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In This Issue
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Wednesday, Nov. 18: Community Forum
Physical Health, Mental Health and Housing: A Prescription for Better Health
Panelists will be: Dr Takaahi Wada, Director of Public Health; Refujio Cuco Rodriguez, Mental Health Service Act Division Chief, Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services (ADMHS); Chuck Flacks, Executive Director of the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness (C3H), and Annmarie Cameron, Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Wellness Center.

They will discuss the current situation of healthcare and what lies ahead. The panelists will also explore how the expansion of Medi-Cal has increased enrollment in health care and potentially access to healthcare, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment.

This is an exciting time for improving our system of care. Attend the Forum to learn:
  • How the Medi-Cal expansion has impacted enrollment and use.
  • How we are integrating health care and housing in Santa Barbara County.
  • What can we do at the local, state and federal level to improve healthcare outcomes?
The forum--which is free and open to the public--will be from noon to 2 p.m. at the Louise Lowry Davis Center, 1232 De la Vina St. Bring a brown bag lunch and your friends. Beverages will be provided. Parking behind the center is free during the forum.
League Support For Raising
Santa Barbara's Minimum Wage

There are proposals nationally and locally to raise the minimum wage. The League of Women Voters of the United States has asked Leagues to study their local conditions and decide whether an increase might be needed. So LWVSB's three Discussion Units were asked this month to discuss local efforts to establish a $15 minimum wage for the City of Santa Barbara.
About 30 people attended the meetings and there seemed to be general agreement that this League should support a $l5 minimum wage. They were aware that the Santa Barbara City Council had decided that for those contracting with the city, a Living Wage would be $16.70 an hour (without benefits) $13.12-$14.32 an hour with benefits. They exempted the handicapped, non-profit employees, and student interns.
These are the issues that most members agreed about:
  •  $15 within the city would be a good starting point, and it might need to go higher.
  •  The high cost of all housing is the principal reason that we need this increase.

A large number of groups are preparing a plan to ask for such an increase. They include CAUSE, the Fund

for Santa Barbara, SEIU, Democratic Women, the Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee, SBCAN, the Democratic Party of Santa Barbara County and CLUE. Members felt that when they had a specific proposal our Board should consider joining them if the plan is acceptable.
League members expressed concern that that small businesses and non-profits might have a hard time paying this wage and questioned whether they should be exempted. Phasing the minimum in over several years was also considered. One unit felt strongly that young people who needed work experience should be exempt. Some members also expressed a desire to see the $15 minimum apply throughout the South Coast.
There was general agreement that the local League should evaluate the coalition's specific proposal to see if we will join them in working for a local minimum wage of $15.
Lindsey Baker and Amanda Pelch, Co-Presidents, and Connie Hannah,Vice-President
Will We Lose Power This Winter?
There is growing concern about the potential of large power losses locally if any of the huge transmission towers that carry electricity to the South Coast over the mountains-or the smaller poles below--should fall due to aging or erosion.
For a long time we have known that we are at the very end of the Southern California electric transmission grid. At the UCSB Central Coast Sustainability Summit this fall we learned that some of the towers that carry the lines through the mountains may be in danger of collapse, especially
if there are heavy rains this year. While Southern California Edison tries to keep about a 50 percent back up available, we really don't know what that means.
Energy transmission began as small microgrids around small cities in the 1800's. As growth occurred, a more central system was set up to carry power to the west. Now experts think that we may need to return to microgrids to insure against large system failure. One of the first actual California trials has been installed around the entire campus of UC Irvine. They report that they tried to power their grid with solar installations on campus, but so far have only been able to supply about 25 percent of their need. Southern California Edison has worked closely with them, and supplies the rest of their power. The utility itself reported that it might be a real help if some areas had their own microgrids.
Since the South Coast is now studying the feasibility of setting up our own Community Choice Aggregation system to separately purchase alternative energy, a local microgrid to carry it would be a logical next step. This independent system under local control might work well for the entire South Coast.
From all the presentations at the UCSB Summit, it was clear that we are going to face shortages of both energy and water, and we will need to have experts continue to find new and different solutions. We hope to support them when good ideas emerge.
Connie Hannah, Chairman, Sustainable Communities Committee
LWVSB Holiday Party 2016
The League will hold its Annual Holiday Luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 16, with the Santa Barbara City Council members, the City Attorney and City balloons2.jpg Manager as special guests. The League will provide the main dishes and members will be asked to bring salads and desserts. (A sign-up sheet will be passed around at our Nov. 18 Community Forum.)
The invited guests will move to different tables during the luncheon so everyone will have an opportunity to chat with them in a relaxed atmosphere. You are encouraged to bring your questions!

Like our forums, the holiday luncheon will be at the Louise Lowry Davis Center, 1232 De La Vina, from noon-2 p.m. We are hoping for a full house with stimulating discussion and lots of fun. Stay tuned for more details in these email messages and on our website.
Amanda Pelch, Co-President
The Channel Voter is Now Online
Find out what's coming up from now through January, 2016. Our latest Channel Voter gives you the latest information about our forums, discussion units, other events and hot topics.

Read the complete online newsletter here. And you 
can keep up to date anytime by looking at the calendar and announcements on our website.  
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

We hope to see you soon.


Amanda Pelch and Lindsey Baker
League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara 

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