April 2010 - Volume 35, Issue 7
Month at a Glance
Click link for details
4/5 - LWVCC Board Meeting
9:30 - 11:30 AM
Fifth Third Bank Building
Fourth Floor Board Room
4/24 - Coffee & Capitol Reports
Members and guests are welcome at all meetings
|General Meeting - April 12
The Road to Citizenship: Toll Road, Super Highway or Dirt Road?
For our last General Meeting of this season, on Monday afternoon, April 12, we will hear about immigration and citizenship from Casey Wolff, Esq., and Myrtha Coreus. Mr. Wolff, who is a partner in the law firm Paulich, Slack and Wolff, P.A., specializes in immigration, naturalization and business transactions. Ms. Coreus, who came to the U.S. as a child from the Bahamas, will share her "road to citizenship."
Program at 1 PM at theCOLLIER ATHLETIC CLUB
710 Goodlette Rd North, Naples
(239) 263-2566Get Directions
OPTIONAL lunch at noon; reservation required ($20 members; $25 nonmembers)
Join us for our Annual Meeting to vote on the slate of officers and directors submitted by the Nominating Committee, approve the budget and program for 2010 - 2011 and conduct other important business coming before the membership. Let your voice be heard!
The meeting will be at 10 AM on Monday, April 12, at the Collier Athletic Club.
Please print, review and bring to the meeting the Annual Meeting Packet, which contains all the materials you will be asked to vote on. Click here to download it from our website. And don't miss our 2009 - 2010 Annual Report, which summarizes our fabulous year in words and photos. Click here.
If you need a ride to or from the meeting, please call Anne Lewallen at 239-435-1845.
This is my last President's Message for the VOTER. I look forward to handing the pen--and the gavel--over to Lydia Galton, who is nominated to succeed me at the Annual Meeting on April 12. While I am stepping down as president, I look forward to returning to the Board in the role in which I first joined it - Director of Membership. I have always enjoyed that "outreach" mission.
Shortly after my election last year, the Naples Daily News invited me to write a guest commentary setting out my vision for my term. I wrote, "I became president of the League of Women Voters of Collier County because I have a passion for inspiring people to become informed and active participants in civic life. During my term as president, I plan to broaden and deepen the League's exposure in the community and increase our focus on developing and training future League leaders."
Looking back on the past year, I think we've made good progress. Certainly we've broadened our exposure through the local media. Beginning with my "vision" piece last May, we've had articles, letters to the editor, and guest commentaries printed in the Collier Citizen, Marco Island Eagle, Naples Daily News, è Bella Magazine, Naples Journal, North Naples Journal and Pelican Bay Journal! Two articles have featured us in SOMOS Magazine, which targets southwest Florida's Hispanic community, and several General Meeting speaker programs were covered by Naples Daily News reporters. If you missed any of this great press, visit the Press Coverage Archive on our website.
As a Board, we increased our focus on membership recruitment and retention, succession planning, and developing future League leaders to ensure the work of the League continues. We recruited with an eye toward filling our talent gaps, and encouraged members - especially those newest to League - to become involved in the planning, operation and governance of our organization. The people who become League members never cease to impress me with the variety and accomplishment of their life experience. When you read the statements from each of the proposed officers and directors for the coming year in the Annual Meeting Packet, you'll see just some of the fruits of those efforts.
Thank you for entrusting me with the presidency of this fine organization. I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting!
|In Memoriam - George L. Willis, Ph.D.|
It is with sadness that we note the passing of George L. Willis, Ph.D. Formerly a professor of political science, he was an active League member and served as Poll Deputy since the beginning of our Adopt-A-Precinct participation. We will remember George for his passion in wanting to make voting more accessible to all citizens. Our sympathies go out to his wife Carolyn and their family.
|Updated Guide to Elected Officials now availabe|
The 2008 - 2010 LWVCC Guide to Elected Officials (previously called the Voters' Guide) is now available. Download a copy from our website (click here). Printed copies are available by request to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 239-263-4656.
Spotlight on New Members
Denise Gallagher Rochford
MARY ANN JUNIUS
readily admits that she is not a golfer, tennis or bridge player and wanted to do something community oriented as a "snowbird" in Naples. After attending several LWV meetings with a friend, she decided to join, and she is glad she did. "League programs offer almost continuous education. At meetings I always feel that I learn something about local issues," she said. "I find that some of what I have learned is easily transferred to inform my friends at home." Coming from Indiana to Naples for four months a year, she leaves her real estate business, The Junius Group with Coldwell Banker, in the able hands of her daughter. In Indiana, she also taught ballet for many years and is active on the Community Federation Board.BETH POVLOW
has a mission. She wants to bring League candidate information forums to Marco Island. Although she has not been a League member before, as a voter she "always depended on the League's information about candidates running for election." An active member of Newcomers Club in Marco and their subgroup "Philosophers' Café," she is hoping to initiate a candidates' presentation at one of their upcoming meetings. "My big issue is Voter Services," she notes, "and bringing the valuable assets of the League to Marco." Involvement in various inter-faith groups promotes understanding and knowledge, Beth believes, pointing to her work on the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation. "We're working towards establishing an award for teachers who best teach students to stand up for justice." During her career as a high school teacher of writing and English in Pennsylvania, she supervised the National Honor Society and was the Coach of Academic Challenge (GE College Bowl), taking teams from her area to the National competition.Back to top ...
Joyce Fletcher, Anniversary Committee chair
On March 25, we celebrated the 35th Anniversary of LWVCC and the 90th Anniversary of LWVUS at Naples Backyard History Museum with 40 members and guests toasting those who came before us and cheering us on for the future.
Fred Coyle, Chair of the Collier County Board of County Commissioners read the Commission's Proclamation declaring March 27, 2010, "League of Women Voters of Collier County Day" and thanked League members for their role in educating voters and advocating for good government.
Sandy Parker reminded us of our League history with constituional amendments and laws and a few quiz questions.
Lois Bolin, Ph.D., the strategic advisor for the Museum, spoke briefly about "Naples - this place we call home."
Members and their guests had a chance to just get to know each other and view the story bank of members' submissions and scrapbooks of our history.
We thanked Virginia Corkran, one of our founders, for her foresight into how important League would become in Collier County. She had also been a founder of a League in North Dakota, when her husband's job transferred them there.
We recognized former presidents for their leadership in League. Those in attendance were Helen Franke (1979 - 1981), Jeannette Boucher (1983 - 1986), Kathleen Slebodnik (1994 - 1997), and our current and 16th President Sandy Parker (2009 - 2010).
There were many long time League members there who we also recognized including Ann Allen, Florence Chandler, Linda Denning, Kathy Ryan and Nancy Wolfe. Clara Anne Graham and Laura Miller joined us from the Lee County League which just celebrated its 60th year.
The party organizers were Marilyn Bogen, Rose DiBiasi, Anne Lewallan, Denise Rochford and me.
Sheilah Crowley, Committee Chair
Join us on Wednesday, April 21, to hear Joe Landon, Executive Director - Communications Services, School District of Collier County and The Education Channel, cable 99, tell us what he does to get school information out to the citizens of Collier County.
Today, there is a communications component to every piece of business conducted by school districts and schools. The mission of Communication Services is to inform stakeholders about what is taking place at the district office and in the district's schools through effective communications. Communication Services also gives stakeholders the opportunity actually to see the education taking place in our classrooms, using the district's primary communications too, The Education Channel, Comcast cable 99. From live telecasts of School Board Meetings to regularly produced local television programming and several special television programs, the Channel serves as "Your Window to Education." Publications, such as the Collier Communicator electronic newsletter, feature information about the district and the schools, including comments and observations from the Superintendent and the five School Board Members.
We will meet at 9:30 AM in the Community Room of the North Collier Government Center on Orange Blossom Drive.
Lydia Galton and Joyce Fletcher, Committee Co-Chairs
Coffee and the Capitol Report: April 10 and April 24 at 9:30 AM at Calistoga's, 941 Airport Pulling Road North, Naples.
Track what is happening in Tallahassee that affects LWVFL priorities and learn about those bills sponsored by our local legislative delegates.
Bernice Schmelz, Committee Chair
Please join the Justice Committee on April 19 on a field trip to AMIKids Big Cypress, a moderate-risk Department of Juvenile Justice residential commitment facility for boys. The staff has developed some very successful community outreach programs for the residents over the last year. We look forward to learning about them; seeing the facility; learning about their onsite program, including education and treatment; as well as learning about their challenges and successes. Daniel Washington, Program Director, will meet with the group at 10 AM.
The facility is located approximately 3.5 miles north of Hwy. 41 on Turner River Road, which is east of the Hwy 29 - 41 intersection. Please RSVP to me by Thursday, April 15, at email@example.com
if you plan to join the trip. Please indicate at that time if you are willing to drive or need a ride and if you would like to: 1) eat a picnic lunch at HPWilliams Wayside Picnic Area, 2) lunch in Everglades City, 3) eat with AMIKids or 4) return directly home.
In addition -- Two areas in the Justice Committee program were not addressed by speakers this year: human trafficking, and rights restoration. However, Ann Allen and Ellen Taylor attended community meetings on human trafficking, and Chris Straton, the LWVF liaison to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, participated directly in the related work. Click here
to read more about human trafficking, and click here
for an update on rights restoration in Florida.
|Social Policy Committee
Ann Campbell, Committee Chair
For our final committee meeting of the season we will meet at the Wildside Café for breakfast on Wednesday, April 14, at 8 AM. We have invited Kim Slote, Director of Planned Parenthood of Collier County, to come and tell us about the scope of services that are provided at the facility on the corner of Creech and Goodlette Frank Roads. Also joining us is our ownLWVCC member Jen Marquis. Jen worked with Kim and other members of the Healthy Teens Coalition of Collier County to convince the School Board to clarify policies on sex education in the schools to insure that students receive comprehensive, medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education, including information about abstinence. We hope to have an update from Kim and Jen on how the policy is being implemented.
All members are invited and guests are welcome. The cost of breakfast is $12, which includes tax and gratuity. Please contact Ann Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 263-1755 by Monday, April 12, to reserve a place.
We learned a lot at our March 10 meeting with Peter Kraley, Director of Veterans' Services for Collier County. He started out by telling us that more veterans are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with "polytrauma" and that it is necessary to coordinate the treatment of each veteran's combination of problems, such as burns, amputations and head injuries. The first Polytrauma Center in the country is at the James Haley Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Tampa.
Mr. Kraley's office is funded by the County and has two certified officers, who assisted 2,800 veterans or surviving spouses last year, and one coordinator, who is doing two jobs right now. Volunteers provide transportation to VA clinics in Lee County and to the Bay Pines Veterans' Hospital in St. Petersburg. Collier has 35,000 veterans who are permanent residents and another 15,000 during "season." There are veterans centers geared to help individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); the closest one is in Ft. Myers, but therapists come to Collier twice a week. Collier has a VA clinic on Horseshoe Drive.
Peter said that the biggest and most complex part of his work is helping older veterans. World War II and Korea vets are aging and needing help with assisted living and long term care, and Vietnam vets need help obtaining compensation for disabilities showing up now that are related to herbicide exposure back in the '70s.
|Voter Service Committee
Chris Straton, Committee Chair
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Don't forget to vote on August 24, 2010! You will be choosing three school board members and, if you live in County Commission District 2 or 4, you will be electing a new county commissioner.
IF YOU WANT TO DECIDE WHO WILL BE REPRESENTING THE DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS IN THE NOVEMBER ELECTION FOR GOVERNOR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE OR U.S. SENATE, YOU MUST BE REGISTERED AS A DEMOCRAT OR A REPUBLICAN BY JULY 26.
If you won't be in town, call 252-8450 or go to www.CollierVotes.com
to request an absentee ballot. Make sure that you provide the actual address where you will be in July, since these ballots cannot be not forwarded.
Special Thanks to Kathy Ryan for her dedication to the Know Your County Government program. Thanks also to Joyce Fletcher and Marjorie Joder for their contribution to the Naples Daily News/Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce Community Forums. Joan Byerhof, Joyce Fletcher, Dorothy Hirsch, Marjorie Joder, Anne Lewallen, Dianne Mayberry-Hatt, Sandy Parker, Beth Povlow and Bernice Schmelz were extremely helpful with the Naples City Election.
Pat Snyder and Sandy Parker, Committee Co-Chairs
Welcome to new members Beverly Blackwell
, Tamara Paquette
, Susy Warren
and Eileen Mann
Thank you to membership committee volunteers Vicky DiNardo
, Estelle Rauch
, Dee Senft
and Nancy Wolfe
for making phone calls personally inviting inactive members to join us for an event in March or April. Members seemed to appreciate our follow-up with them.
We developed and mailed surveys to those non-renewing members who had requested paper VOTERs. We implemented an e-survey of the other members who did not renew this year. We received seven responses with feedback for the committee. We are happy to report that we have maintained our membership numbers this year, with a small gain, despite economic pressures.
If you know someone who may be interested in joining our League, please contact email@example.com
or direct them to the Join Us
page on our website, where they can print a membership application.
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 you have moved or your email address has changed in the past year, please ensure that the League has your correct information.
|It Takes a Village
By volunteering, you'll be making a big difference in our League. A lot of relatively little tasks need to be done to run our League: behind the scenes and not glamorous ... but so necessary!
Needed: POLL DEPUTY for AUGUST 24 and NOVEMBER 2 ELECTION DAYS.
Duties: Open, close and monitor the doors to the polling site, direct voters who want help to the instruction machine, make certain no lobbyists are approaching voters in line, hand out "I Voted Today" stickers and generally maintain order.
Requirements: Long day - 7 AM to 7 PM. Lunch will be provided, and there will be an instructions session a few weeks before the election.
If you are interested, please call Marjorie Joder at 239-597-6981 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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|News from the National League
Last month the National League:
For more information on these and other National League projects, click here
News from the State League
Last month, the Florida League:
|Update on Rights Restoration in Florida|
Chris Straton, LWVFL representative, FRRC
The LWV of Florida is one of over 40 organizations that belong to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), whose mission is "to have Florida join the 40 states in the nation that automatically restore the civil rights of all individuals with past felony convictions upon completion of non-monetary terms of their sentences." Ex-felons have had their civil rights removed and also have lost the ability to get occupational licenses in a wide range of fields. They can get their civil rights restored only by the Florida Clemency Board.
In 2007, the Clemency Board adopted rules that resulted in categorizing felonies into three classifications, with the mildest classification receiving "automatic" restoration of rights. There was a backlog of ex-felons, however, who had completed their sentences decades before, and letters notifying ex-felons that their rights had been restored were mailed to their last known address. Many (we have no idea how many) of these letters were returned by the post office as "no known person." An online database has been established which will allow ex-felons to determine if their rights have been restored. For the other two classifications, the process is more cumbersome, with the most severe classification requiring individual review and approval by the Clemency Board.
The FRRC strategy is to further automate the rights restoration process as well as to make "automatic" restoration of rights a campaign issue for the candidates for Governor, Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer, and Commissioner of Agriculture, who all sit as the Clemency Board. Legislation has been introduced for a constitutional amendment which provides that a former felon could no longer be disqualified from voting, serving on a jury or holding public office. Additionally, the FRRC is urging the de-coupling of felony convictions from licensing.
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Bernice Schmelz, Justice Committee Chair
In Southwest Florida, we are especially aware of trafficking related to agriculture. We are fortunate to have a number of organizations, including the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), working with the Department of Justice and the FBI to end human trafficking. A founding member of the national network to end modern-day slavery (Freedom Network USA), CIW also trains law enforcement and NGOs on how to eliminate forced labor in their communities. CIW's focus is on farmworkers who are held against their will and forced to work for little or no pay. As indicated on the CIW website (www.ciw-online.org), these workers are "facing conditions that meet the stringent legal standards for prosecution under modern-day slavery statutes." They also report prosecution "of seven slavery operations involving over 1,000 workers in Florida's fields since 1997" and quote a federal prosecutor who called Florida "ground zero for modern-day slavery." The CIW's efforts in helping to bring these cases forward include worker-led investigation and human rights education. We salute the many agencies attacking involuntary servitude and will continue to provide updates.
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|2010 Meeting Schedule
Save the dates!
April 12General Meeting - "On the Road to Citizenship"
Lively League - Annual Meeting
Look for details about our fall General Meetings in the next VOTER, which will be available on October 1. General Meetings will resume on the second Monday of October and continue on the second Monday of each month through April 2011.
The League of Women Voters of Collier County, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation 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 Program, Diversity Policy, Nonpartisan Policy, By-Laws, Minutes and more.