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The Voter - April 2018

IN THIS ISSUE

  • High School Voter Registration
  • Census Question 
  • NB Park Development Fees
  • Gun Safety
  • Women's History Month Program 
  • Annual Meeting

OFFICERS & DIRECTORS

President 

Roxanna Deane
VP-Program
Darlene HIcks
VP - Voters Service
Robin Engel  & Susan Herr
Secretary
Betty Colley
Treasurer
Gloria Suarez Sasser
Director, Publicity
Jerrie Champlin

Director-At-Large

Janyth Frederickson

Membership Chair, Off Board

Bonnie Leitch
Chair, Nominating Committee
Lois Ricci

LWV is a non partisan political organization which encourages informed and active participation in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. LWV never supports or opposes candidates for office, or political parties, but does take positions on issues based on member study
and consensus.

Impact on Issues

LWV US public policy positions

 

Program Perspectives

LWV Texas public policy positions

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Mark your Calendars

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WHAT:      Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrar Training

WHEN:      Tuesday, April 17: 10 to 11

WHERE:     Comal County Elections Center

                 396 North Seguin Avenue
                 New Braunfels, TX 78130
 

 

WHAT:      Annual Meeting of LWV-CA

WHEN:     Thursday, May 17: 6 - 8 pm

WHERE:    Unitarian Universalist of New Braunfels

                  135 Alves Lane, NB 

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From the President

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First, I want to thank everyone who made the Enchanted Evening benefit with Kara Bliss and her band such a success.  This includes Kara who donated her performance as well as all those that labored to make the food and the evening so special. The event raised over $1300. I also want to thank the 16 donors that raised $1,135 for the Education Fund during the Big Give. 

 

March brought together the dual purposes of the League – voter services and advocacy.  You will read below about the successful voter registration events in the high schools of Comal ISD.  We also set up a voter registration table at the March for our Lives in New Braunfels on March 24.  These young people recognize that change will come when people vote.  Gun safety has been an issue for the League since 1990 and we are proud to stand with these young people.

 

Our League’s Land Use Position was the basis for advocacy activities this month.  Jensie Madden appeared before Commissioner’s Court to speak about the Regional Habitat Conservation Plan.  She urged the Court  to be proactive by convening a Task Force to find options for acquiring a preserve for the
RHCP.  Read Remarks 

 

Bonnie Leitch represented the League before the New Braunfels City Council to advocate for new park development fees.  I was prepared to speak at the next Council meeting, but the issue was postponed.  We sent our several Action Alerts and sent a letter to the editor.

 

Please put May 17 on your calendar and attend the Annual Meeting. This is our only really business meeting with election of officers.  In addition we are fortunate to have Grace Chimene, Vice-President of LWV-Texas for Advocacy join us. By the time she joins us in May she will be the President of LWV-Texas. 

 
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 Spring Registration Drive draws dozens of new voters

 
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Eighteen-year-old students kept the League of Women Voters-Comal Area’s deputy voter registrars busy during the Spring Registration Drive hosted by the Comal independent School District high schools, March 20 and 21.

“Excellent report on our time at Canyon Lake High School,” said Janet Dixon by email. “I was very impressed with the students—they seemed so much more polite, alert, and aware than people that age you typically run across. It was a great experience!”

She and eight other DVRs assisted 42 students during lunch hours at Canyon Lake, Canyon, Smithson Valley and Memorial Early College high schools. Thirty-four students registered on site and eight took registrations to mail.

At Smithson Valley High School, DVRs helped students with registrations at a brisk rate of one every 4.8 minutes – or 23 students in just 90 minutes.

“The interest in registering was noticeably up,” said Jerrie Champlin who worked at Smithson Valley.

Although the majority of students registered to vote in Comal County, eight registered in Bexar County and one in Guadalupe County.

“The Comal Independent School District takes in corners of both Bexar and Guadalupe counties, so I am extremely grateful to those DVRs who go the extra mile to get certification in those counties in addition to Comal,” said Robin Engel, voter services co-chair.

In addition to registering new voters, the League of Women Voters-Comal Area encourages young citizens to vote and provides voter information on candidates at VOTE411.org.

The League has been registering students and adults in the CISD since 2016, in partnership with the CISD and the Comal Election Center.

Robin Engel 

 
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A Question on Citizenship

 
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Every ten years the United States conducts a census of the population, the count is then used to identify population growth across the country.  The Commerce Department recently announced that it would add a question concerning citizenship status on the 2020 Census.  The question last appeared on the census in 1950.  While that may seem like a guileless question, inquiring if someone is American citizen has caused several organizations including LWV US to come out against the addition.  LWV US President, Chris Carson stated” Make no mistake: this decision isn’t about improving demographic data on citizenship.  It is designed to frighten immigrants-citizens and noncitizens alike- so they won’t participate in the Census.”

While the Census Bureau is not allowed to share identifying information on those filling out the census forms, even from the FBI and other government entities, many members of the immigrant community are fearful.  In the current anti-immigrant climate, immigrants may be less willing to participate in the census count.  This would give an inaccurate count of the population. 

 An accurate count is essential to the work of redistricting committees; an undercounted population would find itself underrepresented in the State House and Senate as well as in Congressional representation.   Federal funding for health care, education, and infrastructure would also be affected and without an accurate count our businesses will lack the tools to improve and invest in our communities.  

The question will serve only to create an atmosphere of fear among immigrants, will undermine the rights of eligible voters by limiting our congressional representation, and will undermine the State’s ability to received federal funds. The inclusion of the citizenship question is wrong and invasive and raises concerns about the confidentially of personal information; as well as the cost of including this question this late in the process.    The League of Women Voters will fight to fix this and will work with anyone who cares about the accuracy of the census.


Gloria Suarez Sasser
 
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New Braunfels Park Development Fees

 
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The upcoming New Braunfels City Council meeting (6 pm Monday)  will be an important opportunity for citizens to voice their opinion regarding who should pay for future parkland acquisition in the city. As noted in your April 5 article, “City Believes Development Fees will help with Demand,” the council will be considering higher park development fees for developers in order to offset the rising cost of land for park acquisition.

The League of Women Voters of Comal Area supports these higher fees. Our members believe that parks are very important for the health and safety of residents, and that the increasing population requires a growing number of accessible parks.

Certainly taxpayers need to share in the cost of new parks, but the cost burden needs to spread to the new homeowners who are flocking to New Braunfels. The higher development fees assessed on developers will be passed along to the new homeowners, who will be receiving the benefits of the new parks.

We encourage the City Council to approve the fees as proposed by the Parks Advisory Board and the Planning Commission, two citizen committees who have given consideration to all the interests involved. We also encourage residents to voice their opinions on April 9.

 

Roxanna Deane, President

League of Women Voters Comal Area

 

Letter to the editor - Herald Zeitung  April 8, 2018

 
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Gun Safety

 
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LWVUS Statement of Position on Gun Control, as Adopted by 1990 Convention and amended by the 1994 and 1998 Conventions:

 

The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that the proliferation of handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons in the United States is a major health and safety threat to its citizens.

 

The League supports strong federal measures to limit the accessibility and regulate the ownership of these weapons by private citizens. The League supports regulating firearms for consumer safety.

 

The League supports licensing procedures for gun ownership by private citizens to include a waiting period for background checks, personal identity verification, gun safety education and annual license renewal. The license fee should be adequate to bear the cost of education and verification.

 

The League supports a ban on “Saturday night specials,” enforcement of strict penalties for the improper possession of and crimes committed with handguns and assault weapons, and allocation of resources to better regulate and monitor gun dealers.


LWV-Texas Information on Gun Safety

 
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Women's History Month Program

 
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 LWV-Comal Area’s monthly meeting held at the New Braunfels Library on March 29th featured guest speaker Justice Patricia Alvarez of the 4th Court of Appeals who spoke on the role of the League of Women Voters and Equality.   The 4th Court of Appeals is comprised of thirty-two counties from San Antonio to Laredo.  Justice Alvarez was born in Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother and held dual citizenship in Mexico and the U.S.   She immigrated to the United States in her early twenties along with her young son.  She graduated from UTSA and UT Law School and has practiced law for twenty-five years.  Justice Alvarez was elected to the 4th Court of Appeals in 2012.

 

Justice Alvarez began by reminding us that on March 26, 1918, a hundred years ago, Governor William Hobby signed the bill that gave Texas women the right to vote and that Texas Equal Suffrage Association (now League of Women Voters-Texas) was instrumental in getting the bill passed.   In 1977, the Women’s March for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment called for equal pay, affordable child care and a stop to the deportation of mothers of American children and in 2017, women marched once again for equal pay, affordable childcare and DACA. 

 

While many strives have been made, the struggle continues; but the power lies within us to achieve what we desire. First, we must identify what it is we desire, better education for our children, equal pay, equality, and justice once we know what we desire, respect ourselves in whatever situation and respect others, then we can achieve Equality.  She stated “This is the power to rule your own life and not to fear. It is the power to say: I am not accepting this.  I am not acquiescing to that and I am not rolling over for you- because I know what I want, and I am passionate about it.”  That is what the League of Women Voters have been doing since 1918.


Gloria Suarez Sasser

 
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Annual Meeting

 
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Save the Date for the  LWVCA Annual Meeting May 17!

 

Meet Grace Chimene, LWV Texas President for 2018-19, and join us for dinner and  lively conversation Thursday, May 17 at  6 pm at the Unitarian Universalists in New Braunfels.  Beef brisket, chicken, coffee, tea and water will be provided.  $10 per person plus a side dish or dessert of your choice to share.  Contact Jerrie Champlin at 830-643-4657 or jbaralin@gvtc.com to register and let us know what you’ll be bringing.  Guests are welcome.

 

Attendees at the Spring Concert know what a delicious spread LWVCA members cook up!

 

Visit www.lwvcomal.org

 

Contact our President:
Roxanna Deane, 830-935-4635 or roxanna@gvtc.com

 

Send dues of $60 per person or $90 per household to:
LWV-Comal Area, P.O. Box 311324, New Braunfels, TX 78131-1324.
Or pay with a credit card at lwvcomal.org.

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