bonds
  • Studies city finances, methods of assessment, city planning and traffic (!) and the structure of city government--supports a sound manager form of government on the city and county levels

1950s
  • Supports bond measures to build City Hall on Newell Road, recreation programs, utilities facilities and the expansion of the Palo Alto Hospital, and a $700,000 bond issue to build a new main library and the Mitchell Park Library
  • At the national level, studies water resources and evaluates loyalty/security programs with the need to protect individual liberties
  • At the state level, opposes "cross-filing" and studies education issues
  • Members to the north in San Mateo County form a new League

1960s
  • Members to the south spin off to form the Los Altos/Mountain View League
  • Supports acquisition of Foothill Park
  • Studies proposals to solve parking problems of downtown Palo Alto
  • Supports City Charter changes to reduce the size of the City Council from 15 to 9 members and reduce terms from 6 to 4 years
  • Supports civil rights and an end to racial discrimination at all levels
  • Supports housing for low-to-moderate income families
  • At the national level, supports promotion of trade, United Nations, water resources and the recognition of the Peoples Republic of China
  • At the state level, studies revision of the Constitution and regional planning
  • Rents the first League office and becomes incorporated

1970s
  • Studies Palo Alto baylands and produces the "Baylands Handbook" for wide distribution
  • Conducts a joint study of Stanford Land Use, with the LWV South San Mateo County
  • Works to form the LWV of the San Francisco Bay Area so that regional issues may be studied and advocated
  • Supports school board and city council elections to be held in November in odd-numbered years
  • At the national level, supports the Equal Rights Amendment (ed. it failed), helps promote Presidential and Gubernatorial Debates
  • At the state level, opposes Proposition 13
  • Men are admitted as members of the League

1980s
  • Initiates studies of health care issues at the county level, eventually leading to a national League study
  • Focuses on financing of local needs for housing for a broad range of income levels and transportation planning in the post- Prop.13 era
  • Promotes efforts related to solid waste management through recycling, reduced usage, safe storage, handling and transportation of such materials
  • Works for passage of statewide "Bottle Bill" initiative
  • Conducts a letter-writing campaign, "Write Now" in support of the League's position on arms control, military policy and defense spending
  • Develops curriculum materials for high school teachers to promote citizen participation in government
  • At state level, studies Initiative and Referendum Process, Reapportionment and Redistricting

1990s
  • Reviews and updates position on Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan
  • Opposes Measure R, which would have restricted City Council's role in land use planning
  • Supports measures to improve Sand Hill Road and the building of affordable housing on Stanford lands
  • Continues to support affordable housing projects at Lytton IV, Alma Place and additional graduate student housing on Stanford land
  • Supports inclusion of child care facilities and programs in Stanford and Palo Alto Medical Foundation projects
  • Studies and supports programs in Juvenile Justice for delinquents and dependents
  • Supports local school bond measures, and at the state level, works to lower the voting requirement for school bonds from 2/3 to a simple majority (ed: this proposition failed but a later proposition with a 55% requirement passed)
  • Conducts Voter Service events and publishes and distributes Voters Guides at election time
  • Encourages voter registration at naturalization ceremonies in conjunction with the other Santa Clara County Leagues
  • Promotes the state League's new web site "Smart Voter" as a one-stop voter information site

2000s
  • Invites 80 Primary candidates to participate in a Candidates Fair
  • Supports PAUSD parcel tax
  • Invites the public to learn about vital issues such as children at risk, civil rights and voting, proposed tax on storm drains
  • Conducts first candidates forum live on TV with teleconferencing participation by a candidate
  • Keeps our League office organized and attractive through the work of a volunteer office manager
  • Goes live on the internet with the League's first web site
  • Partners with the Midpeninsula Media Center to broadcast Candidates Forums on public access TV
  • Studies the governance and finance of California Community Colleges and publishes fact sheets on Community Colleges for distribution to legislators and the public
  • Updates City Charter positions affirming that the mayor should be elected from the council by the council, city council members should be elected at-large and there should be nine members of the council
  • Updates positions on natural resources, land use and planning, housing, transportation and energy
  • Studies Instant Runoff Voting process for the election of County Supervisors and state elected officials
  • Supports a growing number of affordable housing projects for seniors, families and homeless
  • Initiates annual Summer Social with an informal evening program
  • Launches a youth outreach program, New Voices for Youth, in partnership with the LWV of South San Mateo County
  • Supports state legislation to fund single-payer health care
  • Studies and reaches consensus on measures to reform immigration
  • Continues to support laws protecting reproductive rights
  • Publishes and annually distributes more than 2,000 "Facts for Voters"
  • Endorses library bond measures
  • Launches an Essay Contest to promote high school student interest in civic government
  • Studies the Federal Role in Education and supports state measures to fund education Pre-K through Community College levels
  • Studies Palo Alto's infrastructure needs

Celebration at 75

On Saturday, December 7, 2013, the League got together to Celebrate 75 years of Achievement in Palo Alto and Stanford, co-hosted by the Woman's Club of Palo Alto, and co-sponsored by the Palo Alto Weekly.

Program: Status of Women-Past/Present/Future

  • Judge LaDoris H. Cordell (Retired), now the Independent Police Auditor for the City of San Jose
  • Carol Christ, former President of Smith College, now on the faculty at UC Berkeley
  • Myra Strober, Stanford Professor of Education and founding Director of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research