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President Jennifer Matos, as the voting delegate for our League, led a delegation of Ventura County members to Sacramento last month to attend the state Leadership Council. This meeting is held in non Convention years for delegates to act upon state league business, hear reports from state officers and staff, attend workshops designed to help us improve and grow our league, and to encourage attendance at the next Convention – 2011 here in Ventura. Barbara Doyle, Helen LaMonte and Pam Pecarich attended with Jennifer, enjoying the workshops and the inspiring Saturday Banquet speaker, Zaida Arguedas, LWVUS Director of Global Democracy Programs.
We made a special effort to highlight the convention next year by preparing table decorations of pixie oranges in plastic containers, labeled appropriately with the chosen theme, “Grow the Future,” and “Convention 2011 Ventura”. The edible treat was appreciated and impressed the attendees with the effort it took. Jennifer led the power point presentation on Sunday morning, supported by Barbara, Helen and two delegates from sister leagues who are co-sponsoring with us, Sharon Whitney from SLO and Linda Phillips from Santa Barbara. Jennifer did a wonderful job of narrating the slide show and as a group, they truly delighted their audience.
In the business conducted at this meeting, a state budget for next year was adopted that has financial implications for local leagues. In order to put the state budget on sounder financial footing, controlling expenses continued to be a priority, but additional financing was also proposed and approved. The per member payment (PMP) charged local leagues was raised $1 and an administrative fee of 3% was added to the state provided insurance liability policies for local leagues. Up to 25% of the local per member payments can be paid from their education funds next year. In addition, the LWVC Education Fund Board approved an annual fee of 3% on local education funds held by the state league. The purpose of this charge is to offset some of the administrative, staff and accountant time and expense incurred in servicing and maintaining those funds. While no one was happy about these increases in costs to local leagues, the delegates recognized that getting the Education Fund on a fiscally sounder basis was a worthy goal and they approved the budget unanimously.
In other business we learned that we have been assigned Chris Carson from the Glendale-Burbank League as our Management Training Advisor. She will be the “go-to” person for questions our President and officers have about League operations, any problems for issues we encounter, or any trainings we would like to arrange for the Board or membership. Barbara Doyle has invited her to speak to us at the September membership meeting as she was the former state League director for Government Reform and currently leads the LWVC’s effort on the implementation of the new redistricting law.
In addition Board member Suzanne Stassevitch told us about a new LWVC portfolio, Community Education. The goal is to help local leagues get discussions going in local communities about the issues facing the state, especially with respect to political reform. The focus will be on issues not on the ballot. The hope is that by raising the level of public education on these matters in advance, we can achieve reforms when voters are asked to vote on them. One tool provided us for this effort is Fast Facts, a new publication available on the state League’s website and Smart Voter – short, readable descriptions of current issues. In addition, Suzanne emphasized the importance of fighting efforts to undo Prop. 11 in November and to insure effective redistricting does take place. The state league is working to find League observers to attend meetings, do media watch, and interview participants. We will be hearing more about this in the Fall and next year. Check in on www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov for up to date information.
As the Council meeting concluded, we were told again by many how much they are looking forward to seeing us in Ventura at the May 13-15, 2011 Convention. Those of you who attended the Annual Meeting were able to view the slide show presented in Sacramento and revel in the beauty of our county and the Central Coast. We are counting on you to volunteer for the event and helping us showcase our county and gain new members for our League. Mark your calendars now! – Pam Pecarich