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Local Leagues in New Mexico

 

Present:Judy Williams, Suzanne Ronneau, Diane Goldfarb, Kim Sorensen, Laura Atkins, Karen Douglas, Barbara Calef, Janet Blair, Karen Wentworth, Leah Ingraham, Meredith MachenThe meeting was called to order at 11:00 am.The agenda was approved with three additions: a discussion of national’s creation of local websites under the President’s Report; nomination of two board members to the Nominating Committee under Convention; the addition of the national popular Vote (NPV) to our priorities under Action.

The minutes were approved with no revisions.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

Judy Williams noted that we “made it through the election.”

Marcy Litzenberg (SFC) had alerted board members that LWVUS has created websites in the name of the local Leagues with “Take Action,” “Donate,” and “Stories from Around the State,” none of which relate to the local or New Mexico League. There is also a link to the local website. Williams said it was likely part of the LWVUS effort at branding. Kim Sorensen has written to LWVUS and read from their response. They said there are Leagues with no websites, and they were trying to help. The board asked Judy to draft a letter to LWVUS on behalf of LWVNM objecting to the duplicative site as well as the content.

TREASURER'S REPORT

Ronneau reported that she has received the PMP payments from the local Leagues and there were few expenses paid out since August 24. The balance as of November 3 is $26,555.64. She recommended that we invest in a CD from Wells Fargo. Diane Goldfarb remarked that LWVNM has additional funds (a couple thousand) for reproductive rights in the CNM Ed Fund.

Meredith Machen moved that $10,000 be put in a CD. Janet Blair seconded. All in favor.

CONVENTION

Barbara Calef announced that the 2019 LWVNM Convention will be held in Los Alamos at the Holiday Inn Express the weekend of May 18. She proposed to change the schedule, which had been shortened during the previous three cycles. The attendees would gather on Friday evening to socialize and the first plenary session would begin Saturday morning. There would be opportunities for interaction among the attendees before the plenary sessions and in the afternoon. The additional time would allow for discussion among portfolio managers, such as the treasurers, for example, as well as issue groups. There was no objection to the change in schedule.

Calef proposed invited Stephanie Garcia Richard, the Land Commissioner-elect, to be the banquet speaker. The board approved.

Dick Mason (who was absent) suggested that LWVNM give an award to Representative Jim Dines, who sponsored the Independent Ethics Commission and has been a model for ethical conduct as a legislator. Machen said that we should have a program and criteria for an award. She suggested “Making Democracy Work” as the title. There was discussion about whom to ask for recommendations and who should make the decision. There was consensus that the board should make the decision. The board agreed to give Dines the first Making Democracy Work award. Meanwhile, Goldfarb will look at the criteria CNM used for a similar award and Machen will send out a draft program and criteria for review.

Next, the board discussed whom to appoint to the Nominating Committee. The off-board members are Gwen Hanson (GLC), Rosmarie Frederickson (LA), and Andrea Targhetta (CNM). Laura Atkins volunteered and Becky Shankland was appointed in absentia.

ACTION

League Day:

Mason has submitted the League Day plans and will invite Maggie Toulouse Oliver to the legislative reception to speak about the voting issues, including automatic voter registration (AVR), same day registration, and open primaries.

Advocacy:

Mason reported that he has visited three of the local Leagues to explain the LWVNM priorities for the 2019 legislative session. He will speak with CNM soon. He wants the local leagues to organize meetings with area legislators to discuss the issues with our legislators prior to the beginning of the session. Williams added that it would be nice to talk to legislators in other districts about our priorities. Kim Sorensen reported that there was lots of interest in voter services in outlying districts. GLC provides mentors, training people to do voter guides and candidate forums. Williams said she would be willing to go out and meet with prospective leaders.

In response to Sorensen’s question about a budget for such voter guides, Williams noted that we produced an electronic state-wide voter guide for the November election, but there were many problems with the vendor. She is willing to consider trying Vote 411 for the next election. Meanwhile, we need a strategy to make people more aware of the voter guide if we produce another one statewide.

Next steps for legislative advocacy include meeting with our legislators. Los Alamos has sent invitations to their senators. Laura Atkins said she will speak to the SFC Leadership Team. Everyone is encouraged to attend the Advocacy Workshop on December 8.

Redistricting:

The bill proposing something similar to the Iowa redistricting model is being drafted and will be sponsored by Senator Mark Moores. The League’s presentation to Courts, Corrections and Justice on Oct 18 was well received. However, the leaders of the House and Senate say redistricting bills aren’t likely to pass in the next session. Machen said we should talk about the need to make the districts more compact. Brian Sanderoff (Research and Polling) has stated that he will not speak about redistricting until the 2020 census has been completed.

Ethics Commission enabling legislation:

Machen is on the working group looking at the draft language for the enabling legislation along with Common Cause and NM Ethics Watch. Rep. Damon Ely will sponsor the bill in the House. If it is also introduced in the Senate, Linda Lopez will carry it there. (The leadership has said they do not want bills on the same issue moving through both houses simultaneously.)

Machen said that two meetings are scheduled for December 5 and 10. They are open to the public. She has recommended that Paul Biderman be invited to participate.

Reproductive Rights:

Goldfarb handed out petitions and asked that they be returned by January 4. They are trying to collect 15,000 signatures for the Respect New Mexico Women campaign and the petition is supposed to go online. She will be away during the session but will arrange for others to attend the hearings. Williams remarked that Egolf had said “it won’t be as easy as you think” to repeal the anti-abortion statute. Roe v Wade Day is January 18 from 10-11 a.m. in the Rotunda.

NPV

Williams reported that the National Popular Vote has been added to the LWVNM priorities for 2019. Barry Fadem, an attorney from California and the head of National Popular Vote, is working to get it adopted in New Mexico, Nevada, Delaware, Colorado, and Oregon. There is optimism that it will pass and be signed by New Mexico in 2019.

Census Advocacy:

It was agreed that Williams should send a letter to Lujan Grisham asking her to sign a Complete Count order and request an appropriation from the legislature.

VOTER SERVICES

Goldfarb worked very hard on the voter guide and did a great job. The CNM voter guide was behind schedule because they forgot that there is a piece of the 2nd

Congressional district in Bernalillo County.

Native American Voter Guides

Goldfarb was able to get $12,000 from the Thornburg Foundation without knowing the final cost to print 15,000 printed voter guides for the counties with significant Native American populations. The final bill was $12,800. Initially she was asked to produce voter guides for 11 counties, but later the SOS office asked for Luna County, for a total of 12 voter guides.

Some judicial races were accidentally omitted by the Secretary of State’s office (SOS). Nevertheless, Goldfarb got positive feedback for the effort. Thornburg wants a plan to produce voter guides for 2020 and will consider providing funding again. Judy and Everett? Chavez, Chair of the SOS Native American Task Force, were invited to give a 10-minute presentation at the All Council Board of Governors on October 18.

Voter Guide Details:

Goldfarb will meet with Rebecca Martinez to get up to date information for the voter guides on how to vote, where to vote, job descriptions. Peggy Howell at CNM is planning to produce a document with procedure, time-line, and questions for the voter guide. An election de-briefing at the convention was suggested.

Chris McKee, a reporter, asked the League to comment on how voters could learn about the judges who are up for retention and what the League could do about it. The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) produces that information, but the League was criticized once for including it, as it makes candidate recommendations.

Voter Guide Policy:

Ronneau expressed concern about what to do when a candidate’s voter guide submission includes lies and/or misinformation. Machen read part of the existing voter guide policy, which says that “we would not knowingly publish defamatory content.” She moved to add “false or materially misleading.” Ronneau seconded. Much discussion ensued. Goldfarb and Wentworth objected that we would appear biased and some candidates would refuse to participate. Calef objected to “materially misleading” as being too vague. The motion was withdrawn. A new motion was proposed: “If the League deems there is anything false or defamatory…” It passed with Blair and Wentworth voting no. The policy will be included in letters of instruction to candidates about the voter guides. Machen will send the revised policy to the board.

COMMUNICATIONS

Janet reported that notices about the state voter guide and the Native American voter guide were posted on Facebook along with reminders to register and vote. She also made some phone calls to the media, but did not get a lot of response. There were some live interviews. She did not want to publicize the problems with the statewide voter guide. Judy said that we need to figure out how to promote the 2020 statewide voter guide. Janet responded: with letters to the editor, editorial room visits, a road trip. She also recommended paying the $15,000 to the broadcasters, who will provide Spanish and Navajo translations.

SPECIAL PROJECTS: Anniversary

Machen recommends using Dropbox for documents. Blair suggested Google Docs, but that requires a gmail account for each user. It was agreed to use Dropbox. Machen has already set up the account. The ID is LWV.NM. The password is democracy.

Machen has read a lot in preparation for the 100th celebration. She wants a committee to help with planning. Marjorie Burr (GLC), Jeanne Logsdon, and Karen Wentworth (CNM) have volunteered. Sorensen showed pictures of the three-panel display GLC created for their 50th anniversary. The panels were shown in various places and received good response. It was suggested that plans should be discussed at the convention.

PROGRAM

The local Leagues need to begin thinking about program planning – members should review local and state positions to see what needs to be revised. New positions require a study or concurrence.

Public Lands

Calef did not give a report. The first consensus meeting was held in Santa Fe on November 13. The others will take place in Albuquerque on November 29, Los Alamos on December 6, and Las Cruces on January 14.

Nuclear Waste Storage

(Karen Douglas)

Douglas would like to extend the study another year. She handed out a new set of consensus questions, but the study committee has not yet seen them. The committee will meet on December 8, and Karen was asked to report on their progress at the next board meeting. Extension of the study must be granted by the convention. To get a board recommendation, the committee must present their updated plan at the March board meeting.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The next board meeting will be held in Albuquerque on January 19. The March meeting will be in Santa Fe on the March 9. The deadline for articles for the Winter La Palabra is December 15. Please send them to bfcalefgmail.com. Blair requests that photos include a title indicating the article they are to accompany. Meeting adjourned at 3:02.