Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

February 17, 2018
In This Issue:

February 19, 2:30 p.m.,  Book Group Discussion of Strangers in their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild, at Maija Lillya's, 23 McIntosh Drive. NOTE CHANGE OF TIME.
February 20, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Darren Port speaks on "Zero Energy Buildings and Communities," Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, 121 N. Pleasant St.
February 25, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Celebration of Black History Month: "Race Amity and the Other Tradition," Woodbury Room, Jones Library.  
March 1, 7 p.m., Forum on Proposed Charter, Amherst Regional Middle School.
March 7,
1:30-3 p.m., Board Meeting, Woodbury Room, Jones Library. All members welcome. 
March 15, 7 p.m., Candidates' Night, Amherst Regional Middle School.
March 17, 10-11:30 a.m. or 12-1:30 p.m.,  Meet Your Town Meeting Candidates, Amherst Regional Middle School. See article below for times for different precincts.
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. 
April 6
, 7 p.m., Civics Fest, Amherst Regional High School.
April 8, LWVMA Moderator Training, Northampton area (precise time and place TBA.) 
June 28-June 30,  LWV National Convention, Chicago.   
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LWVA News: Coming Events

"Zero Energy Buildings and Communities: The Landscape of the Future" Talk, Tuesday, February 20

The speaker, Darren Port, is a national expert and regional leader in paving the way for the spread of zero energy buildings throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. The buildings and community solutions manager at Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), Port brings a broad perspective to the critical role of towns and cities in reducing carbon emissions through building energy performance standards and clean energy development.

7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, 121 North Pleasant St.

Sponsored by Amherst Mothers Out Front and Climate Action Now; co-sponsored by the LWVA  
as well as Western MA Community Choice Energy and Sustaining Amherst. 
Celebration of Black History Month: "An American Story: The Other Tradition," February 25.

LWVA is pleased to be a co-sponsor of Citizens for Race Amity Now (CRAN)'s celebration of Black History Month. The event will be held on Sunday, February 25, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Woodbury Room of the Jones Library. CRAN members write "We think that members of the League will find this program very relevant to our current social and political troubles, as it focuses on the theme of 'coming together' across the racial and political divides." "The perspective of the Other Tradition is that in America's racial history, the dominant tradition of racism has always had a parallel moral counterweight that promotes equity, respect, and social justice."

Amilcar Shabazz, head of UMass Department of Afro-American Studies, will be master of ceremonies for this varied program, which will include the musical contributions of Jackie Wallace and the Amherst Gospel Choir. A reception will follow the program.

Comparison of Current Government and Proposed Charter: Forum, March 1

This LWVA-sponsored forum will ask panelists to apply the Amherst League's principles of good local government to both existing and proposed new form of town government. The four panelists, members of the Charter Commission, represent differing views of the form of government which best meets the Amherst League's principles.

LWVA's moderator is Karen Price, president of the Needham League, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts League. Members of the audience will have opportunities to submit questions for the panel.

To review the concepts, principles and practices of good government endorsed by the Amherst League in 2003, see your Program Book, around page 4, or click here.

Join us Tuesday, March 1, at 7:00 p.m. at the Amherst-Pelham Regional Middle School.

Meet Your Town Meeting Candidates,  Saturday, March 17 at the Middle School

LWVA member s Kathy Campbell, Kathy Vorwerk, Elizabeth Davis, Marcie Sclove and  Maija Lillya will be this year's Moderators for 'Meet Your Precinct Town Meeting Candidates,' an event sponsored by the Town Meeting Coordinating Committee and its Subcommittee on Policies & Procedures. This town-wide community event takes place on Saturday, March 17 for all Amherst residents at the Amherst-Pelham Regional Middle School, 170 Chestnut St.  League Moderators will facilitate sessions for Precincts 1-5, from 10:00 to11:30 a.m. and Precincts 6-10, from 12 to 1:30 PM. In its 2nd year, this is a pre-election opportunity for Town Meeting Candidates and voters in their precincts to hear and share views. 
Click here for more information.  Everyone is welcome to this public forum to meet their Town Meeting Candidates.

LWVA News: Recent Accomplishments

Celebration of L
WVA Birthday, February 10, 2018
Speaker Margot Parrot

In addition to good food and good conversation, 
the LWVA members and their guests heard an informative talk from Margot N. Parrot, the chair of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. Margot, now living in Athol, is a former member of the LWVA and of both Amherst Town Meeting and the Finance Committee. She briefly described the history, organization and work of the Commission and its eight regional commissions, which include the Hampshire/Franklin Commission.

The State Commission (MCSW) holds four public hearings a year in communities across the state and runs a Speakers Bureau. It names Unsung Heroines each year: some of our own members have been so honored, including, among current members, Cynthia Brubaker, Nancy Eddy and Alice Swift. It also holds a Women's Advocacy Day  (May 10 in 2018), when women from across the state lobby at the State House for bills the MCSW is supporting. Click here to see the legislative priorities of MCSW this session. 


 For more information about the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, click here
Coming Together to Protect Critical Services: Connecting People to Food, Health Care, Community.

On Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 6:30-8 p.m.,
the LWVA co-sponsored Amherst Survival Center's panel discussion, a program of the Survival Center's Feed Democracy Initiative. League members present included Phyllis Lehrer and Leslie Nyman, who provided notes and postcards for members of the audience to use in writing to their legislators about the issues raised by the panelists.

Note Amherst's former State Representative (and continuing LWVA member) Ellen Story moderating the panel in this photograph of the panel.

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.
On the subject of candidates, read on....

Civic  Opportunities: Service on Town of Amherst Boards, Committees and Commissions: Part 3    
Consider a new committee beginning this spring: the Town Meeting Advisory Committee, or TMAC. Its nine members are not required to be Town Meeting members.
The responsibilities of TMAC will be to investigate how the Town Meeting warrant articles would affect the Town if passed.  (Town finances will not be covered, since they are reserved for the Finance Committee.) It will also analyze the benefits and impacts to the Town of warrant articles, and report findings to Town Meeting. The principal focus will be on analysis of pros and cons.  
Its nine members must be Town of Amherst residents, but as noted above, are not required to be Town Meeting members. The term of service will normally be three years.  Nomination can be by self-nomination or nomination by the Moderator or the TMCC.  Contact: John Hornik, (413) 256-8854.  
Looking for Republicans, Democrats and members of other Parties to Participate in a Daylong Workshop

This Day-long Dialogue on April 14, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is intended for 
16-25 participants.
 Its goals:
1)     To deepen understanding of those with political convictions different than your own
2)     To increase capacity for respectful listening
3)     To decrease dehumanization and stereotypes that have arisen especially in this election cycle
4)     To establish the environment for working together on shared goals  
We are looking for people from all sides of the aisle, - Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Green Party - who would like to spend a day together learning how to dialogue with those with whom you disagree. The underlying goal is to deepen the capacity for listening and understanding each other, and as a result, to be able to work together on issues. Paula Green, an expert dialogue facilitator, will be guiding us through the day of activities and dialogues.
Please contact Rebecca Fricke if you are interested in participating:  by phone 413-687-8722 or email. 

LWVMA needs trained moderators: Interested? Training in Northampton area April 8

LWVMA needs trained moderators in this year of campaigning: they play a critical role in candidate and issue forums and debates. Leagues find it best to use moderators from other leagues. Linda O'Connell mentioned (at a recent Winter Field Service Meeting at Shelburne Falls) that this fall Springfield expects several contentious campaigns: it would be very helpful for the Springfield Unit if it could call on moderators from the Amherst League.

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?

The training session that was just taped in Acton will be available for showing elsewhere. Jean Cherdack is scheduling one for our area on Sunday, April 8th. Contact Jean if you are interested.

Interested in LWVMA legislative activity? Consider Being a Legislative Envoy

The LWVMA is creating a corps of Legislative Envoys to link local Leagues with its legislative efforts at the State House and make those efforts more effective. It is looking for one or two interested members in each local League to become envoys.

Initially, LWVMA will pilot a small group of envoys from different local Leagues who will be responsible for building relationships with the State Representative and Senator in their districts and engaging their local Leagues.

As an envoy, you will learn how to become a better Citizen Lobbyist and will become familiar with the legislative priorities of the state League. As an envoy, you will become a key proponent of state League efforts to make Massachusetts more responsive to its residents and provide a key link between your local League and state government.

Click here for more information on the program; click here to contact the program administrator, Colleen Kirby. 
Automatic Voter Registration now a step closer towards being enacted into law

Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) is one of LWVMA's highest priorities this session, so it was exciting that last week it was favorably reported out of the Joint Committee on Election Laws. Both houses must now pass this legislation by July 31, and forward it to Governor Baker for his signature.

LWVMA encourages us to continue contacting our legislators to support this important piece of legislation that will make our voter registration system more accurate, secure, and inclusive. (AVR would enable eligible citizens to automatically register when they interact with a state agency like the Registry of Motor Vehicles or MassHealth.)

For more info on AVR, click here.

Leadership change at LWVUS

You may have seen the recent email from LWVUS saying that the current chief executive officer, Wylecia Wiggs Harris, has resigned as Chief Executive Officer of the League of Women Voters, as of the beginning of this month. The board has appointed LWVUS Chief Operating Officer,  Anisa Tootla, as the Interim CEO. Anisa provides more than 20 years of non-profit management experience on top of her nearly four years of executive leadership overseeing the operations of LWVUS and LWVEF. 

New Web Page

LWVUS also has a new web page, which members seem to have mixed feelings about. Check it out and see what you think. There is a separate page for League Management which provides a lot of useful material. 

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.