March 2013 Meeting

Recent Activities

Getting Acquainted

Members who attended the March meeting told about when and why they joined the League and described their most memorable League experiences, some of which were amazing. As a way to increase membership, LWVUS recommends that all members consistently tell their League stories to prospective members and ask them to join League.

The Leadership Committee (LC) is implementing suggestions from LWVUS that come through the Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) program. The “Getting Acquainted” exercise is an example. The LC hopes to post one or two stories on our website as well as at the LWV Storybank (click on the link to read stories from around the country). To submit your own story to the League Storybank, please use the League submission form.

Lobby Corps

LWVNJ needs members who are willing to visit the local offices of their legislators about twice a year to promote League positions. Recent “Learn to Lobby” workshops offered training that made lobbying not only seem doable, rather than intimidating, but also a great opportunity to take action on behalf of the League positions you care most about.

Edith Neimark, Lee Forbes, and Chrystal and John Schivell visited the League’s Trenton office, where Sandy Matsen explained the purpose and scope of the Lobby Corps as she did at LWV-Princeton Area's workshop on “Armchair Advocacy” (watch the video).

Jesse Burns introduced trainees to the Legislature's website, which posts the bills under consideration. Trainees then broke into groups to role-play lobbying, with Kerry Butch, Sandy Matsen, and Nancy Hedinger acting as legislators. A tour of the State House followed.

Sandy Matsen stressed that trainees can learn by accompanying her or Nancy Hedinger and that the LWVNJ always provides talking points. Sandy Matsen, Nancy Hedinger, Kerry Butch, and Jesse Burns primarily make up the Lobby Corps now, but we hope that several attendees will commit to doing some lobbying in the future. To create a true corps of constituents to lobby in each legislative district, League members from all over New Jersey are needed.

Moderator Training

On March 9, LWV-Princeton Area hosted 11 women from throughout New Jersey for a four-hour training session by our own Linda Mather and Dawn Clarke, LWVNJ chair of Voter Service.

Attendees were given Moderator Training Manuals and treated to insights that only experienced moderators like Linda and Dawn can share. This session was the first in a three-step process. Before actually moderating, trainees must make two observations of experienced moderators followed by discussion. Voter Service of the LWV-Princeton Area will offer trainees the opportunity to observe at its debates and will try to use graduates as moderators. Currently LWVNJ has about 35 moderators, all in great demand in the election season—more so now that school elections have moved to November.

Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) Program

The MLD Program is an initiative involving National, State, and some local Leagues, of which the Princeton Area is one. Its purpose is to boost participation of current members in League activities, increase membership, and strengthen leadership within our organization.

LWV-Princeton Area's team of five MLD members (Chrystal Schivell, Lee Forbes, Melissa Scott, Nancy Hall, and Sandy Smith) meet monthly with their coach, Sally Madden, from Ocean County, NJ. They then act as turn-keys to convey information about best practices to the Leadership Committee. A proposal regarding the composition and roles of the LC will be presented at the Annual Meeting.

Upcoming Events


Please save Sunday, April 28, 1:00 - 6:00 PM.

We will hear on March 22 whether or not we have a table. Nancy Hall is in charge and will send out an email. If we do, we must be ready to swing into action. There are a number of specific jobs for which you are invited to volunteer. Please email, attention Nancy Hall, to join in.

Please volunteer!

Set up, staff table, take down – 6 people at least: Chrystal, Melissa plus ?

Banner for table – Chrystal

Ballots for voting – Melissa plus ?

“I voted” stickers – Ellen

Lady Liberty costume – Chrystal

Boy's Uncle Sam costume – Sandy Smith

Bags – Nancy

League handouts to put in bags - ?

Explanations/posters for table - ?

LWVNJ Convention and Awards

All members, at their own expense, are welcome to attend the LWVNJ Convention, Saturday, May 4, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Conference Center at Mercer (on the grounds of Mercer County Community College). The League, however, will subsidize the cost for the three delegates who are entitled to vote. The LC is planning to nominate, by March 28, the LWV of the Princeton Area for the Communications Award and possibly the Collaboration Award, two of four awards to be given at Convention.

We believe we merit consideration for the Communications Award because our website, maintained by Sandy Shapiro, is excellent and links to our monthly reports and Updates, which are posted on our site and go to all members who have email. Voter Guides and video of debates are available on the site, as is video of Sandy Matsen's workshop on Armchair Advocacy. Voters Guides and video also appeared in the Princeton Packet and the South Brunswick Post and at Princeton Patch, Planet Princeton, Princeton Community TV and AllPrinceton. In September 2012, Sandy Smith was interviewed on “Reed and Ponder,” on TV30 to promote the League's mission Watch the video: Sandy Smith appears at 15 minutes into the recording.

For consideration for the Collaboration Award: We've collaborated with the organizations such as YWCA, Princeton Public Library, Human Services Commission, Latin American Task Force, Princeton Future, Rock the Vote, etc.

Annual Meeting and Dinner

The Annual Meeting will take place Monday, June 17 at The Pind Restaurant (formerly Good Time Charley's and Charlie Brown's) in Kingston from 6:00 to 8:30 PM. Cost will be $30. The topic, loosely worded, is “Voting Rights – what impedes them and what we can do.” Grace Sinden and Ellen Kemp are looking for a speaker. If you have a suggestion, please email, attention Sandy Smith.


Membership Directory

Ellen mailed directories to the ten members without email and notified them that there will be no further communication by U.S. mail. Members with email may have printed or saved the directories to their own computers; Ellen received neither requests for printed copies nor complaints. Email appears to be working as a means of communication!

Finances and Budget

Ellen Kemp submitted a preliminary budget for 2013-14 that shows we pay to LWVNJ and LWVUS $4.00 more per member than we receive in dues and thus, with other expenses, will continue to draw down our reserves. We have not raised dues in ten years. At the Annual Meeting, the Leadership Committee will propose a dues increase to $60 for individual members and $30 for second household members in order to cover at least the per-member payment (PMP). As well, contributions are needed and welcome.

A suggestion to hold fund-raisers was rejected: They cost money as well as raise money; no one has volunteered to take charge; and the last fund-raisers were so long ago that we can't trust that they will continue to be worth the effort. It was argued that $60 dues are reasonable and would not keep most prospective members from joining and that individual accommodations could be made. To curb costs, the dinner at the Annual Meeting will not be subsidized.

Monthly Reports

Members will receive reports of the monthly meetings by email in a format called Vertical Response, which allows readers to link to the League website when they wish to read an article in depth. The website has both the shorter Vertical Response monthly update as well as the longer monthly reports. Look for them under Reports. Reminders about upcoming events will continue to be sent by email, but everyone should go to the League website and click on

Monthly meetings are held the second Tuesday evening of each month, from 7 to 9 PM at the Suzanne Patterson Building, 45 Stockton Street, Princeton. Summaries of LWV-Princeton Area monthly meetings may be found under Monthly Meetings.