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   League of Women 
  Voters of Berrien 
   & Cass Counties
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Nov., 2018

"[S]ilence in the face of bigotry 
is acquiescence."
  Deborah Lipstadt, professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust
 history at  Emory University, on NPR's 
All Things Considered October 30, 2018.  
Tuesday, November 6


Tuesday, November 6

    One hundred years ago this month, Michigan voters--at the time, all male--approved an amendment to the Michigan Constitution granting women citizens of our State the right to vote.
    It had been a long struggle. In 1866, the Michigan legislature had considered--but defeated by one vote--the first bill for such an amendment. Later efforts failed, as well, until 1918. That was just two years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, extending suffrage to all women citizens nation-wide.
    Let's mark this Michigan centenary by going to the polls, encouraging others to do the same, and giving them a lift if they need one. We can vote. We should.    
     This vote411.org website is a good source of information on candidates and issues that will be on the ballot. If you haven't used it already, give it a try.
     When you enter your address, you can check to be sure you are registered to vote, see where your polling place is, and find answers to other questions you have about voting procedures.
     Most importantly, however, you will be able to see candidates' views on important issues (if a candidate has responded to the invitation to provide that information), three ballot proposals, and (in some areas) bond issues.
     In November, LWVBCC Board members distributed 2,000 printed Vote411 guides to city, village, and township offices, libraries, and other public spaces. Many locations exhausted their supply within a few days. 
     The printed voter guides are good; but they are not a substitute for the online site, because they do not provide information on candidates for the Michigan legislature from districts in Berrien and Cass Counties, or for more local offices as the vote411.org website does.
Dues and Donations, Please!
     Unless you joined the League after February of this year, you should have received a letter with renewal information in the past couple of weeks. Several members already have renewed by paying annual dues for which we are grateful. If you have not yet renewed, though please do soon so reminder emails, letters, and phone calls won't be necessary.
     As the holiday season approaches, please also consider including the League in your year-end giving either by check or through PayPal. 
     One of the League's most prominent voter service activities is the production of Voter Guides prepared by volunteers and a small staff.  Citizens have come to rely on the wealth of information the League's Voter Guides provide free of charge prior to every statewide election--both printed and online versions.  We need your support so we can continue to provide such services to Michigan voters.
     Checks can be made payable either to LWVBCC or to the LWV Education Fund and mailed to LWVBCC, P.O. Box 1032, Niles, MI 49120. Contributions to LWVBCC are not tax-deductible, but those to LWV Education Fund are.
     To contribute to LWVBCC through PayPal, go to our website: LWVBCC.org; click on "Support the League," and then on "Donate."
     If you have not yet renewed your membership and do so by check, you also can donate to LWVBCC simply by adding the donation to the amount of that dues-payment check.

LWVBCC Book Group

    The next gathering of the book group will be at 10:00 a.m. Monday, November 12 at Marilyn Klawiter's home. Discussion will focus on the Flint water crisis, the subject of three recent books: What the Eyes Don't See by Mona Hanna-Attisha, The Poisoned City by Anna Clark, and The Death and Rebirth of a City by Gale Glover. That subject has particular currency just now with news about lead in the water of some areas of Benton Harbor.
     You are welcome to attend the discussion even if you have not read any of the three recommended books. If you plan to come (and we hope you will), please call or text Marilyn at 269-362-1871 by Friday November 9, and she will give you directions to her home.

      First Review
     I've just finished reading one of the November book club recommendations: What the Eyes Don't See by Mona Hanna-Attisha.
Dr. Mona, as she is referred to by many who know her, is the activist physician/scientist who went public with data that proved the extent and the long-lasting effects of the tragic Flint lead-in-the-water disaster.
     Her story is highly personal as well. She relates her family background in Iraq, tells us how she became an environmental activist in high school, introduces us to her personal and professional friends, gives credit to so very many of the people who helped her along the way, and names names of those who worked with her and those who became powerful obstacles to exposing the Flint water crisis. A compelling read.                                -- Chris Zilke

      Second Review
     Journalist Anna Clark begins The Poisoned City with a vibrant description of the area's natural resources, showing their importance to Flint's development as an industrial hub and in its ultimate decline.
Clark shows that lessons learned through the labor movement's role in local industry helped marginalized citizens bring attention to the toxic water problems when governmental forces tried to ignore them. She is unsparing in portraying callous indifference and patent failure of governmental officials and agencies. 
     But she is generous in praising residents, community organizers, professionals (including physician Mona Hanna-Attisha, author of the book reviewed above), and journalists who refused to give up until the crisis was exposed so it could be addressed.
     This, too, is a compelling read.      
Holiday Party

       Sunday, December 9, is sure to be festive from 4 until 7 p.m. at Judy Scully's home because that's the day, time, and place of LWVBCC's annual holiday party. 
     Please come and bring with you an appetizer, salad, bread, main course, dessert, or other dish of your choice along with wine, beer, soft drinks, or anything else you would like to share.
     Later this month, we will email directions to Judy's house along with numbers for you to call or text with your plans to attend, others who will come with you, and your likely contributions to the potluck table.
     It will be good to celebrate together the joys of the season.
Environmental Tidbits
     A recent article in the Herald-Palladium related efforts to reintroduce the Arctic Grayling to Michigan waters.
     I'd never heard of the Arctic Grayling, probably because they've been absent from Michigan coldwater streams since1936!! More than 45 partner organizations support these efforts to reintroduce this "culturally significant" fish. Forty-five partner organizations. Pretty amazing.
     At the same time,  more articles are being written about the decline in frog populations throughou t the world. It is estimated that more than 200 frog species have disappeared since the 1970s and many many more face extinction in this century. 
     According to a New York Times article, 3 billion - yes, billion,frogs are eaten each year. Most of these are farmed frogs, but nevertheless the number is pretty astonishing.
     Extinct fish? Going extinct frogs? With so many other critical environmental issues at hand, these may seem insignificant. In fact, long-term they are quite important.                           -- Chris Zilke
Three Oaks Debates
   Following up on an invitation of several months ago, our League
assisted voters and candidates in Three Oaks by conducting October nonpartisan debates for Three Oaks Trustee and Three Oaks President.
   Held in the Three Oaks Elementary School Gym and attended by more than 50 interested citizens, our League posed questions to candidates about Three Oaks water, parking, and maintaining the current village "culture" vs. supporting future growth. Audience members also were invited to submit questions on issues exploring what's ahead for Three Oaks in the future.
   Six candidates are competing for three Three Oaks Trustee openings (four accepted our invitation to appear) and both candidates in the race for Village President came to debate for the open President slot.
Michigan House District 59 Debate

     In District 59, where incumbent Aaron Miller (R) and challenger Dennis Smith (D) are running for the Michigan House, both candidates participated in a debate hosted by LWVBCC at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 18, in the Mathews Conference Center West at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac. District 59 encompasses most of Cass and all if St. Joseph Counties. 
     The moderator for the debate was Ted Hartzell, who presented questions prepared by the LWVBCC committee and the audience. For an hour and a half, the candidates discussed issues ranging from local and state to national including the drug epidemic, gun free zones, protecting Michigan water, the Line 5 pipeline and healthcare. 
    The candidates presented their viewpoints while respecting each other's stance. Although they perceived the issues differently, they did find some common ground. 
The debate was recorded and can be seen on YouTube District 59 Miller vs Smith debate.
     LWVBCC appreciated both candidates' willingness to participate so that this service could be made available to voters in the 59th District.   -- Sharon Melko

Ballot Proposal Forum in Benton Harbor
    On October 20, voters had an excellent opportunity to learn the pros and cons of three ballot proposals they will be asked to approve or reject on November 6. The forum was sponsored jointly by LWVBCC, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Voters Not Politicians, the OutCenter, and Berrien Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's Social Justice Committee. The forum was at the Benton Harbor Arts & Culture Center, 275 Pipestone Avenue.
     Chris Thomas, recently retired head of Michigan's bureau of elections, opened the session with a history of voting, casting this year's ballot proposals in that useful context. He also spoke on pros and cons of Ballot Proposal 3. Elizabeth O'Dell and Marvin Haywood addressed the other two ballot proposals.
     Attendance was smaller than hoped--at least partly because of harsh weather culminating in a destructive wind storm that afternoon that left parts of LWVBCC's area without power for hours and in some cases days. That is regrettable because voters who did make it learned a lot that will be useful in helping them decide how to vote on those three important proposals.
     LWVBCC values the opportunity to work with other nonpartisan groups to provide valuable resources for voter education.
Committee Coordinators
Energy and the Environment : Chris Zilke
Health and Social Services: Judy Scully
Public Education: Linda Cheek & Jane Raymond
Voter Services : Mike McCaffrey & John Ripley
Budget and Finance: Mike McCaffrey, John Ripley, Chris Zilke
Membership: Marilyn Klawiter & Mike McCaffrey
Nominating: Karen Ristau
Special Events: Chris Zilke
Non-Partisan Policy
The League as an organization does not support or oppose any political party, candidate for elected office, or any group that supports candidates. As individuals, though, but not as representatives of the League, members are encouraged to participate in political activity and to run for office.  Our non-partisan policy does require two Board members--the President and the Voter Service Chair--to totally abstain from partisan political activity.  

LWVBCC: Contact Us

P.O. Box 1032
Niles, MI 49120

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Tuesday, November 6
General Election

Monday, November 12
10:00 a.m.
Book Group
Marilyn Klawiter's Home

Tuesday, November 13
1:00 p.m.
LWVBCC Board Meeting
Lincoln Township Library
Community Room

Sunday, December 9
4-7 p.m.
Holiday Party
Judy Scully's home

Board of Directors
Marilyn Klawiter, President
Dorothy Parker, Vice President
Karen Ristau,  Secretary
John Ripley, Treasurer &
        Communications Coordinator
Linda Cheek
Kathleen Fleming
Michael McCaffrey
Jane Raymond
Judy Scully
Christiana Zilke

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