The Voter, April  2015 news from the  League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County'

League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County Officers and Directors
Jill Bernstein, Co-President
Annette Holcomb, Co-President
Jo Collinge, Vice President
Amy Van Pelt, Secretary
Donna Packer, Treasurer
Tanya Baumgart
Jean Carmean
Judy  Corliss
Jayne Freudenberger
Elsie Heinrick
Judy Hopkinson
Rebecca Johnson
Susan Mancuso



Washington State's Healthcare Innovation Program
  Elya Moore, WAHA

April 17, 2015
10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon  
Co-Op Connections Building
1220 North Forest Street

Meeting Details Below

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Out of the Drawing Room Into the Intersection of Art and Women's Rights  

Interpretive Slide Show & Social Evening
Presenter - Diane Martindale

April 18, 2015
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Old City Hall Rotunda 

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Annual Meeting

Guest Speaker:
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene
Buffet Dinner 
 Important League Business

May 7, 2015
5:30 - 9:00 PM
Bellwether Hotel

Watch for your Annual Meeting Packet & Invitation
RSVP for the Event

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Speaker Event with Alison Holcomb,
National Director of ACLU Campaign to End Mass Incarceration

June 10, 2015
 5:30 - 7:30 PM
Encore Room Mt. Baker Theater

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Check our website calendar for details of these upcoming events. 

We also share provide a community event calendar with items that might interest you.  


Splinters from the Board
The LWV of Bellingham/Whatcom County Board of Directors meets regularly on the first Thursday the month. League members are welcome to attend these meetings. Contact one of our Co-Presidents if you would like details.

The following actions were taken at the April meeting:
  • Approved the recommended position on Women’s Economic Security in Whatcom County from the WES study group.
  • Reviewed many items for the upcoming annual meeting, including the 2015-16 budget and the slate of nominees for next year’s Board.
  • Discussed, modified and accepted the recommended program for next year; this will be presented at the annual meeting.
  • Agreed upon the honoree for the first annual Carrie Chapman Catt Award. This will be announced at the annual meeting.

New Members Have Joined

Dana Beatty
Lynn Bellinger
Stoney Bird
Wendy Courtemanche
Susan Gribben
Julianna Guy
Marilyn Johnson
Kathryn Jarrett Lyons
Lana McClasson-Gitten
Bodil Ostlund
Bruce Radtke

Our growth rate this year has been fantastic with 20 new members joining in 2015. It's great to have you!

Skills for
Hot Topics &
Tough Conversations

Whatcom dispute Resolution Center (WDRC) is offering a series of workshops this month to help you develop your communications skills for dealing with Tough Conversations - be they in your personal life, small groups or public events.

Participants will have ample time to practice using conflict assessment and conversation skills for moving forward productively in the face of new and/or repeating conflict situations.

Our League is co-sponsoring this program in an effort to promote civil discussion. 

For complete information and to register for a workshop - read more.  

You may also contact Leah at 360 676-0122 or


Washington's Innovative Healthcare

Washington is one of 11 states to receive federal grants for innovations in their healthcare system aimed to improve the quality and delivery of care while reducing costs.

Elya Moore, Deputy Director of Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Access, will meet with the League Healthcare Committee to discuss our state's innovative program. All Leaguer's interested in healthcare are welcome to come and find out more about the program objective and how the changes will impact our community.  

>> Please use on-the-street parking as a courtesy to Co-op shoppers.

A Huge Thanks to our Community Supporters

We are grateful to the business community for their contributions to our program. The following businesses have made contributions to support our work this year: 
  • The Print Stop
  • La Famma/Fiamma Burger
  • The Bagelry
  • Village Books & Paper Dreams
  • The Accounting Offices of Bruton & Schellberg, Inc. P.S.
  • Lester & Hyldahl, Attorneys at Law
  • Way cross Investment Management Company
  • Garden Spot Nursery
  • Community Food Co-Op
  • Whatcom Educational Credit Union
Please let these businesses know you appreciate their support of the League!


April 2015 

 Art & Women's Rights 

Intersection of Art and Women's Rights

An interpretive slide show presented by Diane Martindale, President of the LWV of San Juan Islands and a member of the Washington State Arts Commission.

Saturday, April 18th, 2015
Old City Hall
Rotunda Room
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Members & Guests are Welcome

Light refreshments will be served.

League of Women Voters was formed by suffragists who fought tirelessly to win the right to vote for women in the United States. Diane Martindale’s presentation will cover the early women’s movement and women’s issues over time as represented in the work of some 40 different artists. 
Georgia O’Keeffe, Mary Cassatt, Dorthea Lange, Norman Rockwell, Maya Lin, and Judy Chicago are just a few of the many artists whose work will be highlighted during the program.  

May 7, 2015

League's Annual Meeting
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

Celebrate 95 Years of Empowering Voters 
Social Time, Buffet Dinner, Guest Speaker, and Important League Business.

Watch for your invitation and make your reservation!


 WES: The Home Stretch! 

So much of the work of the League is dynamic, robust and action oriented. However, the process of creating a position is by contrast slow and careful. Our local League took almost a year to conduct a study on Women’s Economic Security. We took pains to craft a report on our findings. The report was presented at a meeting to the membership, our elected officials and concerned members of the community. A second meeting was held to try to discuss the issues and determine the sense of the group - or in ‘League-Speak” - consensus. Another meeting of the study group was held to see if we could craft a position that will accurately reflect the comments from the consensus meeting and then this position will be sent to the board and finally to the membership. You may ask yourself: Why this ponderous process?  

League Presidents are regularly contacted by someone in the community seeking our endorsement for their issue, a letter in favor or against a piece of legislation, wanting an op-ed or just a comment about the events of the day. While the Presidents may have a personal point of view on the subject at hand, it is League policy that we cannot speak to the issue unless our comments are supported by a League Position. In this instance, it was 1988 when the League had last adopted a position on Basic Human Needs. The questions that we asked at the outset of our Study were whether this position adequately reflected our current community and was it fact-based and specific enough to allow us to offer opinions that are on the table today.   

The position that has been crafted by the study group will be considered by the Board in April and then offered to you, the membership at the Annual Meeting on May 7th. At that meeting Congresswoman Suzan DelBene will be present to help us to move the conversation forward with a speech entitled “Walking the Talk On Women’s Economic Security". We hope you have had a chance to read the report and that you will join in the discussion of our position at the annual meeting. This may be a slow process....but we hope the result will be a position that allows us to pursue our mission: Strengthening Democracy through Education and Advocacy. Looking forward to seeing you at all of our League events.

 Jill Bernstein and Annette Holcomb, Co-Presidents


Initiative signatures... Voting by District... Term Limits... and more  
Charter Review Commission 

League members have been attending meetings of the Charter Review Commission. This body is charged to review the structure of our county government, enhance government efficiency, evaluate possible changes and provide a forum for public input. Any changes that they propose will be on the ballot next November.

Commission meeting reports from League Observers are available on our website. 

Meetings of the Charter Review Commission are open to the public. Background information, agendas and information about the proposals under consideration are available on the Whatcom County Website
* * * * *
  A Teaser Question
Does our county have term limits for members of the Charter Review Commission? 

Find the answer on the Whatcom County Website!

Introducing Joy Monjure

Each month The Voter will bring you a profile of a new League member. This is another installment in that series.
Joy was born in California living her early years in Carmel. In 1979 she came to Bellingham, fell in love with the community and has been here - gratefully - since. Her working life took her many places including Bargreens as a bookkeeper and the Cookie Café as a manager and finally, to the City of Bellingham Public Works Department in 1986.

She began as an entry-level secretary at the Public Works Department and her job quickly morphed into a career as education and communications coordinator where she provided the public with information about local water resources. This position lit a passion for environmental protection, education and public service that have continued through her life.
Joy's public service has included participation in the Coalition for Healthy Communities and the Domestic Violence Commission. She also served on the Whatcom County Flood Hazard Management Committee and Whatcom Council of Governments. Joy ran for and served on the Everson City Council from 1995 to 2005. 1n 2014, she ran for Washington State Representative in the 42nd District and recently for Whatcom Conservation District Supervisor. While Joy is disappointed that the campaigns were not successful, she remains grateful for the rewarding and exciting opportunity the experiences provided. 

In 1989 when Joy moved to Everson, she became aware of and involved in issues related to sustainable farming. She helped to create the first farm map and guide, the first community fall harvest dinner. She is now sort of retired and is the proud owner of a farm stand in Everson (See where she sells organic produce from local farms and gardens. Joy has been married for forty years, has two children and three grandchildren. While her life is busy, she continues to seek ways in which to serve the community.

Joy views the League as a wonderful way to interact with smart, interesting people, learn more about the issues that affect our lives, and help focus her talents and energy on behalf of the community. Joy would like to be involved in helping to influence younger women to share her passion for civic engagement.
Join us in welcoming Joy Monjure to the League.


Action update..   

April, 2015
Coming Soon...New Adult Day Health
Last fall our League was a part of an advocacy coalition to keep Adult Day Health services in our County. Adult Day Health offers respite care for patients who are suffering mostly from dementia. It is an invaluable tool in keeping dementia patients cognitive as long as possible and giving caregivers a much needed break.

When PeaceHealth St. Joseph’s announced the service would close in December 2014, League members Betsy Gross, who is a caregiver herself, and Jayne Freudenberger, Co-Advocacy Chair convened a task force, met with PeaceHealth officials, organized a petition and letter drive and involved the media to ensure that PeaceHealth kept the program going and helped the community work towards a new facility. On March 25th, they were invited to see the fruits of that advocacy.
A fresh start – the new building is designed and built for adult day health participants.A new spacious care facility is nearing completion on the campus of the Christian Health Care Center in Lynden. There were tears in the eyes of all as we walked through the, still raw, shell–designed with many activity rooms, a lovely drop-off portico and huge windows to take advantage of the gardens and green area provided for patient enjoyment. The staff, mostly from the present program, are already working toward a smooth transition for patients. It was gratifying to see WTA representatives who are actively helping to plan transportation help and to hear of area churches who are stepping up to help with gathering places for Bellingham patients. As one of the many caregivers present said, “This is more than we could have ever hoped for”.

 A big thank you is due to PeaceHealth who listened to the community’s voice and decided to keep the old facility going until the new one could open in late August 2015. Anita Tallman CHCC director has worked tirelessly for this out-come and praised PeaceHealth for their advice and help along the way. And thank you to League members who wrote letters and gathered petition signatures.

This was a great opportunity for the League to work with new partners for a terrific outcome for our community.

LWVWA Opposes Eyman initiative
The LWVWA board has voted to oppose Tim Eyman’s latest initiative I-1336. Mr. Eyman ‘s initiative seeks to force a 2/3rds majority vote on all bills that have a fiscal impact. The Washington Supreme Court has already found this to be unconstitutional. The initiative lures voters in by promising to lower taxes. Our state faces a fiscal crisis with schools, infrastructure, social services and transportation already vying for needed funds. Washington is ranked 50th in the nation for regressive tax systems.

The League has been advocating for new revenue sources for funding, such as a capital gains tax on investment profits and abolishing business tax exemptions which no longer serve their original purposes. These reforms would also create a fairer tax system which does not impose increased taxes on low and middle income families.

Co-Advocacy Chairs:  Jean Carmean and Jayne Freudenberger

The VOTER,  April 2015
Voter Editor, Annette Holcomb
Our mailing address is:
League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County
P.O. Box 4041, Bellingham, WA 98227
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