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

The Voter

September 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

Oh, my! To all those League members who worked so hard for the passage of the Governor’s tax package: Take a break, take a rest and we’ll come up with another plan. From the standpoint of someone who grew up in a different part of the country, it’s hard to understand the refusal of Alabamians to deal with the problems of the state. The election showed that majority of Alabama citizens do not trust the legislature, and yet, the same people keep voting the same folks into office time after time.

There is a lot the League can do to engage the community in discussing concepts of good government and the responsibilities of citizens. The board here in Birmingham is planning a number of projects that we hope will bring current members and non-members alike to the discussion. Our brown bag dinner meeting on October 23rd will be the first of these. The topic will be the Patriot Act and its implications for all of us.

In future months we will try the unit meeting concept for other topics. That is a format in which the same topic will be discussed on two or three different days at three different times. You pick the most convenient one for you.

Let me continue my nagging on getting your dues to Yvonne Brakefield. They are due now. Members who have not renewed by December 15th will be dropped from the list. Please continue to support us and make an effort to become involved in one or more of our projects. We are limited only by our volunteer energies.

Sarah McDonald - President

| Top | LWVGB Home |

The League & The Kettering Institute Meet in Ohio

Nancy Ekberg attended a joint meeting of the League and the Kettering Institute that was held in Dayton, Ohio on September 10th and 11th. The purpose of the meeting between the League and Kettering was to expose the League to the National Issues Forum, a model for meetings held for and in the community in an effort to solicit dialogue within the community as well as the Study Circles model for breaking up into groups for discussion of a topic. These models are similar to our forums and our unit meetings. An added benefit of the gathering was an opportunity for Leagues throughout the United States to share programs and ideas with each other while the Kettering staff observed us and learned about what was successful in our community dialogue. The Kettering Institute’s main interest is community dialogue as a means of engaging the community in participative dialogue/democracy. Here is a summary of Nancy’s notes from the meeting:

  • General consensus in the community, is that the League has respect because it does its homework before speaking out on issues. The league studies, reaches consensus, and then acts.

  • In addition, it is the trusted convener of meetings and trusted moderator/facilitator at community issue or candidate meetings…BECAUSE OF ITS IMPARTIALITY AND PROFESSIONALISM.

  • The League of the future will be called by the acronym LWV, A Voter Service Organization, (so men won’t feel unwelcome!) The League is a three-pronged organization:

    • Educator
    • Advocator
    • Trusted convener of conversations in the community

  • Ideas from Leagues around the country:

    1. Lunch with the League. Invite public officials, leaders of the two political parties and the public to come to monthly lunch meetings, at which we will have a panel of experts discuss a hot topic in our city, county or state.
    2. Enlarge our role as moderator. Train several League members to moderate forums and candidates meetings and make those trained persons available to other organizations throughout the state.

Nancy would be happy to give any League member a full copy of what other Leagues around the country are doing. E-mail your request to Nancy at nanekberg@aol.com

| Top | LWVGB Home |

League Dues are Due Now!

Please send your check for $40.00 ($60.00 for family memberships) to the Treasurer, Yvonne Brakefield. Thank you.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Information is Power!

“Democratic government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens…” is part of the League Principles. Our organization has long offered the opportunity for developing an understanding of issues of political governance. We take current topics and, as a group, study the pros and cons, the implications and cautions and sometimes we reach a consensus to take a stand on an issue. In other words, we believe in the importance of knowledge and incorporate the responsibility of citizenship into our activities. This year we are working on monthly presentations to help us all become more informed on topics that are current issues in our society. There are many from which we could choose. For example, we plan a meeting focused on the topic of the Patriot Act for October. We will learn more about the issues of the Patriot Act, what is really in it and what is not, what “experts” are saying on both sides of the debate and discuss the questions we have. For subsequent months we are considering, the issues of:

  • Help American Vote Act (HAVA)
  • Teaching Civic
  • Presidential Electoral Process
  • Hazardous Materials
  • State Constitutional Reform
We are not limited to these topics and want your input for areas we should target. The Board is interested in the League playing a vital role in civics education of the membership. Please come to our October 23rd meeting and voice your suggestions for topics to which we may all study and become better-informed citizens.

Ginny Randolph – Voter Services

| Top | LWVGB Home |

A Closer Look at the Patriot Act

Mark your calendar for the October 23rd Brown Bag Dinner to be held at the Southside Public Library at 6:30 pm. Cary Page and Kathryn Kerchof are moderating a discussion about the Patriot Act and its implications for our democracy. The public is welcome to attend.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

LWVGB Board of Directors 2003-2004

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

| Top | LWVGB Home |

About the Voter:

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

Voter Contact:
Kathyn Kerchof, Editor
4117 Shiloh Dr. Birmingham, 35213
Ph: (205) 802-7215
Email: kerchof@bellsouth.com

| Top | LWVGB Home |



October 7th
LWVGB Board Meeting
3357 Cherokee Road
6:00 pm
October 14th
Birmingham Mayoral Election 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
October 18th
LWVAL Board Meeting
10:00  a.m.
October 23rd
General Brown Bag Dinner
Meeting on the U.S. Patriot Act
Southside Public Library
6:30 p.m.
October 24th
United Nations Association Dinner
The Club
7:00 p.m.

| Top | LWVGB Home |