Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

December 20, 2019
In This Issue:
Elayne Berger, At-Large
Nancy Dimattio, Recorder
Trish Farrington, Publicity
Bonnie Isman, Voter Service
Ann Kieser, At-Large
Phyllis Lehrer, Membership
Susan Millinger, E-bulletin
Deanna Pearlstein, Event Organization
Janice Ratner, Treasurer
Adrienne Terrizzi, Spokesperson
January 6, 2020, 1-3 p.m . Steering Committee Meeting at the Jones Library. Room TBA.
January 13, 2020, 1-3 p.m., Special Steering Committee Meeting to discuss state and national policies. Place TBA.
January 20, 2020, 2 p.m., Meeting of the Sustainability and Climate Action Committee, 11 Western Lane. All welcome, but please call ahead 256-0809 to be sure enough seating is available.
January 20, 2020, 2:30 p.m., Book Group Discussion of Amor Towles's A Gentleman in Moscow at Applewood.
Feb. 15, 2020, Birthday Party for LWVUS: 100 Years old on February 14! This year's speaker is our State Senator, Jo Comerford. Save the date!   
June 25-28, 2020, LWV 54th National Convention, Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill & Liaison, Washington D.C. 
Note: the LWVA Book Group does not meet in

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Don't forget to visit the Amherst League of Women Voters Facebook page and "like" us. Marla Jamate, our Facebook editor, does a great job and deserves a wider LWVA audience.

Our web page is currently under reconstruction by our technologically-savvy and overworked webmaster, Kathy Campbell. Be patient, please!

LOOKING FOR people willing to take pictures occasionally at a LWVA event. Contact the editor.

STEERING COMMITTEE:A message from this month's chair, Bonnie Isman
In the rush of holiday preparations, take a minute to stop and consider all the accomplishments of the Amherst League this year.  When I joined the Steering Committee last June, I was amazed at the many activities addressed by our members. At that meeting, discussion ranged from a bee pollinators network to affordable housing in Amherst, in addition to national issues like single payer health care and action in support of Roe v. Wade.  The range of issues we address is truly impressive.

As we look ahead to 2020, make this the year that you decide to take action on the issues that are most important to you.  Each of us doing small things can add up to a big result.  Maybe you will decide to take part in the Pioneer Valley Women's March or help make sure that all Amherst residents are counted in the federal census.  As we celebrate the centennial of women's voting rights, we can also work to lower barriers to voting today through Election Day Registration legislation.  

I am so grateful for our members' commitment to informed action on issues that have an impact on our lives every day.  Thank you for all that you do! 

Bonnie Isman

LWVAmherst Position on Town Purchase of Hickory Ridge Golf Course

The last issue of the LWVAmherst e-bulletin reported on the Amherst Town Council's unanimous decision to accept the climate action goals unanimously recommended by the Energy and Climate Action Committee. We commented that the Town's decision accords with the Climate Emergency Resolution unanimously passed by the delegates of Massachusetts local Leagues at the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) 2019 Convention. This resolution concluded by calling on the LWVMA Board and local Leagues "to advocate for declarations of 'Climate Emergency' and urgent relevant action by state and local governments."

As a result, the LWVA's Energy Committee was reconfigured as the Sustainability and Climate Action Committee (SACAC.) Any and every concerned member of this League is welcome to join us: our next meeting is on Monday, January 20, starting at 2 p.m., at 11 Western Lane. Please let the host know (call 256-0809) so that there is sufficient seating. Anyone who wishes to be on SACAC's email list should contact the coordinator to be added to the list.

SACAC's most recent action (with the approval of the Steering Committee) was to send to Town Council a letter of support for the proposed purchase of the Hickory Ridge Golf Course. This letter is included here for your information:

TO: Amherst Town Council
FROM: League of Women Voters of Amherst
RE: Purchase of Hickory Ridge Golf Course

The League of Women Voters of Amherst is a non-partisan organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. The League comments on specific topics when these topics are relevant to published local, state, or national positions. League positions are established only after League members study issues and there is general agreement, or consensus, among members.

The League of Women Voters of Amherst supports the Town's purchase of the 150 acre Hickory Ridge Golf Course, as described by Assistant Town Manager David Ziomek at the District 5 meeting on November 21, 2019. This purchase will provide a significant opportunity for the Town to address climate change in the broadest sense, such as planting native trees to provide habitat and absorb carbon dioxide and restoring Fort River wetlands, as well as creating nature trails and recreational opportunities. Solar panels covering 26 acres are part of the proposed agreement with the seller.

Our support is based on both state and local League positions:
The League promotes an environment beneficial to life through protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest.
The League supports the management of natural resources to enhance and protect the unique character of the Connecticut River Basin and to protect, maintain, or restore its function as a green belt.
In addition, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts unanimously adopted a Climate Emergency Resolution in June 2019 that strongly urges relevant action at all levels of government.
Martha Hanner for the Sustainability & Climate Action Committee.
Nancy DiMattio for the Steering Committee

Amherst League of Women Voters December 11, 2019
Readers of Wednesday's Hampshire Gazette will know that on Monday, December 16, the Town Council voted 12-1 to purchase the 149-acre golf course. Thank you, Town Councillors!


Cake for Amherst LWV's 80th in 2019: LWV's 100th coming up soon!

Celebrate LWV's Centennial!

SAVE THE DATE FEBRUARY 15TH For the ever-popular
February Lunch celebrating the birthday of the National League! 

LWVA Task Force on the Complete Census Count in Amherst
Did you know that Amherst is the 9th hardest community in the State to count its resident population? That's due to our large student numbers and other hard-to-count residents: children under 5 years of age, seniors, non-citizens, legal and undocumented immigrants and the homeless.

The 10 year census is the means of determining how much federal funding comes into our community. More than $675 billion in federal funds is distributed nation-wide based on the count - money for schools, public works, roads, hospitals and other vital programs. Amherst loses approximately $2000+ dollars for everyone not counted! The census determines congressional representation: how many seats each state gets and how our boundaries for congressional and state legislative districts are drawn.
With so much at stake, everyone residing in Amherst on April 1, 2020 needs to be counted! LWVA will be involved in helping with that effort by tabling, preparing handouts and informative materials and collaborating with the Jones Library and other organizations in Town with our LWVA 'Get Out the Count Campaign.'
If you'd like to be part of our League effort, please contact Adrienne Terrizzi 


Our focus for January will be on voter registration at Amherst Regional High School and at Jones Library.  It is important to remember that one must register to vote 20 days prior to the election in order to be eligible to vote in that election.  For the Presidential Primary on March 3, 2020, the deadline to register is February 12, 2020 at 8:00 pm.  
Early voting before the Presidential Primary on March 3, 2020 may be authorized by the General Court.  Absentee ballots must be returned by March 3.

Bonnie Isman, Voter Service Chair

'Byline with Stan Rosenberg'

'Byline with Stan Rosenberg' concluded its year-long commitment with Amherst Media and host Stan Rosenberg on Friday, December 13th with the broadcast of the 'Charter Year End in Review.' Town Council President Lynn Griesemer and Town Manager Paul Bockelman discussed the accomplishments of the new government's first year with a look to 2020: the four major capital projects, Prop. 2 ½ debt exclusion override, financial balancing of the budget, the Town's Master Plan and zoning bylaws for downtown and around town. The video is viewable here.

State Rep. Mindy Domb at her 4th quarterly update

Town manager Bockerman & Town Council President Griesemer talk with Stan Rosenberg

In addition to the TC President and Town Manager, programs have featured every District Councilor, the five Standing Committees of the Town Council, the new Town Boards, Commissions and Committees, our Community Participation Officers, several new Town Staff, and our State Rep. Mindy Domb. All 44 programs are available on demand at the  Amherst Media web site and on YouTube.

Community Resources Comm: Vice Chair Dorothy Pam (left) and Chair Mandi Jo Hanneke

Participatory Budgeting Commission: Chair Meg Gage; Vice Chair John Page.

At the conclusion of the year, I hope that we achieved what we set out to do: to introduce our new form of town government in its transitional first year and to make a contribution to helping residents understand the evolving structure and functions of our new form of town government. Each week, Stan has shared his political insights interviewing town and state government leaders. To him and to all our community leaders and volunteers who gave generously of their time, our grateful and deep appreciation.

Next? We are regrouping for what next year might look like. If you would like to take an active role in Byline 2020, please contact Adrienne Terrizzi for further information.
Happy Holidays and to a wonderful New Year!
Recent Events: On Government & LWVAmherst's History

League members Nancy Eddy and Ellen Story spoke at "250 years of Democracy in Amherst" program, part of the Civics and Democracy series sponsored by the Jones Library. Some readers may have attended the well-received October program, co-sponsored by LWVAmherst, which brought Nancy Brumback, LWVMA legislative action chair, to speak on "How to Talk so Your Legislators Will Listen."

League member Phyllis Lehrer sent in some notes from the program of particular relevance to other League members. The program, she commented, included wonderful slides of people and places.

Cindy Harbeson, Special Collections curator and emcee for the program, spoke of the founding of Amherst, separating from Hadley. Controversy is not new or unique to the Town. She said the first requests to form a new district in the 1700s were defeated. In addition, the first attempts to have a representative instead of open Town Meeting were also defeated.

Democracy grew in Amherst when women were elected as "Selectmen." Nancy was the second
female Selectmen in Amherst; Eunice Mannheim, also a League member, was the first. Nancy said she is quoted as saying that she didn't mind being called a Selectman, since it was a honorable tradition. She said she does not think she would say that now. The name was changed to the Select Board in the 80s.

Another important indication of the growth of democracy occurred when the late Judy Brooks, another League member, was recognized as the first African American on the Select Board.

Ellen Story, Amherst's long-serving and much respected State Representative, noted the many community organizations which existed in town when she came to Amherst, and cited the League as a group of very intelligent women who would be CEOs now.

Phyllis Lehrer

Rooms full of cheer: 
  a few pictures from the holiday party December 8
 Meeting by the back door.... 



In the kitchen, conversing.....                  .....  and posing for pictures

Sharing cups of cheer in the dining room

and in the darker living room, perhaps hatching a plan?


The league-leaders listserv on December 18th received a request from LWVMA's Legistative Action Chair, Nancy Brumback, asking us all to participate in a Boston Globe poll asking the public's position on Lifting the Cap on Kids legislation. Nancy commented that on Wednesday "the  yes votes are ahead, 67% to 32%!   Keep them coming!"   
What's at stake here? Here are comments from Palma McLaughlin, LWVMA's legislative 
specialist on children and family issues, and Naomi Meyer, Senior Attorney, Welfare Law Unit, Greater Boston Legal Services:
"Check out Representative Paul Donato's piece in The Boston Globe in support of Rep. Decker's and Sen. DiDomenico's bills to Lift Kids Out of Deep Poverty, published online on Friday and in the regional editions of the paper on Sunday.   Rep. Donato's piece is the "pro" part of a section called "The Argument," featuring pro and con arguments on a public issue each week.  At the end, there is an online poll to record readers' views."  See the piece here. 
"The bills (H104 & S36) have already been reported favorably out of committee and are sitting in Ways and Means." To see more of the testimony submitted on these bills, click on this link.
"The League is a member of a coalition which spearheaded passing Lifting the Cap on Kids over Governor Baker's veto earlier this year with nearly unanimous support. As part of that campaign,
a similar Globe poll was used." More information on the coalition and its work is here
"PLEASE VOTE YES in the poll to support raising cash assistance benefits up to 50% of the federal poverty level!  Please also share the poll with your networks so we can show that there is overwhelming support for providing our lowest income families with benefits sufficient to meet their children's needs."
There's always interesting information at the National's Newsroom, and check out the Blog while you are there. 
E-bulletin Staff and Contributors in December  
The Editor of the LWVAmherst e-bulletin, Susan Millinger, can be contacted here. The Associate Editor is Trish Farrington; Janice Ratner proofreads the issues; Kay Fite checks the links. Contributors to the November 2019 e-bulletin include LWVA members Nancy DiMattio, Bonnie Isman, Phyllis Lehrer, Martha Hanner, and Adrienne Terrizzi.
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.