THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF COLLIER COUNTY
IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS
AND WE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
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|Government Committee Update
Sandy Parker, Committee Chair
November Meeting - The Government Committee begins this season with an informal discussion with District 1 Commissioner Donna Fiala about some of the more interesting actions the Board of County Commissioners took since last spring. We will also begin planning for this season's Observer Corps. RSVP to me by Sunday, November 4, to 239-513-1595 or Government@lwvcolliercounty.org, and let me know if you plan to come just for the meeting or if you'll stay for lunch.
Beginning in December - The Government Committee will host a monthly "Leaders & Lunch" series, led by Jen Walker and Arlene Shapiro. Unlike last season's "Lunch with Leaders," which introduced us to the five county constitutional officers, this year's series will be more topical while continuing to be informative about how our government works.
All Committee meetings will be held at the Collier Athletic Club, 710 Goodlette Rd N. from 10:30 a.m. - noon, followed by lunch for those who wish to stay. All League members and guests are welcome.
Action Alert Update - Action Alerts offer an easy way to participate in one of League's core activities: grassroots lobbying for priority League issues. Government Committee members and others who sign up receive timely Alerts by email, with background on the issue at stake and a request to take a particular action. We provide so much guidance in the Alert that responding couldn't be easier! To sign up for Action Alerts, email me at Government@lwvcolliercounty.org.
Since last spring, I sent our members four Action Alerts. Here is the outcome of those requests.
Urge Governor Crist to Veto Florida Senate Bill 900 (June 2007) -- SB900 would have made it more difficult for Florida voters to propose ballot initiatives. After weeks of calls, emails and letters, the governor vetoed the bill. In his veto letter to the Secretary of State, he wrote, "The right of Florida's citizens to petition their government is one of the most precious rights protected by the Bill of Rights and is fundamental to the very idea of a republican form of government.... Because the 30-day submission requirement in this bill unnecessarily restricts that right, it cannot be justified."
Urge Your Senator to Support the D.C. Voting Rights Act of 2007 (July and September 2007) -- Citizens of the District of Columbia pay U.S. taxes, fight and die for the U.S. during wartime, and are governed by the laws that Congress passes, yet they have no voting representation in Congress. S1257 would have provided them voting representation in the House by increasing the size of the House by two seats -- one for D.C. and the other for the state of Utah, which is entitled to the next seat by size of population. This balanced approach would have provided voting rights for District citizens without upsetting the partisan balance of the House. It would not have affected the composition of the Senate. Despite a vote of 57-42 in favor, with a threatened veto from the President and a promised filibuster by the Republican minority, it seems that nothing can pass without 60 votes for cloture. Florida Sen. Nelson (D) voted to support; Sen. Martinez (R) voted no.
Urge Your Congressman to Support the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 (September 2007) -- HR 811 would require a voter-verified paper ballot for every vote cast beginning with the November 2008 elections. Florida Congressman Connie Mack was a co-sponsor of this bill. Despite having been placed on the calendar in May, the bill was never taken up for a vote.
Urge Your Congressman and Senators to Override the President's Veto of SCHIP (October 2007) --The bill had bipartisan support but the 273-156 roll call was 13 votes short of the two-thirds needed to override the veto. FL Congressman Connie Mack (R) supported the veto, saying in a statement, "the Democrats' SCHIP plan is a massive expansion of government-run health care." The bill passed the Senate with a veto-proof margin.
|Justice Committee Update
Bernice Schmelz - Committee Chair
November Meeting - Learn about the program of the Justice Committee, including what happens after a juvenile is arrested, as the committee reviews and critiques the new Justice 101 PowerPoint Presentation with Bernice Schmelz. The Justice Committee will meet on Monday, November 12 from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. at the Golden Gate Community Center, 4701 Golden Gate Parkway. All are welcome to attend. To insure adequate handouts, please RSVP to Bernice Schmelz by November 8 at Justice@lwvcolliercouty.org.
December Meeting - The program for December 10 will be a presentation by Michell McCarthy on the Dept. of Juvenile Justice juvenile commitment centers. The meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. in the Collier Government Center Community Room, 2335 Orange Blossom Drive, just west of the library.
Operation Medicine Cabinet: A Prescription for Safe Kids & a Clean Environment - "DrugFreeCollier," formerly the Substance Abuse Coalition of Collier County (SACCC), has three focal areas for the year: "prescription drug abuse, underage drinking and marijuana use." To address prescription drug abuse, they will be hosting Operation Medicine Cabinet from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 17, 2007.
According to Veora Little, co-chair of the event, "Studies show that one in five teenagers has abused a prescription painkiller and that the medication was obtained from their parents' or grandparents' medicine cabinet. Household members, including teenagers known as 'Generation Rx,' achieve an easy high from prescription medications. Failure to dispose of expired or unused prescription medications may result in the medications falling into the wrong hands. Improper disposal of prescription medications, such as flushing or disposing of them in the trash, can result in harm to humans and pets. In fact, improper disposal of medications can even cause contamination to Florida's aquatic environment."
Meds can be dropped off at the following locations:
Winn Dixie/Immokalee Max A. Hasse Jr. Community Park
Mackle Park/Marco Island Golden Gate Community Center
Fleischman Park Community Center Naples Recycling Center
Wal-Mart Super Center/Immokalee Rd. Wal-Mart Super Center/Collier Blvd.
EPN Urgent Care, 6400 Davis Blvd.
Each site will be supervised by a local law enforcement official who will be responsible for submitting the medication into evidence for proper disposal. Prevention materials will also be available. Partners in the event are the Collier County Sheriff's Office, Marco Island and Naples Police Departments, Wal-Mart, and Collier County Parks and Recreation and Solid Waste Management Departments.
Preventing or stopping prescription drug abuse is an important part of maintaining quality health care and preventing teenage delinquency. Please help yourself and the community by cleaning out your medicine cabinets of unused or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications and bringing them to one of the above sites on November 17. Permanent drop-off sites are the Collier County Medical Examiner's Office (Mon.-Fri., 9 - 4) and the Naples Recycling Center (2640 Enterprise Ave., Tue. - Sat., 8 - 5).
For more information, check the website at www.drugfreecollier.org.
|Social Policy Committee
Ann Campbell - Committee Chair
November Meeting - The committee will meet on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 from 8:00 am to 9:00 am at Crissy's Wildside Café. During this first breakfast meeting of the season we will discuss the recent battle over SCHIP funding for child health care and the effect that it has had on Florida's Healthy Kids/KidCare Programs. As usual, all is not as it seems and we are looking forward to gaining some insights from our speaker, Mary McCarty, RN, who works for the Collier County Health Department. Congress must vote to continue the current SCHIP plan on November 17. Funds are passed from the federal government to the states where the state legislatures formulate their own guidelines with certain restrictions. Come and learn about the ups and downs of this important program for Florida's and Collier's children! Will it survive partisan politics?
We have enjoyed our breakfast get-togethers at Crissy's for several years. The atmosphere is pleasant and informal and the food is outstanding! I've been told that the cost for breakfast, including tax and tip, will be $12.00 this season. I would like input from committee members about continuing at Crissy's or if anyone has a suggestion for a different venue.
Please contact Ann Campbell by Monday, November 12 if you would like to attend the meeting. All members are invited and guests are welcome.
December Meeting - We voted to put the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) issue on the back burner when we did program planning last Spring but I just saw a report by the Pew Foundation that Florida was the only state to reduce funding for the program that makes pre-k education available to all four-year-olds. I contacted Donna Philps, Director of Child Care of Southwest Florida and she has graciously agreed to join us at our December 12 meeting. More on that later.
Divided We Fail - This is the largest undertaking in AARP's history designed to raise the voices of millions of Americans who believe health care and financial security are two of our nation's most important issues. The League of Women Voters of Florida has joined AARP to press all candidates for President and Congress in 2008 for action, answers and accountability. Visit www.dividedwefail.org to learn more and become involved. Divided We Fail. Together we can do anything.
LWVCC Candidate Forum - District 101 Special Election
Chris Straton - Voter Service Committee Chair
Due to the death of Representative Mike Davis, a Republican Primary candidate and Linda McDonald, the Democratic Party candidate, will face each other on November 20, 2007, in a special election. The League of Women Voters of Collier County will be hosting a televised candidate forum on November 7, 2007 from 6-7 p.m. in the Board of County Commissioners Chamber at the County Government Center, 3301 Tamiami Trail E, Naples (directions). The forum will be televised on Channel 11 or Channel 16, depending upon your cable provider.
Volunteers are wanted to write questions, serve as timers, and work the evening of the Forum. Please contact VoterService@lwvcolliercounty.org. To find out if you are in District 101, go to www.lwvcolliercounty.org.
|New! Young Voters Advertising Contest
Gail DiMaggio - Program Co-Chair
Sometime in the winter of '07, at a session for new and prospective members, Estelle Rauch and I decided to join the League, and told Sandy Parker and Chris Straton we'd be happy to take on a project if they'd just tell us what to do.
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. Estelle and I made a proposal to the League's board, which loved the idea and encouraged us to open it up to ads for any media - TV, Internet, magazine, radio, newspaper, posters.
Throughout the process, I relied for advice on Jack Bovee, the school district's social studies coordinator. He encouraged Estelle and me to take our proposal to the next social studies department head meeting, where we were delighted with the enthusiasm of the teachers and the solid quality of their advice.
Estelle and I, with input from Chris, Sandy and Lydia Galton (Fundraising), designed the flyer to announce the contest to the students. Sandy found us a great photo for the flyer of a diverse group of teens. (Kids love nothing more than pictures of other kids.) Lydia got us funds for printing with a $500 grant from the Community Foundation of Collier County. Chris used her contacts to find us a reasonably-priced print shop. And we were ready to go.
By the end of October, the flyers were distributed to the schools, Jennifer Walker (Publicity) developed a Media Plan to get the word out to the community, and we're hoping for a flood of submissions by the January 7 deadline. A team of League members will select the semi-finalists from each school, and a panel of highly-respected community leaders will make the final decisions. In March, the League will host an Ice Cream Social at Naples City Hall, where a $100 prize will be awarded to the best entrant from each participating school.
What started as an impulsive offer to "do something" has blossomed far beyond anything I originally had in mind, thanks, of course, to my talented and energetic friends in the League.
Lydia Galton, Committee Chair
November Meeting - Members of the Fundraising Committee are requested to attend a meeting on November 14th at 10:30 at my home at 442 Rosemeade Lane, Naples. We will be discussing arrangements for next years major fund raiser and for smaller events this year.
Anyone else who is interested in participating is cordially invited to attend. You need not to have any previous experience-just enthusiasm, ideas, and willingness to get involved.
Please call me if you plan to come so that I can notify the gate (239-262-3137). Hope to see many of you!
Anne Lewallen, Committee Chair
SAVE THE DATE -- Thursday, Dec.13th in the evening for the LWVCC HOLIDAY PARTY. Plans are in the works and we'll be emailing you all the details soon.
Membership renewal letters and applications will be sent out in November. Please complete the entire application, particularly indicating your interests, as 2008 promises to be a busy year and there will be lots of great opportunities to be active. You can also access our renewal application online. Prompt payment of dues will be appreciated.
Anyone interested in helping with the Holiday party (as a host or hostess) and/or distribution of the renewal letter would be welcomed with open arms.
Special thanks to Joyce Evans, previous Membership Chair, who continues to do the computer work attached to this job.
No new members to welcome this month, and only one change to contact information: Bernice Schmelz has a new email address.
Contact information for all members can be found in the "For Members" section of our website at www.lwvcolliercounty.org.
If you know someone who may be interested in joining our League, please contact me at Membership@lwvcolliercounty.org, or direct them to the "Join Us" page on our website, where they can print a membership application.
New Redistricting Reform Effort Launched in Florida
Sandy Parker, Government Committee Chair
In late September, the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida announced a new effort to reform the redistricting process. The political committee FairDistrictsFlorida.org has filed two petitions with the Division of Elections in the Secretary of State's Office. The petitions would create new requirements for drawing congressional and legislative districts. If the proposed constitutional amendments are adopted by Florida voters, congressional and legislative districts could not be drawn to favor incumbents or political parties. Districts would have to ensure that racial or language minorities have the opportunity to fully participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. They would also have to be compact, contiguous and utilize existing city, county and geographical boundaries. The petitions will give Florida voters the opportunity to end the political manipulation of districts by the legislature to protect incumbents and enhance political party power.
Under the current system, the Florida Legislature can draw bizarrely shaped districts that divide Florida's cities, counties and communities solely for political reasons. These gerrymandered districts discourage challengers and mean incumbent members of Congress and the legislature face little or no competitive opposition.
If you are interested in working on this important effort, call me at 513-1595 or email Government@lwvcolliercounty.org.