February 2013 Meeting
The February monthly meeting was devoted to planning for the rest of the year. All members are urged to go to the League website and click on Subscribe. It's the surest way to receive information about upcoming activities.
Treasurer's Report Ellen Kemp reported that we have been purposefully spending down for the past four years but now must withdraw from our CD's. She will make a projected budget for the rest of this year so that we can discuss at the March meeting whether to increase dues.
In 2008, a decision was made to spend our reserves. In an effort to increase membership, we subsidized events such as the Annual Meetings and the Anniversary Celebration. Now, although $8,000 remains in CD's, we have used up our cash and must take from them since dues cover less than the PMP (per member payment) we owe to LWVNJ and LWVUS.
Ellen will present at the next meeting a projected budget based on previous years' expenditures for Convention, Communiversity and the Annual Dinner. A decision about whether to raise dues and by how much will be made before June.
Membership Directory A new directory has been emailed to the sixty-six members who have paid dues for 2012-13. Members may print it out if they so choose.
It was agreed that, in this digital age, the League will no longer print and mail a directory, thus saving on printing and postage. However, Ellen will send a hard copy to members who have not provided email addresses. A fee of $5 is suggested. Although earlier this year the Leadership Committee had supported producing a handbook similar to those from Lawrence and Phoenix, we decided to separate the functions. Handbook information, such as League history and principles, will be posted on the League website; the directory will be emailed to individual members. Ellen reported that she sent postcards about the League's going digital to members who have not provided email addresses; however, she has not received any requests for hard-copy versions.
Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) Five members (Chrystal Schivell, Lee Forbes, Melissa Scott, Nancy Hall, and Sandy Smith) attended an all-day LWV Membership and Leadership Development training session in late January. Our team of five will meet monthly with Sally Madden, our coach from Ocean County, NJ. Our focus will be to boost participation of current members in League activities and strengthen leadership within our organization. In that light, please let us know whether you prefer daytime or evening meetings or an alternating day/evening schedule so that we can plan for next year.
MLD training encourages all members to be ambassadors for the League. At the March meeting, we will share our stories about why we joined - and stay in – the League. Your story may inspire others to join. We will also discuss what offices to include in the Leadership Committee. We welcome suggestions and volunteers.
Visit to Trenton Monday, March 18 from 11:45 AM to 3 PM. A brief tour of the League's State office is planned, followed by lunch at the State office and a discussion with VP of Advocacy, Nancy Hedinger, and staff on the important ways the League is impacting NJ issues. We will then go over to the NJ State House for a tour of the building and a legislative session of the NJ Senate. Please RSVP to Nancy Hall if you are interested in this visit.
Lee Forbes, Edith Neimark, Chrystal Schivell, and new member John Schivell attended LWVNJ's Learn to Lobby workshop on February 14 – a “dry run” for the March visit in terms of parking and getting to know the State House. Familiarity with Trenton may make advocacy more inviting.
Communiversity Members are needed to staff the League table and create ballot questions IF our application is approved. Please save Sunday, April 28, 1:00 - 6:00 PM and use your imagination about fun things for adults and children to vote on.
We will not know whether we'll be participating in Communiversity until March 22; however, we plan to attract people by asking them to vote, rewarding children with an “I voted” sticker that includes the League logo, and giving adults shopping bags with League logo and information. 500 bags cost $500, a good price for publicity; the cost of stickers is negligible. We will also have Lady Liberty and possibly Uncle Sam costumes in which children may pose for their parents' cameras. Other ideas are welcome. Ballot questions – perhaps vote for your favorite Disney princess with boxes to check for Cinderella, Moulan, and Snow White – are desperately needed. Surely someone can do better than that example for kids and create some for adults as well!
State Convention Because the special cocktail reception honoring “Hurricane Heroes” will be held in Princeton, it is anticipated that LWVNJ will call on the Princeton Area League to help host. Please save the evening of Friday, May 3. We are entitled to two voting delegates (one per 25 members) at Convention, which takes place at MCCC on May 4, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
We will pay the $95 fee for each of the two voting delegates; other members may pay their own fee if they wish to attend. See LWVNJ website for details.
Annual Meeting Monday, June 17 from 6:00 – 8:30 PM is the TENTATIVE date for the annual dinner, place to be determined. The topic, loosely worded, is Voting Rights – what impedes them and what we can do. Contact Chrystal Schivell if you have a suggestion for a speaker.
The ten members at the February meeting considered three suggestions for topics: Minimum Wage, Fracking, and Voting Rights. Minimum Wage was eliminated because League has no direct position. Voting Rights was chosen because it is closest to League's mission and affects each of us and because LWVNJ has a position to restore voting rights to parolees and probationers that could become the basis for advocacy, especially in conjunction with the New Jim Crow Project currently underway in Princeton. Members agreed that an opportunity for follow-up makes a topic more relevant.
League Collaboration It was agreed that we would ask for more information about East Windsor/Hightstown's proposal to help with a forum on Mercer County charities before giving our response.