Application for Jane M. Andersen
Below is the initial application for the Citizens Redistricting Commission. In this section of the application you will be asked to provide personal information that will assist the Applicant Review Panel in processing your application.
You do not have to complete the entire application at one time. At any point, you can save your application using the "Save Application" button. After the application has been saved, you can return to this site to complete the application using your email and password if you choose to set one. Be sure to submit your initial application on or before August 19, 2019.
All fields with * are required to submit the application.
Congratulations on moving forward to the supplemental application for the Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission). You must provide an answer to all questions that apply to you. If you miss a question, you will be prompted to answer missing responses before you can submit the application.
You do not have to complete the entire application at one time. At any point, you can save your application using the "Save Application" button. After the application has been saved, you can use your email address and password to return to this site to complete the application. Be sure to submit your supplemental application on or before October 20, 2019.
All fields with * are required to submit the application.
Part 1: Essay Questions:
The response to each of the following essay questions is limited to no more than 3200 characters including spaces (approximately 500 words). The response fields below will allow you to cut and paste text from any word processing program such as Microsoft Word.
Letters of Recommendation
Letter of Recommendation #1, submitted by Kevin Donahue
How Submitter Knows Applicant: Professional Relationship
Letter of Recommendation:
Verdant Structural Engineers
[Redacted], Berkeley CA 94710
October 20, 2019
Applicant Review Panel
c/o California State Auditor's Office
621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA 95814
Recommendation letter to the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission for Jane Andersen, Berkeley, CA
Application identification number: 20496
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is in strong support of the application of Jane Andersen of Berkeley, California for a position on the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Both Jane and myself are California licensed civil and structural engineers, and I have known Jane since the early 1990s, when I was an engineer at the San Francisco structural engineering firm Toft & de Nevers, and Jane was an engineer at the Emeryville office of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates. At the time, Jane was also a board member of our professional association, the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC), a member organization of the statewide Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC), and had first been a SEAONC board member in 1983. It's worth noting that, in the 80s and early 90s, SEAONC was an extremely male-dominated organization, and Jane was one of the first women to take a leadership role in the association, which, in addition to her engineering expertise, required a notable level of political and organizational skill, as well as determination and perseverance.
My next significant contact with Jane was in 1999, while I was still a structural engineer at Toft and de Nevers (by then, Toft, de Nevers & Lee), when I was on the site committee of my daughters' school in Berkeley, Berkeley Montessori School (BMS), now "The Berkeley School," which was then located on LeRoy Avenue in Berkeley, also known as the "Hillside School site, the site of the former Hillside Elementary School of the Berkeley public school system. The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) abandoned the building in 1983 due to the seismic hazards associated with the building's close proximity to the Hayward Fault. Because of these concerns, I prepared a report along with fellow site committee member Will Travis, then head of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (SFBCDC), addressing the seismic hazards. During this period I turned to Jane for help assessing the seismic structural issues, assembling and writing the hazard report, and then, after the report was written, negotiating the politics within the school, presenting the ramifications of the report to both the BMS Board of Directors, as well as the larger school community. I remained engaged in the process through 2000, after my daughters had left the school, and the final result of our efforts was that in 2003 the school abandoned the Hillside site and relocated the their current location on University Avenue location. Jane was enormously helpful through the entire process, both in helping assess the structural issues, as well as the political and institutional challenges that followed.
My most significant recent engagement with Jane Andersen was in 2012, after I had established my own firm in Berkeley, Kevin Donahue Structural Engineers (now Verdant Structural Engineers). One of my professional interests over the years has been the testing and development of strawbale building technology, an alternative, "green" building method, that serves as a sustainable, low-carbon building alternative to conventional building methods. In the early 2000s I was involved in the Ecological Building Network (San Rafael) Straw Bale Construction Testing and Research Program, and served as team leader for small scale plaster testing and "out-of-plane" full-scale wall testing. As a result of the testing, and as a member of the authorship team of "Design of Straw Bale Buildings" (Bruce King et al, 2006), a group of strawbale construction experts endeavored to promulgate strawbale codes and standards into the 2007 California Building Code. After this effort failed, we were redirected to work with the national codes, published by the International Code Council (ICC) headquartered in Washington, D.C. In 2012, an ad hoc task force of structural engineers and architects was formed to introduce a strawbale construction chapter to the 2015 International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC), both published by the ICC. Jane Andersen was invited to join our task force, both because of her ability to quickly understand the engineering properties of the material, but also to help respond to the structural code review from SEAOC, and to interact with SEAOC members engaged with the review process. Because of her past association with SEAOC, Jane was uniquely suited to mediate between the task force and SEAOC reviewers, and bridge the divide between the groups and marshal the effort forward. The ultimate result of the project, with Jane's invaluable assistance, was that the improved and refined code was adopted as an appendix into the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) and the 2016 California Residential Code (CRC), and the adopted appendix was improved and expanded in the 2018 IRC and 2019 CRC, which will go into force in California January 2020.
In all of these cited interactions with Jane Andersen, as well as other interactions not cited, Jane possesses an unusual combination of ability to assemble and assess facts and details, and prioritize and synthesize these facts and details into plans of action, navigating and mediating disparate groups and large institutions, and ultimately finding resolution incorporating the concerns of all interested parties. In this regard, I believe Jane Andersen is perfectly suited, with her unique set of skills and aptitudes, to serve with distinction on the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission, in its citizen-mandated pursuit of fair and equitable voting districts for the State of California.
Thank you for the consideration of my letter, and thank you for your consideration of Jane Andersen as a member of this vital state commission.
Very truly yours,
Kevin Donahue, S.E.
CA Structural License #4071
Letter of Recommendation #2, submitted by Sue Britson
How Submitter Knows Applicant: as the parent of children who attended our preschool
Letter of Recommendation:
To the Applicant Review Panel,
California State Auditor's Office
Recommendation letter to the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission for: Jane Andersen, Berkeley, CA
Application identification number: 20496
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing this letter of recommendation in support of the application of Jane Andersen (Berkeley) to be considered for a place on the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission. I have known Jane in two different capacities since 1998, when her three children began attending our preschool program, Step One School, in Berkeley, and we have stayed in communication on a variety of topics over the intervening years. Step One School is a private, nonprofit preschool and child care program serving several communities in the East Bay area of the San Francisco Bay Area. The school operates year round and serves annually 115 families with children between the ages of 2 and 6.
I first got to know Jane as a parent at our preschool. Jane has been a stellar parent to her children, and she was a supportive and interested parent at our school. As she became more involved, she wanted to help the school grow and accomplish its goals. Jane likes to be helpful, and her personality is positive and upbeat. She was supportive of the teachers, children, parents, the administration - everyone -- in action and word. Jane is friendly and outgoing. She opens up to people in conversation and is good at helping others relax and converse. Whenever we bump into each other around town, our exchanges are interesting and laced with humor. She is precise in her language, always working to be clear in her messaging.
Jane's personal qualities would be important in working on the Commission. She is a good listener (listens intently and respectfully) and seeks out opinions when working in a group. She is aware of voices that might be underrepresented and will lift them up. This is the kind of person we citizens want to see working on this Commission with constituent groups.
It was through her expertise as a structural/civil engineer that I learned more about Jane's expanded breadth of talents and skills. Circa 2000, Step One School's Board of Directors made a decision to convert some hilly school property into a useable outdoor classroom environment. Jane's background as a structural/civil engineer and her willingness to donate all her time on the project were the two essential components we needed in place in order to give a green light to this important endeavor.
Jane essentially had dual roles of engineer and project manager, as a volunteer, during this project that spanned 18 months. She worked diligently with the contractor to resolve problems related to drainage, retaining walls, soil composition and the like. She had to interface and work out all manner of problems with both the contractor and subcontractors. Besides her analytical skills, which were needed on a daily basis, she had to find compromises between the school's vision, the contractor's design, and the realities of our site. I saw firsthand her ability to look at the issues from all perspectives, make tough decisions, and defend the scientific or mathematical reasoning behind them. She was an ace at this, and I found myself grateful, over and over, at her skill in listening and negotiation while being firm about aspects of the project that could not be modified. Again, Jane's abilities to compromise, discuss matters objectively, and bring people together with workable decisions are qualities that will be much needed by all the Commissioners working on redistricting.
On the subject of impartiality, this is another easily tapped strength of Jane's. She is a fact finder who doesn't hesitate to challenge commonly held beliefs in order to get at the truth of the matter. At the same time, she listens and compromises when the situation calls for it. During our hillside construction project, Jane at times needed to challenge our assumptions and our desires in order to achieve a sound result. The client didn't always get what she wanted if it conflicted with knowledge that the choice would carry untenable risks. She was objective throughout, and could change her opinion in the face of new reliable information. Jane's background in math and science is an indicator that she wants to see and hear the 'data' along with the opinions and desires, and it's a strong factor in her decision making both professionally and personally. Jane knows how to manage complexity, and I believe she would thrive in the environment of the commission's work.
It's important to address Jane's community involvement and her relationship to the diverse community of the Bay Area that we inhabit. Jane's admirable personal qualities mentioned above -- her outgoing friendliness, openness, objectivity, fairness, and positivity -- are all evident in her relationships and communication with new people that she meets and works with. She respects and honors difference in her day to day interactions, and will go above and beyond in order to be fair; e.g., in hiring subcontractors for our construction project, she was open to and sought out women and minorities who could do a good job. Jane is absolutely comfortable among a diverse group of people.
Jane is a strong person who knows herself and is interested in the perspective of others. She is curious and never hesitates to learn something new in the area of cultural and ethnic awareness, or LGBTQ rights and understandings. I know that children are able to learn this anti-bias approach as early as preschool, and at our preschool we work with children and parents to appreciate the constellation of unique individuals in our school community (our preschool includes 45% multi-racial families and families of color, as well as LGBTQ families). I have seen that Jane's family embraces these values and lives them in their personal lives.
Jane's actions personally also show her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She and her husband chose schools for her children that not only embrace diversity but have strong programs and extensive curriculum that help children learn to challenge bias, in all its forms, and be allies to marginalized individuals and groups. These schools have strong parent programs to support this crucial work in our society, and Jane participated wholeheartedly in these kinds of programs. She understands and embraces her responsibilities -- through dialogue, action, and commitment -- as a long standing citizen in a widely diverse community.
I give Jane Andersen my highest recommendation to serve on the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission. I see that she possesses the rare combination of skills, traits, and talents you are seeking. She has the unique combination of 'people skills' and analytic skills that this group requires to be successful. Jane listens carefully to people and brings out their opinions, and is well received by others through her friendliness, openness, and intelligence. She will grasp the infor-
mation and approach needed quickly and will faithfully carry out her duties. I believe she is one of your applicants whom you'd be proud to have serving the Commission and the entire electorate of California. Thank you for your good work.
Sue Britson, Executive Director
Step One School
Berkeley, CA 94708
Letter of Recommendation #3, submitted by Vangeria Harvey
How Submitter Knows Applicant: Head-Royce Parent's Association
Letter of Recommendation:
Dear Members of the Applicant Review Panel:
It is with great pleasure that I write this recommendation for Jane Andersen to support her application for the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission. Jane Andersen has a strong passion for making a difference in her community and being a voice of reason and discernment. I have personally experienced Jane's character and commitment as we have worked as active parent volunteers at the Head-Royce School for the past 15 years. Jane is an involved and influential parent in the Head-Royce School community. Over the years, we have worked together to effectuate change, primarily in the area of inclusivity and equity, for the parent and student body. I strongly believe her work ethic, analytical skills, and strong commitment to diversity will make her a tremendous asset on this Commission.
Jane has a deep passion for diversity and inclusivity. Among her many achievements and accomplishments, Jane successfully led the charge for a variety of religious celebrations to be implemented into classroom activities. As a parent volunteer, she encouraged the learning of religions and cultures other than her own and participated in the class activities as well as leading cultural activities from her own background. Jane started the standard, and this practice continues today. Most importantly, this developed the foundation of families, not just the students, learning and sharing. Jane's ability to bring together parents of various backgrounds and beliefs was impeccable. She has a keen sense of awareness of different people's positions. She listens attentively and is able to synthesize the information and share it with a larger group to bring people of different mindsets together.
She works very well with others. She has mastered the ability to collaborate and to receive and be open to different viewpoints and perspectives. She values the importance of community and has worked to develop community among the Head-Royce parents. She ensures that all voices are heard. She enjoys meeting people and creating community. She values the varying perspectives of parents and encourages the involvement of everyone. She has a phenomenal ability to bring people together and tackle difficult issues at the same time. Jane displayed this skill in the creation of anti-bullying curriculum at the school. After bullying incidents kept occurring in the classroom, during physical education and at lunch, Jane led the charge to not only stop these particular situations but had the Lower School administration have all the teachers re-trained in "anti-bullying". This spread to all of the school divisions and later became a standard in classes.
She is a vital resource and advocate for many of the efforts to diversify our student body and parent community. When teachers wanted to introduce a lesson plan on different family units, Jane was one of the leaders to not only get age-appropriate, all-inclusive (LGBTQ, mixed race/religion, guardians, adopted, parents in prison, etc.) materials into the lessons, but made them become mandatory, not optional. This work on the family unit issue instituted the beginning of a Diversity Committee, and Jane was actively involved in the early stages and development of this committee that became the cornerstone of discussions about inclusivity at Head-Royce.
As a member of the Parents' Association, I have found Jane to be a thoughtful, motivated and engaged parent who masters the ability to make fair and unbiased decisions. She actively participates in discussion and often has the calming voice of reason and explains issues and concepts in a manner that unifies the audience. She has an independence of thought; yet, she asks questions to cause deeper thought and reflection. Jane recognized that many families were sharing that their students had learning differences. She was an early member of the Learning Differences Network when most teachers thought this concept was an excuse for students who could not handle the academic rigor. Jane tirelessly worked to find allies among families and, more importantly, teachers. She gathered data about the benefits of different teaching methods and the manner in which she shared this vital information transformed perspective and thought on learning differences. Today, this college preparatory school openly accepts, acknowledges and accommodates students with learning differences.
Jane exhibits great analytical and problem-solving skills which I know come from her professional expertise as an engineer. She finds resolution to areas of conflict quickly and thinks quickly and critically. She exhibits the qualities of a leader that are an asset to every issue she addresses and organization she is involved. She has been instrumental in change and a sounding board for the Head-Royce music and theater programs. She promoted and supported the Lower School band through its possible closure and served as a rational and thoughtful perspective in the band's revitalization. She knows how to address problems and communicate clearly with families and the professional community. During the Middle School band restructure and Upper School music department changes, she demonstrated her ability to tackle hard problems and strong communication skills as she engendered parent involvement on these issues and sparked administration discussions to make sure the decisions on the music program included all the history and information to move the program toward the future.
Jane impresses me as a person who seeks new experiences and follows her passion for making communities better and more inclusive for all. She is well-respected in our parent community and sought out for her opinions as she is reasoned and balanced in her approach to issues. She keeps a group on task by reviewing goals and keeping the priorities of the group at the forefront. When an impasse occurs, she effectively offers alternative solutions. She interacts very well with others and has a unifying capability unlike any other. She has a warm personality and sense of humor that lightens the room and any environment she is in.
Overall, Jane exhibits the appreciation for diversity, impartiality and analytical skills that lead toward effectuating positive and impactful change. I have seen this in action as Jane has excelled in making changes in our Head-Royce parent and school community. She is intelligent, well-rounded and balanced individual who challenges herself and actively seeks new opportunities and experiences. She has the perspective and mindset to work to achieve success. She always maintains a positive attitude and a commitment to make a difference for everyone. She is committed to her community. She exudes confidence and has an open and friendly personality that allows her to get along with others very well in any setting. I admire her for her intelligence, sincerity, honesty and integrity, and I am impressed by her desire and effectiveness in making an impact on any issue she addresses. Jane Andersen would truly be a superior addition to the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission, and I highly and enthusiastically recommend her.
Comment 3450, submitted by Lan Shaw
How Submitter Knows Applicant: Parents volunteer
Submitted On: 04/21/2020
I met Jane Andersen in fall of 2009 at the Kindergarten Class in Head Royce School. Over the last 10 years, I got to know Jane through parents volunteer, carpool, playdate, etc. I am an immigrant without any education background in the US. It's been quite a learning process navigating through the school system. Jane has been involved in the school community for a long time. She has been my to go person for advise on school, education and parenting related issues and questions. Jane is kind, patient, non-judgmental, impartial, and fair. Jane always makes me feel comfortable asking or discussing any questions openly. She always shares her views and experiences without any reservation. Jane loves the community. She always reaches out to the parents and the school to offer help. You can always count on her. Jane is dependable and impactful; humble and well-rounded; intelligent and diligent; sincere and effective. I trust that Jane's appreciation for diversity, impartiality and analytical skills will make her a great addition to the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission.
Comment 3461, submitted by Yumi Yuan
How Submitter Knows Applicant: Friend
Submitted On: 04/22/2020
As a recently naturalized US citizen who has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1966 and someone who has had the privilege of being her friend for over 20 years, I enthusiastically support Jane Anderson to serve on the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission.
In the late 90's, Jane and I became fellow parents at Step One School, a Berkeley pre-school that is known for celebrating diversity and inclusivity. Over the years, Jane and I volunteered in different capacities to support the school. Over and over again, I saw Jane generously volunteer her time and expertise to help and improve the school community for the children and families. No matter the project, her ability to unify people of different backgrounds and opinions and coalesce their varied ideas into one has always helped to pave our way to a successful outcome.
I only have a single vote and I realize that my vote can be easily manipulated or negated unless the districts accurately reflect the views and demographics of the community we live in. I am hopeful that the Redistricting Commission can attain this goal, but it can only be as efficient and fair as the people of which it is comprised. After witnessing Jane's incredible commitment to social justice, diversity, and inclusivity throughout the years, I can say with full confidence that Jane Anderson is the right person to serve on this Commission.
If Jane Andersen were a member of the commission, I would feel confident that my one vote would count.
Comment 3462, submitted by Allen Cain, Executive Director - SAA
How Submitter Knows Applicant: Jane Andersen has worked with the Solano Avenue Association for ten-plus years
Submitted On: 04/22/2020
We are the Solano Avenue Merchant's Association, a non-profit organization founded in 1974 with over 200 members comprised of professionals, restaurateurs, retailers, organizations, and individuals located within the mile-long Solano Avenue commercial district in Albany and Berkeley, California.
We are best known for a street festival - The "Solano Avenue Stroll" (northern California's largest single day street festival). This event is produced in conjunction with the Cities of Albany and Berkeley (as well as corporate and private sponsorships) and draws a crowd of over 200,000 people every second Sunday in September.
In addition to the Solano Avenue Stroll, the Association produces three other community events which are family oriented, free neighborhood events on Solano Avenue that revolve around Halloween; Winter Activities throughout December and a "Lunar New Year" event on Super-Bowl Sunday in February.
In addition to our annual community events, we are a fully functioning merchants association with far-reaching responsibilities that address the needs of Solano Avenue businesses and their day-to-day operations.
I highly recommend applicant Jane Andersen as a Member of the Citizens Redistricting Commission. Jane has been a volunteer for our organization since 2007 and has participated in the planning, production, and the post-production administration that follows one of our annual events: the Solano Avenue Stroll (SAS).
It continues to be pleasurable working with Jane. She has a pleasant demeanor and positive attitude. Jane has been instrumental in the production of this large scale festival where over 500 vendors participate and the crowd reaches 200,000. At the SAS, she confidently works with an extremely diverse group of vendors and festival guests… as well as other staff - she functions seamlessly when part of a team.
Set-up is the most stressful time for any event. Jane has to ensure that the production of the event remains on-schedule and on-track. Jane understands the various facets of working with individuals who have varying backgrounds; and that communication is key. Our events draw large crowds and working in a high-stress environment while making on-the-spot decisions are where Jane Andersen excels.
The top four blocks of the street must complete their setup first as the parade starts there. This year Jane gathered a small crew and, the night before the event, chalked out all the spaces in the four blocks, facilitating a faster and smoother setup. She eagerly listens to everyone; gathering their needs and getting the job done while making people happy are qualities (in part) that will make Jane Andersen a great commissioner.
Please contact us if you require additional information or have questions relating to specific responsibilities.
We are a non-profit 501(C-6) organization.