Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

June 14, 2019
In This Issue:
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

June 14, 4-8 p.m., Personal Change through Climate Change , (film, lecture, and panel discussion), Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium. See below for more information. Co-sponsored by LWVA.
June 17, 3 p.m., Book Discussion of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, Applewood.
June 24, 6:30 p.m., Open Meeting of the Residents to discuss proposed  affordable housing project at 132 Northampton Road, Bangs Community Center.
June 25, 2-4 p.m., Finance Committee Meeting: Agenda includes CPA funding for 132 Northampton Rd project. Town Room, Town Hall.
July 1, 6:30-10 p.m., Town Council Meeting which is expected to vote on CPA funding. Town Room, Town Hall.
July 1-August 5, LWVA Book Sale preparation and sale, Fort River School. Collection July 1-13 at the school.
July 15, 3 p.m., Book Discussion of Cecile Richards's Making Trouble, Applewood.
August 12, 1-3 p.m., Steering Committee Meeting, Place TBA. Members are welcome, but the host needs advance notice of your plan to attend.
September 26: Opening Meeting. Save the Date!

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Book Sale time is almost upon us! Collection as well as Pricing and Sorting are scheduled to begin Monday, July 1.
Before then, besides taking the time to make room on your bookshelves by boxing up books for the sale, here's what's happening.
1) Sign-ups for P&S chair are now open. Session chairs are needed for 2.5-hour shifts from July 1 through July 22, excluding only Sundays and July 4. Click here to pick one or more slots. 
EVEN IF YOU HAVE CHAIRED BEFORE, please plan to attend one of the two training sessions:
Friday, June 28, at noon
Saturday, June 29, at 10 a.m.
We will have new job descriptions for the P&S Chairs and other changes this year.
2) We need some help setting up the gym on Friday and Saturday, June 28 and 29, between about 9:30 and 1 p.m. Get in touch with Kathy Campbell if you want to confirm the exact hours that someone will be there, or just plan to stay a little longer when you come to the session chair training.
Climate Change Event: Personal Change through Climate Change 
Friday, June 14, Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium

The Amherst League of Women Voters is co-sponsoring an event intended to build on the public hunger for opportunities to talk openly about climate change. The event is designed to promote such talk and to offer resources to anyone who wants to take their first or hundredth step toward addressing climate change.  
Rep. McGovern 
The event, held from 4-8 p.m. at the Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium, begins (at 4) with a documentary film, Unfractured, featuring Sandra Steingraber, New York biologist and ecologist.   
After a break at 5:30, the event continues at 6 p.m. with an address by Dr Ray Bradley,
Ray Bradley  
climatologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Dr. Bradley will discuss the good news and the bad news about global warming. 
Jane Winn  
The lecture will be followed by at 7 p.m. by a panel discussion with panelists Congressman James McGovern, Dr. Bradley, and Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) executive director Jane Winn. Panel moderator and host for the evening's event will be LWV Amherst's Kathy Campbell.
 Affordable Housing Hearings
On June 24, Amherst will hold its first Open Meeting for residents, as provided in Section 8.1 of the new Amherst Home Rule Charter, kicking off a week of meetings about the proposed housing project at 132 Northampton Road (Rte. 9). The project requested funding support from the Community Preservation Act Committee (CPAC), and that committee has recommended funding.

Using its Affordable Housing position and in cooperation with the Amherst Affordable Housing Advocacy Coalition, LWVA supports acceptance of the CPAC recommendation.

Here are the meetings:
· Open Meeting of the Residents, Monday, June 24, 2019, 6:30 p.m., Bangs Community Center. This Open Meeting has been called for the purpose of hearing presentations and discussing the CPAC's recommendation regarding the proposed Single Room Occupancy (SRO) project at 132 Northampton Road. For more information, see the Town's website
· Finance Committee: Tuesday, June 25th, 2-4 PM, Town Room, Town Hall. This is the meeting during which the Finance Committee is expected to decide upon its recommendations regarding CPA funding.
· Town Council: Monday, July 1, 6:30-10 PM, Town Room, Town Hall. This is the meeting during which Town Council is expected to vote on CPA funding.

The affordable housing problems nation-wide and in Amherst have been caused by the decline in federal funding for affordable housing and by zoning restrictions. There were very few units constructed between 1980 and 2010, and even fewer of the ones that were built were the smaller, most affordable units. A forum on homelessness that the League co-sponsored in 2016 identified a great need for housing that can reduce the number of homeless people. The proposal by the Valley Community Development Corporation is to help meet that need.

Elisa Campbell has written a longer article that is online at Click here to read it.


The Fifth Annual Amherst Race Amity Day was celebrated on Sunday, June 9th. The League of Women Voters of Amherst (LWVA) was a co-sponsor of the event organized by Ash Hartwell of Citizens for Racial Amity Now (CRAN).

Adrienne Terrizzi  speaking for the LWVA --with Ash Hartwell
A Town Council proclamation was read with speakers from the LWVA, the NAACP, and interfaith organizations. The outdoor event included music and a poetry reading. 

In 2015, the former Amherst Town Meeting unanimously adopted a resolution marking the second Sunday in June as Race Amity Day. The article was
submitted by the late local civil rights activist Raymond Elliott, who founded CRAN in 2013. Elliott, a chemist who passed away in March at age 95, had said that Race Amity Day is for reflecting on how people treat one another, and to work toward breaking down barriers. A year earlier, the Massachusetts legislature also established that the second Sunday in June would be Race Amity Day in the Commonwealth.

The National Center for Race Amity in Acton recently teamed with the Massachusetts Teachers Association and Eastern Bank to provide Race Amity curriculum packages to 581 middle schools statewide.
View of Members at Annual Meeting
A few photos from Annual Meeting:

Deanna organizes treat table.Yum!

Rebecca describes 1,2,3, Girls Lead! and Local Action for Social Justice Comm.

Phyllis describes new Observer Corps.

Adrienne gavels 2019 Annual Meeting to a close.

LWVA'S  Byline with Stan Rosenberg 
Mike Morris 
Scheduled programs for June through July include Superintendent of Schools Michael Morris discussing the 2020 proposed budget June 14 and 17, Director of Libraries Sharon Sharry sharing her library budget on June 21 and June 24, At Large Town Council member and Chair of the ad hoc Rules of Procedure Committee Alisa Brewer is joined by District 1 Council and Vice Chair Cathy Schoen discussing the conclusion of their work,  June 28 and July 1.  

Sharon Sharry
Cathy Schoen & Alisa Brewer.
On July 5 and 8, Jim Pistrang, Chair of the Resident Advisory Committee, talks about the role of that three member group established by the Charter. On July 12 and 15, the newly organized Community Resource Committee's Chair (and District 4 Councilor) Steve Schreiber is joined by Vice Chair and District 3 Councilor Dorothy Pam as the committee begins to tackle all areas within its broad charge: economic development, housing and housing development, transportation and parking, zoning, planning and land management and the Master Plan.  
Jim Pistrang
Steve Schreiber & Dorothy Pam 

 LWVA's Health Care Committee

           Did you know that our local league has been working on establishing a Single Payer health care system in Massachusetts since the 1990s?  In fact, some of our members were the acknowledged "experts" here in the western part of the state giving talks to many organizations.
          Ten of us are still working on the health care committee, still working on the same goals, still carrying out the aim of the national League.  Although the objective has not changed, "Single Payer" is now frequently called "Medicare For All" and our league committee is also part of a coalition of other groups in Western Mass (WMM4All is the umbrella coalition.)   In our usual nonpartisan, educating way, all of us are hoping to get the same result.

If you are interested in joining the work of the committee, contact Barbara Pearson.

Report of Town Council Meeting of May 20  
 League Observer: Barbara Pearson 
  Board Members: All present

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

Note: Roll call votes on all action items are now posted within 48 hours on
the Town Council website under "Agendas, Packets, Minutes, and Media" as Unofficial Votes.
Note also that videos of some meetings which are not available at Amherst
media are posted on the town's YouTube channel, which can be accessed from
"Open Govt" page, sidebar with Social Media directory.

*       Proclamation:  Amy Rusiecki, of DPW and also head of the MASS Waterworks
Association presented the governor's proclamation for Drinking Water Week.
*       Discussion Item:  Hanneke, of the Governance, Organization and
Legislative committee presented an idea for reducing the number of ad hoc
committees.  Council discussed it but no action was taken.
  . . .     
*       Ross proposed limits on campaign contributions to lower the bar for
running for office.  Vote 10-0-2 (Dumont and Pam abstain; Swartz absent) to
refer back to GOL committee.
*       Most of the contention of the evening was around the appointment to the
Planning Board of Janet McGowan to replace the experienced current chair,
Greg Stutsman.  Two issues predominated:  experience versus new "eyes,"
and privacy versus transparency.  Public comments from Kristine Grey-Mullen
and Jack Jemsek (both on the Planning Board), also Art Keene, Moira Keene and Bob
Greeney.  Much of the discussion revolved around the process, with Swartz and
her committee defending the process used.  McGowan was approved 8-2-3 (Ross
and Ryan opposed; Schreiber, Steinberg and Griesmer abstained).  Further
discussion of how to keep experience but also bring new blood on the boards.
Report of Finance Committee Meeting
 The League Observer was Janice Ratner
Meeting of May 28, 2019
Board members present: Steinberg, Griesemer, Pam, Schoen. Absent: Bahl-Milne.  
Observer Notes: 
After the budget is submitted to the Council, the Finance Committee has 30 days to review it and make recommendations to the entire Council. Instead of warrant articles, there are Orders. The various orders were moved, discussed, and then recommendations voted.
The Appropriation and Transfer Order FY20-04 consisting of Operating Budget, Elementary Schools, Library, Enterprise Funds, Assessments, Debt Service and OPEB (Other Post Retirement Benefits) totaling $68,196,284 was recommended by a vote of 4-0, 1 absent.
The Appropriation and Transfer Order FY20-05, Capital Program-Equipment, Buildings and Facilities, totaling $3,543,810 was also recommended by the same vote.
Order FY20-06 which rescinds borrowing authorization of $683,000 was recommended.
Order FY20-07 for Community Preservation Act (CPA) projects totaling $839,040 (Housing, Open Space, Historic Preservation, Recreation, Administrative) was recommended as were Orders FY20-08 and FY20-09 authorizing acquisition of Szala and Keet-Haskins properties under the CPA.
Recommendation for Order FY20-10, Community Development Corporation Project, was delayed until after a community meeting about this project, June 18. FY20-11,
Acceptance of Optional Tax Exemptions, was recommended, also by the vote of 4-0, 1 absent.
Votes on Order 20-12 for bond authorizations for capital projects (school, fire station, etc.) were delayed until there is further information about these projects and costs. Borrowing and land purchases require 2/3 votes.
The Finance Committee will write up their recommendations and send them to the full Council which has to vote the budget by June 30.
Public Comment: 
Most comments from several of the approximately 10 residents in attendance regarded the CDC project.
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.

ACTION IN SUPPORT OF ROE ACT (also printed in the E-bulletin Notice of earlier this week.) 
At the recent LWVMA Convention, a panel of first-year women legislators (including Amherst's own Mindy Domb) told us : Do not assume your legislators do not need to hear from you.
They are receiving much anti-choice email (as well as being personally attacked on social media); they need to be able to demonstrate that sizeable numbers of constituents favor the ROE bill, S. 1209/ H. 3320.  
The hearing of the Joint House and Senate Committee on the Judiciary on the ROE bill ("An Act to Remove Obstacles and Expand Abortion Access") will be NEXT Monday, June 17, from 1-5 p.m. in Gardner Auditorium . Rep. Domb and the other legislators speaking at the LWVMA Convention want supporters there in number: the opposition will be.
EMAIL, WRITE, CALL NOW! Mindy's office phone (617) 722-2400 ; her email; l  Jo Comerford's office phone (617) 722-1532; her email.
(received yesterday from LWVMA)
The Election Day Registration Hearing before the Joint Committee on Election Laws is on Thursday, June 20, starting at 1 p.m. in Room A-1 of the State House, 24 Beacon St.   
Demonstrate that Election Day Registration has broad public support. Please join us and our partners in the Election Modernization Coalition when the Joint Committee on Election Laws holds a hearing on Election Day Registration (EDR) Thursday, June 20. Wear a League pin or shirt if you have one; we'll have EDR stickers for you. Email Nancy Brumback   if you can come.
If you can't be with us at the State House, please call or email your Senator and Representative now and tell them you want to see Election Day Registration in Massachusetts. Contact information is   here. And share this action alert with others who are interested.

Bill McKibben speaks to Convention
2019 LVWMA CONVENTION, June 7-8 in Westford,
was attended by two members of LWVA, Kathy Campbell and Susan Millinger. Convention was active and interesting: details will follow in the July e-bulletin. LWVMA is beginning to post details of panels, talks, and newly accepted positions. In July we will be able to fill you in and provide you with links. For now, here's a taste of what we heard and accomplished:
 Bill McKibben, environmentalist extraordinaire, was keynoter; his speech was frightening and inspiring. The next day the Convention voted unanimously to accept a resolution from the LWVMA Environmental Action and Advocacy Committee. The meat of the resolution, after nine "Whereas"s: "Therefore, be it resolved, We as delegates of Massachusetts local Leagues assembled at the 2019 LWVMA Convention call upon the LWVMA Board and Local Leagues to advocate for declarations of 'Climate Emergency' and urgent relevant action by state and local governments." (We were informed that other state LWVs are considering this resolution in their conventions; it is being considered in other nations: both the United Kingdom and Ireland have adopted this language.)  

Virginia Kase, the CEO of LWVUS, was one of the speakers at the 2019 LWVMA Convention. Convention-goers found her an inspiring speaker.

One of her points was urging us and people in general, to be more thoughtful of one another's humanity. Apparently Kase, and LWVUS in general, has been receiving a lot of criticism of its activities which has too often been expressed without tolerance of human and institutional frailty.

E-bulletin Staff and Contributors in June
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 June 2019 e-bulletin include LWVA members Kathy Cambell, Trish Farrington and Adrienne Terrizzi, as well as Observer Corps reporters Barbara Pearson and Janice Ratner.
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.