Where We Stand

League of Women Voters positions on issues of concern are reached after careful study and discussion. These positions are the framework against which members measure all actions taken in the name of LWV at all levels. Local positions may be used at the local level of government; state positions may be used at state and local level, and national positions may be used at all levels. There are some instances where positions from the local level may be used to lobby state legislators, and where positions from the state may be used to lobby at the U.S. Congress.

PRINCIPLES OF THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS

The League of Women Voters believes in representative government and in the individual liberties established in the Constitution of the United States.

The League of Women Voters believes that democratic government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens and requires that governmental bodies protect the citizen’s right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings and making public records accessible.

The League of Women Voters believes that every citizen should be protected in the right to vote; that every person should have access to free public education which provides equal opportunity for all; and that no person or group should suffer legal, economic, or administrative discrimination.

The League of Women Voters believes that efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, the clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government.

The League of Women Voters believes that responsible government should be responsive to the will of the people; that government should maintain an equitable and flexible system of taxation, promote conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest, share in the solution of economic and social problems which affect the general welfare; promote a sound economy and adopt domestic policies which facilitate the solution of international problems.

The League of Women Voters believes that cooperation with other nations is essential in the search for solutions to world problems, and that the development of international organization and international law is imperative in the promotion of world peace.

LOCAL POSITIONS – LWV Corvallis

Community Planning
Comprehensive Planning
Urbanization
Open Space
Transportation
Corrections
Background and Philosophy
Adult Corrections
Juvenile Corrections
Health Services in Benton County
Public Health Services
Health Care of the Elderly
Know Your Schools
Financing the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library
Benton County Charter
Child Care in Benton County
At Risk Youth

Primary Prevention of Violence in Linn & Benton Counties
Housing
Local Food
Special Taxing Disctricts

STATE POSITIONS – Download State positions by clicking on Issues for Action

NATIONAL POSITIONS – click on Public Policy Positions

COMMUNITY PLANNING

Support of Comprehensive Planning, effectively implemented; Support of Adequate Local Transportation; Support of Open Space. Support of urbanization policies which foster complete, healthy and diverse communities where people can live, work, shop and play.

Comprehensive Planning

1. Support of comprehensive planning which involves consideration of social, cultural, and aesthetic factors, as well as land use, public facilities, and major streets.

2. Support of extensive, representative community (city, county, region) participation and of emphasis on livability and environmental quality in the development and implementation of the plan.

A. The LWV of Corvallis concurs: Support for citizens’ right to determine by ballot the expansion of municipal limits resulting from proposed annexations, delayed or otherwise, excepting only state-mandated annexations. (Adopted April 1997)

B. The LWV of Corvallis concurs: Support for development impact fees, such as system development charges (SDC), which require new development to pay a fair share of the costs of development impact on the community. (Adopted April 1997)

3. Support of measures to insure effective, impartial, prudent, and lawful or legitimate enforcement of the implementation of the plan.

4. Support of a highway bypass to protect the riverfront, enhance revitalization of the downtown and improve traffic circulation and air quality.

5. Support for a strong central core of urban and governmental activity, including commercial, residential and recreational facilities. Encourage energy conservation through promotion of an efficient transportation system.

Urbanization

Support for comprehensive, citizen-based land use planning that maintains and enhances community livability and protects resource lands by:

1. preventing urban sprawl;

2. concentrating development within urban areas by utilizing infill, redevelopment and other compact development forms;

3. making efficient use of land as a resource;

4. integrating multi-modal transportation planning and implementation, emphasizing connectivity and pedestrian orientation;

5. providing opportunities for a variety, range and mix of housing densities, types and prices;

6. allowing for a range of land uses, taking into consideration compatibility with surrounding neighborhood(s);

7. providing for high quality public areas and open space;

8. providing for delivery of high quality public services in an orderly, economic and efficient manner;

9. assuring citizen participation in all decision-making processes.

Open Space

1. Support of protection through identification, regulation and/or preservation of areas of critical concern, such as rare and valuable ecosystems, wetlands, borders of rivers and streams, unique scenic and historic areas and significant wildlife habitat.

2. Support of regulation of natural hazard lands where development could endanger life and property, such as flood plains and areas of unstable geologic formations.

3. Support of acquisition of land to provide green belts around urban areas in Benton County. (adopted Nov. ’91)

Transportation

1. Support adequate public transit systems. League members agree that:
A. Adequate funding of transit systems is necessary, either by public ownership or public financial support.
B. It is most important that equitable access should be provided to places of employment; equitable access should also be provided to educational, shopping, medical, and social services, and recreational and cultural facilities. Members recommended that Sunday and evening service should be provided.
C. Special services should be provided where necessary to overcome inequities of access for particular groups. This might include special equipment (e. g. , for handling wheelchairs) or special financial help (e. g. , low-cost tokens).
D. Local government should ensure adequate operational standards, particularly with regard to qualifications of drivers, public safety, and frequency of service.
E. Local government should provide for coordination of all local public transit systems, and should work toward coordination with regional systems.

2. Provide for traffic flow (vehicular and pedestrian) including necessary street and parking facilities, but put emphasis on providing an adequate public transportation system. Members agreed that government should no longer cater to the private car.
3. Encourage car-pooling where mass transit is impractical. Members felt that buses are more dependable and safer than carpools.

4. Develop safe, adequate bikeways for transportation as well as recreation; enforce traffic regulations for bicycles.

5. Provide for the safety of pedestrians, especially at crosswalks.

6. Plan and manage transportation systems to promote good land use, conserve natural resources (including non-renewable energy resources) and to maintain environmental quality. (Adopted 1974)

CORRECTIONS

Support for Adequate Corrections Facilities with Emphasis on Appropriate Alternatives, and Diversionary Services for Adults and Juveniles and Assistance to their Families .

Background

The Corrections item was adopted as part of our local program in 1957-58 under the title “Study and Action to Promote a Joint City-County Jail. ” In 1959-60, “Support of Adequate Juvenile Detention Facilities” was added. We have emphasized good planning along with program and treatment in both areas over the past twenty-one years.

Philosophy

We support the philosophy stated in the Bill of Rights of the Oregon Constitution that “Laws for the punishment of crime shall be founded on the principles of reformation, not on vindictive justice. ”

We therefore heartily concur with the proposed 1980 Standards and Goals of the Oregon Law Enforcement Council that common concerns include:

1. Limiting wherever possible the offender’s entry into the criminal justice system.
A. Holding in secure custody only those individuals for whom alternatives are found to be inappropriate, and
B. Adopting in every case the least restrictive option.

2. Defining policies and procedures relative to the presumption of innocence of the accused.

3. Placing strong reliance on community based corrections facilities and programs.

4. Immediate and continuing response to individual needs.

5. Equality of treatment.

6. Protection of the legal, civil, and human rights of every individual.

Position—Adult Corrections

1. We support the development and use of alternatives to jail whenever feasible, including:
A. Pre-trial misdemeanant citations and release on recognizance, and
B. Post-trial probation and parole, work release and minimum-medium security facilities with constructive activity.

2. We support the following jail practices:
A. Meeting the minimum standards for jails so that inmates are released no worse than when they entered. This includes:
(1) Full time jail supervision,
(2) Adequate segregation,
(3) Opportunity for useful occupation and exercise.
B. Keeping adequate records and on-going analysis of them.
C. Employing trained staff, at least on a part-time basis, to supervise and coordinate rehabilitative practices.

3. We support city-county cooperation in the joint use of corrections facilities.

4. We support regular consultation among those agencies whose decisions affect corrections.

5. We support coordinated long-range planning that allows for rehabilitative programs and flexibility, but we oppose building and using more jail space than absolutely necessary. We recommend that any plans for expansion of facilities be based on facts, including accurate inventories of:
A. The number and type of jail inmates over a period of several years and the length of their stay before and after trial.
B. The availability of various alternatives to jail holding.
C. The availability of other facilities which would affect the jail population.

6. We support the fullest possible cooperation with other counties in developing a better range of resources than an individual county can provide.

Position–Juvenile Corrections

1. We support early use of diversionary and supportive services by well trained professionals.

2. We oppose holding juveniles in any adult facility.

3. When secure custody is required for juveniles, we recommend providing:
A. Facilities especially designed,
B. Programs especially planned,
C. Staff especially trained to meet the individual needs of each child.

4. We recommend minimizing use of secure holding by:
A. Creative use of alternatives,
B. Restricting the size of any facility,
C. Cooperation with other counties in order to serve a population as large as possible.

5. For juveniles not needing secure custody, we support the use of shelter care, foster homes, and/or appropriate alternatives stressing programs to meet individual needs.

6. For handling of juveniles at all levels, we encourage hiring dedicated, competent staff, realistically paid and given professional assistance in the community.

HEALTH SERVICES IN BENTON COUNTY

Public Health

1. Support of Public Health Services in Benton County, including:
A. Dissemination of public health information,
B. Adequate personnel and facilities in the County Health Department, and
D. Family planning information and techniques. (Adopted 1967)

2. Recognition of drug abuse as a health problem in Benton County. (Adopted 1971)

Health Care of the Elderly

1. The LWV of Corvallis believes the government has a responsibility to provide for the health and welfare of its senior citizens. Individuals and families should share this responsibility and those who have the ability to pay for services should do so at whatever level possible.
A. We support programs which encourage independent living for the elderly should be adequately funded.
B. We believe support services should be provided for families who care for elderly relatives in their homes.
C. We believe there should be an effective ombudsman program for residents of long term care facilities.
D. We believe the government should promote and fund programs which focus on the prevention of health problems of the elderly.
E. We believe that Medicare and Medicaid should continue to be funded with consideration of cost containment, accountability, and increased focus on prevention.

2. The LWV of Corvallis believes that the government has a responsibility to ensure quality health care for the elderly.
A. We believe there should be regular, qualitative and financial evaluation of public agencies providing health care services for the elderly.
B. We believe that people who care for the elderly in long term care facilities should be adequately trained and paid.
C. We believe that those who provide services or care for the elderly should be adequately supervised.
D. We believe that there should be stringent government standards and inspections for long term care facilities.

KNOW YOUR SCHOOLS

1. For the Corvallis School District (509J) Board meetings, ( general Board meetings, Board subcommittee meetings, and other Board appointed committees):
A. The Board should have rules and procedures for citizen participation.
B. The Board should notify the public about meeting times.

2. There should be 509J District policy governing procedures for handling citizen’s letters of complaint or commendations concerning teachers. (Adopted 1983)

FINANCING THE CORVALLIS-BENTON COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY

The League of Women Voters supports:
1. Free access for all residents of Benton County to library services;

2. Adequate funding to maintain quality of services and facilities consistent with community social and educational standards;

3. Sufficiently stable funding to make possible long-term planning;

4. Clearly defined governmental authority that can most economically and efficiently provide library services. (Adopted 1985)

BENTON COUNTY CHARTER

The League of Women Voters believes that:

1. The County assessor be appointed by the Board of Commissioners rather than being elected;

2. The County sheriff be a nonpartisan office rather than a partisan one;

3. The Charter Review Committee be required to hold public hearings on all recommendations and present them to the voters.

4. The LWVC supports a Benton County Charter that meets the following criteria:
A. Provides a basic framework of government.
B. Is brief, clear and flexible enough to provide for changing needs of the county.
C. Provides for orderly change.
D. Clearly assigns authority and responsibility.
E. Ensures that related activities are grouped together.
F. Separates legislative from administrative powers.
G. Provides for a representative government responsive to the will of the people.

To best meet these criteria, the League believes that the Board of Commissioners should focus on policy formation, liaison with state and regional government agencies, and communication with the citizens of Benton County. A County Manager should have primary responsibility for administration. In particular, the Benton County Charter should specify the duties, responsibilities and qualifications of a professional County Manager. At a minimum, the County Manager should: a) be the chief administrative officer of the County, b) be the reporting authority for all appointed department heads, c) have responsibility for all personnel functions and d) serve at the pleasure of the Board of Commissioners. (#4 adopted May 31, 2000).

 

CHILD CARE IN BENTON COUNTY

The League of Women Voters of Corvallis believes that child care programs are an essential component in providing access to equal employment opportunities. Affordable child care is an effective tool in combating poverty in both single-parent and two-parent families All children, including those with special needs, need quality care that will aid their growth and development.

The League of Women Voters of Corvallis believes that parents have the primary responsibility to ensure that quality, affordable child care is available and accessible.

1. There should be accepted standards, compiled and endorsed by child care authorities, and regular inspections of child care facilities.

2. Child care providers should be adequately trained and paid.

3. Day care subsidies should be available for lower-income families.

4. Government should promote and fund programs which encourage family home providers to receive and maintain training.

5. There should be a coordinated effort among parents/providers/employers/governmental agencies to maintain an up-to-date child care Resource and Referral Service.

6. Employers should be encouraged to address child care issues in their policies and benefit packages. (Adopted April 22, 1987)

 

AT RISK YOUTH

1. The Corvallis League of Women Voters supports youth programs that address the needs of children who may have educational, health, family, substance abuse, socioeconomic or legal problems that contribute to their leaving school early.

2. Prevention and early intervention programs should be available from early childhood to emancipation.

3. Programs should be comprehensive, coordinated and community based. Funding for programs should be adequate and consistent to insure continuity.

PRIMARY PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE IN LINN & BENTON COUNTIES

We support comprehensive and integrated violence prevention and intervention programs that involve all sectors of the community.

We support efforts that are based on community experiences, grounded in informed theory, research, and evaluation, that help individuals learn effective problem-solving and social skills to avoid violence and strengthen pro-social values.

Specific services and programs we support include, but are not limited to:

1. Efforts to educate individuals, organizations and institutions on all aspects of societal violence.

2. Development and promotion of programs to foster physical, mental, and emotional health of individuals of all ages and groups, such as:
* transition services for families in crisis
* mentoring programs for children at risk of abuse, neglect, or abandonment
* parenting, education, and mentoring programs for potential parents, parents and caregivers
* peer support groups for parents of older children
* training programs for staff, caregivers and volunteers
* substance abuse programs for all age groups

3. Programs for all age groups to learn critical pro-social skills and behaviors: effective problem-solving skills, communication skills, interpersonal relationship skills, anger management, conflict management, negotiation, and tolerance of opposing views and different social groups.
4. The collection, analysis, and dissemination of accurate, comprehensive statistics on all incidents of violence.

5. Efforts to counter and decrease the promotion and depiction of violence in all areas of society.

6. Education about responsible firearm ownership and enactment and enforcement of laws and regulations to reduce illegal gun possession and juvenile access to firearms.

7. Continuous and rigorous evaluation of community efforts and programs to learn what works in reducing the level of violence in our community. (Adopted 1996)

HOUSING

1. The LWV believes that local government should exercise leadership in promoting partnerships between public and private entities to establish shelter for homeless families, emergency shelter for single women and men and low income housing units.

2. The city and county should do such things as include funds for emergency shelter in their regular budgets. They should apply for any federal and state funds available for this purpose. Successful shelter programs in other parts of the country should be explored.

3. Emergency shelter should be available year round in our community for both women and men. Volunteer organizations should be given support for their efforts to meet this need through city and county leadership and some allocation of dollars to help stabilize private programs.

4. The city and county should aggressively support the development of low income housing units. Every effort should be made to secure funds from state and federal sources to expand the supply of low rent units either by new construction or renovation of existing housing stocks. Contributing land, addressing zoning barriers, adjusting transit routes and working closely with the community are ways in which government can aid in creating more low income housing.

LOCAL FOOD (Adopted 2010)

The League of Women Voters of Corvallis’ Local Food position applies not only to governments but to all sectors of the community.
The League
1. Believes that all community members should have access to safe, local, nutritious, affordable and culturally appropriate food.
2. Supports convenient access to grocery stores, food service businesses, food banks and soup kitchens within communities.
3. Encourages local laws and land use plans that include preservation of space for food production, i.e. farmland, community gardens on public land and in future private developments in the city and county.
4. Encourages local agricultural businesses in food production, storage, distribution and processing facilities that are sustainable and support a viable food system.
5. Supports sustainable farm practices including conservation of water and energy.
6. Believes local agencies should be responsible for enforcement of food safety and disease prevention.
7. Encourages local agencies and schools to teach people of all ages the skills and knowledge essential to food production, safe preparation and preservation, and the importance of food choices on health.
8. Encourages local agencies, schools and businesses to purchase and serve locally grown food.
9. Recommends collaboration and coordination by local food groups in support of local food policies.

SPECIAL TAXING DISTRICTS & URBAN RENEWAL DISTRICTS (Adopted May 2016)
The League believes the formation of Special Taxing Districts and Urban Renewal Districts may be desirable in certain situations. The formation of any such district must be considered only after an informed, transparent planning process and thorough analysis of the implications to all government provided services.

League shall consider the following criteria to determine whether or not to support a proposal to form a Special Taxing District or an Urban Renewal District.

1. The new district has clearly defined goals.
2. The new district will provide more or new benefits not currently available.
3. The new district will meet needs not currently being addressed.
4. Other options to meet the needs have been explored.
5. Establishment of a new district will lead to long-term stability.
6. All statutory requirements have been addressed.
7. Administrative costs will not unduly impact services.
8. The new district will not create undue competition with other entities.
9. The new district does not duplicate services otherwise available.
10. The impact of the new district on the funding of other services has been evaluated.
11. There has been adequate public process in establishing the new district.
12. The cost to reach the goals has been properly analyzed.
13. Revenue streams are identified (bonding, grants, private dollars, etc.).
14. Affected parties have been engaged in discussions regarding the proposed district.
For Urban Renewal Districts an additional criterion will be considered:
15. Urban Renewal Districts must have a plan for termination from the outset.

There is no intent that a taxing or urban renewal district must meet every criterion in order to gain League support. Instead, the idea is that, for any new district, each criterion will be evaluated and the League position will be arrived at by balancing the pros and cons illuminated by the criteria.