Sunday, February 22, 2015

Calendar Feb Mar 2015

February-March 2015

February: Black History Month

Thurs., Feb 12: Board Meeting:
Arlene’s House Program Planning: Local.

Sat., Feb. 14: League 95th Birthday.

Wed. Feb 18, 10-12 AM LWVNJ Education Committee. Judy Perkus’ house, Monroe, NJ Guests welcome. Call Pat for details

Wed. Feb. 17, 7 pm.“Let the ‘Sunshine’ In: A Forum for Open Government.”Senior Center, Ridgewood Village Hall, North Maple Avenue, Ridgewood. LWV Ridgewood.

March:Women’s History Month
Mon.March 2: Women’s History Discussion. Janet’s house, 7:30 PM.

Saturday, May 2: LWV NJ State 61st Biennial Convention. 8-4. Hilton Garden Inn, 800 Route 30, Hamilton, NJ The Convention will Commemorate the 50 Year Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, $95.00 Delegate.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Advocacy Report

ADVOCACY REPORT: Liberty Natural Gas Pipeline

The Port Ambrose Project (Liberty Natural Gas pipeline) has been the concern of many environmental organizations, including The League of Women Voters of New Jersey. The Natural Resources Committee with Louise Usechak’s efforts, was a part of a coalition owho  prpared a series of citizen speech scripts which cover aspects of the opposition.The Clean Ocean Organization ( have citizen scripts on Economy, Marine Life Impact, Price, and three others.

Testimony Four: Marine Life Impact

Good evening.  My name is____________________ and I am a resident of_____________________ .
I am speaking to you tonight because I am opposed to the Liberty Natural Gas project and offshore liquefied natural gas facilities in general.

Many concerns are being shared with you this evening and if I had more time, you’d hear me echo the sentiments of others in this room, because I am opposed to this project for many reasons.  However, I have decided to use my time to highlight the significant concern of seafloor disturbance.

It is no secret that any form of ocean industrialization will negatively impact the seafloor.  The Liberty Natural Gas proposal is no different.  I was shocked to learn that the construction of the project will impact up to 250 acres of the seafloor. This action will kill shellfish such as lobsters, crabs, clams and scallops and disturb the seafloor habitats they rely upon.

Some of these habitats require decades to form, and they will all be destroyed in a few months of dredging for pipeline laying and the installation of anchoring devices.  I cannot even fathom that a company that has no real ties to New Jersey or New York would feel it has any right to disturb that much of our ocean and seabed.

Once damaged, it can take years to be restored to its original state.  We should know; we’ve been trying for years to fix the damage done to the ocean in this region in the past and it has been long, hard work.

A wise motto to live by is to always leave things in a better condition than we found them. Apparently Liberty Natural Gas didn’t get this message.

They’re going to mar hundreds of acres of seafloor with this project, and I will not stand by and let this happen. You shouldn’t, either.For this reason and many others provided in testimonies tonight, I support a true “no action” alternative – this project must not move forward.
LWVNJ Natural Resources Reports and COE site
Clean Ocean Action

Environment   Environmental Alphabet Soup A Series of Reports Prepared by LWVNJ Natural Resources Committee

Comment: Liberty Natural Gas Port Ambrose Deepwater Port License Application Enviornmental Impact Statement

Hydraulic Fracturing

--  Pat Libutti, Editor, League Lines & Doris Thurber , Advocacy Director

2015 – 2017 LWVNJ and Local Program Planning

Arlene Gartenberg, Vice President, Program , LWV Teaneckn

In January, we completed our consensus and submitted our recommendations on issues and positions for LWVNJ consideration for 2015 – 2017.  Submissions from all the NJ local leagues will be compiled for review at the LWVNJ convention in May.  Our League’s lively discussion covered a wide range of topics including: Women and Family; Education (including charter schools); Social Policy; Fiscal Policy; Government; Natural Resources; Transportation; and Administration of Justice.  We had the opportunity to reaffirm a position or recommend that a position be dropped or updated. We reaffirmed all current League positions with the exception of two policy areas:

1) State role in achieving quality education; while we reaffirm the overall position, we expressed our concerns about the adverse impact of the State Department of Education’s ever-changing standards and

(2) The year 2000 charter school position because it is already being updated based on the consensus that we and other NJ leagues participated in last year.

We are also identifying local issues for action and advocacy by our League. Suggestions include Township of Teaneck‘s budgetary process, community relations, voting issues and education. Please share your views on where we should devote our resources and efforts.

Opposition to High Stakes Testing Grows Statewide

  Margot Embree Fisher, Education Director, LWV Teaneck

This March, all New Jersey public schools will begin administering a new series of annual high-stakes standardized tests to all students in grades 3-11. These tests were developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC, as part of the federal Race to the Top Program,

Mounting Criticism of the PARCC Tests. Critics, however, question the educational validity of the PARCC tests, including the claim that the tests will provide teachers with timely information on individual students’ academic progress. Districts are also worried about the costs and logistics of administering these time-consuming online tests. In NJ, there has been so much controversy about the PARCC examinations that Governor Christie has formed a commission to review student assessment.

Meantime, parents and teachers flooded a State Board of Education meeting open public testimony session in the beginning of January to complain about the new tests. Now, as the testing period gets closer, public opposition to the tests has been growing louder, with an increasing number of parents refusing to allow their children to be tested. This has led to conflict in many districts: while schools are required by law to administer standardized tests to students, students and their parents have the right to refuse to take the tests.

The Opt-Out Movement. Currently, the treatment of students whose parents choose to “opt out” is at the discretion of individual school districts. A number of districts are requiring students not taking a standardized test to "sit and stare":  that is, to be present in the testing room with their peers for hours, with no access to alternative educational activities. Other districts are requiring students as young as 8 to personally refuse to take the test before the district will honor their parents' written wishes. Some districts have even threatened disciplinary action against non-testing students.

The grassroots organization, Save Our Schools NJ ( )has been advocating for NJ legislature to require school districts to follow a consistent, nonpunitive procedure in the event of a test refusal. About 90 districts have already adopted PARCC refusal policies that accommodate parent/student wishes with an alternative venue or activities. Bill A-4165, which is being discussed in the Assembly Education Committee this week, would make those policies mandatory statewide. Other bills that have been proposed include A-3079, which would make standardized testing before Grade 3 illegal , and A-4190 / S-2768, which would limit the use of PARCC results in teacher evaluations and protect the privacy of student data.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Women's History Month: Know Your Historic NJ Women!

From top: Alice Stone Blackwell, Inez Belmont, Lucy Burns, Susan Anthony,Alice Paul, Anna Howard Shaw, Lillian Feikart and Carrie Chapman Catt. All of these women were suffragists who formed the foundation of the League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters-New Jersey history was prepared by Dr. Fernanda Perrone of the Special Collections Department, Rutgers University Libraries. She described the history decade by decade. The abridged history is available on the LWVNJ web site.

The records are archived (Administration, Minutes, events)at the Alexander Library, Rutgers, New Brunswick. The first set of Minutes , April, 1920,are visible on the web, courtesy of Rutgers University Libraries, which houses all the papers from 1920 through 1991.

LWVUS-History Resources

League of Women Voters History

Library of Congress American Memory: 
Women's History

"Votes for Women" Suffrage Pictures

Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party

Exhibits Featuring Women

Suffragists Oral History Project

March 2014: Our Voices, Our Votes: Women, Landmark Legislation and the League Discussion