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

League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County Officers and Directors
Jayne Freudenberger, Co-President
Rebecca Johnson, Co-President
Judy Hopkinson, Co-President
Susan Mancuso, Secretary
Donna Packer, Treasurer
Riley Abel
Allison Aurand 
Tanya Baumgart
Naomi Bunis
Jean Carmean
Caroline Correa
Judy  Corliss
Janice Keller


The Future of Housing in
Whatcom County

September 19, 2015  
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM  
Bellingham Public Library
Downstairs Lecture Room
210 Central Avenue

* * *
National Voter Registration Day
September 22, 2015  
All Day
Various Locations

* * * 
LWVBWC Election Forums
Port Commission
Bellingham School Board
Jail Sales & Use Tax 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015
6:30 - 8:30 PM
Bellingham City Council Chambers
210 Lottie Street

* * *
Whatcom County Executive
Whatcom County Council

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
6:30 – 8:30 PM
Bellingham City Council Chambers
210 Lottie Street

* * *
Charter Amendments
Saturday, October 10, 2015
10 AM – 12 Noon
Bellingham City Council Chambers
210 Lottie Street

Check our website calendar for details of these events. 

Other Community Events

City of Bellingham 
Comprehensive Plan Update Open House

September 15, 2015
Old City Hall Rotunda Room
121 Prospect Street
6:00 - 8:00 PM
More information...

The LWV of Bellingham/Whatcom County Board of Directors meets regularly on the first Thursday of the month. League members are welcome to attend board meetings, and may contact one of the Co-Presidents for details.

New Members Have Joined

We send a warm welcome to these women and men who have joined our League since the last issue of the Voter.
Judith Andrus
Vickie Ennis
Doris Kagan
Dan and Lisa McShane
Junga Subedar
It's great to have you!

If you haven't already done so, now is the time to renew your League membership. You won't want to miss this exciting election year with the League.

Voter Registration Activities

By Tanya Baumgart

Farmer’s Market has embraced your League’s efforts to provide an opportunity to the community for registering to vote. We will have tables at the market the last Saturday of August and of September 

National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, September 22, we will have tables at Bellingham Technical College and the Bellingham Public Library that day.

We’ve put together binders of things to hand out and instructions to follow to make the process fun and easy. This is a great way to participate in your League and provides an important service to your community. If you are available to help at one of our locations on September 22 or at the Bellingham Farmers’ Market on September 26th, please contact Carole Hanaway at or by phone at: 360-305-7771.

Volunteers Wanted!
One of the most enjoyable volunteer activities in the League is helping out at our Election Forums! To join the fun, please contact Georgia MacGregor at 738-4616 or

We will be co-hosting three forums this year with the City of Bellingham as our partner, and the Bellingham Herald as our media partner:
Bellingham School Board and Port of Bellingham Candidates
Jail Facilities Sales and Use Tax
Bellingham City Council Chambers
Tuesday, September 29, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

County Executive and County Council Candidates
Bellingham City Council Chambers
Tuesday, October 6, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Charter Amendment Propositions
Bellingham City Council Chambers
Saturday, October 10, 10 AM – 12 Noon


Our League will Have a Say
Jean Carmean will co-chair the LWVWA’s Climate Change Committee The statewide committee has been formed to gather and share information on the fossil fuel projects currently proposed in our state as well as other educational and governmental actions that might effect our state on this important issue. Information will be shared with all local leagues on possible speakers, meetings and seminars that they might participate in.  Most of the work will be done by e-mail with an occasional meeting in Seattle. If you would like to take part in this work, please email Jean at
Walk and Talk
As the fall air gets brisk join league members who meet each Friday afternoon at 2:00 pm at the head of Taylor Dock to walk a short loop around Boulevard Park.
Conversation is always lively and the group ends up at the Colophon Cafe in Fairhaven for a drink after their walk.
All are welcome to drop in, take a walk and enjoy the company

The 2015 General Election Online Voters’ Guide is now available at:
The printed 2015 General Election combined State & Whatcom County Local Voters’ Pamphlet should arrive in the mail mid-October. Ballots will be mailed October 14th. 
Update your League Interests!
There are so many ways to be involved with the League - big projects and small ones, long term and short term. Project organizers reach out to League members based on their interests. So let us know what interests you! Just click here and check the topics and activities that appeal to you.  Then email the form to Judy Hopkinson at  
That way you are more likely to hear about projects early so you can plan your participation.  
September 2015 

We need more affordable housing.
What can be done?

On Saturday, September 19th, “The Future of Housing in Whatcom County: Affordable & Innovative – Can We Do Both?” will be held from 10am-12pm at the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Avenue, in the Downstairs Lecture Room. Doors open at 9:30 am.
Continuing an exploration of housing issues raised in the League’s “Women’s Economic Security Study,” released in January 2015, this program will examine all aspects of affordable housing: What does it mean for not only single women but seniors, millennials and our workforce. Panelists discussing our County’s needs and plans will be:
  • Paul Schissler, Paul Schissler and Associates, Inc., community development planner
  • Rick Sepler, Director, Planning and Community Development, City of Bellingham
  • Greg Winter, Director, Whatcom Homeless Services Center
Specifically, this public program will address questions regarding current and future needs for housing; why affordability matters to the community as a whole; and an examination of types of housing that will be in highest demand over the next two decades.
This is an important topic as it relates to many of our family members and fellow citizens now and in the future.
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Bellingham Public Library
Downstairs Lecture Hall
Doors open at 9:30 AM
Meeting: 10:00 - 12:00 Noon

 Join Us for this Meeting!


Members, your cookies are requested!
Those with last names beginning with H through P, please bring cookies or bread for the meeting on September 19.   

A Home of One's Own

From caves to high rises, shelter has always been a primal human need. The word home today conjures up much more than protection from the elements; we want our homes to be havens—retreats from the world, our jobs, our worries—a place where we can be ourselves and rejuvenate our spirits. We have all bought into the Norman Rockwell vision.
But there are those among us who don’t even have the luxury of protection from the elements. There are those who are homeless or moving from shelter to shelter. There are parents trying to raise their families in substandard housing—infested with mold or rats, families who miss meals in order to pay the rent.
Studies show the best prediction of healthy persons is whether they live in safe, stable and permanent homes. Following up on information gleaned from our study of Women’s Economic Security issues, the Leagues’ September meeting will examine the issue of affordable and innovative housing in our community and the plans for the future. We hope to see you all there —we think you will find it surprising and informative.
Working on housing issues is only one of the activities that have meant for a busy summer. Thanks to all of you who have taken time to join the housing program meetings, as well as voter registration efforts, the Comp Plan Road show, health group meetings, the Money in Politics study and of course our forum planning. It is not too late to join in any of these endeavors. Give us a call now as the “real” League season begins. You will find information on how to join groups in this VOTER.
As vacationers drift back in town please join us as we continue the important work of the League—we need your membership renewal and your participation.

In League, Jayne, Rebecca and Judy

League Positions on Charter Review Amendments (Propositions 1-10)

A League member Charter Amendment Review committee was convened in early July to determine if League positions at the National, State, & Local levels would lend themselves to providing support or opposition to any of the Charter Amendment Propositions that will be on the ballot in November.

Read more about this topic here.

The Charter Amendment Review committee recommended that the board hold off on taking public positions on the amendments until after the forums.
The Charter Amendment Review committee members were: Elsie Heinrick, Judy Corliss, John Turnbaugh, Jo Collinge, and Tanya Baumgart.
     Join us in welcoming our new Executive Team! To find out more about their interesting backgrounds and experience, please visit our website:
BOARD BRIEFS - August & September 2015

1. CHARTER REVIEW AMENDMENTS:  After thorough analysis, the Board voted to oppose one of the nine Charter Review propositions – proposition 7 - that addresses term limits for County Executive and Council members. The Board voted to not take a position on the other eight amendments that will be on the November ballot.  More information on this topic..more information

2. WHATCOM COUNTY JAIL: An Incarceration, Prevention, Reduction task force is being formed by the County as a means to gather additional input on the jail, jail programming, and alternatives to incarceration.  Jill Bernstein, LWV member, was appointed by the Whatcom County Council to be a member of the task force. The Task Force is to continually review Whatcom County’s criminal justice and behavioral health programs and make specific recommendations to safely and effectively reduce incarceration of individuals struggling with mental illness and chemical dependency, and minimize jail utilization by pretrial defendants who can safely be released.

• To the WTA expressing our opposition to their new policy limiting strollers - Kay Ingram
• To the Whatcom County Planning Commission and Department supporting a different focus on sustainability for the Cherry Point UGA - Jayne Freudenberger
• To the Skagit Planning department calling for a 120 day comment period for the Shell Oil rail siding project - Jayne Freudenberger

4. POVERTY: The League will co-sponsor a poverty simulation that will take place on Sunday, November 1, 2:00 – 5:00 at Assumption gym.

League will be registering voters at several locations on this day.  Details for volunteering are on our website  Voter Registration Activities 

6. TENANT INCOME VERIFICATION RELIEF ACT: Our League will request permission from LWVUS to approach our national senators to request their support for HR 233, “the Tenant Income Verification Relief Act.”

Top Contributors Key to Our Success!
Special thanks go to our members who made an extra contribution with their dues check this year. We gratefully acknowledge contributors at the Carrie Chapman Catt and Susan B Anthony levels and donors to the Education fund listed below. Contributions to the Education Fund help with our education programs and may be recorded as an income tax deduction in accordance with IRS rules.
Susan B Anthony Level Members
Judith Andrus
Jo Collinge
Carol Comeau
Melissa Bishop
Carrie Chapman Catt Level Members
Tanya Baumgart                Sharon KInsgley
Jill Bernstein                      Georgia MacGregor
Karen Summers                 Susan Mancuso
Kaye Dykas                        Ingeborg Paulus                      
Rosemary Flora                  Noel Paus
Bill Freudenberger              Eve Pryce
Jayne Freudenberger          Barbara and Michael Ryan
Phyllis Graham                   Margot Schenet
Elsie Heinrick                     Phyllis Self
Annette Holcomb               Harriet Spanel
Judy Hopkinson                 
Education Fund Donors
Rebecca Johnson
Martha Mills
Lynne Rein

We are revising our advocacy groups slightly this year to avoid some earlier overlap and to highlight the Climate Change Education and Action Project that the Washington State League of Women Voters is launching with Jean Carmean as co-chair.  Jean, our local co-advocacy chair, asks that current volunteers let her know if they do NOT wish to continue their advocacy work for the local League and would welcome new volunteers to advocate on one or more of the following issues. We estimate that calling or e-mailing elected officials to advocate for League positions will take one or two hours per month. As in the past, we will send you the League position along with the request to contact your representative, so that you can be an effective advocate. The revised list of interest groups is:
Social Services
Government/ Election Reform  
Gun Safety
Land Use
Climate Change
Water Issues
Natural Resources
Fossil Fuels
Law/Social Justice
Please let Jean know at 360-733-2308 or if you would like to participate or if you want more information. (She will be out of the country until Sept.20, however.) We know from the comments of elected officials that the more constituents they hear from, the more likely they are to pay attention.  Please join our efforts.
Washington Square Election Help

For the second year in a row, the League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County has acted as official monitors of the Residents Council elections of the Washington Square Housing Complex. Volunteers who participated this year included Naomi Bunis, Carol Comeau, Martha Burns, and Judy Hopkinson. Donna Packer, Georgia MacGregor, and Jill Bernstein provided expert guidance based their involvement with the project last year. The Residents Council at Washington Square has now completed all the requirements necessary to be officially recognized as the representatives of the residents to the Bellingham Housing Authority. 
League volunteers enjoyed the experience, made new friends, and learned valuable information about the realities of life in subsidized housing. We were particularly impressed with the hard work and dedication of members of the council, and with their grass roots campaign to convince Congress to reduce the heavy burden of paperwork required for recipients of housing assistance to remain in their homes every year. It is an honor and a privilege to see these citizens exercise their right to self-determination. Democracy is not a spectator sport, and Washington Square residents have their heads in the game! 
We look forward to participating again next year.
Lending Our Voice to LWVUS Study
Our local league is joining Leagues from across the nation to take part in the Money in Politics (MIP) Review and Update. This project, adopted at the 2014 LWVUS Convention, involves a member study and consensus to update the League’s current position on campaign finance. We will obtain member understanding and agreement on the extent to which political campaigns are protected speech under the First Amendment.
Leagues are being asked to consider the rights of individuals and organizations to express their political views through independent expenditures and the finance of election campaign activities; and how those rights, if any, should be protected and reconciled with the interests set out in the current LWV campaign finance position.
The League’s current position and a short history of our advocacy work can be found on the national website:

Interested in the impacts of Money in Politics?
  • Contact Judy Corliss, or Annette Holcomb, to get involved in our committee discussions.
  • Plan to attend our November membership meeting when we’ll focus on this important topic.
  • Join the LWV MIP Google Group for online discussions of the topic. Follow the instructions given on the LWVUS Website.
Check out some of the readings on the LWVUS website to find out more:
Is a Super Pac required to disclose its contributions and expenditures?
Answer: Super Pacs must register with the Federal Election Commission and publicly disclose expenditures and contributions. BUT many Super Pacs are affiliated with tax-exempt organizations which are not required to disclose contributions and expenditures made on behalf of a campaign.

June 23, 2015 -League members visited Twin Brooks Creamery to learn about their operation and what is being done to conserve our clean water. The group enjoyed seeing the cows, meeting the owners, and drinking eggnog and chocolate milk as well as learning more about water issues and dairy farming.  
The owner was installing robot milking stations to allow his 'girls' to enter the new barn for on-demand milking.   

The VOTER,  September 2015
Newsletter Editors, Annette Holcomb & Joy Monjure
Our mailing address is:
League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County
P.O. Box 4041, Bellingham, WA 98227
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