© 1999 - 2005 League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham and
League of Women Voters of the United States

The Voter

January 2005

A Publication of the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham.
Re-formatted here for web publication with index and links added. Web Editor's navigational notes added in [bracketed italics].


Print the index

President's Message

The holidays are behind us (unless Groundhog Day is big in your family) and we have recovered from the Election Season. Now we move on to other League activities. Many members are currently interviewing local state legislators for the state League. This is to help the state advocacy committee in planning its work for the upcoming session. First-time interviewers often find the one-on-one experiences very interesting and informative.

The state League study of the Legislature is also in full swing. We will be presenting their initial work later in the spring, with an eye to taking consensus next fall. There is more information on this project elsewhere in this Voter.

I am gratified that so many new League members are getting involved, whether it is in Ginny Randolph's Voter Service committee, the Health Care study under Rebecca Stafford or the Legislative interviews. I hope some of the new and long-time members will want to serve on this board. As I've said many times, we are limited in what we can do only by our numbers.

Sarah McDonald

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

January LWVGB Meeting
Environmental Update
Saturday, January 28, 10:00 AM

Get out your hiking shoes! We are gathering at Ruffner Mountain Nature Center outdoor pavilion for an update on the environmental scene. The Ruffner Center is located at 1012 81st Street South, off Oporto-Madrid Boulevard north of I-65. Call 833-8112 for directions or check the website http://www.ruffnermountain.org.

League member Jayme Hill, Executive Director of the Alabama Environmental Council will bring us up to speed on what's happening in Alabama's environment. After her presentation and a bit of Q & A we will hike the trails of Ruffner Mountain. If you've never visited the Center you will be amazed at the beauty of this area located within the city of Birmingham.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

New Member Spotlight
Myra Thompson is an Alabama native who moved away twice, but came back each time. For years she has been interested in women's issues and thought of joining the LWV. After earning her Master's degree in Public Administration and transferring to a downtown work location, the time was right. Specific concerns for Myra include voting issues, nepotism in Alabama State agencies and accessibility of health care for all citizens.

Lorraine Maddox is a returning LWVGB member. Fifteen years ago family and job took first priority and she let her League membership lapse. After her 18-year-old son voted for the first time this year, she decided it was time to get involved again. Lorraine is concerned about the decreased separation of church and state and the erosion of civil rights.

Ann Smith is another Birmingham native with League experience. While living in Victoria, Texas she served on the local LWV board as state programs chair. State constitution reform is her top priority. Ann is also a member of the Showstoppers, a local tap dancing group.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

Strategies for a New Alabama Constitution
--A Regional Petition Drive Rally--

Monday, January 31, 2005
Energen Plaza

605 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd
Free Admission

Judge Howard Hawk, Marshall County District Court
Representative Jeff McLaughlin, State Legislator
Lenora Pate, Co-Chair, Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform
Sallie Creel, Birmingham Business Owner

Sponsored by
Region 20/20
Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce
League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham
Birmingham Regional Chapter, Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform

Registration 7:30 a.m.
Program 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

Observer Corps

Jefferson County Commission

The Jefferson County Commission stayed active during the holiday season. On December 20 the County completed the first phase of a $1.1 billion bond issue for schools, selling $650 million in bonds. The one-cent sales tax that went into effect January 1 will provide revenue for repayment. Fees for this initial sale are estimated at $5.7 million. The fees go to a group of underwriters, financial advisors, lawyers and other professionals. County commissioners selected the group of 22 participants in September without seeking bids or proposals. They range from $2.15 million to Raymond James, the lead underwriter, to $2,500 to Digital Assurance Corporation, which served as the disclosure agent. The same group will handle the second phase of the bond offering.

Two of the original underwriters, Sterne Agee & Leach and Bank of America, dropped out days before the offering. Their share of the fees was split between the remaining nine underwriters. Larry Langford, commission president, instructed the finance department to move County money in New York banks to Birmingham banks that supported the sale.

The bond money will be held in an escrow account until two pending lawsuits are settled. If the lawsuits are still active on 12/1/2006, the money will be returned to the buyers, with interest, plus premiums the county may have offered. Commissioner Collins voted against the 1% sales tax. When it passed Collins asked if the commission would consider using the funds when received rather than selling bonds to obtain the money in advance. Commissioners Langford, Smoot and Buckelew did not consider that a viable option.

In the January 4 commission meeting, Larry Langford wanted to donate county funds to the Red Cross for tsunami relief efforts. An employee attending the meeting explained that county funds had to be used to benefit county residents or operations. Langford responded that it would benefit county residents because "it will make us feel better."

On January 7 Governor Riley rejected a request from the Jefferson County Convention Complex to pledge $75 million from State funds to construct a domed stadium.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

LWVAL Legislative Study

Almost two years ago LWVAL Convention delegates authorized a re-study of the Alabama Legislature. While the League has a position in place, it was felt that an update was sorely needed. After much scholarly work, a statewide committee of eight has completed its initial work of writing a background paper on the subject. Under the excellent leadership of Ruth Wright (Auburn) the committee has examined the findings of experts on state legislatures, as well as the reality here in Alabama. More data and consensus questions for members will be coming in early fall.

Now it is time for us to join the work. Mary Lynn Bates and Sarah McDonald are forming a committee here in Birmingham to study and discuss this information and design a presentation for local League members and the general public.

The study encompasses several areas: current practices; the role of lobbyists and the level of access available to grassroots citizens; how the structure and function of the legislature affects its ability to meet the state's needs; and the management of the budget process.

Please call Sarah (967-2829) or Mary Lynn (823-9459) to join the study committee.

To prepare for this upcoming study, score yourself on the following questionnaire to see how much trust you have in our system of representative democracy.

Additional materials:

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

LWVGB Board of Directors 2004-2005

3357 Cherokee Road
Birmingham, Al. 35223
Phone: (205) 968-9186

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

About the Voter:

The LWVGB Voter is a publication of the League of Women Voter of Greater Birmingham.

Beverly Nelson, Editor
Email: beenel@bellsouth.net

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article


January 29th
Membership Meeting
Environmental Update
Ruffner Mountain Nature Center
10:00 AM
January 31st
Constitutional Reform Rally
Energen Plaza
8:00 AM
February 1st
LWVGB Board Meeting
2701 7th Avenue S.
6:30 PM
Late February State Program Planning
Late April LWVGB Legislative Study
April 30th - May 1st State Convention
Tuskegee Institute
May 14th
LWVGB AnnualBusiness Meeting TBA

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article