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

The Voter

January, 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].


  • Calling All 'Greater Birmingham' Leaguers !
  • What Do You Think About Trade?
  • Constitutional Reform Consensus Due
  • A New Constitution for Alabama: How Should We Do It? [A Voter insert. Linked outside this web edition of the Voter. - w.e.]
  • Board of Director (2001-2002), League Office, Voter Information
  • From the President
  • Got an Itch to Make a Pitch?
  • 2002 Election Monitoring Schedule Developing
  • Bring a friend to the January unit meetings.
  • Luncheon Speaker Highlights City Center
  • League Notebook
  • January, 2002 Calendar [See more information on LWVGB Calendar events at What's New and the web edition of the Calendar. - w.e.]

    Calling All 'Greater Birmingham' Leaguers !

    Deciding which method the League will support to reform the Alabama Constitution and getting prepared to participate in the concurrence on the new LWVUS Trade position are the jobs of the grassroots (that's all of us) in January. Look below and elsewhere in this Voter for important material on both topics. [Go to What Do You Think About Trade?, Constitutional Reform Consensus Due, or A New Constitution for Alabama: How Should We Do It? - w.e.]

    Constitutional Reform Chair, Anne Findley Shores, will lead the discussion on methods for reforming the Alabama Constitution. LWVAL President and local VP, Sarah McDonald, will lead the Trade discussion. The January unit time will be divided between the two topics. See the Calendar for the three choices of unit meeting dates, times, and locations. [Go to the referenced Voter Calendar. - w.e.] Bring a friend to this meeting!

    Colette Scott


    What Do You Think About Trade?

    The National League needs to hear from you on the update of our Trade position.

    A task force of Leagues in the U.S. has worked with the national board and staff to research Trade and propose an update of our Trade position. (Members shared their views through a questionnaire last March.) This group has produced a new position. Members will now decide if they concur with the position.

    A series of background articles on Trade appeared in the National Voter in 2001: see your December/January, March/April, June/July, and September/October 2001 issues. The December/ January 2002 issue, which you have received by now, contains the proposed position and the tear-off concurrence form that you can use to participate. This method of League member agreement is being used for the first time. [Go to the referenced LWVUS Voter articles on Trade. - w.e.]

    As always, the League prefers to engage in dialogue to make decisions, so we have scheduled unit meetings to prepare you for the Trade concurrence .

    Find your National Voters, read the Trade articles, and come to the unit meeting most convenient for you. (See the Calendar.) [Go to the referenced Voter Calendar. - w.e.] In the League tradition, we'll review the facts and debate the issues.

    I am distilling the Trade material in the 2001 National Voters and will have it available by January 10. For a copy of my notes before the meetings, email me at smcdonald3357@charter.net or call me at 967-2829 for your copy to be sent through the mail.

    Sarah McDonald, LWVAL President


    Constitutional Reform Consensus Due

    The League of Women Voters of Alabama has favored constitutional reform for many years. During the sixties and seventies, we made in-depth studies and reached numerous support positions.

    Over the years, many significant League goals have been achieved pertaining to the different branches of state government, e.g., legislative reapportionment, annual legislative sessions, and extensive judicial reform. Still to be realized, however, are our positions relative to state finance and taxation and home rule for local governments.

    With all our lengthy studies, we haven't defined any particular approach to reform that would be better than another. Until now. The LWVAL 2001 convention adopted a study of the methods of reform. We will reach a member consensus this month on the method Leaguers consider to be the best one for reforming the Alabama Constitution.

    Please read the information on methods to reform the Alabama Constitution enclosed in this Voter. Then, come to one of the three unit meetings listed in the Calendar, and let's discuss it.

    Anne Findley Shores, CR Chair.


    The Constitutional Reform paper enclosed in this Voter provides pros and cons on methods for reform and background on the larger constitutional reform picture. [Go to the referenced A New Constitution for Alabama: How Should We Do It. Link is outside this web edition of the Voter. - w.e.]


    Board of Directors

    Gayle England, President
    Email: geengland@compuserve.com

    Sarah McDonald, 1st VP
    Membership Chair
    Email: smcdonald@charter.net

    Rose Packer, 2nd VP
    Voter Service
    Email: rmpacker01@aol.com

    Yvonne Knowles, Treasurer
    Email: Yvonneknowles@mindspring.com

    Diane Holmes, Director
    Email: HolmesRE@aol.com

    Colette Scott, Secretary
    Email: Bobandcolette@mindspring.com

    Anne Findley Shores, Director
    Constitution Reform Chair

    Sandra Smith, Director
    Observer Corps
    Email: smithsandra@juno.com

    League Office

    Commerce Center - Suite 806
    2027 1st Avenue North
    Birmingham, Al 35203-4127
    (205) 251-2346

    The LWVGB Voter is a monthly publication of the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham: President, Gayle England; Treasurer, Yvonne Knowles; Editor, Becky Sylvester.

    Voter Addresses:

    604 Paden Dr.

    Birmingham, 35226.

    Email: bandbsyl@aol.com

    205- 824-1524


    From the President

    In my travels I have found that different parts of the world have a lingo that is used just in particular areas. Here in the South "y'all" and "fixin' to" are some of my favorites. The League has its own lingo. Unit meeting, consensus, concurrence, and position are just a few words in the League language that are important to us in January.

    We have come to that time when we need to have concurrence on our National Trade position and consensus on one aspect of our State League Constitutional Reform position. Discussions at member meetings (units) are the usual format for making League decisions on positions. Be sure to read the material mentioned in the Trade article on page 1 and the page 1 article and enclosed material on reforming the Alabama Constitution.

    Our local League Board has decided to re-introduce options for unit meetings. See the Calendar for the three unit meeting dates, times, and locations. Each of the three January meetings will cover the same material. We hope one of the three options will be convenient for you.

    If you are new to the League of Women Voters this is a great opportunity to learn about the workings of the League. If you are a long-time Leaguer this is an opportunity to get involved that won't take much of your time. I am looking forward to seeing you at the unit meetings.

    For the benefit of new members, definitions of consensus and concurrence appear on page 3, under the title "League Notebook."



    Got an Itch to Make a Pitch?

    We're looking for a few good opinions. We want to hear from you on current issues facing the Birmingham community and metropolitan area. Perhaps you take exception to a city policy or want to be heard on the Jefferson County occupational tax. or an issue that affects the metro area that another governing body is facing.

    Certain topics will be off limits: discussions of candidates for public office will NOT be printed; this new column is not a soap box for your personal action agenda; and it's the Board's job to state the League's opinion on subjects on which the League has a position. Otherwise, give it a go.

    Sharpen your writing skills and pick your subject. Keep your opinions short and to the point. Email your pieces to bandbsyl@aol.com or mail them to Voter Editor, 604 Paden Dr., Birmingham, 35226. To get the ball rolling, the Board may suggest a topic at the January unit meetings.

    Sarah McDonald


    THANKS TO HELEN MILLER! Each year Helen volunteers to take reservations, collect money and arrange the Holiday Luncheon. And each year, she does a terrific job.


    THANKS TO LESLIE O'NEIL! Holiday Luncheon attendees thanked Leslie and applauded her many years of service as Treasurer of LWVGB.


    2002 Election Monitoring Schedule Developing

    Here's a suggestion for a New Year's resolution: volunteer to help with election monitoring in 2002.

    Rose Packer, Voter Service VP, reports that LWVGB's partnership with the Birmingham Housing Authority (BHA) to monitor housing community council elections will resume February 14 at Harris Homes, time and election site to be announced.

    March is the month for the Marks Village and Loveman's Village elections. Smithfield and Collegeville elections are scheduled for April. Later in the year additional elections will be held.

    The role of the League in this democratic process is to insure that elections are conducted impartially. Rose has developed guidelines for League monitors in a how-to booklet titled Election Monitoring 101.

    Call or email Rose to volunteer to help with this priority project. See the Board list on page 2 for phone number and email address.



    Because of the Birmingham City Council elections, we need to update Fingertips, our pub that tells metro area residents how to contact government officials. Send your check made payable to LWVAL Education Fund to the League office, Commerce Center, Suite 806, 2027 1st Ave. N. in Birmingham, 35203-4127.


    Bring a friend to the January unit meetings.


    Luncheon Speaker Highlights City Center

    Cathy Sloss Crenshaw, Sloss Real Estate Group President and CEO and long-time member of LWVGB, updated members and guests at the December 15 Holiday Luncheon on projects that are changing Birmingham's City Center and Lakeview District.

    Ms. Crenshaw gave attendees a view of the neighborhoods in the City Center, which extends from the Civic Center in the North to Five Points South and includes the Civil Rights District and Hope VI Housing Community. She provided the audience with a glimpse of the City Center where 80,000 people work. She showed slides of such Sloss projects as:

    • The renovated Rust Engineering Building, now home of the American Red Cross.

    • One Federal Place, the location of the new Federal Reserve Bank, restaurants, and retail shopping, targeted for completion in August of 2002.

    • Hope VI, 12 blocks and 663 mixed income, mixed housing units (townhouses, lofts, senior housing), that will replace Metropolitan Gardens and is being developed in conjunction with the Birmingham Housing Authority.

    • Lakeview District, a pedestrian-friendly renovated 36-block area including Pepper Place where there are galleries, showrooms, a theater, restaurants and a summer farmers' market.

    The master plan for City Center that Ms. Crenshaw described focuses on "connecting districts." She believes a strong City Center can retard urban sprawl and result in a healthier environment.

    Colette Scott, PR Director


    League Notebook

    Periodically, a Voter column will be devoted to providing information to new members. If you have questions about the League you would like to have answered, contact Sarah McDonald. See the Board list on page 2 for contact information.

    This month Leaguers will be deciding positions using the processes of consensus and concurrence. Below are definitions that may be helpful to new members.

    Consensus is the technique most often used for reaching member agreement. It is a process whereby members participate in a group discussion of an issue. The "consensus" reached by members through group discussion is not a simple majority, nor is it unanimity; rather it is the overall "sense of the group" as expressed through the exchange of ideas and opinions, whether in a membership meeting or unit meeting.

    Concurrence is the act of agreeing with - or concurring with - a statement or position. Groups of League members or League boards can concur with (1) recommendations of a resource committee or a unit group; (2) decision statements formulated by boards; or (3) positions reached by another League or Leagues. (From In League - a publication of the LWVUS)

    PAGE 3


    January, 2002 Calendar

    Tuesday, Jan. 8, 9:30 A.M.
    Birmingham City Council Meeting
    City Hall,
    710 20th St. N.

    Thursday, Jan. 10, 2:30 P. M.
    Birmingham Economic Development Com.
    City Hall, Conference Room D
    710 20th St. N.

    Monday, Jan. 21, 12:00 Noon
    LWVGB Board Meeting
    Commerce Center, Conference Room
    2027 1st Av. N.

    TUESDAY, JAN. 22 , 2 P.M.

    WEDNESDAY, JAN. 23, 10:00. A.M
    3357 CHEROKEE RD. Refreshments
    (Sarah McDonald's home 967-2829)

    THURSDAY, JAN. 24 , 7:00 P.M.
    808 VESTAVIA LAKE DR. Refreshments
    (Gayle England's home - 979-7102)


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