Greetings LWV of the Space Coast Members! I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving and that you are looking forward to spending time with family and friends as the holidays approach. Members of the board are also looking forward to some downtime before what already looks like a very busy 2020. If you are not already qualified to register voters, we hope that during December you can find time to take the LWVFL training and test in preparation for voter registration events planned for the new year. All you need to do is to follow the instructions on the LWV of the Space Coast (LWVSC) website http://lwvsc.clubexpress.com
I also want to take a few moments to highlight two events taking place during December. The first is the Civility Brevard event, Red and Blue Florida, taking place on December 3rd which will present state Representatives Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island) and Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) for a preview of what's coming up in the legislative session starting in January. LWV of the Space Coast (LWVSC) is partnering with Florida Today for this event which is a follow-up to the Legislative 101 event that LWVSC hosted in August. The second event is the LWVSC Holiday Party on Saturday, December 14th which should be a lot of fun especially as the entertainment will be provided by our LWVSC committees. I hope that all of you will be able to attend. Just go to the LWCSC website to register.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank LWVSC volunteers for all the work you have done in 2019 and throughout the years. Your work is crucially important and truly appreciated as we continue our mission to encourage informed and active participation in government.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.
Our annual luncheon this year will be held in an historic WWII building located in Melbourne Village and will be catered by Red Lobster.
Our committees are planning entertainment fun! Hope you can join us!
Bar Harbor Feast: Petite Maine Lobster Tails, Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Mussels, and fresh tomatoes served over Linguine in a garlic and wine broth
Maple Glazed Wood-Grilled Chicken served with Rice
Vegetarian Linguini Alfredo
All Meal Selections include Garden Salad w/Champagne Vinaigrette, Cheddar Bay Biscuits, and Key Lime Pie
If registering by phone, you must indicate meal selection: Phone - 321-610-1578
Deadline for Reservations is Saturday, December 7th.
Directions (easiest way) to Wagner Community House - Historic Village Hall at 6100 Hall Road, Melbourne Village, FL 32904
from US192 (West New Haven Avenue)
turn North onto Dayton Blvd. (Target on northeast corner, Haverty's on northwest corner, Home Depot on south)
turn Right onto Hall Road ( just past bulletin board and before bridge)
Community House is on Left (just past swimming pool)
If you need additional information, call Brigitte Sinton at 256-603-7072
Nominating Committee Request
I am Elaine Harris, Elected Chair of the Nominating Committee. I would like to inform you that our League has the following positions open listed below. We need your support in filling these positions, as soon as possible, for our League to continue to be successful. I am asking everyone to please review the duties for each position carefully. If you are interested in one of the positions,
Please contact me via e-mail (email@example.com) by Monday, Dec 9, 2019.
First Vice- President: Duties:
-Be available for consultation with program chairs.
-Coordinate the LWVSC calendar with the president and program chairs.
-In absence or at the request of the president (or Co- Presidents) preside at all meetings of the board.
-Perform such other duties as the president (or Co- President) or Board designate.
Second Vice- President /Voters Services: Duties:
-Assist the President (or Co-Presidents) and first Vice- President in the performance of their duties.
-Coordinate LWVSC Voters Service and Advocacy Activities.
-Perform such other duties as the President (or Co-President) or Board designate.
Please note, we need to replace the treasurer at the annual meeting in April but this position will require prior training and therefore we are looking to identify a candidate immediately to begin the training process and to allow the incoming treasurer to be involved with the planning for the next fiscal year’s budget.
-Send Dues Notices.
-Delete member's name from the roster after dues are delinquent for 90 days.
-Collect and receive all monies due.
-Be custodian of these monies.
-Deposit monies in a FDIC insured financial institution.
-Make distributions above the budgeted amount only upon order of the board.
-Forward, at the specified time, all dues collected for LWVF and LWVUS.
-Present to the board a monthly report and a quarterly budget comparison.
-Present an annual report to the Annual Meeting.
-Be responsible for the maintenance of LWVSC members information in the LWVF and LWVUS databases.
I appreciate your time and consideration on accepting one of these positions.
Volunteer Opportunities with the Observer Corps
The Observer Corps—Keeping An Eye On Government
Democracy demands active citizen participation. But go to meetings of a city council or planning commission? It’s boring, dull, unimportant, not really all that big a deal, sorry, but that level of self- torture is just not my bag--all things that I’ve heard said about local government meetings. It is a sad fact that the citizenry just does not give adequate attention to local government. In this most recent municipal and special district election there were 123,240 people registered to vote in Brevard County but only 17,992 [or 14.6%] actually made the effort to cast a ballot.
But consider this--the actions of the folks we elected to those local government bodies directly impact our daily lives and future. Whether elected or appointed, local officials’ decisions and the procedures they follow are of vital importance to every citizen of the community.
I have to admit that because I have spent most of my adult life working for government, I am a little bit prejudiced about how interesting those processes are. I’ve personally sat in meetings that started before the dinner hour and stretched into the wee hours of the morning, listened to politicians endlessly bloviate and, yes, their constituents doing the same. It can be a bit taxing on patience and attentiveness. I’ve worked on issues that bounced from citizen commission to staff to city council and back again for better than a year without resolution. As frustrating as local issues can sometimes seem, they are of direct, immediate importance to the citizens of a jurisdiction because of their direct and immediate effect on daily life.
Those city councils, school boards, citizen committees will decide if you get a sidewalk on your street, if stormwater that builds up on your block is going to be addressed with new drainage, if a crossing guard will be there to protect your kids on their way to school, whether your trash gets picked up once a week or twice, what you will pay in property taxes. These are just a few of the thousands of mundane issues that our local officials juggle on a daily basis as they fulfill their elected or appointed responsibilities.
While these might be considered strictly neighborhood matters, the decisions can relate to wider state and national issues about which the League has interests or established positions. League interests include such things as education, charter schools, voting rights restoration, ethics and campaign finance, gun safety, health care, women’s reproductive rights, immigration, juvenile justice, the national popular vote, natural resources, the Indian River Lagoon, home rule, sustainability, liquified natural gas, the Brevard comprehensive plan, and more.
Additionally, only by keeping careful watch on the various councils and commissions can citizens be aware of compliance with Florida’s Sunshine Law and other open meeting and open records requirements. It is all too easy for these government bodies to slip into practices, sometimes by ignorance and sometimes by intent, that violate the norms they are compelled by law to follow.
This is where the Observer Corps proves its value. Our purpose as observers is to inform the LWVSC of current local government activities and issues, and to build congenial relationships between these groups and the LWVSC. Some groups currently being observed include the Canaveral Port Authority, Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization, Brevard County School Board and city councils of several municipalities. Observers attend meetings as neutral non-participants, simply listening to the proceedings and preparing a short report after the meetings. While it is most effective to observe meetings in person, many local government meetings are televised or may be viewed online. Observer reports are summarized monthly and sent to the LWVSC Board. Issues or concerns related to LWVSC priorities are discussed and may lead to additional attention or action.
If you want to make a meaningful contribution to the LWVSC and to the quality of local government in your community, please join us. Your League needs you to be informed on behalf of your friends and neighbors. In addition, you’ll learn about issues and processes that make our local government work. The more you become involved, the more interesting it becomes. It’s a great way to really begin or strengthen your political involvement in a positive way.
Contact Rob Grisar, Observer Corp Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Justice Committee Report
by Chair Molly Domin
We are keeping a close watch on all legislation being filed in Tallahassee in advance of a session related to guns and juvenile justice. Everyone is encouraged to track bills at
We are learning much about disparities in the use of the potentially life-saving benefits of the red flag law that Florida enacted in March 2018. As of July 2019, Brevard County only used the red flag law to confiscate 35 guns compared to 365 guns confiscated in Polk County.
The Justice committee welcomes new member, Kathy Ebersberger, to the Justice team. Kathy’s law and data background is a welcome asset. Team members are collecting data to illustrate the scope of juvenile justice in the state. In Brevard, racial disparities exist but the overall arrests in Brevard County continue to decline. However, school counselors and psychologists are still greatly needed to meet the needs of the vulnerable in our school system.
Natural Resources Report
by Consultant Maureen Rupe
Mosaic Mining Expansion OK'd
A November 6th article in the Tampa Bay Times by Craig Pittman, titled “Appeals court ruling OKs Mosaic mining expansion in Central Florida,” tells about a lawsuit concerning Mosaic mining. I wrote an article a couple of years ago about a sinkhole opening underneath a pile of Gypsum back in 2016. The sinkhole allowed 215 million gallons of acidic slightly radioactive water to leak into the Florida Aquifer. In 2017, the Center for Biological Diversity, People for Protecting Peace River, ManaSota-88 and Suncoast Waterkeeper sued the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for permitting 50,000 acres of phosphate mining in central Florida that the groups said violated the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. The article states “the Mosaic permits cover parts of Hillsborough, Hardee, Manatee, and Polk counties.”
According to the article, “A federal judge disagreed. He ruled that Mosaic’s phosphate mining is separate from their fertilizer processing plants, and thus the permit didn’t need to cover the processing plant’s production of waste material.” ‘a dissenting opinion by Judge Beverly Martin contended that because the Corps’ responsibility is keeping the nation’s waters clean, and the phosphogypsum stacks have had spills, “the Corps should have assessed the environmental impacts that leaky phosphogypsum stacks might have on ... the environment at large.”’
If not these agencies that permitted the mining, who is responsible? The Environment Protection Agency (EPA)? The EPA has been cutting back on water and air protection regulations in the last few years, so who will protect us? The article even stated: ‘Prior to issuing the Mosaic permit, the Corps produced a 2013 study that said creating those mines will destroy nearly 10,000 acres of wetlands and 50 miles of streams across the state, causing a “significant impact.”’
Recycling Awards 2019-2020
All Brevard County elementary, middle and high schools are invited to participate and I would like to ask for the help of our members to assist with this program and also invite schools to participate.
Please, review the volunteer opportunities below and sign up for any of them on our website (login and select from the menu Meetings & Events | Volunteering):
Recycling Awards - Contact
Contact schools to share information about the awards and invite them to participate. Keep a record of school, contact name, number, email and position at the school for future award cycles.
Recycling Awards - Certificates
Update and print certificates for participating and selected schools.
Recycling Awards - Plaques
Responsible for coordinating the update of the award plaque - pick up plaques from schools at BPS, take plaques to Al's Trophy shop to be engraved with new award recipients, pick up plaques from shop, drop off plaque with award coordinator.
Recycling Awards - Judging
Volunteers will help judge projects submitted as part of the LWVSC Recycling Awards Program. We need one member to serve as judge. Judging takes place in the afternoon of the scheduled date.
Please contact Marcia Booth, Recycling Awards Program Coordinator, with any questions. Your help will be greatly appreciated!
International Relations Group will meet on Tuesday, December 10th at the Satellite Beach Library from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The December Topic is Nuclear Negotiations: Back to the Future?
Public is invited.
Photos / Odds and Ends................
| Barbara Petersen, President of First Amendment Foundation and Sunshine Law Champion |
| Sheila Bollinger, Rita Hewett and Jo Shim|
| Susan Little and Michelle Maloney |
| Barbara and Roger Williams and Fl SUN Coordinator, Heaven Campbell|
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
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