Making Democracy Work

News & News Releases

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

Book Group Selections for April 13 Meeting

The group has selected two books for the April meeting, both related to health.

Steven Brill " America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System" 2015

Atul Gwande "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End ". Selected one of the best books of 2014.

Media Release: Lunch with the League on Monday, January 19, 2015

Join League of Women Voters members for lunch on Monday, January 19 at noon at Coach's Bar & Grill, 2528 W. Glenlord in Stevensville. A bar & grill is an appropriate place for a meeting titled "A Jug of Wine, a Bottle of Scotch --and the State of Michigan", as this meeting is about how beer, wine and liquor is distributed to places like Coach's as well as liquor stores and grocery stores and eventually into our homes.

State Representative Dave Pagel will explain to us how, and why, the state controls the distribution and sale of spirits in Michigan--with one system for liquor and a different system for beer and wine. He will also talk about the taxation of spirits and the role of groups such as the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesaler's Association--beyond their generous contributions to legislative campaigns. Changes to Michigan's system, variously described as "odd", "bizarre" and "dysfunctional", have been suggested. The issue is coming to the fore with the opening of more small distilleries, breweries and wineries in the state, but will the Legislature decide it's time to change this very lucrative status quo?

This lunch meeting is open to the public. Reservations are not required and attendees will be ordering off the menu. However, the event organizer would appreciate advance notice if you know you can attend. Please see the Calendar page at lwvbcc.org for more information.

Media Release: Lunch with the League on November 12

Join League of Women Voters members for lunch on Wednesday, November 12 at noon at Coach's Bar & Grill, 2528 W. Glenlord in Stevensville. League member Renee Reid-Smith will be the speaker and her topic is "Aging Well in the State of Michigan". This is an interesting subject for any of us getting older--or know someone else who is. Renee plans an informal, informative and interactive talk on this subject she knows very well. Amongst other
jobs, Renee is the gubernatorial appointed
Commissioner to the Michigan Commission
on Services to the Aging and represents our very own Area IV.

This lunch meeting is open to the public. Reservations are not required and attendees will be ordering off the menu. However, the event organizer would appreciate advance notice if you know you can attend. Please see the Calendar page at lwvbcc.org for more information.

Media Release: League/Fernwood Dinner with the Dean

Dr. Marie Lynn Miranda, Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, will be the speaker at a dinner on Thursday evening, October 23 at Fernwood Botanical Garden in Niles. The event is being co-sponsored by Fernwood and the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties.

Dean Miranda's topic is "Of Mice and Moms: Understanding How the Environment Affects Human Health". Dean Miranda is a native of Michigan who
attended Harvard for her Masters and
Ph.D. She has devoted much of her
professional career to research directed at improving the health status of disadvantaged populations, particularly children. She is the founding director of the Children's Environmental Health Initiative. At UM she is also a professor in the Pediatrics Department. At Duke, where she was on the faculty for 20 years, she received the university's highest award for teaching excellence. She also is known for her sense of humor. These qualities plus her intellectual firepower, promise an outstanding evening.

Reservations should be made by calling Fernwood at 269-695-6491 or online at fernwoodbotanical.org. The cost for the lecture and dinner is $29. Wine will be available for purchase. Please specify if you want the vegetarian option. Guests will be welcomed at 5:30, the Dean will speak at 6:00, followed by dinner.

"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.