Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

July 21, 2019
In This Issue:
STEERING COMMITTEE
Elayne Berger, At-Large
Nancy Dimattio, Recorder
Trish Farrington, Publicity
Ann Kieser, At-Large
Phyllis Lehrer, Membership
Susan Millinger, E-bulletin
Deanna Pearlstein, Event Organization
Janice Ratner, Treasurer
Adrienne Terrizzi, Spokesperson
CALENDAR
 


July 1-23: LWVA Book Sale Preparations
July 26-28: BOOK SALE, Friday 26, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m., Saturday 27 & Sunday 28, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fort River Elementary School,  70 South East St.
August 1, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. , Opening of LWVA 80th Anniversary Exhibit, Jones Library.
August 2- 3,  9 a.m.-4 p.m.,   LWVA Book Sale, Fort River School.
August 4&5, Remainder Days, Fort River Gym. Remainders free to members & non-profits, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday Aug 4; 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Monday Aug 5. Open to all Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.
August 12, 1-3 p.m., Steering Committee Meeting, Place TBA. All  LWV Members are welcome, but the host needs advance notice of your plan to attend.
Sept. 20 Global Climate Strike Begins (See Action Alert for more information.)
Sept 24: National Voter Registration Day
September 26: Opening Meeting. Save the Date!

To subscribe to the e-bulletin, visit lwvamherst.org and click on the blue tab "Sign up for Email Updates".
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!


BOOK SALE NEWS
 
 
This Book Sale is Just What You Need

Too hot to go outside and weed, read a book.
Treating yourself to a free afternoon, read a book.
Lazing on your deck in the shade, read a book.
Babysitting for grandkids, read them a book.
After your beach walk, relax with a book.
Ready for new recipes, get a cookbook.
Going on a trip, find a travel book.
Enjoy solving puzzles, try a mystery book.
Love facts, indulge in history books 

Book Sale hours:
Friday, July 26 9:00-6:00
Saturday and Sunday, July 27 & 28 9:00-4;00
Friday and Saturday, August 2 &3 9:00-4:00


Gently used books of all kinds for all ages.
Fort River School Gym
70 South East St.  
Very low prices
Ample parking
Cash only

Empty wall where boxes have been stacked high since July 1.

BOOK SALE STATUS REPORT

As of noon Saturday, July 20, thanks to the help of many, many hands of LWVA members and friends,

ALL THE BOXES OF DONATED BOOKS HAVE BEEN UNPACKED!

There is culling, sorting, and organizing still to be done, but the worry "Will we finish unpacking these thousands of books?"  is behind us.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO HELPED.

BOOK SALE STILL NEEDS YOUR HELP
 
Please sign up for cashiering and shelving in the second week of the sale: cashiers are still needed for Friday and Saturday, August 2 & 3, between 9 a.m.and 4 p.m. Click here for Signup Genius to see what slots still need workers and to sign up for them! Note that Signup Genius has gotten less user-friendly.To bring up August, you have to click on the right-pointing arrow by the name of the month of July. To see what slots are free, you need to click on a specific day. 
 
People often drop in to work as shelvers-- and the help of drop-ins is needed--, but it does help the organizers if they know what time periods are covered. So please sign up if you can.
   
Remainders (free books) for League members are available all day (9-4) Sunday August 4, and 9-12 Monday, August 5. This is also the time for non-profits to choose free books. If you know of a non-profit that would benefit from free books, please invite them to come to the Fort River Elementary School Gym on Sunday, August 4, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and on Monday, August 5, between 9 a.m. and noon.  Remainder days are open to all Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. 
 
and most important 
 
All possible help is needed Monday afternoon, August 5, for clean-up.  By the end of the day all books must be in gaylords and tables must be down.  (With enough people this goes fast, but because we are letting the NGOs have Monday morning for remainders and the table people are coming Tuesday morning, it has to happen Monday afternoon, or evening if it's too hot in the afternoon.) 
A different pre-Book Sale activity:


At the Crocker Farm School's Summer Achievement Academy, kids  learn a little about how books are printed and constructed and make their own little sewn book to take away.  Then each child may choose  a book from among the hundreds donated in conjunction with the Book Sale. League member Adele Gladstone-Gilbert has been offering this program for the past three years.  It's one of the ways we say thanks to the Amherst  Schools for the use of the Fort River Gym.  
 
 
 

COMING EVENTS
80th Anniversary Celebration Continues: Display at the Jones Library

The League will continue its 80th Anniversary celebration with a display in the Jones Library during the month of August. The opening will be held Aug. 1 during the monthly art walk from 5- 8 p.m. Please join us for the opening.
 
The evnt also serves as a kick off for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage and of the founding of the League of Women Voters.

ACTION ALERT: RESPONSE TO CLIMATE EMERGENCY
Actions to intensify Massachusetts' response to the current Climate Emergency

You may recently have read the letter LWVA members Dick Kofler and Peter Lillya sent to the Hampshire Gazette, urging readers to contact their legislators asking them to vote in support of H853. Kofler and Lillya pointed out that scientific studies demonstrate that wood-fired power plants produce more carbon dioxide than do coal-fired plants; only over more than a century and under very favorable conditions of land management can biomass plants (like that planned for Springfield) improve over coal. Given the speed with which climate change is occurring (hence the new usage "climate emergency"), we need immediate reduction in the production of greenhouse gases; we can not afford to wait over a century.
Yet Governor Baker's administration is planning to reclassify heat and electricity produced by biomass plants as renewable energy.

There are several actions we can take:
 
Domb, Blais, Sabadosa and Comerford have all co-sponsored these bills. Write to tell them how important these issues are, and thank them for their support. Both bills are currently in the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, not yet released for a final vote. The joint committee's co-chairs are Sen Anne Gobi and Rep Smitty Pignatelli, both from near-by districts: consider writing them, also. And Dan Carey is a member of the joint committee. 
 
Contact DOER, urging them not to reclassify biomass.
DOER is accepting comments only until July 26.  
 

The subject line must contain: Re: RPS Class 1 and RPS Class 11 Rulemaking--225 CMR 14.00 and CMR 15.00. Mail to  MA DOER, Attn John Wassam, 100 Cambridge St, Suite 1020, Boston 02114; or Email: doer.rps@mass.gov
 
Or write Governor Charles Baker, Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St, Office of the Governor, Room 280, Boston 02133
   
Kofler and Lillya were for many years members of LWVA's  Energy Committee and played important roles in the development of LWVA's position on biomass. They wrote as part of the Amherst League's response to the resolution adopted at Convention this June, described in the June e-bulletin. That resolution called upon "Local Leagues to advocate for declarations of 'Climate Emergency' and urgent relevant action by state and local governments."

The Amherst LWV is working with other LWVs from Western Massachusetts, under the leadership of Nancy Polan of Northampton, Legislative Director of the Northampton Area LWV, to take action in response to the Climate Emergency. See the Northampton Area LWV's page on preventing biomass from being used as a source of energy in western MA for more information about the bill and what you can do.

Click here for the list of legislation supported (and  opposed) by LWVMA in 2019-2020.
Another offshoot of the Climate Emergency Resolution  
 
Members of LWVMA's Environmental Action and Advocacy Committee are working on a plan of action, and also coordinating with the lead organizing group, 350.org , for LWVMA participation in the Global Climate Strike Friday, Sept. 20. Stay tuned for updates on our plans and information on what your League can do.    -- From the July League Leader Update

ON-GOING ACTIVITIES

Affordable Housing News

A note recently received by the Local Action for Social Justice Committee from Valley Community Development

"We are developing a small affordable efficiency apartment building in Amherst and were wondering if anyone associated with your organization would be interested in helping us with support for the project."
 
Received from Julia Zegarra, Communications Specialist, who offers "to send more information on the project and the people we serve" to anyone interested. Contact Rebecca Fricke, chair of LASJC or one of the other members working on affordable housing such as Elise Campbell or Kathy Campbell if you are interested.

 


OBSERVER CORPS REPORTS
 
Report of Town Council Meeting of June 17   
 League Observer: Barbara Pearson 
  Board Members: All present but Schwarz

For the Observer's detailed account of this meeting, see the website. Some highlights:


There are currently two big issues facing the Council:
1. The fate of the proposed studio apartment housing at 132 Northampton Road (SRO, for Single Room Occupancy). This has been a very contentious issue, and was given a public hearing, Monday, June 24, Large Activity Room, Bangs Center. The vote will take place at the July 1 Council meeting, whether to approve the town's share of the funding to provide affordable housing for formerly homeless people and other low income workers in the town without too much disruption of the neighborhood. Public comment is still solicited.
2. How to make participation in the Council and Council committees accessible to a wider economic, racial, and educational cross-section of the town. Councilors Hanneke and Ross made a motion to limit donations to town govt candidates from individuals to $250 and from PACs to $125 (25 percent of the amounts allowed by the state). After a long discussion, the motion failed by 6-6 vote (Bahl-Milne, Hanneke, Ross, Steinberg, Griesmer, and Schoen in favor; Ryan, Schreiber, Pam, DeAngelis, Dumont, and Brewer against; Schwarz absent.) Everyone agreed that the goal was worthwhile; some felt it didn't go far enough, others wondered why Amherst was exceptional, since other towns in the Commonwealth follow the state law (except Northampton, which has spending limits).
o Public comments from John Bonifaz of Free Speech for People and Kathrine Appy of Amherst Forward were in favor. Dillon Maxfield brought up a related issue, questioning why all the Council committee appointees were professionals and home-owners. He asked that the pool of candidates be made public.
Smaller Action Items
· Council approved raising water and sewer rates (which are still below the state average). They also approved purchase of a parcel of land in Shutesbury and Pelham to protect the headwaters of the Fort River, an important part of the town's water supply.
· Those present heard the Proclamation in support of the town's Juneteenth Celebration on June 19, the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
· We also heard the reading of a thank you note from students at Crocker Farm, who appeared before the Council last month to petition for pop-up libraries at bus stops.
· The Town Manager reported
o successful family-oriented programs by community participation officers and LSSE at apartment complexes, such those at Butternut Farms and Olympia Oaks. :
o Retirements of Town Clerk Margaret Natowicz (June 30) and Senior Center Director, Nancy Pagano, after 47 years, (the longest-serving employee in Amherst history).
o The change of traffic flow and parking near Puffer's Pond that is happening soon, progress on the temporary Station Road Bridge, and Fireworks on July 4 (relocated to the other side of the stadium).
Either Phyllis Lehrer or the editor edits the reports for the ebulletin, focusing on items of special interest to the LWVA. Find the complete reports as well as reports from earlier meetings at the LWVA web site.  These reports also include links to the agendas, meeting packets, Amherst Media recordings and (after approval) official minutes of each meeting.  Agendas and meeting packets are posted in advance on the Council web page.
 
LWVMA NEWS
Two New Positions Approved at Convention
 
On the ballot question process:
 The delegates approved the position on the initiative and referendum process in Massachusetts that resulted from the ballot question study. The new position is similar in most of its details to the Amherst League's consensus. Read it here 
 
LWVMA can now take action in this area and the study committee has suggested some possible next steps.  These suggestions can be downloaded from the same link
 On Immigration
Delegates also approved a position on immigration in the state, adopting by concurrence a position of the League of Women Voters of Illinois.

New LWVMA Position Statement on Immigration

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts should:
  • promote local community efforts to provide orientation and counseling services for immigrants regardless of documentation status, and support funding efforts for these services by encouraging federal funding and by the use of funds from the state and local governments as well as from the private sector.
  • promote and fund educational programs and materials that seek to inform all workers, including documented and undocumented immigrants, of their rights in the workplace.
  •  provide "driving certificates" or some other form of proof of driving validation to undocumented drivers, allowing those drivers to drive legally and ensuring that they would have passed a state driving test. The Commonwealth should permit and encourage auto insurance providers to issue insurance coverage to holders of such driving certificates.

LWVMA opposes:

  • the deputization of state and local police to enforce immigration laws in Massachusetts.
  • legislation or ordinances at the state and local level that would penalize landlords for renting to undocumented immigrants.
  • legislation or ordinances at the state and local level that would prohibit the issuance of business permits to undocumented immigrants.
LWVMA did not accept one clause in the LWV Illinois position ("The League of Women Voters of Illinois does not support extending the right to vote to undocumented immigrants")  because LWVMA's position on voting rights already covers this issue.
LWVUS NEWS
Two Recent LWVUS Press Releases of Interest
 
From the LWV.org Newsroom, here's a link to the July 18 statement by President Carson and CEO Kase:
"League Condemns Trump's Xenophobic Attacks on Member of Congress"

You might also be interested in reading the statement CEO Virginia Kase issued ahead of the administration's planned raids to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants living in the United States.  Read it here .

E-bulletin Staff and Contributors in July
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 July 2019 e-bulletin include LWVA members Kathy Campbell, Trish Farrington and Phyllis Lehrer as well as Observer Corps reporter Barbara Pearson.
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