|Education Committee Update
Marilyn Bogen, Committee Chair
For the third straight year, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) has found that a large number of Americans cannot pass a basic 33-question civic literacy test on their country's history and institutions. ISI is calling on everyone involved in education to re-evaluate curricula and standards of accountability and to emphasize to students the fundamentals about our country. The League of Women Voters of Florida State Program 2007-2009 under Education in Florida has as its Issue for Action: Promote Civic Education in Public and Private Schools. Need I say more?
Also, we are establishing an Observer Corps to attend, observe and report on School Board meetings. These meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at 3PM. Voting takes place at this meeting. It would also be of great value to attend the Tuesday meeting (3PM) where citizen input is acceptable. If unable to attend the actual meetings there are broadcasts on Channel 20 at 12 noon Saturdays and Sundays.
I have a few names of interested members but would like to hear from more of you. Please call me at 514-0343 or email me at Marilynbogen@aol.com
|Government Committee Update
Lydia Galton, Committee Chair
At our November 17, 2008 General Meeting, members had an opportunity to hear from chairs of Development Services Advisory Committee (DSAC), Planning Commission (CCPC), Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) and Productivity Committee (PC). During the course of the presentation we were made aware of the great concern on the part of the CCPC and EAC regarding changing the review process on the Rural Land Stewardship project. It was the consensus of our members that we ask the Board of County Commissioners to consider the Phase II report process as originally contemplated and not allow a single review in combination with the GMP language.
On December 3 we will monitor a meeting of the DSAC bearing in mind that this board's recommendations can directly impact land development in this county and thus has importance to all of us. We will meet at 3:30PM at Community Development, Room 610, 2800 N. Horseshoe Dr. Immediately after the meeting, or no later than 5:30, we will discuss the meeting over drinks at Spanky's, 1550 Airport Pulling Rd N, Naples, FL 34104-3334. Tel: (239) 643-1559. A copy of the agenda for the meeting will be emailed to those interested as soon as it is created. We will monitor the other boards in February, March and April.
At our meeting the government committee also decided to study the legislative priorities of the LWV of Florida that directly relate to government so that we can better participate in and be prepared for discussions at Coffee and the Capitol Report meetings to be held during the legislative session in March and April. These priorities include:
- Government: Promote an open government that is responsive to the people of the state.
- Finance and Taxation: Support a state fiscal structure that is equitable in its distribution of the tax responsibility and responsive to public needs.
- Redistricting: Support single-member election districts that are equal in population, provide access for minorities, and are not determined by the Legislature.
- Citizen Initiatives including the Statutory Initiative: Support citizens' right to have both constitutional and statutory initiatives.
We will initiate these studies at our January 15th meeting at Calistoga's at 7941 Airport Pulling Road N., at 10AM. Those interested in participating should contact me at 262-3137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|Justice Committee Update
Bernice Schmelz, Committee Chair
|On Monday, December 8, Sgt. Tom Wedlock of the Collier County Sheriff's Office will be updating the Justice Committee on Collier County's Truancy Court
. The Truancy Court is a short-term intervention program that helps at-risk and truant children ages 4-18, a goal that is consistent with the Florida and Collier Leagues' support of early intervention and diversion.
Truancy is often an early indicator of other problems involving the juvenile and/or family. Some of these problems may include domestic violence, child abuse/neglect, drug use, gang involvement, psychological issues, and academic problems.
Prior to Truancy Court, there have been many steps taken by the schools and other partnering agencies to try and reduce the truancy levels within the Collier County Public Schools. It starts with parent notifications, child study team meetings, and possible referrals to community service providers. However, there are certain cases when these attempts will fail, and the child and/or family will never receive the services needed.
Wedlock says, "Through the implementation of Truancy Court, we have been able to assist these most difficult cases by utilizing court ordered sanctions with accountability measures in place to ensure that these families receive the services they need to succeed." Truancy Court was initiated in February 2008 and has proved to be very successful
. Through this collaborative partnership, there have already been significant reductions in truancy, decreased discipline issues, decreased drug use, and an improvement in grades, within only a few months time. "The truancy court team is excited about starting the new 2008-09 school year and hopes to continue on this very successful path," offers an enthusiastic Wedlock.
Sgt. Wedlock was instrumental in getting Truancy Court off the ground in collaboration with Judge Daniel Monaco and representatives from the public schools, the State Attorney's Office, Department of Juvenile Justice, David Lawrence Center and Lutheran Social Services. Sgt. Wedlock will be sharing the goal of the court, the criteria for participating, the range of sanctions that can be imposed, and, most importantly, what has been accomplished during the first months of operation.
The committee meets from 9:30-11:30 AM in the Community Room at the North Collier Government Center, 2335 Orange Blossom Drive. Please RSVP your attendance to email@example.com
by December 1 to assure adequate materials are provided. All are welcome to attend.
January 2009 - TBA
February 9, 2009 - Mike Orlando, Deputy Public Defender, Collier, Glades and Hendry Counties
|Natural Resource Committee Update
Bonnie Michaels, Committee Chair
Rural Land Stewardship (RLSA)
- During the Board of County Commissioners' November 18th meeting the BCC gave specific direction to staff that a joint workshop be held to review the Phase 2 Report prior to the submittal of the Phase 2 Report to the BCC. The joint workshop will involve the Collier County Planning Commission, Environmental Advisory Board, and the Rural Lands Stewardship Area Review Committee for the purpose of presenting the report and obtaining recommendations from the CCPC and EAC relative to the Phase 2 Report and its recommendations. Once the workshop has been held the Phase 2 Report, together with EAC and CCPC comments and recommendations, will be forwarded to the BCC for its further direction. Consider attending the next meeting of the RSLA on December 11
at 9AM at North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston, Conference Room A.
Clam Bay -- Town meetings have been held to inform Pelican Bay Residents about the new Clam Pass Beach Park Expansion Plan. For more information and to get involved, contact Marsha Cravens, firstname.lastname@example.org, (230) 594-8256.
Pepper Ranch -- Congratulations to all those supporting the vote for purchasing Pepper Ranch for Conservation Collier! This is definitely an historic event.
Our next Natural Resources Networking Meeting-- Overall the group feels that community sustainability is the umbrella for which our issues fall under. Topics such as carbon audits, climate acts, green rain gardens/barrels, fertilizer ordinances, Naples Bay issues, education, RLSA and growth management were also discussed. Initially our meetings will provide the group with natural resource updates and support for initiatives or policy votes as needed. (This could be attending council/commissioner meetings or writing letters.) Education is also important to the group and at some point we may bring in speakers or assist members with educational ideas. Our next meeting will be on January 7, 2009 at 3-5PM, North Collier Government Services Center, 2335 Orange Blossom Drive. For more information: contact Bonnie Michaels, email@example.com, (239) 596-9135.
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|Social Policy Committee Update
Ann Campbell, Committee Chair
A P.L.A.N.* for Access to Health Care for the Medically Needy
The Wednesday, December 10 meeting of the Social Policy Committee will be devoted to the *Physician Led Access Network (P.L.A.N.) Inc. of Collier County. Started by local physicians and supported by local healthcare providers, grants and donations, P.L.A.N. arranges volunteer medical care for eligible low-income, medically needy adults in Collier County who don't qualify for public assistance or any other healthcare program. Services include physician visits, hospital stays, outpatient services, lab work, x-rays, and medications. During their first year of operation, P.L.A.N. gave $1million in free care. Their volunteer physicians are covered under Sovereign Immunity procedures and cannot charge patients for anything. They carry insurance in their own private practices though.
Our speaker is Deborah Dahlmanns, the new executive director of P.L.A.N. A graduate of Michigan State University, Ms. Dahlmanns has been involved in nonprofit executive leadership for over seven years in Collier County. She was nominated as the "Administrative and Professional Employee of the year" at Florida Gulf Coast University and she was recognized as the 2007 "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Champion of the Year" for her outstanding volunteer service in Lee County's Dunbar Community.
As always, our breakfast meeting is at Crissy's Wildside Café from 8:00 AM to 9:15 AM. Breakfast is $12.00 including tax and gratuity with a choice of four items including a fruit plate. All members are invited to attend and guests are welcome.
Please contact Ann Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 263-1755 by Monday, December 8, to reserve a place.
|Voter Service Committee
Chris Straton, Committee Chair
Are you unsure about what happens with an absentee ballot? Do you think that "they" know whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent and thus treat your absentee ballot differently? Are you afraid to use an absentee ballot?
As we encourage more people to avoid the lines of early voting and election day voting by voting "absentee", it is important that we understand the checks undertaken to protect those absentee ballots.
Please join me on January 9, 2009, at 10 am when we meet with Tim Durham, the person in charge of the absentee ballots. We will meet in the Supervisor of Elections office where you will have a chance to see where the absentee ballots are stored and then eventually counted. After our meeting, you are invited to join us for lunch to discuss what we have learned. Call 597-8849 or email ChrisStraton@yahoo.com if you plan to attend.
As we prepare for the 2010 election, please share with me any concerns that you have about the election process. Your concern could be the genesis of a great new procedure.
Please welcome new members Pat and John Snyder!
They were guests of Sandy Parker at our November meeting and joined after meeting other members and listening to our excellent program. We now have 164 members in our League!
Just a reminder to please send in your LWVCC membership renewal
. It's that time and additionally, if you can make a donation to the education, general or lobby fund, it will be hugely appreciated and wisely used
. Remember, membership is everyone's responsibility and the energy and effectiveness of our League is enhanced by new active members. Please print a membership renewal form
by clicking here
, complete it and mail it with your check to LWVCC, P.O. Box 9883, Naples, FL 34101. We appreciate your saving us the expense of printing and mailing your renewal letter!
Contact information for members can be found in the "For Members" section of our website.
Log in with your email address as your user name and your zipcode as your password.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 email@example.com
or calling 263-4656.
If you know someone who may be interested in joining our League,
please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
, or direct them to the "Join Us" page on our website, where they can print a membership application. Dues are $65.00 for an individual member and $97.50 for a family membership.
|Legislative Opportunity in Naples on December 10th
|What do the League of Women Voters of Collier County, the Collier County Public Schools, the PACE Center for Girls, the American Cancer Society, FGCU, the David Lawrence Center and the Collier Board of County Commissioners have in common? |
On December 10th, each of these organizations and many more will lobby Collier County's Legislative Delegation about legislation they would like these state senators and representatives to sponsor or oppose in the upcoming Legislative Session that begins in March. This annual Hearing, which is open to the public, is a terrific opportunity for League members to observe lobbying up-close-and-personal, as well as to learn about the legislative priorities of some of our community's most prominent non-profit organizations.
Don't miss this chance to learn something about our community, observe how our legislators respond to presenters' requests in view of ongoing state budget challenges, and support President Chris Straton as she makes our League's presentation. We'll meet at 1:50PM on December 10th in front of Naples City Hall. If you plan to attend the Hearing with me, and/or participate in a follow-up discussion of local organizations' priorities, please call me at 513-1595 or email@example.com.
|Immokalee Trip Planned for February
|LWVCC is sponsoring a field trip to Immokalee on February 26, 2009, to highlight progress in that community in the areas of access to health care, preparation of the workforce and collaboration among nonprofit agencies, particularly as regards housing. An air conditioned bus will leave the Naples area at 9:00AM and depart Immokalee for the return trip at 3:30PM. You might like to read Carlene Thissen's book, "Immokalee's Fields of Hope", beforehand. Carlene will be with us on the bus. Barbara Cacchione, of the Community Foundation's Immokalee Initiative has helped us to plan our day in Immokalee and she will join us there. We will have details in the next VOTER about cost and meeting place. |
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|News from National
|Out with the Electoral College! A LWVUS Study is Coming. Gore won the popular vote in 2000 but Bush won the electoral vote and became President. Four times in our history did the person with the most popular votes not become President. In 1970 the League took the position of calling for the abolishment of the Electoral College and direct election of the President by popular vote. The abolishment of the Electoral College would require amending the U.S. Constitution - a daunting task requiring the approval of 2/3 of the House and Senate and ratification of 3/4 of the states. A proposal not requiring a change to the U.S. Constitution has been gaining interest and in 2008 the LWVUS adopted a new study, "The Advisability of Using the National Popular Vote Compact among the States as a Method for Electing the President." Click here to get additional background and a status on the study.|
Climate Change - The LWVUS has initiated a Climate Change task force and Clara Ann Graham, LWVF Board member has been appointed. LWVF also has a Climate Change task force and Kathleen Slebodnik and Chris Straton are members of that committee. The Naples Chamber of Commerce recently initiated an effort in the same vein although they have titled it Sustainable Collier. While we all know that we should reuse and recycle, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there are so many ways to reduce our use of energy which is created, for the most part, by burning fossil fuels. If you would like some suggested ways to combat global climate change, click here.
Enroll Early to Receive the February 2009 Digital National Voter - Get the National Voter sooner and save LWVUS $$.
Beat the enrollment deadline of January 5, 2009 (5pm ET). Enroll now to start receiving the digital edition of The National Voter. If you enroll before 1/5/2009, the first issue you will be eligible to receive is the February 2009 issue. If you are already enrolled, there is no need to enroll again. To enroll, (1) click here
to register and login to www.lwv.org; (2) when you get to your "My League/Welcome" page, click on "(Update your information)" at the bottom of the page; (3) Scroll to the bottom of the "Your Profile" page, click on the box "I wish to receive The National Voter electronically" and then click on "Submit Changes." Please note that you will no longer receive a paper copy in the mail once you enroll.
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|Don't Miss Important League Events! Mark Your Calendar!|
December 10, 2008 - 2PM - Legislative Delegation Meeting - See article, above.
February 26, 2009 - Immokalee Trip - See article, above.
March 22-24, 2009 - LWVF Legislative Seminar - What better opportunity to learn first hand about the legislative process than to participate in the State League's Legislative Seminar in Tallahassee? Contact Lydia Galton for more information.
May 15-17, 2009 - Florida League State Convention - The 2009 Convention will be held in Jacksonville, FL. Members are encouraged to attend and some funding is available. Contact Chris Straton if you are interested.
Mark your calendars and plan to attend!