Making Democracy Work

News & News Releases

Check here for press releases, League news or updates on current events

Media Release: "Saving Lake Michigan: Lake Michigan Issues"

Lake Michigan's clean and abundant water is a vital resource for millions of people including, of course, those of us who live in Southwest Michigan. On Thursday, May 28 at noon the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties and Fernwood Botanical Garden are co-sponsoring a presentation by a panel from the League of Women Voters of the Lake Michigan Region on protecting and preserving our lake--"Saving Lake Michigan: Lake Michigan Issues".

The presenters, Cheryl Chapman, Jeanette Neagu, and Krista Grimm, will discuss specific threats to the lake, what is being done about them and by whom, legislative action at the state and national level and the organizations working to protect the Great Lakes and Lake Michigan.

A buffet lunch will be served at noon and reservations are required no later than Saturday, May 23. Call Fernwood at 269-695-6491 Tuesday through Sunday or go to the League's website, calendar page, for the PayPal link for reservations and payment. The cost of the lunch and program is $14 and the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Media Release: Lunch with the League at Lakeland Wednesday, April 29

Dr. Lowell Hamel and Lakeland Hospital will host the Wednesday, April 29 lunch meeting of the League of Women Voters of Berrien & Cass Counties at the Upton Education Center at Lakeland Hospital, 1234 Napier Rd. in St. Joseph. The hospital will provide a buffet lunch beginning at noon. There is no charge for the lunch or attending the meeting and the public is invited, but we need to give the hospital numbers, so please contact Donna Dutton at 269-469-9763 to make a reservation by the end of the business day Friday, April 24.

Dr. Hamel, Lakeland Hospital VP for Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, and other members of the Lakeland medical team will present on two topics requested by the League: Hospitalists, a new specialty of doctor responsible for those hospitalized, and end of life palliative care. The latter is not just about senior citizens, and their parents, but also for younger people for whom end of life care can be unexpected and especially traumatic.

Go to the League website for more information.

Book Selection for July Book Grop Meeting

The book selection for the July meeting is:

Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado. Ms. Tirado writes from personal experience about what it is like to be poor, a condition really little understood by the rest of Americans.

In the coming months LWVBCC is focusing on the many facets of the issue of poverty.

Media Release: May 5 Ballot Proposal Meeting on April 22

The League of Women Voters of Berrien & Cass Counties will hold an informational meeting on the "May 5 State Ballot Proposal: What Is It? What Will it Do?" on Wednesday, April 22 at 6:30 pm. The Berrien Springs Public School District is graciously making its Virtual Learning Center available for the meeting. It is located at 1 Sylvester Ave., Berrien Springs.

The speaker will be Judy Karandjeff, Vice-President for Advocacy of the League of Women Voters of Michigan. Ms. Karandjeff will explain the details of Proposal 1, which asks voters to amend the state Constitution to increase the sales tax from 6% to 7% and to authorize thereby other laws dealing with how revenue will be raised and spent. She will also give the pro and con arguments for approving the proposal or not.

The League of Women Voters of Michigan has no position on this ballot proposal and is making this presentation as a public service to educate voters. For more information go to the League of Women Voters of Berrien & Cass Counties website or the League of Women Voters of Michigan website Both websites link to a handout with the exact wording of the proposal plus additional information.

Berrien County Recycling Events

Berrien County offers many opportunities for residents to recycle hazardous materials, electronics, tires and unneeded medications.

For details visit the county website or e-mailrecycling coordinator Jill Adams.

"The League and Nonpartisanship" by Susan Gilbert

This article appeared in the December 2010 LWVBCC newsletter and has been circulated by LWVMI and the LWVUS leaders. Numerous local Leagues have asked for permission to reprint it in their newsletters.

It is not uncommon for outsiders, and even some members, to question how the League can be nonpartisan yet advocate on positions that, in the slice of time that is now, appear to be partisan. In the highly partisan climate that has developed in recent years, the League is one of the very few political organizations that is not in either the liberal/Democratic camp or the conservative/Republican camp. And we have members of all political persuasions and encourage them to get involved in politics. So members may be partisan but the organization is not. All this is hard for many to wrap their minds around.

The League is nonpartisan in that we do not endorse or support any political party or candidate for office. We don't rate legislators, we don't track their votes and we don't threaten them if they don't vote our way. Voter service is one of our main missions and we publish nonpartisan voter guides and hold candidate forums to help voters educate themselves beyond TV ads. Education is an important League function, and we try in our meetings and in this newsletter to inform our attendees/readers and stimulate them to think about issues in our world.

However, the League is also an advocacy group, and we have positions on issues that have been developed over the years since our founding in 1920 and are the result of study and consensus of the local Leagues nationwide. These positions are updated from time to time, but are basically consistent. The positions and platforms of the political parties, on the other hand, do change and at times they resemble our League positions, or not. But the League doesn't change or drop it's positions because they are currently those of one party or the other. And we do speak out!

An example is health care. The League has a position on comprehensive health care for all Americans. President Truman liked that idea too and President Eisenhower delivered a special message to Congress on January 31, 1955 recommending a comprehensive health program for Americans. Lyndon Johnson got Medicare passed and that took the pressure off for awhile. But President Nixon encouraged HMOs as a way to rein in costs and provide health care for more people. Then President Reagan came along and decided the free market was the best way to manage health care and the Republicans have basically supported this idea since. But clearly both parties have been on both sides of the issue.

The key is not to confuse politics with position advocacy.