Commission on the Status of Women
Annual Report 1996 - 1997

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Annual Report (99-00) 
Annual Report (97-98) 
. Annual Report (96-97)


The Humboldt County Commission on the Status of Women, authorized by Ordinances 1178 and 757, was created in March, 1971. The ten members are appointed to four-year terms by the Board of Supervisors.

The Commission advises the Board in all matters concerning the status of women within the county. It oversees basic and legitimate women's concerns by working for the elimination of such inequities in laws, practice or conditions as may adversely affect the women and children of Humboldt County. It provides consultation to public and private entities working to develop equitable programs to meet the special needs of women and girls. It acts as a two-way information agency for federal, state and local women's groups and other Status of Women Commissions. It helps promote awareness of women's unique role, whether in traditional fields or otherwise, by planning special study groups, workshops, conferences or events.

The members and their terms of office are as follows:

  • District 1: Nancy Nieboer 6/30/2001
  • District 2: Mary Ann Murphy 6/30/1999
  • District 3: vacant 6/30/97 6/30/2001
  • District 4: vacant 6/30/97 6/30/1999
  • District 5: Simone Taylor 6/30/1999

At large:

  • Diana Cooper 6/30/2001
  • Carol Cransdon 6/30/2001
  • Teralyn Gomez Prucha 6/30/1999
  • Bonnie Green 6/30/2001
  • vacant 6/30/97 6/30/1999

The Commission met monthly on the first Tuesday, in Conference Room A at 5:30 pm. Additional meetings and educational forums may be held on the third Tuesday. Notices of meetings are posted at the County Courthouse and are reported in the Times-Standard and other community newspapers.

The Commission began the 1996-97 year with a full status of 10 members. During the year Donna Iverson, Melanie Armstrong and Cara Wildman resigned due to conflicts with personal obligations, Heather Adragna moved from the area and Joyce Moser was promoted to a more demanding position and could no longer meet the obligations of the Commission. Bonnie Green, Carol Cransdon and Lindsay Marks were appointed to fill the positions. In May, Lindsay Marks was offered and accepted a promotion out of the County. Teralyn Gomez Prucha was appointed to fill one vacancy in June.

The first order of business was the selection of officers for the 1996-97. Nancy Nieboer was named Chair, with Simone Taylor as Vice-Chair, Diana Cooper as Secretary and Joyce Moser as Treasurer. After Commissioner Moser's resignation was accepted, Mary Ann Murphy was elected as Treasurer.

The Commission is unfunded, but maintains a small account for donations. The account balance in July 1996 was $155.36 and in June 1997 was $160.47. The Commission received a donation of $50 and the funds were used for the purchase of the video "There's No Such Thing As Women's Work," aired during Women's History month and then given to the County Library for public use. Additional expenses were defrayed by members of the Commission who generously contributed their funds, office equipment and supplies.



The Commission's goals for the year focused on education and outreach with the emphasis on youth and women's history.

CA Commission on the Status of Women

We maintain a connection with the CA Commission on the Status of Women and receive newsletters for statewide information and resources as well as the most current legislative updates.

Child Support Legal Advocates Guide

This reference manual, provided by the National Center for Youth Law, makes current legal information easily available to parents. The original was placed in the County Main Library Law Section, and copies were provided to the Redwood Community Action Agency and the Women's Resource Center. Updates are provided on a regular basis and members of the Commission are responsible for the periodic updates to maintain each manual.

Through the Eyes of Women, KHSU Radio

In September, 1996, Commissioner Cooper and League of Woman Voters representative Dottie Riffenburg discussed "Why Women Should Vote."

Community Voices

A four-part television series produced in collaboration with the Commission, Humboldt State University's (HSU) Political Science Department and HSU's public access television station, ACAT, Ch.12. The call-in shows were moderated by Commission and community members and on the following topics: (Women's History Month) Honoring Yurok Women - Dorothy Haberman, Vera Ryerson and Elsie "Aussie" McCovey. Participants were Rich Haberman, Scottie Bacon, Yvonne Jolley and host Gary Markusson. For the Status of Child Care and Youth Services in Humboldt County participants were Sue Ayer, Cathy Montaigne, and Phyllis Lammers, Peter LaValle and host Commissioner Cooper. Health Issues For Women Over 40 was hosted by Commissioner Cransdon. Participants were Dr. Gena Pennington, Kate Mott, Rozanne Miller, Maggie Kraft, Carie Slack, Ann Lindsay, Bonnie MacGregor and Janet Pecorella. Gay and Lesbian Services in Humboldt County was moderated by Commissioner Murphy, with participation from Kate McCay, Ruth Mountaingrove, Alex Reid and Serenity Bowen. The responses from both the public and University were very positive.

A series of shows are being planned for the coming year featuring women in business and other relevant subjects. All shows will be rebroadcast on ACAT and copies of the programs will be available on videotape at the Main Library.

Women's History Month Celebrations

The National theme for 1997 was "A Fine And Long Tradition Of Community Leadership." Various aspects of local and national Women's History were presented to the community in window displays created by Commissioner Nieboer at Redwood Region Redevelopment Corporation, two locations at the Bayshore Mall and the Main County Library. The Board of Supervisors proclaimed March as Women's History Month. Commissioner Taylor spoke on KHSU's "Home Page" concerning the history, goals and activities of the Commission. Noted American women were featured in Public Service Announcements on a number of local radio stations. Betty Burton, KINS radio, honored women of historical note from Humboldt County during March. Commissioners Cooper and Taylor were guests on KHSU's "Tuesday Night Talk" celebrating the community leadership. Representatives from the several women's groups in Humboldt County discussed their organizations, their plans, accomplishments and scheduled events. Included were: Women and Timber, Humboldt Women for Shelter, Eureka Women's Club, American Association of University Women, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, League of Women Voters Federal and The Commission sponsored a free mini film festival at the Main Library's Audiovisual Preview Room. The films shown were "Still Killing Us Softly," a documentary on the role of advertising in fostering an obsession with thinness in girls and women, and "There's No Such Thing As Women's Work," a portrayal of American women's role in the work of the nation.

Woman of Achievement Award

Nominations were requested for women who have made a significant contribution in community leadership either through volunteer activities or through work-related efforts far exceeding the normal expectations. Gabrielle Parkinson was chosen for her fine and long tradition of advocacy and support for women and business in Humboldt County and recognition of her leadership role as a facilitator, teacher administrator/manager, business owner and volunteer. The presentation of this award was made at the Board of Supervisors meeting March 25, 1997.


The Times Standard, the Humboldt Beacon and the Senior News published articles on the Commission and National Women's History Month and the local events planned. The Senior News also featured an article honoring Gabrielle Parkinson as "Mother of the Community."

Display at the Main Library

In conjunction with the visiting exhibit from the Huntington Library, "Votes for Women: Unfinished Business," a special display was placed in the Main Library during May and June honoring Carrie Chapman Catt and other Suffrage leaders, both local and national.

Guest Speakers

In order to receive the most current information about matters concerning women and children, the Commission invites guest speakers. In the past year the speakers have included: Lee Barnes, Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, reported on the Women's Opportunity Week events in Northern San Diego County. Sheriff Dennis Lewis and Lt. Melinda Ciarabellini provided blueprints and information about the new correctional facility and the current and future programs and conditions for women. One positive outcome was a project coordinated with the Friends of the Library to provide books to the Jail library. Commission members propose to tour the correctional facilities in the near future. Supervisor John Woolley and Student Intern Natasha Hutson talked with the Commission about current needs and concerns and the possible availability of an Intern to do research on Women's Issues. Nancy Dye, Institute of the North Coast, described a Quality of Life Survey soon to be mailed to a randomly selected sample of county residents. Gabrielle Parkinson of the Women Entrepreneur's Institute spoke with the Commission about networking and the importance of economic development opportunities for women. Commission members received the Women Entrepreneurs Directory, a valuable resource.

Legislative Tracking

Commissioners Schramm, Adragna and Murphy were appointed to the subcommittee to monitor and report on the legislation affecting the girls and women of Humboldt County. Several topics were targeted for review including healthcare and civil rights. The CA Civil Rights Initiative was reviewed and the Commission joined the League of Woman Voters in opposing the poorly-crafted measure, foreseeing that it would lead to a lengthy court battle. Specific bills gaining Commission support were AB101, the student nondiscrimination for sexual preference, SB70 allowing 48 hour minimum hospital stay for mastectomies and lymph node dissections at the direction of the doctor, AB38 allows for a 48 hour stay after vaginal childbirth, or 96 hour stay after Caesarean Section birth under a doctor's direction and would guarantee one follow up visit for infant and mother. Other bills supported in concept pending additional information include AB34, Health Preventive and Reproductive Services and AB157 concerning breast feeding in public locations.

Domestic Partnership

In December, 1996, the Human Rights Commission proposed an Ordinance to establish recognition for Domestic Partnerships. The Status of Women Commission studied the draft, solicited views from throughout the County and in February, 1997 provided a three page summary report to the Board of Supervisors. The report concluded that the Ordinance as drafted would create a Domestic Partner's Registry for couples who wished to register. It would not commit the County to pay benefits of any kind. The Commission expressed reservations with some of the wording but supported the concept of the creation of the Registry

Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors

Women play a crucial role in our society. In addition to their other vocational, professional and/or civic responsibilities, they are the primary caregivers for both children and elders. Women's needs must be given careful consideration as governmental programs are redefined and reshaped.

We urge the Board to be attentive to the consequences of the implementation of Proposition of 209, the CA Civil Rights Initiative, with a view to ensuring that County employment remains equally accessible to all qualified applicants.

Future Plans

For 1997-98, the Commissioners elected Nancy Nieboer as Chair, Simone Taylor as Vice Chair, Diana Cooper as Secretary and Mary Ann Murphy as Treasurer.

Proposed activities for 1997-98 include television programs and educational forums addressing such concerns as: economic self-sufficiency; fair employment and pay equity; access to health care and coverage; sexual harassment, assault and domestic violence (including child abuse); and, the conditions for women inmates in county Jail.

The Commission appreciates the assistance offered by members of the Board, the Clerk of the Board and the Board staff throughout the year. We look forward to working together this year and appreciate the continuing opportunity to advise the Board about matters affecting women and girls in the county.


Nancy Nieboer / Simone Taylor
Chair, 1996-97 / Vice Chair, 1996-97