© 1999 - 2002 League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham and
League of Women Voters of the United States

The Voter

November - December, 2002

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].


GBM Education Committee Forming

Greater Birmingham Ministries has begun the planning for its education study. GMB expects the study committee to be active by January.

At its Annual Meeting LWVGB voted to cooperate with the GBM on the study. Leaguers Nancy Ekberg and Sandra Smith are attending the planning sessions.

As an aid to the study, League volunteers are needed to help observe meetings of the Birmingham Board of Education and the City Council Education Committee.

Call Sandra Smith at 592-3728 to help with this effort.

In October, GBM staff attended a training for the State Board of Education's REACH program (Realizing Every Alabama Child's Hopes) to learn what the program might mean to Birmingham and to gather information to help the committee determine how best to focus its efforts. For an introduction to the REACH program, visit the website http://www.alsde.edu/boe/REACH-EducationalAdequacy_files/frame.htm.

-- Sandra Smith

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DID YOU FORGET to renew your League membership? If so, send your dues today: $40 for individuals, $60 for family memberships.

Make checks payable to LWVGB and mail to

P.O. Box 661213, Birmingham, Al. 35266

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The Holiday Luncheon is Scheduled And You Are Invited!

Join us Saturday, December 7, 11:30 a.m. to celebrate the holiday season over lunch and to learn about the Chamber-hosted leadership trip to St. Louis. The pertinent data is below:

    o Location: Riverchase Country Club Board Room, 2000 Club Road, Hoover .

    o Cost: $16.00 per person. Make your check payable to Diane Holmes and mail it to her at 2300 Twelve Oaks Drive, Birmingham, Al. 35244

    o Reservations: Your check is your reservation. See the luncheon reservation form in this Voter.

    o Speaker: David Sher See below.

Directions to Riverchase Country Club:

    o Proceed south on Highway 31 approximately one mile past the end of the Galleria Mall.

    o Turn right on Riverchase Parkway West. Drive nearly three miles on the Parkway. Proceed through a stop sign, a traffic light, and, at the 3rd stop sign after the traffic light, turn right onto Club Drive.

    o Follow Club Drive into the Country Club entrance.

SPEAKER DAVID SHER, AmSher Financial Services CEO and Chamber leader, along with Chamber CEO David Adkisson, spent months planning the Chamber's leadership visit to St. Louis.

More than 100 Birmingham Metro Area business and civic leaders participated in this first annual leadership visit. The group studied how to structure and fund a successful regional mass transit system, how civic initiatives can be accomplished across political boundaries, the emerging biomedical and research sectors of the St. Louis economy and the implementation of a civic center expansion.

Join us on December 7th to hear Mr. Sher discuss findings from the trip. Bring a friend.

-- Gayle England

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LWVGB Board of Directors 2002-2003

P.O. Box 661213
Vestavia Hills, AL 35266
Phone: (205) 824-8112

    Gayle England, President
    (205) 979-7102
    Email: geengland@att.net

    Sarah McDonald, 1st V.P.
    (205) 967-2829
    Email: smcdonald3357@charter.net

    Ruth J. Wright, 2nd V.P.
    (205) 979-0754

    Jo Dobbins, Secretary
    (205) 608-1866
    Email: k4li@bellsouth.net

    Yvonne Knowles, Treasurer
    Email: yvonnebrakefield@yahoo.com

    Nancy Ekberg, Director
    (205) 967-2897
    Email: nanekberg@aol.com

    Diane Holmes, Director
    (205) 982-3006
    Email: HolmesRE@aol.com

    Kathryn Kerchof, Director
    (205) 802-7215 (Home)
    Email: kerchoff@balch.com

    Sandra Smith, Director
    (205) 957-7964
    Email: vshome@bellsouth.net

    Jessie Tehranchi, Director
    (205) 822-5615
    Email: tehranch@bellsouth.net

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About the Voter:

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

Voter Contacts:
Editor, Becky Sylvester
604 Paden Dr. Birmingham, 35226
Ph: (205) 824-1524
Email: bandbsyl@aol.com

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President's Message

I read an article in the Birmingham News recently about a small town in Utah that charges residents $25 to speak at planning and zoning meetings. At first I thought it was written as a joke. When I finished, my thought was that they must not have a League near that town.

But it's not just the town in Utah that needs a League looking out for the citizen's right to influence public policy. It's our own back yard. At the heart of the League's mission is our ongoing commitment to opening government to citizens. We need to continually update our knowledge on our local governments' processes regarding public input on public policy. And we need to be a resource to the public on those processes. I hope that as a member of this League you will be willing to assist with gathering information on this fundamental aspect of the democratic process.

I've had some experiences the last two months that have been my proudest as a Leaguer. The Probate Judge's office was so excited when I offered the assistance of the League with the election. Nancy Ekberg and I signed up to work at the polls on Election Day. People called the League office wanting to know how to get information about the candidates and issues. I referred them to our DNet website. On Tuesday, November 5th, DNet was awarded the best site for Election Day information by aboutpolitics.com. I handed out so many voter registration forms, mostly at ACCR meetings, that I depleted our supply.

The opportunities for the League to make a difference are endless. And there is nothing more satisfying than someone saying "Thanks for what you do." Please say yes to the opportunity to help out with our League's work.

-- Gayle England

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League Joins Citizens United to Stop the Supersewer

At its September meeting, the LWVGB Board voted unanimously to join forces with Citizens United to Stop the Supersewer (CUSS).

The decision to join the group was based on the League's positions on resource management, environmental protection, pollution control, and land use planning. Our principle that democratic government depends upon informed and active participation of its citizens and requires that governmental bodies protect the citizen's right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions . . . is reason enough for the decision to be involved in supersewer issues.

CUSS has been preparing for the Supersewer Public Hearing on Wednesday, November 13 and the Public Meeting on the Upper Cahaba Plan on Tuesday, November 19.

LWVGB THANKS Cathy Crenshaw and Wanda Anderson of Sloss Realty for the space at Pepper Place for our September 8th meeting.

And, THANKS to those who made refreshments and took care of the "little things" that made our meeting a success.

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ACCR Members Actively Pursuing Reform

In their communities and across the state, Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform (ACCR) are taking the message directly to the people.

Traveling in a yellow bus named REFORM ONE, ACCR took to the road in the fall to gather support for Amendment One on the November 5 ballot. The Amendment, which passed by a margin of almost 6 to 1, assures Alabamians that voters will get to approve or reject any new constitution proposed by a citizens' convention. Opponents of reform had suggested that a citizens' convention could put a new constitution into effect without voter approval. Amendment One dispels that fear.

Members of ACCR, including local Leaguers, have spoken to groups in Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, Blount and Walker counties. League members have participated in forums or meetings of Chambers of Commerce, Mayors groups, County Commissions, Kiwanis, Civitan, Rotary, PTA Councils, neighborhood coffees and churches.

The positive vote on Amendment One gives momentum to constitutional reform. But the task ahead is to convince the legislature to act. What can you do? Write your legislators. Write letters to the editor. Put CR information in neighbors' mailboxes. Hold neighborhood coffees. Join ACCR, then get involved. Visit the ACCR website at www.constitutionalreform.org to keep up on what ACCR is doing statewide.

Call Nancy Ekberg (967-2897) in Jefferson County or Virginia Randolph (699-5582) in Shelby County for more information.

-- Nancy Ekberg

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Declaration of Independence Coming to Birmingham

A copy of the Declaration of Independence, printed on July 4, 1776, is going on a three-and-a-half year cross-country tour and will make a stop at Birmingham's Civil Rights Institute January 10-20, 2003. During the ten-day period, the exhibit will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lyn and Norman Lear purchased the last of the 25 broadsides of the Declaration of Independence in June of 2000. (Twenty-one copies belong to public institutions and four are privately owned.) The Lears' goal for the Road Trip is to take the "People's Document" directly to the American people.

The mission of the project is to engage Americans, particularly young people, by bringing the document to small towns and big cities throughout the country.

It is the hope of the sponsors that this project will inspire Americans to participate in civic activities, to exercise their rights and to vote. Home Depot is the sponsor of the Road Trip, and the U.S. Postal Service is the official carrier. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford are the honorary co-chairs of this non- profit, nonpartisan project.

Organizations in the Metro Area are planning events and programs during the time the Declaration of Independence is on display at the Institute. The events and dates are tentative and subject to change:

    o Press preview at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

    o Teacher training/reception at CRI on January 13 hosted by the Jefferson County Board of Education and the Center for Law and Civic Education

    o College/University night at Birmingham Southern on January 14

    o Night at the Birmingham Public Library on January 16

    o Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast on January 20.

The board will consider LWVGB's participation at its November meeting.

-- Jessie Tehranchi

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November 12
Jefferson Co. Commission sworn into office

9:00 a.m.
November 13
Supersewer Public Hearing
Jefferson Co. Court House, Rm 370
716 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N.

5:30 p.m.
November 18
LWVGB Board Meeting
2100 First Ave. North, Suite 700

November 19
Upper Cahaba Plan Public Meeting
Eastminister Independent Presbyterian Church,
Highway 11, Trussville

6 ­ 8:30 p.m.
November 29
Deadline for Holiday Luncheon reservation on Sat., December 7 [See below. - w.e.]

December 7
Holiday Luncheon
Riverchase Country Club Board Room
2000 Club Road, Hoover
[See article in this Voter. Print and mail registration form - w.e.]

11:30 a.m.
December 16
LWVGB Board Meeting
2100 First Ave. North, Suite 700

Next VOTER - JANUARY, 2003

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