League of Women Voters of Seminole County

Making Democracy Work


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UPCOMING EVENTS


FORUMS:

Board of County Commission Candidates  
Monday, August 11, 2014
Forum will be 7-8.30 pm.

Historic St. James AME Church
819 Cypress Street
Sanford, FL  327771

Candidates on the August ballot in the Republican primary for seats on the Board of County Commissioners will face off in a League Q&A Forum.  Marilyn Crotty, Director of the Florida Institute of Government at UCF, will moderate.  Incumbent John Horan is being challenged by Jorge Martos for the District 2 seat.   Since there is no Democratic or write-in candidate, the winner of the primary will win the seat.  District 4 incumbent Carlton Henley will have no opponent on the ballot in either the primary or the general election.

Seminole County School Board Candidates
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Doors open at 6.30
Forum will be 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Seminole County Public Schools Headquarters
400 E. Lake Mary Boulevard
Lake Mary, FL 32746

With five challengers for two contested seats on the Seminole County School Board, the Forum promises to provide essential information for voters.   LWV Seminole and the County Council of PTAs are partnering to produce the forum.Candidates for the District 1 seat, vacant since the death of Diane Bauer, include Frank D. Curcio, Jeff Bauer, and Rich Sloane.  Incumbent Karen Almond will face challenger Gracia Miller for the District 2 spot.  District 5 incumbent Tina Calderone does not have an opponent.


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May 2014 President’s Letter


Dear Members and Friends;

David Simmons

Senator Simmons, holding the award received at the LWV gala, poses with LWVS President LaVonne Grayson

The Double our Membership drive continues this month – and Seminole League has increased our membership by 29%. There’s still time to grow. With each member recruiting just one member, we can double our membership. Discuss what league means to you with your family, your neighbors and friends. Invite them to join you at our Hot Topics meetings, forums, and our annual meeting.

Seminole League engaged with our future leaders in voter registration at the very successful “Law Day” celebration at Lake Howell High School at which 82 new voters were registered. We have been invited back there later this year to continue registering our young leaders. We will continue to hold drives throughout the county so each of you should find a location convenient to your schedule – please volunteer!

Our mobile voter registration booth also set up shop at the Penny Tax Debate held at the Westmont Civic Center on May 13. The debate offered an opportunity for members to show their support for the initiative. Some members spoke to the benefits of the tax, while others distributed election information and registered any who wished to be ready to vote in the fall.

While on the subject of educating voters – earlier this month I spoke at the quarterly meeting of Florida Life Care Residents Association (FLiCRA) on voter registration, updates to voter laws and options available to voters in future elections. As we near the election cycle, we will be asked to do more of this type of voter outreach, so if you know of a group or organization which could use these services, please introduce us to your contacts.

You will be pleased to know that Seminole League fielded enough leaguers to staff two precincts during the penny tax vote, providing League visibility while banking funds earmarked for voter services in the coming year. Let me extend a “special thank you” to all you who have volunteered your time for three days this year.

Senator David Simmons, who will speak at Hot Topics this Thursday, was recently recognized by LWV Florida at the Old Capitol Gala for his work to save Florida’s springs this session. Senator Simmons shares our goal to protect our waterways and springs, and although the Springs Restoration bill failed to pass this year, we encourage him to help push it through next year as we continue our emphasis on the environment. Senator Simmons will also review bills we were following, such as education reform and funding, voting rights, etc. Join us Thursday, 11.30am for our Legislative Report with Senator Simmons.

Thank you to all of our great volunteers, you fuel this organization and make us the success we are.

In the League;

LaVonne Grayson


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The National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA)  highlighted SunRail in it’s most recent Facebook and Twitter Advocacy blog.

It’s also worth noting they offer grants for public transportation advocacy – here’s an excerpt from their recent announcement in that regard:

FY 2015 grants for coalition building and advocacy will soon be available through APTA’s Local Coalition Grant Program.  For more than a decade, APTA has supported grassroots advocacy through this grant program and many NAPTA members have received grants in the past.  As public transportation continues to trend well across the country and prepares for a future of growth, local grassroots efforts can often be the turning point in successful advocacy efforts to advance the funding of public transportation at all levels of g  government. 

For more infromation, visit their web site:  NAPTA

 


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VOTER SERVICES COMMITTEE REPORT


The Voters Service meeting was quite productive — and fun, too, getting to know each other. We basically brainstormed what we could and should do with election season coming up. Thanks to all of you who came — and looking forward to seeing everyone next time.

This is a summary of what we discussed and the help that’s needed. As you’ll see, a lot of it is brainstorming on your own — but please do it. While you’re stuck in traffic, waiting for a train or trying to drift off to sleep, keep a pad & pencil nearby. Ideas are needed!

Two items are highlighted in red for special attention.

Voters Guide
A. Print Voter. Identify locations to distribute the print version of the statewide Voters Guide to be printed by LWVF in both English and Spanish; estimate the number of print copies each location might use. (Libraries are already set up.) Members came up with a number of locations, including churches, community centers — and SunRail stations!, if we could locate old newspaper boxes to use for free. Excellent example of how fertile brainstorming can be!
Assignment: contact the locations you think of, inquire from the person in charge if they want/can use Voters Guides and get an estimate of how many.
Due date: Info needed by July 1 to place our order.
Send info to psouthward@earthlink.net

B. On-line Voter Guide for local races. Desta Horner will lead, working with her CMF sources to develop Qs for school board, county commission, and soil & water races. Each of us needs to listen to friends to develop Qs too about what people find annoying or are unhappy about. Example: my neighbor is irritated that the libraries are closed on Fridays. While that might have necessary during the recession, that’s over and what do county commission candidates plan for the libraries’ operating days/hours.

Special attention needs to be paid to Soil & Water candidates, since our site will probably be the only place with info on those races.

Questionnaires will be sent via certified mail to all candidates immediately after qualifying in mid-June. Pat S. will do this. Data needs to be entered on website — and possibly website moved to a location independent of Orange LWV. Debbie Boos volunteered to do this if it is within her tech capability. Pat S will connect her with Laurie Wack of Orange LWV.
Assignment: Canvass friends & neighbors for Voter Guide questions for local races.
Due date: June 6th.
Send info to storner@bellsouth.net

LWVF will send questionnaires to state legislative candidates for inclusion in our local on-line Voters Guide. We need to follow up to make sure the legislators reply. Debbie Carswell will handle.

Forums/Debates
1. It was decided to do two forums in August, ahead of the primaries, one for school board candidates and also another ahead of the Republican primary for the county commission. (It was assumed that there would be no Democratic primary.) We will partner with the PTA for the school board, but need to find a partner (with liability insurance) and a free venue for the BCC race.

Seminole LWV’s forum outline is attached for those who are not familiar. Forums generally require at least 6-8 people and an experienced moderator. Debates are preferable if a qualified and neutral moderator can be located. Dates need to settled ASAP in order to line up moderator(s), and to get on candidates’ calendars (which get full early.)

TOP IMPORTANCE
Assignment: EVERYONE needs to look for a partner and a location for the BCC forum. Use your imaginations — ask around! Refer any questions or problems to Pat S.
Due date: ASAP
Send info to psouthward@earthlink.net

Speakers Bureau
1. It appears that there will be only two amendments on the ballot this time, so this will be much easier than usual. LWVF will prepare pro/con PowerPoint. Pat Southward will buy a personal projector that speakers will be able to use, but they will have to use their own laptop or one from the group they’re speaking to. LWVF and FWLL will provide training (and the latter already has.)

We need more venues, more groups to speak to. We have about 25 on our list, but many Leagues have 60 or 70. Groups can and do include civic clubs, church groups, HOAs, retirement centers, classes at schools, hobby groups. Pat S. will do the scheduling. Speakers currently include Desta Horner, Rosalie Cook, Jeanne Morris, Pat Southward. Contact Pat S. if you wish to join.
Assignment: Everyone: brainstorm groups to speak to, find out contact information.
Due date: Anytime.
Pat S will follow up with a call, a letter or an email.

Voter Registration
Voter registration has been League’s signature activity since it was founded almost 100 years ago. It is not difficult to do since it usually involves only a couple of hours at a location for the worker bees, and a few more hours for the chair. It’s a great place for new members to start, provides an opportunity for socializing with co-workers, and is a great service to the community. LaVonne wants us to have at least one voter registration every month.

I need help. I propose that we handle this with a chair for each month left in the year, that is, someone to handle June, someone to handle July, and so on. This should not be an overload for anybody.

The chair would find a location and make the arrangements, make up a schedule, and staff the day. The chair would be responsible for setting up the table, the signs, the supplies at the beginning and packing it all up at the end to return to LaVonne, who will be home base for paraphernalia (to prevent its being lost track of.)

Sometimes an event might last all day (like the MLK Day) or sometimes only a couple of hours (like Lk Howell High School). In the summer we should make every effort to have it indoors, but Farmers Markets are always a good fall-back location.

TOP IMPORTANCE
1. Assignment: volunteer to chair one month’s voter registration
2. Due date: ASAP
3. Contact Pat S at psouthward@earthlink.net

Summary by Pat Southward -


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EDUCATION FUNDING IN THE NEWS


This recent headline caught the eye of our state education chair, and we believe you will want to read  Annie Martin’s succinct article pointing out the effect of the state budget on Volusia County schools.  Obviously our county will feel the same pinch:

State budget leaves school districts on hook for tax increases

Newly proposed state budget leaves school districts on hook for tax increases

annie.martin@news-jrnl.com

Published: Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 9:21 p.m.  By Annie Martin
Submitted by Education Chair, Trish Ladan


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ARGUMENT AGAINST the POT AMENDMENT


Good people, good afternoon -

On 5/16 at the meeting of the Seminole Prevention Coalition, focus on drugs, an informative presentation was made by Christine Stilwell, Regional Director of statewide INFORMED Families on Marijuana, history, current situation, medical use, addiction, consequences as a framework for considering the vote for Amendment 2 in November. From what I heard there is only one answer and it starts with an “N”! She presented a multipage handout, scanned copy attached. Also she presented a source for information on who is really using marijuana under the guise of medicine?www.saveoursociety.org

Her position is to educate not to advise on the vote. I believe her presentation is such that the League of Women Voters needs to understand the complexity of the situation and the amendment so that they can advise I hope with the “N” word.

Christine’s contact information is 321-231-0587  cstilwell@informedfamilies.org  I spoke with her to say I would spread the word to Central Florida’s two League of Women Voters’ groups.

Don’t LET Florida Go to Pot …  www.DontLetFLGotoPot.com  Good information – similar to handouts. I have attached a Florida Sheriffs’ handout.

I am grateful to have heard her and am awake to dangers and misleading information.

Mary Elizabeth

 

 

 

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