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Knox Voter
Citizen EngagementDecember 2010
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In This Issue
-From the President
-Tennessee Treasures...
-State Legislative Breakfast
-Local Government 101
-Race Against Racism
-League Speaks on Hillside Protection Plan
-Creating Solutions Forum
-LWVTN 2010 Fall Conference
-League to Partner in Earth Fest

What's Your League Story?
 
The League is building the
 LWV Storybank.  Go to the online form (www.lwv.org/Storybank) and share 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. 

LWVKKC Board of Directors 
Officers

President:
Jamey Dobbs

1st Vice-president:
Laura Cole

2nd Vice-president: Barabara Nicodemus

Secretary/Treasurer:
Mary Headrick


Directors

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

Our Special Thanks to These Donors:

-Jane Armstrong
-Judy Barnette
-Robin Brown
-Joe Carson
-Laura Cole
-Lisa Carroll
-Marguerite Carini
-Mildred Cunningham
-Patricia Carter
-Bee DeSelm
-Carolyn Dougall
-Mary English
-Ina Sue Groves
-Leslie Gengozian
-Mary Headrick
-Dr. Joe Johnson
-Jane Lester
-Ann & Jim Lamb
-Nancy Lofaro
-Walter Leitner
-Doris Martinson
-Lisa Mixon
-Barbara Nicodemus
-Mary Nellis
-Joan Pierce
-Judy Poulson
-LeeAnn Rogers
-Carolyn Schweinn
-Mary Sullivan
-Georgiana Vines
-Emily Woodle

Quick Links
 
 

Comments or suggestions?
 Contact the editor at cadupes@gmail.com
JameyFrom the President
 

As we come to the end of 2010, it's time to celebrate the friendship and camaraderie of the League of Women Voters members, and the support of 177 members who share a passion for a strong civic life in Knoxville.  I hope you'll find the League holiday party at Armstrong Lockett House this Sunday, Dec. 12, one of the best ever.  We're continuing to grow and find wonderfully gifted people who share our passion and sense of possibility, and our expectations for a long-term campaign of change.   I was really pleased with the enthusiasm and talent of our new members attending the League Orientation last month.   Keep us moving forward and send your year-end tax-deductible donation to the Education Fund!  Thank you all, and Cheers!


  

-- Jamey Dobbs, President  jameydobbs@yahoo.com  548-0818


 

Tennessee Treasures, East TN Pearls, Knoxville Keepsakes and the Roll of Beloved Women

 By Susanne Dupes


As part of our Women's History Month fundraising event, the League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County is offering a number of opportunities to honor a special woman in your life on March 4.  Three of those are the sponsorship levels and corresponding playbill ads for Petticoats and Politics, as follows: 

  • $100     Knoxville Keepsake:  1/4 page playbill ad
  • $250     East Tennessee Pearl: 1/2 page playbill ad
  • $500     Tennessee Treasure:  Full page playbill ad

In addition, on March 4, the League will unveil the Roll of Beloved Women.  For $50, anyone can include the name of their mother, daughter, wife, sister, or dearest female friend on the Roll.   At a minimum, the Roll will be published in the playbill and on the League website.  We are exploring other ways to publish the Roll.


Watch for information in early January about how you can purchase an ad or secure a place on the Roll of Beloved Women.


The funds raised will support our work to encourage informed,active participation by citizens in their government and also to increase the number of women who seek public office.
 



 
 jamie Save the staceyDate:  State Legislative Breakfast

On February 12, the League will be hosting a breakfast with

Jamie Woodson and Stacey Campfield

at Blount Mansion from 10-11.

Don't miss out!


 
Daniel Sanders

Local Government 101:  What's So Important About BZA?
By Laura Cole

Why should you care about the decisions made by the Knox County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA)? According to Daniel Sanders, attorney in the Knox Law Director's Office and speaker at our January membership meeting, land use decisions have the greatest impact on citizens of Knoxville and Knox County.  Land use decisions impact the quality of our lives by defining the places where we live, work, and play.  If BZA fails to enforce our local ordinances, we all fail.  But recent cooperation between the Law Director's Office and BZA are improving the way Knox County develops. 

Join us on Tuesday, January 18, to learn more about land use and development decisions and  how profoundly the BZA appeals process impacts your environment. Our program will be from 12:00-1:00 pm with a brown bag lunch at 11:30. We'll be meeting at the Beck Cultural Center (1927 Dandridge Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37915).


 

"Fracking:" A New Challenge

By Mary Headrick


Over 100,000 acres of land have recently and quietly been leased in preparation for TN to become another natural gas drilling boom state.  TN is attractive because it has no regulations in place for this new and controversial mining practice: fracking.

 

Fracking is the process of breaking shale seams (e.g., Chattanooga Shale of E. TN) to cause small pockets of natural gas release, called unconventional gas.  Miners drill a deep vertical well (shallow or up to 5,000 ft.) with several deep and long horizontal wells (all ~1,000 ft or more) and crack or shatter the seam by creating high pressure with water or gas. 

 

The process can cause surface or groundwater contamination or methane intrusion into drinking wateFrackingr wells, and can even result in explosions in homes.  It can cause surface water spills of well chemicals or illnesses due to inhaling vapors from wells and compressor stations.  Oil and gas companies can inject many gallons of liquids with toxic chemicals into the ground without even informing the state or the public what was injected. With such limited or no regulations, how can those living in close proximity test for chemicals to prove the mining caused a contamination? No pre-testing is required.  

 

In 2005, Congress and President Bush enacted an exemption to the Clean Water Act for oil & gas mining.  Therefore, protections, if implemented, must occur at the state or local level. Mark Quarles, a geologist, spoke to the LWVTN at the Fall Conference to introduce the subject to attendees.  Subsequent to that, LWV members attended the Oil & Gas Board meeting, where, probably due to their attendance, the proposed rules, which did not address fracking, were postponed, allowing for more feedback.  The next meeting of the Oil & Gas Board occurs in January.  LWVTN is investigating a coalition of stakeholder groups to address proposed rules and, particularly, water safety.    Contact any board member if you want more information or wish to be actively involved.


 
 League to Participate in Race Against Racism
By Parci Gibson

YWCA's Race Against Racism is January 15, 2011.  To celebrate Martin Luther King Day, the Knoxville/Knox County League of Women Voters is forming a team for the 5K run/1-mile fun walk to help the YWCA raise awareness about the racism that still exists in our communities.  Each year hundreds of people participate in the 5K run/1-mile walk to support the cause of eliminating racism.  The Race Against Racism helps to bring the issue of racism to the forefront and unites people to demonstrate their commitment to eradicating racism in any form.  Proceeds from the event are used to support local programs offered by the YWCA.


Pre-race entertainment and registration is from 11:30am-12:45pm, and the event begins at 1:00 p.m. at the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Center, located at 124 S. Cruze St. in Knoxville, TN. The cost for the event is $15 per team member if we can form a team of five or more folks. All LWV members and friends are encouraged to participate.  This is a really fun event and attracts folks of all fitness levels.  This is a great way to celebrate all that Dr. Martin Luther King has done to advance civil rights in our great nation!  So, think about coming out for a fun afternoon, getting to know some of your LWV members and helping promote a great cause.  If you are interested in participating as part of the LWV team, please contact Parci Gibson by December 31.  Please suggest a fun name for our team when you contact her! 


 

League Speaks on Hillside Protection Plan, MPC Passes!

By Jamey Dobbs


I attended this week's MPC meeting on Dec. 9 on behalf of our League to advocate for protecting thousands of Knox County citizens and their property from irresponsible development on steep hillsides and ridge tops.


With our League consensus position behind me, I spoke in support of the Hillside and Slope Protection Plan, joining with other speakers from the Sierra Club and Scenic Knoxville, and Tony Norman and Joe Hultquist from the Hillside and Ridge Top Task Force (who developed the plan over 2+ years).  There was significant opposition,  and instances of "fact confusion"  were firmly cleared up by MPC staff.


In the end, MPC voted to pass it to County Commission for adoption.  While it's not perfect,  we hope to eventually see long-term protection put in place that will preserve water, property values, the environment and the hillside beauty that attracts so many of us to East Tennessee to live and work.   If you are interested in learning about this issue or working with us, contact Parci Gibson, Land Use Chair at parcig@hotmail.com  Also, see our Observer Corps notes online.


 
Barbara

Observer Corps: A Year in Review

By Barbara Nicodemus, LWVKKC Observer Corps Chair


With almost 100 Observer Reports posted on our website, 24 Observer Corps members and 18 Active Observers, we can successfully toot our horn on the success of reviving the League's Observer Corps.  It has truly been a year of growth and visibility.  We are observing 9 to 10 public meetings per month with 6 to 7 reports posted.  We continue to observe key public meetings for City Council, County Commission, Boards of Zoning Appeals, Metropolitan Planning Commission, Board of Education and Farragut Mayor and Aldermen.  Other meetings of interest observed this year were meetings regarding the Ten-Year Plan, The Development Corporation of Knox County and Ridge, Slope and Hillside Development.


Not only has it been a year of visibility and presence among our decision makers, it has been a year of action.  Through the recommendations of our observers, the League has taken action on several relevant issues related to local positions and programs.  Yes, our voice is being heard in public forums, at City Council, County Commission and Metropolitan Planning Commission meetings.  This year, we have expressed our positions supporting the Ridge, Slope & Hillside Development Plan and Permanent Supportive Housing for the Homeless.  When an ordinance was introduced at City Council to reduce the frontage requirement for electronic digital signs, we were there voicing our opposition.  We met individually with County Commission Chairman Mike Hammond and City of Knoxville Vice Mayor Bob Becker to help our observer teams better understand Commission's and Council's rules and process.  WE ARE Making a Difference.


Of course, none of this success would happen without our Observers.  I appreciate each and everyone for their interest, contribution and dedication to making Observer Corps work. Thank you: Laura, Maggie, Elaine, Judy, Randy, Parci, Cynthia, Rachel, Steve, Kelly, Tammy, Stephanie, Tiffany, Rikki, Annette, Mary and the two Susannes.


Our Observer Corps Committee and some of our Observers met in August to discuss and assess our progress, and to set some goals for 2010/11. 

We have a goal of increasing the number of Observers to 30 by the end of 2011, giving us the capacity to observe twice as many meetings.


We are actively looking for Observers to attend meetings for City and County Redistricting, The Knox County Retirement and Pension Board and The Development Corporation of Knox County Boards.  We can use additional Observers for all our public meetings but also open to adding any public meeting of interest.


Check us out on our website, www.lwvknoxville.org.  If you are interested in joining our team or would like to attend a meeting of interest with one of our Observers to see what it's all about, just drop me an email at barbaranicodemus@gmail.com or give me a call at 865 688-4694.


 

League Involved in "Creating Solutions" Forum

 By Kelly Pemberton

On November 16, the League cosponsored an event called "Creating Solutions," held by the East Tennessee Commission for Children and Youth.  It was a nonpartisan forum and state budget forecast.  Over 100 people came to the Boys and Girls Club to participate in the forum.


After breakfast and networking, the Forum began at 10:00 with  Dr. Donald J. Bruce from the D
creating solutionsepartment of Economics at the University of Tennessee, who gave a thorough presentation on Tennessee's economic standings and forecast.  After Dr. Bruce's informative session, we heard from six different speakers, each representing a different organization. Our state lobbyist, Stewart Clifton, represented TN Conservation Voters. The other speakers included Fred Fields from AARP, Ben Harrington from the Mental Health Associate of East Tennessee, Inc., Carol K. Schmoock representing Tennessee Education Association, Carol Westlake from the Tennessee Disability Coalition and Linda O'Neal representing the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. 

 

With such a varied panel, many different demographics were represented at the forum.  Each speaker from each organization gave their unique perspectives on how the economy and state budget affects their cause.  They also identified obstacles and challenges their organizations must confront in the future to achieve their goals.  Through events such as these, the League hopes to increase awareness through education of issues facing Knoxville/Knox County.  


 
League of Women of Tennessee 2010 Fall Conference
By Rynn Dupes

This year our state League held their 2010 fall conference in Cookeville on November 6 and 7. Speakers during the conference addressed many of the issues our Leagues are interested in taking action on.


The first speaker, Mark Quarles, addressed the previously mentioned fracking, an emerging and serious environmental threat. He was followed by Dr. Lori Maxwell, a local professor at Tennessee Tech. She addressed an important issue that arose during the previous election: open vs. closed primaries. We then learned about SurveyMonkey, a tool that we are implementing in our own league, from Hendersonville league President Katrina Gay.  The first day ended with a few words from Judy Davis, one of our national board members, on lessons learned from forums during this past election season.


Day two consisted of roundtables for attendees to discuss fundraising, membership, action, and public relations. Those were followed by a presentation by League lobbyist Stewart Clifton, who joined us to speak on the outlook after the last election, and what the league could expect. Finally, Memphis league President Peg Watkins gave an overview of civility in public discourse.


All of these topics are ones in which our local league has shown interest. This conference gave us a great chance not only to learn about important topics from speakers, but to share what we have learned with one another.



 
League to Partner in Earth Fest

Our League has decided to partner in the development of this coming year's Earth Fest. Are you interested in "green" issues? Would you like to be involved in planning the event? Let us know if we can count on your time and/or ideas.


 

CALENDAR of Meetings and Events

 

2010

Dec. 12:  Holiday Gathering

 

2011

Jan. 15:  Race Against Racism with YWCA. Join the LWVKKC running/walking teams

Jan. 18:  Membership Education Workshop. Daniel Sanders, Knox County Attorney. New Tools to Protect Knox County Landscape

Jan. 25:  Board Meeting

Feb. 12: Breakfast With the League. Meet state Senators and hear status of legislation at state level.

Feb. 19:  Saturday Membership Education Workshop. Redistricting 101

Feb. 22:  Board Meeting

Mar. 4:  Women's History Month League Fundraiser. Petticoats and Politics, Kate Campbell Stevenson's One-Woman Show

Mar. 13-19: SUNSHINE WEEK

Mar. 15:  Membership Meeting. Open Discussion to Set League Priorities

Mar. 22:  Board Meeting

Apr. 19:  Membership Meeting. Hot Topic suggested by members

Apr. 26:  Board Meeting

May 17 or 19:  Annual Membership Meeting

May 24:  Board Meeting

June 18:  LWVUS Council. National Council - all members invited

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
Website:  lwvknoxville.org