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League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area
November 2017 Newsletter 
Join us for the November Lunch & Learn! 

Speakers: 
Isaac Hoffman, Director, La Crosse Area Family Collaborative (LAFC)
Sara Rugg,  Southside Neighborhood Social Worker for LAFC 
Deb DobrunzNorthside Neighborhood Social Worker for LAFC 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
AmericInn-Moxie's
1835 Rose St, La Crosse

RSVP below by November 8.

Program Notes

"Neighborhood Perspectives on Poverty: 
A Community Response"

La Crosse County Human Services launched the La Crosse Area Family Collaborative (LACF) in January of 2016 in an effort to curb year-after-year increases in referrals to child protective services and other higher levels of care.  LACF is a highly collaborative, voluntary, preventative social work program working to engage families at the neighborhood level.

Isaac Hoffman,  Sara Rugg, and  Deb Dobrunz  will provide a panel discussion about poverty in La Crosse and their work with the LACF. 


RSVP by November 8th to reserve a lunch (cost $13)
Lunch at 11:30, followed by meeting and program at 11:45. 
Please i nclude special dietary considerations with your RSVP.

You may respond and pay for your lunch via  PayPal.
or
You may respond by email to   lwvlawi@gmail.com or by phone to 507-895-6436.


Bring a friend who shares your commitment to the League's mission of ensuring the right to vote for everyone. 

Speaking of Democracy
Join the Conversation at LWV Book Club

World without Mind: The Existential Threat of  Big Tech
by Franklin  Foer

Tuesday, December 12
6:30 - 8:00 pm
Java Vino, 1505 Losey Blvd. S  
ALL ARE WELCOME!  

Over the past few decades there has been a revolution in terms of who controls knowledge and information. This rapid change has imperiled the way we think. Without pausing to consider the cost, the world has rushed to embrace the products and services of four titanic corporations: Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google. 

As these companies have expanded, marketing themselves as champions of individuality and pluralism, their algorithms have pressed us into conformity and laid waste to privacy. 

Hope to see you there. 
Maureen Kinney 

LWV of the La Crosse Area 
Voter Services Activities

Accomplished:

Sept 2017: 
  • Brochures with voter registration information were developed by the Voter Services Committee for release to the La Crosse Public Library and other sites. The brochure will also be available on our website.
  • A partnership was established with the La Crosse Public Library. Their staff will distribute the voter registration brochures to patrons who are changing their address and will also encourage them to change their voter registration address. 
  • On Voter Registration Day, September 26, League volunteers met and discussed voter registration with library patrons.
October 2017:
  • Volunteers represented our League at the Western Technical College Wellness Fair to assist with voter on-line registration and answer required-photo-ID questions. They made contact with 34 and registered 3 potential voters.

Working on:
  • a plan for scheduled meetings to assist with voter registration, similar to IRS Tax Assistance program,
  • additional public fora on issues relevant to voting rights and participation,
  • programming for Winding Rivers Libraries and other county locations,  
  • a public service announcement and link to details about voter information distributed through La Crosse Neighborhood Associations. 

Save the Date:

November 14 
11:30-1:00 PM, Moxie's
Sara Rugg and Deborah Dobrunz: "Neighborhood Perspectives on Poverty" 
 
December 12
Mayor Tim Kabat
11:30-1:00 PM, Moxie's
"The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative"

December 12
6:30-8:00, Java Vino
Book Club: World without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech

January 9
Effective Strategies for Online Voter Registration
 
February 13
Water Quality

March 8
International Women's Day. 

March-April Date TBD
Legislative Breakfast. 

Wisconsin Deserves Fair Maps


On Oct. 25, the La Crosse area LWV in partnership with the  UWL Political Science and Public Administration Association co-hosted a panel discussion--Fair Votes, Fair Maps: How Partisanship Threatens Democracy--in Wimberly Hall at UWL. Panelists included Former State Senator Dale Shultz, Organizing for Action of Wisconsin volunteer Amy Dummer, La Crosse County Board Supervisor Maureen Freedland, and Plaintiff in the Gill v Whitford case Emily Bunting.  The discussion was moderated by Sam Scinta, UWL Political Science & Public Administration lecturer.


Sponsors and Panelists
Back row: Sam Scinta (UWL faculty and moderator); Hunter Liska (UWL student); Deb Lutjen (LWV President); Dale Scultz (Former State Senator/R-Richland Center)

Front row: Christopher Paul and Tori Dietel (UWL students); Emily Bunting (Plaintiff, Gill V. Whitman); Maureen Freedland (La crosse County Supervisor); Amy Dummer (Organizing for Action of WI volunteer) 

In a nutshell: 
"After taking control of Wisconsin's Legislature and State Capitol in 2010, Republicans used computer models and voting data to redraw political boundaries in the Assembly, the Legislature's lower house. The map cemented the Republican majority in place. In the three elections since, Democrats have never won more than 39 of the 99 seats, even when they won a majority of the votes cast statewide for Assembly candidates....  Last November, relying on the same kind of analyses as the map drafters, a three-¬≠judge panel in a second Wisconsin case  struck down the state's 2011 redistricting law . The Republicans appealed to the Supreme Court, which  heard the case on Oct. 3 The outcome of the Supreme Court's decision in  Gill v. Whitford  is likely to shape American politics for years and perhaps decades to come."
 (NYTimes, 10/1/17)

Highlights:
Bunting, a plaintiff in Gill v. Whitford, described her experiences working on the case and observing oral  arguments before the Supreme Court. She provided a  citizen's-eye-view of the proceedings and a citizen's alarm about the  impact on our electoral process of big data and technology-driven metrics.  

Freedland
provided a local perspective by describing the county's traditional role in the redistricting process and its exclusion from the partisan process after the 2010 census.  "You've heard about gerrymandering so you know the outcomes which are a lower voter turnout, less competitive districts, and they (voters) have less reason to feel the need to go to the polls." Freedland and a conservative Board supervisor co-sponsored a resolution from La Crosse County to support legislation establishing a nonpartisan redistricting process for Wisconsin similar to Iowa's redistricting model. La Crosse is now one of 31 Wisconsin counties calling for nonpartisan Fair Voter Maps.

Dummer urged concerned citizens to "write  letters to the editor...get into conversations with people around us....and also to contact our state reps to hold hearings on Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bill 44," which call for adopting the Iowa model for creating fair voting districts.

Schultz, a former Republican Senate majority leader, revealed that he got involved in the Fair Maps movement because of an "epiphany" after the 2012 election. Republicans won only 47 percent of the vote but 60 of 99 seats in the Assembly. Although he had originally voted for the 2010 redistricting plan, he has since become an active proponent of fair voting maps and warns that "current technology amplifies what you can do in redistricting like we've never seen before. We've allowed technology and gerrymandering to sort of rob the people of their vote.... Legislators are picking their constituents rather than constituents picking their legislators." (NPR, 10/3/17).
Schultz concluded by commending the League of Women  Voters for its decades-long commitment to fair voter maps regardless of which party was in power.
 
To learn more about Wisconsin's Fair Elections Project: 

Consider inviting a friend to join LWV!

Membership information available on the League's website.

Stay Connected
PO Box 363, La Crosse, WI 54602