Making Democracy Work

2012 Annual Report

Includes a 2011-12 calendar of events and committee reports for LWVSPA.

Introduction

The League of Women Voters often describes itself as a multifaceted organization, meaning that it is not a single issue organization. The league studies and develops positions and addresses many issues on state, national and local levels.

This multi level, multifaceted organization is in many ways a one stop organization that addresses the many interests of its members and offers members great opportunity and choices for involvement. Members can focus on their abilities, areas of interest and participate in ways that meet their other needs. Members can be involved individually using League information to remain current on issues and to advocate for issues of interest to them. Using the internet League information is accessible any time of the day or night right from their home computers. Members can also be involved with the combined voices of a larger local, state or national organization by taking action, studying issues, or serving as a League representative with other community organizations.

Calendar of Events

The calendar of events listed is a compilation of programs offered during the 2011-12 year. The schedule reflects and reinforces how League members are involved in ways of most interest to them including member initiated book studies, discussion groups, general programs, forums, and co-sponsored events with organizations that have compatible interest and mission with League.

General membership meetings reflect the organization's public face, providing voter and public education opportunities. These programs reflect areas of local interests including candidate forums, school and sustainability issues and co-sponsored events. Small group meetings, book studies reflect additional interests of the members.

  • The League Café+ member initiated group discussion
  • Sep 24, Central Wisconsin Moving Planet Celebration: Moving Beyond Fossil Fuels.
  • Sep 26, Wisconsin Media Reform Tour. Wausau. Forerunner to Broadcast Blues program, March 26
  • Oct 24, Before You Vote: Know the New Voter ID Requirements. Government Accountability Board Co sponsored with John Moe, Stevens Point Clerk
  • Oct 24, Whatever Happened to Good Government in Wisconsin, and How Can We Fix It? Wausau. Organized by Common Cause. LWVSPA co-sponsored.
  • November 4, Phase 2 of the Portage County energy plan- Sustainability Committee
  • December Member Social, Membership Coordinator
  • Hungry for Change- Member initiated Book Study
  • Jan 28, Local Lively Issues. Review of our local positions, Local Coordinator
  • February 8, Privatization League Study, State/National Coordinator
  • February 25, Building the Political Will to Stop Climate Change: An Introduction to Citizens Climate Lobby. (Madeline Para from the Citizens Climate Lobby). co-sponsored with I.C.E..
  • March 15, Candidate forum. Voter Service
  • March 26, Broadcast Blues- Reforming media DVD and discussion, member interest
  • April 12, Nicaragua Partnership Lending Library Project, member initiated interest
  • April 23, LWVSPA annual membership meeting. Steering Committee
  • June 1& 2, LWV of Wisconsin annual meeting, Wausau. LWVSPA host League.

Member Initiated Programs

Discussion Group: Hungry for Change - A new discussion group exploring issues related to the food we eat, using the book Hungry for Change. Discussions looked at ideas related to the interconnections among politics, health, social justice, ethics and the health of the local ecosystems that's built into what we choose to eat.

The League Café- Not your normal League meeting between presenters and audience. The café is an opportunity for a social, respectful, structured yet informal circle conversation on current political topics. The League Café is an approach to building constructive conversations and relationships between strangers and friends, citizens and government leaders. People attending a café conversation are not experts on issues but experts on what is important to them.

Committee Reports

Voter Service. Focusing on local elections the spring candidate forum featured candidates for school board and judge election. A candidates' guide including city and county board candidates was printed in the local newspapers and on our League website. Voter service has also developed a card that is mailed to all seniors in high school with voter registration information.

School Issues Committee. This year the school committee did not have one designated coordinator. Members shared leadership and focused on the statewide issue of reforming the funding formula for public education in Wisconsin. Members linked and collaborated with community members and the Retired Teachers Assoc. Some attended a meeting hosted by Opportunities to Learn a National Networking organization working to improve resources for public schools. The committee helped develop question for the school board candidate forum.

Sustainability Committee. The League hosted a public education session by Portage County energy. Specialist Joe Kottwitz which focused on transportation fuel use and submitted a letter to the County Board supporting adoption of the Portage County Strategic Energy Management Plan Phase II.

Steering Committee. The challenge to this multi faceted organization is organizing around the various interests, opportunities, abilities and time commitments of the members which is also reflected in how the Steering Committee is structured, functions and plans. Vacancies may result in some things undone, some things done differently. The overarching goal is to offer opportunities for members to be involved in a way that matches their time, abilities and interests. Steering Committee positions are co-coordinator positions. Monthly Steering Committee meetings are set by the members according to their schedules. This helps:

  • build overall support for the organization,
  • brings additional valuable input to Steering Committee discussions,
  • provides built in task sharing, back up, training,
  • allows for coverage when people are ill , on vacations etc.

Additional Highlights and Challenges

Additional Highlights

  • Completed celebrating our 50th year as a local League
  • Reviewed our local positions and are developing a plan to update more during 2012
  • Developed a Scholarship for Membership policy and application form
  • Developed policy for use of reserves that had been held in CDs
  • Updated non partisan policy
  • Developed and addressed the budget after implementing tiered membership dues structure
  • Recommended BY LAW changes to help address flexibility, sustainability needed in steering committee

Challenges:

  • Assure members get connected and find their niche in League.
  • Develop members participation in Steering Committee positions
  • Support creative programming and strategies that enhance the League's presence in the community, develop membership, develop financial sustainability and accomplish activities while maintaining League principles.

Thank you to all members and their contributions to the League at all levels. This year Observer Corps and school committee chairs, voter service coordinators and local coordinator are stepping down. We thank them for their time serving the League.