League of Women Voters of Manatee County
Committees are made up of LWV members who study issues, make recommendations to the board and engage in public education efforts. All phone numbers are for area code 941. For more contact information, click on “Officers” tab.
One of the important ways of participating in our League is to answer the calls to action we issue periodically, to contact elected officials about current issues. While some appear in our Voter newsletter and on our website, we most often contact our members by email. In this manner we can reach our members quickly, since often we need to contact decision-makers within a few days. We have our own local issue-alerts, and also forward alerts from the state and national League. By simply making a call or email to your elected representatives, you can make a difference. Democracy is not a spectator sport!
Committee chair: Hannah Honeyman 355-2809
At present twenty counties in Florida use the charter form of government, including many of the counties in southwest Florida. Manatee County still uses the constitutional form of government, which lacks the flexibility, choices, and public participation options available to charter governments. The committee formed in September 2013 is currently studying charter government and explaining to the public the options this form of government could present to Manatee County. Our committee will conduct research, collect information, and host public programs to gauge the public interest in this issue. If you would like to participate, please contact Committee chair.
Committee Chair: Rosalie Shaffer, 729-9248
Communications--The Manatee VOTER and website
With the November 2011 issue, we expanded our newsletter so that we can bring more information to our readers. We would like to have organizational or corporate sponsors for our newsletter. Sponsors will receive an acknowledgment notice in every issue. We have ramped up our website to include more information, links and graphics. Needed: a computer wiz to help us redesign our website and create a Facebook page; and a volunteer to handle bulk mail.
Committee: Rosalie Shaffer 729-9248.
Since a large portion of our dues funds go to help support national and state Leagues, we must do fundraising during the year to support our activities. Our fundraising activities include the generosity of our members, income from events, grants, and sponsorships of specific efforts such as our voters guides.
We have had very positive results, and we appreciate the support of our members, businesses, and the community.
Committee Chair: Lee Pflueger, 896-3700.
Our committee has been very busy giving talks to community groups on the Affordable Care Act, with 15 either already given or scheduled this year. Now that the health insurance exchanges are coming into effect, many people have questions about what that means for them. We have compiled a handy guide about enrollment, available at ACA Info.
We have also been active with other community health committees. I attended the quarterly meeting of the Manatee County Health Care Alliance in July and our League is now officially a member of the Alliance. The meeting was excellent -- mostly brainstorming about ways to improve Manatee's Health Care system (resources, challenges, possible pilot projects, etc.). It ended with a splendid presentation by Mary Ruiz of Manatee Glens on a better model for thinking about health care. It was the best discussion of models for health care that I have ever heard. At the end of the meeting Linda deMello spoke up about how wonderfully the League has stepped up to the plate when it was needed, and the group gave a resounding applause. I also attended the monthly meeting of the Chamber's Health Committee in July.
Another piece of good news is that the nurses at Sarasota Memorial Hospital got the grant they applied for from the Breast Cancer Foundation for an educational event for health care workers, especially nurses, in Sarasota (and they hope also Manatee) County. The event would include a one hour talk by me on the Affordable Care Act, another by one of the nurses on “Nurse Navigators”, specially trained Clinical Nurse Specialists who meet with patients recently diagnosed with cancer, especially for women with breast cancer (date to be set).
Many thanks to fellow committee member Kathleen Dodge. If you are interested in joining the Committee or would like more information, or if you would like to schedule a talk on the Affordable Care Act for your local community group, please call me at (941) 782-4530 (home), (941) 807-4851 (cell), or send an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Committee: Suzanne Dickie, Chair; Kathleen Dodge, Nancy Horne
Public education is one of our major activities, highlighted by “Hot Topic” programs, featuring knowledgeable speakers on current, and often controversial, issues of interest. All of our programs are free and open to the general public. They have enjoyed good attendance this year. Topics we covered last year included: A two part series on the ballot amendments to the Florida Constitution; the future of Social Security and Medicare; local transportation issues, running for office; bullying; drug offenders in the justice system. This fall we will cover charter government, education, and health care. See homepage for more information
All of our Hot Topics are recorded by METV for later showings on their station (Bright House 614; Comcast 19; Verizon 31). For schedule, go to www.metvweb.com. A major new option for viewing our programs began this year when METV created a YouTube link. Now anyone can watch any of our Hot Topics on their computer by simply going onto www.metvweb.com, clicking on the YouTube logo, and selecting a program.
Our Hot Topic programs are held at the Bradenton Woman’s Club, 1705 Manatee Ave. W., and we thank the BWC for their partnership in our educational efforts. Our doors open at 11:30 am and the talks run from 12 noon to 1:00 pm. Refreshments and snacks are served at 11:30 am, and attendees are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch.
Committee contact: Rosalie Shaffer 729-9248
We are very pleased to see so many new members signing up at our events or downloading our membership form from our website. We’re also glad to see that many of them want to be active members, attending our Hot Topics or working on committees. Our website and Hot Topics have been our principle recruitment tools; however, our efforts need to be expanded and we plan a major recruitment drive during the coming year.
Our membership year runs with the calendar year, but those joining near the end of a year are granted the following year also. You can help, by inviting friends and relatives to join our League. We need every member to become part of the effort to increase our membership. The more members we have, the more we can accomplish. Join today! Membership form.
Committee Chair: Ashley Brown, 360-3651.
Natural Resources Committee
Longbar Pointe. In August we asked Manatee County Commissioners to vote against the Comprehensive Plan amendments for Longbar Pointe that would allow environmental damage to sensitive resources in Sarasota Bay and other areas of our county. After over 1,000 citizens attended the hearing on August 6, the county voted against the text changes for the development, but approved the map changes to Mixed Use, after the developer agreed to remove the 300 slip marina. We will be watching for further developments in this issue. See our Action Alert at Stop Longbar
Help Preserve Environmentally Sensitive Land! Sign the Petition for Water and Land Conservation
The League of Women Voters of Florida has endorsed a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution that would protect hundreds of thousands of acres of habitat land and ensure the state’s clean water supply for future generations. Please print out, sign and mail the petition to have this important amendment appear on the ballot in 2014.
Committee: Rosalie Shaffer 729-9248; Jo Williams
Outreach and Speaker’s Bureau
The Outreach Committee is going to other community groups to present and discuss issues.
The Speaker’s Bureau was formed last year and is currently available to community groups that would like speakers on a variety of topics. Speakers with powerpoint programs are currently available for the following topics:
· The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010: what it says and how it changes health care.
· County Charter Government: what it is, what it changes, and how it can be adopted in Manatee County.
· Florida Water & Land Amendment: how it will help preserve, protect and restore Florida’s natural resources.
· The League of Women Voters: what we stand for, and what we do.
Contact: Sue Dickie for the Health Act, 782-4530; and Rosalie Shaffer for all others: 729-9248.
Given our strong commitment to nonpartisan voter education and participation, our League works hard to educate voters and to encourage a high turnout.
Voter Registration and Get Out the Vote: This project has been a tremendous success, not only in the numbers registered, but also the bonds we formed with the schools and other community organizations. For example, at State College of Florida, we encouraged their fraternity to initiate a permanent, on-site registration facility. The American Association of University Women and ourselves pledged to team up again for this very successful activity.
Candidate Forums: We team up with the Bradenton Herald, METV and TV9 in a series of timed debates for candidates for US, state, county and city elections. We also participate in debates in partnership with other groups such as the AAUW, Islander Newspaper, and other community organizations.
Voter Guides: We distribute to the public, libraries and community centers 10,000 state LWV guides (which contain amendments explanations), 8,000 primary and general election local guides to candidates on the ballot. These have been invaluable to the voters in making their decisions. We thank the Bradenton Herald for its support for our local guides.
Amendment Talks: We receive many calls from voters about the ballot amendments. To help the public, we not only hold informative Hot Topics on these, and distribute information in our guides, but also give talks to community organization groups, reaching hundreds of voters, to explain the complex amendments they would be voting on.
Voter Information Center: To reach even more voters with our information during an election season, we assemble all the nonpartisan information in one place—on our website. We include links to our guides, as well as links to METV, other nonpartisan sites with good, factual information on candidates and issues—a one-stop shopping center for information.
Our volunteers have done an amazing job, and there is no greater reward than the gratitude we have seen and heard from citizens. Here’s what one said by email in October: ”Thank all of you for helping me be an informed voter. Your help has been immeasurable in making my voting choices.”
Committee members: Rachel Bryant, Kathleen Dodge, Bernita Franzel, Sandra Hallenbeck, Nancy Horne, Lesley Jacobs, Barbara Jakusovszky, Gail Levin, Kay Levy, Anne McFarlane, Margaret Anne Moore, Charlotte Scarborough, Rosalie Shaffer and Evan Ward.
Photo: U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and Keith Fitzgerald face off at METV during election 2012.
Volunteer for a Committee!
Committees that need Chairs or members:
All of the Committees listed above need members.
We want to do more, and we need you!
Education: Help plan activities regarding education at all levels.
Growth Issues: Studies local comprehensive planning and land use ordinances, transportation, and makes recommendations.
Social Issues: Studies social issues, such as diversity, immigration, poverty, crime, homelessness, children and family.
Call 729-9248 or email email@example.com
League of Women Voters of Manatee County
P.O. Box 545
Bradenton, FL 34206-0545
Last updated: October 20, 2013