League of Women Voters of Howard County, Inc.
Board Meeting Minutes
June 11, 2020
In attendance: Cynthia Williams, Barbara Russell, Virginia Kirk, Lucie Geinzer, Krista Threefoot, Cheryle Wharton, Linda Wengel, Linda Frascarella, Sandy Levy.
Absent: Nancy Carlsen, Michelle Rice Trotter, Amber Treat
Meeting called to order at 7:06pm by President Cynthia Williams.
Changes to Agenda: There were no changes to the agenda.
President’s Report: Cynthia Williams referred Board to her written report, which includes updates on the following topics, among others: LWVNCA meeting (June5, 2020), LWVMD Council meeting (June 6, 2020), Website and Voters’ Guide, Fundraising meetings, Candidate Forums, Poll Evaluation, Vote by Mail Rally. Cynthia Williams discussed the fact that The Voter was not posted in May. See full President’s Report for specifics.
Secretary’s Report: Virginia Kirk – Linda Wengel moved, Barbara Russell seconded, that the May 2020 meeting minutes be approved. Motion passed. Virginia Kirk asked for clarification of what action should be taken on the Board’s vote to support the Illinois League’s effort to get the LWVUS’s long-standing position to abolish the Electoral College as a national Action Item. Barbara Russell clarified that at the Convention we would support the Illinois resolution.
Treasurer’s Report: Barbara Russell – The total checking/savings balance as of June 30, 2020, was $16,929.93. Dues paid so far: $3,725.00. Linda Wengel asked if LWVHC is paying rent. Barbara Russell clarified that we are paying rent. The Treasurer’s report will be filed for review. Roy Appletree has agreed to do the 2019-2020 fiscal review. Barbara Russell asked for agreement from the Board to pay the $125 dues to the Association of Community Services. There was no opposition. Barbara Russell also noted that the ad that was in The Voter’s Guide was premised on the print publication. She asked the Board to approve asking the advertiser for a donation rather than billing the advertiser for the ad because we didn’t print and distribute The Voters’ Guide. There was general agreement to do so.
Program Report: Krista Threefoot asked the Board to think about program topics and email her with suggestions. Criminal justice reform as a unit meeting topic was discussed. There was some sentiment that we should for the fall focus on election issues and take up criminal justice later. There was some discussion of registering incarcerated people, which Cheryle Wharton noted is being done by another group. We still need to have a unit meeting on the education study and reach consensus. Krista Threefoot also noted that we could use proposals from the National Convention for unit meeting topics. She will write a summary and develop a potential calendar and send it to the Board.
Action: Linda Wengel reported on the three testimonies she submitted for County Bills 94, 95, 103. See the Directors’ Reports document for details.
Communications—Internal: Nancy Carlsen (absent) –Cynthia Williams will touch bases with Nancy Carlsen to resolve the issues around posting (publishing) The Voter.
Education: Linda Frascarella – The election results are finalized and will be published on June 12, 2020. The last day of school is June 23. See the Directors’ Reports for details about the School Capital Budget, the School Board meeting on June 11, Candidates for the Board of Education, and the 2020-2021 school-year calendar.
Environment: Sandy Levy reported that a Columbia-based company has a contract with Perdue to use digesters to convert manure and chicken poop into energy. See Environment Director’s report for details about many statewide environmental issues.
Fundraising: Michelle Rice Trotter and Amber Treat (absent)
Membership: Lucie Geinzer discussed her contacts with various groups in the county. See the Directors’ Reports for more details. She also generated a membership letter to be sent to various businesses and organizations to try to get a more diverse membership. Barbara Russell asked Board members to follow up with members who have not yet renewed by calling them to remind them to renew. Each Board member will contact approximately 5 members for renewal.
Publications: Amber Treat (absent)
Voter Services: Cheryle Wharton discussed a possible fundraiser with Tinos. She also discussed having tables at rallies and dropping off 411 cards and information at restaurants, as well as an app for registering voters. She noted that Montgomery County got a grant to have their Voters’ Guide translated into Spanish. Cynthia Williams asked the Board to look at the slides from Squint regarding misinformation; see her email.
- The appointment of Virginia Kirk and Cheryle Wharton as Board Nominating Committee members was approved by general agreement.
- Annual Board Retreat: June 28 and 30, at 7:00pm on Zoom.
- Calendar – see minutes from May 2020 meeting for action item.
- Website: Cynthia Williams noted that the LWVHC website is out of date and needs major revision, which Laura Mettle is working on. The Montgomery County LWV site was noted as a model.
- Legislative Luncheon: Assuming that the pandemic allows, the legislative luncheon will take place at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
- Calvin Ball Proclamation for 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, August 18: Grace Kubofcik is handling this. Cynthia Williams will check with her.
- Oakland Manor Meetings: Krista Threefoot will follow up about the schedule.
- Registration Tables at Vigils and Rallies—See Voter Services report above for a discussion of this issue.
- Volunteers – Cynthia Williams will email members asking for volunteers. She also noted that we need a volunteer for the Convention.
- LWV Crime and Justice 2021 Programs – See the Program report above for a discussion of this issue.
- The Voter deadline is 6/15/2020
Adjournment: Barbara Russell moved, Krista Threefoot seconded, that the meeting be adjourned. Motion passed. The meeting was adjourned at 9:30pm.
Virginia Kirk, Secretary
LWVHC June 11, 2020 --Program and Directors’ Reports
Program Report: Krista Threefoot
I contacted Oakland Manor to ask about meeting spaces for next year, and I’m researching topics for unit meetings.
I would like to request a few minutes to discuss two things:
- Ideas board members may have for 2021 programs — I want at least one of them to be devoted to policing (which is covered in the next comment)
- Criminal justice (specifically, racism and excessive use of force in policing) position. I searched our handbook and the MD handbook and I didn’t see anything specifically related to policing/criminal justice. LWV California has a criminal justice position, and I think we should consider adopting it.
You can find the CA position here: https://lwvc.org/our-work/positions/position-criminal-justice
Action Report –Linda Wengel:
The following testimony was offered on CR94, CR95, and CR103:
- The League of Women Voters of Howard County is pleased to offer its criteria for fair councilmanic redistricting based on the position of the League of Women Voters of the United States, which is applicable to all levels of government. Fair redistricting is a high priority for the League.
The LWVHC is supportive of the Charter Review Commission’s recommendations to remove political influence in the process by eliminating the Central Committee’s role. Below are our recommendations for accomplishing that goal.
Responsibility for redistricting should be invested in an independent special commission, with membership that reflects the diversity of the County, including citizens at large, representatives of public interest groups, and members of minority groups, chosen by the County Council from a list of qualified volunteers.
The standards on which a redistricting plan is based must require substantially equal population, geographic contiguity, and effective representation of racial minorities. A plan should provide for promotion of partisan fairness, preservation of “communities of interest”.
A plan must explicitly reject protection of incumbents or protection and preferential treatment for a political party through such devices as considering party affiliation, voting history and candidate residence.
Thank you for your consideration of this bold plan.
- The League of Women Voters of Howard County enthusiastically supports CR95-2020, a resolution to change the word councilmanic to council where it appears in the Howard County Charter.
The League of Women of Howard County is opposed to CR95-2020, which would require that property taxes may only be made with approval of the voters, based on positions supported by the League of Women Voters of Maryland.
The League supports an equitable and efficient fiscal structure which assures that adequate and timeless revenues are available to finance planned expenditures. While recognizing that public acceptance of the need to increase taxes is desirable, the League is opposed to any constitutional amendment proposed to limit taxes and spending. A referendum on property tax increases could result in undermining the ability of the County Executive and County Council to fulfill its fiscal responsibilities to the taxpayers of Howard County.
Thank you for your attention.
Internal Communications – Nancy Carlsen:
External Communications – Laura Mettle: External Communications has begun updating the website. This will be ongoing. Soft copies of the Voters’ Guide were distributed to Columbia Flier/Howard County Times (who did not mention, so we need another strategy), Howard County 50+ Centers, HCC office of student involvement, the Howard County Library (who did post), Columbia Village Associations, and Vantage House (who did distribute). Scott E publicized the guide and linked to it on his site.
A comprehensive electronic distribution strategy needs to be developed for future elections.
Education – Linda Frascarella:
Howard County Board of Education:
From the Superintendent’s report at the May 14th BOE meeting:
Meal distribution continues. Guidelines were revised to make it easier for families to pick up meals.
Approved 33.7million for Capital Projects
- 28 million for new high school
- 5.7 million to replace Talbot Springs Elementary & Hammond boilers
The next virtual meeting is on Thursday, June 11, 3 p.m.
Topic: Adoption of FY21 Operating & Capital Budget & FY22-26 Capital Improvement Program
Candidates for the Board of Education:
From the Baltimore Sun on Jun 3, 2020
The 17 candidates who filed to run for the 5 open seats are categorized by the 5 County Council districts. The top 2 candidates in each district will advance to the general election in November.
4 of the 5 districts have contested primaries, while the 2 candidates in District 1 — incumbent Christina Delmont-Small and Matthew Molyett — will automatically advance.
Howard County Public Schools:
On May 27, The Maryland State Department of Education approved HCPSS' request for a waiver of 5 school days. The last day of school for students is Tuesday, June 23, 2020.
Nothing has been decided for the 2020-2021 school year. More information will be made available this summer. HCPSS is following this MD document as a guideline. http://marylandpublicschools.org/newsroom/Documents/MSDERecoveryPlan.pdf
Environment – Sandra Levy:
Get ready! 2020 is the year for the Pharaoh Cicadas to emerge from their 17 years underground.
While the Regional Transit Plan for Central Maryland is still open for comments until June 18, 2020 it is worth looking at this May 5 report from the Manhattan Institute that finds that “outside a handful of areas in the U.S., bus rapid transit (BRT) offers a better, more economically sustainable path forward” than light rail.
In a First, Renewable Energy Is Poised to Eclipse Coal in U.S.
The coronavirus has pushed the coal industry to once-unthinkable lows, and the consequences for climate change are big.
New York Times, May 13, 2020
Global emissions plunged an unprecedented 17 percent during the coronavirus pandemic
But experts say emissions could quickly bounce back as social distancing ends and economies reopen. Washington Post, May 19, 2020
Coronavirus is helping the Chesapeake Bay by curbing pollution, but what happens after the pandemic
“The nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project recently released a new report documenting that the poultry industry in the Chesapeake region produces not only more than a billion chickens and turkeys every year, but also 5.7 billion pounds of manure and 200 million pounds of ammonia air pollution.” Lobbyists have been successful in preventing any regulation of poultry houses so far.
Commentary, Tom Pelton, Baltimore Sun, June 1, 2020
HoCo Zoom panel discussion on "The Story of Plastic"
Wednesday, June 24, 7 p.m
HoCo Climate Action has received a grant from Food & Water Watch to organize a series of online events related to banning fracking and shifting to renewable energy. Our first event is a zoom discussion about "The Story of Plastic.”
Transition Howard County has joined forces with the Community Ecology Institute in their work for the local environment and on a 6.4 acre organic farm (formerly Freetown Farm) in Columbia. The Secret of Change is a documentary series that explains the Transition movement and other projects along the West Coast of North America that are taking steps towards a more resilient and more sustainable future. Originally started in the UK, this grassroots movement is designed to empower individuals and communities to take action to create a more sustainable world. It is now in 40 countries.
June 22-28 is Pollinator Week! Howard County Master Gardeners will support launch of National Pollinator Week at Miller Library in Ellicott City on June 22 at 6-8 pm. The event includes a speaker from the Department of Natural Resources followed by Master Gardeners answering questions in The Enchanted Garden. Check out the Pollinator and Native Landscape page to celebrate pollinators and see what you can do to help them. Contact MDPollinator@gmail.com for details.
Howard County Recycling 10-vehicle restriction has been lifted, but the county still is asking residents to refrain from unnecessary trips to the Landfill at this time. Only residents without curbside collection are being asked to visit the Landfill to dispose of kitchen/bath trash.
Howard County Parks are partially open. Check the website for specifics.
Fundraising – Michelle Rice Trotter and Amber Treat:
Membership – Lucie Geinzer:
- I talked with Sanjay Srivastava of the Indian Cultural Association. He was receptive and said his wife Niti would call me back. They have no Zoom Association meeting per se. Niti didn't call me back, so I will follow up with another phone call to the Indian Cultural Association.
- I wrote an email to & also left phone contact with both the Chinese American Parents Association & Korean American Community Association of Howard County to introduce myself and ask if I could address their organizations. They don't have info on their websites about regular Zoom meetings. I received no replies.
- I sent a Messenger request to the Howard County Muslim Council to talk to their membership about the League. No reply.
- I emailed Sean Ford, President of the Columbia Democratic Club, to see whether they've had Zoom meetings and whether I could address them on behalf of LWVHC. He did not respond. I will try to find his cell number & call him.
- I talked with a Mexican American friend who runs a translation business about the best Latin groups to approach in Howard County. She suggested FIRN. Although the majority of FIRN's clients may not be citizens, maybe FIRN directors can offer suggestions for reaching minority group organizations.
- I'm thinking of finding contact information on clergy that ministers to the Latin community in Howard County. Maybe the Priests in charge of the Masses for the hispanic community at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center or Owen Brown Interfaith Center would we willing to pass along a short message on behalf of LWVHC to their congregations.
- Drafted a sample letter to be sent to people who have not renewed their LWVHC membership.
Voter Service -- Cheryle Wharton: Nothing to report.