VOTER Header
April 2008 - Volume 33, Issue 7
In This Issue
April General Meeting
President's Message
Young Voters Advertising Contest Update
The Florida Legislature Bares All: A Report on the LWVF Legislative Seminar
Government Committee Update
Justice Committee Update
Natural Resources Committee Update
Social Policy Committee Update
Voter Service Committee Update
Membership Update
About Us

Save the Dates

See our Events Calendar
for details

April 2008


7 - Board Meeting, 9AM

North Collier Government Center


9 - Social Policy Committee


Center for Healthy Aging


14 - Justice Committee

Collier Juvenile Detention Center
21 - General Meeting
Annual Meeting 10AM
Lunch 11:30AM
Business Meeting 12:30PM

Program 1PM

Collier Athletic Club

24 - Natural Resources
Town Meeting
The Norris Center
General Meeting - April 21

The Media and Elections:

A Local Look

What role does the media have in local elections?  Our last general meeting of the season will provide insight into the candidate endorsement process, the plans to involve more of the weekly newspapers in the election process, the role of local TV, and what is happening within the Hispanic broadcasting arena. 


Our panelists will be:

  • Kellie Burns, 5 & 6PM Anchor NBC-2,
  • Phil Lewis,  Editor and Vice President of Editorial - Naples Daily News,
  • Jeff Lytle, Editorial Page Editor - Naples Daily News, and 
  • Carlos ZapataNews Producer and Anchor for D'Latinos al Dia.
Join us at 10 am for our Annual Meeting when members will elect officers and directors, approve the budget for next year, the program for 2008-2009 and conduct other business coming before the membership.
Annual Meeting at 10AM

Lunch at 11:30AM in the Club's main dining room

($20 members; $25 nonmembers)

Business Meeting at 12:30PM

Program at 1PM

710 Goodlette Rd N
Naples, FL 34102
(239) 263-2566
Get directions
RSVP for lunch by 5pm Thursday, 4/17 to Hospitality@lwvcolliercounty.org
or 263-4656
Quick Links
President's Message
Chris Straton, President - LWVCC
 Chris Straton - President 

August 26th is the next most important date in this election year.  Regardless of your party affiliation, you will be voting for school board candidates and local judges.  As of today, there will be a primary for the sheriff.    


If you aren't going to be in town, please contact the Supervisor of Elections by telephone (252-8450) or visit www.colliervotes.com to request an absentee ballot.  For those of you who will be in town and are willing to work the polls to benefit our League, please contact Kathleen Slebodnik at 775-3491.


As I look back over this year, there are proud moments and some regrets.  I regret that several members did not renew their membership.  I regret that some of my personal goals were not accomplished.  I am proud of the efforts that we put in to educate the public on the property tax referendum - even though we were unsuccessful.  I am proud of the work of our committees in informing our membership on important issues in Collier County.  I am proud of the thought-provoking monthly general meetings.  I am proud to be a member of the League of Women Voters of Collier County and hope that you all share my pride.  Have a great summer and we will see you all in the fall.

Young Voters Advertising Contest Update

Ad Contest Winner by Valerie Deering
Seventeen proud high school students attended the award ceremony and were recognized as winners of the League's Young Voters Advertising Contest on March 7 at Naples City Hall. Their teachers and many of their parents were also in attendance.
Naples Mayor Bill Barnett and LWVCC President Chris Straton presented the awards and posed with each winner for pictures taken by a photographer from N Magazine, one of our contest  sponsors.  Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards, County Commissioner Donna Fiala, and State Senator Burt Saunders, who served as judges, encouraged the winners to become active participants in government and thanked them for their interest in the voting process.
The judges decided that the best submission overall was this poster designed by Valerie Deering, Golden Gate High School.
All 18 of the winning posters are on display at the Supervisor of Elections Office and can also be viewed at www.lwvcolliercounty.org.


The Florida Legislature Bares All: A Report on the LWVF Legislative Seminar
Kathleen Slebodnick -  LWVCC President 1994 - 1997

Kathleen SlebodnickThe mood in Tallahassee this year was definitely different than in the other years I've attended Seminar.  Previously there was an area of emphasis, i.e., education, growth management, etc., but the '08 Legislature is focused on how many dollars to cut from the state budget to cover the estimated $2.5 billion shortfall in revenue this year and another $2 billion in '09.  With an economy based on growth, a downturn such as Florida is experiencing is disastrous. Eighty percent of the state budget goes to fund education and health care programs and, with the reluctance of legislators to raise taxes or dip into contingency funds, Florida's citizens are going to experience serious reductions in these two vital areas.
Jeanne Zokovitch, our lobbyist in Tallahassee, anticipates there will be some legislation passed dealing with our legislative priorities, and I urge all members to read the Capitol Report which she writes every Friday and respond to Action Alerts when asked to do so.  The Capitol Report is available on the Florida League website at www.lwvfla.org.
Of great interest are the ballot proposals coming out of the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission.  Martha Barnett, a Commission member who was appointed by Governor Crist, spoke with us Tuesday morning, the day after the Commission voted on its first proposal. Legislators and the public had been waiting to see what this appointed body would recommend, and their first proposal left us speechless.  
Florida State SealThe Commission will send to the ballot in November a proposal that basically eliminates school district ad valorem property taxes from property tax bills and replaces this revenue with a one cent increase in the sales tax, the repeal of selected sales tax exemptions and spending cuts.

Next they plan to review the class size amendment mandate with its associated costs and address the issue of what to do with the so-called "19th child" in the classroom.
The Commission does not need the approval of the Legislature, the Governor, or the Supreme Court to place proposals on the ballot. It was created to be an independent, citizen-oriented adjunct in the governing process.
Kudos to Peg McGarity, Executive Director of LWVF, for a well-planned and informative seminar.  It was exciting to be there at a time when Florida faces great challenges; it is going to be a very interesting election year.  Stay informed and involved.

Government Committee Update
Sandy Parker, Committee Chair
Sandy Parker
Coffee & the Capitol Report - All League members are welcome to attend our informal discussions of the weekly developments in Tallahassee during the legislative session.  The Capitol Report, a weekly publication by LWVF lobbyist Jeanne Zokovich (which can be accessed on the LWVF website by clicking here) is the basis for our discussion. 
While the local newspaper focuses on legislative efforts to balance the budget and whether or not students who wear baggy pants to school should be penalized, our lobbyist makes us aware of efforts to dilute the citizen's initiative process, to allow dumping of untreated water into Florida's aquifers, to craft an energy bill under the leadership of our own Senator Burt Saunders, and  to draft a "Citizen's Planning Bill of Rights" under the leadership of Department of Community Affairs Secretary Tom Pelham.
Meetings are held in the private room at Calistoga Bakery Cafe, 7941 Airport Pulling Rd N, most Fridays at 8:30AM.  For more information, call Sandy Parker at 513-1595 or email sparker101@gmail.com

Collier County Govt Center SignBoard of County Commissioners Observer Corps Report - Chet Rivel and Sue Bookbinder attended the morning session of the Collier County Board of County Commissioners meeting on February 26.
After giving out Service Awards, making Proclamations and hearing Public Petitions, the Commissioners heard a report from Andrea Sims, an executive with Waters-Oldani Executive Recruitment, a division of the Waters Consulting Group, Inc. The firm is conducting a search for the Collier County Attorney position. The Commissioners were very involved in finalizing the process of the search and the candidate questioning and after about an hour, a very detailed process was discussed and decided upon. This would include a "meet and greet" with the finalists and then a one-hour interview by the Commissioners with each candidate that would follow an agreed-to list of questions and issues to be addressed.
A second item of interest concerned the county's Charitable Organization Impact Fee Deferral Program. One issue discussed was whether organizations that serve undocumented residents are eligible for the program. Another issue was whether religious organizations are eligible.  After a lively discussion, it was decided by a 4-1 vote (Commissioner Coletta dissenting) that organizations that provide services to undocumented residents are not eligible (although impact fee deferrals that were granted in the past are grandfathered), and that religious organizations are eligible if they do not deny services on the basis of religion.
The afternoon agenda was full of significant resolutions (as was covered by the Naples Daily News the next morning.) It's a shame that there were no LWV observers at the afternoon session to see it!
- Susan Bookbinder, Observer


School Board Observer Corps Report
- No League member attended the most recent meetings.


New members to the BCC and School Board Observer teams are welcome - For the BCC team, contact Sandy Parker at sparker101@gmail.com or 513-1595.  For the School Board team, contact Gail DiMaggio at gaildimaggio@aol.com or 774-6132.
Justice Committee Update
Bernice Schmelz - Committee Chair

Bernice Schmelz

The mission of the Collier Regional Juvenile Detention Center is "To increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency through effective prevention, intervention and treatment services that strengthen families and turn around the lives of troubled youth." 


How does the staff go about activating this mission with the juveniles who are temporarily housed at the Detention Center?  Join the Justice Committee at 9:30 AM on April 14 to learn the answer and tour the Detention Center with Superintendent Bill Jordan.


The committee will meet at the Detention Center, 3315 E. Tamiami Trail.  It is located in the Collier Government Complex.


Please RSVP to justice@lwvcolliercounty.org before April 10 to assure appropriate materials are available.


Natural Resource Committee Update 
Bonnie Michaels, Committee Co-Chair

Bonnie Michaels - Nat. Res.Mark your calendars for updates on natural resources and survey results and plan to attend our Natural Resources Town Meeting on April 24. 


Find out how your Commissioners voted on environmental issues.  Get updates from experts on what's really happening with our precious water, land, air and wildlife.  Learn why Smart Growth is important to us.  Find out what you can to do preserve the quality of life in Collier County for generations to come.


Presenters will be:

  • Bonnie Michaels, League of Women Voters Survey
  • Judy Hushon, Environmental Advisory Committee
  • Nancy Payton, Florida Wildlife Federation
  • Nicole Ryan, Southwest Florida Conservancy

The meeting will be held from 7 - 9PM on April 24 at the Norris Community Center, 755 8th Ave S., Naples.


Don't miss this important opportunity to learn and make a difference in the future. 

Contact Bonnie Michaels, mwfam@aol.com or (239) 596-9135 for more information.


Social Policy Committee Update
Ann Campbell - Committee Chair

Ann Campbell - Social Policy

Our members will visit the Senior Friendship Center on Wednesday, April 9, in lieu of the usual breakfast get together at Crissy's Wildside Café.


We will assemble at the Center for Healthy Aging, located at 811 Seventh Avenue South, across from Naples City Hall, at 8:30AM for a tour of their clinic, followed by a discussion with Betty Gamel, RN, Director of the Center.


The motto of the Senior Friendship Center, a subsidiary of the Center in Sarasota, is "People Helping People". Unlike the Sarasota Center, there is no day care program; the Collier Center provides "Basic Medical Care and Community Engagement Services to People Aged 50+ and on Limited Incomes, With Friendship and Respect". 


Services include Primary Care, Internal Medicine, Dermatology, Non Surgical Gynecology and Orthopedics, Medication Assistance, Dental Care, and more, all provided by retired volunteer physicians, dentists and other supportive staff. More than 1000 Collier County residents and families benefit from Senior Friendship's services. Betty tells me that people whose physicians went into Concierge Practice are among her newest clients. 

Betty will arrange for coffee and tea for us, and we will have pastries or muffins.  There is on street parking as well as parking behind the building and across the street from City Hall near the tennis courts. All members are invited and guests are welcome.


Please notify Ann Campbell at acamp1082@aol.com or 263-1755 by Tuesday, April 8, if you plan to attend.


Voter Service Committee
Chris Straton - Committee Chair

Election 2008In its first in a series of comments on the 2008 presidential campaign, the national League noted that this election is on pace to make history.  Here are some excerpts from a League press release of March 12, 2008:

"Americans are energized about this campaign and we are seeing that reflected in the high voter turnout and record amount of funds being raised from millions of voters," "said national League president Mary G. Wilson.

"Many have worked for years to counter embarrassingly-low rates of civic participation in America. This year, it seems we are on track to make significant improvements in that arena.  Participation is on the upswing - and that is evident in the high turnout rates this primary season and the many Americans who have signed up to help as poll workers.  ...

"The League has been educating voters throughout the 2008 primaries and caucuses and is prepared to do the same this fall. Our members are working in communities across this country to be sure the elections systems work as well as they can for voters, the candidates and elections officials. Our online election resource, www.VOTE411.org, educates millions of voters about the election and helps them locate their polling place through the only nationwide online polling place locator," noted Wilson.

"Leagues are also working throughout the country to help election officials and others prepare for what could be record turnout in November, and make sure all election workers have the resources they need to ensure things run smoothly at the polls."

"While pundits will dissect the ups and downs of individual candidates for months to come, the League hopes that voters will continue to stay engaged throughout the campaign. We will be working throughout the year to ensure the election system works for all voters, and want to urge all Americans to get registered and vote this fall!   While you're at it, make sure your friends and loved ones are registered by sending them to www.VOTE411.org to get started." 

If you would like to work with the Voter Service Committee to plan Get Out The Vote activities for the upcoming elections, please contact me at President@lwvcolliercounty.org or 597-8849.
Membership Update
Anne Lewallen, Committee Chair
Men Can Join TooWelcome New MembersThis month, we welcome the following new members to our League:
            • Marilyn Contrada
            • Mary Glick
            • Theresa Heitman
            • Sama Hoffman
            • Eleanor Jacobsen
            • Diana Khabbaz
            • RoseMary McKinney
We now have 152 members in our League.  Contact information for members can be found in the "For Members" section of our website.
If you know someone who may be interested in joining our League, please contact
Membership@lwvcolliercounty.org, or direct them to the "Join Us" page on our website, where they can print a membership application.
Membership Roster - A printer-friendly copy of our Membership Roster is no more than a few clicks away on our website at www.lwvcolliercounty.org.  Simply log on at the For Members page, and click on "Access the LWVCC Membership Roster."   
Make Sure Your Contact Information is Up to Date - You can update your contact information on the For Members page or by calling 263-4656 and providing your new information on the answering machine.  If your email address has changed in the past year, please ensure that the League has your correct address by emailing Membership@lwvcolliercounty.org or calling 263-4656.
About Us

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  Our goal is to empower citizens to shape better communities worldwide.

Visit our website at www.lwvcolliercounty.org for our current list of officers, directors, and off-board members , our 2007-2008 Program, Diversity Policy, Nonpartisan Policy, By-Laws and more.
League of Women Voters of Collier County
P.O. Box 9883
Naples, FL  34101