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A SUCCESSFUL, STIMULATING PROGRAM, 2009-2010
The 2009-2010 LWVVC Program Committee comprised Jeri Andrews, Lillian Goldstein, Jeanne Harvey, Carmen Hurd, Sue Kelley, Steve Lattimore, Pat McCart-Malloy, David Maron, Jennifer Matos, and Pam Pecarich. Other LWVVC members joined us at meetings during the summer of 2009, as will be mentioned later; to these participants, as well as the Committee, my deepest thanks.
The 2009-2010 League year began countywide activities with the September 26 Membership Brunch at the Spanish Hills Country Club in Camarillo, organized by Membership VP Barbara Doyle – as in the previous year doing a superb job. Our speaker was Trudy Jarratt, First VP of League of Women Voters California, who gave a stimulating presentation on a stimulating topic: the 2011 LWV California Statewide Convention in Ventura and its implications for LWVVC.
January 26 2010 was the day of the general forum “California Water Issues: Past, Present, Future,” cosponsored by California Lutheran University and held at the CLU Oxnard campus; thanks go to David Maron for the arrangements with CLU. This event was long in the planning, starting with the impetus provided by water expert Jeanne Harvey. Two summer meetings were attended by most of the committee (at that time still including Ruth Hibbard) and additional interested members Mary Dodd, Howard Engel, Nell McCombs, Betty Sherman, and Julie Tovias, and these discussions were most helpful. Additionally, a November 4th Farm Bureau of Ventura County water supply tour was attended by LWVVC members Bob Braitman, Howard Engel, Lillian Goldstein, Steve Lattimore, and Julie Tovias. Howard wrote an excellent report on the tour, and at this point I also want to thank Howard for his photography and power point expertise at our events. The January 26 speakers were Frank Pecarich, retired soil scientist and federal executive; Randall Neudeck, a program manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; and Glen MacDonald, Director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment. They and the forum overall were very well received. Attendance at its height was estimated at 70-80; 44 evaluation forms were returned, and these were extremely positive.
The Ventura County League participated in League of Women Voters US Program Planning. At its February meeting, the Board reviewed the results of discussion of positions at the January and February unit meetings and reached the consensus that updating education was the most important for 2010-2011.
On March 21, there was a public forum to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the League’s founding and also to salute Women’s History Month; this took place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Oxnard, thanks to an exhaustive search by Jeri Andrews. There were three speakers, the first two being former LWVVC presidents. Jeanette Hosek gave an interesting and very entertaining presentation dealing with women who were historic yet relatively unknown – such as several pioneering female aviators she cited in the person of Amelia Earhart. Next, Jeanne Harvey reviewed some of the League’s 19th century origins and some of its early achievements, such as supporting the foundation of the United Nations and sponsoring the first presidential debates. She also touched on the Ventura County League’s beginnings. Finally, Esha Momeni, an Iranian-American graduate student at California State University Northridge and member of the Iranian women’s rights group “One Million Signatures,” talked eloquently about her rewarding and sometimes dangerous work for greater freedom for women in the overall context of Iran’s ongoing Green Revolution. Thanks especially go to Jeri Andrews, Helen Lamonte, and Helen Myerson for all their efforts to make this meeting a success.
There was considerable activity on the unit level in addition to general Program Planning. In December there were the holiday parties; in May, unit meetings were devoted to viewing David Maron and Timm Herdt’s DVD on the June ballot propositions. For other months, there were the following speakers or presentations:
Camarillo: September, Bob Burrows, Camarillo Planning Department; October, Sheriff’s Department presentation, Senior Deputy Bob MacLean; November, Grand Jury presentation (in conjunction with Ventura unit); February, Camarillo Workforce Housing Task Force presentation (in conjunction with Conejo/Simi Valley); April, social meeting.
Conejo/Simi Valley: October, Grand Jury presentation; November, tour of Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center; February, Camarillo Workforce Housing Task Force presentation (in conjunction with Camarillo); March, Teen Voter Outreach Program; April, “Come and Clip” meeting.
Santa Paula: October, Steve Lattimore, discussion on water and climate change; November, Ellen Brokaw on farm worker housing; March, Joyce Carlson, update on climate change; April, Cathy Brudnicki, Executive Director of Ventura County Homelessness and Housing Coalition
Ventura: September, “Clip and Come” meeting; October, issue forum on local ballot measures; November, Grand Jury presentation (in conjunction with Camarillo unit); January, Jay Panzica on Ventura budget; March, Cathy Brudnicki on homelessness; April, Beverly Silsbee on the federal education program and Barbara Fitzgerald on Ventura schools.
Despite this impressive activity, there has been recent concern about unit meetings, since they involve a lot of work for directors and sometimes get very small turnouts. Some new possibilities were discussed in a January 12 meeting of unit directors and representatives convened by Sue Kelley and at several subsequent Board meetings. One idea under consideration is to have a single meeting each month with location rotating among the various units.
This year’s finale was the Annual Meeting on June 19 at The Greek at the Harbor. We had been fortunate to get our first choice as speaker (thanks to Frank Pecarich - also for his fine introduction), the author and journalist Mark Arax, who spoke on “A Glimpse into California’s Water Future: The Game and the Players.” The talk (fully reported elsewhere), giving the big picture of a “Byzantine” subject, was engrossing and stimulating, masterfully using the careers of “three billionaires” to weave a number of strands together at the end. Afterwards, he signed copies of his latest book, West of the West.
A number of those attending the meeting returned a survey questionnaire on program matters. Adding these to discussion during the year, there was obviously considerable emphasis on water issues during the League year just concluded, and some continuing interest might result in a 2010-2011 (or at least future) forum on Ventura County water; homelessness is another strong possibility. Other suggestions are education, prisons, privatization, and the Supreme Court decision on corporate speech. I invite you to submit your comments on this and other program matters by returning the survey I have provided.
I wish to thank all my League colleagues for the benefit of their collective experience and for their help and encouragement during my exciting but often daunting year as the new program chair. – Steve Lattimore, Program Chair