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December 2007, Volume 33, Issue 3

In This Issue
December General Meeting
Holiday Party!!
President's Message
Government Committee Update
Justice Committee Update
Natural Resources Committee Update
Social Policy Committee Update
Voter Service Committee Update
Membership Update
Presidential Primary Primer
Positions Available
About Us
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Save the Dates

See our Events Calendar
for details
 

December 2007  

 

3 - Board Meeting, 9am

North Collier Government Center

 

7 - Voter Service Committee, 10am
North Collier Government Center
 

10 - Justice Committee, 9:30am

North Collier Government Center

 

12 - Social Policy Committee, 8am

Crissy's Wildside Cafe

 

13 - Government Committee Leaders & Lunch, 10:30am

Collier Athletic Club

 

13 - LWVCC Holiday Party, 5pm

Provence Condominium
4151 Gulfshore Blvd. N
 

17 - General Meeting

Lively League 10:30am

Lunch 12 noon

Program 1:00pm

Collier Athletic Club

 
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Quick Links
December General Meeting
 
MONDAY, DECEMBER 17TH
 

Lively League: IMMIGRATION REFORM is an issue of importance to Collier County, Florida, the United States and the League of Women Voters.  Join your fellow Leaguers at 10:30am for an overview of the League's study of Immigration in the United States.  League member Stu Warshauer has reviewed the information provided by our national League and will brief us on the issues and the questions.  The background material is available here

 
 
General Meeting: TALLAHASSEE TALES 

What can we expect from the upcoming Legislative Session?  Representative Garrett Richter (District 76) and newly elected Representative Matt Hudson (District 101) will be our speakers for an informal discussion on the 2008 Legislative Session.  Hear about their priorities and what they anticipate will be the priorities of the House, Senate and Governor.  This is a great opportunity to let your legislator know what is on your mind.   

 
NEW TIME!!
Lively League at 10:30am
Lunch 12 - 12:50pm
($20 members; $25 nonmembers)
 Program at 1:00pm
 
COLLIER ATHLETIC CLUB
710 Goodlette Rd N
Naples, FL 34102
(239) 263-2566
Get directions
 
RSVP for lunch by 5pm Thursday, 12/13
or 263-4656
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Holiday Party
 
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13TH
 

This year, our holiday party will be held at Provence Condominium at 5pm on Thursday, December 13th.  It has a large, lovely party area.  Please bring $10 per person contribution to the LWVCC Education Fund, along with a "finger-food" appetizer or dessert of your choice and whatever you would like to drink.  We'll have a Holiday Punch and all the utensils needed.  There are ovens and microwave if needed.  We hope to see a beautiful sunset, and we're looking forward to getting together.

 
5:00pm
PROVENCE CONDOMINIUM
4151 Gulf Shore Blvd. N
 
RSVP by Tuesday, 12/11
or 263-4656
 

Provence is located directly across from Venetian Village on the north side.  There is parking to your left as you enter. 

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President's Message
Chris Straton, President - LWVCC
 Chris Straton - President 

The holidays remind us of the importance of friends and family and the things that we truly value.  It is at this time of year that we tend to look back and assess our accomplishments.  And, if we feel that we have failed to meet our annual goals, then we have less than 30 days to accomplish that one important task that means so much to us.  Therefore, before the year ends, allow me the luxury of using this column to accomplish one of my annual goals.  Thanks to every one of you that volunteer for a committee, serve on our Board of Directors, attend our meetings, encourage your friends to get involved in voting and last, but certainly not least, thanks for being a member of this organization.  You and the League are truly valuable.

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Government Committee Update
Sandy Parker, Committee Chair

Leaders and Lunch -- On December 13, the Government Committee will have Norm Feder, the Administrator of the County Transportation Department, as our guest for an informal discussion about transportation issues in Collier County.  The meeting will be held at the Collier Athletic Club and will begin promptly at 10:30 with lunch at the end of the meeting.  RSVP to Arlene Shapiro by Tuesday, December 11 at 513-1269 or arleneshap@gmail.com, to let her know if you plan to come just for the meeting or if you'll stay for lunch.  Because we must use a small room at the Club for this meeting only, seating is limited and reservations will be honored on a first come, first served basis.  Sign up soon!

 

Observer Program -  Members of the Government Committee have formed teams to observe meetings of elected officials in Collier County.  Team members will attend part of one meeting per month and report back on their observations.  Trudy Rech leads the Board of County Commissioners Observer Team, and Gail DiMaggio leads the School Board Observer Team.  By serving as a member of our new Observer Program, you will benefit the community by helping create a civically-engaged and empowered group of "watchdogs," and by helping your League promote open, transparent and accountable government.  And you will benefit yourself by becoming better informed about what's happening in your community, and by meeting and networking with county officials and other concerned citizens.  Additional team members are welcome.  Contact Sandy Parker at 513-1595 or sparker101@gmail.com for more information.

 

Sign FAIR Petitions for Redistricting Reform - The political committee FairDistrictsFlorida.org (which the LWV of Florida supports) is collecting signatures on two petitions that would create new requirements for drawing congressional and legislative districts in Florida.  If the proposed constitutional amendments are adopted by Florida voters, districts could not be drawn (gerrymandered) to favor incumbents or political parties. To get on the ballot for a vote, over 600,000 registered voters must sign these petitions.  Click here  to download the petitions.  We need you and everyone you know to sign petitions to create strong, binding rules for the next redistricting that is coming up in 2011.   

 

Action Alert Update - In early November, the Florida League asked members to urge their Congressman to vote to override President Bush's veto of the Water Resources Development Act, a bill that "was intended to revive the flagging Everglades restoration effort and help with post-Katrina reconstruction in Louisiana." (St. Petersburg Times).  Thank you to those who made calls or wrote emails   Each of Collier County's representatives in the U.S. House and Senate did vote to override the veto, which passed by large margins in both chambers.  To sign up for Action Alerts, email  Government@lwvcolliercounty.org.

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Justice Committee Update
Bernice Schmelz - Committee Chair
 

December meeting - In fiscal year 2005-06, 155 Collier youth were adjudicated delinquent and committed to a low-risk, nonresidential program or one of over 100 residential commitment facilities somewhere in the state of Florida, according to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), the department legislated to handle juvenile crime in Florida.

 

Commitment to a facility is based on the seriousness of the crime, the potential risk that the youth poses to him/herself, public safety, and the treatment needs of the youth.  According to the DJJ website, the lowest risk youth remain at home and participate at least five days a week in a day-treatment program.  There are four levels of residential facilities ranging from low-risk to maximum-risk.  Two of these facilities are in Collier - Big Cypress Wilderness Institute, run by AMI (Associated Marine Institute), and the Collier Academy, run by Psychotherapeutic Services. Collier Academy serves moderate-risk males who need a substance abuse program; Big Cypress Wilderness Institute is also a moderate-risk facility for males.  Both serve youth from several counties.

 

Where do delinquent Collier youth most frequently complete their sentences; how is that determined; what programs are provided at the facilities; does their education continue; and how long do the youth stay?  Are there special facilities for youth with mental health problems? Are families allowed to visit?

 

Michell McCarthy, Commitment Manager for the 20th Circuit South Region Residential Services, will answer these questions and more on December 10 as she educates League members on the DJJ residential commitment facilities and programs that most frequently serve Collier delinquents.
 
Join the Justice Committee at 9:30am on Monday, December 10 to learn about the commitment facilities and the various programs provided.  The committee will meet in the North Collier Government Center Community Room, 2335 Orange Blossom Drive, just west of the Headquarters Library.   To insure adequate materials, please RSVP to Bernice Schmelz by December 6 at Justice@lwvcolliercounty.org.

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Natural Resource Committee
Bonnie Michaels, Committee Co-Chair

This season proves to be another busy one for the environment.  Some of the issues being addressed are water quality through watershed management plans, protecting wildlife through land conservation and other mechanisms, growth management in rural areas, global warming and rock mining.  

 

Additionally, projects which have environmental impacts are proceeding to the Board of County Commissioners. There is a plethora of committees, some official while others are ad hoc, working on these issues.  The special interests are well represented at these meetings while the general public is woefully absent.  In an attempt to determine where the League can maximize its impact, I have been going to as many of these meetings as possible.  However, there are more meetings than resources.  If you would like to learn more about our environment and what is at risk, contact me and I will arrange to get you "trained" to be an observer.

 

Water Issues:

  • The storm water ordinance was passed by the Naples Council.
  • The proposed Dunes docks was defeated.  Many of our members wrote letters and went to Tallahassee to speak out.
  • Public input for CC Watershed on November 29, 2007, 6:30 PM

Donna Fiala says we won't run out of water but it will definitely cost more.  Do your part for water conservation.  Run only full loads of laundry and the dishwasher.  Get your condo association to save water by using native plants. Wash your car on the grass.  Take short showers. Teach family members about conservation.

 

Get involved!  You can make a difference!  Contact Bonnie Michaels, mwfam@aol.com or 239-596-9135.

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Social Policy Committee
Ann Campbell - Committee Chair

December Meeting - The subject to be discussed at the December 12 meeting of the Social Policy Committee is Florida's Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Program, formerly known as the Universal Pre-K Program. We asked Donna Philps, Director of Childcare of Southwest Florida, to join us for our 8:00 am breakfast meeting at Crissy's Wildside Café.  We hope to have a progress report on the program which provides education to 4 year old children in accordance with the constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters.  We would like to know how the Early Learning Coalition is structured in our region and whether the needs of our families are being met. 

 

The cost for breakfast is $12.00; Crissy's offers a selection of four menu items, all delicious. If you would like to attend our Wednesday, December 12 meeting at 8 am at Crissy's Wildside Café, please contact Ann Campbell at 263-1755 or acamp1082@aol.com by Monday, December 10. All League members are invited.  Guests are welcome.

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Voter Service Update
Chris Straton, Committee Chair 

Attack Voter Apathy on Pearl Harbor Day! - Do you think that 14,000 people should make a decision affecting over 325,000?  Neither do I but that is what could happen.  Can you believe that less than 8 percent of the registered voters in Florida District 101 voted in the special election?  That was worse than the primary where there was a 10 percent voter turnout. 

 

I am afraid that we could see another low voter turnout on January 29th, 2008.  There is a lot more on that January 29th ballot than who will get the nomination for President.  Specifically, the goods and services that we receive and what we pay in taxes.  I am talking about the constitutional amendment on property tax reform.  We, as League members, need to attack this problem of voter apathy and put together a strategy to get the word out to get registered to vote by 12/31/07 and, more importantly, vote on January 29th. 

 

Join me on Friday, December 7th to launch our attack on voter apathy.  We will meet at the North Collier Government Center at 2335 Orange Blossom Drive, just west of the Headquarters Library off Airport-Pulling Road at 10 a.m.

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Membership Update
Anne Lewallen, Committee Chair
 

Renew your membership now!  All members should have received their renewal letter in November.  Renewals are due by December 31.  Please complete the entire application, particularly indicating your interests, as 2008 promises to be a busy year and there will be lots of great opportunities to be active.  You can also access our renewal application onlinePrompt payment of dues will be appreciated. 

Welcome new members!  This month, we welcome returning member  Katherine (KT) Todd.  Chris Straton - President

 
In addition, the following members' e-mails have changed: 
  • Anne Allen
  • Elliot Feinberg
  • Lydia Galton
  • Trudy Rech 
  • Arlene Shapiro
Contact information for all members can be found in the "For Members" section of our website at www.lwvcolliercounty.org.
 

If you know someone who may be interested in joining our League, please contact me at Membership@lwvcolliercounty.org, or direct them to the "Join Us" page on our website, where they can print a membership application.

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Presidential Primary Primer
Corinne Miller, LWV Palm Beach County

 

Both Republicans and Democrats officially choose their Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates by a majority vote of delegates to their National Convention. 

 

Choosing the delegates to represent the rank and file of party members takes place in the 50 states and the US territories by three different methods:

  1. Statewide primary elections
  2. Precinct Caucuses
  3. State Party Conventions

The rules for choosing delegates are set by the national parties well in advance of the presidential election. The parties have somewhat different rules and different numbers of convention delegates. For example: The Republicans have 2459 voting delegates and use a winner take all method of allotting each state's delegates. The Democrats choose 4381 delegates in a system of proportional representation which awards delegates to candidates who get more than 15% of the vote in a state.

 

Florida Primaries - In Florida we have a statewide primary. The parties have agreed to hold their primaries on the same day and because the election is paid for by the government, other elections may occur at the same time. Some municipalities have moved their local elections to coincide with the scheduled primary and this year a constitutional amendment is also contemplated.

 

Florida is a closed primary state. Florida holds primary elections for Republican and Democratic candidates only. Registered Republicans and Democrats may vote only for candidates in their respective party. No crossover votes. A member of a party is someone who declares membership in a party and makes the designation a public record with the Supervisor of Elections.

 

The Florida Presidential Primary in 2008 - This year Florida's state legislature voted to move Florida's presidential preference primary from the second Tuesday in March to January 29, 2008, thus defying the established rules of both national parties. Despite the confusion this has caused, it is important to use the opportunity to express your preference. The seating of the delegates is then in the hands of the Convention Rules Committee and is often directed by the nominee. Therefore the threats of Florida losing delegates in both parties may still be modified.

 

Our voices will be heard. The media is very anxious to hear from us. If you have not declared a party or wish to change your party, just fill out a voter registration form indicating your party choice before the deadline on December 31, 2007.

 

Both early voting and absentee voting will be in place for the January Primary. Make a choice, however hard it may be, and meet the standard for League members of never missing a chance to vote.

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Positions Available

Designer/Researcher needed to create a new, fresh look for Our Florida Government, a publication of the League of Women Voters of Florida.  LWVCC members are updating this 128-page book that has served as a resource throughout the state since 1969.  A great sense of design and layout, as well as a willingness to research and recommend printing, self-publishing and online publishing options, are required.  Contact Sandy Parker at 513-1595 or sparker101@gmail.com.

 

Writer/Researcher needed to update the State Agency and Executive Branch Departments sections of Our Florida Government, a publication of the League of Women Voters of Florida.  Sections  (each one-two paragraphs in length) to be updated include the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Department of Citrus, Department of Education, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and a few more.  Research is web-based; training will be provided.  Work needs to be completed by the end of December.  Contact Sandy Parker at 513-1595 or sparker101@gmail.com.

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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.
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This email was sent to sparker101@gmail.com, by lwvcc@lwvcolliercounty.org
League of Women Voters of Collier County | P.O. Box 9883 | Naples | FL | 34101