President’s Report – Cynthia Williams
September 10, 2020 LWVHC
We haven’t had a Voter for some time, now. We need to work on a strategy to get it up and running again.
19th Amendment 100th Anniversary Celebrations
We had a very nice celebration for the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment on August 18, 2020 in front of the George Howard Building in Ellicott City. The speakers included County Executive Calvin Ball, Delegate Jessica Feldmark, County Council Chair Deb Jung, and former County Executive and Delegate, Liz Bobo. We were presented with 2 declarations and a citation. The event was well attended.
Beth Hufnagel has moved the computer into the office and we’re happy to have Gina back in the office as well.
We will be doing candidate forums for the General Election on Oct. 2nd via Zoom. Our partners will be the Association of Community Services of Howard County, the PTA Council of Howard County, and the Horizon Foundation. The invitations have gone out to the candidates, and we’re waiting to hear back regarding their availability. The Zoom rooms have been scheduled. It has been advertised to our members and to some Facebook communities. We’re speaking to our sponsors regarding what their responsibility is to be, and we’ve brought on another partner (Horizon Foundation) that will try to get us questions for the Circuit Court Judge forum (with Becca Niburg as backup). We are hoping to have the forums streamed on Facebook in addition to being posted on our website.
We will not officially be doing poll evaluations for the General through the BOE, but some of us will probably being doing them for other organizations. We have been working closely with the BOE to get the most accurate voter information for the General election.
We have sent out requests for donations in order to advertise the Voter Guide more effectively, as well as a t-shirt fundraiser. Both are doing very well so far.
Our Letter to the Editor was published in the Columbia Flyer and the Howard County Times today. We have been distributing our Voter FAQ sheet (Cheryle had it translated to Spanish) at farmer’s markets and CCC sites (when we have the volunteers or myself). It has also been given to Delegate Courtney Watson, ACS, and the Horizon Foundation for distribution. We contributed a slide to the Howard Hughes “Big” event on Friday. NeighborRide is giving out Vote411.org cards to their passengers. Attempted to get permission to hand out the Voter FAQ sheets at the landfill (they get 2,000 people in on a Saturday). After much tussling, couldn’t get permission.
We held our Retreat via Zoom over 2 nights this time. Discussed how to advertise the Voter Guide, whether or not to deliver ballots for people in nursing homes and assisted livings, what to talk to Guy Mickley (who we’ve been communicating with regarding voting info) about, doing the t-shirt fundraiser, and the signup sheet for volunteers.
National Registration Day September 22, 2020
Looks like the above will be at Howard County General Hospital headed up by Cheryle. I was hoping to have more groups participating, but it’s not worked out that way. We may get more volunteers out of it, though. We’ve been mailed posters and stickers for the event. We’ve committed to 100 registrations – basically a number pulled out of the air, but who knows? **Update: We will also be partnering with the YMCA in Howard on this day.
Besides the Hospital, Cheryle has several registration opportunities scheduled (see her report).
Get Out the Vote (GOTV) Event
The Sheriff’s Dept. has agreed to partner with us for the above event. There will be deputies located in various places in Downtown Old Ellicott City. Several businesses have been contacted and they will support the event by putting the Voter FAQ sheet in their windows. There may be donation boxes put in those shops if they allow it and containers can be found cheaply, which I may have just found. The event has been advertised using ACS, our email blast, and various Facebook Communities. Two TV news stations have been contacted in hope that they will cover the event. The elected for the Ellicott City District have been contacted. Hopefully it won’t rain.
Election Judges/Racial Equity Task Force
Cheryle, Beth, and Grace have all volunteered to be Election Judges and are going through the training. Please let me know if I missed anyone. Thanks go to all of them for their service. Laura and Beth’s names have been put forward to join the above task force that is being put together by Councilmembers Opel Jones and Christiana Rigby.
Barbara is working on it and hopes to have it completed mid-September. Question remains whether or not to print it, and if so, how many copies?
We have been requested of late to do several presentations: 2 for Oakland Mills, 1 for HCC, 2 for AAUW, the HC Library system, and Sandy will be participating in the HCC Sustainability Day.
There are 3 Unit meetings – the September and October ones are regarding voting, and the November one will include State’s Attorney Rich Gibson, Sheriff Marcus Harris, and (hopefully) Police Chief Lisa Myers. The September and October Unit meetings have Zoom rooms and have been advertised in the usual ways. If I can figure it out, they will also stream on Facebook.
Krista and I attended a webinar regarding consensus and programs. The Fall Workshop will be on Saturday, September 26, 2020 (via Zoom). We will be expected to fill reach consensus on the programs they are putting forward, and fill out the form they provide by Monday, December 14, 2020.
LWVHC Sept. 10, 2020 --Program and Directors’ Reports
Program Report: Krista Threefoot
September/October Unit Meetings: The Zoom account availability for LWVMD forced us to rearrange our fall unit meeting dates, which caused some conflicts and confusion. Our new dates are:
September 24, 7:00 pm: Voting information
October 22, 7:00 pm: Ballot information
Our September meeting will feature Guy Mickley and Riley Macon, a local teen who has formed two youth advocacy groups.
In October, I will present briefly on Vote411 (with guidance from Cheryl). I will cover the BoE election/issues. Linda W is going to contact delegates to see if we can find someone who will explain state constitution amendment proposals. Linda (or someone else?) will present on county charter amendments.
Local League Program Chair Meeting
Cynthia and I attended the LL program meeting with LWVMD last week. The main takeaway is that LWVMD is doing a consensus on voting by mail. More details on what this consensus covers is coming during the fall program meeting on September 26. (**NOTE** I can’t make the meeting but will view the recording.)
Our response to the vote by mail consensus is due to LWVMD by December 14. That means we will have to switch the topic of our November meeting to cover this consensus. I’ll share details when I have them.
Tee Shirt Fundraiser
We’ve sold 65 items and raised about $430. The first part of the campaign ends on the 12th. I’ll plan to extend it so we can sell shirts at our unit meetings.
Action Report –Linda Wengel:
These resolutions were introduced on September 8th. For your consideration:
Council Resolution 143-2020 - Introduced by: Liz Walsh - A Resolution declaring policy support by the Howard County Council for the “Fight For $15” Coalition, which successfully advocated for the passage and eventual enactment of a phased-in $15 per hour minimum wage for Marylanders, and for maintaining the first minimum wage phase-in as enacted, effective January 1, 2021. (No expiration date)
Council Bill 51-2020 - Introduced by: Liz Walsh - AN ACT prohibiting the Howard County Department of Corrections from accepting into its custody persons detained by federal immigration law enforcement agencies and housing those persons as they await disposition of exclusively immigration-related proceedings. (Expires 11/17/20; 12/22/20 if extended; or 1/26/21 if extended twice.)
Council Resolution 142-2020 - Introduced by: Opel Jones and Christiana Rigby - A RESOLUTION creating a Racial Equity Task Force to study racial inequities and disparities in Howard County and recommend legislative actions to close racial disparities in our community. (No expiration date)
Internal Communications – Nancy Carlsen:
External Communications – Laura Mettle:
We are awaiting the results of our fundraising efforts to determine if we will have enough money for Baltimore Sun Digital Campaign on social media (FB and Instagram). Initial attempts to boost posts via very limited advertising to expand viewership ( for the volunteer sign up and T-shirt sales) on Facebook have been rejected, pending verification of sender's (my) identity, because they mention voting. This means using my Paypal account to pay and my name on the ads, which I'm not too keen on doing; I would much prefer to use the LWV identity and account. Other LWV groups have encountered the same difficulties. It seems our voter outreach efforts have fallen victim to their efforts to eliminate foreign actors and trolls.
Baltimore Sun is looking for paperwork from us to proceed. LWVMD is also pursuing a similar advertising campaign, which is aimed at counties that do NOT have an active chapter. I imagine the ads will look very similar, and we would be paying for customers in our county. Last I checked, we had about 1/3 the amount we needed for the digital campaign. Cynthia would like us to collect at least 75% of the cost through donations before proceeding.
If we don't get all the money we need, we can still pursue direct email using the official Voter's List, which will be ordered within the week, and publishing classified ads for the Voter's Guide in the local print papers and on Patch and the Nextdoor Digest, etc.
I continue to work on ways to expand our presence on social media and improve the website communication.
Note also: Laura, her daughter and her husband have signed up to be election judges.
Education – Linda Frascarella:
Howard County Public Schools
On July 16, 2020, the Board of Education approved that the fall 2020-2021 semester will be a fully virtual instructional model
Detailed schedules for each grade, information about meal plans and access to devices can be found on the website and the full plan can be accessed here - https://www.hcpss.org/f/2020-2021/2020-2021-reopening-plan.pdf
- Created and delivered a power point to the Oakland Mills group on Aug 27. Covered Voter Registration, In Person Voting and Mail-In Voting (Absentee)
- Working on a power point for the Howard County Library on ‘Being an Informed Voter’ which will cover Vote411, the LWV Voters Guide and other information. This session is scheduled for Sept 24 at 7pm.
- Emailed my community regarding the need for Election Judges
- Signed up to be an election judge - 2 days during early voting and election day.
Environment – Sandra Levy:
The LWVHC will be involved in Virtual Sustainability Day 2020 sponsored by Howard Community College. Bob Marietta is our contact, and he wants us to explain voting this year. It would be a good opportunity to reach students. There is no date set, but for the last few years the day was October 24 or 26. Bob wants to do an HCC webinar that will run all day with 1-2 hour presentation from local groups. The presentations would run on each individual group's own server.
Current Legislation Howard County Council
Introduced by: Deb Jung
Co-sponsored by: Christiana Rigby and Liz Walsh
AN ACT to require certain projects to document that the project meets specified bird friendly design standards; providing for a delay in enforcement of this Act; and generally relating to environmental design.
This Resolution was passed July 7, 2020.
Howard County becomes first Maryland jurisdiction to pass legislation for bird-friendly design standards Baltimore Sun, July 13, 2010
A RESOLUTION amending the Reimbursement rates applicable to one-time reimbursements for an investment in an on-site stormwater best management practice that reduces the impact on the public stormwater management system; providing that certain previously adopted rates shall remain in effect; and generally relating to schedules of rates adopted as part of the Watershed Protection and Restoration Fee.
This Resolution was read the third time and was Adopted with amendments on June 1, 2020.
The deadline for Maryland schools and restaurants to stop using polystyrene foam food containers and cups has been extended from July 1 to Oct. 1, the Maryland Department of the Environment decreed in an order this week. Polystyrene foam is commonly known under a trademark name, Styrofoam. Maryland Matters, June 12, 2020
Styrofoam Recycling is Closing
Dart Container, Inc. the company that collected styrofoam from Howard County for recycling, will be discontinuing its program with the County after July 1. This is due to the recent food packaging Styrofoam ban that recently went into effect in Maryland. While the the ban on using food service styrofoam containers has been extended past the original effective date of October 1, new sales of food service containers is now prohibited. Therefore, Dart Container, Inc. a manufacturer of these products, has ended its relationship with Howard County. Howard County Recycling
Ann Strozyk, HCPSS environmental educator at the Howard County Conservancy, was recently recognized as the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators winner for Region 3. Strozyk is one of seven winners of this national award, presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in partnership with the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Howard County Government, April 30, 2020
Md., Other States Push EPA to Force Stricter Pollution Standards for Pa. Power Plants
An advisory commission of 13 Northeastern states has approved a recommendation to the Environmental Protection Agency that Pennsylvania’s power plants, whose emissions have been a major source of ozone and air pollution in Maryland, must add more pollution control measures. Maryland Matters, June 17, 2020
NYC’s most famous skyscraper shrank its emissions by 40%. It might be a climate blueprint. Washington Post, May 27, 2020
Got Chesapeake Bay acid? New study finds seagrasses may bring relief.
Large beds of underwater grass may be just the cure for one of the problems that ails the Chesapeake Bay.Subaquatic vegetation uses sunlight to produce food from carbon dioxide and water through a process called photosynthesis. It’s such a powerful action that the surrounding water becomes less acidic and crystals of calcium carbonate — the same substance used as an antacid to relieve heartburn, acid indigestion, and upset stomach in people — form on the plants’ leaves, scientists said in a study recently published in the journal Nature. Baltimore Sun, June 14, 2020
Pandemic’s Cleaner Air Could Reshape What We Know About the Atmosphere
Coronavirus shutdowns have cut pollution, and that’s opened the door to a “giant, global environmental experiment” with potentially far-reaching consequences. New York Times, June 25, 2020
Electric School Bus Pilot Program Supports HCPSS Environmental Commitment
June 29th, 2020
[Howard County Public School System] is introducing two electric school buses in a pilot program supported by a grant from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and through partnership with bus contractor MBG Enterprises and BGE. Powered by electricity, the two zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) school buses and charging stations will replace two diesel powered vehicles currently in use, delivering a significant improvement to air quality.
Maryland to begin testing drinking water, Chesapeake Bay oysters for harmful ‘forever chemicals’ known as PFAS Baltimore Sun, June 11, 2020
Trump plans to overhaul major environmental law to speed up construction projects
Black, brown and poor communities have relied on the law for generations to stop projects that could impact their neighborhoods. Washington Post, July 14, 2020
Bioaccumulation of Mercury in Fish Varied by Species and Location in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed—Summary of Existing Data and a Roadmap for Integrated Monitoring
Forty-five, 48, and 35 percent of fish mercury concentrations in the present study exceeded benchmarks for human, avian, and fish health risks, respectively. US Geological Survey, August 3, 2020
President Trump Signs the Great American Outdoors Act, Preserving and Protecting our National Parks The White House, August 4, 2020
Trump finalizes drilling plan for iconic Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Plan clears the way for an oil and gas lease auction on the refuge’s 1.6 million-acre coastal plain by December 2021. Washington Post, August 17, 2020
When garbage goes green: Baltimore County is converting landfill trash into renewable energy, without burning it
Trash from Baltimore County residents will be used to produce renewable energy as the county starts a project at one of its landfills to convert gas created from decomposing waste into electricity. Instead of burning the methane gas off with a landfill flare, Energy Power Partners has agreed to collect gas produced by the Eastern Sanitary Landfill in White Marsh to create power for the county with on-site engine generators. The gas will travel through wells and pipes buried in the landfill before it’s processed and used to create electricity.
Howard County purchases land near Savage Mill for conservation, public use
Land in Savage that was once proposed as development is now being purchased by Howard County for conservation and open space. Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Tuesday announced the $1.7 million purchase of nearly 5 acres of property from Savage Mill. The land, located west of Savage Mill, had been considered for development since 2013. Due to the area’s environmental significance, according to a county news release, development on the land has been “controversial.”
Fundraising – Michelle Rice Trotter and Amber Treat:
- Krista Threefoot set up a Tee-shirt sales site to benefit the publication of the Voters’ Guide
Membership – Lucie Geinzer:
In the last month, I did the following:
- wrote a couple letters to individual members about their status and contact information.
- drafted an All In Challenge letter asking members to contact their colleges.
- wrote a letter to members asking for Election Day volunteers and Judges.
- wrote a first draft of a fundraising letter to members for the Voters’ Guide.
Voter Service -- Cheryle Wharton:
- Valerie Montague and Susan Fingerman volunteered at the Beth Shalom Temple food drive in August. Susan said she would like to return for the September food drive.
- Completed entering data for VOTE411.org
- I have been in conversation with the Columbia Town Center, Howard County General Hospital, Oakland Mills Fall Festival and Beth Shalom Temple to conduct voter registration drives, request Absentee Ballots and answer any questions.
Columbia Town Center and HCGH will be in person events; Oakland Mills and Beth Shalom will be virtual events.
- Contacted the League of Women Voters - Minnesotta to find out how they use Vot-er, a program that is used solely for hospitals
- Assisting Cynthia with candidate forums
- Signed up to be an Election Judge