VOTER Header

December 2009 - Volume 35, Issue 3 

Month at a Glance
12/7 - LWVCC Board Meeting
9:30 - 11:30 AM
Collier Athletic Club 

12:00 - 2:30 PM
Collier Athletic Club

 
Members and guests are welcome at all meetings
In This Issue
Holiday Party
President's Message
Education Committee
Government Committee
Justice Committee
Social Policy Committee
Voter Service Committee
Membership
Healthy Teens Coalition
Census 2010
Won't You Help?
LWV Program Planning
News from the National League
News from the Florida League
2009 - 2010 General Meeting Schedule
About Us
Top2Top 
TIME CHANGE
FOR GENERAL MEETINGS!
 
Lunch from noon - 1 PM
Speaker program from 1 - 2 PM
Business meeting from 2 - 2:30 PM
 
PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDAR 
 
General Meeting - December 14 
Holiday Party
 
Holiday platePlease come to our Holiday party!  "No Work  and All Play" is the theme again this year.   We'll begin with a Hospitality Hour with an open bar - a chance to visit with other members in a convivial atmosphere. 
 
Lunch will follow with entertainment and singing by our members.  
 
Please feel free to bring a spouse, a friend or both to share the joy of the season. Cost is $20 for members; $25 for nonmembers.

Join us from noon - 2 pm
COLLIER ATHLETIC CLUB
710 Goodlette Rd N
Naples, FL
(239) 263-2566
 
RSVP by 5 PM Thursday, 12/10 to Hospitality@lwvcolliercounty.org or 263-4656; cancel by 12/10 to avoid charge.
 
We Now Accept Credit Cards Online!!!
 
 
We use the PayPal service but a PayPal account is not required.
 
RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP NOW!
 
 
President's Message
Sandy Parker
 
Sandy Parker
I was particularly struck by Property Appraiser Abe Skinner's statement that the appraised value of Collier County property declined 20% in the last two years, at our November General Meeting Program ("Your Tax Bill, the Budget and the Services You Expect").  Steve Harrison, Productivity Committee Chair, said he expects a similar decline over the next two years.  With such significant declines, what services will be cut in the future?  Will taxes be raised? 
 
This drastic situation is taking place throughout the state, and that is one reason tax equity is a priority of the LWV in the upcoming legislative session.  In my presentation to the Collier County State Legislative Delegation Meeting and Public Hearings on November 24, I told our elected officials the Florida LWV will be advocating for improvement in two areas of tax unfairness: income tax exemptions for large multi-state corporations, and sales tax exemptions for special interests.  Read my complete remarks on our website www.lwvcolliercounty.org.
 
With the continuing decline in property tax revenues, the need to equalize the tax burden by repealing unwarranted or no-longer-affordable corporate income and sales tax exemptions is more critical than ever before. Now is the time to ask our state legislators to hold Florida's businesses accountable for their fair share of the tax burden.  You can find out who your representatives are and send them an email from our website under "
Find Your Representative."  To support the Florida League of Women Voters Lobby Fund, go to www.lwvfla.org. The quality of life we enjoy in Collier County is at stake.   

At this month's General Meeting, we'll take a break from the seriousness of government and have some fun!  Our Holiday Party will be a great opportunity to mix and mingle and get to know one another.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Sincerely,

Sandy's signature

 
 
 
EducationEducation Committee
Marilyn Bogen and Sheilah Crowley, Committee Co-Chairs

Marilyn BogenAction Alert

Join us on Wednesday, December 16, to hear from Dawn Houser, Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) Director, Department of Nutrition Services.  Ms. Houser will address the subjects of childhood obesity and the Free or Reduced-Price Lunch Program. We will meet at 9:30 AM in the Community Room of the North Collier Government Center on Orange Blossom Drive. 

Dennis Thompson, Superintendent of CCPS, mentioned this issue at our October General Meeting, saying that the application for meal benefits is easy to fill out. With approximately 55% of the students in the CCPS participating in the Free or Reduced-Price Lunch program, we will learn more about the opportunities parents have to get their children enrolled in the program. Did you know that all CCPS students are provided a free breakfast? Come and find out why.
 
"The mission of the Department of Nutrition Services is to build a foundation for student learning by providing nutritious, high-quality food choices that are attractive, reasonably priced and served in a safe and courteous environment." 
 
Back to top ...

GovernmentGovernment Committee
Lydia Galton and Joyce Fletcher, Committee Co-Chairs

Lydia GaltonJoyce Fletcher

Thank you: To everyone who contributed to the FairDistirctsFlorida collection at the November 9 General Meeting. We collected $90.  The State charges $.10 to certify each petition, and we are eager for Collier County to receive its certified petitions.  We paid for the certification of 900 petitions.  Be proud!   

Date Change: The Board of County Commissioners' meeting that we planned to monitor on December 8 has been cancelled. We will instead monitor the January 12 meeting at 1:00 at BCC Chambers, Third Floor, W. Harmon Turner Building, 3301 East Tamiami Trail.  We will sit as a group, so please wear your League pin.  We will leave the BCC at 4:00 for drinks and discussion at Alice Sweetwater's, 1996 Airport Pulling Rd S. 
  
Hot Topics meeting:  Our Hot Topics meeting on Hometown Democracy, Amendment 4 on the 2010 ballot, has been moved to January 25 at noon at the Collier Athletic Club.  Lesley Blackner, the founder of Hometown Democracy, and Representative Matt Hudson have agreed to debate its merits or problems.  Read whatever you can, so that you can help make an informed decision about Amendment 4 at a Lively League discussion on March 8 at 10 AM.  We will then pass our consensus on to the state board for its consideration before it takes a position on the Amendment. 

Charter Government Committee Revival: Although the Board of County Commissioners recently decided NOT to pursue the concept of Charter Government at this time, an undercurrent of interest remains throughout the county. 
The LWVCC Charter Government Committee has, in the past, studied the various county charters and will once again sort through the pros and cons of charter government for Collier County with the goal of developing criteria that a county charter must meet in order to receive our League's support.  If you are interested in joining this important and interesting committee please send an email to Joyce Evans at joyceevans5@yahoo.com.  The next meeting is scheduled for January 15. 

Rapid Responders:  Issues arise from time to time that require "rapid response" study to investigate the impact the issue will have on either local or state government.  We need folks who are news junkies who can spot and report such a problem and then study it, with a few other Leaguers.  If this sounds like something you might be interested in doing, please let Joyce Fletcher or Lydia Galton know.  Hopefully, there will be enough of us to mandate a meeting. 
 
JusticeJustice Committee
Bernice Schmelz, Committee Chair 
Bernice Schmelz

Visit to PACE Center for Girls, Immokalee - "If I could wave a magic wand and remake the juvenile justice system, I would send them all to the PACE program.  It works," says the Juvenile Coordinator for the Public Defender's Office in Jacksonville in the 2008 PACE Annual Report. 

Many of our members are familiar with PACE (Practical Academic Cultural Education) Collier at Immokalee, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and we invite you and members new to our community to join the Justice Committee on Tuesday, January 19, on a visit to PACE to tour the center, talk with its director, Vacharee Howard, and visit with the girls.  

By way of background, PACE Collier has served over 500 girls since opening in 1998.  Statewide, PACE has served over 21,000 girls in 17 centers since 1984.  Its mission is to "provide girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy."  The non-residential delinquency prevention program targets females 12 to 18 who are identified as dependent, truant, runaway, delinquent, or in need of academic skills.  Referrals are made by the juvenile justice system, the Department of Children and Families, school personnel, community service agencies, family members or friends. According to Director Howard, 90% of the Immokalee center referrals are self-referred by the girls and their family.  

Since PACE continues to monitor each girl's educational and personal development for three years after program completion, there is excellent evidence of the program's success.  Among the outcomes reported in Florida's 2008 Annual Report: "90% of the girls had no involvement with crime a year after leaving PACE; 84% fewer used drugs and alcohol while at PACE; 79% of girls 18 or older are in school or employed a year after leaving PACE."  

Learn more about this nationally recognized program, the Collier center and outcome data by joining the Justice Committee on January 19 at 10:30 AM.  RSVPs should be made to Bernice Schmelz (berniceas@embarqmail.com) by January 13.  Anyone interested in carpooling can let her know when you respond. 

Future Meetings:   December - no meeting, February 15 - TBA; March 15 - TBA; April 19 - TBA.

 
SocPolSocial Policy Committee
Ann Campbell, Committee Chair

Ann Campbell 2009Making a Difference - Times are very hard for many of our neighbors in Collier County these days; agencies like Catholic Charities, The Salvation Army, Saint Vincent de Paul, and Harry Chapin Food Bank are stretched to their limits with requests for help that are 50% and 60% greater than last year. Some of us would like to see the government step in with aid, but governmental aid is not necessarily visible to the general public. Most of us are only too painfully aware of the needs in this community, and we contribute what we can in dollars, food, clothing, or volunteer hours. At our next Social Policy Committee meeting we are going to meet two women who stepped out of the box and found unique ways to make a difference. 

At our Wednesday, December 9, breakfast meeting at 8 AM at the Wildside Café, we will hear from Jean Ann Lynch, founder of Baby Basics, and Susy Warren, the brains behind Laces of Love, two individuals who saw particular needs and were inspired to do something about them. We will learn how the two not-for-profits were established and what impact there has been in this community and elsewhere. 

Members and guests are welcome. There is a cost of $12 for breakfast including tax and gratuity. Please contact Ann Campbell by Monday, December 7, to reserve a place or to request more information: acamp1082@aol.com or 263-1755. 

At our November meeting . . . We looked at whether the Nurse Practitioner (NP), a nurse with advanced education and advanced clinical experience, has a role in filling the gap caused by a shortage of primary care physicians. We were fortunate to have as our speaker Doreen Cassarino, MSN, ARNP, who explained to us that Nurse Practitioners are credentialed to do physical exams, order laboratory and other tests, interpret the tests, make diagnoses and prescribe medications and other treatments. They practice under the rules and regulations of the state in which they are licensed. Nurse Practitioners are recognized as expert providers of high-quality, cost-effective personalized health care.  But yet, there are barriers that prevent Nurse Practitioners from fully utilizing their skills for the benefit of their patients. In Florida, a major barrier exists in that NPs are not permitted to write prescriptions for controlled substances. This means that Hospice patients needing pain control, families in rural areas with kids with ADHD, people with seizure disorders needing a particular sedative, all have to take another step and visit a physician just for a prescription.  That means delays and increased costs for the consumers who already have trouble affording their health care.  The Florida Nurses Association and the Florida Academy of Nurse Practitioners hope that there will be a change in the law next year.  By the way, only Alabama and Florida have this restriction in place for Nurse Practitioners. 
 

Voter_ServiceVoter Service Committee
Chris Straton, Committee Chair 
Chris Straton 05_09

Did you realize that democracy depends upon a three-legged stool?   Good government depends upon 1. ethical candidates who represent the interests of their constituents and not just lobbyists, 2. active and informed voters and 3. a trustworthy voting system
 
Traditionally, our League has focused on educating voters about the candidates through our candidate forums. In keeping with our tradition of neither supporting nor opposing any candidate or party, we strive to ask probing questions, which will provide the voter with insights into the character and goals of candidates. We will continue that tradition with our Naples City Council Candidate Forum on January 12 from 6 to 8 PM at Naples City Hall. 

This election season, in addition to educating the voter, we will focus on steps to engage more voters in participating in the process through Get Out the Vote, Hotlines to answer voters' questions, and Vote Anywhere campaigns.  PLUS, we will be engaged with the Supervisor of Elections in all aspects of the actual voting process.  

If this sounds interesting, then we need you to take on a task.  We will need League members to help right up to the February 2 election.  Join us on Thursday, January 7, at 10 AM at Calistoga at Coastland Mall to finalize plans for the Naples City Council Candidate Forum and develop a work plan for the Get Out the Vote, Hotlines, and Vote Anywhere campaigns.
 
MembershipMembership
Anne Lewallen and Pat Snyder, Committee Co-Chairs
 
Pat SnyderWelcome to our new members this month! Please be sure to say hello to Theresia Blattler, Dorothy Hirsch, Bethann Kassman, Rhona Levin, Molly Monette, Beth Povlow, Sarah Quillman, Margaret Saunders, Margot Tatum and Anne Vitale. 

Renewals - Thank you for renewing your memberships!  Many of you have renewed online using PayPal.  This year it is especially convenient to renew from our website with a credit card.  The League is only as strong as the efforts of its members.  If you haven't renewed yet, click here to renew online or to print a renewal form.  Remember we really need you to do that as soon as possible.   

Thank you to those who volunteered to help with phone calling or emailing for this committee.  We still need about three more people for these short-term efforts, an hour or two during each of two months.  Contact Pat Snyder to volunteer. 
 
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 by emailing lwvcc@lwvcolliercounty.org or calling 263-4656.
 
Men can join tooIf you know someone who may be interested in joining our League, please contact lewallennaples@comcast.net, or direct them to the Join Us page on our website, where they can print a membership application.
 
HealthyTeensCollier County Healthy Teens Coalition
Jen Marquis, LWVCC Coalition Representative
 
Jen Marquis
The LWVCC is a member of the local Collier County Healthy Teens Coaltion, which has been working to provide evidence-based, medically-accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive reproductive and sexual health education for Collier County students in the 6th grade and continuing throughout high school.  The LWVCC is also a member of the state-wide Florida Healthy Teens Campaign, which is working to mandate comprehensive, age-appropriate, sexual health education state-wide, as Florida currently has no State-mandated guidelines for the teaching of adolescent sexual health.

As part of our efforts with the local coalition, LWVCC members attended the school board meeting on Thursday, November 19, where the School Board did a second and final reading of the proposed new health education policy, which was then voted on and APPROVED!  THANKS to all League members who attended this and prior school board meetings in support of the issue, and to all those who called and sent emails to show their support.  This is a major victory for Collier County and Collier County teens!

On the state front, the LWVCC was a featured coalition partner in the most recent Florida Healthy Teens Campaign newsletter, thanks to all their hard work right here in Collier County!  League members are encouraged to write Florida Representative and Chair of the House PreK-12 committee, John Legg of Pasco County, and Florida Senator and Chair of the Senate PreK-12 committee, Nancy Detert of Sarasota, asking them to support the Florida Healthy Teens Act in 2010.
 
For further information about state efforts and the Florida Healthy Teens Act, please click here or contact Jen Marquis at Jen@Muradaz.com  for further information.

Back to top ...
LWVCC Participates in Census 2010 Complete Count Committee
 
Taking CensusThe League of Women Voters is partnering with Census 2010 because the foundation of our democracy is dependent on fair and equitable representation in Congress. The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. The census population totals determine which states gain or lose representation in Congress. Those totals also determine the amount of state and federal funding communities receive over the course of the decade. 

2010 Census data will directly affect how more than $4 trillion is allocated to local, state and tribal governments over the next 10 years. In order for this funding allocation to be accomplished fairly and accurately, the goal of the decennial census is to count everyone, count each individual only once, and count them in the right place on April 1, 2010. The U.S. Census Bureau does not ask about the legal status of respondents in any of its surveys and census programs. 

With one of the shortest questionnaires in history, the 2010 Census asks for name, gender, age, race, ethnicity, relationship, and whether you own or rent your home. It takes only about 10 minutes for the average household to complete the questionnaire.
 
Lydia Galton and John Snyder are representing LWVCC on Collier County's 2010 Census Complete Count Committee, chaired by Commissioner Donna Fiala.  In addition, the City of Naples is forming a Complete Count Committee this month, chaired by City Councilwoman Theresa Heitmann.

If you would like to participate, or if your church or your community would like to become a partner with Census 2010 to spread the word on the importance of filling out the Census form, contact Lydia Galton (lgalton@comcast.net) for information.
 
It Takes a Village . . . Won't You Help? 
Sandy Parker

Volunteer opportunitiesThanks to Kate Albers, who volunteered to do the VOTER (and learn Constant Contact at the same time!), Kathy Curatolo, who volunteered be our Program Designer and prepare the programs for our monthly meetings, and John Snyder, who volunteered to represent the League on Commissioner Fiala's Census 2010 Complete Count Committee. 

Here are some more areas in which we need help  ... and by helping you'll be making a difference in our League.   
 
Constant Contact - Constant Contact is the web-based, template-driven application we've been using the last few years for the email VOTER and the personalized blast emails you've been receiving.  We need several people to learn to use it for Action Alerts, meeting reminders, dues renewal notices, and other member communications.  We'll provide the training

LWV Anniversary Committee - 2010 is the national LWV's 90th anniversary and the Collier LWV's 35th anniversary. We still need a few people to help plan the celebration! Contact Joyce Fletcher to volunteer.

Publicity Leader - Develop a publicity plan to get the League's message out in more creative ways.    

Telephone Tree Member - We still need about three more people for these short- term efforts, an hour or two during each of two months.  Contact Pat Snyder or Sandy Parker to volunteer.
  
Speaker's Bureau Member - Help get our new Speaker's Bureau off the ground.  Be a speaker or help with the logistics as speaking engagements come up.     

Website Manager - Be our liaison with the outside firm that updates our website.  We will let you know what changes have to be made.  All you need is Microsoft Word and high-speed internet access.   

Please consider volunteering a few hours of your time each month to help us offer the great programming and advocacy that defines us.  Contact me at 513-1595 or lwvcc@lwvcolliercounty.org to volunteer or to request more information.

 
LWV Program Planning
 
The League is a grassroots organization, and its priorities are based on the preferences of its membership.  If you would like to provide input to LWVUS on its priorities for 2010-11, contact Chris Straton at 207-7333.
 
Back to top....
News from the National League
Ann Campbell
 
LWV logo
Last month the National League: 

  • Reported that LWVUS President Mary Wilson will serve on a Judicial Selection Advisory Committee for the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System.  Retired United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be the Chair of the committee.  
  • Released a fact sheet prepared by League and coalition partners that discusses opposition to repealing sections of the Clean Air Act.
  • Praised the U.S. House of Representatives for passing health care reform with a strong public option, but condemned the reach of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.
  • Secured official Observer status for the United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.  Eight League members who are active on climate change issues were selected to serve as delegates to the Conference.
For more information go to www.lwvus.org.
 
FLA-LeagueNews from the Florida League 
Chris Straton, LWVCC director and LWVF 2nd vice president 
 
LWVFLA logoThe Board of the League of Women Voters of Florida met on
November 7 in Coral Gables.  Some of the highlights of the meeting are:  
  • Status report on securing a LWVF lobbyist. (You should have received a letter from Deirdre Macnab announcing our new lobbyist Ben Wilcox and asking for contributions to our Lobby Fund.  There is an anonymous offer of up to $3,000 in matching funds, so give generously.)
  • Reaffirmation of our membership in the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition 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."
  • Update on Legislative Seminar March 22 - 24 and LWVF Council Meeting in May.  In both cases LWVF is taking steps to reduce the costs to the local Leagues. 
  • Decision to partner with the Small Farms/Alternative Enterprises on a candidate forum for Commissioner of Agriculture.
  • LWVF has applied for a grant to engage a development person.  
  • Update from President Macnab on her meeting with Senator Nelson on climate change, offshore oil drilling and stimulus money for commuter rail. 
The next LWVF Board meeting will be on January 8 in the Hillsborough area.  Please contact Chris Straton at 207-7333 or ChrisStraton@yahoo.com if you want to attend.  
 
Back to top ...
2009 - 2010 General Meeting Schedule
Save the dates!

January 11, 2010
Hot Topic in Social Policy
 
February 8, 2010
Update on the State of Florida's Everglades Land Purchase

March 8, 2010
Hot Topic in the Local Justice System
 
April 12, 2010
On the Road to Citizenship: A Look Inside, with Casey Wolff, Immigration Attorney

Back to top ... 
About Us
 
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.  
 
###