For the latest issue of our newsletter, The Providence Leaguer, go here. This edition offers updates on the Library Funding Study, the Speakers Bureau, League Day at the State House, School Board Nominees, Conversations, and Community Discussions.
The League of Women Voters Providence recently held our second annual LWV/Lippitt Conversations series, partnering with the Lippitt House to hold three different panels on the topic of corruption in Rhode Island. Below is a description of each event.
Thank you to all of the panelists for their discussion and expertise, to the attendees for their time and excellent questions, and to Lippitt House and Carrie Taylor for their collaboration and support.
Monday, March 12 Corruption in Rhode Island: Reality and Perception
Monday, March 19 I know a Guy: Ethics in RI
Monday, March 26 Threats to Elections: Should We Worry?
In addition the series with Lippitt House, the Providence LWV holds regular "Providence Conversations," where guests are invited to chat informally, over dessert, with Leaguers. Recent conversations have included "Clearing the Streets of the City" with Michael Borg, Executive Director, Department of Public Works City of Providence; "Ethics: Closer to Home", with Susann Mark, Esq. Chair of Providence Ethics Commission; "DACA: From Dream to Limbo with Deportation?" with Kathy Cloutier, executive director, Dorcas International Institute; and "Revisiting State Assistance to RI Libraries" with Karen Mellor, Director, RI Office of Information and Library Services.
For more information on future conversations, contact email@example.com
The LWV Oversees the Providence Housing Authority Elections
When buildings in the Providence Housing Authority elect their officers, the Authority calls upon the Providence League of Women Voters to oversee the elections. On April 12 Nori Duncan, Maureen Romans, Liz Head, and Robin Halpren-Ruder went to Carroll Towers. (The photo shows the president, Lawruence d'Alfonso, with Robin Halpren-Ruderand Liz Head).
Upcoming: June election of officers at Hartford Park.
For more information on previous and upcoming events, see the Providence Calendar.
At the State House, Maureen Romans, Joan Retsinas, Judy Dorian, and Liz Head presented Senate President Dominick Ruggerio with a copy of the League of Women Voters' consensus study on state funding for libraries. October 2017.
Funding for School Building Repair
Back in 2014, the Providence League became alarmed at the condition of Providence's public schools and declared it an Issue of Interest. We then scheduled a Conversation with Joseph Da Silva, School Construction Coordinator for the RI Department of Education and learned that the problem had been building for years. In fact the problem had grown so large that in 2011 the State had enacted a 3 year moratorium on school construction approvals, with the exception of those necessitated by immediate health and safety needs. In June 2014, the moratorium was extended to May 2015.
Besides the huge numbers, Mr. Da Silva pointed out structural problems in the way the State funds new school buildings and repairs. The reimbursement formula
and process are both costly and complex. A 2014 report released by the Senate in laid out the numbers and the problems, but not much changed.
As a result, in 2017 the Governor commissioned another study, and then created a Task
spearheaded by the Treasurer and Education Commissioner "charged with recommending specific actions to address Rhode Island's school facilities deficiencies." Although the Task Force did not succeed in finding a workable "designated funding stream," it did manage to come up with a plan to fix the other structural problems in the funding process and help municipalities manage projects in such a way that all municipalities should benefit. The Task Force's recommendations have been included in the 2019 Budget Bill.
On September 18th the Providence LWV held its second annual fundraising tea at Blithewold in Bristol + almost chrysanthemum season. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea attended, then graciously spoke to the group and answered questions. Thank you to all that attended.
For more information on the chapter, including bylaws, meeting minutes, and program details, see our shared documents.
I first joined the LWV in DC as a young mother. As we were moving in to our house in DC, my next door neighbor came to welcome me and immediately asked me if I was interested in the LWV. I was (while at Brown, Linda Kushner, a League member, talked to the grad student wives group about the League.). As a history and poli-sci student, this sounded great. In DC I was immediately drafted by the committee working for D.C. voting representation (still unachieved after nearly 50 years.) to stand in front of the Washington monument in fake handcuffs handing out flyers advocating Voting Representation for D.C. For our effort my picture along with other League members was in the Evening Star, a major D.C. newspaper.
I participated in a more successful advocacy to help Rhode Islanders understand the importance of clean water in Narragansett Bay. We came up with the idea to get as many Rhode Islanders as possible to see the bay and learn about the importance of the Bay to RI. So we rented one of Blount's large boats (300 people) contacted Salty Brine (most listened to host of a WPRO morning show), sold $3.00 tickets for 2 (or 4) cruises, filled the boat with government and environmental groups for whom a cleaner bay was important and set sail. The following November, the bond issue establishing the Narragansett Bay Commission and providing $80 million in funds to upgrade sewage treatment plants was passed with a resounding yes vote.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-351-2269
Forty years ago I was a young mother with a 3 year old and a newborn (who is now 40) when the other mothers at the nursery school talked me into going to a League meeting,- a bag lunch with a speaker and a baby sitter for the kids. It was an easy sell even if I didn't really care much about politics.
I didn't realize it at the time, but what I found was a connection to a much larger world than I had expected to be involved in. I started slowly,- a newsletter here, a voter registration drive there, and things added up. I've now done pretty much every job in the book. Eventually I spent 8 years as the Providence League president, 12 years as the State League president, and have friends all over the country who I met through online discussion groups about League interests. This is a group that cares about issues, ideas, and facts - and wants the world to be a good place to be.
Currently I am Treasurer of the LWVRI Education Fund and Chair of the LWVUS Clearinghouse committee, a group that maintains a website of Studies done by Leagues around the country.
I joined the Pawtucket LWV 40+ years ago when I was a stay-at-home mom with young children. The big issue for that LWV: the city contracted all emergency services to a private ambulance company. While I don't remember whether we nudged the city to reconsider, eventually the city did. I edited the local LWV newsletter, as well as chaired a state LWV study on Conflict of Interest legislation. The LWV study did nudge the state into enacting the first ethics laws. At one point, a few LWV members, dangling my two year-old on different knees, met with Governor Noel, when we presented our official report. That LWV involvement led to appointment to a state legislative commission on pay for day care workers, as well as to a city board studying the water supply system + which led me to enroll in a PhD program at Brown + all of which led me away from LWV activities, and into an academic job. In 2 years in Washington DC I joined that LWV, to learn about the District. Back in Providence, I rejoined the Providence LWV. The exciting LWV accomplishments: voter service, of course + we were registering voters long before "motor voter" laws; and putting a telescope on local concerns, most recently, the skewed state funding for libraries.
Contact: email@example.com or 401-272-0422
I am one of the more recent members of the Providence League, having joined only 5 years ago. During that time, I instituted an annual fund raiser and initiated the quarterly newsletter, The Leaguer, for the Providence League. I serve on and have served as president of the Education Fund.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 401/447-7006
As for my best League experience, it was probably registering my son to vote when he was a senior at Classical. As a political science professor, I had always stressed the importance of voting in my classes, and at home I talked a lot about candidates and elections, so it was satisfying to register one of my children.
I am one of the more recent members, joining in early 2017 after moving to Providence from Indianapolis. Since then, I have represented North Providence, along with Judy, and supported website renovations. If there are changes or additional information you would like to see on the website, please share!
Contact: email@example.com or 812-89-8328
100th Anniversary Commemorative Activities
Watch this space! To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this chapter, we will be creating a book of interviews, planning various events and celebrations, and selling items to celebrate the occasion.