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HomeAction and Positions
Leagues at all levels take action. Our advocacy can include writing letters to media or legislators, holding press conferences, speaking at hearings and public meetings, adding our voice to a ballot measure campaign or sending action alerts to our members. Taking action is always based on current program positions and/or on League Principles. Positions are developed based on member study and consensus. We have many positions and many opportunities to act.

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LWV San Diego



San Diego Positions

As of July 2020

The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue only when we have a position addressing that particular issue. Members must study and come to consensus on an issue in order to form a position. This thorough grassroots process ensures that our advocacy is well considered by a broad range of people, understood by our members, and we have a sense of the political environment.

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The San Diego County positions included in this document stem from the work of the League of Women Voters of San Diego County, or ILO, including members of the LWV South Bay, LWV East County (formerly Grossmont League), LWV Escondido, and the two remaining Leagues in the County: the LWV San Diego and LWV North County San Diego.  When the County League was dissolved in 2017, both the LWVSD and the LWVNCSD voted to retain these county and regional positions as part of their local positions.

The two Leagues also established a structure to continue to work cooperatively, including undertaking joint studies when appropriate.  The first of these efforts was our 2018 position on Homelessness.  Some studies remain applicable as originally written.  Others have been updated.  The earliest date indicates the adoption of the position after a study; subsequent dates indicate updated positions after further study.

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Principles are rather broad when standing alone, so it is necessary to exercise caution when considering using them as a basis for action.  The national board suggests that any action on the Principles be taken in conjunction with current League positions to which they apply and on which member agreement and understanding are known to exist.  (LWVUS, Impact on Issues, 2012-2014)

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 that 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 the conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest, share in the solution of economic and social problems that affect the general welfare, promote a sound economy, and adopt domestic policies that 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 development of international organization and international law is imperative in the promotion of world peace.  

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City Government

Government Structures and Procedure: LWVSD supports city government with structures and procedures that promote responsive, responsible and efficient government with adequate checks and balances of power, with equal opportunities for citizens and with provisions for citizen participation. (2009, 2017)

Citizen Participation: City government should facilitate accountability and citizen participation within its structures and procedures, which should be:

Efficient and Effective

  • Providing the simplest structure to serve clearly defined purposes and functions, avoiding unnecessary duplication and taking advantage of cost-saving technologies.

  • Providing for analysis of costs and benefits of offices and programs that takes into account social, economic, and political considerations and that utilize community expertise.

  • Providing for regular review and termination of offices or programs if their purpose is not achieved or a function becomes obsolete.

  • Having a direct effect upon decision-making and providing necessary leadership orientation.


  • Providing services and opportunities for participation on an equitable basis to all areas of the city, with due consideration for differing neighborhood needs.

  • Providing for citizen input which is representative of geographic areas and social composition.


  • Providing easily available and sufficient information to citizens to receive services and to participate, with times and locations of meetings and costs to participants considered.

  • Providing for public access to meetings, agendas, reports, and records of meetings and persons making decisions.


  • Articulating a coherent perspective of the present and future directions of a city, with attention to long and medium range planning and to the marshaling of resources to provide the necessary infrastructure for such a perspective. (1995, 2017) 

City Council

Council members should be nominated and elected by districts; they should have salaries and staff commensurate with full-time responsibilities as the city’s legislative and policy-making body. In the event of a vacancy on the council, a special district election should be held if the vacancy is for a year or more.  If the vacancy is for less than a year, it should be filled by appointment as provided in the city’s charter. (1983)  A balance of power is necessary between the legislative branch and the administrative branch of city government.  Members of the city council should elect a council president to serve a term of one year. The council president should set the council agenda. Three or more council members should have authority to place an item for consideration on the docket. The city council should take responsibility for ensuring that legislation and policies that have been enacted are carried out. (2009, 2017)


The mayor should have salary and staff commensurate with full-time responsibilities. (1995) The mayor should be involved in the planning of the budget from the beginning of the budget process. (2000)  In the event of a vacancy in the office of mayor, a special election should be held if the vacancy is for a year or more. (1983)  If less than one year, then the President of the Council should serve as mayor the balance of the year. The mayor should respond to requests for information from the public or the city council in a timely manner. The mayor should also arrange to hear concerns from individual citizens and citizen groups on a regular and consistent basis in a public venue. (2009, 2017)

Standards for Redistricting: (1989)

The redistricting process should include:

  • specific timelines for the steps leading to adoption of the redistricting plan;

  • public hearings on the plan proposed for adoption;

  • an automatic, non-judicial backup procedure in the event of a deadlock; and

  • a requirement that any redistricting plan drawn be adopted by more than a simple majority vote.

Redistricting plan standards, regardless of who has responsibility for redistricting should include:

  • substantially equal populations;

  • geographic contiguity;

  • protection from diluting voting strength of a racial or linguistic minority; and

  • preservation and protection of “communities of interest” to the extent possible.

The redistricting plan standards should not allow the goal of protecting incumbents or preferential treatment of one political party.  Each district should consist of 100,000-150,000 people or less.  Redistricting should be done by a special non-partisan commission.  The preferred method is the formation of a redistricting commission by having:

  • an appointing authority consisting of a three member panel of retired judges plus an alternate in order to preclude appointments being made by only two members;

  • a nine member commission to allow for the possibility of a representative from each council district; and 

  • the commission include representatives of minority group interests and public interest groups (1989, 2017)

Planning Department

LWVSD supports a separate planning department headed by a planning director reporting directly to the mayor or city council.  Functions performed by this department should include: preparation of the general plan and community plans; preparation of project plans; management of land use and development; coordination and review of plans and projects with other departments and jurisdictions; active participation in the preparation of the capital budget; research in cooperation with other agencies; public service and education environmental review. 

LWVSD supports including, as part of a general plan, an implementation program which includes a capital improvements program and commitment to facilities financing.

LWVSD supports maintenance of a general plan, preparation of an annual progress report on achievement of general plan goals, objectives and policies and where appropriate, amendments as needed.  Maintaining the plan should be an on-going process using available technology with extensive public participation.  Sufficient funding and personnel should be dedicated to the process to keep it current.  (1996, 2017)


Police Protection: Support of adequate funding for (1) an efficient police protection and crime prevention system and (2) community involvement in crime prevention programs.

Police-Community Relations: The city council has the responsibility for police-community relations policies and programs within the entire police department and the community.  The city council should regularly evaluate and reassess policies for complaint procedures. (before 1971) There should be continued training, especially in the area of human relations, behavioral health and sexual assault;  high standards for police personnel (1975); and salary competitive with that of other large cities in the state. (1984, 2017)  The League supports having a community review board on police practices.  It should have the power to investigate all in-custody deaths and officer involved shootings.  In order to better carry out its responsibilities, the board should have an independent attorney and the subpoena power.  (2017) 

Ambulance Contract for the City of San Diego, 2018

The League of Women Voters of San Diego believes that Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is an essential core service.  The City of San Diego is responsible for any contracts made to provide this service and should carefully monitor them both within the Fire-Rescue Department and through the Contract Department.  No contract should be written without an independent cost-benefit analysis and a program audit.  Any change in fees should be preceded by a financial audit of the EMS contractor.  It is preferable that equipment and staffing be provided by the City’s Fire-Rescue Department. If outsourcing is contemplated, the City could be a bidder for EMS services.

The City’s EMS should meet best practices such as the duration of the contract and quality of service including personnel practices, quality of care, response time, equipment and training.  The City should pursue innovative means to reduce costs for EMS.  Revenues could be supplemented by local taxes.

Civil Service System of Employment

City government should maintain a civil service system of employment, which is guided by the principles of political neutrality, job competition by merit and equal opportunity for all through a commitment to the affirmative action needed to make openness of employment a reality. 

Political Neutrality: Politics should be completely separated from all aspects of classified employment, recruitment, hiring, firing, promotion, and disciplinary action. 

Structure: The system should include job classification and a balance of power and responsibility shared by a civil service commission, the mayor and council, and the city attorney.

Recruiting and Selection: In order to employ qualified, competent people who represent a broad spectrum of the community and are committed to public service, a city should:

  • base selection on job-related skills;

  • advertise job opportunities through all forms of the news media and provide wide knowledge of and access to job bulletins; 

  • conduct on-going evaluations of minimum requirement with emphasis on individual background;

  • credit related volunteer and part-time experience as job qualifications;

  • inform applicants of their rights in the employment process; 

  • ensure applicants understand  job descriptions and how their qualifications apply to city jobs;

  • conduct job-related oral interviews utilizing uniform questions. Involve citizen interviewers from all segments of the community when appropriate;

  • develop training and apprentice programs; and

  • give consideration to veterans in the hiring process

Working Conditions:
The city should maintain procedures and incentives to encourage diversity in the hiring of  employees and further encourage present employees to pursue career opportunities; promotional exams should be open to city employees as well as those outside city employment.  Employees should be periodically evaluated for their competence and supervisors should create a positive atmosphere to achieve efficient employee performance.  Probationary employees should be given rights of appeal.

Equal Opportunity: The city has the obligation to follow hiring procedures in all employment processes (recruiting, testing, selection, hiring, and promotion) to include more women and minorities in the work force and it should utilize statistics to assure attainment of its hiring goals.  (1974, 1975, 2017)

Fiscal Management

Revenues: A flexible and equitable structure should include revenues derived from sources based on an ability to pay, with a combination of local, state, and federal revenues and with low administrative costs compared to revenue produced. (1991, 2017)

Budget Development: At the beginning of the annual budget cycle, the mayor shall propose a balanced budget for consideration by the city council. (1976, 2017) The city council should set priorities and guidelines to use in preparing the budget.  (1976)  The mayor should also prepare a multi-year financial forecast at the beginning of the annual budget process.  There should be an independent budget analyst available to the council members. (2000)  Public hearings should be held early and throughout the budgeting process.  Local control and flexibility are essential in the budgeting process. (1991, 2017)

User Fees:  It is more desirable to rely on general fund financing rather than establish special funds for those services which benefit the entire community or promote general health, welfare and safety. 

Federal and State Funds: Funds from other governmental levels should be sought when compatible with long-range planning and community needs and when local government is involved in the planning and administration of such funds.

Capital Improvements and Bonding:  Given a major backlog of infrastructure improvements, the League endorses an Infrastructure Fund which sets aside a portion of General Fund revenues for capital improvements and infrastructure. However, bonding is the most desirable method of financing capital improvements and local government should make greater use of its bonding capacity, with general obligation bonds preferred over methods which incur continuing liabilities without voter approval.  (2017)  As part of the annual budget process, the mayor should propose an updated multi-year capital improvements program.  Revenue bonds may be used where there is a specific revenue stream in place to fund a particular improvement or improvements.  Revenue bonds should require a ⅔ approval of the city council.  Proceeds from the sale of city-owned property are another acceptable form of funding capital improvements.  (2017)

Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)

LWVSD supports:

  • a TOT budget and TOT fund that are clear and user-friendly for appropriate public use.  The fund balance should be publicly reported annually; 

  • a collaborative strategic planning process to establish TOT funding priorities.

  • a TOT administrator responsible for all TOT–related business, who reports to the mayor. Responsibilities include administering the TOT ordinance, strategic planning, developing and implementing measures of efficiency and effectiveness of programs and making financial records available for auditing.  

  • not limiting the Special Promotional Programs share of TOT funds to promoting growth related to the tourism industry; 

  • restoration of the contribution of TOT funds to a Housing Trust Fund; 

  • basing the TOT rate on the rates charged by competing cities.  The rate should take into account potential negative impact on the tourism industry; 

  • full cost recovery from TOT to serve visitors. (2002)   

          Port of San Diego (2015-16)

  • The San Diego Unified Port District should include protection of the natural environment as a primary responsibility, emphasize recreation for the general public, maintain a balance of maritime commerce and other business, and be accountable and responsive to the member cities, port tenants and to the public.

  • The Tide Lands belong to the public and should be used to promote public rather than exclusively private purposes.

  • The Port District Act of 1962 should be amended to include protection of the natural environment as a primary responsibility.

  • Recreation for the general public, free or at minimal cost, should have high priority in decisions about the use of the port and waterways.

  • Member cities should share in surplus funds of the District.

  • Commissioners should be appointed by the city councils of member cities.  The optimal number of commissioners is seven, with three commissioners representing San Diego and one commissioner each for the cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach and National City.

  • The Port District should promote clean air, healthy communities, and environmental justice which shall be defined as working to reduce the cumulative health burdens on neighboring communities and ensure fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes in developing, adopting, implementing and enforcing environmental laws, regulations and policies.

  • Port Commissioners should present a periodic report of Port plans and activities to their respective appointing authorities as is now the practice required by the San Diego City Council (Council Policy 700-20 April 24, 2013).

Options For Unincorporated Communities (1988)

Support efforts of communities to achieve self-government with equality of representation and efficient delivery of needed services.

San Diego County Government

Citizen Participation In County Government and San Diego Regional Agencies (1978)

Support of informed and active participation of citizens in San Diego County government and

regional agencies requiring:

  1.  adequate notice and information about proposed actions, using various avenues of publicity;

  2. provision for public access to meetings, agendas, reports, records and persons making decisions;

  3. emphasis on citizen participation at early stages of the decision-making process;

  4. well-defined channels for citizen input and review;

  5. broad-based citizen participation that reflects all aspects of the community -- geographical, economic and social;

  6. consideration of the effect of times and locations of meetings, agenda item placement, transportation and other costs to citizen participants;

  7. adequate funding, staffing and training to achieve effective citizen participation.

Structure of Government in San Diego County and Region (1986, 2001, 2002)

Note: For the purpose of these League positions on issues, San Diego County and San Diego “region” are geographically the same.  San Diego County is the arm of state government services for the whole area, including all the incorporated cities, and is the provider of local governmental services for the unincorporated areas that are not provided by special districts.  The League of Women Voters of San Diego and the League of Women Voters San Diego North County cooperatively take responsibility for monitoring governmental issues of the County of San Diego and those regional issues that are addressed by governments and agencies within the San Diego region.

I.  For the County of San Diego we support:

a Board of Supervisors of more than five members
supervisor districts drawn to maintain the integrity of communities;
the election of the District Attorney and the Sheriff
the appointment of all other department heads.

II.  In the field of regional government we support:

state action to expand the responsibilities and authority of existing, consolidated or future regional decision-making body/bodies to:

a.  Prepare, implement and maintain a comprehensive regional plan and infrastructure capital 
improvement program.
b.  Administer the plan, the project review, and enforcement process to ensure local compliance with the comprehensive regional plan, including:

- review of the components of local general plans that have regional implications

review of major development projects having regional impact, including environmental analysis, for consistency with the comprehensive and regional infrastructural plans

review of any plan for siting a new airport or expanding Lindbergh Field by the Regional Airport Authority for consistency with the region’s comprehensive plan; a public vote should occur if a new airport site is proposed

review of local housing elements for compliance with state housing element law, which includes addressing regional share goals.

c.  Allocate to or withhold federal and state funds from a local jurisdiction for infrastructure, affordable housing projects, and for the protection of natural resources, open space and agricultural lands in accordance with compact growth principles.  The use of eminent domain for regionally significant projects should only be utilized as a last resort.


        2. Region-wide governmental bodies that reflect the population distribution and the 

environmental, social and economic diversity of the county.  We support a directly elected body from newly established districts (of no more than 350,000 population) with fixed, staggered terms.  The Policy Advisory Committee should consist of elected office holders appointed from the County’s incorporated cities and the county.

        3.  Regional bodies override local jurisdictions when efficiency in the delivery of services can be clearly measured and could be improved by increasing the scale of operations;

4.  A regional governing agency as the coordinator of intergovernmental policies and selected services within the region (the services to be coordinated include those administered by agencies established by the Legislature, such as transit, water supply, and port/tidelands activities);
5.  A regional governing agency as the advocate and representative of the San Diego region’s collective general purpose governments at the state and federal level; and proportional financial support of the local council of governments by its members.

III.  For all governmental agencies we support:

 measures which assure the accessibility, visibility, and accountability of public officials;
2.    measures which recognize community character and values; and efforts to reduce and      

             consolidate the number of special districts where feasible.

Regional Planning (1970)

  • Support for flexible countywide planning, with broad outlines that provide guidelines and leave the details and implementation at the local support level.

  • Continuation and strengthening of the San Diego Association of Governments or other councils of government.

  • Support for an emphasis on conserving the physical resources of San Diego County, while providing people-oriented services.

Financing County Government  (1992)

The League supports County governmental services and programs designed to meet the unique needs of the San Diego region, organized for public accessibility.  The financial adequacy, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of these services and programs should be closely monitored by elected officials and by the public.  Competent staffs who are fairly compensated should carry out implementation.

Programs should be evaluated and prioritized for best use of available funds; long-term costs of short-term economies should be considered.  Preventive measures should have high priority.  

Funding for maintenance should be included in the planning of capital projects and in future annual budgets.

The League also supports substantial funding by the state and federal governments of the programs they mandate, with periodic review of state-mandated but locally administered programs to adjust funding formulas to reflect changed circumstances.

Proposals for reform of the state and local governmental financial structure should be developed by a statewide commission composed of members experienced in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, as well as citizens knowledgeable about the electorate and the economy of California, and including a representative from the League of Women Voters.

Fire Protection (2008-10)

The League supports: A county regional fire protection and emergency medical system; a sustainable source of funding for prevention and suppression of fires; increased cooperation among cities and unincorporated fire services as may apply; and expansion of mutual aid fire protection agreements.

The League supports the following actions:

  1. Consolidate fire protection both regionally and structurally in order to create unified programs which integrate fire services in the unincorporated areas of the County.

  2. Designate dedicated and stable revenue sources to fund necessary and efficient fire protection services.

  3. Encourage the merger of fire departments, where feasible, and support contracting for fire services by smaller jurisdictions.

  4. Maintain the present system of both paid and volunteer staffing.

  5. Enforce codes and consolidated standards for fire-safe developments, general construction, and building maintenance.

  6. Promote citizen/homeowner fire-safe education programs and encourage understanding and protection of the county’s unique ecosystems.

  7. Support residents’ cell phone registration in the Mass Notification System (Reverse 911).


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Social Policies
Social Policies



Goals:  Public school systems should ensure quality education for all (before 1971) and seek to eliminate segregation.  The system should provide an adequate financial program; quality counseling, and guidance programs; individualized, innovative curricula; and compensatory education programs. (1979)

Curriculum:  Individualized and innovative curricula should be designed to meet individual student’s needs.  Compensatory education programs should be developed to enrich and increase educational opportunity. It should include content focused on technology and the arts. (before 1971)

Desegregation: School boards should give high priority to the impact on desegregation efforts when deciding on sites for new school facilities or for the school closures. It should adopt attendance policies that act to encourage ongoing attendance. (1979)

Financial/Budgetary: The financial program should include adequate funds for school operation and construction and provide employee salaries competitive with those of other similar sized districts within the state. (before 1971) Each year’s budget should be based on priorities established by the Board of Education with meaningful input from citizens, teachers, students, and administrators. The budget document should be more than an accounting tool; it should be well indexed with a glossary of technical terms.  The budget should include information such as program costs directly related to the number of students served, cost trends over several successive years, and costs by program and objectives for the total budget. (1976)  A district-wide budget advisory committee should be retained to advise the Board of Education.  The committee should be broadly representative of school and community interests.  Their membership should include teachers, students, parents and other community representatives. (1986)  The information contained in the budget should be clearly defined and made understandable for the public. (1990)  The district budget should reflect an appropriate balance between funding for academic achievement and student services. (2003)

Counseling: should include both physical and mental health.  LWVSD supports the concept of school-based health clinics, without limitations as to services offered.  Guidance and counseling programs should meet the needs of all students. (1990)  Schools should provide a comprehensive quality counseling program for all students in grades Pre-K through 12, which is developmental and systematic in nature, sequential, clearly defined and accountable, and proactive and preventive in its focus.  The program should be in line with national, state, and county professional standards.  A collaborative district and community counseling and guidance advisory committee should be established. (2003)

Health Education & Fitness:  School districts should ensure required physical education, nutrition, and healthy living classes and implement policies that positively impact nutrition and health.  Vending machines in schools should contain only nutritious food and drinks. (2003) 

Referral Resources:  Districts should develop a central database of referral resources for student services, available to staff, students, and the community. (2003)

Early Childhood Education (2011)


Elementary and unified school districts should encourage:

  • pre-K teachers and administrators to collaborate with district and site staff to achieve a seamless continuum of curriculum and instruction; 

  • the collaboration to include a decision-making process regarding staff development activities, the distribution of funds allocated to school sites, and other relevant issues and programs;

  • school readiness programs to provide universal access to preschools, be developmentally appropriate, voluntary and staffed with highly qualified personnel;

  • outreach to and support for parents of young children should be initiated to enable parents  to contribute to their child’s readiness to learn.

County Position on Child Advocacy  (1980)

I.      Child Abuse and Neglect:

Children of San Diego County have the right to grow up free of abuse and neglect, and so the League supports:

1.  emergency facilities including interim residences and a 24-hour hotline with information and referral capabilities;

2.systematic training of those professionals involved with children to identify, respond to and treat victims;

3.  development of foster homes plus training and resources for providers of care;

4.  increased availability of treatment, such as counseling, to families under stress as well as to victims of abuse and neglect;

5.  coordination of all agency services dealing with abuse and neglect;

6.  increased emphasis on prevention of abuse and neglect through awareness programs and parenting education

II.   Child Day Care

The League supports:

1.  provision of diverse, alternative forms of daycare for children, responsive to the widely different social and economic needs of families;

2.  creation of public, private and family day care programs that emphasize developmental rather than custodial activities, varying curricula to meet the needs of children of all ages, offering flexible hours and a sliding fee scale;

3.  parent education and involvement as essential to quality day care;

4.  government efforts to:

a.  allocate funds to meet day care needs;

b.  streamline zoning and licensing laws;

c.  increase supervision and training for daycare providers; and

d.  expand infant care services.

5.  financial incentives to businesses to provide day care and tax exemptions to families for day care costs; 

6.  allotment of day care sites in housing and industrial developments; the use of school sites as one alternative for the placement of day care programs.

III.  Juvenile Delinquency Prevention

The League supports:

1.  a juvenile delinquency prevention effort that gives priority to providing opportunities for all youth to participate constructively in society and that will reduce the predisposition toward delinquency;

2.  educational programs which are relevant to child and youth needs and that prepare students for life experiences such as initial employment, family living and peer relationships;

3.  collaboration among schools and community resources to provide after-school activities, utilizing cross-age and peer involvement and making use of the skills and knowledge of the behavioral and life sciences;

4.  information sharing and joint efforts among public and private agencies to improve services to all at-risk children, and to develop primary prevention programs;

5.  cooperative community efforts to provide practical job and skills training leading to useful work experience;

6.  coordination and improvement of delinquency prevention services through public policy decisions in planning, evaluation and funding;

7.  adequate funding that assures continuity, and provides accountability for basic services, and encourages innovative programs that show promise of positive results.

The positions on Child Abuse and Neglect and Child Day Care are integral parts of a Juvenile Delinquency Prevention program.  Together, these three parts constitute the Child Advocacy position.

County Position on Homelessness (2018)


There is an increasing number of persons who are homeless in San Diego County.  The problem must be humanely addressed for the benefit of these individuals and families, for our communities, and for our society.

The League of Women Voters of North San Diego County and the League of Women Voters San Diego support programs and policies to assist those who are homeless or about to become homeless in meeting their basic human needs.

Permanent supportive housing should be the goal of San Diego County and local jurisdictions within the County for those who are homeless.

Strategies that should be developed to achieve that goal include:

  • “Housing First” policy that provides, without prerequisites, temporary, transitional or other initial housing for persons who are homeless;
  • Provision of supportive services, including effective case management, advocacy, and treatment for mental health and substance abuse as needed to help those who are homeless succeed in obtaining and maintaining housing;
  • A region-wide system with clearly identified goals and measurable results to optimize cooperation, data sharing, and resource development among governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations with the overarching goal to end existing homelessness and prevent future homelessness;
  • Rescission by local jurisdictions and San Diego County of policies, practices, regulations and laws that criminalize, penalize, or permit the harassment of homeless persons for engaging in necessary life activities in public spaces (ie., sleeping, standing, camping, etc.);
  • Provision of facilities to meet the needs of those who are homeless for personal hygiene, storage, and trash removal, as well as safe spaces for tents, cars or recreational vehicles used for sleeping.


The League of Women Voters of San Diego supports:

  • the development of economically and racially balanced communities in all parts of a city as well as in newly developing areas;

  • inclusionary zoning as a tool to implement a balanced community policy;

  • the use of city-owned land to facilitate the development of low and moderate income housing which includes the following guidelines:

    1. long-term leases to developers with discounts to encourage and enable maximum development of low and moderate-income units

    2. a minimum of 30% of the units in every development to be made available for low and moderate income housing at rentals set at HUD Section 8 existing fair market rates

  • below-market financing should be obtained wherever feasible;

  • a more active role by cities in the application for and utilization of available state and federal subsidy programs and innovative financing to increase the supply of low and moderate income housing;

  • restrictive codes or ordinances that would slow down the conversion of apartments to condominiums;

  • public housing as a high priority to assist low income families, elderly, and handicapped households;

  • modifications in the municipal codes and zoning regulations that would facilitate the development of (1983, 1993) manufactured or modular housing in order to increase the supply of low and moderate income housing;

  • development of manufactured or modular housing on city-owned land to accommodate low and moderate income households. (1978)

Public Libraries


County Position on Public Libraries (1984)

Support of public libraries as a basic service of government with adequate funding by local government.

Support of free access by all persons to public library service as a means for lifelong education and learning and as a major source of knowledge and information necessary for informed, active participation in a democratic society.


1.  Increased recognition of the essential service of free public libraries in a democratic society and government’s basic obligation to provide the service with adequate funding;

2.  Use of all available funding for public libraries:

a.  recognition by local governments that they have the prime responsibility to finance public libraries;

b.  increased state and federal aid for public libraries, especially but not exclusively for capital improvements, special library projects, and inter-library cooperation;

c.  legislation for special tax for public libraries, if and when deemed feasible;

d.  continued and increased funding from private sources for special projects, with library control of policy retained;

e.  opposition to charging fees for basic library services;

3.  Measures designed to increase the efficiency and economy of public library operations;

a.  consolidation of library functions or systems when service would be improved at the same cost or maintained at a lower cost;

b.  use of volunteers to supplement paid staff only if a librarian is available for their training and supervision;

c.  increased automation in all aspects of library operations to release staff for direct service to the public;

4.  Recognition of the need for branch libraries, with limited functions;

5.  Improved level and quality of public library service achieved through consolidation of functions and/or systems when consolidation is politically feasible and when it achieves cost savings that will not adversely affect, and wherever possible will improve the quality of service.

LWVSD Position on Financing for the San Diego City Library (1981)

  • The LWVSD strongly supports the free use of basic library services.  Public libraries are an obligation of local government.  City funds must be augmented with state and federal funds.  Additional methods to raise library funds also must be explored.

  • If there is a Board of Library Commissioners, it should have significant, clearly defined responsibilities.  Highest priority in budget appropriations should be given first to the acquisition of materials and secondly to staff salaries that are competitive with those of comparable jurisdictions and with city departments. 

  • LWVSD supports consolidation of city and county library systems, either complete or by major function.

Needs of the Seriously Mentally Ill

LWVSD supports city government responsibility for:

  • streamlining access to and coordination of services such as income; housing, medical, social and employment services and giving recognition to the special needs of seriously mentally ill people; 

  • providing shelters which meet the special needs of seriously mentally ill people who are homeless;  

  • appropriate education, training, special support and referral services to enable police to respond effectively to disturbances involving seriously mentally ill people.  This should be a consolidated county-wide effort;

  • action-oriented blue ribbon task force to the problems of seriously mentally ill people including that of seriously mentally ill people who are homeless;

  • involvement in buying or leasing the different types of housing needed by seriously mentally ill people; making use of a housing trust fund for such housing; 

  • stimulating the private sector to provide housing opportunities for seriously mentally ill people by removing zoning barriers and speeding up permit acquisitions;    

  • better coordination of mental health services by the city and county governments and the private sector. (1994)

Role of San Diego County Government in Responding to the Impact of the Seriously Mentally Ill

Regarding this County behavioral health system, the League supports the following objectives to benefit those affected by serious mental illness:

Provide treatment, crisis management, long-term services and support.  Services should be reasonably accessible to residents in all regions of the County, and should be taken to individuals who are not candidates for clinic-run care.  Integrated services and support should include timely and affordable access to all necessary health care providers and medications that fully address physical health, mental health, and substance use disorders.

2. Ensure that integrated mental health and substance use disorder services are part of a behavioral health system throughout the County, with full services available regardless of point of entry into the system (no wrong door).

3.  Ensure outreach services in all regions of the County for all residents who might need or benefit from the behavioral health system, using partnerships with the faith community, businesses, and other gateways into the community as well as traditional mental health community members.

4.  Exercise careful management, and leverage when possible, funds received from all sources in order to maintain continuity of services and supports during all economic conditions.  Provide information and accountability for County behavioral health programs and spending in ways that the public can easily access.

5.  Provide an array of supports:  a full range of housing that includes Housing First and other supported housing options, including shelter beds and permanent affordable housing; supported employment; supported education; opportunities for spiritual development; exercise and diet; training and support for family members; and inclusion of families in service and support development.

6.   Provide specialized law enforcement/clinical teams in all areas of the County, available when needed to respond to possible behavioral health crises on a 24/7 basis.

7.  Collect and use meaningful input from a broad range of community stakeholders, including people affected by serious mental illness, via innovative outreach to target audiences, with participation from collaborative groups that support the system of care.

Campus Justice & Sexual Assault (2015)

Colleges and universities should incorporate the following policies with respect to sexual assault on campus:

a.  Mandatory, ongoing sexual assault education for all current students.
Multiple reporting options, including but not limited to, anonymous and confidential methods.
An affirmative consent standard of “yes means yes.”
Compliance with Title IX laws.
The college or university code of conduct should be read and signed as read and understood by all students.


The goals of college and university proceedings regarding sexual assault on campus should ensure the rights of parties involved (complainant and accused) are protected, ensure timely resolution of school investigations, and ensure that student complaints are taken seriously. Further, the appropriate disciplinary actions for colleges and universities that fail to respond and act appropriately in cases of sexual assault are:

  Be cited and placed on probation.

b.   Title IX funds withheld.

c.   Receive a letter of reprimand from the Office of Civil Rights.

d.   Responsible administrator(s) disciplined and potentially removed.


The League of Women Voters San Diego supports education on the topic of sexual assault before students reach college age.   Also the colleges and universities should keep accurate records detailing the number and frequency of sexual assaults so they are easily accessible to the general public.  Additionally, college and university officials should be required to report cases of sexual assault and rape to the local police department.         

Accordion Widget
Land Use & Planning
Land Use & Planning

LWVSD supports planning policies that will produce well-planned communities.  Local governmental bodies should promote citizen participation in the formulation and implementation of these plans. (1991)

San Diego City Urban Development

Urban Renewal: City governments have the responsibility for planning, influencing and implementing sound community development on a comprehensive, long-range and flexible basis.  In order to prevent and cure urban deterioration, local government should become involved in local programs, provide adequate funds to enforce the municipal housing code, encourage private participation in projects, and support activities to promote public understanding of rehabilitation and renewal.

Development should be based on criteria considering community’s needs, financial soundness, and aesthetic and social needs.

Flexible land use controls should be used to meet specific planning problems and to encourage variety in land uses and in the types and prices of housing in all city neighborhoods. (1971)

Government should support measures to prevent and cure urban deterioration.  Measures should include the development and/or renovation of the existing urban area before new areas are opened for development and encouraging the involvement of both government and private interests. (1972)  Long-term leases should be favored over the sale of city-owned land. (1979)

Citizen Participation: Committees representative of the entire city should participate in planning for newly developing communities. 

Laws:  All laws relating to planning and zoning should be compiled into a single reference source.  The application of state law to local planning and zoning should be clarified by city charter revision and adoption of regulations by local ordinance.

Community Development: 
Sound community development should first meet a community need and then be evaluated with the following criteria:

  • allow for needed change;

  • consider the unique population for the community;

  • contribute to an aesthetically pleasing environment;

  • be financially feasible;

  • contribute to pride in the community;

  • promote the opportunity for the inclusion throughout the community of various ethnic, minority and economic groups;

  • take into consideration the physical nature of the community.

County Position on Land Use (1975)

Support of a regional growth policy for the county which:

  1. recognizes the difference in community needs for life-support systems;

  2. assures the provision of comprehensively planned and managed capital facilities and general services, including schools and transportation, accessibility to jobs, and which minimizes urban sprawl and maintains established patterns of growth and community identity within an area;

  3. implements community planning as defined by State law and allows maximum citizen participation and self-determination in community planning and decision making;

  4. promotes conservation of critical natural resources, including valuable agricultural lands and open space, and protects or improves air and water quality;

  5. reaffirms the provision of adequate parks and recreational needs, including land acquisition;

  6. enforces the provision of fair, decent, balanced housing by choice, type and costs for all residents of San Diego County.


LWVSD Position on Parks

Local government has the responsibility to provide a public park system for its citizens.  Planning should include evaluation of all available methods of acquiring and retaining parklands. There should be improved procedures for citizen participation in decisions regarding the park system. (before 1971)  City government should employ a qualified individual, whose sole responsibility is to promote and coordinate the various facets of parklands, excluding recreation. (1983)

Parkland Acquisition: In evaluating methods of financing parkland acquisition, additional bonding should be considered; assessment districts should be used as a last resort. (before 1971)

Parklands should be acquired early and city governments should implement the ordinance requiring a builder to contribute money or land appropriate for parks. (before 1971).  

Adequate parks and recreation programs should provide for current needs, with long-range planning and acquisition for population growth, and with improved coordination and cooperation between governmental agencies.  (1968 and 1984)  The League supports the continuation of development of local park and recreational facilities with emphasis on providing services to those areas that currently are deficient. (1991)  In order to prevent loss of parklands, local government should provide for dedication of parks at the time of acquisition or designation. (1976)

City charters should not give the city council authority to place through roads in parks, retaining the need for a vote by 2/3 of the electorate to use parklands for a non-park purpose such as through roads or mass transit.  Similarly, open space owned by a city and acquired for park purposes should also be dedicated and protected from use for through roads or mass transit. (1976)  Streets should be vacated as a means of adding to parkland. (1976)  Parkland, including open space acquired for park purposes, should not be used for long-term leasing to non-profit recreational organizations or to commercial enterprises. (1983)

Citizens should participate in the formation of park policy with improved procedures for making their needs and recommendations known to those responsible for making final recommendations and policy. (1983)

Sweetwater Marsh (1991)

LWVSD supports the restoration, enhancement, preservation, and the protection of the wetlands within the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge.  Maximum public access to the area that is consistent with the preservation of the wetlands should be available. 

Balboa Park (2011)

LWVSD supports the preservation and enhancement of the cultural, recreational and passive resources of Balboa Park to meet the needs of the surrounding community and region while respecting its physical, cultural and historical environment. The pueblo lands set aside as a permanent preserve should be held in trust forever for the purpose of a free and public park and not for other purposes.

League supports:

  • the expansion of parking facilities outside the core of the park in order to enhance the pedestrian experience within the park. A comprehensive tram system should ensure accessibility for people with disabilities,  seniors and families with small children.

  • fiscal decisions that will preserve Balboa Park as an affordable experience for all citizens of San Diego.

  • preservation of the historic aspect of the architecture, landscape and culture of Balboa Park including plant preservation, maintenance and replacement with no net loss of landscape and open space.

  • public access to meetings and to information regarding the operations and activities of the Balboa Park Conservancy and/or any other public/private park management and funding organization acting for the City with the goal of meeting the highest standard in transparency and accountability.

  • inclusion of a sunset provision in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which would require regular review and renewal of a conservancy.

County Position on Parks (1973)    

  • Support of the provision of regional and local parks and recreation facilities for all the residents of San Diego County whether they live in an incorporated or unincorporated community.

  • Support of an equitable, broadly based method of financing for parks and recreation.

  • All methods of acquisition should be considered.  Support of the acquisition of park and recreation lands before or concurrent with development.

  • Facilities should be provided according to need, with reasonable accessibility.

  • Support of efficiency of administration.


The LWVSD supports a transportation system that meets the following standards:

  • an expanded public transit system, although priority should be given to the maintenance of streets and freeways with new construction only where essential

  • transit innovations with the possibility of additional fares for special (such as door-to door) services, and 

  • the encouragement of vehicle pooling.  

The increased costs of an expanded public transit system should continue to be shared between governmental subsidies and the fare box.  Local revenue is preferred in the following order: increased gasoline tax, general fund, payroll tax, and sales tax.  A decrease in service should only be considered when necessary for overall efficiency.

Decisions on local public transit service should be made locally and decisions on regional public transit services should be made on a regional basis with coordination and cooperation among the decisions-making bodies.

Social Service Transit: The public transit system should bear the major responsibility for providing social service transit for the elderly and handicapped in the most cost-effective manner.  LWVSD supports the cooperation of all agencies (public and private) that provide social service transit and the integration of their planning functions. (1980)

County Position on Transportation

Support of a transportation system that meets the following standards:

  • safety

  • favorable environmental qualities

  • convenience

  • availability to all

  • adequate funding from fees, assessments and taxes at all levels of government.

Support of transportation plans as an integral part of land use plans.

Support of transportation planning and decision making as the responsibility of a regional planning organization, structured to be responsive and responsible to the public.


1.  Public and private educational transit systems that meet safety standards with regular inspections.

2.  Transportation plans that consider the environment including air quality and sensitive lands.

3.  Convenient access to transportation systems.

4.  Transportation systems supported largely from general funds, with consideration given to all appropriate funding alternatives.

5.  Land use planning by all local governments that considers transportation and circulation with the goal of minimizing motor vehicle traffic.

6.  Transportation standards that are set at the regional level and that consider all modes of transportation.

7.  Local transportation planning that considers the larger region in which it is situated.

LWVSD Position on Sewerage (1992)

Support for the formation of a special district for the collection treatment, storage, disposal, and  reuse systems.

Support for the use of sewage as a factor in determining growth management strategy by city, county and regional governments. 

LWVSD Position on San Diego/Tijuana Inter-Relations (1982)

The LWVSD strongly favors efforts to foster greater communication, understanding, and cooperation between San Diego and Tijuana; all levels of government should be involved.  The areas in which there is the most urgent need for cooperation are sewage and water quality. 

Agriculture in San Diego County (2016)

The League believes that the county agricultural industry is of historical, environmental and economic importance to our region.  The county possesses unique and separate properties and challenges that differ from the rest of California and the United States.  The arid nature of its climate, lack of water sources and high land costs present a special challenge to agriculture in our region.

Land Use

Support the preservation and expansion of land used for agricultural purposes through adopted General and Specific Plans, zoning and permanent dedication programs in order to encourage the long-term presence and viability of the agricultural industry in an environmentally sound manner.

Challenges to Agriculture in San Diego County

Water - Encourage farmers to improve water conservation, select crops appropriate for our climate and end all runoff of pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers from their fields and groves, as currently recommended by the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Division (UC ANR).  In addition, local governments and water districts, as well as the San Diego County Water Authority (/SDCWA) should be encouraged to facilitate ever evolving best agricultural water practices recommended by UC ANR, or similar organizations, through incentives and innovative programs.

Support the availability and use of recycled water for a dependable, sustainable source of agricultural water.

Monitor the implementation of the 2013 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act goals because groundwater, which may represent 9% of our regional water source, needs to be preserved and protected from contaminants.

Continue support of the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) programs and pricing that facilitate the provision of regional agricultural water, when appropriate.

2.  Climate Change

Support efforts of the county agricultural industry to adapt to climate change through 
promotion of research, development of new resources and implementation of Environmentally sensitive technologies and conservation strategies.

3.  Pests and Diseases

Support government and privately funded efforts to protect the agricultural industry and the environment from pests and diseases.  Such programs include the University of California integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program and the California Detector Dog Teams.

4.  Pollinator Protection

Support Efforts to protect, maintain and foster a sustainable, healthy population of bees and other pollinators to support county agriculture.

5.  Labor

Support immigration policies at the local, state and federal levels which allow for a legal labor force to work in local agriculture.

6.  Opportunities

Support new alternative water use farming practices and technologies which result in long term, sustainable, efficient water use.

Support research on, and implementation of, sustainable agricultural practices at all levels including production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management

Support an understanding and awareness of the concept and value of sustainable agriculture both within the agricultural community and among the public.

2020 Local Positions

What is a Study?


The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue only when we have a position addressing it. If the members have not studied and come to consensus on it, the League has no position and therefore cannot take action. Studies (whether national, state, or local) are a defined process lasting one to three years, during which we undertake thorough pursuit of facts and details, both positive and negative, and come to consensus about policy.


Study Process


  • Study Committee members fashion consensus questions that are then asked of the membership as part of a study kit. Kits often include articles, books, data in the form of charts and graphs, videos, suggested speakers, discussion questions, and other resources. Members use the study kit internally and often with their community to better understand the issue.
  • Consensus is the overall decision-making process by which substantial agreement among members is reached on an issue. Often this happens over the course of several meetings, but may include surveys and other methods. If the members reach consensus, the board forms recommended positions based on that consensus.
  • That recommended position is then reviewed and voted on by our members (usually by delegates at our Annual Meeting). The proposal may be approved, amended, or be rejected at that time.
  • If a position is adopted, firm action can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action can not be taken on that issue.



The League of Women Voters of San Diego is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and tax exempt organization. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable under the law. Tax identification number: 95-2807343.