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League Newsletter October/November 2010




Volume 25, Issue 2                                                                             October/November, 2010



President’s Letter


Every year in autumn is when the League of Women Voters has a very busy time: answering questions about voter registration, hosting voter registration drives in many different locations, publishing candidates’ responses to questions posed by the League, hosting forums and debates for candidates, hosting the Voter Hotline (800-792-8683) which is co-sponsored by the League and the ACLU, and many other items related to part of the League’s mission – “… encourages informed and active participation in government…” Many thanks go out to our members who participate in these various activities, especially our organizers of Voter Service, Chrystal Schivell and Rita Ludlum, who do an outstanding job throughout the year. But the League has activities all year, and we welcome our members and their friends to take a look at all that the League does and one of the best ways to get current information about the League is on the internet, and you may also sign up to receive e-newsletters (electronic e-mail newsletters) from State and National at their websites:

Princeton Area:         



Current State positions:

Our newsletter editor and publisher, Beverly Kestenis, does a fabulous job of putting together the newsletter, and we’d love to include items of interest on local issues for all of members to see. We are also working to revamp our website, as well as sending the newsletter out via an e-mail program which will allow for more timely delivery of information. Sandy Shapiro is our webmaster, and is working very hard to integrate our newsletter/website/member communications in a way that will allow for this more timely communication. 


So what I would like from you, our members, is input on these new changes that you will see shortly. If our web address changes, don’t worry, we’ll make sure it is redirected to the new site. This is your site, and information for you to use, so please give us feedback so that we can better serve you.

Ruth Ann Mitchell 






League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area – October Discussion


On Wednesday, October 20th, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman will discuss with our League the issues surrounding youth in prison, the effects on society now and in the future, and the challenges regarding prison reform issues. Please join us at Princeton Township Hall at 7:00 pm for this event. For information on the State League position on juvenile justice, please visit scroll down to page eight. This issue has been one our local League has wanted to address for some time, and we are now fortunate to be able to host this discussion. For further information, you may call Ruth Ann Mitchell at 609-902-2938. 




Local Members in Action


As part of its study on Immigration the New Jersey League of Women Voters sent out surveys to the local leagues.  Two of our members went out into the community to complete Part II of this survey. Their information was acquired from local government, public safety, local churches, Princeton Regional Schools, the University Medical Center at Princeton, Princeton Public Library, and several human rights organizations.  Questions covered such topics as health care, housing, safety, and law enforcement.

For more information on this survey contact Rita Ludlum or Marietta Taylor.




League Member Honored


New Jersey Future will sponsor an event on November 21 at Morven in Princeton to honor Ingrid Reed.  Ingrid is a long time member of the League and has had leadership roles in the past. She has spoken at League events about her work on citizen involvement etc.  Further information may be found on their website  If you are interested in this event you should contact Grace Sinden at



Become More Informed


There will be one statewide public question on the November 2 ballot. It is a Constitutional Amendment to dedicate assessments on wages by the state to the payment of employee benefits.   LWVNJ-EF has interpreted this question and offers two reasons why one might vote “yes” and two reasons why one might vote “no”. See the information at  

      LWVNJ-EF also asked all New Jersey candidates running for U.S. House of Representatives to answer ten policy questions.  The results are posted by district on their website.







Voter Service Reportby Chrystal Schivell



On September 11, LWVNJ's State-wide voter registration day, we had tables in the library and at Tiger Park to catch people attending Jazz Feast and the Children's Book Festival. Frieda Gilvarg, Edith Neimark, Beverly Kestenis, Carole Krauthamer, Nancy Hall, Ruth Ann Mitchell and I staffed these tables while Rita Ludlum registered at the Farmers' Market in Montgomery. Thirty-seven citizens either registered with us or took forms home.

Frieda and I registered five people at the Princeton Farmers' Market on September 23 and handed out seven applications for the vote-by-mail ballot.  Our September 30 date was rained out.

Our final registration, planned to coincide with McCaffrey's Food Sampling Festival, will be October 9 – thanks to the efforts of Edith, Beverly, Carole, Nancy, Ruth Ann, Rita and Sheila Berkelhammer.

As usual, Joan Bharucha registered at the West Windsor Farmers' Market – three Saturdays in a row (and at their invitation!) She registered at total of 20 citizens and handed out two vote-by-mail applications.  And as usual, Rita is registering successfully at Stonebridge.

Information about Candidates


In its continuing collaboration with The Princeton Packet, the League created Candidate Questionnaire Responses (Voters' Guides) for Montgomery, Plainsboro, Princeton Borough and Princeton Township.  They are all available online at the LWVPA website now and will be published in The Packetduring October and then available on its website at The Packethas been very generous in giving the League space for this public service at a time when newspapers are feeling the economic crunch.  Please look for our CQR's and support The Packet.

This year, for the first time in my experience, creating questions for the candidates was a true team effort. Nickle Forbes contributed suggestions for Montgomery, Joan Bharucha for Plainsboro, and Grace Sinden, Elizabeth Bates, and Ingrid and Marvin Reed for Princeton. Ellen Seiler advised on editing. The Board had a terrific array from which to select and did so with acuity.  I thank everyone.


Just before Labor Day, The Packet, Princeton Community TV and AllPrinceton approached the League about co-sponsoring live, televised debates among candidates in Princeton Borough and Township.  Rita accompanied me to our first meeting.  Her wisdom and experience enabled us to negotiate a wonderful collaboration: League to provide the format and moderator; The Packetto provide publicity and, along with AllPrinceton, solicit questions from readers; and Princeton TV and AllPrinceton to handle the technical details.

The two debates, one moderated by LWVPA's Linda Mather, whose advice about format and questions was invaluable, are now archived and available online at our website and those of our co-sponsors:,, and  

Anne Zeman's South Brunswick forum was cancelled when some candidates refused to attend.

Holt-Sipprelle debate

Ruth Ann handled the correspondence in LWVPA's co-sponsorship with the Lawrence and Hopewell Leagues of the Holt-Sipprelle debate on October 14 at Rider University.  Tickets assigned to us were distributed first to student reporters from South Brunswick, Princeton, and West Windsor-Plainsboro North and South High School.  Students and their advisors were overwhelmed by our generosity.  The archived debate should become available at our website and those of our co-sponsors listed above.

Please get the wordout: Voter Service is online.  Google LWV Princeton – the easy way to find it.

“Back to The League” Night


Jesse Burns, LWVNJ's Director of Communications and Projects, presented “The League Looking Forward – Another 90 Years of Making Democracy Work.”  As we had requested, Jesse briefly summarized what happened at the National convention. Two new studies were adopted: a study of the federal role in public education and a study on privatization: the policy agenda to transfer government functions, services and assets to the private sector.  We were given a handout about other positions that were adopted by LWVUS.  If you missed the meeting, you can find this information at the LWVUS website ( But the focus of Jesse's enthusiasm about convention was the panel on social media, in which she took part. Social media became the topic of our evening, and the formal presentation evolved into animated conversation among members of the audience and Jesse.


Jesse urged us to send her photos and news about our successful events to share with other Leagues so that we can learn from one another how better to promote the League in New Jersey.  LWVNJ ( is now on Facebook, and ultimately Jesse would like each local League to have its own Facebook page.  In an age when newspapers no longer can afford much space for public service announcements in their printed pages, many newspapers have online websites now, which are an additional outlet for League news. Jesse has been using social media as a way to communicate League news at the state League level, and she bubbled over with suggestions for local Leagues.  We should look to social media to get our messages to the public. When we go to an event, we should be our own journalists, blogging and posting our reports on Facebook or sending them to online papers such as a local and  We could follow LWVUS's Storybank initiative, which publishes the stories of League members, thus honoring old members, inspiring new members, and putting a “face” on the League.  If the League is to reach the public – even if only to tell voters where to find its voter guides – we must go beyond newspapers to social media as well. In doing so, we may attract new, younger members, who use social media. Jesse's enthusiasm was infectious. We thank Jesse for taking the time to speak to us about a topic that made for a fittingly social evening.


Chrystal Schivell, Ruth Ann Mitchell, and Rita Ludlum






A devoted supporter of the Princeton Area League for over forty years, Doreen Spitzer died at her home in September.  She will be missed by the community and our Princeton older Leaguers.  All of us owe her a debt for her loyalty and generosity through her very busy life. To her daughters and son we extend our sincere sympathy.