September 2015 Newsletter
Dear Falls Church Leaguers,
There's no holding back the election activities of our League! Voter Service Co-chairs Sandy Tarpinian and Grace Rissetto are hard at work making sure that the League does its job of letting voters know the facts.
Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:
we'll be at the Taste of Falls Church /Fall Festival passing out election information.
We still need 2-3 volunteers for the Noon to 2 PM and 2 to 4 PM slots. Contact me at
to help out
October 1: is the Council Candidates Forum at Council Chambers
October 15: is the School Board Candidates Forum at George Mason High School.
VOTE411, a platform supported by LWVUS, will be online in the near future. It will be available on our website with complete and comprehensive voter information including our extensive Voters Guide on the local candidates and election information. You'll also be seeing our Voters Guide as an insert in the News-Press closer to election day.
Many of our election activities have costs associated that we have to cover. In that vein, mark your calendars for
December 12th when we'll host our annual holiday event, which has been our major fundraiser. It will look a bit different this year, but we promise you won't be disappointed. Details coming in October.
On the statewide league level, LWV-VA is putting together a Firearms Safety Task Force to address this vital issue. It's something we're all concerned about and this is a chance to do something substantive about the issue.
Also, on the state level, a workshop is planned in Richmond on October 1 to educate LWV members on the two studies sponsored by LWV-US. Constitutional Amendment and Money in Politics are certainly front-burner issues for us to tackle. We'd really like to have some of you attend.
LWV Maryland is also holding a workshop on the two studies in Columbia on Sept. 26. See
under "Coming Soon" to register. It's closer than Richmond!
As you can see, we're a busy group. Don't hesitate to contact me or Voter Service Co-chairs to join the fun. We've got a lot to do but if everyone helps a little bit, we can get the job done!
Stay informed, Ellen
LEAGUE IDENTIFIES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AS KEY NEXUS IN GUN VIOLENCE - LWV-VA CONVENTION PASSES RESOLUTION
For the third year in a row, more Virginians died due to firearms than traffic accidents. While no one law can prevent every firearm death, there are key areas in which Virginia's laws could be improved to help significantly lower the risk of death by firearm. Based upon 2 years of research, the League found that one key area is the nexus between guns and domestic violence. Evidence from many national studies, including by the FBI, found:
- 48 women are shot to death by a current or former husband or boyfriend each month.
- The majority (57%) of mass shootings are tied to domestic abuse. These shootings include, on average, 2.5 children.
- People with a history of committing domestic violence are more likely to murder an intimate partner. Stalking is a predictor of intimate partner homicide. Nearly 9 in 10 attempted murders of women were preceded by at least one incident of stalking in the year before the attack.
- Active shooter incidents are increasing, now occurring about every 3 weeks and 10% are related to domestic violence.
Below are examples of Virginia families devastated by guns in the hands of domestic abusers.
- February 2014, Glade Springs (Palmer Family): 5 shot, 4 dead, 1 survivor. (1 child, age 17yrs) "Kevin Palmer shot and killed his wife Kristen, his 17 year old son, Griffin, and his mother-in-law Nancy, and injured his father-in-law, Terry, before turning the gun on himself. Palmer owned nearly 50 firearms...The Sheriff said, Under the protective order, Palmer wasn't allowed to have weapons, but there's no system in place to search the home or make sure the person doesn't keep their weapons."
- June 2014 in Chesterfield County (Jernigan Family) 4 shot, 4 dead. (2 children, ages 2yrs and 9yrs) "Barry Jernigan, 35, shot his 2-year-old son, Seth, dead as the boy lay in his crib, and also killed his stepdaughter Alexis Kellas, 9, and his wife, Renotta Jernigan, 30, police in Chesterfield said. Renotta and Alexis were able to stumble out of the Fox Maple Terrace home around 10 p.m. Sunday before collapsing in the front yard, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported."
- August 2014 in Culpepper Virginia (Washington Family) 5 shot, 5 dead (3 children, ages 4, 6 and 13) "Family and friends told authorities the couple had been having an ongoing domestic dispute that apparently grew more heated Saturday night. The bodies of Clarence and Shauna Washington, both 35, and their three daughters -- 4-year-old Olivia, 6-year-old Onya and 13-year-old Omesha -- were found inside their home Sunday night."
- May 2015 in Chesterfield (Rogers Family): 2 shot, 2 dead (1 child, age 1 year old) "Police found two victims, Morgan R. Rogers, 34, and Leah Rogers, 1, deceased from gunshot wounds. Both victims lived at the residence. Through investigation, detectives identified Stafford L. Shaw Sr., 46, as a suspect in the homicide. Shaw is the estranged boyfriend of Morgan Rogers. He was under an emergency protective order at the time of the shooting."
At the LWV-VA 2015 Convention a resolution was passed to take action to prevent domestic abusers and stalkers from purchasing, accessing, or possessing firearms. LWV-VA will now advocate and lobby for stronger laws.
Implementation of the resolution starts now by mobilizing a Task Force. The "Firearms Safety Task Force" needs a statewide team of League activists, "staff", strategists, writers, voices, persuaders, researchers, and grassroot lobbyists.
Co-Captains of the Task Force are Fairfax League members Ruth Hoffman and Judy Helein. They are ready to form the Team.
Ruth and Judy say this:
"The Task Force will help coordinate and organize the League's efforts to take action through advocacy and lobbying as well as provide talking points, updates, and facilitate the flow of information. Actions will include engaging candidates through candidate forums, participating in Lobby Day and calling legislators to voice our support for legislation during the General Assembly."
Families will remain at risk if Virginia lawmakers fail to act.
Bills need to be drafted and vetted and submitted by legislators. How limited or broad should the "ask" be to be successful?
Becoming experts will help: Know the law -- define domestic abusers and stalkers. What are current laws regarding stalkers? What are the parameters of a protective order? How are protective orders established and controlled? Do they all address possession of firearms?
Which legislators will help? Which will be opposed?
What past bills have been proposed? What failed and why? What could be even one small change that could be successful? Who will be the storytellers who will share their experiences?
Which League members will join this "Firearms Safety Task Force"? Will you?
Let Ruth and Judy know if you will join.
2015-2016 LWVFC Board and Off-Board Members
Local Affairs Chair
Voter Service Co-Chairs
Liaison to NCA
Taste of Falls Church - LWVFC Booth
Saturday, Sept. 19
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Volunteer at the LWVFC Booth!
LWVFC / VPIS City Council Candidates Forum
Thursday, Oct. 1
7:30 - 9 p.m.
Falls Church City Council Chambers
300 Park Avenue
LWVFC / VPIS / GMHS PTSA School Board Candidates Forum
Thursday, Oct. 15
LWVFC Forum: Where Do Your City Tax Dollars Go?
Sunday, Oct. 18
3 - 5 p.m.
Falls Church Community Center
223 Little Falls Street
Tuesday, Nov. 3
LWVFC needs volunteers to staff tables at each of the three polling places to distribute Voters Guides
LWVFC Consensus Meeting on Constitutional Amendment Study
Sunday, Nov. 15
3 - 5 p.m.
Falls Church Community Center
LWVFC Holiday Social
Saturday, Dec. 12
Don't Hesitate To Get Involved!
With election season upon us, there are many ways that you can help out.
Both of our
will need a number of volunteers. The time commitment is no more than a couple of hours for each event. We need greeters, people to collect question cards from the audience, timers, and even someone to be sure that candidates have water and pens and pads at their places on the stage. As you can see, the jobs don't require special training!
We also need volunteers for the Fall Festival, Sept. 19, to be at our booth from 12pm to 2pm and from 2pm to 4pm. Contact
Voter Services also
needs volunteers to distribute Voters Guides in the community and to staff tables on Election Day at all three polling locations. Contact
if you can help.
Communications needs volunteers to help out.
Examples of items to assist with include:
- Layout & design of the monthly e-Bulletin
- Distribution of press releases
- Video recording LWVFC programs
- Editing/Producing LWVFC videos for FCC-TV
- Development and posting of Facebook messages
No experience is necessary.
This is a great opportunity to learn new skills or, if you have a student who is willing to volunteer, to build a portfolio. If you are interested in helping out in any of these areas, contact
A great way to stay current on issues of interest to the League is to follow the
WHAT'S NEW WITH THE WEBSITE
After several years of administering our website Bob Donaldson is moving on (literally) . He and Cindy, an invaluable league member who made many worthwhile contributions to the League, including serving as treasurer, will move to Southern Maryland later in the year. Bob is general contractor for a home that they are building. He and Cindy will be living on a farm that has been in his family for many years.
We can't thank Bob enough for his help with the website. He did an excellent job of making sure that everyone who used the site got the information that they needed.
Our new webmaster, Neil Johnston, is a senior at George Mason High School. Neil is interested in video game design and development and new media. He'll be a great addition to our communications team and we're thrilled to have him take on this role.
The League of Women Voters Falls Church is a non-partisan organization that serves the citizens of Falls Church City through encouraging informed and active participation in government, working to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influencing public policy through education and advocacy.
A Voice for Citizens and a Force for Change in the United States.