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October 2007, Volume 33, Issue 1

In This Issue
October General Meeting
President's Message
Quote of the Month
League Members Were Busy While LWVCC Was On Summer Recess
Government Committee: Learn About Our Florida Government
Justice Committee: Juvenile Justice Update
Social Policy Committee: Update
Voter Service Committee: Looking for a Few Good Women and Men!
Membership Update
LWVF Update: 2008 Legislative Priorities
Events & Activities
About Us
Quick Links
October General Meeting

Join the guardians of our natural resources for an informative session that will bring you up to date on growth management, conservation and upcoming issues before the Board of County Commissioners relative to our natural resources.


Our inspiring speakers are Brad Cornell, Policy Analyst of Collier County Audubon, Nancy Payton, Southwest Florida Field Representative for Florida Wildlife Federation, and Nicole Ryan, Governmental Relations Manager with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.  They will provide you with their priorities and goals for the coming season, address your questions and identify issues where the League could make a difference.  If you care about your environment, you won't want to miss this informative session.

710 Goodlette Rd N
Naples, FL 34102
(239) 263-2566
Get directions
Lunch at noon - $20 members; $25 nonmembers
 Program at 12:30
RSVP for lunch by 5pm Thursday, 10/11
or 263-4656
Help build our membership and increase community involvement in our League.
President's Message
Chris Straton, President - LWVCC
 Chris Straton - President

The 2008 Election is in full throttle and I call upon you for your support and assistance. With over a year to go to choosing our next President, Congressmen, School Board Members, and County Commissioners, to name just a few, the rhetoric has already begun and the political ads are already beginning.  New Marco Island and Naples City Council Members will be elected in January and there is a constitutional amendment which will have very serious implications for every Floridian. 


Already we are scheduling candidate forums and speaking engagements, and contacting our local media about running stories to encourage voter registration and voter turnout. 


There is no better time to be a member of the League of Women Voters of Collier County!  Here's how you can help:


    Monitor activities in the following so that we can develop questions for candidate forums:

         City of Naples

         City of Marco Island

         Collier County School Board

         Collier County Commission

    Work at a voting precinct on January 29, 2008

    Be a member of our Speaker's Bureau

    Renew your membership


I look forward to hearing from you about getting involved in these important voter service activities.  Contact me at or 263-4656.


In Memoriam - Representative Mike Davis

It is with deep sadness that I report the death of League member and Florida Legislator Mike Davis.  I have known Mike for almost 20 years.  Our relationship began with recycling materials from his sign business.  While we did not agree on all issues, Mike was always accessible and reasonable.  He always made you feel important and that he valued your opinion.  He will be greatly missed.

- Chris Straton
Quote of the Month
John Kelly, The Washington Post, 5/15/07
"I think the world might be a better place if it were run by the League of Women Voters.  You may think, as I once did, that the League of Women Voters is just a bunch of little old ladies.  But we ignore little old ladies at our peril, especially these ones...."   Read more
League Members Were Busy While LWVCC Was On Summer Recess
Chris Straton, President - LWVCC

Since our April annual meeting, our League was busy.  You can catch up on what you may have missed by clicking on the hyperlinks in the items below:


      We sent delegates to the League of Women Voters of Florida's convention where we received awards for our newsletter, website, unique "Coffee and Capitol Report " get-togethers, and renewed community involvement.

      We continued to monitor the legislators through the end of their Regular Session, then held a Hot Topics titled "The 2007 Legislative Session - Was League Pleased or Disappointed with the Results?"

      We partnered with the Naples Area Chamber of Commerce in June on two Chamber TV programs.  The first was on property tax reform and the second was on League legislative priorities.  Senator Burt Saunders and Representative Mike Grant were our guests as League members queried them.  Both programs are viewable on our website by clicking here.

         We held a Hot Topics discussion in June on I-75: To Toll or Not To Toll?

      We monitored the Special Legislative Session on property tax reform and held a Hot Topics discussion on Super Exemption vs. Save Our Homes in July.

      We expressed our concern over the School Board's poor handling of the firing of Superintendent Baker and hiring of Superintendent Thompson in a letter to the School Board and subsequent Letter to the Editor of the Naples Daily News.

      We had Guest Editorials and Letters to the Editor published in the Naples Daily News on the 87th anniversary of the women's right to vote and Constitution Day.

      We had articles on voting published in the Marco Island Civic Association newsletter and the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce newsletter.

      We continued to monitor human trafficking activities.


We hope you had a great summer, and that you're looking forward to getting re-involved with League soon!

Learn About Our Florida Government...
And Help With An Important Project at the Same Time

Sandy Parker, Government Committee Chair


Since 1969, the League of Women Voters of Florida has published a compact and factual booklet on the basic structure and operation of Florida government in order to further the active participation of a well-informed public in its government.


"Our Florida Government.  The title says it all," wrote Muriel Wagner, project manager of the Fifth Edition in 1997.  "It is our Florida government.  An informed electorate can have the greatest understanding of, and influence on, government.  It is hoped that this book, basic though it is, can lead to a better comprehension of the structure and function of Florida government and to a greater involvement in the governmental process by every citizen who reads it."


In 1997, 1,000 copies of Our Florida Government were printed and marketed to libraries, schools and colleges.  It was also made available to local leagues.  It provided not only a valuable resource to the community, but a source of funding for the LWVF Education Fund. 


As a result of the recommendations of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission and the resulting changes approved by Florida's voters in 1998, as well as further amendments to the Constitution passed in the subsequent six years, Our Florida Government's Fifth Edition is severely out-of-date. 


I have volunteered to lead the update project and I''m going to need help!   If you like to do research and to write, and would like to refresh and increase your knowledge of Florida's government, here's your chance! 


I've broken the project down into the twelve chapters of Our Florida Government.   Choose your area of interest.  You can work on your own, or as part of a team. 


1.      Facts About Florida

7.         Public Service Commission

2.      Florida's Constitution

8.         Judicial Branch

3.      Executive Branch

9.         Education

4.      Executive Branch Departments

10.     Elections

5.      Legislative Branch

11.     Taxes and Financing Government

6.      Commission on Ethics

12.     Local Government


Don't worry if you have no idea where to start -- guidelines, suggestions and oversight will be provided.  Proofreaders, desktop publishers (Microsoft Word or Publisher), and reviewers with good knowledge of Florida's government are also needed. 


My goal is to have the updated material ready for review by February 28, 2008.


To sign up for one of the twelve teams or for more information, contact me at or 239-513-1595.

Wednesday, November 7th, 10:00am
"What Your County Commission  Did During Your Summer Vacation"
with Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala
Juvenile Justice Update
Bernice Schmelz, Justice Committee Chair
The Blueprint Commission on Juvenile Justice
During the summer, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Secretary Walter McNeil announced the appointment of a Blueprint Commission to "examine Florida's juvenile justice system and offer recommendations to address key issues such as ensuring public safety, providing treatment and intervention for troubled youth, and maintaining a fair and balanced approach to assessing the needs of all youth." (Blueprint Commission website)


The Commission has been developed in response to a number of concerns including:  juvenile recidivism, overrepresentation of minority youth, and trends involving girls, the fastest-growing segment of the juvenile justice population.  Specifically, the Commission is to develop a plan that will reform Florida's juvenile justice system.  The recommendations will be provided to Governor Crist and the Legislature. The Commission chair is Florida Atlantic University President Frank Brogan, formerly the Lt. Governor.


The Commission, composed of educators, youth who have been in the juvenile justice system, law enforcement and criminal justice officials, and business and community leaders, will be conducting public hearings throughout the state to get input from citizens as well as juvenile justice program and service providers.  For those who wish to attend, there will be a hearing in Ft. Myers on Oct. 17-18 at a location to be announced.


Additional information about the Blueprint Commission can be found at 


Collier Truancy Court - At the local level, a new initiative to reduce truancy is beginning.  The Pubic School District, Sheriff's Office, State Attorney's Office, DJJ, David Lawrence Center and Lutheran Social Services are now partnering in a community-wide collaboration known as Truancy Court.  Habitually truant students (those who have 15 unexcused absences within 90 days) will be brought to Truancy Court where they may be given sanctions such as community service hours or recommendatin for alternative education.  If the intervention does not work, the student, and possibly parents, could face a judge.  Students who miss five days in a 30-day period could also be brought to Truancy Court. 


As part of the effort, a brochure, "Stopping Truancy Before It Starts," is available to parents from the Student Services office of the Collier County Public Schools.  Truancy Court should facilitate reaching habitually truant students and their families sooner and will enhance the truancy prevention initiative begun last year by the Collier County Sheriff's Office.


The Justice Committee will begin regular meetings in November.

Social Policy Committee Update
Ann Campbell, Social Policy Committee Chair

The first Social Policy committee meeting is planned for Wednesday, November 14 at 8:00 am at Crissy's Wild Side. Topic to be announced. Subsequent meetings will be on the second Wednesday of each month through April.

Voter Service: Looking for a Few Good Women and Men!
Chris Straton, Voter Service Committee Chair
Our biggest fund raiser is working the polls on election day.  We have a chance to earn over $1000 by working on January 29, 2008, at a second polling site.  Volunteers must be able to work from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and attend training. 
Call Kathy Ryan at 593-7818 or email at  It really is fun, a great chance to spend time with League members and an important part of our democratic process.  Remember,  Democracy is not a spectator sport.
Membership Update
Anne Lewallen, Membership Committee Chair
Welcome New MembersA warm welcome to the following members who joined our League since the last VOTER was published: 

Elizabeth Andreini

Nikki Schaffer

Diane & Guy Carlton

Kimmie Schlottman

Karen Clegg

Rose Ann Sharp

Carol Pedretti

Abe & Martha Skinner

Trudy Rech


The following members have had changes in their email addresses siMen Can Join, Toonce the last VOTER was published.

Ann Allen

Rose Mass

Jeannette Boucher

Linda Olbrych

Sandy Brown

Bernice Schmelz

Joyce Evans

Arlene Shapiro

Dottie Lipschultz


Contact information for new members, as well as up-to-date contact information for all members, can be found in the "For Members" section of our website at
If you know someone who may be interested in joining our League, please contact Anne Lewallen - Membership Chair at, or direct them to the "Join Us" page on our website, where they can print a membership application.
2008 Legislative Priorities

The LWVF board has selected Legislative Priorities for the 2008 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature.  The priorities were selected using input from Local Leagues, the LWVF Board and other sources. A summary statement of the LWVF's position on each priority is included.


Government in Florida

Promote an open government that is responsive to the people of the state.

     Equitable 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 the citizens' right to have both constitutional and statutory initiatives.  


Natural Resources and Sustainability: Promote an environment beneficial to life through the protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest, and support governmental action that results in sustainability.

     Protection and restoration of the water supply:  Support public policies that promote conservation of freshwater and its availability for environmental, public supply, agricultural, industrial and mining uses on a priority basis.

     Coastal Management:  Support intergovernmental stewardship of and fiscal responsibility for the Florida coast, under the management of the state, while recognizing the dominance of nature and the role of the sand transport system.

     Energy:  Support environmentally sound policies that reduce energy growth rates emphasize energy conservation and encourage the use of renewable resources.


Civics Education: Promote the teaching of civics education in public and private schools.

If you are interested in knowing more about or working to achieve these priorities, email
Events & Activities


Monday, 10/15/07


Board Meeting, 10:30am, Collier Athletic Club

General Meeting Lunch, 12 noon, Collier Athletic Club

General Meeting Program, 12:30pm, Collier Athletic Club

710 Goodlette Road N.
Naples, FL 34102
(239) 263 - 2566

Get directions

Committee meetings will resume in November.  Check the Events Calendar on our website - updated monthly - for details.
About Us