TheVoter May 2012: Volume 53, Issue 9
Editor Melanie Lewis
This newsletter is published by and for the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County www.lwvwa.org/snohomish To join League, call 425-776-5544; LWVSC Message Phone, 425-334-8922
BOARD MEETINGS Wednesdays May 9 and June 13 10 am – 12 noon Snohomish County PUD 2320 California St Room 2E Everett All members welcome!
Everyone is welcome!
Listen to LWVSC’s Magazine on the Air KSER 90.7 FM Monday, May 14 at 6 pm Hear the formal remarks of speakers at the April LWVSC Gen Mtng on Child Sex Trafficking. The Q&A airs on June 11.
LWVSC ANNUAL MEETING Saturday, May 19 9:30 am Harbour Pointe Golf Club 11817 Harbour Pointe Blvd Mukilteo Registration by May 12 (See more p.3)
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Spring has sprung, nature is blooming, and so is your LWVSC Voter! In addition to a burst of events (LWVSC Annual Meeting p. 3, LWVWA Council p. 4, LWVUS Convention pp. 56, the annual, all-member Summer Retreat scheduled for June 23, and a summer fieldtrip p. 9), Michelle Valentine reports on open meetings action in Everett (p. 6) and Board support for a constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not people and political contributions can be regulated (pp. 8-9). Look for a bouquet of year-end committee/portfolio reports (pp. 6-8), important advice about the ins and outs of cultivating your participation in public meetings (p. 3), and highlights from last month’s Board meeting (p.9).
SAVE THESE DATES June 1-3, State Council, Pullman, WA. Important information on p. 4 June 8-12, National Convention, Washington, DC. Important information on p. 5-6 June 23, annual summer all-member LWVSC Retreat, 9am to 3pm. See next Voter for more. June 26, Mukilteo unit–sponsored field trip to the Hibulb Cultural Center. All members invited. See p. 9.
This month we begin to focus on our own structure and future. We will conduct our Annual Meeting where we decide our topics to discuss next year, approve our budget for 2012-2013, and elect our Board and officers. These are important functions for every organization; we take these responsibilities seriously and try to have some fun along with them. I hear we’ll have some musical entertainment this year! In stepwise fashion, we move to Pullman on June 1-3, 2012, to the LWV of Washington’s future at the State Council Meeting. We are particularly interested in attending this meeting so we can talk with the local organizing committee and the State League officers to get advice to help up us offer a well-planned, highly successful Council Meeting in 2014 when LWVSC plays host! In even-numbered years we support our representatives to the national LWV Convention to discuss possible study topics for the next biennium, attend caucuses on current ‘hot button’ issues, hear nationally recognized guest speakers inform us about the intricacies of a subject, approve dues and a national budget, and meet our new Board and officers. I invite each of you to consider accompanying me to Washington, D.C., June 8-12, 2012, to learn about League and all its perspectives along with colleagues from across the country. There were 900 attendees in 2010; I expect the same number for 2012. The excitement of talking about problems and solutions with likeminded individuals from Madison, Wisconsin, to Farmington, New Mexico, to Hartford, Connecticut, is unforgettable! And we have an evening of entertainment, too! So pull out your overnight bags, pack in your notebooks, and join me for some planning, learning, discussing, voting, and fun with League this Spring! Michelle *************************************************************************************************************** MEMBERSHIP CORNER Dues notices for the 2012-2013 membership year will be mailed to every member in late May. Please respond by June 30 as the new membership year begins on July 1. Thank you. Janet Chalupnik -2-
COUNTY COUNCIL CHAIR TO SPEAK ANNUAL MEETING MAY 19, 2012 3 Reasons to attend the annual meeting May 19: 1. Curious about what’s going on/what will be going on in our county government this year? Come to the meeting where Council Chair Brian Sullivan will be our featured speaker. 2. Want a chance to visit with old and new League friends while enjoying a delicious repast? Arrive at 9:30 for the buffet breakfast 3. Eager to help decide our LWVSC work for the coming year? Join in the business meeting to plan program, adopt a budget, and elect officers. [Ed note: see proposed program, budget and slate of nominees in last month’s Voter.]. We’re trying something new this year with a breakfast meeting that will allow us to conduct our annual business and still leave the whole afternoon free for leisure pursuits. Let’s have a great turnout! May 19, 9:30 a.m., Harbour Pointe Golf Club, 11817 Harbour Pointe Boulevard, Mukilteo. Please send your $15 check to LWVSC Treasurer Margaret Johnson by May 12. ************************************************************************************************************* Requests to Participate in Others’ Meetings One of the things we do best and are noted for is conducting and moderating public meetings. More groups are approaching us for that very service. We have been asked to ‘help’ in various capacities, as timekeepers, as question gatherers, as moderators, as organizers. I’d like to explain what should be said when, not if, you get such a request. Of course, first of all, we are individuals with our own opinions, beliefs, and biases. Secondly, we are members of a group called the League of Women Voters who speak with one voice publicly. If we sponsor or cosponsor a meeting and have control of the process, including setting the agenda, moderating, timekeeping, handling questions, and summarizing, then we certainly are happy to be providing the framework and action for that meeting. If, however, we do not have control of the process, including the moderator position, then we may AS INDIVIDUALS choose to participate in a meeting in whatever manner we have been asked. If a group knows you are a Leaguer and asks you to moderate a meeting, you may do so using the League name IF you are the moderator and you have final say on the agenda, the method of questions, and the conduct of the audience. Otherwise, no mention can be made of your League affiliation. There is an appearance of agreement by the League if a person identified as a member of LWV moderates a program. As a quick aside, ten members were trained as moderators in January 2012, and are now well versed in the process. Additionally, we have an eighteen page chapter on our participation in public meetings, debates, etc., in “Encouraging Participation: a Voter Service Handbook” published by LWVWA. I have been a timekeeper for a Mukilteo Town Hall Meeting conducted by the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce. I made it clear that I agreed to do that as an interested citizen who is part of the democratic process in the community, period. While some audience members know me and of my affiliation with the League, publicly I was recognized simply as a resident of Mukilteo who is helping the civil Town Hall meeting process by being the timekeeper. If you have additional questions about your particular circumstance, please call me so we can talk! Michelle Valentine, President -3-
LWVUS National Convention and State Call to Council Here are two great opportunities to get more inspired about League. Once it's known how many LWVSC delegates/observers will attend each meeting, Michelle Valentine will know how much financial assistance attendees may expect. There is a fund of $1,500 for the National Convention and $1,000 for State Council. Contact Michelle Valentine for more details about League support and to sign up for either Convention or Council. State Call to Council: Go to Council in Pullman, a green and gorgeous land in June! Dates: June 1-3. In addition to the inspiring and valuable discussions and the fun with other League members, there will be personal tours of special sights of this verdant land by local guides who know it best. Special Program Attraction: A panel discussion of the NEED FOR DIVERSITY in Washington Courts. Panelists include a Supreme Court Justice, an Appeals Court Judge, a Superior Court Judge and a District Court Judge. Dinner Speaker: a Supreme Court Justice on why we must have an INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY. Excerpts from Pullman League Invitation Each League gets 2 delegates and as many observers as it would like to send. Full registration (Fri. aft. thru Sun. at 11 a.m., including Sat. lunch, snacks and dinner) costs $80. Rooms are at the Holiday Inn Express with 2 queen beds $99 + tax/night; add a rollaway (to sleep 3) for $10.78 more/night. Please call 1-800-315-2621 by May 1 to ensure your room. National Convention: Imagine, Commit, Act! “The Power of the Vote!” is the theme of the 50th national LWV convention in the nation’s capitol, June 8-12. Plan to attend this election year to hear outstanding speakers, participate in workshops and training, discuss program and issues, network with enthusiastic Leaguers and visit sites such as the Hill, the Smithsonian, the Supreme Court and more! Take this wonderful opportunity to learn more about League issues and to lobby your representatives after adjournment Tuesday noon. If you’ve never been, ask one of our experienced members or check the LWVUS website. $320 registration covers all materials, training sessions, one ticket to the Mon. night banquet (worth $55). $50 late registration fee after May 21; after May 28 registration is only available onsite. A block of rooms has been reserved for LWVUS at the Washington Hilton: 2 double beds or 1 king bed are from $229/night. Call 1.202.483.3000 or use the LWVUS.org/national convention website. Kay Wilcox A schedule for LWVUS National Convention follows on p.5:
LWVSC Prompts Everett City Council to Follow Open Public Meeting Protocols We try to follow through on our actions every time. At the January 21, 2012, Everett City Council meeting, an introductory briefing was scheduled to learn about a proposed contract between the City of Everett and the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC—successor to the combined Everett and South County Chambers of Commerce and former Snohomish County Economic Development Council) for various economic development services, including some normally provided in the past by the City’s own departments/employees. Council members asked a number of significant questions; no substantive answers were provided. On January 28, 2012, with no follow up discussion, the City Council passed a motion and approved the contract. Previous questions about term of contract, potential for conflict of interest, etc., were not addressed. Nor was public mention made of the fact that sitting Councilmember Shannon Affholter was an employee of the EASC. Here is the rest of the story that followed our Observer Corps-prompted letter to the Everett City Council and Mayor regarding the recent city contract with EASC. As you may have read, on February 16, 2012, an article in The Herald reported that the Everett City Council had approved a contract for $75,000 with EASC to provide marketing and development services. Everett City Councilmember Shannon Affholter was not identified on record as an employee of EASC. While he was not present at the two meetings where the subject was discussed and voted upon, his affiliation was not noted publicly. There were additional issues related to the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) that were identified by our Observer. We wrote a letter to the Council asking for remediation of these issues. Following two League member in-person visits with the City Attorneys and a rescinding of the contract, return of the $75,000 check, changes in contract wording, and public acknowledgement of Mr. Affholter’s position, the Everett City Council conducted the process again following the requirements of the OPMA. They approved the contract with a new start date of April 4, 2012. We prefer to think that our democratic government is working for all of us, that’s comforting. But we still have an Observer Corps of members who volunteer to follow the proceedings of committees, councils, cities, and hearings to ensure that they are following the processes we all want. In this case, with a bit of prodding, our process and theirs worked! Congratulations to us! Michelle Valentine, President ************************************************************************************************************* Karen Madsen provided an interesting and thorough Observer Corps Report in last month’s Voter—and we see one result of that work in the article above. On and off board LWVSC leaders often submit annual portfolio or committee reports for publication in the Voter at the end of our League year. A number of additional reports follow, testifying both to the individual efforts of numerous LWVSC members and to the work of our League at large.
Program Chair Report Action Our efforts to promote and assist with Action/Advocacy have changed over the years, Legislative updates that were outdated by the time we received them in the mail and telephone tree calls have given way to emails. The weekly Legislative Newsletter that is produced by the LWV-WA Lobby Team provides us with the current status of legislation, the sponsoring legislator and the committees associated with the bill. We now have the option of email messages, telephone calls or a letter or post card to advocate for our position. We do hope once again that if you received the newsletter that you shared it with a member who does not have email access and with your friends and neighbors. (cont. next page) -6-
LWVUS alerts us via email for some national issues as they make their way through the House and Senate. We have a lot of work to do in so many of the areas that we focus on especially fair and equal representation for all. With voting rights and access to voting in jeopardy for many and excessive campaign spending [following the Citizens United Supreme Court decision], we need to continue our vigilance to assure that we have fair and equal elections. Thank you for all of your efforts to contact your elected officials. Please continue the great work. Studies We will recall this past year as the year of the studies. The LWV 2010 National Convention approved two studies for the membership, Education and Privatization; these studies occupied much of our Program for this year. We held Unit meetings and a General meeting to discuss the Education Study, and Unit meetings for the Privatization Study. Each Unit conducted Consensus meetings for the studies. We will not know if the studies were approved by the national membership until the LWVUS convention this June. Thanks to all who participated in the process, which was sometimes frustrating, sometimes overwhelming; but, if the studies are approved, they will provide us with positions that will allow us to advocate for issues relating to these subjects. Submitted by Pat Fogarty-Cramer Membership Committee Report This has been a busy year for membership activities. Members of the committee, including Barb Bush, Jean Lightburne, Margaret Johnson, and chairman Janet Chalupnik met several times with a LWVWA membership development committee to brainstorm ideas for increasing League membership statewide. The state committee was headed by Karen Kiessling. That group effort has now been replaced by a LWVUS membership/leadership campaign that will involve state and local Leagues, beginning with training sessions held in several states, including Washington, this Summer. A summary of the wisdom developed in the statewide committee on membership growth follows: •
Focus on League visibility and “the ask”, inviting people to join
Upgrade our website
• Make it a pleasure to belong to League. Welcome new members with a packet of materials and an orientation gathering that is fun • Conduct a visibility and membership drive around a “hot topic,” such as sex trafficking of children The LWVSC committee has incorporated the above strategies in addition to sponsoring a membership contest among units and an emphasis on recruiting elected officials as members. Thus far, we have 13 new members this year. The bad news is that 12 people have dropped out since last June. The message I leave with each of you is ASK A FRIEND TO JOIN LEAGUE! Submitted by Janet Chalupnik
2012 TRY Report Starting with the 2011 TRY, a team checked all names, phone numbers, websites and emails, addresses, and meeting dates. Judy Chapman prepared a spreadsheet that identified changes needed for each page; the printer’s staff entered the changes. Their doing this meant the League did not have to purchase the budgeted-for software, saving about $400 this fiscal year. Getting the printed versions of the TRY done was delayed by late school districts’ actions AND a week with snow and ice in Everett. Pat Fogarty-Cramer organized the distribution of the 2012 TRYs by the voter registration couriers—all 15,000 copies. Submitted by Board Member Judy Chapman South Unit Report The South Unit continues lively, varied discussions by community-active, discerning LWV members. 15 to 22 people attend each unit meeting and include representation from several committees: voter services; voter registration couriers; children’s services; observer corps; membership; KSER; and Voter newsletter. We've been fortunate to have several new LWV members add to our education and inspiration. Our December meeting was a potpourri anything goes, no-agenda discussion -- lots of fun enlightening each other! Submitted by Rowena Miller ************************************************************************************************************** League Member Brings Issue to Board League member Vicky Romero asked that the LWVSC consider taking action regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. In 2010 on behalf of the LWV, President Mary Wilson filed an amicus brief in the case Citizens United v. FEC in association with the Constitutional Accountability Center. Following the decision, she stated, " The Court's majority decision in Citizens United v. FEC was fundamentally wrong and a tragic mistake. But this is the decision of the Court. Congress needs to respond now, recognizing its own authority and responsibility to uphold the Constitution. Fair and clean elections, determined by the votes of American citizens, should be at the center of our democracy." Quoting current LWV President Elisabeth MacNamara, "The League of Women Voters strongly supports S. 2219, the DISCLOSE Act of 2012, which would restore transparency to U.S. elections by requiring complete disclosure of spending on big-money advertising in candidate elections. To this end several organizations, including Leagues across the country, have been signing on to a resolution calling for a Constitutional Amendment to regulate corporate political spending and campaign financing. At our April Board meeting a guest, Ken Dammand, of Get Money Out of Politics, explained the grassroots effort " to persuade elected officials at various levels of government to pass the resolution to put a proposed Constitutional amendment on the November ballot.” After confirming that the League had a position to support such action, the Board AUTHORIZED Michelle Valentine to sign a resolution calling upon national and state governments to act to (cont. next page) -8-
amend the U.S. Constitution to declare that corporations are not people and that political contributions can be regulated. The authorization was done by email after the meeting allowing board members to review the specific language of the lengthy resolution. Michelle Valentine, President Board Report – April 11 Meeting Highlights of the April Board meeting include: • Margaret Johnson, Treasurer, reported that the League received the $700 grant to support Children’s Services. • After confirming that the League had a position to support such action, the Board AUTHORIZED Michelle Valentine to sign a resolution calling upon national and state governments to act to amend the US Constitution to declare that corporations are not people and that political contributions can be regulated. (The authorization was done by email after the meeting, allowing board members to review the specific language of the lengthy resolution.) Member Vicky Romero had requested League action. • Pat Fogarty-Cramer reported that there was consensus among the units on the Privatization Study. • Michelle described the Everett City Council’s action to rescind a contract with the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County. The contract dealt with a conflict of interest. The corrective action was as the League had requested. Submitted by Judy Chapman
May 9th May 19th June 1-3 June 8-12 June 13 June 23rd June 26th
2012 CALENDAR – MAY AND JUNE Board meeting, 10:00 a.m. to noon, Snohomish County PUD Bldg., Everett LWVSC Annual Meeting, 9:30 a.m. breakfast meeting. Look for June Board Meeting date, etc. in your June Voter June unit meetings—TBD (check next month’s Voter) LWVWA State Council, Pullman, WA LWVUS Convention, Washington DC Board meeting, 10:00 a.m. to noon, Snohomish County PUD Bldg., Everett LWVSC annual, all-member summer retreat Mukilteo unit-sponsored summer field trip (see below) TRIP PLANNED TO NEW TULALIP MUSEUM
The Mukilteo Unit is planning a field trip to the new Hibulb Cultural Center on the Tulalip Reservation. All league members are welcome. The Center is a beautiful cedar building filled with interesting exhibits about the Tulalips’ history, tribal art and culture. Outside they are creating a Natural History Preserve by restoring the area with native plants. We will tour the Center and learn from one of the Tulalip tribal leaders about their system of government. Date is Tuesday, June 26, 11:00 a.m. at the Center. We will arrange carpools for those attending. Watch for another announcement in early June, but put it on your calendar now. Barbara Bush