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November 2010

Mark Your Calendar!

By Norma Clack

Join us December 4

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On Saturday, December 4, our League is hosting a membership Get-Acquainted Breakfast from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the historic Ladies’ Library Association, 333 S. Park St. All LWVKA members will receive an official invitation in November, but we wanted to let you know now so that you can save the date on your calendar.

This event will be an opportunity to renew acquaintances with other League members and to meet newer members. We are also inviting others in the community who may have an interest in learning about our League. We are encouraging members to consider bringing a guest who might be a potential new member. If you have any questions, please contact Norma Clack, Membership Director, at 372-2131 or ngclack@sbcglobal.net or the LWVKA at 269-544-0303.

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Home Sweet Home

By Ann Perry

Low-Income Housing Coaliton Needs YOU to Help Kalamazoo County Residence Avoid Homelessness

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Everyone deserves a place to call “home.” Homelessness is increasing and many of us know of people and families who have become homeless through no fault of their own.
Kalamazoo County can be very proud of a four-year-old program that has proven successful in preventing and ending homelessness in the County. Thanks to one-time gifts from the City of Portage, the City of Kalamazoo and the County, a local Housing Assistance Fund was created. The fund helped 74 households avoid homelessness. In addition, the fund provided 117 vouchers for individuals and families to assist with rent. Over 40 have “graduated,” meaning they no longer need the assistance of the County.

BUT, the money is running out. To assure continuance of the very successful Housing Assistance Fund, supporters have organized a Low-Income Housing Coalition to find a permanent funding source that will allow the good work to continue. The LWVKA has joined the Coalition so we can be “at the table” in making decisions in this very important issue that impacts all of us.

Four Leaguers, Sabrina Pritchett-Evans, Mary Brown, Kay Perry and Ann Perry are working on sub-committees representing the League. Several other Leaguers are on committees representing other organizations. If you have an interest in finance, messaging to voters, outreach to others who might join the coalition or voter contact issues, PLEASE join us. Contact Ann Perry at 381-4277 or annmperry11@gnet.com. Hope to hear from you.

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Be Part of the League’s Historic 90th Year: Share Your League Story!

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The LWVUS is recording our vast and diverse history by collecting and sharing personal stories from League members just like you: stories of personal development, friendship, and achievement. Please share your League story with us online. Tell us why you joined the League, why you love being a member, or what the League means to you. Help us save the memories we’ve made and encourage more individuals to get involved.

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DISCLOSE Act Rejected

From LWVUS

Act would have partially restored transparency to U.S. elections by requiring disclosure of corporate and union spending in candidate elections.

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Despite all our efforts, especially the hard work by the LWVs of Maine and Massachusetts, the DISCLOSE Act failed to pass. See the League’s statement. The League worked hard lobbying Senators to support the Act, which would have partially restored transparency to U.S. elections by requiring disclosure of corporate and union spending in candidate elections. The LWV of Maine held an event to encourage their Senators to support the bill. The League also sent a letter to the full Senate, urging quick action on the bill, and a letter with coalition partners to Senators Snowe and Collins of Maine and Brown of Massachusetts, urging them to support the DISCLOSE Act. We focused on these three Senators, who were crucial votes, but they didn’t come through for us. The legislation is expected to be brought to the Senate again in a lame-duck session after the November elections.

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New Member Profile:
Mimi Otto

By Norma Clack

Mimi Otto of Portage is a new member of the LWVKA . She says she has always been aware of the League of Women Voters, especially because of the Voter Guide, but didn’t sign-up until Cam Davis talked with her about joining. This happened at the YWCA’s Women’s Equality Day where the League had a display table set up by Mimi’s table for the Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (CAN Council).

She was drawn to learn about the League because of her interest in social services. She liked the factual presentation of candidate and voting information, and supports the League’s venues for candidates to talk with community members and address key issues.

As the executive director of the CAN Council, Mimi is already very active in the community and on various organizational boards, including the Great Start Collaborative’s Parent Education and Support Committee. She is also a “proud mom” of three boys who keep her busy.

Mimi and her boys came to the Kalamazoo area eight years ago and she joined the CAN Council two years later. Three and a half years ago she was promoted to executive director after Jan Middlemas retired. She feels very privileged to be leading this organization. She is now delighted to “finally” be a member of the League of Women Voters and looks forward to having many opportunities to participate.