(Left to right) Jamilla Harris, Amber Finch, Michele Anderson, Danette Meyers, Margo Bouchet and Cat Parker. (Courtesy Photo)

On October 25, 2016, members of the community joined the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. (BWL) and its partners for an in-depth, neutral presentation on five (5) hotly contested propositions on the November 8th California ballot.  During BWL’s “Election Information Night,” attendees filled the fellowship hall of the Church of God Pentecostal in Inglewood, CA to hear from a distinguished panel of presenters on both sides of the table.

Aisha Blanchard, representative of the United Teachers of Los Angeles and Family Law Attorney and Mediator Margo Bouchet discussed the pros and cons of Proposition 55 – a measure extending personal income taxes to fund education and healthcare.

Amanda Cotylo (Yes) and Henry Sotelo (No), representatives of competing campaigns for Proposition 61, debated whether the proposed initiative is the answer to increasing prices of prescription drugs.

Long time and well-respected criminal lawyers, Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers and defense attorney Herb Barish presented an informative overview of the death penalty and described what a “yes” or “no” vote means on competing death penalty propositions 62 and 66.

Finally, Attorney Bouchet debated Drug Policy Action representative and campaign coordinator, Cat Packer, concerning the legalization of Marijuana (Proposition 64).

The discussion was moderated by BWL board members Michele Anderson and Jamilla Harris.

Community members were fully engaged, asking pointed questions of the panelists, and taking copious notes throughout the evening. Discussion was frank and substantive, offering an opportunity for voters to make informed decisions at the polls. The event was well-received and well-attended by community members across the economic spectrum, including attorneys, physicians, church members, politicians and the general public.

BWL is a non-profit organization and does not take an official position on any of the candidates or proposed initiatives. Except for official campaign representatives, the panelists expressed their own opinions and not those of their employers or representative organizations.  BWL’s partners for Election Information Night include John M. Langston Bar Association, California Association of Black Lawyers, Association of Black City Attorneys, Black Prosecutors Association, Association of Black Women Physicians, and Links — Inglewood Pacific Chapter of the Links, Inc.