VOTER Header
March 2008 - Volume 33, Issue 6
In This Issue
March General Meeting
President's Message
Young Voters Advertising Contest Update
Government Committee Update
Justice Committee Update
Natural Resources Committee Update
Social Policy Committee Update
Voter Service Committee Update
Membership Update
In Memoriam
About Us

Save the Dates

See our Events Calendar
for details

March 2008


3 - Board Meeting, 9AM

North Collier Government Center


7 - Young Voters Advertising

Contest Awards Ceremony &

 Ice Cream Social


Naples City Hall


12 - Social Policy Committee


Crissy's Wildside Cafe


13 - New and Prospective Members Coffee
Private Home in Naples

17 - General Meeting

Lunch 11:30AM
Business Meeting 12:30PM

Program 1PM

Collier Athletic Club


20 - Government Committee

Leaders & Lunch

Collier Athletic Club


31 - Justice Committee

Juvenile Court Observations
Collier County Courthouse



General Meeting - March 17

Challenges and Potential Solutions

for Immigration in Collier County


Immigration and the role of immigrants in our society is a complex and emotional topic. As one of the top destinations for unauthorized immigrants, Florida has long been aware of the challenges, however the debate continues and the number of unauthorized immigrants grows.  Congress has unsuccessfully attempted to provide solutions; communities throughout the country are attempting their own solutions; and immigration is a campaign issue at the national level.  The League of Women Voters is conducting a national study to arrive at consensus on solutions that they can promote as the Congress works on immigration law and the status of the unauthorized immigrants, many of whom have lived in the United States for years.


In an effort to further our education on the issue, we have invited several members of our community who have first-hand knowledge of immigration issues to participate on a panel to address the challenges and solutions for immigration in Collier County.  Our panelists will be:

  • Casey Wolff, Immigration Attorney with Paulich Slack & Wolff, who will provide an overview of current immigration law with an emphasis on worker visas,
  • Sheriff Don Hunter who will speak on the impact of unauthorized immigration on law enforcement in Collier and proposed solutions,
  • Steve Hart, Senior Vice President for Public Policy for the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and former Collier representative for Congressman Diaz-Balart, who will speak on immigration and the needs of the local economy, and
  • Sister Maureen Kelleher, Managing Attorney for Legal Aid of Collier County, who will address services and contributions of immigrants in our community.

There will be an opportunity for questions following the presentations.


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

($20 members; $25 nonmembers)

Business Meeting at 12:30PM sharp

Program at 1PM

710 Goodlette Rd N
Naples, FL 34102
(239) 263-2566
Get directions
RSVP for lunch by 5pm Thursday, 3/13 to Hospitality@lwvcolliercounty.org
or 263-4656
Quick Links
President's Message
Chris Straton, President - LWVCC
 Chris Straton - President 

There is so much going on in March in our League and I am bursting with pride. 


Our popular Leaders and Lunch program sponsored by the Government Committee continues this month on the 20th with Bill Moss, newly selected manager for the City of Naples.  These informal opportunities to meet with leaders in government are open to all members of the League.  And Coffee & the Capitol Report continues on Friday mornings while the Legislature is in session to review weekly developments in the state capitol.


The winners of our Get Out the Vote Young Voters Advertising Contest will be announced on March 7 at an Ice Cream Social at 4PM at Naples City Hall.  League members are welcome to attend and see the exciting posters prepared by local students.


This month the Justice Committee is providing an opportunity for everyone in our League to sit in on juvenile court on March 31st and meet with Judge Brodie on April 1.


On March 12, our ever-popular Social Policy Committee offers another chance to learn about our community and meet other League members.  The program will  focus on how a needy family finds help in Collier County


This month, we offer to our members and the public at large an opportunity to provide important feedback on how well the county is protecting our natural resources. Go to our website www.lwvcolliercounty.org to participate in the survey.  The results will be revealed at the Natural Resources Town Meeting on April 24.


Immigration is a hot campaign issue at the national level and is getting lots of press in Collier County.  We have a chance to hear from Sheriff Hunter about his joint venture with ICE as well as other experts on the impact of immigration on Collier County at our March 17 general meeting.


If you are new to League or still feel new, please mark your calendar for our new member coffee on March 13 at 10AM.   


Whatever activity you attend this month, please RSVP to the appropriate League member so that we have adequate seating available. 

Young Voters Advertising Contest Update

Ad Flyer TeensIn the November Voter, LWVCC member and School Board Observer Corps Leader Gail DiMaggio wrote, "As a retired teacher, I was attracted to the idea of working with teenagers again, and suggested we think about a project encouraging students to get involved in the political process.  After much discussion and reams of emails, we decided to invite high school students to design an ad that would inspire young people to register and vote."


And so the LWVCC Young Voters Advertising Contest was born.  The contest submissions were received from the students in January (view them on our website at http://www.lwvcolliercounty.org:80/poster_contest.php), and as this Voter goes to press, they are being considered by a distinguished panel of judges:

  • Naples Mayor Bill Barnett
  • Collier County Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards
  • Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala
  • Exploritech Inc. Vice President and Marketing Director Steve Kubala
  • Naples Daily News Publisher Phil Lewis
  • State Representative Garrett Richter
  • State Senator Burt Saunders
  • N Magazine Managing Editor Susan Smith

This contest was made possible by the generous support of the Community Foundation of Collier County, the Naples Daily News, Regions Bank, the Supervisor of Elections, and the Women's Consortium of Florida.

Please join us for an Awards Ceremony and Ice Cream Social to honor the contest winners and view the winning submissions.

Date:                Friday, March 7

Time:                4:00PM

Place:               Naples City Hall, Council Chambers, 735 Eighth Street South (get directions)

RSVP:              By March 1, 2008, to Contest@lwvcolliercounty.org or 263-4656


Government Committee Update
Sandy Parker, Committee Chair
Sandy Parker Leaders & Lunch - On Thursday, March 20, the Government Committee will have Bill Moss, Naples City Manager, as our guest for an informal discussion regarding current issues, problems and opportunities the manager is facing.  The meeting will be held at the Collier Athletic Club and will begin promptly at 11:00 a.m. with lunch at the end of the meeting ($20 for members, $25 for non-members).  RSVP to Arlene Shapiro by Monday, March 17th at 239-513-1269 or arleneshap@gmail.com to let her know if you plan to come just for the meeting or if you'll stay for lunch.

The Board of County Commissioners will hold its annual Strategic Planning Workshop on Tuesday, March 4, from 9AM to noon at the Board of County Commissioners chambers, located on the third floor of the W. Harmon Turner Building, Collier County Government Center, 3301 E. Tamiami Trail, Naples.  If you are interested in observing all or part of this meeting with LWVCC President Chris Straton, and/or meeting for lunch at the Collier Athletic Club afterwards for a related discussion, please contact Chris at President@lwvcolliercounty.org or 597-8849.

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.  Meetings are held 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 - Sue Bookbinder, Cecile Rivel and Barbara Karp attended the Collier Country Board of County Commissioners meeting on January 29.  Several public petitions were presented to the commissioners, who actively and knowledgably questioned the virtues and costs of each.  Particularly important to the LWV was the recommendation to approve the fifth Conservation Collier Active Acquisition List and receive approval to actively pursue projects within the "A" category. The commissioners heard many speakers, most in favor and one against the County's acquisition of the Pepper Ranch.

This acquisition would permanently preserve approximately 2,500 acres of imperiled species habitat and aquifer recharge area in Collier County. Many of the speakers pointed out that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a property containing significant contiguous acreage and a diverse array of habitat, including Lake Trafford frontage. This acquisition will also provide public access and unique outstanding recreational opportunities to Collier County citizens as well as permanent public protection of the Cocohatchee Slough headwaters and environmental lands adjacent to Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) preservation lands. It was also noted that this acquisition would grant all Collier County citizens public access to outstanding recreational opportunities, and provide significant area for wildlife as well as hiking, walking, camping, riding and all the human activities so desperately needed in this age and time.

The commissioners voted in favor of the acquisition. It was terrific to be there "up front and personal" to see our system work smoothly and give something so worthwhile the attention, support and full backing that it deserved.

- Susan Bookbinder, Observer


School Board Observer Corps Report

- The agenda item of most interest to the large audience at the February 21 meeting focused on the question of whether or not to shift from the 4 x 4 block at the high schools to a more traditional schedule based on a seven period day.  Early in the meeting, the board voted to use some of the emergency fund in order to allow the schools to retain the current schedule for the '08-'09 school year.  A motion was then made to commit to a change to the more traditional schedule (offering seven rather than eight credits a semester) in the '09-'10 school year.  The floor was opened for comment.  School Board Chair Abbott asked the audience to refrain from clapping and to indicate approval by waving their hands in the air.  After the first eight speakers - all of whom opposed the motion - the audience began to revert to applause. Board Member Donovan moved to cut off discussion and take a vote on the motion since the audience was increasingly ignoring Mrs. Abbott's request.  The board did so and the motion passed, 3 to 2 with Abbott and Board Members Calabrese and Donovan voting "Aye."  Then, Mrs. Abbott suggested that the people who had been denied an opportunity to speak be allowed to do so.  After several more speakers, Mr. Calabrese asked if he could be allowed to change his vote.  The board considered his motion to reconsider, but the motion failed.  Board Member Curatolo voted against the reconsideration on the grounds that the board needed to take consistent positions and stick to them. 

- Gail DiMaggio, Observer


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

Over the past several years, the Justice Committee has been learning about various programs and sanctions available to at-risk youth and juveniles who are arrested.    Michell McCarthy, Commitment Manager for Circuit 20, advised the Justice Committee recently that in fiscal year 2005-06, 155 juveniles were adjudicated delinquent and received sanctions from a juvenile judge requiring remand to a juvenile commitment center or a nonresidential program. Now committee members will have the opportunity to observe two phases of the juvenile court process.


On March 31 and April 1, committee members are invited to observe Judge Lauren Brodie's juvenile court (Courtroom 4 D) and to talk with the judge about the challenges and needs of juvenile court.  At 1:30PM on March 31, Judge Brodie will be hearing pleas and setting court dates for juveniles where a plea agreement hasn't been reached.   At 9:30AM on April 1, she will be announcing the sanctions to be imposed on juveniles who have already had their cases heard.  Judge Brodie will meet with our League observers following completion of the docket on April 1.


Please RSVP to Justice@lwvcolliercounty.org by March 21 in order that Judge Brodie can make appropriate arrangements.


Future Meeting - April 14, 2008, 9:30AM - Meeting at the Collier Regional Juvenile Detention Center where Superintendent Bill Jordan will provide an overview of the procedures relative to youth remanded to the Detention Center as well as the various programs that are provided while they are there.  The committee will also have the opportunity to tour the facility.


Natural Resource Committee Update 
Bonnie Michaels, Committee Co-Chair

Bonnie Michaels - Nat. Res.

Natural Resources Survey - The questionnaire is up and ready for your input.  Go to www.lwvcolliercounty.org and click on "Natural Resources Survey." Fill out and submit by March 31. This isn't a survey for only League members.  Tell your friends and direct them to the website. We want to get the public involved in evaluating the county's response to environmental issues.


Natural Resources Town Meeting- Mark your calendars for April 24 at 7 PM at the Norris Center to hear the results of the survey and a panel of natural resource experts. 


Everglades Updates - Kathleen Slebodnik, Everglades Coalition Liaison, attended the 23rd Annual Everglades Coalition Conference at the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, January 10-13, 2008. LWVF is one of 47 civic and environmental organizations who seek the restoration of the greater Everglades ecosystem by reversing threats of development and poor management decisions.  The conference is the largest forum for Everglades conservation and restoration, bringing coalition members together with local, state and federal officials. Senators, members of Congress, political figures, and scientists came to discuss their positions, pledge their support and offer challenges to the coalition.  Conference sessions focused on topics such as growth management, political and public partnerships, endangered and invasive species, wildlife habitat, energy policies, climate change, water quality and flow plans.


For more information and to get involved in Natural Resources, contact Bonnie Michaels, mwfam@aol.com, (239) 596-9135.


Social Policy Committee Update
Ann Campbell - Committee Chair

Ann Campbell - Social Policy

Times are hard in Collier County with the recent downturn in the state and local economy. The loss of construction jobs has had a ripple effect, the extent of which is yet to be known. County Government and the School District are wrestling with severe budget constraints. Local helping agencies are reporting a twenty-five to fifty percent increase in requests for assistance with rent, utilities, food. St. Matthew's House and the Immokalee Friendship Center shelters are full. The non-profit agencies in Collier County  that were established to meet emergency needs of our citizens ranging from protection from abuse to supplies of diapers are worried that charitable contributions will dwindle as their usual donors also feel the pinch.


We were wondering how a needy family finds help in Collier.  In some cases, the Collier County Housing and Human Services Department provides assistance, or referral to a local non-profit.  In other cases, a well known agency such as the Salvation Army or St. Vincent de Paul is contacted and they can send the caller to yet another agency for help if necessary. Collier has neither a Human Services Coalition nor a 211 telephone or internet referral service.  Both Charlotte and Lee Counties do, and that makes it a lot easier to identify and contact the appropriate resource.


We've learned that Collier has a Hunger and Homeless Coalition though, and we've invited Executive Director, Debra Mahr, to our March meeting to tell us about the composition of the Coalition and about some of the problems they are dealing with currently. The tally of the recent homeless count should be available by then. Also joining us will be Karen Morgan who helps to provide services to the homeless children who are attending school in Collier County.


Please mark your calendars and join us for breakfast at Crissy's Wildside Café on Wednesday, March 12 at 8AM. The cost for a nice breakfast is $12 including tax and tip. Call Ann Campbell at 263-1755 or e-mail acamp1082@aol.com  to reserve a place. All members are invited and guests are welcome.



Voter Service Committee
Chris Straton - Committee Chair
Chris Straton - President

A new LWVUS publication titled  Electing the President: A Guide to the Election Process is now available.   According to the introduction:

"The U.S. presidential election is the biggest event in American politics. It's an exciting and complicated process that begins immediately after the preceding election and doesn't end until the voters have their say.


"What happens during this extended campaign is a quest not just for votes, but also for political contributions, favorable media coverage, Internet attention, endorsements, and all the other makings of a winning candidacy for the highest elected office in America. Key events along the way include the primaries and caucuses, the party conventions, and the debates-not to mention all the speeches, polls, and focus groups, plus the barrage of radio and television commercials imploring you to vote this way or that.


"It's easy to be overwhelmed. And that's why the League of  Women Voters produced this supplement which is based largely on the League's publication, Choosing the President 2008: Citizen's Guide to the Electoral Process (The Lyons Press, 2008)."

This LWVUS publication is accessible on the internet by clicking here
An updated LWVCC Voters' Guide reflecting the results of the January 29, 2008, Naples and Marco Island City Council elections is also available on our website by clicking here.  Copies will also be available at upcoming General Meetings.
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, Too

This month, we welcome new member Evelyn Touhsaent to 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.

New & Prospective New Member Coffee - Please join us at my home on March 13 at 10AM.  These lively, informal get togethers are great for learning about all facets of League activity and getting to know other members.  Just let me know either by e-mail at Membership@lwvcolliercounty.org or phone 435-1845 if you can join us and bring a friend.  An additional coffee is planned for April 3 at 2PM.

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.

In Memoriam


One of LWVCC's founding members, Viola "Vi" Barclay, died February 7, 2008, at Avow Hospice of Naples. She was an active member and a familiar presence at League meetings back in the days when general membership meetings were held at the Naples Depot. Those of us who knew her then recall with fondness that she was never shy about giving her opinion, especially when the topic was protecting our environment.  We will miss Vi and we extend our sincere condolences to her family and friends. Vi was 98 years old.

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