Making Democracy Work

Local League Positions

Positions Affecting San Joaquin County

CITIZEN PARTICIPATION adopted 1976 revised 1977, 1979, 2001, 2011

Position in Brief: Support measures which will increase citizen information and participation in governments through boards and commissions. Appointees to legally constituted boards and commissions should be as broadly representative of the total community as possible--including men, women, minorities, all income groups, a wide variety of occupational groups and a variety of special interest groups. Appointing bodies should take positive action in seeking out individuals to represent groups not currently represented.


1. Boards, commissions and committees should be given clearly stated assignments and deadlines.

2. The appointing body should have a commitment to the purpose of the appointed group and ensure that the group's efforts receive thorough consideration.

3. The professional staff should be resourceful, neutral, patient with lay persons, and comply with the letter and spirit of the law relative to citizen participation.

4. There should be orientation programs for members of all boards, commissions and committees.

5. Terms should be limited to two terms or eight years.

6. Vacancies should be announced to the public through a variety of media including electronic.

7. Civic/community/interest groups should be asked by the appointing body to submit names.

8. Individuals should be allowed to recommend nominees including themselves.

9. Interested individuals should be required to submit an appropriate resume.

10. A time schedule should be set to implement the above procedures.

National Position: The LWVUS believes that democratic government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens at all levels of government. The League further believes that governmental bodies must protect the citizen's right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings and making public records accessible.

State Position: None

OFF PREMISE ADVERTISING adopted 1974, reviewed 2001, revised 2011

Position in Brief: Support of governmental sign studies and subsequent ordinances for the control of off-premise signs, as follows: density, location, size of display area, size of structure (height, width, distance from ground), and ratio of structure size to parcel size.


1. To attract and direct persons to various activities and enterprises, in order to provide for the maximum public convenience and safety.

2. To provide a reasonable system of control for signs as part of the comprehensive zoning plan and under the jurisdiction of the appropriate planning commissions.

3. To enhance the economic base of the community and each area thereof through the regulation of such things as size, location, design and illumination of signs.

4. To reduce possible traffic and safety hazards through good signing.

5. To encourage a desirable urban character which has a minimum of overhead clutter

6. To relate sign area and height to viewing distances and optical characteristics of the eye.

National Position: None

State Position: None

AGRICULTURE LAND PRESERVATION adopted in 1982, reviewed in 2001, revised 2011

Position in Brief: Support of measures to preserve agricultural land in San Joaquin County.


1. A comprehensive plan to preserve agricultural land should be developed and implemented via the County's General Plan and Development Code. Possible implementation measures include ranking the most valuable or threatened agricultural resource. (from July/2004 doc)

2. The following should be used to identify the land to be preserved:
a. Establishment of a consistent definition for "prime" agriculture land;
b. Determination of the availability, quality and cost of getting water to the land;
c. Irrigated soils through Class III;
d. Potential agricultural economic value of the land;
e. Local input.

3. Agricultural land should be preserved in parcels as large as possible and smaller parcels should be reunified when feasible.

4. Broad state guidelines and policies should be established to identify agricultural lands and their preservation. Implementation and enforcement of land use policies should take place on the local level.

5. LAFCO should play a greater or more responsible role in the determination of where and when it is timely for agricultural lands to be developed. They should evaluate and weigh the necessity for agricultural land conversion in both sphere of influence as well as annexation requests. They should also consider and evaluate the need and importance of existing or future community greenbelts or community separators in determining annexation proposals.

National Agricultural Policy: The LWVUS believes that federal agriculture policies should promote adequate supplies of food and fiber at reasonable prices to consumers and support economically viable farms, environmentally sound farm practices and increased reliance on the free market to determine prices.

State agricultural Policy (Position in Brief): adopted in 1983 + Support policies that recognize agricultural land as a limited resource which must be preserved for the economic and physical well-being of California and the nation. Appropriate agricultural land should be identified and its long-term protection should be based on regulatory and incentive programs which include comprehensive planning, zoning measures and other preservation techniques. State policy which affects agriculture should ensure the conservation of soil and water resources through incentives coupled with penalties for noncompliance.

Agriculture Land Preservation:
-Appropriate land should be identified and held for agriculture
-The identification of agricultural land should be based on criteria which include an available water supply, the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics, and soil factors, and the threat of urbanization
-Techniques for preserving agricultural land should include tax relief, tax incentives, and "less-than-free" purchase of development interest in farmland.

PLANNING/LAND USE adopted 1967, revised 1972, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1980, reviewed 2001, revised 2011

Position in Brief: Support of general plans for the orderly development and use of land in San Joaquin County and its incorporated areas. The main goals of the General Plans should be to improve the physical and economic environment of the community as a setting for human activities; to make it more functional, efficient, beautiful, healthful and interesting. Planning and ordinances for land use should promote the interest of the community at large rather than the interests of individuals or special groups. Opportunity for citizen participation in the consideration of land use problems and in the evaluation or proposed solutions must be provided at all levels of the decision-making process.


1. Environmental impact reports should be required.

2. The resources of the Stockton Channel areas should be protected while encouraging the redevelopment and reutilization of vacant properties along the waterfront.

3. Land use policies should be developed which restrict urban sprawl. Any new urban development should be adjacent to existing urban developments.

4. Infill and higher density should be encouraged. A comprehensive inventory of available land in the county should be done and growth should be directed to the poorer quality lands for needed housing and industry.
a. Support redevelopment of older downtown and urban centers. Facilitate reuse of abandoned or vacant properties.
b. Prohibit residential development in areas of natural hazards (e.g. floodplains) or areas with significant resource values (e.g. vernal pools). Work with FEMA and conservation organizations to buy out these properties.
c. Minimize conflicts and insure more effective coordination of regional planning opportunities by strengthening and formalizing working relationships between cities and county utilizing San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) and the Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO).

5. Policies should be developed to acquire, preserve and/or create greenbelts, natural wild-life areas, agricultural buffer zones, and other open spaces between urban areas. Regional park development and flexibility in park planning should be promoted.
a. Biking and walking paths should be provided for the purposes of recreation and as a means of transportation.
b. Restore urban waterways by creating accessible and attractive greenbelts with pedestrian/bike paths that not only beautify the community, but create alternative means of transportation or access within the community.

National Positions: Promote policies that manage land as a finite resource and that incorporate principles of stewardship.

Natural Resources:
-Promote an environment beneficial to life through the protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest by recognizing the interrelationships of air quality, energy, land use, waste management and water resources
-Resources should be conserved and protected to assure their future availability. Pollution of these resources should be controlled in order to preserve the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the ecosystems and to protect public health. Resource Management (Position in Brief): Promote resource conservation, stewardship and long-range planning, with the responsibility for managing natural resources shared by all levels of government. Environmental Protection and Pollution Control (Position in Brief): Preserve the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the ecosystem, with maximum protection of public health and the environment. Public Participation (Position in Brief): Promote public understanding and participation in decision making as essential elements of responsible and responsive management of our natural resources.

State Position: adopted in 1975 + Support state land use planning that recognizes land as a resource as well as a commodity. The state should establish guidelines and standards for land areas of more than local concern. Decisions for these areas should be made at the lowest level of government feasible, but should be subject to state review. Citizens must have a meaningful participation in land use planning and regulation.

SOLID WASTE adopted 1973, revised 1974, 1979, 1980, 2001, 2011

Position in Brief: Support the development of a Solid Waste Disposal Plan including utilization of multiple environmentally safe uses for recycled materials. The responsibility for implementation of this plan should be under the management of only one department of county government.


1. A county-wide collection system should be mandated.

2. Disposal method should include a combination of composting, salvaging, recycling and landfill.

3. Long-range plans should include goals for the final use of landfill sites.

4. Long-range plans should include safe use and/or disposal of electronic waste.

National Position: None

State Position: None

TRANSPORTATION adopted 2006, revised 2011

Position in Brief: Support a transportation system for people and goods which includes a variety of transportation modes, with emphasis on long term solutions, and coordination among local, regional, and federal transportation officials, putting transportation infrastructure in place in conjunction with population growth.


1. Transportation and land use planning should be integrated to promote reduced vehicle miles traveled through a jobs/housing balance and a requirement that land use development facilitate use of transit and other alternatives to single occupant vehicles.
a. Planning for transportation should promote alternatives to single occupancy vehicle travel such as high occupancy vehicle lanes, expanded public transit, car/van pools and bicycle lanes.
b. Planning for the cumulative impact of growth should be included in a transportation plan.
c. The reduction of congestion and the repair of city streets should be included in transportation planning.
d. Regional (multi-county) cooperation in transportation planning should be included in a transportation plan.
e. Coordinated land use planning within cities and regionally should be included in a transportation plan.
f. Incentives to encourage good transportation planning should be included in a transportation plan.

2. Transportation funding should come from a mix of sources, including development fees, and local, state and federal governments.
a. Local funds should be available to assure matching of available state and federal dollars.
b. A transportation plan should include funding for a variety of transportation methods.
c. Developers should be required to mitigate the impact of new developments on the transportation infrastructure.

National Position: Land use

State Position: Transportation adopted 1991

WATER adopted 1974 revised 1976, 2011

Position in Brief: Support the concept of a single publicly owned water agency for the Stockton Metropolitan Area that can plan, develop and operate our water resources to the best interest of all citizens. This would include:
1) support of efforts to acquire and distribute a supplemental surface water supply to this area, and
2) support of managed control of groundwater pumping. Support of measures to preserve water quality in the Delta.

National Position: Support measures to reduce pollution in order to protect surface water, groundwater and drinking water.

State Position: adopted in 1959, updated in 1961, 1967, 1971, and 1979: Support measures which promote the management and development of water resources in ways that are beneficial to the environment with emphasis on conservation and high standards of water quality that are appropriate for the intended use.

HOUSING adopted 1969, revised 1971, 1974, 1979, 2011

Position in Brief: Support of both public and private programs to provide sufficient and adequate housing to meet the needs of the entire community. Support efforts to integrate neighborhoods and provide equal access to basic services.


1. Local government should take advantage of available federal and state housing programs and enforce local building codes.

2. Affordable housing should be dispersed throughout the community.

3. Industry should share responsibility for providing and improving housing in the community and should provide leadership in developing innovative techniques in order to lower the cost of housing.

4. A citizen's fair housing committee should be formed to promote the enforcing of the fair housing laws by:
a. Disseminating information to minority persons advising them of the housing situation, and
b. making available housing accessible to minorities.

5. Target downtown areas as appropriate for the construction of safe and affordable housing by building residential housing over ground floor commercial/retail units, renovating old office buildings, and upgrading existing apartment buildings.

National Position: Support equal access to education, housing and employment.

State Position: Support equal opportunity in housing, support measures to increase supply of safe, decent, adequate housing, support for action at all government levels for provision for affordable housing for all Californians.

PROBATION adopted in 1966, revised in 1986, 1970, 1974, 1979 reviewed 2001, revised 2011

Position in Brief: Support efforts to redirect juveniles in conflict with the law toward useful positions in our society. Support programs and facilities in which the major emphasis is treatment rather than simple detention.


1. The San Joaquin County Probation Department should be adequately financed.

2. Programs and projects in the Probation Department should be brought up to standards recommended by State and Federal authorities and lay experts in the field of Probation.

3. The county should have a major responsibility to develop and coordinate public and private programs which would prevent youngsters from entering the Juvenile Justice System.

4. The Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission should work closely with school systems to develop programs for children exhibiting at risk behavior.

5. Group homes and day care centers should be used as alternatives to simple detention.

6. The Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission should extend its duties to include acting as a liaison between the Juvenile Justice system and the general public.

7. The community and the Probation Administration should be receptive to change and innovation in relation to facilities, personnel programs and methods of financing.

National Position: None

State Position: Juvenile Justice/Dependency

PUBLIC HEALTH adopted 1980 (update and revise study planned in 2002, but not done), revised 2011

Position in Brief: Support measures to protect the public health of the citizens of San Joaquin County. The main goal of public health services should be to ensure a healthy environment for the community. Emphasis should be on those services which are not provided by any (other) entity within the community. Personal and environmental public health services are considered to be equally important and neither should be neglected.


1. Public health services should be administered as a separate department with a single focus

2. The Local Health District should continue to provide public health services to the citizens of San Joaquin County as long as it is a viable entity.

3. All available sources of revenue for funding public health services should be pursued (e.g. Federal and State program grants)

4. Fees for public health services are appropriate when they do not create barriers, economic or otherwise, to obtaining services.

5. Direct personal public health services should be provided to those who may not be able to otherwise obtain them (e.g. the poor, elderly).

6. Direction and the policy for the provision of public health services should be set at the local level.

National Position: Health Care

State Position: Mental Health Care