March 2010 - Volume 35, Issue 6
Month at a Glance
Click link for details
3/1 - LWVCC Board Meeting
9 AM - Noon
Fifth Third Bank Building
Fourth Floor Board Room
3/15 -Meet the Public Defender
Members and guests are welcome at all meetings
General Meeting - March 8
Youth Relations Deputies in the County Schools
Since 1977, the Collier County Sheriff's Office has partnered with the public schools to provide youth relations deputies (YRDs) in the schools. The Sheriff's Office funds the program, which originally provided deputies to high schools but now serves schools K-12. Captain Tim Guerrette
, supervisor of the Youth and Delinquency Services Division, which encompasses the Youth Relations Bureau, says, "Deputies in our schools promote safety and prevent crime.
They work with school administrators and serve as resources
to parents. They provide short-term intervention counseling, student mentoring, classroom instruction and referral services
for students and parents." In addition, Ed Messer
, Safety and Security Manager for the Collier County Public Schools, will comment on YRDs from the school system's perspective and explain the security trailer program that enables deputies to live on school campuses as a measure to prevent criminal mischief.
Join us to meet Captain Guerrette, Ed Messer and one of the high school YRDs and learn more. They will provide an overview of the YRD and on-campus security trailer programs, including goals, role of the YRDs, history, and the benefits that have been realized.
Program at 1 PM; Business Meeting at 2 PM at theCOLLIER ATHLETIC CLUB
710 Goodlette Rd N
(239) 263-2566Get Directions
OPTIONAL lunch at noon - Club's main dining room ($20 members; $25 nonmembers)
RSVP for lunch by 5 PM Thursday, March 4, to Hospitality@lwvcolliercounty.org or (239) 263-4656.
- You must MAKE a reservation FOR LUNCH ONLY.
- You must CANCEL by March 4 if you cannot come.
- You WILL BE CHARGED for the luncheon if you do not cancel by March 4.
THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS IS WHERE HANDS-ON WORK TO SAFEGUARD DEMOCRACY LEADS TO CIVIC IMPROVEMENT.
JOIN US IN MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK!
Joyce Fletcher, Anniversary Committee chair
Please mark your calendar and join us on . . .
THURSDAY, MARCH 25, from 5 to 7 PM at the Naples Backyard History Museum. It is located at 1300 Third Street South, and there is plenty of parking close by. We are celebrating 90 years of Women's Suffrage and 35 years of the Collier County League of Women Voters.
The League of Women Voters of the US was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in March 1920 on the eve of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Final passage of the Amendment was in August 1920, 90 years ago this year. The Collier County League was established provisionally 35 years ago, on March 27, 1975, with 54 members. Today we have 140 wonderful members.
We will celebrate the important work of our League, remember our first leaders, past presidents and all our members. We will have scrapbooks, history and lots of fun. Please plan to attend and bring with you any League mementos so others may share your memories. (We will certainly return them to you.)Make your reservation at Hospitality@lwvcolliercounty.org by 5 PM on March 20.
Last month in this column, I urged you to consider bringing a guest to a League meeting, and I'm pleased to report that many of you did. Thank you! We've got some more great programs planned for March and I hope you will continue to spread the word.
I also wrote about the importance of bringing new members to our League, folks with new ideas, varied experiences and diverse talents and interests to keep us fresh and relevant to our members and the community. And that's happening, too! This month's Spotlight on New Members - like the other Spotlight columns - showcases just a few of the talented new people who have joined our League recently. They are awesome!
LWV is not only a great way to learn about our community, but it's a great place to meet interesting new people, too. I am so proud of our League and all we offer to our members and our community.
Did you receive your Valentine's Day fundraising appeal? We're trying to get creative! Your Board is committed to keeping membership dues as low as possible, even as we expect both the State and National Leagues to increase our per-member payments to them. But with rising costs and the struggle to raise contributions in these challenging economic times, budgeting and paying for our activities has become more and more difficult.
If you were thinking of making a contribution but haven't gotten around to it yet, please take a moment now. You can contribute quickly and safely online with a credit card, or you can contribute the old-fashioned way by writing a check. Click here or send a check to LWVCC, P.O. Box 9883, Naples, FL 34101. We'd really appreciate it.
I look forward to seeing you - and meeting your guests! - at this month's meetings.
Spotlight on New Members
Denise Gallagher Rochford
has marched on Washington several times and "thinks she still has a few good marches left." Activism is not only her hobby, but her forte. In Massachusetts she made dramatic changes working on the Women's Political Caucus, the Massachusetts Governor's Commission on the Status of Women and SAVE, an environmental organization. Locally she is serving on the Affordable Housing Committee and the Library Foundation Trust and is a vice president of AAUW. Parlaying a Bachelors in Education and a JD into teaching legal courses at several colleges, Florence went on to become an expert in all kinds of law, starting with a career as Public Defender. From there she branched out - developing a probate practice, working as a tax attorney in the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and as a City Solicitor. Her government work peaked when she became City Manager for 10 years. In addition, she still makes time for watercolor painting and recreational reading.
: Who else do you know who was enstooled (think "enthroned" with smaller furniture) as a Queen Mother in one of the Fanti villages in the Central Region of Ghana? It's a Herculean task to explain the depth of Harriet's active life and wide-ranging careers and involvements. Her "passion for social justice" has led her in many directions - from Mississippi in 1965 to Ghana in the '90s and most recently to Immokalee. Harriet's philosophy has always centered on "empowerment and change management," a passion that oriented her early work in Maryland and at the Peace Corps as Director of Policy, Planning and Evaluation. She then went to the State Department as the head of leadership training and soon became Deputy Dean of Professional Studies for the Foreign Service Institute. Her government career finished as US Peace Corps director in Ghana for five years. Harriet recently formed a nonprofit in Florida, raising funds to build a preschool, two libraries, a literary center and computer center in Ghana's Volta region.
|We've Amended Our Diversity Policy
Our Collier County League has a Diversity Policy affirming our commitment to diversity and pluralism. To confirm and update that commitment, the Board has voted to include in our Diversity Policy that there shall be no barriers to participation in any activity of the League of Women Voters on the basis of "gender identity and expression."
This makes clear that transgender persons are also covered by our statement of policy, as they are members of our community and families, and should be valued, along with people of any gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, and disability.
For those of you who are unsure what transgender means, here is a brief summary from the publication Our Trans Children, published by the national nonprofit organization, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays:
"Transgender people are those whose gender identity or gender expression differs from conventional expectations for their physical sex. Gender identity is one's internal sense of being male, female or perhaps something else. Gender identity is commonly communicated to others by one's gender expression (clothes, hair style, mannerisms, etc.). Transgender people have been part of every culture and society in recorded human history. Medical researchers now believe that transgenderism is rooted in complex biological factors that are fixed at birth. However, societal intolerance often makes being transgender a painful, personal dilemma."
Wording to include transgender people is currently often part of public, nonprofit and corporate diversity policies. The Board is pleased to modernize our statement to reaffirm our commitment to diversity and pluralism.
|Know Your County Government|
On March 9, 35 students from Collier County High Schools will participate in a unique adventure, the opportunity to meet with all the County Commissioners, all the Constitutional Officers and a myriad number of staff members, as they get a behind-the-scenes look at Collier County Government.
If you would like to visit the landfill, climb up on a fire engine, stop by the county jail, and see the traffic control center, to name a few of the hands-on opportunities available in the Know Your County Government experience, then you need to call me (207-7333) or send me an email (ChrisStraton@yahoo.com) soon.
League member Kathy Ryan and I are the League of Women Voters of Collier County representatives on the Know Your County Government committee, and we encourage you to join us in having fun while learning about our County. Click here to view the full schedule.
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|Healthy Teens Coalition
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LWVCC is a member of the Collier County Healthy Teens coalition, which was instrumental in the Collier County School Board's decision last year to amend its sex education policy. The policy now mandates "evidence-based, medically-accurate, age-appropriate, and comprehensive reproductive and sexual health education," including teaching the "health benefits and side effects of contraception and condoms," starting in the 6th grade and continuing throughout high school. In January, Coalition representatives met with School Board members Kathleen Curatolo and Julie Sprague to discuss implementation of the new policy, which is likely to be in place for the 2010-2011 school year. The Coalition is also now working to set up a meeting with Martha Hayes, head of curriculum for the school district.
LWVCC is also a member of the Florida Healthy Teens Campaign, a state-wide coalition which supports the Florida Healthy Teens Act, a bill which would require that public schools receiving state funding provide comprehensive, medically accurate, age-appropriate factual information when teaching about sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDs, family planning or pregnancy. The bill (SB 1052/HB 169) has been filed in the Florida legislature by Representative Keith Fitzgerald (D-69) and Senator Ted Deutch (D-30). League members are encouraged to write letters, as individuals, to their local papers in support of the bill, and to contact Senator Larcenia Bullard (firstname.lastname@example.org) to ensure that the bill is heard in committee. Bullard currently serves on the Senate PreK-12 committee headed by Florida Senator and Chair of the Senate K-12 committee Nancy Detert of Sarasota.
Last December Congress voted to allocate $114.5 million in funding for comprehensive, age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education programs, and those funds will be disbursed before the end of this year. Support and passage of the Florida Healthy Teens Act would help position Florida, and Collier County, more favorably for access to those funds.
For further information, you can join the Florida Healthy Teens Campaign on facebook, click here to visit the Healthy Teens web site or contact me at Jen@muradaz.com.
Sheilah Crowley, Committee Chair
Join us on Wednesday, March 17, to hear from Kathleen Curatolo, Chair of the Collier County Public Schools. We will have an informal discussion with her about what we have learned this year and find out what we can do to help the school system. We will give her our perspectives on the information we have learned from our previous speakers.
We will meet at 9:30 AM in the Community Room of the North Collier Government Center on Orange Blossom Drive.
Our 2009-2010 Program goals for Education are to "support and influence the promotion of high standards for student achievement through adequate funding, well rounded curriculum and the highest levels of professionalism for teachers, administrators and school board members in the Collier County Schools."
Lydia Galton and Joyce Fletcher, Committee Co-Chairs
Capitol Reports: The 2010 Legislative Session will convene on March 2, and the Capitol Report update by LWVF lobbyist Ben Wilcox will be available on the following Friday. As in the past anyone interested in following bills sponsored by our local legislators as well as those bills that impact the League's legislative priorities is invited to join a discussion group on alternate Saturdays at Panera's on Naples Blvd. at 9 AM. The first Saturday discussion we be held on March 13.
Some 2,350 bills have already been filed for this Legislative Session, but there has been little activity on League issues, with two exceptions: Now that the redistricting reform amendments will be on the November ballot, committees in both houses of the Legislature are on the defensive. Either they will mount a legal challenge to the amendments or put alternative proposals on the ballot. The other bill of interest involves a proposal to require civic education testing at the middle school level. It was passed by the Pre K-12 Policy Committee after League testimony in its support.
2010-2011 Government Committee Program Decisions: We need to establish the Government Committee Program for next year. We would like you to consider including the study of the addition of two additional County Commissioners to the Board or consider adopting a charter government. We will meet Wednesday morning, March 3, at 10 AM at Calistoga Bakery Cafe, 7945 Airport Pulling Road North.
Bernice Schmelz, Committee Chair
Court Observation - See the Juvenile Court in action: Join the Justice Committee at 8:20 AM on March 2. The Honorable Lauren Brodie will be conducting detention hearings at 8:30 followed by dispositions. The detention hearing is the first appearance for the juvenile, and it is then that the court determines whether there is probable cause for the arrest and whether the juvenile will be released or detained either on home detention or secure detention. The disposition is when the juvenile is sentenced. All planning to observe are asked to RSVP before the end of the day on March 1 to me at email@example.com. The observers will meet outside Courtroom 4A at 8:20 AM in order to be seated before the court session begins.
Meet the Public Defender - Juvenile justice has made the news several times this season. As many who follow the topic know, the Florida Supreme Court handed down a ruling on shackling of juveniles, and the U.S. Supreme Court recently heard a case on the appropriateness of life sentences for juveniles. Kathleen Smith, Public Defender for Circuit 20, will be updating the Justice Committee on these important issues as well as other juvenile issues at our meeting on March 15. The elected public defenders and their staffs serve an important role in our justice system. Their workload is reflected in the following data provided by the Florida Public Defender Association, Inc.: in fiscal year 2009 in Florida there were 86,526 juvenile cases and 25,187 mental health cases in which public defenders were involved, plus thousands more sexual violent predator, capital, non-capital and misdemeanor cases.
Bring a friend to the Justice Committee Meeting at the North Collier Government Center, Orange Blossom Drive, at 9:30 AM on March 15 to meet and talk with Circuit 20's elected Public Defender Kathleen Smith. RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org by March 11 to assure that adequate materials will be available at the meeting.
Future Justice Committee Meetings
April 19, Girls in the Justice System, North Collier Government Center
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|Social Policy Committee
Ann Campbell, Committee Chair
Our March meeting will continue with the theme of access to health care. On Wednesday, March 10, we will have an 8 AM breakfast meeting at the Wildside Café and meet with Peter Kraley, Director of Veterans Services for Collier County. We asked Mr. Kraley to tell us about the health care needs of returning veterans, what health-related services are available to them, possible gaps in services and funding issues related to treatment. Most of us know very little about the needs of veterans in this community, so we are looking forward to an interesting meeting.
All members are invited and guests are welcome. The cost of breakfast is $12, which includes tax and gratuity. Please contact me at email@example.com or 263-1755 by Monday, March 8, to reserve a place.
We wish everyone could have attended the February 10 tour of the Naples Children and Education Foundation Pediatric Dental Center with its bright and sunny treatment rooms, each looking out on a pretty view. The facility is a partnership between the Foundation, the University of Florida, and Collier Health Services (which provides billing and other business support).
We were warmly welcomed by attending dentists Dr. Erin Taylor and Dr. Michael Celletti. University of Florida faculty members like Dr. Taylor and Dr. Celletti work with dental residents to teach them the special skills required to become certified as pediatric dentists. In addition to routine care, the Center provides advanced care and specialty services such as sedation and hospital-based dentistry. Medicaid payment is accepted, and sliding scale fees are arranged for those who are self-pay. Some 6,000 children have been seen since the Center opened in December 2008. That is a great beginning for the 17,000 Collier kids who had no regular dental care.
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|Voter Service Committee
Chris Straton, Committee Chair
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At the election held on February 2, fewer than 30% of the registered voters in the City of Naples chose their new city councilmen. Gary Price was reelected and Doug Finlay and Sam Saad were selected to replace term-limited Penny Taylor and Bill Willkomm. But the election process still had additional steps to be taken, and we were there as a witness.
On February 2, Dianne Mayberry-Hatt represented the League at the Canvassing Board meeting after the polls closed. She watched as the Canvassing Board reviewed last minute absentee ballots with questionable signatures. She reported that she "enjoyed seeing another aspect of democracy in action. One absentee ballot was approved. On Monday morning 10 absentee ballots were disqualified because voters failed to sign one section. Approximately 27% of the votes were absentee for this election."
I attended the Canvassing Board on February 4 when the provisional ballots were reviewed and the results of the election were certified. As a result of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which came about as a result of the 2000 election debacle, voters who are not registered to vote, are in the wrong precinct or do not have proper identification are provided with a provisional ballot. Within legal guidelines, the Canvassing Board determines whether the provisional ballot is to be accepted. Whenever possible, they deferred to the voter and accepted the ballot. Those accepted provisional-ballot votes were then tabulated and added to the February 2 results. That final number was then transmitted to the Division of Elections in Tallahassee.
The last remaining step was the manual audit whereby one precinct is randomly selected (I picked the number out of a bag), a manual audit is performed and those results are compared with the machine tabulation. The results were excellent.
In summary, as we witnessed the various steps in the election process we were impressed with the staff of our Supervisor of Elections. Not only were they professional but they were also extremely helpful in explaining the various steps in the process. Collier County voters should be comfortable in knowing that our Elections Supervisor and her team and the Canvassing Board always attempt to accommodate the voter.
Pat Snyder and Sandy Parker, Committee Co-Chairs
Thank you to Anne Lewallen for her years of service on the Membership Committee. Her friendly welcome to new members has made a warm beginning for many of us with the LWVCC. Anne will continue providing the Hospitality services for our events.
Welcome to new members Kristine Bruer, Wendy Lord, Mollie Ottina and Angela Sanders!
Thank you to all who renewed your memberships this year. You are the League. You make our contributions to the community possible! To help keep all of us active in the League, some interested volunteers are making calls to invite inactive members to join us in an upcoming event. In February, we sent out a survey to those members who did not renew, to determine their reasons. The results may help us to refine our services or processes.
Make Sure Your Contact Information is Up-to-Date - You can update your contact information online 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, please make sure that the League has your correct information by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 263-4656.
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.
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|It Takes a Village
A lot of little tasks need to be done to run our League: behind the scenes ... not glamorous ... but so necessary! This month we thank Deana Bess for taking pictures at several of our General Meetings, most recently our Hometown Democracy Debate. (Watch for them next month!) We thank Pat Snyder, Linda Olbrych and Marjorie Joder for handling the membership renewal process and updating the LWV membership database. We thank Wendy Riedel for learning to use Constant Contact and sending the blast email meeting reminders.
As we prepare for the Annual Meeting, we thank Jeannette Boucher, Crystal Kinzel and Chris Straton for serving on the Bylaws Committee; Sandy Brown, Lydia Galton, Marjorie Joder (ex officio) and Crystal Kinzel for serving on the Finance Committee; and Sandy Brown for helping with the annual review of our financial reports.
Here are some more areas we need help.
By volunteering, you'll be making a big difference in our League.
- Represent LWVCC in the Collier County Nondiscrimination Coalition - The CCNDC has developed a Human Rights Ordinance that will protect its citizens and visitors from discrimination and provide a way to investigate and adjudicate complaints. Be the LWVCC representative at CCNDC meetings and keep our board informed of their progress and activities.
- Publicity - Be part of a new committee to develop a publicity plan to get the League's message out in more creative ways. Verify, update and broaden our press release distribution list. Help reach college students, working people, etc.
- Speaker's Bureau - 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
to volunteer or for more information.
|News from the National League
Last month the National League:
- Reported that the LWVUS Board of Directors has adopted the following Legislative Priorities for 2010: Global Climate Change, Health Care Reform, and Money in Elections (campaign finance reform). On the Legislative Watch List, which includes issues that need to be monitored for action in the 111th Congress are: Arms Control, DC Voting Rights, Election Reform, Ethics and Lobbying Reform and UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
- Sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging members to oppose legislation that would overturn the EPA's scientific finding that global warming pollutants endanger public health and welfare.
- Announced that the LWVEF (Education Foundation) will co-host the 5th Annual Sunshine Week National Dialogue on Friday, March 19, from noon to 2 PM, broadcast live via the web. This year's program will focus on transparency in the Obama administration - what has changed and what remains to be done.
For more information on these and other National League projects, click here.
- Made plans to launch a High School Voter Registration Project in five states, including Florida. In a joint collaboration with Project Vote, the LWVEF will work with local Leagues to encourage voter registration in 100 high schools with a high percentage of minority students. The project will provide voter registration and education, through classroom activities and assemblies, to help 17- and 18-year-old students apply to become registered voters. It is expected that data collected during the project will help to determine the effectiveness of these registration strategies.
News from the State League
Last month, the Florida League Board:
- Launched its new members-only conference call series with LWVF lobbyist Ben Wilcox.
- Issued the first Capitol Report of the 2010 legislative session.
- Proposed a position on US-Cuba relations to be considered at the National League Convention in June.
- Issued the Winter 2010 Florida VOTER.
For more information, visit www.lwvfla.org.
|2010 Meeting Schedule
Save the dates!
General Meeting - "Youth Relations Deputies in the Collier County Schools"
LWV Anniversary Celebration, Naples Backyard History Museum
April 12General Meeting - "On the Road to Citizenship: A Look Inside "
Lively League - Annual Meeting
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.