MARCH 2017

Changing Our Energy Landscape & Creating Jobs

Explore clean energy technologies and possibilities for a sustainable future.

Solar Sidewalks, Electric Cars and Green Buildings:
Changing Our Energy Landscape & Creating Jobs

Saturday, March 18 - 10 a.m. to Noon
Central Library, Lecture Room
Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Avenue

(9:30 a.m. social time/doors open at downstairs entrance)

Solar, wind, hydro: can new power technology fuel a sustainable future? Keynote speaker Dr. Joel Swisher, Director of the WWU Institute for Energy Studies, and experts from Sustainable Connections and local businesses, will describe current and future prospects for clean energy jobs in our community. They also will share news about exciting experimental technologies.

Join us for what is sure to be an interesting and informative program! For more information, please contact Co-President Judy Hopkinson.


Cookies needed: If your last name begins with A-F, please bring cookies or snacks and arrive a little early if possible!

Join Our Teams Registering Voters 

BY ANNETTE HOLCOMB

League volunteers are out and about registering young and not-so-young voters and answering questions about voting. This is a great opportunity for members to get involved! 

Contact Carole Hanaway or Annette Holcomb if you are interested in staffing voter registration teams at various locations. They are hosting regular training sessions, to prepare volunteers for opportunities such as:

  • April 1 (no foolin’!) we will have a table at the Nonprofits Community Group Fair at the Bellingham Farmer’s Market. Volunteers are needed for 2-hour shifts between 8:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.
     
  • Monthly League voter registration at the Bellingham Senior Center. Thanks to member Michael Chiavario for starting this effort.
     
  • Voter registration at Shuksan Middle School. Through the Bellingham Promise program, families gather for evening meals at the school and the League will be there once a week registering voters. Thanks to member Jean Scribner for organizing this effort.
     
  • Another team is gearing up to register high school seniors who will turn 18 in time to vote in next general election.

Contact Carole or Annette today to join in these and other opportunities to help people get started voting! 

Photo below: League member Michael Chiavario visits with Joe Kirkman and Shirley Forslof while staffing a voter registration table at the Bellingham Senior Center. Photo by Janice Keller

League Advocacy Work Focused on
State Legislature

BY JEAN CARMEAN

Because the Washington State Legislature is in session, most advocacy work lately has been focused on making requests to interest groups to support or oppose bills.

These requests are based on LWVWA Legislative Newsletter recommendations, which members receive every Sunday (see below if you are not receiving them). The newsletter lists the League priority, which I repeat in all requests to the 1-3 interest groups that I contact about a bill or bills of particular interest to them. I include a brief rationale for the position to help advocates make their requests to legislators. Over the month, I try to include a variety of groups.

We can always use more support in our advocacy efforts. If you are interested in advocating for or against bills on Climate Change/ Fossil Fuels; Education; Government/Voting Rights/Election Reform; Gun Control/ Gun Safety; Health Care; Parks and Forests; Revenue Policies/Reform; Shorelines/Wetlands/Land Use/Agriculture; Social Justice/ Immigration; Social Services/Families/Children; Transportation/ Infrastructure; or Water Issues, please contact Jean Carmean at stje.carmean@gmail.com or 360-733-2308

Not getting the LWVWA Legislative Newsletter or want more info?
If you are not getting the newsletter, you can: View the newsletters here, or sign up for the newslettters here or contact me at stje.carmean@gmail.com or 360-733-2308 and I will forward your information to the state office.

The state League’s legislative priorities and more information about the 2017 session are described on the 2017 Legislative Agenda page of the state League website.
Sifting Fact From Fiction: Co-President Judy Hopkinson introduces the guest panel for Sifting Fact From Fiction: Journalism in the Social Media Era. Thank you to everyone who attended this very informative event, presented to a standing-room-only audience at the Bellingham Public Library on February 18. Photo by Janice Keller

Feedback requested: Members interested in giving feedback on the Sifting Fact From Fiction program are invited to send an email to Caroline Correa, Program Coordinator, at cecorrea2002@yahoo.com.

Program available on video: Sifting Fact From Fiction is available on video, thanks to our media partners at the Center for New Media. Video link

Education Programs in the Months Ahead

Mark your calendar! The following topics are planned for education programs in the months ahead. As schedules and locations sometimes change, please stay tuned to The Voter and our website for schedule and topic updates.

Saturday, March 18, 10 a.m., Bellingham Public Library Lecture Room. Solar Sidewalks, Electric Cars, Green Buildings: Changing Our Energy Landscape and Creating Jobs. See details above.

Saturday, April 15, 10 a.m., Whatcom Community College Heiner Center. Jail Diversions: The World of the Possible. Come learn about ideas and programs that are working to prevent and reduce incarceration. This special League program will focus on positive criminal justice solutions, including tools to accomplish the safe release of people before trial. Speakers will include Judge Cedric Kerns, a case manager, court administrator and the head of alternative sentencing  all working in therapeutic courts in Las Vegas.The program will be moderated by Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder, who has been at the helm of the drug court program in Whatcom County. Sponsors for this program include RiverStyx Foundation, Brett McCandlis Brown and Fairhaven Village Inn.

Board and Committee Updates

Our Board of Directors is hard at work, and standing committees are going strong. Below are updates from recent meetings. 

Board of Directors

The LWVBWC Board continues its work on behalf of members. Here are highlights of discussions from the recent board meetings:
  • Our finances are healthy and income and expenditures are on track with our adopted budget. We will be assembling a group to review our budget, as required by our bylaws, and we are due for an audit, also required by our bylaws and expected to be conducted before end of 2017. 
     
  • Many board members have been extensively involved with organizing and publicizing educational programs and other events, which have been well attended and successful. Unfortunately, a February League introductory event planned in Ferndale was cancelled due to inclement weather.
     
  • The nominating committee is wrapping up its work to present a slate of candidates for our May annual meeting (date TBD). We will be looking for board members and others to fill key roles, including advocacy, communications, educational program development, and other key areas of League work.
     
  • We continue to grow, nationwide, statewide and locally. Most Leagues chapters are seeing increased membership in recent months, including ours. As of early March, we have 241 members, including 20 new members who signed up in February. 
     
  • Work continues on improve League communications and member engagement. We are pursuing professional consulting for website improvements, continuing enhancements to The Voter newsletter, and planning member outreach designed to make sure our many new members are welcomed, oriented and offered meaningful opportunities to volunteer. 
     
  • Next meeting: The Board of Directors meets in the evening on the first Thursday of each month. For information, contact Judy Hopkinson or Rebecca Johnson.

Healthcare Committee
  • The February meeting featured Tessie Mandevile discussing the Health Ministries Network, a national organization that began in Bellingham in 1997. Currently 129 nurse volunteers provide faith community nursing for 85 congregations in four counties: Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan and Island. In 2016, 26 congregations received 16,500 nursing service hours for 5746 clients, an estimated value of $595,000 in services. 
     
  • A reminder to follow the few healthcare bills that are struggling through the legislature and to ask your representatives to support the bills the State League is recommending, especially, HB 2114 protecting consumers from charges for out-of-network health services. 
     
  • Next meeting: 10-11:30 a.m. March 20 in the Roots Room of the Cordate Community Co-op, featuring The Shocking Significance of Hearing Loss : Pervasiveness and Impact on our Own Well Being and on Community Health, a presentation by Charlene MacKenzie, co-founder of the Hearing Loss Association of America, Whatcom County chapter. All members are invited.
     
  • March 22 event of interest: Healthcare Committee members also would like to remind everyone of the program about informed medical choice and advance directives scheduled at the St. Luke’s Health Education Center at 6 p.m. March 22. More information here: The Realities of Advanced Medical Interventions

Turning Activated Citizens into Voters


A MESSAGE FROM THE CO-PRESIDENTS

In the past few months our nation has seen a striking increase in activism and civic involvement. Americans are marching in the streets, attending town hall meetings, and communicating with their elected representatives in astonishing numbers. It would appear that the formerly apathetic American electorate is awakening. But will it last - and will it translate into respectable voter participation in American elections?  

Voter turnout is notoriously low in the United States compared to other democratic nations. The Pew Charitable Trust ranked the U.S. 27th for voter turnout among the 35 democracies examined in their most recent analysis.

Some signs are promising, some are mixed. Massive increases in voter turnout have been reported in a few places around the country, but there was a slight overall decrease in turnout for Washington State’s February 14 special elections. Some counties increased markedly, others did not. Whatcom County did not have any special elections in February, but we have our first opportunity to assess voter participation in the election that’s going on right now. 

What election is this? This is that very curious, nearly invisible election for the Whatcom Conservation District Board. Don’t confuse obscurity with unimportance. These board members make critical decisions about the future of our community. According to the Whatcom Conservation District web page, they have worked with landowners and farmers to manage natural resources in Whatcom County since 1946. They provide information on water quality, large and small farm management, and management best practices. 

In this little publicized election for one seat on the Conservation District’s board, only people who requested mail-in ballots before mid-February can vote by mail. Everyone else must go the polls to vote between 9 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at the District’s office at 6975 Hannegan Road, Lynden. You can learn more about the candidates here

This election offers a great opportunity to grow our democracy. If we can get people to vote in this election, they are much more likely to identify as voters and cast ballots in subsequent elections.

So League members, we are calling on you to talk with your friends and neighbors about this election.  Urge them to get to the polls if they did not receive a ballot. And if you can, offer rides to the polling place for those who need it. 

Democracy may not be a spectator sport - but it most definitely takes a team effort!

In League, 

Judy Hopkinson & Rebecca Johnson
 

Government Officials and Their Contact Info Listed in TRY: They Represent You


BY TANYA BAUMGART

For more than forty years your League has produced and distributed a voter information brochure called “They Represent You” or "TRY" for short. This wonderfully informative publication lists most government officials who work for or are elected to represent the people of Whatcom County at the local, state and national level, along with their contact information.

Distribution of 4,000 TRYs is underway throughout Whatcom County, and members should be receiving copies in the mail soon. Keep this invaluable tool handy to find out about your elected leaders and to provide them feedback about their work and issues that matter to you. You may also view TRY on our website.

Please thank and support the businesses that help make our educational outreach possible. They are listed in the TRY and include: Garden Spot Nursery, WECU, Village Books/Paper Dreams, Waycross Investment Mgmt Co., Bruton, Nissen, & Shellberg Accountants, BarronSmithDaugert PLLC, Bellewood Acres, The Bagelry, Community Food Co-op, and especially The Print Stop in Lynden, without whom this TRY would not be possible.
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League Resurgence and Growth in the News

"The nearly 100-year-old organization — which began during women’s suffrage to give new female voters a way to organize around their new civic right — has seen a massive resurgence since the election, and even more so since the women’s marches last month. Across the country, the league added thousands to its membership and inspired individuals like Gauthier to start new chapters in towns from Utah to Georgia to Pennsylvania."

Quote above from article in The Washington Post, February 9, 2017: Why this nearly 100-year-old organization is seeing a resurgence thanks to Trump’s election
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF BELLINGHAM/WHATCOM COUNTY

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

OFFICERS
Judy Hopkinson, Co-President
Rebecca Johnson, Co-President
Allison Aurand, Vice-President
Susan Mancuso, Secretary
Donna Williams, Treasurer

*Click underlined names for
email contact information
DIRECTORS
Riley Abel
Kirsten Barron
Jean Carmean
Caroline Correa
Karen Funston
Janice Keller
Joy Monjure
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