The new ABLWV newsletter: Action alerts, events, more

The Asheville-Buncombe League of Women Voters recently started publishing an email newsletter. Here’s some of the text and info from the inaugural (June) edition:

Lots of exciting news!
Lots of exciting advocacy and volunteer opportunities below. Take a look, then share this email with your friends who might be interested in taking action or getting involved! Summer has certainly started off with a bang! The National League of Women Voters convention in DC this month kicked off with a shout-out to the League of Women Voters of Asheville-Buncombe County, giving us kudos for our media strategy highlighting “the new generation” of leadership within our local League. We even scored a photo opportunity with Trevor Potter, former FEC Chair and the lawyer behind Stephen Colbert’s SuperPAC! Read all about it on our new blog!

http://ablwv.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/june-2012-highlights/?utm_source=League+of+Women+Voters+of+Asheville-Buncombe+County&utm_campaign=e70d178f1f-June_20126_21_2012&utm_medium=email

Action Alerts!

Did you know that the League of Women Voters is part of the North Carolina Conservation Network? The North Carolina Conservation Network is made up of over 100 organizations and over 11,000 concerned citizens from across the state, and just so happens to feature some incredibly convenient online action alerts about two very important issues facing the state right now: Fracking and Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds!

1) Fracking
As many of you already know, the League has a strong commitment to environmental protection and pollution control. In 2010, delegates to the national League of Women Voters convention agreed that “fracking,” where high pressure water is pumped underground to fracture geologic formations in order to release natural gas, poses a threat to drinking water and other water resources. State Leagues across the country have taken the lead in working to block these mining processes that release contaminated and polluted waters, and now it’s time for us to do our part here in North Carolina! Just click here to tell Governor Perdue to veto the fracking bill, NC Senate Bill 820. https://secure3.convio.net/nccn/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=779&utm_source=League+of+Women+Voters+of+Asheville-Buncombe+County&utm_campaign=e70d178f1f-June_20126_21_2012&utm_medium=email

2) Tell state legislators to release the HAVA funds
In 2002, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). HAVA money allows the State Board of Elections (NC has $4 million sitting unused in a bank account) to grant funds to counties to improve local election systems. These grants provide the funds for new early voting sites, training of poll workers, and the buying and maintenance of new voting equipment. HAVA guidelines simply require states to maintain a core election budget of no less than their 2000 level ($3.46 million/year for NC). But the NC legislature budgeted $660,000 below that level, so these HAVA funds are sitting in a bank account unused! County Board of Elections members across the state, including Buncombe County’s own Jones Byrd, have urged state legislators to find a way to release these much-needed funds. Join these Board of Elections officials and tell your state legislators you want the NC General Assembly to release the HAVA funds and run a clean, fair, and transparent election process. Just click here to take action! https://secure3.convio.net/nccn/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=743&utm_source=League+of+Women+Voters+of+Asheville-Buncombe+County&utm_campaign=e70d178f1f-June_20126_21_2012&utm_medium=email

Volunteers Needed!

As you might have noticed, we’re looking forward to an especially active year! We still need more volunteers to help us accomplish some of our exciting goals. We’re currently looking for volunteers to help out in two very important areas.

1) Voter Services Committee
We are looking for a few dedicated volunteers with some free time on their hands between now and Novemeber! Volunteers would help produce and distribute our candidate questionaire and voter guide, organize candidate forums, and help coordinate our voter registration efforts. If you have a few hours a month available between now and November, please send an email to president@ablwv.org to get involved!

2) Observer Corps: Board of Education!
Though local media doesn’t always cover Buncombe County Board of Education Meetings, you might have seen local radio host Pete Kaliner’s recent blog post about the most recent Buncombe County Board of Education meeting. If you’re interested in helping the League keep an eye on local government, now is the time to join our Observer Corps! We’re especially looking for volunteers who could observe Board of Education meetings, which are scheduled for the first Thursday of each month, beginning around 6:30pm. Since the Board of Education does not meet in July, the next meeting will be August 2nd, 2012. Will you sign up to attend as a League observer? To get involved, just send us an email. We’ll send you more information about what being a League Observer entails!

Until next month,

Karen Oelschlaeger
President, League of Women Voters of Asheville-Buncombe County

Upcoming Events

6/28-7/14
Early Voting Period for 2nd Primary Election
Click here for more information.

7/14
League of Women Voters of Asheville-Buncombe County Board Planning Retreat, 9am-2pm.
The newly-elected board will meet to plan programs and activities for the upcoming year.
Email league@ablwv.org if you would like to offer your planning input or suggestions!

7/17
2nd Primary Election, 6:30am-7:30pm, ALL Buncombe County precincts.
Click here for more information, including sample ballots, candidate biographies, and more!

10/6
Blue Ridge Pride!
The League will have a booth setup at Blue Ridge Pride offering voter registration, election information, voter guides, information about the League’s equality position, and more!
Please email president@ablwv.org to volunteer for a shift at our booth!


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0 thoughts on “The new ABLWV newsletter: Action alerts, events, more

  1. D. Dial

    Next School board meeting is this Friday, June 29 at 3pm (to pass interim operating budget)

    Here’s a follow up on doings at the School Board.

    Article by Pete Kaliner, award-winning radio journalist and former reporter for News 14 Carolina:
    School Board Members To Get Approval To Ask Questions

    So, here’s an interesting little item from the last Buncombe County School Board meeting…

    The Board voted 5-1 to require any request for information by a board member be approved by the Chairman of the Board, rather than the Superintendent.
    Board member Pat Bryant said it’s inappropriate for him or his colleagues to have staff provide information to them without approval from the Chairman. He said the staff doesn’t work for individual board members.

    Frankly, either approach is ridiculous. If a board member wants information, he or she is perfectly allowed to make that request.

    In other districts, board members are free to speak with staff and get answers to questions.

    In other districts, staff provides all information to all board members.

    Apparently, board member Lisa Baldwin asks a lot of questions.

    Her colleagues say she’s micromanaging the professional school system administrators.
    This week, Baldwin sought funding information. Staffers say it took about 20 hours of total time to compile the data on the day of the board meeting.

    Also, the staff did not like the way Baldwin asked for that information, either, because Baldwin suggested she’d go to the NC Department of Public Instruction if she didn’t get the information. Her colleagues on the Board and the district administrators say that was a threat.

    Now, Baldwin needs to give staff time to compile data, of course. But preventing board members from speaking with staff to get information short-circuits the very role of a school board member.

    Just because it takes time to compile data doesn’t mean the board member needs to get approval from Chairman.

    Staff will always bristle at oversight that questions their proposals and expertise. But that’s the role of all elected bodies. The politicians are accountable to the voters, and the staffers are accountable to the politicians.

    Baldwin suggested the Board schedule informational work sessions before the meetings. This would be a good idea, lest the meetings get bogged down in incessant questioning of staff by the board.

    During the meeting, Supt. Tony Baldwin (no relation to Lisa Baldwin) said board member Lisa Baldwin is disrespectful to his staff. [It is disrespectful to ask questions? And, yes, my mother did teach me to say please and thank you -LB]

    Listen to the audio beginning here (Tracks 41 – 44).
    So from now on…
    A board member wants to find out how many kids are on Free/Reduced Lunch? Gotta’ go through the Chairman.

    Wondering if Buncombe County is paying for drop-out prevention programs? Make sure the Chairman gives his blessing, or you won’t be allowed to ask.

    Curious about the salaries of the top staff? Tough! Get it approved by the Chairman.

    Come to think of it, I made a request for this exact information and received it. I didn’t go through the Chairman. I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

    Perhaps school board members could provide better oversight of the district by filing FOIAs instead of getting elected.

    I’m sure this makes perfect sense somewhere.

    Read more: http://www.wwnc.com/pages/petekaliner.html?article=10208366#article_comments#ixzz1yTcAXGJ6
    You Can Make a Difference
    Next Board meetings – all open to the public:
    Friday, June 29 at 3pm (to pass interim operating budget)
    Thursday, Aug. 2 at 6:30pm (regular montly meeting)
    All meetings are held at 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.and
    are open to the public.

    Board Refuses to Hold Work Sessions
    Your Board refuses to hold regular monthly work sessions to discuss priorities and
    important issues. I have made numerous requests and motions to institute these pro-active work sessions to no avail. Write or call your school board members to voice your concern.

    Please sign up at the Aug. 2nd meeting when you arrive if you would like to express your
    school system concerns. Public comment is limited to 3 minutes per person.
    Public comment does occur before the Board votes on issues and will be considered in
    decision-making.

  2. D. Dial

    Here are links to video of last evenings School Board Meeting, where the interim budget was passed and a troubling new “gatekeeper” policy was passed. Ms. Baldwin endured some appalling bullying at this meeting and is to be commended for maintaining her composure.

    Audio is not the best, use earphones on your computer to get better audio.

    Part one http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/23650281

    The fireworks began about 30 minutes into part two.
    Buncombe County School Board meeting Budget meeting. Part two http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/23650524

    Please feel free to forward or use for the betterment of the community.

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