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League Newsletter May 2008

LEAGUE UPDATE

PRINCETON AREA LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS

 

Volume 22, Issue 2                                                                                                            May,  2008


LEAGUE MEMBERS NEEDED

League volunteers are needed for the following: 

 

vTo be in charge of public relations

vTo collect press clippings from local newspapers

vTo contribute to the HSP exhibit (see p. 5)

vTo help with the Update

vTo help with the 2008-09 directory

vTo create posters for special events and for general League use

vTo serve as observers at local Borough and Township meetings

vTo serve on a committee studying the Sunshine Laws

vTo form a book group –suggested topics government, politics, or biography or another to be decided by the group

 

We need your help to continue as an active andvibrant League.  If interested, contact contact Fried Gilvarg fgilvarg@aol.comor Rita Ludlumrludlum@phstonebridge.org

 

 

ANNUAL PRINCETON LEAGUE 

MEETING

 

Save time on your calendar to attend the annual League meeting with speaker in June.  Details are currently being worked out and you will be informed by e-mail or telephone.

 

LEAGUE REORGANIZATION

 

Following the annual meeting in June, 2007 the League is now structured in a different way.  .

 

The Committee of the Whole consists of the following:

 

Contact Person – Rita Ludlum (receives info from State, national LWV, and public)

Treasurer – Ellen Kemp

Recording Secretary- Carole Krauthamer

Update-Beverly Kestenis

Public Relations- Needed

Voters Service Chair – Rita Ludlum

       South Brunswick-Anne Zeman

    

Membership-Frieda Gilvarg (Chair)

 Ruth Ann Mitchell

 

The committee welcomes any suggestions for programs, study groups, or ways to improve our League. The general membership is welcome at any Committee of the Whole meetings.

 

 

 
VOTER SERVICES ACTIVITES OF 2007

 

      In 2007 Princeton Area League of Women Voters conducted Voter Registration at the Princeton Public Library, the Mary Jacobs Library, the YWCA Newcomers Club, Wyeth Laboratories, and every Saturday at the West Windsor Farmer’s Market (The last by dedicated member Joan Bharucha).  Candidates’ Forums for local candidates were held in Princeton, co-sponsored by Town Topics and in West Windsor. 

 

     A Pilot Project for public financing of candidates for the New Jersey Senate and Assembly known as FAIR AND CLEAN ELECTIONS was held in 2007 in State Legislative Districts 14, 24, and 27.  Clean Elections requires that candidates raise money in small contributions from hundreds of people within the district and to refuse contributions from other sources. If done right, Clean Elections could eventually give average voters a reason to go to the polls because they will be more involved in picking their representatives.

 

     The Princeton League includes West Windsor and South Brunswick, both in the 14thDistrict.  One of our South Brunswick members, Anne Zeman, was active in planning a lively Hamilton Township Candidates’ Forum in this interesting experiment.  Bills to continue the pilot project have been introduced in the current legislative session (S1685 and A 1693) and we will watch their progress.

 

                                                                                                                        Rita Ludlum

 

 

 

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND

 

     In March three members of our local League (Frieda Gilvarg, Ellen Seiler, and Marion Epstein) attended a meeting on “No child Left Behind” on the Livingston campus of Rutgers University.  This was jointly sponsored by LWVNJ and NJEA.  Congressman Rush Holt was the keynote speaker.  Although he supported the goal implied by the legislation’s name, he pointed out that testing grade four every year so that the set of children tested is different each year is not a good way to measure progress.  He also objected to the narrowing of the curriculum through overemphasis on the subjects tested (reading and mathematics) to the detriment of other subjects, especially science.  He also noted that the program has never been fully funded and that punishing schools for lack of progress by withdrawing support is counterproductive.

 

     After a brief question period, the Congressman left for another commitment, but his very knowledgeable Chief of Staff stayed to participate with the panel that followed which was comprised of a teacher/supervisor, a principal and superintendent.  All three were ambivalent about the program, praising its intent and its emphasis on standards, but objecting to the excessive teaching to the test that it engendered an to the lack of adequate funding.  The superintendent drew laughter by saying that the initials NCLB for the name of the program now stands for No Cash Leaves the Beltway.  A good interchange with the audience followed providing a satisfying end to an excellent meeting.

                                                                                                   

                                                                                          Marion Epstein

 

SUNSHINE LAW

 

     During Sunshine Week (March 16 – 22) the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government hosted an event in Trenton, NJ to hear Senator Loretta Weinberg discuss the need for an update to the Sunshine Law which is now thirty years old. She stressed that the law needs to be updated to allow for new technologies that have developed over the years. Assemblyman Joseph Cryan also spoke about the need to standardize the fees being charged for copying of documents that citizens may need for negotiating legal areas – one such instance was the high copying costs when the family is facing foreclosure on their home due to the economic downturn and the documents are necessary, but the fees are far too high per page, and can vary from Town, County and State levels.

 

     A recent violation of the Sunshine Law hits closer to home, according to a letter to the editor in the Princeton Packet, April 15, 2008, which states less than 12 hours notice was given on the agenda for a Princeton Township Committee meeting on an often hotly discussed issue that many neighbors are most interested in due to flooding. In these times of economic tightening, and the Governor asking every city, town and borough to tighten their belts, it is most important for the citizens to know what their local government is doing – and the local government should not be allowed to skirt the Sunshine Law because it is easier, nor should the governing bodies be allowed to decide who can speak at a public meeting or cannot speak, because they do not want to hold too many hearings on certain issues.

 

     The League of Women Voters is open to all, and we welcome all. It is your government, you help to elect the officials that are in office to represent you; therefore, you should be kept informed as to what is going on during governmental proceeding. 

 

Further resources: www.lwvnj.orgfor the League of Women Voters, and www.njfog.orgfor the NJ Foundation for Open Government.

                                                                                                                        Ruth Ann Miller

 

STANDING COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION

 

The board of the LWVNJ in March unanimously approved a motion that LWVNJ form a standing committee concerning immigration issues. The date for the first meeting was set for April 26.  Two major categories of possible actions will be considered.  

 

·     Recommend actions to the state board and, where approved, work together with other concerned organizations to help change what happens in our state and in our communities concerning unifying diverse communities, easing the lives of recent immigrants, and advocacy of legislation and regulations concerning immigrants

·     Continue our study of the complex issues of immigration as both immigration and responses to that immigration change

 

Of Interest at the Princeton Public Library 

 

Monday April 28 at 7PM – “The $9 Trillion Debt: Breaking the habit of Deficit Spending” Registration required 609.924.9529 ext/220

Wednesday April 30 at 7:30  Richard F. Keevey talking about the New Jersey State Budget

 

LWVUS Immigration Position

 

The League of Women Voters believes that immigration policies should promote reunification of immediate families; meet the economic, business and employment needs of the United States; and be responsive to those facing political persecution or humanitarian crises. Provision should also be made for qualified persons to enter the U.S. on student visas. All persons should receive fair treatment under the law.

 

The League supports federal immigration law that provides an efficient, expeditious system (with minimal or no backlogs) for legal entry of immigrants into the U.S.

 

To complement these goals the League supports federal policies to improve economies, education, job opportunities an d living conditions in nations with large emigrating populations.

 

In transition to a reformed system, the League supports federal policies for unauthorized immigrants already in the country to earn legal status.

 

The League supports federal payments to impacted communities to address the financial costs borne by states and local governments with large immigrant populations.

 

Criteria for Legal Admission to the U.S.

 

The League supports the following criteria for legal admission of persons into the United States:

 

§  Family reunification of spouses or minor children with authorized immigrants or citizens;

§  Flight from persecution or response to humanitarian crises in home countries;

§  Economic, business or employment needs in the U.S.;

§  Education and training needs of the U.S.;

§  Educational program opportunities; and

§  Lack of a history of serious criminal activity.

 

Administration and Enforcement

 

The League supports due process for all persons, including the right to a fair hearing, right to counsel, right of appeal, and right to humane treatment.

 

The League supports:

 

§  Improved technology to facilitate employer verification of employee status;

§  Verification documents, such as status cards and work permits, with secure identifiers;

§  Significant fines and penalties for employers who hire unauthorized workers;

§  Improved technology for sharing information among federal agencies;

§  More effective tracking of individuals who enter the United States; and

§  Increased personnel at orders.

 

The League also supports programs allowing foreign workers to enter and leave the U.S. to meet seasonal or sporadic labor needs.

 

Unauthorized Immigrants Already in the U.S.

 

In achieving overall policy goals, the League supports a system for unauthorized immigrants already in the country to earn legal status, including citizenship, by paying taxes, learning English, studying civics, and meeting other relevant criteria. While policy reforms, including a path to legal status, remain unachieved, the League does not support deporting unauthorized immigrants who have no history of criminal activity.

Historical Society September Exhibit Features the League

 

     The Historical society of Princeton is planning an exciting new exhibition that will open to the public in September 2008.  With the national election just around the corner, it will explore the inspiring ways Americans and Princetonians have overcome barriers to participating in our democracy.  Covering over 200 years from George Washington to Bob Dylan, it will feature objects, words, music, films, and more.

 

     Recently Frieda Gilvarg, Rita Ludlum, and Anne Zeman met with PHS curators to discuss what role the local League would have in the exhibit.  Ellen M. Snyder-Grenier is the consulting curator for this exhibit entitled “Stand Up, Speak Out” and has given us a list of things which she would find most helpful in setting up this exhibit. If you can contribute anything from this list, please contact her at emsnyder3@comcast.net(201-965-0682) or Eileen Morales, HSP Curator at 609-921-6748.  

 

  •  Do you have any photos, fliers or memorabilia from decades past. Early photos would be especially great as the HSP does not have many in their archives.
  • The names (and any additional information you might have) of Princeton women who, before becoming League of Women Voter members, were involved in the suffrage movement.
  • Information about any Princeton elections, of any kind, that were so close that only a few votes mattered.

 

Please submit any contributions before May 15. 

 

 

PRINCETON LEAGUE TO CELEBRATE 75 YEARS

 

And while we are on the subject of History-

Our local Princeton League is planning to celebrate its seventy-fifth anniversary this fall

and would like your help.  Are youor do you know of anyone who is a fifty year member?  

We would like to honor them at our special anniversary celebration.  Also, does anyone have anecdotes to be printed in the next Update or stories to share with us at our Anniversary Celebration? 

Please contact Frieda Gilvarg or Beverly Kestenis (beverlykv@verizon.net)

 

 

 

2008-09 LEAGUE DIRECTORY

 

The current league directory is being updated. Please check your entry to see that all information is correct.  We are particularly interested in e-mail addresses, since we are planning to use this method of contact more in the future.

Should you have any changes please contact:

the Membership Chairs or Ellen Kemp ellen@princeton.edu


FOR YOUR INFORMATION

 

PRIMARY

Beginning in January 2008, the New Jersey Presidential Primary will take place the last Tuesday in February. The primaries for Congressional and local offices will remain the first Tuesday after the first Monday in June (P.L. 2005 c. 136).

 

VOTER REGISTRATION WITHIN THE COUNTY

Effective January 1, 2008, a voter may register 21 days before an election (P.L. 2005 c.139).

 

PAPER RECORD

Effective January 1, 2008, New Jersey will require voting machines to produce a voter-verified paper record for each vote cast that could be used in the event of a recount (P.L. 2005 c.137).

MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON ALL OF THE ABOVE IS AVAILABLE AT

 

www.njleg/state/nj.us