This issue includes: President's letter, Observer Corps Report, Student Members in Action, and more!
April 2017
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President's letter

With the April municipal elections upon us, now's a good moment for reflection.

Last fall, state and national election results left us shaking our heads in disbelief about the caliber and motivation of candidates who sought public office. The cacophony of “fake news”, conspiracy theories, and foreign intrigue had Americans wondering if their votes really mattered and if their interests would be appropriately and thoughtfully represented.
 
Contrast that environment with that on the local level.  Having listened to a number of candidates vying for positions on city councils, school boards, and in municipal government at our candidate forums, I’m impressed by the intense commitment our friends and neighbors have to our local communities. Their fervor manifested itself in their strong articulations as to why they want to serve, what credentials they bring, and the problems they want to solve.  Ultimately, they desire to improve our quality of life;  all the while, the candidates demonstrated a respect for each other and their positions.
 
And to what end?  Those who win, will receive very small stipends and, in the case of Parkland trustees – no compensation at all. They will attend many meetings plus be expected to attend events sponsored by the organization they represent. They will be asked to make tough decisions because our state and federal representatives seem unable to do so.
 
Kudos to all the candidates!   You are a credit to your communities and a stellar example of what democracy can and should be about.

– Barbara Wysocki, League of Women Voters of Champaign County President

Upcoming Events

We hope to see you there!

 
  • Tuesday 4/4/16 – Spring Elections
 
  • Monday 4/10/16 – Observer Reports
    • 7:00 pm, Champaign Public Library Pavilion C
                                   
  • Tuesday 4/18/16 – on this day in 1818, an Act of Congress established the boundaries of the soon-to-be-state of Illinois.
 
  • Wednesday, 4/19/16 – LWVCC Monthly Meeting
    • 12:00 pm, Urbana City Building
 
  • Wednesday, 4/26/16 – LWVCC Board Meeting
    • 12:00, Urbana Free Library
 
  • Wednesday, 5/17/16 – LWVCC Annual Meeting
    • 6:30 pm, Hawthorn Suites
 
  • Saturday/Sunday, 6/10-11 – LWVIL state convention
    • Des Plaines, IL

To stay updated on these events and more, connect with us on FaceBook or Twitter. 

The County/Community Discussion Continues...


Our March meeting -- regarding how mental and physical agencies are faring in this fiscal year without a budget -- was a very frank and open discussion among agencies that are rapidly running out of money. Consider:
 
  1. Our county nursing home which has never been flush with cash is the subject of a local referendum regarding its future;
  2. our county mental health board which allocates funds to ongoing programs and agencies has twice the number of requests for essentials;
  3. a local mental health treatment facility has had to merge into a regional firm to continue offering supportive services in limited amounts.
 
This month, we continue the survey of mental and physical agencies with three additional community resources:  C-U Public Health, Frances Nelson, and GROW --a self-help mental health agency.  The latter has discontinued local services and has been subsumed by its counterpart in New Jersey. The story of its local demise is instructive and an example of what is occurring more frequently than we imagine.
 
Join us on Wednesday, April 19th at noon at the Urbana City Building.  Bring a friend or two!  There is still much to learn.

Did you Know?


Women are still 50% less likely to be connected to the internet than men.

Criteria for League Participation in 2017 Marches & Events


LWVUS has issued the following criteria to help local Leagues determine the best opportunities for participation in marches and other public events and whether they are something the League will support:

  1. Does the event align with the core mission of the League of Women Voters, namely – Making Democracy Work?
  2. Are the organizers transparent in the planning and is the event non-partisan?
  3. Does the event advance one or more of League’s strategic goals?
  4. What risks are associated with participation?
  5. Is inclusion and diverse participation a core focus on the event planning?
  6. What access would League have to names and emails of event attendees?
  7. What is the potential for earned media and other visibility?
  8. Should League seek speaking opportunities or take other leadership roles to shape the event?
Our future LWVCC student intern, Trisha Rodriguez, and LWVCC Student Unit treasurer/student body president, Raneem Shamseldin, went to Springfield for Student Day of Action, where they lobbied issues regarding higher education. Pictured left to right: House minority leader Jim Durkin, Rodriguez, student senator Joshua Manning, Shamseldin, and Representative Joe Sosnowski.

Dues and Membership

 
For the past two months, the League Board has been seeking a better way to track memberships and dues.  Previously, membership renewal dates were determined by the anniversary of joining, and reminders were found on your mailed newsletter. Now that newsletters are on line, we don’t have an obvious  way to remind members when dues are due. 
 
The Board has authorized the following changes, effective immediately:
 
  1. Renewals for all members will be due by the Annual Meeting in May*;
  2. Members, who do not renew on time, will be placed on an “Inactive” list**;
  3. Members will be removed from the LWVCC roster when we submit our annual membership report to LWVUS in January.
 
As we transition into this new format, those who are current and have already paid their annual dues will be pro-rated to conform to this change.  If cost is a factor in your decision to renew, please talk to the Membership Chair, Kat Bork (katdenbk@gmail.com or 217.840.0450) We are eager to have everyone interested in LWVCC remain an active, participating member.
 
There are other advantages for this change. Having a better way to determine the size of our membership should help the Board plan better for the upcoming fiscal year. It should also help the Membership Chair know the wishes of members as to their membership intentions.
 
*These changes do not apply to students and those designated as 50 year members.
**“Inactive” means the individual will not be asked to volunteer for special assignments, projects, etc. They will be notified of regular meetings, special events, etc. through the website and the listserv and are  always welcome to attend. They do, however, surrender their voting privileges. Members can, at any time, re-apply for membership through the ordinary routine.

2016-2017 LWVCC Observer Corps Reports

Monday, April 10, 7:00 pm
Champaign Public Library
Robeson Pavilion, Room C

 
Our League has 11 members who have been observing 10 boards and commissions in our community this year.  They will be presenting their observations at this yearly meeting.  We will hear about the activities of these boards:
  • Urbana City Council
  • Urbana Board of Education
  • Champaign Plan Commission
  • Champaign Library Board
  • Housing Authority
  • Champaign County Mental Health Board
  • Regional Planning Commission
  • Champaign County Board of Health
  • Champaign County Forest Preserve
  • CU Mass Transit District
 
There are governmental bodies that do not have an observer at this time.  If you would like to join our Observer Corps you can volunteer at the meeting on April 10th or you can contact Sue Phillips, observer chair, at 359-8818 or suephillips1018@att.net.  She can match your interests and availability to an observer opportunity.

– Sue Phillips

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  The LWCC influences public policy through education and advocacy, working on various issues at local and national levels. League members come from all walks of life – united by our shared understanding of the importance of political literacy, we celebrate being non-partisan and diverse in our identities, affiliations, and experiences.

Copyright © 2017 League of Women Voters of Champaign County, All rights reserved.