LWVN Newsletter, Vol 25 Issue 2
Table of contents
- New President’s Message
- Outgoing President’s Message, Annual Meeting May 2019
- New Officers and Board of Directors, 2019-20
- LWVN Feedback to City Council on their process to adopt an increase in compensation
- Welcome, New Members!
- City of Newton Meetings Schedule
- Current LWV MA Legislative priorities
- LWVMA Climate Emergency Action Resolution and Plan
Dear LWVN Members,
On behalf of Ellen Grody and myself, I want to thank you for having the trust and confidence in our ability and commitment to lead the League of Women Voters of Newton. We also want to thank Sue Flicop and Lisa Mirabile for their leadership and commitment to League over the past years. Ellen and I have very big shoes to fill and we are pleased that both Sue and Lisa are remaining on the Board of Directors.
We have a big year ahead:
- Most notably, the 19th Amendment Centennial. The League will be partnering with the Mayor’s office, Historic Newton, and the Newton Free Library to celebrate this important milestone. Please watch for more information on our website as we ramp up our planning and activities. If you have any ideas that you would like to share, please send them to email@example.com.
- Newton has city-wide Elections for Councilor-at-Large, Ward Councilor, and School Committee positions. Once again, the League will be co-sponsoring candidate forums with NewTV. The forums are held for competitive races, at this time, and are the best and most objective way for citizens to learn about the candidates.
- We ask that all league members Submit Questions for the candidates, by using the link.
As a Board we will be meeting in August to set our priorities for the 2019-2020 year. I encourage you to send your thoughts, feedback and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org as we go forward with our planning and ultimately implementation process.
As a new president, I want to hear from you. So please send to me your thoughts, anytime!
by Sue Flicop
This annual meeting marks a special moment for me as part of the League of Women Voters of Newton. This has been my eighth year as either President, Co-President or a Steering Committee member of the League, and next year I return to a regular Board member. I’ve loved many of the moments representing the League all these years, but have felt for quite a while that it is better for the organization to have new leadership with new ideas and new ways of doing things. Those of you who have been frustrated with me at any point—it’s time to rejoice because we will have a new leader next year!
Eight years is a long time, and one naturally starts thinking about what was different 8 years ago, what feels exactly the same, and what’s been accomplished in between.
So for what’s different: we no longer have a strong newspaper in Newton, making it much, much harder to get our information and message out to the community. I remember one of my first Annual Meetings, Jane Leighton gave direction to the Board about how important it was to be in the TAB as much as possible. Things are substantially different now. The slow demise of the TAB has led to a fracturing of ways to get messages out, requiring a multi-pronged approach that sometimes misses many of our older citizens.
With the fallout of the 2016 national election, we have a more engaged citizenry—a good thing, but one that has led to a number of groups with overlapping goals and membership. Where the League is a more general volunteer group, working on a wide variety of issues, many engaged people choose to focus on one area and look for groups that work exclusively on certain topics. While this is a net positive for our community, it makes it harder for the League, as a group with perhaps more moderate sensibilities and a long-established—and long—process, to appeal to many of the highly engaged and focused volunteers.
A very welcome change for the League during my time as a leader is the change of some of our most dedicated and hard-working members to be some of our most dedicated and hard-working elected officials. This, of course, has nothing to do with me (so I’m not taking any credit), but came as a result of the members’ many, many years of engagement with the community and the knowledge and skills that come from being a part of an organization dedicated to good governance and educated decision-making. We continue to be a training ground for women who are interested in running for office and who are willing to make tough decisions important to our community.
As a result, the League itself has changed. Reliant as we are on the interest and engagement of our members, we have a number of committees that are no longer active, as we search for new leadership. We also have some new and refreshed committees working very hard to achieve their goals. So while our positions are essentially the same, the organization has shifted focus to match different interests.
What’s stayed the same in all this time? We continue to be a respected voice on issues of local municipal government and a sought-out group for support on a variety of initiatives. We continue our work to both increase the number of voters and to help them become more informed and make the decision that best reflects their perspectives. We keep true to our core values.
What also seems to have stayed the same, but is disheartening, is that there are two different visions for Newton, with Newton residents dividing up into two camps for seemingly everything. It’s become quite obvious and predictable, and I’m not sure how it can be fixed.
And what has been accomplished in eight years? To be really quite honest, I’ve struggled with this question. I know what we didn’t accomplish, and that was charter reform. But we tried—we collected signatures, worked to educate the public, followed the whole process, but came up just a little short. And the repercussions are all around us. Battle lines were drawn over the charter and they still remain. What I think we had all hoped would be a general agreement on how our city government should best be structured seem to have devolved into the divisions we see at every land use committee meeting. As you can imagine, this is my deepest disappointment.
But…it couldn’t all have been bad, right? Of course not. We’ve been weathering the changes both in our membership, and in the world at large. In the past 8 years we have set some new procedures in place for communicating with members by using email regularly and dropping the use of paper as much as possible. We’re trying different media to communicate our ideas and inform the public. We’ve tried to be faster in response to events in the community—we haven’t got that down, yet, and it’s still a work in progress. We’re open to partnering with groups more closely and advertising events that dovetail with League positions, especially for those groups interested in environmental issues. Also a work in progress is how to plan topic meetings that are well-attended. Our topic meetings are always interesting—but given the busy lives of our members, we are trying to find a regular time that appeals to the most people. We’ve also been addressing more national-level issues, like immigration and voting rights. And I know that there will be more changes to come with a new leader in place.
I’ve been proud to represent the League for so many years—it’s been a great honor that I’ve enjoyed and learned from. I’ve gained some patience, a dedication to process, a thicker skin, and a deep appreciation for all of you who have been so kind and helpful to me over the years as I’ve made mistakes. But it’s also time for a change, and I’m happy that our new president is someone who has had many years of experience as a proven leader in our community. Thank you.
At the LWV Newton Annual Meeting on May 30, we elected the following Officers and members of the Board of Directors:
President: Marcia Johnson
Vice President: Ellen Grody
Treasurer: Andrea Kozinetz
Clerk: Theresa Fitzpatrick
2020 Nominating Committee: Linda Green (Chair), Sue Rosenbaum, Chris Steele
Thank you, and congratulations to all who have agreed to serve!
BRC July 24, 2019
The LWVN is pleased to welcome the following new members:
- Melissa Chaikof
- Sandra Davidow
- Michele Shin
- Janet Holly
- Tricia (Patricia) Foster
- Holly Ryan
- Ellen Gordon
Lucia Dolan is performing a valuable service that other members may wish to subscribe to. She posts the City Hall meetings for the following week every Friday. That list is posted on the LWVN website (see City Council Meetings in the sidebar of the home page. To join the email list, send a request to “Join the weekly Docket Digest email list” to email@example.com
Thank you , Lucia!
by Alice Donisi Feehan
These are the bills in the MA House of Representatives that LWV MA is lobbying in favor of. Add your voice!
H3573 “Support the Communities Act” about immigration status:
“To restore community trust in police by avoiding entanglement in immigration matters and protect due process for all.”
H.1700 An Act Ensuring access to Addiction Services
Will require that people with SUD [substance use disorder] be treated as patients rather than criminals.
H732 Public Lands Preservation Act (PLPA)
Refers to Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution: Would codify current state policy that there be no net loss of lands or easements protected under Article 97.
See below both the Climate Emergency Resolution, submitted as testimony to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications and Utilities and passed at the 2019 LWVMA Convention unanimously, and the Climate Emergency Plan, approved by the Board of the LWVMA on July 26, 2019.
In his keynote speech at the convention, Bill McKibben made it clear that global societies have an urgent “action deficit” in terms of the response to date on the climate crisis. He also pointed out that the League has a unique and special role to play as a highly-regarded and respected organization with a 100-year history of championing policies for the public good and strengthening our democracy.