Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

April 14, 2018
In This Issue:

April 15,
6 p.m., Representation Day Rally, Northampton City Hall. See below for more information.
 April 16, 3 p.m., Book Discussion of Tent of Miracles  ( Tenda dos Milagres) by Jorge Amado, at Applewood.
April 28, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., LWVMA Spring Conference, Clark U., Worcester. See LWVMA News, below.
May 2,1:30 p.m., Board Meeting, Amherst Room, Jones Library. All members are welcome to attend. 
May 20, 7 p.m., Candidates Forum on Climate and Energy, Unitarian Universalist Society, 121 N Pleasant. See below for more information.
May 21, 3 p.m., Book Discussion of Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout, at Phyllis Lehrer's, 197 Pondview Dr.
May 22, 7 p.m., " The Successes and Challenges facing the Connecticut River Watershed" talk by Andy Fisk of the Connecticut River Conservancy, Jones Library.
May 31, 6: 30 p.m., Annual Mee ting, Woodbury Room, Jones Library. 
June 28-June 30,  LWV National Convention, Chicago.
June 30-July 15, Book Collection at Fort River Elementary School.  See below for more information. 
July 25-29 and August 4-6. Book Sale at Fort River Elementary School Gym.
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LWVA News: Coming Events 

Proposed New Study Group on Charter Form of Government

At the March Board Meeting, the Board discussed a proposal for a group to study the charter form of government and the role the LWVA can play in the future. Possible topics of study include how  the new government will work and how citizens can become involved.  
Potential outcomes might include recommendations arrived at through the study group consensus model, and a revival of the LWVA observer corps.

Who can join?  You!  We are hoping people with different viewpoints will join.  If you are interested, please reach out to Martha Hanner, by email or phone (413-253-0814.) The Board anticipates further discussion of this study group at the Annual Meeting on May 31.

Representation Day Rally, Tax Day, April 15

The Amherst League is a co-sponsor, with the American Friends Service Committee, of Represent Western Mass's Rally on the steps of Northampton City Hall at 6 p.m., Sunday, April 15.

Representation Day is a national day of action; this rally will be one of 40 Tax Day actions held across the country. As Represent Mass Chapter Leader Steve Jones has said, "The current system of financing campaigns contributes to corruption and the voices of the people being drowned out. The result is taxation without representation...."

For more information on Represent Western Mass, see the March issue of the LWV Amherst e-bulletin, or click here . For their Facebook page, click here

Candidates Forum on Climate and Energy, Sunday, May 20

The Leagues of Women Voters of Amherst, Franklin County, and Northampton will join with Climate Action Now to sponsor Candidate Forums on climate and energy issues.  The Amherst Forum will be held on Sunday, May 20, from 7-9 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Society, 121 North Pleasant St. Candidates seeking to represent Amherst in the State House  will answer questions from a panel. The three panelists will represent the Hampshire Gazette, the Amherst LWV, and Climate Action Now (CAN.) Suzanne Patenaude will serve as moderator.

These forums are still being developed; further information will be available on the League websites (click here for that of LWVAmherst), on Facebook, and in the May e-bulletin. For readers from other districts: the Northampton Forum will be June 5, 7-9 p.m. at JFK Middle School; information on the Franklin County Forum is not yet available.

"The Successes and Challenges Facing the Connecticut River Watershed," Lecture, May 22

Andrew Fisk, Connecticut River Conservancy Executive Director, will lead an engaging presentation and conversation about the successes and challenges that face New England's great river, the Connecticut and its 11,000 square mile watershed.  There is much to celebrate, but important and urgent problems remain to be solved.  There are solutions at hand, but they require that the public take their ownership and stewardship responsibilities to heart and work hard to protect what we have gained and not fail our next generations.

Since 1952, the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC: formerly the Connecticut River Watershed Council) has worked to protect our rivers from source to sea so everyone can enjoy them. Our rivers belong to all of us. The CRC writes: "We are their voice. This means we find environmental problems and fix them, across all four river states. We run community river cleanups. We remove deadbeat dams. We plant trees. We protect and restore wildlife. We speak up on behalf of your rivers." For more information on the CRC, find them on the web here and on Facebook here.

Come join us in the Woodbury Room of the Jones Library at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22 for this free lecture, open to all.

Book Sale Preparations: Book Collection Begins June 30

It's Spring (finally) Cleaning time again: time to start collecting those books, DVDs, CDs, books on CD, and vinyl records which you would like to clear out of your residence.

Book Collection will take place from June 30 through July 15 at Fort River Elementary School.
Reminder: PLEASE leave only items in good condition, and do not bring encyclopedias, textbooks written before 2010, VHS and cassette tapes, or magazines, which we can not sell.  

LWVA News: Recent Accomplishments

Amherst March for Our Lives, March 24 
Hundreds of people turned out in Amherst to march from Kendrick Park to the Town Common on Saturday, March 24 to protest gun violence. We were there to support the kids from Parkland, Florida who had organized a national March For Our Lives in Washington DC on the same day. The LWV in solidarity sponsored the march in Amherst. There were speakers at the Town Common: Ellen Story, Marla Jamate, and UMass student Emily Stetson, and a letter from State Senator Stan Rosenberg.  The Raging Grannies led us in singing clever and very appropriate lyrics set to tunes we all knew. Many thanks to the Raging Grannies, the speakers, and to Cynthia Brubaker for organizing the event. There were many pictures taken: here are a few.

The March Begins
The League Registers.

Amherst Candidates' Night, March 15

Pictures of this event, which LWVAmherst has organized and moderated for each local election for many years, were not available for the March e-bulletin. Here are a few pictures of this panel of those running for town-wide office: for Select Board, School Committee and Jones Library Trustees. Jean Cherdack of Northampton Area LWV was the moderator.

Second Annual CivicsFest: a celebration of Government and Politics with Food--Music--Theater--Competition!

CivicsFest 2018 took place on Friday, April 6 at Amherst Regional High School. The Master of Ceremonies was again Representative Solomon Goldstein-Rose; the theme for the evening was Public Education. Congratulations to the high school team, which won the trivia portion of the evening. Special thanks to the ARHS jazz quintet which provided music throughout the evening; to the Raging Grannies who entertained the audience with a sing-along; to the high school girls' Ultimate Frisbee team, which provided dessert.

LWVMA Moderator Training

 A good-sized crowd of League members from several western Massachusetts Leagues, including Amherst, Northampton, Springfield, Greenfield, Worcester, and the new Berkshire League, gathered at Smith Vocational High School on Sunday, April 8, to learn how to be moderators for the League.

The event was arranged by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts in anticipation of a growing demand for League services, especially in an election year. League moderators are in demand not only for League-organized events, but also for events arranged by other organizations.

Much of the training dealt with working with the organizers of an event: what questions to ask, what information to offer. We learned how to do a candidate forum with ten candidates and nine questions in less than 90 minutes, with no one leaving dissatisfied! We also discussed League policies; for example, the League can not supply moderators for a forum where the sponsoring organization has already endorsed a candidate or taken a position. And we learned about FCC and IRS rules affecting us as a non-profit organization. In short, questions that I didn't even know I had were answered!

Some of us had experience, but most of us did not. Facilitator Judy Zaunbrecher suggested that the best way to start is to attend some League-moderated events and perhaps to co-moderate with an experienced moderator. It might also be useful to shadow an experienced moderator during the preliminary discussions. The Massachusetts League has prepared a Moderator's Handbook. If you would like a copy, please contact Kathy Campbell.

--written by Kathy Campbell, who with Adrienne Terrizzi attended from LWVAmherst

Volunteers needed!  The League is sponsoring a leadership development day for high school girls, now scheduled for October.  Planning is underway and we now are in need of volunteers to help with PR, speaker liaisons, and facilitator coordination. To contact the organizer, click here.
Civic  Opportunities: Service on Town of Amherst Boards, Committees, and Commissions 

Current Vacancies: As of April 11, there were 29 vacancies on the boards, committees, and commissions of the Town of Amherst. Two of these committees are described below. For the complete list click here . To obtain an application form (Citizen Activity Form), and for step by step instructions on accessing an application form for any committee, see the end of this section on Civic Opportunities.

Newly Established Town Meeting Advisory Committee Open to All Residents

The newly established Town Meeting Advisory Committee (TMAC) seeks Amherst residents who love to research, collect information, and think. The Advisory Committee's goal is to provide Town Meeting members with more information on Warrant articles before floor debate. 
Residents from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and skills are asked to apply--especially people from different income levels, neighborhoods, racial, cultural, and economic groups, families with children, college students, elders, people with disabilities, etc. TMAC members are expected to serve for 3 years (with some 1 & 2 year terms at the start). Most work and meetings will be in the 2 months before Spring and Fall Town Meetings.  Applications can be made to the Town Moderator or by directly applying at the Amherst Town Clerk's office. The deadline is May 8.

Kanegasaki Sister City Committee (6 vacancies)

Promotes friendship and on-going relations with Kanegasaki, Japan through various special events and ongoing contacts between residents or government bodies of the two communities.

-compiled by Elizabeth Davis and Adrienne Terrizzi

Steps to follow to apply to a Committee, Board, or Commission of your Interest via the Town's Citizen Activity Form (CAF),  available on the Amherst Town Website. To apply, follow these steps:

1. Go to  Look to the Upper right, and click on Boards and Committees.
2. Once into Boards and Committees, click on Citizens Activity Form (CAF). That takes you to the form center application where you explain why you want to be on that particular Board or Committee. 
3. Select the Board, Committee, or Commission on the menu for which you are applying. 'I'm applying for ...."
4. Fill in with your contact information, reasons for your interest, and references. Candidates typically are interviewed for positions.
5. Plan to contact Town Hall at 259-3002 to inquire about your application.

League member Adrienne Terrizzi welcomes calls for information about the form, the application process, or the particular committee of interest. Call 253-5039 or email.



 LWVMA Spring Conference in Worcester April 28

Four members of LWVA are planning to attend the Spring Conference, "Beyond the March: Women Leading the Way in Massachusetts," April 28, 9:30 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. in Clark University's Tilton Wetzel Room, 950 Main St, Worcester. If you're interested in coming (and this is open to non-members as well as members), you can register and find a full schedule of events here .

Summer Intern Position Available  
The March 2018 League Leader Update carried a notice that LWVMA is seeking a summer intern. The intern will assist with an exciting initiative: MoVE 2018 (Massachusetts Voter Engagement 2018), a statewide voter education and engagement project.

For more information, go to the LWVMA home page by clicking here; then click on Newsletters on the right side of the page. Scroll down the list of newsletters to the March 2018 Local Leader Update and click on it. The Update contains a link to a description of the program  

Help LWVMA Take Action

LWVMA is sending the Mass League Action Newsletter to all members on the first of each month. It will be adding a mid-month action newsletter from now until the legislature ends July 31, to cover all the activity on the bills LWVMA is following.

League members are urged to take a look at these newsletters and pick one or two actions to take each month in areas that interest you. It can be as simple as sending an email supporting a bill to your Senator and/or Representative.

To read more of Mass League Action Newsletter contents,  click here, then scroll down the right hand column for LWVMA Newsletters: click on it then click on Mass League Action Newsletter, March 18.


LWVUS President on Census and on Claims of Voter Fraud

Two recent LWVUS press releases may be of interest.

On March 27, President Chris Carson issued a statement about the proposed changes in the census, which will lead to an inaccurate count. Find it here.

 On April 5, President Carson issued a statement responding to false claims of voter fraud.          . Find it here

This monthly message is for anyone interested in the League, not just members. If you know someone who might be interested, forward this message and invite them to subscribe themselves, using the link below.