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Local Leagues in New Mexico

 
November 11, 2017, UNM Law School

These are partial minutes due to a lost file.
The Secretary offers her sincere apologies for the missing information and any resulting errors or omissions.

Present: Judy Williams, Diane Goldfarb, Akkana Peck, Laura Atkins, Suzanne Ronneau, Chris Furlanetto, Judith Binder, Kim Sorenson, Dick Mason, Karen Douglas, Leah Ingraham, Becky Shankland, Meredith Machen, Barbara Calef.

Meeting called to order by Judy Williams at 11:03 am.

The agenda was approved with one change: Chris Furlanetto was reported to have been at the last meeting but was absent.

PRESIDENT'S REPORT (Judy Williams):

The advocacy workshop will be held on December 9. There was discussion of the video we made last year: is it useful enough that we want to pay to have one made every year, even in short-session years like this one? Everybody liked the video and felt it was worth spending money on; the board voted to spend the money to pay for a video each year.

The board members were curious how many people watch the video, and also how many people go to our site in general. Webmaster Akkana Peck didn't have those numbers handy but promised to send that information out. She said the viewership on the video can be seen on the video's page on Vimeo, but for the rest of the website it's harder to get.

TREASURER'S REPORT:
All is well.

COMMUNICATIONS REPORT (Janet Blair):
The Communications Committee met a few weeks before the meeting to discuss plans. The official Communications Plan isn't ready to share yet, but Blair is planning more activity on Facebook and Twitter.

Blair also met with the NM Broadcasters Association. They can help us produce and get on the air PSAs urging voters to turn out. She said they would produce and place the PSA for $15,000, which would cover running it in all areas of New Mexico. We discussed possibilities for raising money to do them. While the cost is high for the League, board members felt it is an important service and would raise visibility for the League. Williams said she believes we can raise the money without asking members by applying for a grant.

Blair will investigate further, find out whether there are different price levels depending on how many PSAs we need, and once we know more, we can look into applying for grants.

WEBSITE (Akkana Peck):
Peck commented that the website is available for the three studies to post links, documents, proposed consensus questions and other materials. The Land Transfer study has a list of links up, and the Healthcare study has a page with links and some sample questions. She's been contacted about the Nuclear Waste Storage study but no one has sent anything to post yet.

VOTER SERVICES (Diane Goldfarb):
Goldfarb has been getting good information from people who have worked on past Voter Guides, and has lots of plans for the next one.

PROGRAM:

HEALTHCARE STUDY (Akkana Peck):
Peck said she'd been having trouble getting people to respond by email, and it was time to have an in-person meeting. Dick Mason suggested a phone conference as being easier, using the LWV line that the Action committee uses for its calls. There was some concern about how this meshes with people who don't have unlimited phone minutes or who have prepaid phones. Judy Williams said she could conference in four people without any charge, and since that's the number who have so far expressed interest in meeting for the study, that might be the best solution. Peck will work with Williams to set up a conference call. The board also encouraged Peck to write up a short summary for the next La Palabra describing what's been done so far in case anyone new wants to join.

LAND TRANSFER STUDY (Barbara Calef):
The group has been meeting and has gotten a lot of useful information, and has heard from several speakers. A law student [give his name so we can find this] has written a memo regarding legal issues to do with federal lands and submitted a paper he wrote earlier that is relevant to the study. The committee will meet with State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn on November 13.

NUCLEAR WASTE STORAGE STUDY (Karen Douglas):
There has been one local forum so far, in Los Alamos. It went well and was recorded on video. Everyone agreed that Kathy Taylor did a fine job running the meeting and presenting the slides. A few people felt that the other speaker, John Heaton, came across like an infomercial for a particular storage technology and that other options should be discussed at the forums.

Douglas had a list of proposed consensus questions that she brought to the board for approval. There was widespread agreement that it was premature to call them "consensus questions" since the study isn't that far along yet. It was agreed to call them "study questions".

Some details of specific questions were discussed, but some board members were bothered because many of the questions were yes/no questions rather than being open-ended like consensus questions need to be, and because some questions were national in scope. It was explained that a state study needs to limit its scope to state issues; so, for example, a site like Yucca Mountain in Nevada can be mentioned as background, but cannot be part of the questions being considered in a New Mexico state study. Douglas said she had shown the sample questions to our national representative, Henrietta Saunders, who felt they were on the right track, but the board decided that the questions needed to go back to the committee to be rewritten to limit their scope to New Mexico and to be more open-ended.

The group is using a national LinkedIn forum for communication, and some people were concerned because participants would need to sign up for LinkedIn, but of course that's true for our Yahoo lists as well, like Action. Other people were bothered that it was a national list, while this is a state study. Did the inclusion of members from other states give the impression that the committee was addressing a national issue? Douglas insisted that it was useful to be able to talk to people in other states to get perspective and for educational purposes; the people in the LinkedIn group aren't technically study members, just people included in a discussion. Another project, unrelated to the Nuclear Waste Storage study, is the Nuclear Waste Storage Primer. Karen is working on a proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy for the Primer (in book form) and a series of eight webcasts on the subject. We do not know the level of interest in DOE for either the Primer or the webcasts. There was much confusion over the webcasts: what would they be like and who is the intended audience? Do we need them? It was decided to keep the webcasts in the proposal, but that if the grant was reduced to omit them, that would be okay too. Karen has asked the potential contractor for a separate quote to produce the webcasts.

There was also discussion over resources. Williams said we need a project manager, and it can't be Karen, as she works full time for DOE. Other members agreed that we need a project director and should request funds to hire a part- time person to manage the project. The contractor would be responsible for actually writing the book. There was also concern that the contractor is asking for a very large amount of overhead and administrative expense. We need to be sure when submitting a big grant application that we'll have enough resources (in terms of people's time) to oversee everything we're proposing to do. We need to get a firm list of who will be volunteering to do what on this project.

ISSUE REPORTS (Meredith Machen):

Plans are proceeding for the LWV 100th anniversary celebration(s).

In education, a lot of things have been happening. There was the battle over the science standards, but that's just the beginning: students are being tested to death, charter school regulations still are not strong enough and there are lots of other problems that we need to address. Williams asked Machen to write up a one-page summary of the issues, without all the links and extra background. (SECRETARY'S NOTE: I remember the request for the one page summary but I'm not sure it was on education. Maybe it was on courts?)

On courts, the Secretary apologizes for not remembering what was said. Judiciary nominating committees need more members. The public needs to be informed about how the court system functions.

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS (Diane Goldfarb):

Three of the four local Leagues have have scheduled presentations. Santa Fe hasn't yet, but they will look into scheduling one. Julianna Koob gives a great presentation on how to talk to people about the abortion issue, which is recommended for everybody to hear.

Even so, we haven't spent much of the grant money, because Julianna and the other reproductive rights speakers won't accept expenses, and they won't even let us buy them lunch! Goldfarb requested that the local Leagues report the time spent by people planning these events, and mileage for anyone who had to drive to an event. Please get this information to Goldfarb as soon as you can so that she can arrange to transfer the funds from the CNM Ed. Fund to LWVNM.

ACTION (Dick Mason)

LEAGUE ADVOCACY POLICY: the policy was approved with only a few minor wordsmithing changes.

League Day is Feb 1, with the Legislative Reception the previous evening, January 31. Speakers are lined up.

Becky Shankland mentioned some ideas for making League Day more accessible to new members. Navigating at the Roundhouse is difficult: would a map be useful? More important, in some past years there have been members of local Leagues available to take their fellow members on a tour, showing them how to find their representatives and get to committee hearings. Could we do that again? There was some approval for the idea and nobody thought it was a bad idea, but no explicit plans were made; it's something each local League could arrange to do. LWVLA is thinking about having a social event a little before League Day. They have a lot of new members and want to give them a pre-orientation to let them know what to expect at League Day, and maybe to motivate them to go.

The Winter La Palabra deadline is December 8.
The next board meeting will be in Socorro on January 20, 11 to 3.

Adjourned at 3 pm.