The September 2014 Newsletter is here!

The September 2014 newsletter is here, chock full of news to catch everyone up after the summer. Many thanks to all who contributed, particularly our newsletter editor Douglas Leith.

All members will receive this newsletter by email only, unless they have specifically requested to receive a paper copy. We’re happy to accommodate requests for printed newsletters, but we are grateful to any and all members willing to read the newsletter online or print their own copies: the printing and postage savings really add up!

That email particularly highlights the following two volunteer opportunities: we hope you’ll consider helping out!

Charter Commission Signature Drive Update

Our signature collection team has been making great use of the beautiful weather we’ve had this summer! As of the June annual meeting, we needed 60 completed petition sheets (2,700 signatures). Over the summer, 6 of us
have collected 24 sheets (1,080 signatures) at the library and the farmers’ markets, which brings our remaining tally needs to 36 sheets (1,620 signatures). We hope that this group can fill another 20 of these 36 sheets before the end  of October.

That would bring our remaining need to only 16 sheets. Based on our experience, getting a completed sheet takes roughly 2 hours of work.

We are seeking League members who will volunteer to complete 1 or 2 sheets before the end of October. It’s more fun to collect with a friend, so team up with someone… or if you are inexperienced and would prefer to go with a signature gathering buddy, please contact Rhanna Kidwell (617-244-3832) or Bonnie Carter (617-969-0686). You can collect by standing out at the library, by going door-to-door, or by taking a sheet with you to meetings or other gatherings with a concentration of Newton voters. Again, doing it with a friend is much more fun! If you can help out, or have any questions, please contact Rhanna Kidwell at the phone number above or at
RhannaKidwell@comcast.net.

Education Committee Update

The Education Committee welcomes additional members to help advance our 2014-15 agenda. Members are welcome to attend monthly meetings, help with events on the day of, or keep all the planning on track for us – all types of help welcome. This year, the Education Committee will be focusing on the following activities:

Advancing Civic Education: Building on last spring’s successful event, the Education Committee hopes to organize and present the second annual “civics bee” for middle school students. We will need hands-on help on the day of the event and to coordinate with a teacher at the selected middle school.

Funding Curriculum-Driven Technology: The Education Committee is teaming up with the Municipal Finance Committee to present a topic meeting on creating a sustainable funding model for technology in Newton’s schools. A topic meeting is scheduled for later this year.

Thinking about class-size measures: The League currently has a position regarding class size. Current methods of measuring class size fail to recognize the other staff resources available in the room. This year, we will look at how other school districts handle this in order to start the process of making any changes to the position, if necessary.

Get Ready for 2014 Election Season

What are we voting for this year?  Who is running?  What are the ballot questions about, anyway?  These are all good questions to ask yourself as we head into the last few months of the 2014 election season.  The League of Women Voters of Newton (LWVN) can answer them all and wants to be sure you are an informed and educated voter!  Join us as we head into the last two months of the election season.

Candidates’ Debates

LWVN and NewTV Candidates’ Debates Wed., Sept. 3

  • Democratic Primary for Governor’s Council at 7 p.m.
  • Special Election for Ward 3 Ward Alderman at 8 p.m.

Both debates will take place at NewTV studios, 23 Needham Street, Newton Highlands.  Audience members are welcome will not be allowed in the studio during taping.  Instead they are encouraged to watch the debates live in the NewTV Conference Room.

We want your questions for the candidates!  Submit them to info@lwvnewton.org or by phone at 617-383-4598.  Please note that questions will be addressed to all candidates and should focus on issues or qualifications for office.  We will use as many questions as time allows, sometimes combining similar questions, striving to cover a variety of topics.  If you don’t hear a particular question you submitted, it could be combined with other similar questions.

Watch the LWVN website for info on the Governor’s Council debate with candidates in the general election in November.

Topic Meeting on Ballot Questions

Did you know that there are four ballot questions this year?  Hear all about the pros and cons of each with LWVN members on:

Wednesday, September 10, 11:30 am – 1:00 p.m. in the NewTV conference room

Join us for a brown-bag lunch in the NewTV conference room where LWVN members will present arguments both for and against each question, as well the LWVN position, followed by group discussion and questions.

If you can’t join us on September 10th, look for more information in our upcoming newsletter.

LWVMA Voters Guide for September Election Available

The LWV Massachusetts announced yesterday that its Voters Guide to the Primary Election on Sept. 9 is now available online.  The guide features answers from all 20 candidates for statewide office to questions posed by the LWVMA — five questions to the gubernatorial candidates, and 3 office-specific questions to the candidates for each of the other offices: Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of the Commonwealth (Secretary of State),  Treasurer and Auditor.

Take Action on Gun Bill

House Speaker Robert DeLeo unveiled the long-awaited gun violence prevention bill May 27.

LWVMA and its partners in the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence applaud the bill’s strong provisions to reduce gun violence in our state, including background checks on secondary gun sales, expanded police chief discretion in issuing gun licenses for rifles and shotguns, reporting of all required information to the national instant background check system, and improved data collection about guns used in crimes and suicides.   We hope the legislature will add an amendment to restrict bulk gun purchases as well.

Please contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to vote in favor of the strong provisions in this bill. You can find their contact information here. [Read more...]

What will your climate change legacy be?

Rachel Brown, a Newton North High School student, recently received an award from LWVN at Annual meeting for her video submitted for the LWVMA “Dear Future Governor” student video contest.  Check out the video here.  Congratulations, Rachel!

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