© 1999 - 2003 League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham and
League of Women Voters of the United States

The Voter

November 2003

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].


President's Message

The LWVUS has just revised its primer on the Electoral Process, Choosing the President 2004. This edition is the latest in a long and valuable League tradition which has covered more than ten presidential election cycles. It covers important changes in the process, including the impact of HAVA (Help America Vote Act) and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. It is available through our office for $11.00. You can call me at 967-2829 to order a copy.

The reason I have crafted this commercial is because we are beginning that lengthy, frustrating and tiring (also at times tiresome) year before the Presidential Election. The League at all three levels will be planning activities, organizing DNET, and reaching out to the community in a variety of ways in order to realize our goal of an educated citizenry, participating fully in the electoral process. We shall make an effort to draw our newly enfranchised Hispanic citizens into the fray with publications in Spanish that explain our system. We shall try to engage candidates in meaningful dialogue in person and through DNET, our interactive website. Once again we are limited only by our League member energies. Let us know if you are interested and willing to volunteer for short projects or year-long activities. No offer of help will be refused!

Sarah McDonald - President

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Holiday Luncheon Set for December 13th at The Club

Our annual luncheon will be held “high atop Red Mountain” at The Club, beginning at 11:30. Look for the reservation form on the last page of the newsletter. Our speaker will be Lori Johnson, Executive Director of the Birmingham Pledge Foundation. The League has made Diversity a goal for our organization and Ms. Johnson should have some interesting insights into the issue. This would be an excellent opportunity to introduce your friends and neighbors to the League.

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Interviews of Birmingham's Delegation of State Legislators — VOLUNTEERS NEEDED NOW

As part of LWVAL's commitment to work harder to influence state decisions and to secure more visibility for the League in the state, the State Board is asking each local league to interview its legislators before the crucial session that begins in early February. The aim is to learn what the legislators’ goals and expectations are for the coming session. Specific questions and guidelines will be provided. The interviews would typically be less than 30 minutes at the Legislator's location in Birmingham area.

Here in Greater Birmingham we have the largest delegation and many of you can be part of this team. Please call Sarah McDonald at 967-2829 and Cary Page at 879-3697, immediately, if you wish to be involved.

Cary Page, Voters Service, Education

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Constitutional Reform Priorities: 2004

The Board of the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform (ACCR) wants to know what area of constitutional reform you believe deserves the highest priority at the present time, taking into account both the importance of the particular area as well as the political realities as you perceive them to be. This will help ACCR in designing the program on constitutional reform held on November 14th at Samford University in Birmingham, as well as in focusing its efforts in 2004. If you did not attend you input will be helpful.

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Public Transit: Where do we go from here?

The LWV's open meeting on the public transit issue, held on November 13, attracted an audience of over 70 to discuss the legislation which would give metro Birmingham an effective regional public transportation system. A panel consisting of the three co-chairs of the Alliance for Transportation Alternatives described the plan and the legislative situation:

Doris Powell, citizen co-chair, explained that the Alliance was formed as the plan, under study for several years, was completed for submission to the Federal Transit Administration in order to draw upon the $87 million dollars for our area that Senator Shelby has secured for metro Birmingham. The committee, drawing equally from three major segments of the community--government, business, and the citizens--approved the plan and set out to get the necessary two bills passed by the Alabama's state legislature. (We all know that in the absence of home rule the Legislature must approve all local action.)

County Commissioner Shelia Smoot, the government co-chair, reviewed the need for the plan and its short and long term benefits.

Business Co-chair, Dr. Dan Trotman, described the plan (which is enclosed in VOTER and the two bills) HB24 would restructure the MAX board to represent the whole county on an equitable population basis, thus following service to be based on need rather than, as now, the purchase of service by some municipalities. The other, HB25, the funding bill, originally a combination of increased gasoline tax and a raise in vehicle registration fees, is now modified by the legislators to just the registration fee. Further modification may occur during the legislative process.

The problem is that four representatives (John Rogers, Mary Moore, Eric Majors, and Oliver Robinson) are contesting the bills, thus by House rules, holding up the passage of these bills.

In the ensuing question/comment period, statements of support were made by three Birmingham City Council members, two legislators, and MAX itself (by board chair, Phil Gary, and executive, Mark Stanley); The major question of the general audience was "Why are theses four holding up legislation of such obvious benefit to their constituents?"(Suggested answers were 1. Power and 2. retaining control by Birmingham.)

By the evening's end, a general consensus had emerged that this enabling legislation must pass and that it will require a grassroots effort to make it happen. Many volunteers signed up to participate.

But, more volunteers are needed. If you would like to volunteer please contact Jessie Tehranchi (822-5615) or Doros Powell at 252-7606

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11:30 a.m. at The Club

The speaker will be Lori Johnson, Executive Director of the Birmingham Pledge Foundation. The topic will be diversity.

Cost is $16.50; Your check is your Reservation

Please mail by December 5th to

Ruth Wright
1508 Panorama Drive, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216

Please include your name, phone number and number of reservations.

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LWVGB Board of Directors 2003-2004

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

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About the Voter:

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

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December 2nd
LWVGB Board Meeting
3357 Cherokee Road
6:00  p.m.
December 13th
LWVGB Holdiay Luncheon
The Club
11:30 a.m.
January 6th
LWVGB Board Meeting
3357 Cherokee Road
6:00 p.m.

Week of January 19th
Old Fashioned Unit Meetings
National Program Planning
Times & Locations TBA

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