Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

January 18, 2019
In This Issue:

January 19, 9 a.m. to noon, 35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr Community Breakfast, Amherst Regional Middle School. See Coming Events for more details.
January 19, noon- 3 p.m.. The Pioneer Valley Women's Wave Sister March, from Sheldon Field to City Hall, Northampton. See Coming Events for more details.
January 21, 2:30 p.m. Book Discussion of Rachel Kaddish's The Weight of Ink, at Applewood.
January 23, meet at 11 a.m., Single-Payer Health Care Lobby Day, Meet at Grand Staircase, State House.
January 24, 2-4 p.m. LWVA Consensus Meeting on Ballot Question Process Study, Craft Room, Applewood. (Snow date, Jan 29, same time and place.)
January 25, LWV Amherst DUES due
January 26, 10 a.m.-noon, LWVA Consensus Meeting on Ballot Question Process Study, Woodbury Room, Jones Library. (Snow date, Feb 2, 10-12 in Amherst Police Station Room.)
January 28, 1-3:00 p.m., Special Steering Committee Meeting, 197 Pondview Dr. All members are welcome, but please contact the host.
January 29, 7 p.m., LWVMA Webinar on the Legislative Process. Sign up here. More info in January e-bulletin.
February 2, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Northampton and Springfield LWV's Consensus Meeting, Florence Civic Center. All League members welcome to attend and participate.
February 4 , 1-3 p.m., Steering Committee Meeting, 11 Western Lane. All members are welcome, but please contact the host.
February 6, 4 p.m. LWVMA webinar: Recent reports on Climate Change with Prof. Michael Oppenheimer, participant in UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Registration here.
February 9, 12:30-2 p.m., LWV Amherst's annual Birthday Lunch, Ginger Garden Restaurant. Speaker: State Rep. Mindy Domb. Save the Date!
February 18, 2:30 p.m., Book Discussion of Jimmy Carter's The Virtues of Aging, Applewood.
February 26, 7 p.m., LWVMA Webinar on Ranked Choice Voting in MA. Registration here.
March 21,  4:00- 6:00 p.m, Amherst LWV 80th Birthday Open House, Amherst Women's Club . Save the Date!
June 7-8, LWVMA State Convention, Westford Regency Inn, right off 495 in Westford. Save the Date!

Special Note:
Membership dues for 2019  must be received by January 25 to continue your active membership in LWV Amherst.

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.
Note: a print bulletin will no longer be published. If you have friends who would prefer a paper copy of the e-bulletin, please contact a member of the Steering Committee.
LWVA joins affordable housing coalition
At its January meeting, the LWVA steering committee voted to join the Amherst Affordable Housing Advocacy Coalition. This new coalition is a group of organizations and individuals that will advocate for affordable housing initiatives when they come before the various town boards. It also plans to provide information about housing issues and long-term solutions.

LWVA has had a local position on affordable housing since 1966. The most recent version, adopted in 2001, continues to provide a solid basis to support efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing in Amherst. By joining the coalition, the League hopes to be able to advocate more effectively for its goals in this area.

The Town's most recent initiative has been the creation of the Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust. Its web site includes links to its strategic plan for the next several years, as well as a 2015 Housing Market Study and a 2013 Amherst Housing Production Plan.

For more information, or if you would like to get involved, please contact Elisa Campbell or


35th Annual Martin Luther King Community Breakfast and Awards Ceremony January 19
Storyteller and singer Esher Bumpus
The Community Breakfast will be from 9 a.m. to noon in the Amherst Regional Middle School's cafeteria; coffee (and socializing) from 8:30 a.m.

The keynote speaker and performer, Esher Bumpus, storyteller and singer, will tell stories whose messages reflect Dr. King's teachings. The ARHS Jazz Ensemble, the Crocker Farm Elementary School Chorus and the  Amherst Area Gospel Choir will also entertain, and several awards will be given out.

The ceremony will also honor the late Judy Brooks, a teacher widely known for her decades of community service and activism, and a member of LWVAmherst devoted to voter registration.

LWVAmherst members should look for the table with the LWVAmherst sign.

Tickets are available at the door, if not purchased earlier at Hastings, the Jones Library, or Global Cuts at 460 West St. Tickets are $12 for adults; $10 for seniors and $5 for children 2 or younger.

Carrying the banner at 2018 March
Pioneer Valley Women's Wave Sister March, January 19

VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED--Marchers and (indoor) Tablers for the The Pioneer Valley Women's Wave Sister March in Northampton, Saturday, January 19.

Marchers are gathering at Sheldon Field from 11 a.m., and will march to City Hall, starting at noon. The LWV Amherst will have a table--for League Information and Registration--) at the Activist Fair in First Churches on Main Street, open from noon to 3.
Who wants to help carry the League Banner?
Registering voters at the 2018 March.

Who wants to attend the table in the church?
Please contact Barbara Pearson, on the March Committee. 
For more information, visit 0the Facebook page 

Nancy Eddy at Inauguration of Amherst's new Town Council.
Amherst LWV member to be honored for her leadership  
"Nancy Eddy, a former Amherst selectman and the first president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA), will be honored during the opening session of the MMA's 40th Annual Meeting & Trade Show this weekend, January 18-19. As the first president, Nancy presided over the first Massachusetts Municipal Association Annual Meeting & Trade Show in 1979."

"Eddy moved to Amherst in 1960, shortly after she was married, and soon was serving as a Town Meeting member, a Planning Board member, and on the local League of Women Voters. She served as a selectman for nine years (1971-80), at a time when there were relatively few women selectmen in Massachusetts. She has also served on a special committee on town goals and a citizens activity committee. Most recently, at age 80, she served as the emcee at the swearing in of Amherst's first Town Council. Eddy had a professional career in higher education, ultimately retiring as vice president of administration and finance at Holyoke Community College."
(This brief bio of Nancy on MMA's website, written by Meredith Gabrilska, Digital Communications Coordinator at MMA, also provides selections from Nancy's interview with The Beacon, the MMA's monthly news publication.)
Nancy Eddy is well known to the Amherst League as its president in 1965-67, and in more recent times, a frequently-sought moderator for League candidate forums.

Mandi Jo Hanneke, interview repeated Jan 21 at 6 p.m.
LWVA's Byline with Stan Rosenberg

 A new weekly show on Amherst Media, presented by LWV Amherst. Host Stan Rosenberg interviews players in both town and state  . The program premieres a new guest every Friday at 8 p.m and is repeated on Mondays at 6 p.m. on local Channel 17.  Premiere shows are also live-streamed. This week's guest is At-Large Councilor Mandi Jo Hanneke.

Previous shows with Council President Lynn Griesemer and District 1 Councilor Cathy Schoen are available for viewing at
Councillor Schoen with host.
Council President Griesemer with host Stan Rosenberg

                                     FAQs about the Consensus Meetings
Do I have to attend both of the meetings? No way. If you can come to both, great, but we will cover what we think are the most interesting questions for members in both meetings. (Sections V on Financing Campaigns for Ballot Question, IV, the Role of the Legislature, and VI, whether ballot questions are worth preserving.) As time permits, we will cover questions which weren't on the agenda for the meeting. (Thursday in addition to IV-VI will consider ways to improve the information provided in the red booklet; Saturday will look at the rules for signature gathering and the lack of rules for signature gatherers.) As much as possible, the new material will be introduced first, so if you attend both meetings and want to cut out before we turn to the sections you've already discussed, you can do this.  
Is this topic as boring as I suspect it is? Well, you may consider us unreliable sources, but
everyone who has looked into LWVMA's Study Guide has found some really interesting situations which cry out for improvement.
Will we be fed and watered? No, sorry. Bring your snack and drink if you want one. We will have a stretch break though, so you won't need to sit for two straight hours.
W here could I find more information if I wanted it? has a page for the ballot question process study questions and their context in brief ; the special ebulletin of January 12 covered Sections I, II, IV and VI our Facebook magician has been posting some of the more intriguing questions on our FB page and there's lots of info at LWVMA's page on the Study.
Who is responsible for this? The Amherst study committee consists of Alice Swift, Kathy Campbell, Adrienne Terrizzi and Susan Millinger. The four of us will take turns presenting the questions. Elizabeth Davis will be the Thursday afternoon facilitator/moderator; Sudha Setty will have that role on Saturday morning. Jessica Ryan has agreed to be recorder at both meetings.
Meeting Times, Dates and Places; Snow Dates.   Thursday, January 24, 2-4 p.m., Applewood's Crafts Room. Snow date: Jan 31, same time and place.
Saturday, January 26, 10 a.m. to noon, Woodbury Room, Jones Library. Snow Date: Feb 2, 10 a.m. -noon in the Amherst Police Station Room.

Section III: The Signature Collectors
Unlike the signatures, which are governed by several rules, no rules at all govern the signature collectors in Massachusetts. There are good arguments for providing some regulation.
Question 9
Most states with citizen-initiated ballot questions regulate the gatherers of signature. Age and residency requirements are common, as is identification of a collector as either paid or volunteer. 18 of the 24 states require petition circulators to personally witness each signature and sign an affidavit or take an oath to that witnessing.
Note: The U.S Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot prohibit paying for signature gathering.
Text of Question 9: "Should there be regulations governing signature collectors?"

Question 10

The Secretary of the Commonwealth provides two pages of instruction for signature gatherers (pages 17-18 of "State Ballot Question Petitions (revised January 2017.) The focus of this section is the extraneous marks which disqualify a page of signatures: see Question 7.) Some other states do have training materials, which could be quite useful in providing consistent, accurate guidelines. A manual, a webinar, a video are all possible ways to provide such training.

Text of Question 10: "Should the Secretary of the Commonwealth provide training opportunities for signature collectors?"

  Section V: Campaign Financing for Ballot Questions

Given the Amherst League's work on Money and Politics, Campaign financing on ballot questions is a natural concern. Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down other state attempts to limit such spending. What, then, can be done?

Question 13

Currently, there are no limits to the amount of money that can be donated or spent in support or opposition to ballot questions in Massachusetts. In the 2014, 2016 and 2018 election cycles all records of spending on ballot questions were broken. Two attempts to regulate ballot campaign contributions were struck down by Massachusetts courts in 1978 and 1981.

There are measures that could be more vigorously investigated and implemented, such as Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) regulations and current disclosure laws, as well as putting limits on out-of-state contributions. Massachusetts could continue to work on constitutional solutions to the widespread and unregulated money in campaigns.

In past elections in Massachusetts, the ballot question campaign that spend the most money did not always win, indicating that voters can distinguish the merits of a question regardless of the level of spending. Moreover, some questions have expenses associated with the complexity of the issue or to counter opposition.

Text of Question 13: "Should Massachusetts seek ways to limit the amount of money that can be spent on ballot questions campaigns?"

Question 14
Campaign donations and expenditures are reported on a schedule and directly to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) website before the election. In some, accurate reporting is not complete until after the election, due to funds being transferred among multiple campaign committees.

OCPF should ensure that information is reported and presented as accurately and speedily as possible so that voters can have easy access to accurate information on donations and expenditures on all ballot questions prior to voting. On the other hand, State budget and system constraints may make it too difficult to do this.

Text of Question 14: "Should accurate information on campaign donations to and expenditures from ballot question committees be available to the public prior to the election?"


Observer Corps Report:   Town Council Meeting, Town Room of Town Hall, January 7, 2019, 6:30  All Members were present, with Cathy Schoen and Shalini Bahl-Milnes attending this meeting on Skype.
Observer Notes: Reporting: Meg Gage and John Page
The Town Manager introduced three town staff sharing the duties of Community Participation Officer, per Charter sec. 3.3(d): Angela Mills, Jennifer Moyston, and Brianna Sunryd. The plan is included in the meeting packet; see link below.
Council voted unanimously to refer the replacement of the closed Station Road Bridge to the Finance Committee to return with a recommendation on January 28. Two endangered species live in the area, and this is a national heritage site. The goal is to have a temporary bridge in place April 2019, and permanent bridge September 2020. More information is included in the packet.
Council considered draft charges for several new committees:
  • Energy and Resilience Committee, proposed by Councilors DuMont and Ross: referred to the Governance, Organization and Legislation Committee.
  • Residents' Advisory Committee (see Charter Section 3.3(c)): referred to ?
  • Budget Coordinated Group (see Charter Section 5.2): Charge approved as amended.
More information about each of these proposals is in the meeting packet.
President Griesemer appointed the following councilors to standing committees of the Town Council:
  • Finance Committee: Steinberg, Schoen, Griesemer, Pam, Bahl-Milne
  • Communications, Outreach, and Appointments: Brewer, Swartz, Ryan, Ross, Dumont
  • Governance, Organization, and Legislation Committee: Hanneke, De Angelis, Ross, Ryan, Schreiber
The Town Manager announced some appointments. Council voted to refer the Town Manager's appointments to the Board of License Commissioners to the Communications, Outreach, and Appointments Committee with a request to for a recommendation to Town Council on January 28, but confirmed Evelyn Rivera-Griffenburg as the Human Resources Director.
Council approved the minutes of meetings December 3, 8 (Four Towns Meeting) and 17.
The next regularly scheduled Town Meeting is January 28. The Council has also scheduled a retreat for February 2.

Observer Corps Report:   Town Council Meeting, Town Room of Town Hall, December 17, 2018 , 6:30 to 10:20 p.m. All Members present
Observer Notes: Reporting: Barbara Pearson
  1. One Public Comment. Carol Johnson, Amherst Cinema, argued for more
  2. Action Items (charge and composition of the proposed committees)
    The Council was reminded of a general provision mandated by the
    Charter for all committees to have an uneven number of members (to avoid
APPROVED composition and charges for:
    • Finance Committee (unanimous) (note, no unelected residents)
    • Communications, Outreach and Appointments Committee (unanimous)
    • Governance, Organization, and Legislation Committee (12-1, Dumont opposed)
    • Joint Capital Planning Committee (with Library and School Board),
      Amendment for composition (passed 8 to 5, Brewer, de Angelis, Griesemer,
      Hanneke, and Schreiber, opposed); charge (passed unanimously).
The Council took up material on Procedures and Duties deferred from Dec. 10
and referred most questions to the Ad hoc Rules of Procedures Committee,
meeting Dec 18 at the Bangs. Councilor Bahl-Milne volunteered to be the 5th
member of the committee.

TABLED to a future date (after considerable discussion)
    • Community Development Committee (proposal to rename it to Development and
      Sustainability, and wait until the emergence of a clearer sense of what the charge was to be);
    • Budget Coordinating Group (with other town units)
      (Actual committee assignments will be made by Griesemer in consultation with
      all the councilors individually, before the next meeting.)
  1. Meeting Schedule for 2019 was adopted, pending clarification of dates
    around the Jewish holidays in the Fall. January meetings, 1/7 and 1/28.
  2. Town Manager commended the Council for establishing the committees, just
    in time to receive assignments from staff and other town units.
  3. Councilor Steinberg gave a brief report of the 4-Towns (School) meeting
  4. Council Retreat being planned for late Jan/ early Feb.
A "theme" in the discussion was "Building the airplane while they were
flying it."
Note that another Observer from District 1 attended until the break.
(Two mentions of appreciation for the League of Women Voters were made: 1) for the Observers (by the end, I was the only non-staff, non-Council person in the room), and 2) the new joint venture of ACTV and LWVA, a show "Byline with Stan Rosenberg" will premiere in January on Channel 17-to spotlight local and state government.

LWVMA is sponsoring a number of interesting webinars  in the next few weeks. These are listed in the calendar,  but here they are again:

January 29, 7:00 pm, Legislative Process.
As the new session begins, this webinar will explain how our two-year legislature works and how the League, through its Legislative Action Committee (LAC), chooses the bills it will support (or oppose), and how it follows them through the session. Nancy Brumbeck, LAC chair, will present the information. Sign up here. 
February 6, 4:00 pm, Climate Change
Princeton University Professor Michael Oppenheimer, a long-time participant in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and internationally recognized authority on climate science, will review the recent UN and U.S. government reports on climate change. Sign up here. 

February 26. 7:00 pm, Ranked Choice Voting
At least one Ranked Choice Voting bill will be filed with this legislative session,. Curious about RCV? Join the webinar presented by Adam Friedman of Voter Choice MA. Sign up here 

Extension of Deadline to Share Your Reason for Joining the League! 
As part of LWVMA's 100th Anniversary celebration, Massachusetts League members are urged to submit a short video--a "vlog" --that completes the following statement: "I joined the League of Women Voters because...." The original deadline has been extended to March 1
Here are the instructions for creating a 15-second video, sample videos, and instructions for sending it in to LWVMA.
LWVMA's  Advocacy and Legislative agenda for 2019-2010 can be found here. 

Two interesting recent LWVUS Newsroom Press Releases:

On January 9, LWVUS responded to President Trump's address to the nation.  Read it here.

On January 4, LWVUS expressed its support for HR1: "The first bill introduced by the 116th Congress will make our election system more free, fair, and accessible to all eligible Americans."
Read CEO Kase's statement about this important bill.

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.