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Knox Voter
Citizen EngagementApril 2011
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In This Issue
-From the President
-Gasland Meeting
-Annual Business Meeting
-Observer Report
-Come to the State Convention
-Items to Review
-Board Nominations
-Nominating Committee Nominations
-Proposed Membership Priorities
-Proposed Budget
-Donate to the Ed Fund

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: Barbara Nicodemus

Secretary/Treasurer:
Mary Headrick


Directors

Robin Brown
Lisa Carroll
Rynn Dupes
Susanne Dupes
Kelly Pemberton
Lee Ann Rodgers
Casey Self

Welcome New Members!
Sandra Baggett
Christa Cuccaro
Kristi Daniels
Denae Darcy
Detlef Matt
Vickie Wheeler

Quick Links
 
 

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

Jamey 2122100

As usual, it's been a lively month for the League!   Our members and our organization are a real treasure in this community, and it shows up in so many ways.  For example, many of you participated in the E.T. Quality Growth conference March 29-30, as volunteers and audience members sharing your enthusiasm for enlightened development of all kinds.  Your gifts of time were truly appreciated.
 
That same week, I was invited to Washington at the invitation of the Knox Health Department to participate in training to become a better advocate with our members of Congress.  The Health Department's Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities program aims to prevent childhood obesity and build healthier communities, and advocacy is one of the key strategies.  The League can be valuable in this struggle, and I'll be sharing lessons learned with you in the coming year.  We can all be proud of our association with the Health Department and its dedication to better access to healthy food and active living.
 
And thanks to a slanderous letter from an unknown writer to all our elected officials, we were given a wonderful opportunity to explain our League values and ways of operating. The letter deameaning the League's right to advocate has been a clear reminder of our crucial role in this town. 
We are a voice for evidence-based decisionmaking across a broad range of issues, from hillside protection to teacher retention. The League is also the only local civic organization dedicated to preserving election integrity and the democratic process. Our voice matters. I appreciate all of you who are writing letters and making calls to the Secretary of State and our local legislators, standing up for a responsible Election Commission process. 

 

Don't forget to review the nominations for the board and nominating committee, as well as a proposed budget and membership priorities for voting on at our annual business meeting in May. You'll find them at the end of this issue of the Knox Voter.

 

  

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


 

Gasland Meeting and Action on Fracking   

By Mary Headrick, Action Chair 

 

As we've shared before, the League will be screening the film Gasland on April 19. This is a documentary about an important environmental topic: fracking.

 

Fracking is the technique of pushing gas or water under high pressure underground into earth layers, such as the Chattanooga Shale, to induce cracks that allow molecules of natural gas to be harvested as an energy source.  LWVKKC, TN & US are asking the federal and state governments to implement regulations to protect water and the environment during this mining process.  Currently the Oil & Gas Industry is exempt from the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and CERCLA due to the "Halliburton/Cheney" loophole. 

 

On the evening of Thursday, April 29, TDEC (TN. Dept. of Environmental Conservation) will be holding a public meeting for comment on proposed regulations about gas and oil wells and production. LWVTN is participating with other groups concerned about preserving water and is supporting Bills to prohibit hydraulic fracturing for 24 months, time to allow TDEC and the Industry to agree on regulations for this type of natural gas extraction.  Currently, the Industry extracts in Tennessee using nitrogen gas, not high water volumes. 

 

The "hydraulic fracking" moratorium Bills are:

  • Senate Bill No. 1591 - to be amended in Senate Environment on Wed., April 13
  • House Bill No. 1853 - to be amended in House Conservation Subcommittee on Tuesday, April 12 

 

Please join in our effort to ensure only safe drilling and mining for natural gas in TN and call or email your senator and representatives.


 
  Are you ready for the
Annual Business Meeting?

Please join us on the evening of May 17th at the Beck Center
for dinner, League business,
and
a keynote address from Pat Pierce,
Tenn. Human Rights Commissioner and women's rights advocate,

on women in leadership
and Vision 20/20.

Make sure to read all of the material at the bottom of this issue, which we will vote on during the meeting! 

 

Observer Corps Quarterly ReportBarbara 

 By Barbara Nicodemus 

 

The Observer Corps has observed and posted reports for 29 meetings this quarter.  That was slightly off the mark from last quarter of 31 reports.   With improved weather, I hope our observers will step up the observing and reporting for next quarter.  Our presence is noticed by our decisionmakers.  We have been most consistent at City Council and County Commission.   Other meetings covered this quarter have been on Board of Ed., MPC, County BZA, Knox Ethics, Knox Pension Board, Redistricting, Hillside& Ridgetop Protection Plan and Ten Year Plan.

 

Observer Corps Quarterly Highlights 

We have also begun to observe redistricting planning meetings and have a small group of observers interested in following and reporting on this process to completion.  I feel the League is playing a very important role in encouraging the redistricting process to be open and the public to be involved.  

 

We have observed several meetings with agenda items on moving the Hillside & Ridgetop Protection Plan forward, including a County Commission workshop held on February 22.  At a special called Commission meeting on February 28, our President, Jamey Dobbs, read a statement of support for adopting the plan. Next County workshop is April 13 at 8am and City workshop is April 28 at 5pm.

 

Check out the new and improved links for Observer Corps on our website. Thanks to Laura Cole, you can access descriptions of and website links for the Commissions, Councils, Boards and Committees that are being observed.  You can access calendars and agendas via these links.  A new listing is included for Workshops & Special Topics.

 

Future Plans and Needs for the Corps

Recruitment, Recruitment, Recruitment:  We have around 15 active observers, with 20 listed on the roster.  We have a goal of recruiting at least 10 more observers by October and need this many to cover our identified priority meetings.  It has been suggested that the League observe and report on the County & City Retirement & Pension Boards since it was felt that pensions may become a hot topic in the near future.  We are actively looking for city and/or county retirees who may have a vested interest and would like to observe these Boards. 

 

If anyone is interested in becoming an observer, please contact me.  We are presently pairing interested members with seasoned observers to attend meetings to see if they would like to join our team. The next formal Observer training will be scheduled in October.

 

In July, we will have another Observer Corps get-together to discuss where we have been and where we want to go as an Observer team with a cookout social afterward at my home. 

 

For questions, contact me at barbaranicodemus@gmail.com. 


 

 Come to the LWVTN State Convention! 

April 30 - May 1

Cookeville, TN

 

 

 

All members are invited to take part in the League of Women Voter's biennial Convention.  Cookeville is the site of this year's Convention, building on that community's interest in starting a new League. 

 

Much like our Annual Meeting, the State League sets its direction with input from League members from across the state.  The speakers are great and you'll also have time to meet members like yourself, share notes and enjoy a nice dinner.  On the second day, we'll have a session with League lobbyist Stewart Clifton and the State Action Committee and hear the latest updates on state legislation.  Ending at noon allows everyone to be home at a reasonable hour.

 

See details and register at www.lwv-tn.org. Our League will pay the $25 registration fee for anyone who would like to attend.  Room sharing is encouraged and we can help with roommate coordination.  Contact Jamey Dobbs if interested at jameydobbs@yahoo.com.


 

Items to Review for Our

May Annual Business Meeting

 

The following articles are for member review prior to the annual business meeting in May. We will be voting on the new board, members of the nominating committee, what our priorities will be for the coming year, and the proposed budget.  

  • Board Nominations for 2011-2012 
  • Nominating Committee Nominations for 2012-2013   
  • Proposed Membership Study and Action Priorities for 2011-2012  
  • Proposed Budget for 2011-2012  

 

Board Nominations for 2011-2012

  

Officers:

President - Jamey Dobbs (2 years)

First Vice-president - Susanne Dupes (2 years)

Secretary - Lisa Bogaty (2 years)

Treasurer - To be named by board (2 years)

 

Directors:

Communications Director - Casey Self (2 years) 

Voter Editor - Rynn Dupes (2 years)

Special Events Coordinator - Lee Ann Rogers (2 years)

Membership Director - Tammy Somers (2 years)

Land Use Director - Rikki Hall (1 year)


 

Nominating Committee Nominations for 2012-2013

   

Non board member - Theresa Pepin  

Non board member - Lisa Carroll

Non board member - Emily Woodle  


 

Proposed Membership Study and Action Priorities for 2011-2012 

  
As an organization that is truly membership-based, we collect your suggestions for the upcoming League "program" -- meaning your suggestions for proposed studies and advocacy issues for the year.  The board has framed the suggestions into study proposals to be determined by members in the business portion of our annual meeting. Members will not only vote to agree on a list of topics, but also give suggestions to the board on scope of inquiry, timing, emphasis and ways to handle the study and/or action phases.  
 
Proposed Studies
 
1. Improving Voting Participation -- Summarize Tennessee voting laws, including the status of the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act.  Conduct research on voter participation in Knox County and Tennessee.  Gather and evaluate strategies for promoting higher voter participation rates among low-participation groups such as young people, women, and lower income citizens.  Develop recommendations for partnerships, programs, and incentives. 
 
2.  Impact of State Education Legislation on Knox County -- Study recently enacted education laws related to teachers and collective bargaining, teacher tenure, and the teaching of "alternatives" to evolution.  Assess how these bills will change conditions for Knox County teachers and our public school system.  Conduct interviews, collect data, and publish report. 
 
3.  Civic Education -- Civics is no longer required in school and adults know little about local government. Examine ways of increasing the numbers of informed, active citizens and higher rates of civic participation.  Pursue models of Citizen Academies in the US.  Gather information on status of civic education of students in Knox County and the Department of Education's civic education curriculum.  Develop recommendations and pilot curricula.
 
4.  Improving Education Achievement and Community Collaboration in Knox County -- Given the elevated importance of education to our future prosperity, what strategies are needed to help Knox County students and school staff reach improvement targets?  Examine progress toward Knox County Schools five-year strategic plan, and explore roles of past and potential community collaboration and volunteerism in supporting school improvement and student achievement.  [A committee could use the opportunity to develop a broad position on education in Knox County].
 
5. School Facility Investment and Criteria Study -- Two-thirds of every tax dollar is spent on public schools, yet there is no public involvement in setting priorities for how/where school facility dollars are spent.  Decisions produce controversy and community division.  No process exists to rank broad community preferences for location or spending priorities, community-centered or walkable, coordination with planned development, school size, multi-and shared-use, preserve or build new, or sustainable design.  Convene partnership to study best practices in school siting and work toward draft criteria to help citizens, elected officials, and communities prioritize decisions on school location, investment and design. 
 
6.  Impact of Election Commission law on election integrity in Knox County - Summarize state Election Commission law and member selection process in light of recent appointment of member with election law violations.  Evaluate impact of law, policy and practice on local election integrity.
 
Studies to Update Existing Positions


1. Expand Homeless Position --  Develop a policy statement on the broader issues of homelessness, beyond our current focus on the homeless mentally ill, to include homeless families.
 
2. Review Child Care position -- Study the status and adequacy of early childhood programs and child care to update our League's older child care position.


 

Proposed Budget for 2011-2012 

 

INCOME

Budget

Dues from 147 members @ 55

6,653.00

Contributions from individuals

1,500.00

Donations from corporations

2,000.00

Special Projects

6,674.00

From Ed Fund Reserves

2,160.00

Interest CDs

240.00

Endowments

0.00

Total Income

19,227.00



EXPENSES


Operating Costs

0.00

General Supplies

260.00

Annual Meeting

800.00

Meeting expense (see detail)

1,000.00

Special Projects

1,500.40

Finance Fees

61.00

Web Costs

500.00

Fundraising Events

4,000.00

BOARDS AND COMMITTEES


President

200.00

Board of Directors

100.00

Finance

100.00

Membership

800.00

Committee Work

0.00

Training

600.00

LWV FINANCIAL SUPPORT


National 147 @ 29.80

4,380.60

State 147@18.00

2,646.00

MEMBER COMMUNICATION


Voter

300.00

Postage

80.00

Yearbook

500.00

EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES


Printed Material

200.00

Candidate Guides/forum site rental

600.00

VOTER SERVICE


Position Support

0.00

Affiliate Dues

200.00

Action Expenses

200.00

Observer corps

200.00

Total Expenses

19,227.00

 



 
  Donate to the Ed Fund!

Want to make a donation to the League that is totally tax-deductible?   

 

We use the Ed Fund to help  

inform and educate our members and the public.  

 

 Make your checks out to LWVTN Ed Fund.


 

CALENDAR of Meetings and Events

 

2011

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

Apr. 26:  Board Meeting

May 17:  Annual Membership 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