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Knox Voter
Citizen EngagementOctober 2010
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In This Issue
-President's Letter
-League Presents Leader of Movement to Abolish Corporate Personhood
-State Election Candidate Guide Coming Soon
-Save the Date
What You Can Learn at Fall Conference
-October Meeting on the Ten-Year Plan
-Another Successful Observer Corp Training
-New Members Training
-Great Turnout for Fall Gathering and League Happy Hour
-What's your League Story?
-Member News

Welcome New Members!! 
Joe Carson
Karen Carson
Kelly Pemberton
Seth Walker

LWVKKC Board of Directors 

Jamey Dobbs

1st Vice-president: Laura Cole

2nd Vice-president: Barabara Nicodemus

Secretary/Treasurer: Mary Headrick


Robin Brown
Lisa Carroll
Rynn Dupes
Susanne Dupes
Parci Gibson
Alexandra Hruz
Kelly Pemberton
Lee Ann Rodgers

Quick Links

Comments or suggestions?
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President's Letter 

I am thinking a lot these days about growing our League to continue theJamey Dobbs legacy of citizen education and action that our past leaders worked so hard to develop.  Our members were always ahead of the curve, studying the management of the city in the 1940's, restructuring local government in the 50's, air and water pollution in the 60s, and unification of city/county schools in the 70s.  They did not shy away from the big issues.   

I believe members are our biggest asset and new members are critical to our future impact on this community.  I welcome all our new members, I hope that you've found the League to be a friendly, open community.  Many new members have found a place in the Observer Corps, or a place helping with social events or committees, or are learning about local issues from the website or meetings.  To all new members, I offer a big thank you for being a part of the League.  To help you feel more at home, and to learn how it all works, I strongly encourage you to attend our new member orientation on Tuesday, November 9 at 5:30 (details below).
Our League Happy Hour last Thursday at the Crown and Goose restaurant was a terrific example of the friendly community we are creating in Knoxville.  We estimate 70 members and guests enjoyed a relaxed evening getting to know eachother on the patio, and many of our guests expressed their interest in working with the League.  Nothing is more important to our future than cultivating new people to join our drive for a better community and stronger, accountable government.  So, I challenge all of us to continue to bring friends and colleagues to our great programs and events, particularly the one scheduled this Thursday night.  We are co-sponsoring a talk by Dr. Riki Ott, a scientist and advocate from Alaska, whose 20 years experience fighting for restoration of her community and its ecosystem after the Exxon Valdez oil spill now leads her to fight for democracy in elections.  Don't miss the article about Riki Ott below. 


I look forward to seeing you this week and in many to come.  And remember, I'm always happy to have coffee, lunch or talk by phone with anyone interested in the League.  


-- Jamey Dobbs, President  548-0818

League Presents Leader of Movement to Abolish Corporate Personhood


On Thursday, October 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the University Center Auditorium, activist, author and respected scientist Dr. Riki Ott will discuss the fight against corporate personhood and how that relates to her experiences with the Exxon Valdez and BP Gulf oil spills at the University of Tennessee.  The League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County joins the UT Issues Committee, the Environmental Studies program and UT's Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville to sponsor Dr. Ott's presentation, "From Exxon Valdez to BP's Gulf Disaster: Changing the Endgame."

In the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision, the League of Women Voters has been working actively in support of the DISCLOSE Act to restore transparency to U.S. elections.  Simultaneously, Dr. Ott has established the Ultimate Civics ( organization "to build a popular movement and pass a constitutional amendment to reinstate the primacy of human rights over corporate rights."

Riki Ott is a marine toxicologist and former commercial fisherma'm who was on the scene during the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and remained to fight for restoration of the damaged ecosystem and the affected communities.   She has written two books on oil spill impacts to ecosystems, people, and communities: Sound Truth and Corporate Myths and Not One Drop and also starred in Black Wave, an award-winning feature film.   Dr. Ott is offering a free copy of the Sound Truth to each attendee.  She will be available at a reception after the event to sign copies.  More information about Dr. Ott is available from

State Election Candidate Guide Coming Soon!

Our new Voter Services chair, Kelly Pemberton, will soon be getting out our Voter Guide for the upcoming election. We only sent questions to the candidates in contested races.  So the Voter Guide will include responses from candidates for the 7th Senatorial District and the 17th and 18th House Districts.

Our questions included:

  1. How do you propose the funds from [Race to the Top] be allocated?
  2. What are the implications of [the delay to the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act], and how do you plan to address these in office?
  3. Should the Superintendent [of schools] be elected or appointed, and why?
  4. What actions do you plan on taking as an elected official concerning mountaintop removal mining?
  5. What are your plans to address the unemployment problem in Tennessee now that the federal stimulus money for [The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009] has ended?

Look for it on our website soon!

 Save the Date: Holiday Gathering


Saturday, December 12, 2:00-4:00 pm

Crescent Bend, the Armstrong Lockett House, Kingston Pike

Free tours of the historic mansion

Everyone bring your favorite holiday appetizer or dessert to share!


What You Can Learn at Fall Conference

Civility, Fracking & Open/Closed Primaries

Plan now to attend the LWV Tennessee Fall Conference on Saturday and Sunday, November 6 and 7.  The meeting is being held at the Baymont Inn and Suites in Cookeville.

The conference opens on Saturday at 1:00 CST.  Saturday sessions are:
  • Fracking:  the latest environmental assault
  • Primary elections: open or closed?
  • What's a survey monkey anyway?  Electronic aids for efficient management
  • Debates and forums:  lessons learned
On Sunday:
  • Roundtable discussions on building membership, fundraising, public relations, and action
  • Legislative outlook and potential bill sponsorship
  • Civility and public discourse
The conference will adjourn at 11:45 CST.

Contact July Poulson, LWVTN Treasurer to register.  Conference fees:  $20 for both days; $15 for one day.

October Meeting on the Ten-Year Plan 

Ten Year Plan MeetingDuring our October member meeting, we had the opportunity to hear from guest speaker Stephanie Matheny, a representative from the Citizens for the Ten-Year Plan.  After providing a brief background on the plan, Stephanie updated members on the progress that Knoxville and Knox County have made over the last five years.  Citing encouraging statistics, she spoke of the plan's successes and also possible upcoming challenges with the 2011 election. 


The most exciting recent success is the completion of Minvilla Manor, a permanent supportive housing project owned and operated by Volunteer Ministry.  With 57 units, Minvilla Manor will house those that are classified as "chronically homeless." Volunteer Ministry is holding a grand opening celebration from 5:30-7:30 on Thursday, October 28 and tickets are a $50 donation to VMC.  Contact the Ministry at 865-524-3926 or to secure tickets to the event.


Another Successful Training as Observer Corps Continues to Grow


This October saw the best Observer Corps training ever!  According to our Observer Corps Chair, Barbara Nicodemus, we now have 25 members on our Observer Corps, with 20 observers signed up to attend specific public meetings.  The Corps is well on its way toward its goal of 30 active observers! 

Teams are developing around specific meetings, in hopes that Observers who cover the same meetings can work together to do the job as best as they can. 

To date, at least 80 reports have been vetted and are available on the League website at  The Board of Directors has recently approved a process through which Observers can identify and advance issues of concern to the Board for League action.


If you have any questions about getting involved with Observer Corps, contact Barbara Nicodemus at  We appreciate each and every one of our Observers and their efforts.


New Members Orientation

All new members are invited to a small group orientation to the League at the home of Nancy Stewart on Tuesday, November 9th.   The League has a proud culture of learning and democratic participation, and a "way of doing things" to make sure we sustain our nonpartisan credibility.  We want all new members to learn more about the League's great grassroots history, and how we organize to learn together, make decisions, take action, and do our part to ensure responsive, accountable local government. 


You'll also get to meet some of our board members and ask all the questions you like.  We'll start with appetizers at 5:30, then start the program at 6:00-7:00 p.m.  Nancy's home is located off the Papermill exit of I-40 toward Weisgarber. 6611 Ridgerock Lane, 37909. For detailed directions, email Jamey at or call 548-0818.

Great Turnout for Fall Gathering and League Happy Hour

There was plenty of food, wine, and great conversation at this year's annual Fall Gathering, which was once again hosted by Lucy Gibson in her

Ladies at Fall Gathering
League members enjoy Fall Gathering

home. Lots of our League members attended, many bringing fresh faces with them. Everyone was introduced to our new Voter Services Chair, Kelly Pemberton. We had several people submit volunteer sign-up sheets, letting us know how they'd like to be involved with the League.


Happy Hour.  On October 13, we had our second happy hour at the Crown and Goose in the Old City. We had a wonderful turnout. Many elected officials were in attendance, including County Commissioners and City Council members. A wonderful time was had by all! 


Thank you to those members who were able to attend, and especially those who brought a guest with them.

What's Your League Story?

The League of Women Voters is now 90 years old.  Wow!  We've done a lot, but we've got a lot more to do.  We want to be sure we have women to carry on the work that was begun 90 years ago.  One of the best ways to do that is to share our stories about why we joined the League, the fun we've had, the good we've done, and what membership has meant to each of us personally. 

Each of us can do that through the LWV Storybank.  The Storybank is a collection of League stories being compiled and showcased as part of the Membership Recruitment Initiative.  Your personal stories will be the best testament to other women (and men, too) who care about our work as advocates and educators to safeguard democracy for civic improvement.


If you can access the internet, you can post your story through the LWV Storybank online form (  Write about why you joined or what you've learned or why you love the League.  They will send your story to us at the Knoxville/Knox County League.  We'll also be looking for ways in the coming months to collect your stories.  Let's collect our history...your stories!

Member News

Longtime member Vivian Leitner passed away on September 7, survived by her husband Walter, also a League member. The family, according to her wishes, planned no Memorial Service but many traveled here from New Jersey, Ireland and elsewhere in her honor. 


You may not have known either of them since their hearing difficulties made it difficult for them to participate at meetings, but Vivian and Walter have supported the Knox and Tennessee Leagues financially and have been strong supporters of all our efforts. 

-- Bee DeSelm

Upcoming Events
  • LWVKKC Board meeting, Tuesday, October 26, Cafe 4
  • LWV State Convention, November 6-7 (more info coming soon!)
  • Superintendent McIntyre Speaks at Member Meeting on Race to the Top
  • (Special Date - Monday, November 8
  • Holiday Gathering, December 12, Crescent Bend House
Did You Know?
Each Voter snail mailed to a member costs $1.34 + labor.  You can stretch your membership dollar by receiving the Voter by email.  If you agree to receive the Voter by email, contact any board member.  But if that would stop your Voter perusal, don't do it! 
Contact Info
League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County
P.O. Box 31825
Knoxville, TN 37930-1825