Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

March 15, 2019
In This Issue:
March 17, 3 p.m., Open Meeting of LWV Franklin County, Greenfield Public Library. All are welcome.
March 18, 3 p.m., Book Discussion of Rachel Kadish 's The Weight of Ink, Applewood.
March 21, 4:00-6:00 p.m, Amherst LWV 80th Anniversary Open House, Amherst Woman's Club .
April 1, 1 p.m., Steering Committee Meeting, 197 Pondview Drive. All members are welcome; please contact the host if you plan to attend.
April 6-7,   LWV Regional Leadership Conference on "Advancing Civility in a Diverse New England" ,Wells, ME
April 15, 3 p.m., Book Discussion of Jon Meacham's The Soul of America, Applewood.
April 23. 4-5 p.m., "Driving Down Emissions: Massachusetts and the Regional Transportation and Climate Initiative" LWVMA webinar . See below for registration.
June 7-8, LWVMA State Convention, Westford, MA.
July 1-August 5, LWVA Annual Book Sale preparation and sale

To subscribe to the e-bulletin, visit and click on the blue tab "Sign up for Email Updates".
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.
While we are about to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Amherst League of Women Voters, we can also look forward to the 100th birthday of the National League of Women Voters in 2020.
This coincides with the centennial anniversary of the passage of the women's suffrage amendment, so there is much to celebrate. The Greenfield, Northampton and Springfield Leagues are getting together to plan a 100th celebration and the Amherst League will join the discussion. We can have a Pioneer Valley celebration.
Anyone who wants to help with planning let me know.
Phyllis Lehrer, membership, Steering Committee.

League of Women Voters of Amherst Turns 80

On March 21, 1939, Mrs. Gail Kennedy organized a meeting to establish the League of Women Voters of Amherst. The founders included five Amherst residents who belonged to the Northampton League of Women Voters and twenty members of an Amherst reading club.

Next week, on March 21, 2019, the League will celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the founding of the Amherst League with an Open House at the Amherst Woman's Club from 4-6 pm. There will be a short program at about 4:30 pm as well as historical displays and refreshments.

Serving on the 80th Anniversary Committee are: Janice Ratner, Chair, Nancy DiMattio, Phyllis Lehrer, and Deanna Pearlstein. Jerry Brubaker, Janet Chevan, and Maija Lillya have helped with special projects.

Mark your calendars for this special event!


Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Event, Town Hall, Monday March 18

Please consider attending the presentation of the Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop affordable housing at the East Street School Site from the Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, of which LWVA is a member. Amherst Town Council Meeting, Monday, March 18, 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall. John Hornik and Town Staff will present the project. This is one of a handful of projects in the pipeline that would increase the supply of affordable housing in Amherst.

Book Sale
Choices are hard to make
A view from 2018 Sale

It is that time of year again! No, we don't mean putting on our gloves, boots, scarves and hats or shoveling snow. It is when we begin to gear up for our giant book sale in the summer. We have a wonderful venue at Fort River Elementary School gym with lots of easy parking. We just need lots of books and volunteers to help us get it all set up and get the books sold.
We will begin collecting books this summer at the gym on Monday, July 1. The Book Sale for the public will be on July 26,27, 28 and Aug 2 and 3.
Please join our Book Sale Committee by contacting Kathy Campbell or Cynthia Brubaker  and start collecting the books you want to contribute!

State and Local Program Planning Meeting 
Every two years, the State League asks local leagues to weigh in on areas the State Board is considering for action, advocacy, study, or review. On February 25th, LWVA members met to discuss priorities for 2019-2021.  Among the priorities listed by LWVMA, Amherst recommended action priorities are Improving Elections, Climate Change and the Environment, and Health Care.. We did not recommend any new state studies or updates of LWVMA positions.  Amherst members felt that we would not recommend any new local studies this year, but will consider a local study on the new form of town government within the next few years. along with considering reviewing and/or updating other current positions.

LWVA's Byline with Stan Rosenberg
'Byline' is a weekly, issue-oriented, topical government news program airing on Ch. 17 every Friday at 8 PM and Mondays at 6 PM. Tune in to hear our elected officials describe their roles and provide updates on the new town government. Episodes began on January 4th.  If you've missed any, these can be seen here or on youtube.
Coming up in March and April:  Sarah Swartz, District 1 Town Councilor and Chair of the Outreach, Communications and Appointments Committee, State Rep. Mindy Domb, and Alisa Brewer, At-Large Councilor and Chair of the ad hoc Committee on Rules of Procedures. Peter Demling, Chair of the Amherst-Pelham District Strategic Planning Board and Emily Marriott, Vice Chair, discuss their study of the possible regionalization of their K-6th grades. 


T own Council Ad Hoc Committee to Develop Charge for Community & Economic Development Committee. Meeting UMass Design Building Conference Room 221, Feb. 18, 2019 - 6:30. Members present: Town Councilors Schrieber, Pam, Ryan, Schoen, DeAngelis, Bahl-Milne
Observer: John Page

Councilors shared their individual versions of the charge for the Community & Economic Development Committee. Committee concluded that simple was best, giving the committee flexibility to change and expand in the future. Its role was clarified as advisory, reviewing proposals and making recommendations to the Council. The ad hoc committee concluded that this would be a committee of the Council, including 5 councilors but no residents. At the same time a committee of the town to focus on economic development was introduced. The Committee decided to reconvene on Sunday, 2/24 at 4PM in the same location, to continue working on the charge.

Town Council Meeting, February 25, 2019, 6:30  All Members were present.
Observer: Barbara Pearson
 The council approved use of public ways for Farmer's Market on Spring Street; marathon to benefit the Amherst Survival Center; Garden Club Plant Sale.
The council didn't approve an auditor.

Town  Council, March 4, all present
League Observer: Phyllis Lehrer
 Douglas Slaughter spoke on transportation, particularly the dilemma of having to sign personnel contracts and develop routes for the PVTA before June 30, while state budget can be adopted after July 1 without enough funding for what has been proposed. The PVTA is funded by federal, state and local organizations and government funding has been flat, which in essence is a cut.
Public Comment: 
Robert Kusner spoke in support of maintaining summer hours for Routes 30 and 31. He said it is critical for residents who work. A total of 30,000-40,000 trips are made during June, July and August on those routes. Help year-round residents get the service they need

Council action:
  • Agreed to act on the Regional School Budget separately and earlier from the regular budget because the Regional towns - Pelham , Leverett and Shutesbury - vote on their budgets at Town Meetings before the Amherst budget has to be adopted.
  • Supported Tibetan Day Proclamation
  • Supported First Congregational Church request to maintain temporary shelter. Rep. Mindy Domb said she has filed legislation to allow houses of worship to provide temporary shelter without the need for unnecessary building code updates.
  • Supported resolution to change state flag and seal.
In other business, the Council discussed the charge to the Community Resources Committee, which is to advise the Council on the economic vitality and quality of life in town.

  Phyllis Lehrer edited the reports for the ebulletin. 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.


"Advancing Civility in a Diverse New England"
will be the theme of the League's thirteenth annual New England Regional Leadership Development Conference, scheduled for April 6-7 at the York County Community College in Wells, ME. Find the agenda, registration information and other details at the Conference web page.   
New Webinar on Transportation and Climate Change: Tuesday, April 23, 4-5 p.m., sponsored by the LWVMA Environmental Action and Advocacy Committee. In New England, transportation comprises the largest source of fossil fuel emissions, at 39%. What can we do? Jordan Stutt, carbon programs director for regional and state initiatives,  Acadia Center, and State Rep Lori Enrlich will present an overview of the Transportation and Climate Initiative and MA legislative efforts to ensure sustainable and equitable solutions. Register here. 
Couldn't watch one of those webinars live? Find them all at the LWVMA's webinar page. You can also sign up for upcoming webinars there, including:
Convention 2019 One of the highlights promises to be environmentalist Bill McKibbin's keynote address at the Friday evening banquet. To see the schedule, to reserve a room and to register, click here.
LWVMA's  Advocacy and Legislative agenda for 2019-2020 can be found here. 

A n interesting recent LWVUS Newsroom press release --and an LWVUS blog entry

For a piece on Celebrating International Women's Day through the UN's Commission on the Status of Women: click here.

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