Making Democracy Work

President's Report

Messages from your LWV President

President's Letter for May

We've included the proposed budget for 2018-2019 in this issue of the bulletin and I thought it would be useful to talk about where the League's money comes from and where it goes.

Most of our revenue comes from member dues, $6,915. That sounds like a lot but most of that money goes to pay per member payments (PMP) to the State League, $2,370, and the National League, $3,910, leaving $635 for our local League activities.

Fortunately, dues are not our only source of funds. Members generously contribute another $600 when they pay their dues. The League earns a substantial $1,100 from reporting poll results on Election Day and another $100-200 from monitoring elections for the Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority and Amsterdam Housing Authority. We depend heavily on our annual fundraiser, a Silent Auction scheduled for next year and a new idea, a Wine Pull, for this year (more details on the Wine Pull to come!). The fees paid by luncheon and dinner attendees cover the cost of those meetings. We also were awarded a grant of $900 to register new citizens to vote.

Our revenue pays for a host of important activities for our local League. Printing and mailing the bulletin keeps our members informed of League events. Part of that cost is offset by ads in the bulletin. Our website provides a wealth of information at a nominal cost.

By videotaping and posting our Candidate Forums on the Web, we inform a wider group of voters on how candidates stand on the issues. The Who's Who guide to officials in Schenectady County is widely distributed. Judy Middelkoop and Kay Ackerman have been successful in finding advertisers to cover the cost of printing Who's Who.

One of the most important and well known activities of the League is voter registration. The Board of Elections provides voter registration forms at no cost, but we buy a series of very useful voter guides from the State League, which cover voter issues for college students, the homeless, people with disabilities, people with criminal convictions and first time voters.

The League also sends two high school students each year to Students Inside Albany in which the students shadow state legislators. The State League covers the cost of one student; we pay for the second student. And we've budgeted $420 for our latest project, the Citizenship Mentoring Group, which assists legal permanent residents who wish to become U.S. citizens.

As you can see, the Schenectady League is a very active group and we do our best to put your dues and donations to good use. Thank you!

Cheryl Nechamen

President's Letter for April

When I wrote my President's Letter last month, lamenting the latest mass shooting, I felt helpless to change our gun culture.

But then the Parkland Florida kids took the lead and things look very different today. No longer content to cower in their classrooms, waiting for the "adults" to change our gun laws, young people have discovered the power of civic engagement. And I couldn't be more thrilled.

Being social media-savvy has certainly helped young people to organize, but they've also tapped into a groundswell of feeling that mass shootings have become far too frequent and common sense needs to prevail.

We older and wiser heads are accustomed to setting the agenda and allowing young people to participate in carefully controlled events. What we aren't used to is high school students being in charge, organizing protests, walkouts, marches and town hall meetings and demanding change.

Some of our most momentous changes were led by young people- the anti-war movement, civil rights, the environmental movement. Once again, young people are leading the way.

Cheryl Nechamen

Letter supporting the work of the SCCC

The following letter was sent by LWV President Cheryl Nechamen on behalf of the League and in support of the work of SCCC.

Jennifer Miller, Director of Community College Support SUNY System Administration Office of Community Colleges and the Educational Pipeline SUNY Plaza, 353 Broadway Albany, NY 12204 Dear Ms. Miller: The League of Women Voters of Schenectady County enthusiastically supports Schenectady County Community College's application to the SUNY Community College Community Schools (CCCS) grant. Schenectady County Community College (SCCC), in collaboration with an array of public, private and nonprofit partners, seeks to support high need students, and to build a network of accessible, on-campus, non-academic resources essential to successfully retaining and graduating these students.

The proposed SCCC Community Schools initiative, DESTINATION: SUCCESS, integrates college resources and community based services for students and their families through a centralized location on the College's campus. SCCC's DESTINATION: SUCCESS is aimed at increasing student retention rates of high-needs students by directly connecting them to multiple community resources available to support them through life's non-academic challenges. On-campus support will help students to navigate and address such issues as employment, food, housing, finances, childcare, primary care and mental health services, legal support, transportation, and other day-to-day needs than can negatively impact student success.

The League of Women Voters will partner with SCCC to develop and implement this important initiative. The League will hold voter registration drives on campus to increase the number of new voters. During the voter registration drives, pamphlets will be available that help students who may have felony convictions, disabilities or who are homeless which will enable them to exercise their right to vote.

The League distributes information on candidates and issues during election campaigns. In addition, the League has a long history of holding educational programs on local, state and national issues that will help students to become active and informed participants in our country.

The proposed DESTINATION: SUCCESS initiative is designed to improve SCCC's retention and graduation rates by significantly scaling up the College's ongoing efforts to provide support to its diverse and ever-changing student population. Providing on-campus access to crucial services will give SCCC students the support they need. This, in turn, will further strengthen student's families, our larger community, and our region. We enthusiastically support the College's application for SUNY Community Schools grant funding.

Sincerely,

Cheryl Nechamen

President

League of Women Voters of Schenectady County