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Serving the People of Brevard County, Florida
Date: 2/29/2020
Subject: LWVSC March 2020 Newsletter
From: League of Women Voters of the Space Coast

LWVSC bi-monthly Newsletter Header

As February draws to a close it seems that there is a lot to celebrate. It’s my hope that throughout this year we will continue to celebrate LWV of the Space Coast’s (LWVSC) achievements as well as major landmarks for LWV as an organization, and women’s suffrage in the United States. As far as LWVSC is concerned we had two very successful months of voter registration events with almost 60 new voters registered. We held our first voter registration training event, members judged science fairs throughout the county, our speaker’s bureau representative gave a presentation on voting for students at Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) Melbourne, and we were present to register new voters at several Black History Month events on other EFSC campuses. League members also participated in a Youth Environmental Leadership Summit for students of Surfside Elementary school in Satellite Beach. Environmental experts from the community presented short activities to help students understand current environmental challenges. League members provided students with information on how to interact with legislators on environmental issues and how to make their voices heard.

Later in the year we are planning to have our own celebration of several significant milestones:  the 100th Anniversary of LWV, the 40th Anniversary of LWV of the Space Coast and the 100th Anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment that prohibited the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. There are many exciting ideas for this celebration being developed and if you would like to be part of the planning process please let me know. I invite you all to get involved. Thank you to our volunteers for their time and effort and I urge all LWVSC members to continue celebrating our successes.
In League,
Jo Shim
LWVSC President

Welcome new 1st Vice President 

A native New Yorker, Rob Grisar joined the Air Force in 1970.  After eight years of service at the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service [including a year of temporary duty at Boston University to complete his B.S. in Broadcasting and Film Production], he returned to civilian life.  For the ensuing dozen years, he worked for the Virginia Employment Commission in a variety of positions, mostly managing offices in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.   This led to an opportunity to work for the city manager of Alexandria, Virginia with a wide range of responsibilities including consumer affairs, citizen assistance, cable television franchising, and utility rate cases.  But in 1990, warmer weather and family beckoned, so he resigned and relocated to Florida.
Here in the Sunshine State, he worked for the Florida Department of Labor.  Following stints in child labor and the Job Corps, he joined the Regional Director’s staff, handling welfare reform, food stamps and contract management.  Subsequently, he transferred to the Department of Education as the central Florida regional management consultant for apprenticeship training programs.  Rob retired from his position as State Director of Apprenticeship in 2010.
His experience and interest in local government transitioned to his joining the Local Government Committee of the LWVSC, where he has served as Co-chair and continues to lead the Observer Corps.  Rob and his bride Diane Callier, also a LWVSC member, live in Cape Canaveral.

Volunteer of the Month

Congratulations to Brigitte Sinton, LWV of the Space Coast’s volunteer of the month. Brigitte has served as Treasurer since 2008, just after she joined the League. Go to any Hot Topic or other League event and Brigitte will be there to greet you, check event attendance and collect payments.  She has a distinguished academic past receiving a BA from Georgetown University and a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University in Linguistics and Germanic Languages. She has worked as a lecturer and technical translator both in Germany and the US. She and her husband David lived in Huntsville, Alabama before moving to Melbourne Village. Without a Treasurer LWV of the Space Coast cannot function, and we thank Brigitte for her diligence, dedication and looking after the financial aspects of running the LWV of the Space Coast for the last twelve years.

United States Census 2020

The census will take place in 2020. Complete Count teams are being formed in Brevard County.  Complete Count Committees (CCC) are volunteer committees established by tribal, state, and local governments and community leaders or organizations to increase awareness and motivate residents to respond to the 2020 Census. CCCs serve as state and local “census ambassador” groups that play an integral part in ensuring a complete and accurate count of the community in the 2020 Census. Success of the census depends on community involvement at every level. The U.S. Census Bureau cannot conduct the 2020 Census alone.  The League of Women Voters has partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau. The local League of Women Voters Space Coast has joined the Brevard County 2020 Census Coalition Correct Count Committee. Staff members of the U.S. Census Bureau are also working throughout the county to increase awareness.  

The Census is a once-a-decade population and housing count of all residents in the 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico and the Island areas. The Island areas include the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The U.S. Census is required under the U.S. Constitution to occur every 10 years and is the process of counting every resident in the country.  The U.S. Census data is used to make decisions around education, healthcare, infrastructure, and political representation.  With increased growth in the country, getting an accurate and complete count of every person living within the country is crucial to ensure that each state receives funding to support the number of residents in each state. The results of the census affect the everyday lives of all U.S. residents.

The federal government uses census data to distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds annually.  The 2020 U.S. Census will help communities receive federal funding each year for:
Emergency Services
Bridges, Tunnels, and Roads
Other resources, such as Section 8 housing vouchers
Job Training Centers
Child Care Centers
Head Start programs
Senior Centers
For the first time ever, in 2020, the Census will be primarily digitally based.  The census can be completed by cell phone, tablet, computer, computers at your local library or a call into 1-800- number that will be made available in the future.  Census results are used to determine the apportionment of Congressional Districts and of state legislative districts.
Responses to the 2020 Census are protected under Title 13 of the U.S. Code.

Federal law, under Title 13 of the United States Code (U.S.C.), requires the U.S. Census Bureau to maintain the confidentiality of the information it collects. The Census Bureau takes this responsibility very seriously. To uphold the law, the Census Bureau requires that any individuals with access to Title 13 materials adhere to the prescribed confidentiality and security guidelines.

Answers can only be used to produce statistics. ANSWERS CANNOT BE USED AGAINST ANYONE IN ANY WAY.  The Bureau cannot release information about individuals, households, or businesses even to law enforcement officials.  Census Bureau Staff take a lifetime oath to protect the personal information of respondents.  A first invitation to respond will be sent to households as soon as March 15, 2020. Census Day is April 1, 2020.  The Census Bureau will send multiple reminders to homes to complete the form.  If there is no response, the Census bureau will send someone to knock on your door.  The U.S. League of Women Voters is a valued partner of the U.S. Census Bureau and a trusted resource for the public.  The League will work to share the importance of participating in the Census with people from all backgrounds and stations.

Finally, the 2020 Census is hiring.  They are paying $16.00 per hour and paying $.58 per mile.  You must apply online at
You can also go to  for more information or call 1-800-JOB-2020.  Although these are only temporary jobs, anticipated to last “several weeks,” census taker work takes place under a rather formal framework. To get a job, you must be a US citizen aged over 18, with a valid social security number. You need to pass a background check and cannot do another job that could constitute a “conflict of interest.”

Submitted by Audrey Grayson

Updates from the Board

  • Annual Meeting will be on April 4th.  Details will be coming soon.
  • Remember to Re-Member  A separate e-mail will be coming to members in early March with details on renewing dues. Our membership year is April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. The majority of our dues go to the national League and the state of Florida League. New members who joined after January 1, 2020 are already members for the coming year.It is an important year as we celebrate 100 years of the League of Women Voters and have upcoming 2020 elections.
  • Please note that the International Relations Group is meeting at Suntree Library on March 10th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Topic is Pakistan and India led by Molly Tasker.  We will be back to Satellite Beach library for our April and May meetings.
  • Welcome to our new members who joined in January and February.
    Deveney Lonergan-Stenger, Janice Taylor, Laurie Saunders, Melissa Martin, Kathy McGinty, Marsha Foster, Jenny and Earlene McCoy, Susan Connolly, Susan and Albert Kahler, Cynthia Jill Hamilton.

Proposed Programs of Work for 2020-2021

The Proposed Programs of Work for the coming year are found in the link below. The Proposed Programs of Work will be voted upon at the annual meeting on April 4th.

Committee Spotlights

Family Empowerment Scholarship Program
Public Funds to Private Schools
Passed in 2019 Florida now has legislation that diverts an estimated $130 million dollars of public funds to private schools. Entitled the “Family Empowerment Scholarship Program” its supporters in the state government claim that parents know what is best for their children including their choice of school. And according to bill sponsor Manny Diaz “… at no point should we turn over that responsibility to the government.”(Orlando Sentinel  1/4/19) The consequences of implementing this legislation are significant.   First of all it diverts millions of tax dollars to private schools that could be used to improve the level of funding of Florida’s public schools – a level that ranks among the lowest in the nation. Moreover this legislation adds a variety of requirements to be implemented by each public school system or LEA, requirements that most certainly take a toll in terms of both time and expense. Perhaps the most curious of these is that each school system must “advertise” this new school choice program by contacting each household receiving free or reduced –priced lunch informing them of their eligibility to apply for a Family Empowerment Program scholarship. In addition each district is required to publish information about this program on its website including a link to information about the program on the Dept. of Ed. Website as well as the e-mail and phone numbers of school district personnel designated to provide information about the scholarship program. While this provision in the law appears to be innocuous it does not specify what information is to be provided nor does it specify any limits on that information. If for example a parent inquires about a particular private school’s admission restrictions concerning LGBTQ children, is such information to be made available? This is not spelled out in the law.  The actual dollar cost of implementing this information provision may  be relatively small but whatever the cost it will come out of the public school’s budget.
Certainly a more potentially costly provision in the law is that which requires the local public school district to be responsible for the administration of the Florida state academic assessments in the private schools. In this provision of the law the school district must:
Provide the state assessments and related materials to the choice school
Implement test administrations at the participating school(s)
Train private school staff re test security and administration
Distribute the tests to the private schools
Retrieve “such” materials
Provide required format for a private school to submit information to the district for test and administration purposes
Provide any assistance, monitoring or investigation at private school

All these responsibilities shouldered by public school districts have the potential for being a serious economic burden.  Nowhere in this legislation is there a provision for funding the costs of this requirement.  
There are 62 private schools in Brevard County. This county’s public school system already provides them with on-site special education services. Whether there will be an increase in the number of children with special needs enrolled in the county’s private schools is yet to be seen. Yet the prospect of this seems probable given the population of children who are now eligible for “Empowerment”  voucher dollars. If this does happen the LEA (Brevard County Public Schools) will absorb the cost of providing the required Special services.
What I have presented here is some of the obvious negative “fall out” public schools are very likely to experience as they comply with the provisions of the “Empowerment” legislation. And as the “Empowerment” program advances there will most certainly be unanticipated consequences affecting the county’s school system. The county’s school  must have increased funding.  (yes in this case money is the answer).  So where do we go from here as individuals – as a committee?  I have no fresh magical remedies only old ones e.g. petitioning legislators, state and local, informing the public, pray for a miracle. Doing nothing is not an option.
Tom Grotelueschen
LWV –Space Coast
Plastic Monster Haunts Legislature
A 02/06/20 Florida Phoenix article by Laura Cassels titled “Plastics ‘monster’ haunts Capitol to call for waste reduction,” discussed how Greenpeace, Oceana and others came to Tallahassee to show a 15 foot height pile of various plastic waste built by Greenpeace. This was to illustrate how much plastic enters the oceans. There is more than 8 million metric tons (18 billion pounds) per year. 
Various cities have tried to pass bans on single-use plastics and polystyrene containers such as Styrofoam, but the Florida Legislature has passed bills in 2008 and 2016 that prohibit them from doing so. In fact, the Florida Retail Association stands ready to sue any city or county that attempts to do so like it did with Cape Coral in 2016.  The article said when it won the case on appeal.  “This decision reinforces the legislature’s ability and authority to govern these issues on a statewide basis,” said Federation President and CEO R.Scott Shalley in a published statement about the ruling.  Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat is cosponsoring legislation with Miami-Dade Democrat Rep. Mike Grieco, that would permit local governments to restrict single-use plastics and other disposable items polluting their waterways.

I researched micro-plastics and found it is everywhere.  I wrote about micro plastics found in Tampa Bay last October.  I found a 2019 study by the World Health Organization stating that micro-plastics are "ubiquitous" and have been detected in fresh water, wastewater, food, air, bottled water, tap water and more. They say they are not hazardous, but if they have encroached on everything, when does it become an issue?

Article written by Maureen Rupe

Upcoming On Our Calendar

Please check the link below for meetings and volunteer opportunities in March.

  • Membership Name Badges    LWVSC name badges are available for purchase again.  The cost is $13.00.  Deadline for ordering this month is March 10th. It is suggested that members who are registering voters and serving on the Observer Corps wear a badge.  You will find information on ordering the badge on March 10th of this calendar.

Photos / Odds and Ends....

Diane Callier and Jo Shim in front row.
Susan Little, Lucia Watson, Diane Conaway and Donna Morris in back row.
100th Anniversary of League of Women Voters
Jo Shim and Molly Domin in top photo at The Parkland March.
Lower photo is on 100th Anniversary of League of Women Voters on February 14, 2020.
League suffragettes are Diane Conaway, Diane Callier and Susan Little.

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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