Minutes April 5, 2017

In Attendance: Martha Banks, Carolyn Bayne, Nancy Cahoon, Karla Coe, Joan Davis, Mary Flynn, Mary Genco, Kate Larson, Gwen Mogenson, Mary Ellen Moore, Laura Mosher, Sue Okie, Enid Oresman, Clara Sartori, Susan Spain, Jean Sweeney

Call to order: Co-President, Gwen Mogenson called the meeting to order at 9:42 am. Note: We were locked out of The Depot so our meeting was held across the street at Subway.

Guest Speaker: Gwen welcomed Jane Eyes of Westport, LWVCT Advocacy Director, to lead a review and discussion of the National Public Vote – NPV initiative (an alternative to the Electoral College for Presidential Elections).

Connecticut House Bill #5434 has been voted out of committee.  It urges CT to sign on to the National Vote Compact.  Both the National and State LWVs have positions supporting the adoption of the National Public Vote and Jane will explain the history and rationale behind the League’s support of this idea. No local league action is being asked for at this time. Members should respond according to their personal preferences. If you are interested in this issue, there is a rally in support of the measure on the Green in New Haven, this Saturday April 8, 3:00-5:00 pm. Read more on the LWV website:

http://www.lwvct.org/NPV.htmlHistorynews source opinions or visit the National Public Vote website. Ms. Eyes encouraged members to write to your State Senator to make your opinion known. Ms. Eyes distributed a hand-out listing ‘10 Reasons to Support the Popular Vote’.

Approval of March 1st meeting minutes: Gwen thanked Laurie Williamson for taking the minutes for the March meeting. Members approved the minutes.

Treasurer’s Report: Kate Larson reported and distributed the attached Financial Statement. Kate announced there are two new pre-paid members.

Membership: In Molly Myers absence, Gwen Mogenson reported current membership at 119 including two 50-yr life members, Katharine Baker and Ursula Forman. Note: this number includes 18 new members. Gwen welcomed new members, Tiffany O’Connor and Debra Ven.

Observer Corps Light

Clara Sartori expressed thanks to our March meeting Guest Speakers, Darien Registrars of Voters John Visi (R) and Susan Gray (D), who helped us review the State LWV position on Election Laws and for providing new information about voter registration issues. Thanks to our members for a robust discussion. Clara filed the required information forms and our recommended changes with the State League.

Town Spelling Bee: Sunday March 5th

Gwen congratulated our LWV team, Joyce Critelli, Sunil Saksena and Laurie Williamson for a job well done! 

Engage With Your Government: A Nonpartisan Letter Writing Campaign

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thanks to Clara Sartori for coordinating this first time event with the Darien Library to co-sponsor an elected official outreach effort.  100 postcards were crafted expressing voter concerns to various levels of government. The Library provided non-branded postcards and the LWV funded the postage. Although only two of our LWV members participated, Clara urged members to stay involved.

Government Guide: Gwen expressed thanks to Nina Miller and Deepika Saksena for producing this year’s Government Guide in time for the letter writing campaign.  This comprehensive contact guide to local, state and national officials is a time consuming and detailed project but importantly provides a one stop resource for contacting your government officials.  It will be mailed to members, posted on our website, and thanks to Enid Oresman, made publicly available at various town sites.

Town Officials Event: April 5th (tonight), at the Darien Library is free and open to the Public.

There will be prepared remarks by heads of major town boards and RTM, followed by open Q&A. Participants include:

    • First Selectman, Jayme Stevenson
    • Board of Education Chair, Michael Harman
    • Board of Finance Chair, Jon Zagrodzky
    • Planning and Zoning Chair, John Sini
    • RTM Moderator, Seth Morton

This program will be taped and rebroadcast by Channel 79.

Come and bring a friend to learn about the major issues facing our town.

Spring Speaker Program:

Date TBD (week of May 22nd)

Karla Coe announced that she is still considering Clyde White of ‘No Labels’ as a potential speaker. ‘No Labels’ is a non-partisan centrist political organization formed in 2010 in response to the increasing polarization of our two main political parties. There is a 30 day advance meeting notification deadline re: 2017-18 budget and board of directors slate. 

LWV Volunteer of the Year: Gwen announced that Karla Coe has been selected to represent the Darien LWV as Volunteer of the Year. She will be honored at the annual Community Fund Volunteer Recognition luncheon at the DCA on Tuesday, May 23rd. Congratulations Karla!

2017-18 Board Recruitment:

Sue Okie distributed the list of Board of Directors for 2017– 2018 to date and announced that there are still some Board positions open. There was a proposal to add a social media board position (any volunteers?) Contact Sue Okie.

Food for Thought:

Informal meetings are held the third Thursday of each month. Karla Coe gave a recap of the March discussion. The next FFT is: Thursday, April 20th, 12:30 – 2:00 pm, hosted by Ann Ferris, 30 Hale Lane. Come join a freewheeling discussion of a topical news subject. The topic is not announced in advance, so no preparation is required.

Other Information (the 411):

Bottle Bill – Carolyn Bayne discussed the Bottle Bill currently being proposed in the Senate – bottle deposit to be changed from 5 to 10 cents. Recycling rates are not keeping up – the public is confused about single streaming. The public is urged to go to the www.cga.ct.gov and review SB 996 and HB 5618 for more information.

Call to Action: See the LWVCT website page

The State League currently has two priorities:

  • NPV (National Public Vote) an alternative to the Electoral College. Click further down on the left menu to review the LWVCT position and previous action on the NPV proposal which the league fully supports.
  • Citizens Election Program (CEProud) a three year commitment, 2016-19, to raise awareness and support of Connecticut’s program for publicly financed campaigns.
  • Interested in other issues? Click the Take Action page to sign up as a 10 Minute Advocate in many areas of interest.

Adjournment: All present voted to adjourn at 10:50 am – thanks were expressed to Subway for the meeting space, coffee and for the freshly baked cookies distributed at the end of the meeting!

Respectfully Submitted,

Susan Spain, Co-Secretary