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Monitor Notes: Healing Democracy, COVID-19 Update, Clean Energy, and Pedestrian Planning

Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.


Defending and Healing Democracy

As aftershocks over last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol reverberate, Notes is emphasizing the U.S. League of Women Voters’ extraordinary response to domestic terrorists’ violent attempt to overturn the fair election. On January 6, the League swiftly condemned the angry mob and mayhem that sought “to invalidate the will of the people,” as well as President Donald Trump and members of Congress who emboldened hostilities that ultimately took the lives of five people. The next evening, the LWV board of directors insisted the President pay a price for his actions and voted unanimously to call for his immediate removal by any legal means.

It’s an unprecedented decision by the nonpartisan League, which speaks to the grave nature of this moment in U.S. history. Democratic lawmakers are preparing plans to impeach the President for a second time.

More than a stance, the League’s call also sets an important example for shepherding our democracy and respecting our institutions — values that take on even more meaning ahead of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

If you’re seeking a place for community and connection during a confusing time of unrest, the LWV of Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville is co-sponsoring the Berkeley virtual breakfast celebration of the civil rights leader and his legacy of service on January 18 from 9 to 10 a.m. This year’s theme is Black Lives Matter, following a year of major upheaval and change that’s sparked widespread action to protest against police brutality and systemic racism.

Consider the following words from Dr. King, which have been increasingly shared in recent days as a reminder about healing a divided nation. In his speech, “Loving Your Enemies,” Dr. King stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”


Make the Rounds

Education is an important avenue to action. So as coronavirus cases continue to surge across California and claim more lives, the LWV of Piedmont is hosting Dr. George Rutherford for a COVID-19 update today at 4 p.m. entitled “Are We Any Closer to the End?” Dr. Rutherford, a UCSF infectious disease expert and Piedmont resident, is often interviewed by the media. He’s contributed perspective on everything from case numbers to vaccines and outdoor dining bans, the latter of which Bay Area restaurant owners are seeking to reverse. The City of Mill Valley recently became the first municipality in the state to ask for an exemption. 


Clean Energy Source

The environment also is in need of our attention. With that in mind, the Renewable Energy Team for the LWV of the U.S. has organized a January 19 online talk with Dr. Martin Keller, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Keller, also president of the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, is expected to speak about the state of renewable, or clean, energy research and capacity in the U.S. A question-and-answer session will follow. Warm up for the 9 a.m. event by learning more about the LWV U.S. Climate Team which, in addition to renewable energy, includes smaller groups working on a range of topics like wildfires, water, and agriculture.  


Step by Step

Caltrans District 4, the section of the state’s transportation department representing the Bay Area, wants feedback about its Pedestrian Plan, The draft includes maps showing what it’s like to walk on Caltrans’ roadways today, locations where significant pedestrian needs exist, and next steps to address them. Review the plan and crank out comments to [email protected] by February 5. Caltrans also would like you to take its survey intended to inform its initial project map. Any bicycle survey data may also be used to update the District 4 Bike Plan (2018), a safety and mobility effort the Monitor wrote about a few years ago.



Monitor Notes is produced by Cecily O’Connor. To receive it by email, scroll to the bottom of this page, enter your email address in the box under “RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES,” and click the red “SIGN UP” button.


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