League News

LWVGB Meeting
LWVAL Health Care Study Consensus
Novemaber 17, 2013 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Vestavia Public Library in the Forest
1221 Montgomery Highway
Vestavia Hills AL 35216
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LWVAL Consensus Study Kit - background information and consensus questions for your review before the meeting.
NOTE: There will be only this ONE consensus meeting on health care. An additional meeting originally scheduled for Nov. 19 is cancelled. All discussion and consensus will take place on Nov. 17.
Board Training and Planning
Sun., June 30, 2013 12:00 - 5:30 p.m.
(This Sunday afternoon!)
at the Home of Barbara Powell
Training & Planning Leader: Sarah McDonald

All LWVGB board members, your attendance is very important. We are pleased to have past AL and Birmingham League president Sarah McDonald to lead this training and orientation session. She has returned to Alabama for this weekend to lead both the state and local training and planning sessions. Thank you, Sarah!

League members may attend this meeting. Please let Barbara Powell know if you are coming. Also, LWVGB board members, please bring your personal calendar for LWVGB calendar planning. More details about the meeting will be sent to you soon.


Recently in League...

UPDATE: Members, thank you for attending this meeting and lending your voice. Updates to LWVGB business documents and board members as were approved by the membership will soon be posted.

LWVGB Annual Business Meeting
June 13, 2013
at 6:00 p.m.
Niki's West
233 Finley Avenue West 
Birmingham, AL 35204

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Members, don't miss the annual business meeting! It's important that you attend and lend your voice and vote. We are a grassroots organization.This is your opportunity to set the course for our League in the coming year. LWVGB program, budgets, bylaws changes, and elections are on the agenda. Be sure to look at the "Documents for Member Consideration" linked below before attending so that you'll be prepared to contribute your voice to the conversation. Mark your calendar now, and we'll see you June 13, 6 p.m. at Niki's!

business meeting plans and documents.


April Membership Meeting
"2014 Project Alabama"
Tuesday, April 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Homewood Public Library
Round Auditorium
1721 Oxmoor Road
Homewood, AL 35209

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Read about this meeting in the
LWVGB April 2013 Voter.


LWVGB Rallies to Defend the Voting Rights Act (VRA) Thank you to those who turned out!
WHAT: Stand in defense of the VRA
WHEN: Friday, March 1, 2013, 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: In front of the Hugo L. Black U. S. Courthouse, 1729 5th Ave. N., Birmingham, AL

Pictured here (L-R): Jesse Bates, Mary Lynn Bates, Gene Byrd, Kathy Byrd, Eric Click, Seth Johnson, and Nancy Ekberg. See all the photos.


LWVGB February Meeting

"An Overview of School Systems
in the Greater Birmingham Area"

Presented by:
Joe T. Adams, PhD,
Research Coordinator
Public Affairs Research Council of AL

Pictured here (L-R): LWVGB President Cyrondys Jackson Springer, PARCA Research Coordinator Dr. Joe Adams, LWVGB VP Trish Crain
See all the
meeting photos.
See Dr. Adams' presentation.

On February 28, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. at the Homewood Public Library, Dr. Joe T. Adams, Research Coordinator of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA), shared information with our League about multiple indicators of school district success, including the level of student achievement across our metro area. PARCA has devised a unique color-coded method to allow citizens to interpret how various student populations are performing on the Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test (ARMT), the required standardized test for Alabama’s third through eighth graders. PARCA also analyzes information on school district spending and the breakdown of revenue sources. Dr. Adams clearly and concisely presented over 9000 pages of data in such a way that trends could be easily understood.

The League meeting at the Homewood Public Library was an insightful overview of the Greater Birmingham area’s multiple school systems, including the Shelby County system. About 30 League members and guests attended. The League was pleased that the public showed this great interest in our area public school systems. According to Dr. Adams, this is one of the most important elements in improving and ultimately successful education systems. Motivated, persistent school leaders are also a key factor, especially where there are limited resources.

Thanks again to Dr. Adams for sharing the PARCA study.


New BJCTA Executive Director Speaks
See the photos
Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 6 p.m.
The Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority
(BJCTA Board Room)
1735 Morris Ave.
Birmingham, Alabama
(Copper-domed transit "hub" on Morris Ave.)


Guest Speaker Ann Dawson-August, Executive Director, Birmingham-Jefferson Transit Authority

January's monthly membership meeting featured Birmingham-Jefferson Transit Authority Executive Director Ann August. August shared her 30 years of professional transportation experience with attendees, as well as projections for the upcoming year at the BJCTA. Details were given about 30 new buses hitting the streets of Birmingham in September. August told the group she and a team traveled to North Dakota in January to pro-vide input on a prototype that addresses the needs of metro Birmingham riders. The first of the new fleet will roll out in June, August said.

August also said that after arriving to Birmingham, she began working with her staff and the community to improve transportation needs and efficiency. Her work has led her to identify a scheduling problem within the system. August reached out to a peer in Philadelphia, with 30 years experience as a Scheduling Director. The colleague agreed to travel to Birmingham for a "Peer-to-Peer" meeting the first week of February. The visit will be at no cost to BJCTA. August says she believes in relation-ships, and developing those relationships. She says she is already meeting with riders, community groups, civic leaders and elected officials to listen to their perspective. August said she plans to enhance the customer service improvements already under-way at BJCTA, by working with the Director of Customer Service, Adrian Solomon, and the public. Riders shared their accolades and criticisms with August during the meet-ing, expressing frustrations about route information, de-lays, and schedules. August said that a new phone system is expected to be installed in February that might improve communications. August says she wants to continue hearing from the community and all stakeholders, on ways to develop the Birmingham-Jefferson system, and encourages groups such as the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham to actively participate in the discussion.

August is settling into her new role and new home just blocks away from Central Station.

She is also looking forward to getting to know her fellow League members.


holiday holly and bell gifLWVGB HOSTS HOLIDAY DINNER!

6:00 - 8:00 P.M.

LWVGB members caught up with long-time League friends and made some new ones! Non-League members were welcomed. President Cyrondys Jackson Springer showcased the League's many accomplishments thus far this year. The League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham wishes peace, good health, and happy holidays to all!


Voter Resources

Here are quick answers to common election questions. Friends, family and co-workers may look to you for answers. Use this FAQ to help them.
  • Your Vote Counts button jogAm I registered to vote? Ans.
  • Where is my polling place? Ans.
  • I don't understand  Amendment __x__. Can you explain it to me, and what will be the consequences if it passes/fails? Ans.
  • What can I take to the polls as voter ID? Does it have to be a photo ID? Ans.
  • What are my rights as a voter? Can I be denied the right to vote? If I am disabled, what accommodation can I expect at my polling place?* Ans.
  • Where can I see a sample ballot before I go to the polls? Ans.
  • Where can I get real-time election night polling results for JeffCo.? Ans.
  • I have other questions about voting and the election. Where can I find answers?
    • Call the JeffCo Registrar at (205) 325-5550 or the Shelby Co. Board of Registrars at (205) 669-3913.
    • Visit LWV's election website at www.vote411.org
    • Visit LWVGB at www.lwvgb.org or call (205) 583-5000.
    • Visit the AL Secretary of State's election website www.alabamavotes.gov or call 1-800-274-8683.
    • Download this guide published by the office of the AL Secretary of State.
* You can help LWV and ADAP asses your polling place for accessibility. Please take this form with you to the polls. Here are the instructions.

LWVGB Will Co-host Alabama Election Issues Forum

Note: This forum is also the LWVGB October Member meeting. LWVGB members, please come and bring guests to participate in this lively and very timely discussion of elections in Alabama.

On Sunday, October 28, 2012, LWVGB will co-host the forum “
Critical Thinking: Election Issues for Alabama Voters” with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham (UUCB). The forum is scheduled for 2 – 4 p.m. at the UUCB located at 4300 Hampton Heights Drive, Birmingham, AL 35209 (map).

Topics of discussion and panelists include:
  • "Statewide Constitutional Amendment Referenda and Election Consequences"
    Nancy Ekberg - ACCR Birmingham Regional Chair; LWV Greater Birmingham BoD
  • "Current State and Federal Election Laws and Impact on Voting Rights"
    Anne Permaloff, PhD - Political Science and Public Administration Professor Emerita, Auburn University Montgomery; LWVAL BoD and LWV Montgomery BoD
  • "Are Campaign Contributions Free Speech?"
    Natalie Davis, PhD - Professor of Political Science and Pre-Law Advisor, Birmingham-Southern College

Each panelist will make a 20 minute presentation, and in the following segment, they will respond to questions. Following the forum, panelists and guests are invited to further discuss election issues over coffee.

The issues of this forum will be timely and of great interest on the eve of the 2012 election. What are the constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot, and what are the consequences of passing or defeating these referendums? How are recent changes in election laws, including campaign finance laws, changing our democracy and election outcomes? You are invited to share in the public discussion of these issues on October 28. LWVGB members, please attend this forum with your friends and participate in the conversation. Also, you are encouraged to volunteer your help with a few small but important tasks. To volunteer or to get further information, call the League at 205 583-5000.

Special Constitutional Amendment Referendum

Sept. 18, 2012, 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
(Registration deadline Sept. 9)
Proposed constitutional amendment would transfer over $145 million each year for three years into the ailing state General Fund from the AL Trust Fund. These funds will not be paid back to the ATF. There is much more to this amendment. Be informed before you vote. Get unbiased information about this proposed constitutional amendment.

Brown Mackie College Constitution Day Celebration
Voter Registration Drive

Tues., Sept. 18, 2012, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. & 5:15 - 6:30 p.m. &
Wed. Sept. 19, 2012, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
LWVGB volunteers are needed for this and other voter service. 
No previous experience necessary.
Contact Jean Johnson jjohnson@lwvgb.org

LWVGB Annual Membership Meeting

Sept. 20, 2012, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
St. Paul United Methodist Church
1500 Sixth Avenue North,
(Across the street from the Civil Rights Institute)
  • Carolyn McKinstry, a member of the Alabama Constitutional Revision Commission (ACRC) and a survivor of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing will talk to us about to us about the work of the ACRC
  • Representative Patricial Todd (District 54) and Associate Director of AIDs Alabama
Be sure to bring a friend or two to this meeting and introduce them to the great work we do in the League! Share the LWVGB membership brochure, too.

Celebrating 92 Years of the Power of the Vote

August 26 marked the 92nd anniversary of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote. The League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham celebrated Women's Equality Day by preparing voters for this fall's big election. How did you celebrate? Read the press release. Thought: To celebrate Women's Equality Day, honor a strong woman in your life or inspire a young lady with a contribution to the League of Women Voters.

LWVGB co-sponsors Hoover City Council Candidate Forum

Photos coming soon!

On August 21, 2012, seven of the nine candidates running for four seats on the Hoover City Council responded to citizens' questions. The candidate forum was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham and BluffParkAL.org, the Bluff Park Neighborhood Web Site. About 100 Hoover citizens turned out at Artists on the Bluff in Bluff Park, AL to ask questions and to voice their own opinions. More information and photos will be posted here soon. We invite you to read these press articles about the event:

Thank you to all LWVGB volunteers who helped to make this event a success. LWVGB thanks the citizens and candidates for participating in this forum. This is how democracy works!


Homewood Residents Get to Know Their Candidates

Photos courtesy of Natalie Johnson.
See these and many more on our
Flickr website.

On Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012, citizens of Homewood heard from their mayor and candidates for the city council. And the candidates heard the
voices of the voters! In addition to the mayor, seventeen candidates for city council president and seven other city council ward seats participated. The forum was sponsored by the Homewood Primetime Organization and the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham.

Homewood voters were clearly interested to hear from their candidates. Despite the threat of inclement weather, citizens filled the Homewood Senior Citizen Center auditorium to near capacity. The forum was moderated by LWVGB President Cyrondys Jackson and forum coordinator Leonette Slay. Citizen-submitted questions addressed such issues as government transparency, support or opposition for hiring a city manager, and allocation of funds for ward vs. city-wide projects. Due to the large number of candidates to address each question, there were many submitted questions that could not be answered during the one and one-half hour forum. Attendees did, however, get the opportunity to directly address their candidates one-on-one in a meet-and-greet following the forum. The public was invited to enjoy punch and cookies provided by the Primetime Organization while socially interacting with their candidates.

Thank you to Barbara Pilato and the many volunteers of the Homewood Primetime Organization for their work in making this event a great success. Also, thank you to our own LWVGB volunteers to include Cyrondys Jackson, Leonette Slay, Trish Crain, Jean Johnson, Arlene Godwin, Diane Marks, Dr. Donald Marks, Nancy Ekberg, and Joan Burroughs, Special thanks to Homewood High School students Natalie Johnson and Rebecca Feldman who volunteered their assistance at the Forum. Thank you, Natalie, for capturing this event in the photographs shown here. More of Natalie's photos are on display on our Flickr site.

This candidate forum was a fine example of American Democracy in action. The League looks forward to hosting other such forums in this election season. Stay tuned! Check here often for forum news. Mark your calendar with these important voting dates and visit Vote411.org for more election news and information:

  • August 28, 2012 - Municipal Elections
  • September 18, 2012 - Special Constitutional Amendment Election
  • November 6, 2012 - Presidential Election
Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act

June 28, 2012 -- The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) by a vote of 5-4. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the majority opinion. The court ruled that the ACA is constitutional under Congress's taxing power. The League of Women Voters of the United States, joined by the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham, issued this press release.

LWVGB Voices Opposition to Immigration Bill

Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011

On Thursday, September 1, 2011, LWVGB members gathered with other concerned citizens at Linn Park in downtown Birmingham to voice their opposition to state bill HB56, the Immigration Bill. LWVGB President, Ida Tyree-Hyche says, “Too many of our elected leaders are using immigration issues as a platform to incite intolerance and fear. 'Patchwork' reform is not only detrimental to immigrant communities, but our community as a whole.” The League of Women Voters does not support deporting unauthorized immigrants who have no history of criminal activity. Read more about this protest rally and the League's position in the the September 1 LWVGB Press Release and on LWVGB's Facebook page.

LWVAL and LWVGB Co-sponsor SOS - Sustain Our State - Rally in Birmingham
August 16, 2011

On August 16, 2011, citizens called on elected officials to support healthy, clean water and air and real public transit. Many nonprofit organizations, including the LWVAL and LWVGB, joined together to bring the Sustain Our State (SOS) 1-2-3 GO! Rally to Linn Park in downtown Birmingham, AL. The event was held to inform and rally citizens to call for actionable, implementable (1) water, (2) energy and (3) transit policies and to make plans now to assure this sustainable future. Clean air and water and transit impact public health and jobs as well as the environment. The most heavily impacted are the poorest and the youngest in our communities - those who are our future. They are the most exposed to unhealthy air and water and least able get to education, jobs, health care and daily needs. Allied supporters were called to address environmental and intergenerational justice.

Find Out More & Take Action!

Read more about the SOS Rally. Sign the Clean Air Promise and see more ways that you can act to Sustain Our State!
Find out here!

LWVGB Board Plans for 2011-2012
June 11, 2011


Although summer is traditionally a quiet time for the League, have no doubt that the LWVGB Board is planning a very active year for 2011-2012. The new LWVGB Board held its annual planning meeting on June 11, 2011 at the home of Leonette Slay in Hoover. Kathy Byrd, our LWVAL President, joined the group to speak on the LWVUS Membership Recruiting Initiative (MRI) as well as LWVAL priorities for 2011-2012. The coming year will be a very active one according to the 2011-2012 calendar developed that day. In reference to the meeting, LWVGB board member Virginia Randolph commented on LWVGB's Facebook page, "This looks like an awesome board! Such creativity and sound ideas were suggested." Read more in the June issue of LWVGB's newsletter The Voter. Take a peak at the 2011-2012 LWVGB calendar, but don't forget this is tentative. Bookmark the calendar and visit often; there's much more to add. Also, don't forget to follow the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute news and events! We look forward to seeing all LWVGB members and guests at the Member Meeting on September 27!

LWVAL State Convention
April 30 - May 1, 2011
Co-hosted by the LWV of Mobile and the LWV of Baldwin County

Continuation of the state health care study and an education update, emphasizing charter schools. were two issues addressed at the LWVAL biennial convention in Mobile on April 30 and May 1. LWVAL delegates were also asked to address pressing environmental issues. Should we consider a new environmental study?

This was a time for serious work on program, budget and board elections, but it wasn't all business. League members found the biennial convention to be a wonderful time to get acquainted with fellow Leaguers from all over the state. Yvonne Brakefield and Joyce Lanning attended as representatives of the LWVGB. The convention will be thoroughly covered in the next (May 2011) edition of The Voter.

LWVGB Annual Business Meeting
Thurs., April 28, 2011, 6:30 p.m.
Dale's Southern Grill

700 Montgomery Hwy.
Vestavia Hills, AL  35216

The League is a grassroots organization. League members helped determine the future course of the local LWVGB League at the LWVGB Annual Business Meeting on April 28. At this annual business meeting, members discussed and voted on the program agenda, budget and leadership for the coming year(s). Old League friends saved time to catch up with old friends and make new friends while enjoying a wonderful southern dinner. Go to the
LWVGB "For Members" web page for more information about the issues considered at this meeting.

Earth Day
April 22, 2011

Celebration at Birmingham Botanical Gardens
May 1, 2011, 1-5 PM

On Sunday, May 1 from 1-5 p.m., the Birmingham Botanical Gardens celebrated Earth Day and the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham was part of the event. The Earth Day theme was A Billion Acts of Green, which has the goal of amassing one billion sustainability actions in advance of the global Earth Summit in Rio in 2012. With over 45 million actions already recorded, this largest-ever environmental service project is working to show that change can happen when individuals join in taking action.

Children practiced recycling in a creative way. They decorated clean used paper grocery bags with their own color schemes and glued designs. They took these home to use as toy bags, tote sacks or whatever might pop up in their imagination.

We found several astute scientists among our visitors. For experimental purposes, the children created a very small amount of carbon dioxide using vinegar and baking soda. The children learned about the effects of carbon dioxide on our planet and a little about its properties. They pledged to do their part in reducing CO2 and posted their personal action ideas for making this happen.

League members Angelyn Simmons, Amanda McGriff, Joyce Lanning, Leonette Slay, Nancy Sales, Jean Johnson and Michael O'Donnell were on hand as booth volunteers.

LWVAL State Convention
April 30 - May 1, 2011
Co-hosted by the LWV of Mobile and the LWV of Baldwin County

Continuation of the state health care study and an education update, emphasizing charter schools. were two issues addressed at the LWVAL biennial convention in Mobile on April 30 and May 1. LWVAL delegates were also asked to address pressing environmental issues. Should we consider a new environmental study?

This was a time for serious work on program, budget and board elections, but it wasn't all business. League members found the biennial convention to be a wonderful time to get acquainted with fellow Leaguers from all over the state. Yvonne Brakefield and Joyce Lanning attended as representatives of the LWVGB. The convention will be thoroughly covered in the next (May 2011) edition of The Voter.

The VOTER Newsletter

What's happening in the League? Read The Voter to find out. The Voter is the newsletter of the League of Women Voters. Published monthly except December.



Mark your personal calendar to remember upcoming League and community events. Note important dates in history.

News Archive

Read about past LWVGB meetings and events sponsored or co-sponsored by the LWVGB that are of community interest. Views expressed by guest speakers do not necessarily reflect the views of the League.

Other Community News

Alabama Messenger
Birmingham Business Journal
Birmingham News al.com
Birmingham Weekly
Black and White
The Birmingham Times (http://www.birminghamtimesonline.com link has been temporarily removed due to reported malware.Please visit the Birmingham Times Facebook page.)

More Alabama Newspapers