Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

March 17, 2018
In This Issue:

March 19, 2:30 p.m., Book Group Discussion of Emma Von N by local author Sheldon Cashdan, at Phyllis Lehrer's, 197 Pondview Dr.  NOTE CHANGE. 
March 24
, 10 a.m., Amherst March for Our Lives, gather at Kendrick Park and walk to Town Common. See below.
March 27, Amherst Municipal Election:Election Night Coverage
on Amherst Media .
April 6
, 7 p.m., CivicsFest, Amherst Regional High School auditorium.
April 8, 2-4 p.m., LWVMA Moderator Training, Smith Vocational School library, 80 Locust St (Rte 9), Northampton. See below for more information.             April 10, 2:00 p.m., Board Meeting, Amherst Room, Jones Library. All members are welcome to attend.
April 14 Day of Dialogue Cancelled.
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, Place TBA
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 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, Annual Mee ting, Woodbury Room, Jones Library. 
June 28-June 30,  LWV National Convention, Chicago.   
To subscribe to the e-bulletin, visit, click on the blue tab "Sign up for Email Updates" and fill out the brief form found there.
LWVA News: Coming Events 

Amherst March for Our Lives, March 24 
Saturday, March 24. Join a march in Amherst against gun violence to coincide with the March For Our Lives in Washington DC. We will gather at Kendrick Park at 10 a.m. and march to the Town Common. Bring signs, friends, and neighbors! Contact Cynthia Brubaker for more information. Speakers and music (Raging Grannies will be there) at the Common.  
Coming in April: Second Annual CivicsFest american_flag.jpg

Food! Music! Theater! Competition! A celebration of Government and Politics.
Join the League of Women Voters of Amherst for the Second Annual Civics Fest on April 6, 2018, starting at 7 p.m. in the Amherst Regional High School auditorium. Once again, State Representative Solomon Goldstein-Rose will be the Master of Ceremonies. The theme for this year is Public Education. 
Form a team now to compete in the CivicsFest contest. 
Teams will compete in a trivia round, an optional debate round, and a final "creative policy" round for the top teams.  Teams of 3-4 can be all high-schoolers or 'general', that is, any combination of HS/MS/adults. Teams can be made up of friends, family, or members of an organization. Register your team here.  
This event is open to all and free for all.

LWVMA Moderator Training in Northampton, April 8

LWVMA needs trained moderators in this year of campaigning: they play a critical role in candidate and issue forums and debates. As we at LWVA know, leagues find it best to use moderators from other leagues in such situations.

Are you a novice who would like to learn how to moderate?  Or an expert who would like to brush up on your skills?  Have questions about how to handle tricky situations during a debate or forum? Members at all levels of experience with moderating are welcome.

To register for LWVMA's Training session at Smith Vocational High School, 80 Locust St (Rte. 9), Northampton, 2-4 p.m. on April 8, click here.  Questions? Contact Jean Cherdack. 

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., 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...."

Speakers at the Northampton Rally will include Clare Higgins, William Dwight and Ryan O'Donnell, Rev. Andrea Ayvazian, Jeff Napolitano, and Bernadette Rabuy, representing Represent Western Mass.

Represent Western Mass describes itself as "a trans-partisan group working to enact the American AntiCorruption Act on the local, state, and federal levels....We join with all our neighbors, from the Tea Party to Occupy, because this is an issue of common ground, and working together is how we're going to get this done. We want to fight corruption, not one another." For more information on Represent Western Mass, click here .

Legislative Envoys: The Link Between Local Leagues and State Government

Now there's a direct connection between local Leagues and legislative efforts at the State House. The LWVMA is piloting a small group of envoys from different local Leagues to build relationships with their districts' State Reps. and Senator. Members Laura Sylvester and Debra Ross are
currently signed up to be LWVA's Legislative Envoys.

A teleconference training, "The Legislature and the League," was presented 2/28 by Nancy Brumback, Legislative Director of LWVMA. The training provided envoys
from the Cape to the Berkshires an overview of the Massachusetts legislative cycle,
how bills move (or don't move) in the cycle, and when to contact legislators.

In preparation for next month's meeting, envoys have been asked to gather information about the history of their League's legislator interactions, including activities, traditions, or other events associated with legislator meetings. The intent is to share the best ways to develop contacts, and in the future might also serve as a resource for Leagues to share their traditions.

Reported by Legislative Envoy Debra Ross

LWVA News: Recent Accomplishments

The recent (March 1) Forum on the Proposed Charter, for and against, brought out a good-sized audience and thoughtful questions.

Compiling questions.

Moderator Karen Price, member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts League, and the four panelists: Meg Gage, Gerry Weiss, Mandi Hanneke and Andy Churchill.

Volunteers needed!  The League is sponsoring a leadership development day for high school girls the last week of April.  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 
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.

For step by step instructions on accessing an application form for any committee, see the end of this section on Civic Oportunities.
Current Vacancies: Two Commissions

Continuing our series on existing vacancies (28 as of March 8) on the boards, committees, and commissions of the Town of Amherst, here are two more. (These descriptions are taken from the Town website.) For the complete list click here. To obtain an application form (Citizen Activity Form), see the instructions at the end of this Civic Opportunities section.
Historical Commission (1)
The Historical Commission is charged under local and state law with "the preservation, protection, and development of the historical and archeological resources of the Town."  The Commission maintains and updates an inventory of historic properties and sites in Amherst. The Commission develops nominations for the listing of historic districts and individual properties on the National Register of Historic Places. The Commission's work includes the preservation and restoration of Amherst's historic public cemeteries, Amherst's three historic commons, and several historic parks, public buildings, and sites. 
Human Rights Commission (1)
The Human Rights Commission acts to promote the Town's Human Rights Policy, to ensure that no person, public or private, shall be denied any rights guaranteed pursuant to local, state, and/or federal law on the basis of race or color, gender, physical or mental ability, religion, socio-economic status, ethnic or national origin, affectional or sexual preference, lifestyle, or age for all persons coming within the Town of Amherst. The Commission shall advise the Town and assist the Town Manager and Human Resources and Rights Director in the achievement of affirmative action/equal opportunity objectives, conduct and participate in educational activities related to its responsibilities, provide mediation, and review matters brought to its attention. 
-compiled by Elizabeth Davis

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 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.


Plan to Attend LWVMA Spring Conference in Worcester April 28

SAVE THE DATE:  Join LWVMA and hear a lineup of inspiring speakers at 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.

The keynote speaker will be Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. The Congresswoman and other  speakers will discuss women leaders past and present, the lessons they offer us, "and concrete steps we can all take to strengthen our democracy going forward."

All league members are invited to attend: there is no limit on the number of attendees from a local league.
For a full schedule of events, click here and to register,   click here .

LWVMA Position on Gun Control

LWVMA's position on gun control is on page 47 of Where We Stand. To read its statement about the Parkland shootings and find a link to its policy on gun control, click here .
Here's a selection from that policy statement:
"Goal: Elimination of the private possession of handguns (1974) and assault weapons (1989). The League supports: -Limitation of the sale and possession of handguns and assault weapons to law enforcement and military personnel, -a possible exception for sportsmen if the guns are used and stored away from the home under controlled conditions. Until such a time as a ban on the private possession of handguns and assault weapons becomes law", the League supports a number of measures regulating licensing, training in gun use and ownership responsibilities, and enforcement of existing laws.

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 Position on Gun Control

For the position on gun control, click here 
This site provides a brief history of the League's position on gun control, and the statement of the current policy.

LWVUS Urges Opposition to Concealed Carry Bill

LWVUS  and LWVMA both urge opposition to HR38, the concealed carry bill, which would compel states to permit those with concealed carry permits in their own states to have reciprocal rights in all 50 states. Read here the LWVUS letter with talking points on opposition to the concealed carry bill. Both Senators Markey and Warren are in opposition to the bill, but they to hear from constituents.

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.