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League of Women Voters
of Albany County
October-November 2017
        Issue 7, www.lwvalbany.org
Aimee Allaud & Marian Schwager, Bulletin Editors
Published by League of Women Voters of Albany County, PO Box 611, Slingerlands, NY 12159
Facebook: League of Women Voters of Albany County   
Twitter: @lwvac
In This Issue
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
Policy on Inclusiveness
The League of Women Voters in both its values and practice is committed to inclusion and diversity. This means:

We recognize that diverse perspectives are important and necessary for responsible and representative decision making;

We believe inclusiveness enhances our organization's ability to respond effectively to changing conditions and needs;

We affirm our commitment to reflecting the diversity of Albany County; and

There shall be no barriers to participation in any activity of the League on the basis of economic position, gender, race, ability , age, sexual orientation, creed or national origin. 

Quick Links
Electronic Bulletin
"Would New York Benefit From A Constitutional Convention?"

Date:  Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 7:00 pm
Place:  Guilderland Public Library, 2228 Western
 Avenue,  Guilderland
What:  A panel discussion with:
  • Gerald Benjamin, Benjamin Center for Public Policy, SUNY New Paltz
  • Ronald Deutsch, Executive Director, Fiscal Policy Institute, Latham
  • Susan Arbetter, Moderator, host of syndicated public radio program, "The Capitol Pressroom"
Co-sponsored with The Women's Press Club of NYS.  

The New York State Constitution calls for voters to decide at least every 20 years whether New York should convene a constitutional convention. The last convention was held in 1967.  If the ballot proposal is approved on Nov. 7, voters would select convention delegates in November 2018. The convention would meet in early 2019. Any proposed amendments to the constitution would appear on the November 2019 ballot.
You can read about the proposal by clicking here   ( http://lwvny.org/programs-studies/concon/2017/ConstitutionalConven_brochure.pdf) to the LWVNYS' one page explanation of the proposal.

For information, contact Aimee Allaud, Communications Director, 518-482-2617, or 85Aimee@nycap.rr.com.
 LWVAC Board meetings are held monthly (see calendar) 
at St. Sophia's church, 440 Whitehall Road, Albany, 
call Margaret Danes, president, 489-4442, mdanes@nycap.rr.com.  
Bulletin editors, Aimee Allaud, 85aimee@nycap.rr.com., and  Marian Schwager, welcome comments and suggestions
  League of Women Voters of NYS and
League of Women Voters of NYS Education Foundation  
62 Grand Street, Albany, NY., 12207, Tel: 465-4162 ,  www.lwvny.org., e-mail:lwvny@lwvny.org
Dare Thompson, President
League of Women Voters of the US,
1730 M Street, NW., Washington, DC 20036-4508
Tel: 202-429-1965202-429-1965, www.lwv.org
Chris Carson, President  
President's Message

"A Chicken in Every Pot"
Slogans.  Election campaign slogans.  Yes, in 1928 Herbert Hoover promised "A Chicken in Every Pot."  Well, that didn't quite work out.  How about Woodrow Wilson's campaign in 1916.  "He Kept Us Out of War".  Right.  Or in 1956, Eisenhower's promise of "Peace and Prosperity".  Was Vietnam an oversight?
Yes, slogans are marketing tools meant to grab our attention.  That part is understandable.    But, smart consumers want to examine the substance behind the slogan.  For the inside scoop, for the real information on a product, we go to a reputable resource like Consumer Reports.  Buying a car?  Handling on curves may be a key issue for some.  For others it may be the repair frequency.  Still others may want interior comfort for a family of five.  Many aspects are covered so then the individual can make a decision best for his/her needs.
However, when it comes to elections, that's when the League of Women Voters is the "go-to" resource for facts and background information.  Part of this effort involves sending out questionnaires to all the candidates in an upcoming election.  Then the responses of unedited  information is collected and recorded and becomes public information for voters.  To access this information, voters can go to the League website at Vote411.org and type in their street name (no name, no house number, just the street).  That will then access all the data on what will be on the ballot at that voter's polling place.  This will include each and every local, state, and national seat that is up for election.  It will list every candidate and then, if the candidate has returned the questionnaire, it will show the candidate's background information.  And for more in depth information, the voter can scroll down and compare answers to questions that were posed to each candidate.  I.e., "How do you feel about the equal rights amendment?"  Or, "How will you address the increased concerns about flood levels in endangered  residential areas?"  And more.  Voters now have the ability to assess and compare positions on issues of importance. 
Also of importance to voters are any propositions that may be on the ballot.  These are often on the back of the ballot and sometimes overlooked altogether.  Any propositions in a given year will also be found on the Vote411.org website.  This year there are three issues for consideration.  The one gaining the most attention is that for convening a constitutional convention for the purpose of examining and possibly reforming our current New York State Constitution.  There will also be a "Land Bank" proposition to enable municipalities to do necessary repair and infrastructure repair work.  And the third proposition would give courts the authority to revoke pensions of elected officials convicted of a crime related to their office.  (In prison and getting a state pension???)
In addition to using the League's website, check the League calendar for upcoming local candidate debates.  Live and in person can be very interesting.  And on October 24, there will also be a forum at the Guilderland Public Library on the pros and cons of holding a Constitutional Convention.
Go to the polls and vote on election day.  But go as a "smart" voter.  As Jack Webb used to say on Dragnet, "The facts, Mam, just the facts."

Margaret Danes, President
Great Decision/Global Issues
Fall 2017

Meetings of the Global Issues/Great Decisions groups are open to League members who have signed up for a group through the contact listed & have acquired and read the assigned reading. Because these are complex topics this helps assure that attendees are aware of the specific aspects of the subject which will be under discussion. We meet in local facilities or in group members' homes on a rotating basis with volunteer facilitators from the group. All League members are welcome. 

Slingerlands Berkshire Bank, 11 Vista Blvd., Slingerlands, 
9:30am - 11:30am
The group will meet three times this fall to discuss: "Earning the Rockies" by Robert D. Kaplan
Oct. 2 :   Chapters 1&2   (pp.1- 36)
Oct. 16:  Chapters 3&4  (pp. 37-127)
Oct. 30:  Chapters 5&Epilogue (pp.85-178)
 Brief book description:
One of the world's most influential geopolitical thinkers and bestselling author discusses an overlooked source of American strength: the fact that we are a nation, empire, and continent all at once.  He demonstrates how a nation's geography still foreshadows its future and reminds us of the need to reexamine our own landscape in order to confront the challenges that lie before us.
Participants will acquire their own copy of the book (widely available for purchase or through libraries).  For more information, contact Martha Kennedy at dkennedy2@nycap.rr.com .

HIghlights on National/State/Local Issues that 
LWVAC is Following
Healthcare --From the Monday, Sept. 18th Albany County Aging Summit to evening LWVAC program the estimate of NY's Medicaid deficit in the latest GOP bill to repeal Obama Care went from $18B to $33B.  NYT reported it could be over $50B. The League's Health Care panelists agreed that even $18B would pose a huge problem for NYS. Congress must vote on this bill Sept. 30th. (a temporary reprieve for the states occurred with the U.S. Senate Finance Committee decision on September 26 not to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.)  It's not over till it's over!
Environmental Issues -A Microgrid in the city of Albany?  NY State is on course to construct a natural gas power plant (Microgrid) in Sheridan Hollow (Arbor Hill) without local residents' input, a health impact assessment or an environmental impact study.  This is being opposed by residents and  local environmental groups who say that we don't need more fossil fuel burning, especially in a residential neighborhood. They urge that politicians look at safer, renewable alternatives. This plant would power the Empire State Plaza and several Albany county buildings in downtown Albany and needs more public involvement to avoid costly mistake. [see TU 9/23, "Residents Want voice in energy plan"] See Calendar for Environmental Advocates meeting on October 12. 
Solid Waste/City of Albany Landfill --The City of Albany has issued a Request for Proposals for solid waste management after the Albany landfill reaches capacity in 2023.  Bidders are asked to propose solutions costing $20M - $30M to build a transfer station at the Rapp Rd.facility.  Transfer means "put it on trucks and take it somewhere" The proposals could also include recycling and composting or "digestion" of organic wastes as options.  The schedule requires the City to review the proposals and contract with a vendor by January, 2018.  No formal, public, health or environmental impact study is currently included in the process. This could open the City to lawsuits for violating the NYS Environmental Review Act (SEQRA) and, again, expose us to costly mistakes for many decades.  The Albany League has a position to monitor solid waste matters and to encourage reduction, recycling and re-use.  This is the time to get involved with the political, environmental and educational aspects of this issue.
"Death with Dignity"-- During the 2017 State Convention a proposal to consider concurrence with LWV Utah's position on Death with Dignity was approved by convention delegates. LWVAC will schedule a study committee meeting on the topic for November. Check our website and watch for a Constant Contact for the date.  Info on LWVNYS website, www.lwvny.org
Please contact Mary Beilby, mary.beilby@gmail.com (518-898-9449) if you want to know more or want to get involved with these local projects.

County Legislature Observer Corps Update
September 25, 2017
Of note in the September Legislative meeting:
  • Local Law X (A. Joyce) passed unanimously: To bestow County level privileges to Veterans who were discharged for their Lesbian/BiSexual/Transgender status under the Federal Don't Ask Don't Tell law.
Items in progress to keep an eye on:
  • Local Law P (Lekakis/Clenahan) to help address wage gap between women and men by prohibiting employers from requiring job applicants to provide prior or current salary information.  Moved by Law Committee in September meeting for vote in October session.
  • Resolution 266 (Signoracci) and 267 (Dawson), competing resolutions on how legislative Public Forums are held.  Law Committee in September meeting moved to have Resolution 266 go for vote in October, with amendment to have public hearings and public comment periods live-streamed, but not recorded.  Opinion of County Attorney is pending on other proposed changes outlined in Resolution 267.
  • Local Law G (Mauriello) amending the Albany County Charter to implement an anti-nepotism policy:  tabled in Law Committee.
  • Local Laws V (Crouse) and W (Cunningham) on Redistricting:  discussions continue between the two sponsors.
  • County shared services initiative as mandated by the Governor aimed at reducing property taxes:  3 public information sessions held for community input in July/August; proposed plan approved the panel on September 13th; public presentation of the plan will be scheduled for mid-October.  
  • Resolution 210 passed in May session requiring County Executive to update comprehensive recycling and solid waste management plan by January 1.  County Executive office is asking Legislature for clarification as last plan was funded by a grant and managed by CDRPC.
Did you know......
Q.  "What is the purpose of the League's Observer Corps?"
A. The  Observer Corps is a structured way for individuals to exercise their right to know.  Observers keep elected and appointed officials on notice; they let them know that someone is watching what decisions are being made and how they are being made.

For more information on the legislature's agendas and meeting schedules, go to their web page ( albanycounty.com ) or connect here at http://www.albanycounty/legislature/meetingagendas.aspx.legislature/meetingagendas.aspx .
Join us and become more informed on this very important level of local government that is sometimes invisible. 

Patricia Sibilia, LWVAC County Legislature Observer Corps


Oct 12, 8-9 AM  " Health Effects of Chemical Emissions from NYS Natural Gas
 Compressor Stations", Environmental Advocates program, at 1199 SEIU, 155 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY, contact Mary Beilby, mary.beilby@gmail.com
Oct 16, 7-9:15 PM Town of Guilderland Candidates Forum, Guilderland Public Library, 2228
 Western Avenue, Guilderland, contact Barbara Frankel, barbarameg@mac.com .

Oct 19, 7-9:15 PM Town of Bethlehem Candidates Forum, Bethlehem Public Library, 445
 Delaware Avenue, Delmar, contact Barbara Frankel, barbarameg@mac.com.

Oct 24, 7 PM     "Does NYS Need a Constitutional Convention"? panel discussion, Guilderland
Public Library, 2228 Western Avenue, (see front page), contact Aimee Allaud, 85aimee@nycap.rr.com , 518-482-2617.

Oct 25, 7-9:15 PM  Town of Colonie Candidates Forum, Radisson Hotel Albany, 2015 Wolf
 Road, Colonie, contact barbarameg@mac.com

Nov 4, 5-8:00 PM  Women's Suffrage Centennial Celebration, "An Evening Celebrating Votes
 for Women" exhibit opens at the  NYS Museum.  [see separate flyer]

Nov 6, 6:30 PM    LWVAC Board Mtg., St. Sophia's Church, 440 Whitehall Road, All are
 welcome, contact Aimee Allaud, 85aimee@nycap.rr.com ., or 518-482-2617.

Nov 7, 6:00 AM   Election Day, candidates for local offices, NYS Ballot proposals, local election
 proposals.  Help the LWVAC by poll reporting at 9 PM!

Nov 16 AM-PM     League Day at the United Nations , A Briefing on Forced Labor and Human
Trafficking -- 3:00 - 5:00 pm , (lunch and tours available, too, starting at 11:30 am) (see separate flyer)  bus from Albany also.
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Mail to: League of Women Voters of Albany County, PO Box 611, Slingerlands, NY 12159

League of Women Voters of Albany County