January 2019 Meeting
Fourteen members attended, including a new member, Jean Nitzberg, who has already made huge contributions to VOTE411 by covering her hometown of Hamilton as well as Ewing and Robbinsville.
Lee Forbes noted that on December 17 League members turned out in Trenton to advocate against the recent redistricting bill proposed by Democrats. The bill was withdrawn. It is significant that the League was asked to take the lead by the other organizations opposing the bill and that, in opposing a Democratic proposal, the League confirmed its nonpartisan reputation.
LWVNJ will continue to educate and empower voters across the state about what real redistricting reform should look like through “Fair Districts.” LWVNJ will be announcing a series of public forums in which it will present redistricting best practices and gather input from the public that can be shared with lawmakers in future redistricting conversations. Lee Forbes is LWV-Princeton Area’s liaison to Fair Districts. Please watch for more information, take part, and contact Lee for details.
H.R.1- LWVUS urges local Leagues to schedule district office visits with our members of Congress in the month of January to ask, “Will you support H.R. 1 and prioritize legislation that fixes our democracy?” H.R.1: For the People Act aims to improve our democracy and voting rights across the nation. We should hand our representatives a copy of our Declaration for American Democracy. Click here to read and print the document.
If you are not able to make an appointment, you can choose a day and time that works best for your group and coordinate a “drop-by” visit. Most district offices are staffed Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. for constituents to drop by. Lee Forbes has volunteered to visit Tom Malinowski. If other members from District 7 would like to join her as representatives of the League or if members from other districts plan to visit their Congress people, please contact Lee. All members should, as individuals, contact their representatives. For more information on H.R. 1, go to https://www.lwv.org/blog/4-key-elements-hr1.
Education Committee Report
Jennifer Howard, a member of the LWVNJ Education Committee, reported that a three-judge panel of the Superior Court Appellate Division threw out a requirement that New Jersey public high school students take the PARCC Algebra 1 and 10th-grade English Language Arts sections as their end-of-course exams for graduation. The judges said the state Education Department requirement that students take two exams is not authorized under state law. The panel said state law merely requires that students take a single test in 11th grade for graduation. The committee is following this issue and the Murphy administration’s policy toward charter schools.
Rita Ludlum Award
We approved a suggestion made earlier this year that the League give a yearly award to a student who has helped with local League activities. It was agreed that it be named the “Rita Ludlum Award.” Nominations will be made by Princeton Area League members; the Leadership Committee will select the winner(s). This year the award will be $300. Please send your nominations to Kathleen Moriarty at Kkz4@verizon.net.
Princeton Community Housing
Needed: a League of Women Voters liaison to the Community Board of Princeton Community Housing, whose goal is to provide supplementary programs so that affordable housing becomes a bridge rather than an end in itself. The liaison need not be a Princeton resident. For information about the duties, contact Ed Truscelli, PCH Executive Director, at 609-924-3822.
Please save the dates of Monday May 13 and May 20 for our annual meeting at Salt Creek Grille. Kathleen Moriarty has graciously agreed to coordinate the event. Details and a firm date will follow.
Jeanne Turner and Cindy Gordon have volunteered for Callathon, the state League’s reminder to those of us who haven’t yet responded to its yearly appeal. LWVPA gets a portion of the donations made to State. Last year we made $287 by participating in Callathon.
State Convention and Gala – May 3-4
The Princeton Area League, with its more than 50 members, is entitled to four voting delegates to the LWVNJ Convention on May 4. Please email email@example.com if you would like to be a voting delegate, but all members are urged to attend Convention to learn more about the League, meet the speakers, and share concerns with Leagues throughout New Jersey. The location has yet to be finalized but will be less than an hour’s drive away – and we can carpool.
LWVNJ is also looking for members to serve on its board. Ellen Kemp, who serves now as board treasurer, or Lee Forbes, who recently left the board, can explain the duties. If you are interested in serving, please speak to them or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations are due February 4.
The Gala, Making Democracy Work, on the evening of May 3 is a fundraiser as well as a party with good food and drink that honors NJ figures who reflect the League’s mission. It was agreed that LWVPA buy an ad in the program and that it honor Rita Ludlum. We are also participating in the wine-pull and silent auction. Lee Forbes will coordinate contributions to a Princeton basket for the silent auction. She suggests " Greetings from Princeton " as the theme and would like feedback and help from members. Lee will also collect other contributions and wine from members of the Princeton League. Wine, bagged, may also be donated at the Gala itself; but contributions to the silent auction are due April 1.
Marlene Sincaglia, Wine Pull/Silent Auction Chair, writes:
The wine pull consists of getting donated bottles of wine valued at at least $10. We put the bottles in a bag and people pay $10 and pick out a bottle of their choice. Some get bottles worth $10 but others get bottles worth $15, $20, or more. It is the luck of the pull. Our goal this year is to earn $500.
We are also looking for items to be auctioned at our silent auction. Items can include restaurant certificates, tickets to plays or sporting events, gift cards, clothing, vases, candlesticks, fancy serving bowls, handmade jewelry, baskets of assorted books, coffees/teas, plants and gardening supplies, arts and crafts or candy. Your imagination is the limit. We can bundle smaller items. All donations are appreciated. Last year we raised $2500.
Lee Forbes led the consensus on whether to drop, reaffirm, or update each of LWVNJ’s positions as found in “Study and Action,” available online. Given that an update requires study and that those attending the meeting agreed that our local League doesn’t have the people-power to do a study, we decided only to add comments where deemed appropriate. The consensus was to reaffirm all positions with a question about whether that of the office of Lt. Governor is still needed.
We hope that when comments are sorted and recorded by LWVNJ, positions for which there is state-wide interest in updating will become apparent. Then a study or update, staffed by members of several Leagues, might be possible. Chrystal Schivell will record the comments that were submitted in person and by email at the meeting and can accept more, if sent by email by February 1. The formal response form will be available after February 4.