News from the
League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties
Co-President/Editor: Susan Gilbert 269-545-2610 • Distribution: Margaret Anderson 269-469-3250
Late Fall Calendar
October 26 (Monday) 1:30 First meeting of the new Education Committee.
Ginny Burd’s in Bridgman For more information contact chair Liz Ennis at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-469-0806
November 3 (Tuesday) 7:00 pm Membership Meeting
The Livery Speaker Andy Shaw
190 5th St., Benton Harbor
ALSO ELECTION DAY Vote if there are elections in your area!
November 17 (Tuesday) 5:00 pm Board Meeting
Three Oaks Library (All members welcome)
November 20 (Friday) 12:00 Lunch meeting with Director of
Fernwood Botanic Garden Berrien County Board of Health
13988 Range Line Rd., Niles RSVP Required
December 11 (Friday) LWVBCC Holiday Party
Lorraine & Jim Stepaneks’, New Buffalo Save the date!
TWO TERRIFIC MEETINGS IN NOVEMBER!
Meeting #1 Membership: Tuesday, November 3
This is a meeting to recruit new members, but it is also an opportunity for newer members to ﬁnd out more about
the League and for all members to hear our superstar speaker Andy Shaw. In other words, everyone is invited and
encouraged to attend. Here are the particulars.
Time & Place: 7:00 The Livery, 190 5th St. in Benton Harbor
Speaker: Andy Shaw on “Fixing What is Wrong With Government: What Will It Take?”
More information: Contact membership chair Candace Broecker at email@example.com or 269-465-3373.
Give Candace the names and contact information of any prospective members.
You will probably recognize Andy Shaw immediately. That’s because you have seen him on TV for most of your
adult life (some of us are older than others!). Andy is an award- winning Chicago journalist who spent 35 years
covering politics, business, education and day-to-day news at the City News Bureau, Chicago Sun-Times, NBC
5 and ABC 7. He retired as ABC 7’s political reporter in January 2009 after covering the Obama inauguration.
After retirement he chose to pursue civic engagement and accepted the position of Executive Director of the Better
Government Association (BGA). Like the League, the BGA is a nonpartisan political organization that works for
better government. Almost as old as the League, the BGA was formed in 1923 by citizens concerned about the
inﬂuence of the Capone mob.
Coffee and light refreshments will be served. There is construction on Business 94 between the bridge over the
river and Paw Paw St., so avoid that area. To get to the Livery from St. Joseph, stay on Route 63 across the river to
Klock Rd. and turn right and then right again on N. Shore Drive. N. Shore turns into 5th and the Livery is at 5th
and Park. If you would like to carpool contact Candace.
Meeting #2: Lunch with the Director of the Berrien in the dues notice, we have not increased our dues, even
County Health Department Friday, November 20 though we now send to LWVMI and LWVUS more per
member than we take in. It is our hope that, if you can,
County Clerk Louise Stine spoke at one of our Annual you will make an extra contribution. If the dues are more
Meetings and Treasurer Bret Witkowski educated us on than you can afford, please contact us. We also encourage
local taxes. Now it’s the turn of Mike Mortimore, the you to pay as promptly as you can. Sending reminders,
Director of the Berrien County Department of Public calling and generally nagging members about their
Health. payment is not something we enjoy or want to do.
Why so much emphasis on the county? It’s important— Also included in the dues notice was a member
the most important unit of local government, and questionnaire that we hope each of you will take a few
becoming increasingly so as the roles of counties moments to complete and return with your dues. The
expand. The League has recognized the importance of information will help us know your interests and serve you
county government for a long time. In 1960 our League better.
studied county health and adopted as an action item
the establishment of a county health department with a Susan and Darlene
professional director. The current professional director
and one of his associates will be our guests.
Legislative Luncheon Report
Date, time and place: Friday, November 20 at noon
at Fernwood Botanic Garden, 13988 Range Line Rd., On October 12 League members and guests met with our
Niles. Lunch followed by the program. four state legislators (Jelinek, Tyler, Proos and Lori) for an
hour and a half and followed that with a delicious lunch—
Speakers: Mike Mortimore, Director, and Nicki all at Wheatberry Restaurant in Buchanan. The good
Britten, epidemiologist, Berrien County Depart. of news is all 15 budget bills have been approved by both
Public Health the House and Senate, but only nine have been sent to the
Governor. That’s because the governor has a line item veto
Lunch is $15 complete. RSVP to Bonnie Pollack no and the legislators are afraid she will use it, so they are
later than Tuesday, November 17 at pollbon@hotmail. keeping the bills from her as long as possible. Partisanship
com or 269-756-9149. is both better and as bad as we think, but gamesmanship is
alive and well.
Mike Mortimore will give us an overview of the many
responsibilities of the Department of Public Health. The schools are ending up, it appears, with a $165 per
Their four main areas of responsibility are: clinical and pupil cut (an improvement over the $218 number under
community health; environmental health; substance abuse consideration for awhile) and a per pupil state foundation
treatment and prevention and emergency and disaster level of about $7,300. The foundation level has hovered
preparedness. Then he and Ms. Britten will present and around this number for years while costs have continued
explain the brand new Behavioral Risk Factor Survey to rise. It is hard to ﬁnd accurate total expenditures per
(BRFS) conducted by Michigan State University in Berrien pupil by state, but we know Michigan is well down on the
County. This survey deals with health issues between the list. The Legislature found $340 million in new revenues
birth and death statistics and addresses personal habits, that are not tax increases and $100 million of that went to
access to health care and use of health care. We will be the schools.
ﬁrst group outside the County Board to see the survey data.
John Proos recounted the recent history of Michigan’s
Chef Tim will prepare another of his delicious, and I’m economy and ﬁnances, which in a relatively short
sure healthy, lunches and watercolorist Cyndy Callog will period went from ﬂourishing and ﬂush to depressed and
be showing in the Clark Gallery, where we will also lunch. desperate. Programs were created in the good days, such
This meeting promises to be an interesting treat before the as the Promise scholarships, and taxes were cut. And
Thanksgiving rush! while it appears they have gotten through yet another
budget (although it is reviewed and adjusted through the
year), next year promises to be worse. As Jelinek said, the
From the Co-Presidents “cuts plan won” this year, but even the Republicans are
considering tax increases.
Members: By the time you read this, you should have
received the bill for your annual League dues–unless you In response to a question on the tax structure, Proos ran
are a newer member or have already paid. As explained through the income produced by source, including federal
funds. Two major sources of revenue, the property tax Cheaper and Fairer Health Care, and the PBS News Hour
and the sales tax are “constitutional” and the rates cannot is doing a series on how other countries manage to provide
be increased without a vote of the people. The sales tax, health care. Reﬂecting this trend, a recent Letter to the
however, can be lowered and expanded and an idea in Editor suggested learning from the experience of other
development is that the rate should be lowered (which countries, and wondered if in health care they might have a
might attract buyers from out of state) but expanded to better answer than we in the U.S!
include services, so everything except food, housing and
medical care would carry a sales tax. Jelinek pointed out However, there is rough sailing ahead, as various interest
that either directly by referendum or indirectly at the next groups and political factions ratchet up their opposition
election, voters will vote on any tax increases. with ads on their version of our health care future. Our
Representatives in Congress have probably made their
At the end, after edifying presentations by all four decisions, with Senators Stabenow and Levin, both
legislators and a good conversational exchange, we all Democrats, in favor of reform, and Upton, a Republican,
agreed Michigan has a lot to offer and we cannot just also following his party line of professing to be in favor
continue to let it slide downhill. Investment in the state of reform but not really liking any of the proposals on
will be necessary and there will be some costs involved. the table. Nonetheless, it is good for constituents to send
Hopefully, both political parties will have the courage to their opinions to their elected leaders on the larger issue
do what is right for the state. or particulars of the legislation. Go to lwvbcc.org for
contact information. Go to lwv.org to learn more about the
League’s position in favor of health care reform.
Welcome to a New Member
Mary Lister of Buchanan attended the Legislative Patronize Local & Michigan Businesses and our
Luncheon with long-time member Shirley Roti Roti and Advertisers
joined the League on the spot. Good decision Mary!
More of the dollars that we spend locally stay in our
community and help local businesses survive, which is
Health Care—Moving Slowly But Progressing much more of a challenge than it ever was before. The
rule of thumb is of every $100 spent in a chain store,
Health care legislation is working its way through $14 goes back in to the local economy. For a locally
Congress and has gone farther than any health care owned business, $45 goes back. The League’s breakfast,
reform legislation in decades. There’s a change in tone in lunch and dinner meetings are held at independent local
Letters to the Editor, with more people supporting reform, restaurants, so just by coming to a meeting you are
including doctors. helping!
Another encouraging sign is that we are beginning to look Living in a border area, as many of us do, it is often
at the experiences of other countries with comprehensive convenient to shop in South Bend or Michigan City. Not
health care systems, which is most. T.R. Reid, of the that we don’t want Indiana to prosper too, but Michigan
Washington Post and NPR fame, has written a book called really needs our sales tax dollars and Michigan businesses
The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, pay taxes that go into the Michigan treasury.
���������������������������� The Census and the Snowbirds
There was a detailed article in the September newsletter
about the importance of the census and the speciﬁc issue of
how the snowbirds are counted. The issue is Question 1,
which reads: “How many people were living or staying in
this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2010?
Every address in the United States will be sent a barcoded,
��������������������������������� address speciﬁc census form in February or March.
������������ �������������� Millions of census forms will be sent to second homes
that will be occupied by retirees and other snowbirds from
Johnson northern states still wintering in their temporary southern
���������������������������������������������������������������� residence. The timing of this count will lead many to
complete and return the census form they receive at this THE OHIO CASE
southern residence. This action will result in them being
counted as a southern state resident, even though they may The League’s complaint alleged that Ohio elections had
reside in a permanent residence in a northern state, say suffered for decades from “pervasive, severe, chronic,
Michigan, more than six months each year. and persistent” defects. The State’s motion to dismiss the
complaint was denied, and that ruling was afﬁrmed by
So what is a snowbird to do come April 1? Here is the U.S. Court of Appeals, who summarized the League’s
an ofﬁcial Q&A. Please pass the message on to any complaints as follows:
snowbirds you know. Watch for additional details in the
coming months or visit 2010census.gov to learn more. Voters were forced to wait from two to twelve hours
to vote because of inadequate allocation of voting
Question: I am leaving Michigan for the winter; will I be machines... Long wait times caused some voters to
counted in Michigan or at my winter home? leave their polling places without voting …. Poll
workers received inadequate training … leading to the
If residents consider Michigan their permanent home and discounting of votes… Provisional balloting was not
wish to be counted in Michigan, residents must wait until utilized properly, causing 22% of provisional ballots
they get back to Michigan and complete the questionnaire. cast to be discounted, with the percentage of ballots
Michigan residents should NOT ﬁll out the questionnaire discounted reaching 39.5% in one county. Disabled
received at their winter home for it will have the winter voters who required assistance were turned away.
home address on it already. There is no place on the
questionnaire to put another address. After the Court ruled, the State capitulated. It agreed to
correct the defects in its election procedures and to pay the
If they arrive back home in April, they can ﬁll out the League $450.000 for its attorneys fees! The settlement
questionnaire during the mail back period. If returning agreement is embodied in an “Order Enforcing Settlement
to Michigan in May, a Census taker (Enumerator) will Agreement”, which adds potential contempt sanctions to
complete the Census questionnaire in person at their home the League’s arsenal of enforcement options.
during the Non-Response Follow Up process.
THE INDIANA CASE
Question: All of my mail is being forwarded to my
vacation home; won’t I receive my Census Questionnaire The story in Indiana is about two lawsuits, both attacking
there? Indiana’s Voter ID law, that reached quite different results.
In the ﬁrst, a federal lawsuit ﬁled by the Marion County
The Census questionnaire is not forwarded; forms will be Democratic Party, the U.S. Supreme Court last year
returned to the US Census Bureau. upheld the law’s constitutionality. In the second, ﬁled
by the League in state court after the Supreme Court had
ruled in the other case, a three-judge panel of Indiana’s
State and Local Leagues Litigate Unfair Voting court of appeals recently declared the same law to be
Procedures By Geoff Gilbert not constitutional. (The same lawyers, incidentally,
represented the plaintiffs in both cases.)
In Ohio, after a federal court ruled in the League’s favor,
the State agreed to change its election procedures. On Predictably, supporters of the Voter ID law were outraged,
September 17, a unanimous Indiana appellate court accusing the Indiana court of trying to overrule the US
declared Indiana’s Voter ID law unconstitutional. Supreme Court. See, end notes. The conﬂict between the
Basic & Advanced Obedience
Private & Group Lessons
Agility, Scent Detection
Call For A Free Evaluation
two decisions, however, is more apparent than real. That residents of care facilities generally. The court ruled that
is because state laws must comply with both their own the purported rationale for such an exemption did not pass
and the federal constitutions. As the Indiana appeals court constitutional muster:
explained in announcing its decision: “Interpretation of
the Indiana Constitution is an ‘independent judicial act in The class created by [the Voter ID law] is based in part
which federal cases play only a persuasive role.’” upon an arbitrary or unnatural characteristic which
grants an unequal privilege or immunity to residents
In its case, the Democratic Party argued the Voter ID of state licensed care facilities which also happen to
statute violated the due process clause of the U.S. be polling places and fails to treat persons similarly
Constitution. The Supreme Court disagreed. It ruled that situated uniformly.
the goals of “deterring voter fraud” and “safeguarding
voter conﬁdence” gave the voter ID statute a “plainly Even though the court found only two parts of the Voter ID
legitimate sweep”. The high court rejected the plaintiff’s law unconstitutional, it decided it had no choice but to void
claim on the ground that the law did not unduly burden any the entire statute:
class of voters.
[I]nconsistent and impartial treatment favoring voters
The opinion in the League’s case, by comparison, reﬂected who reside at state care facilities which also happen
a more narrowly focused attack on speciﬁc provisions to be polling places could be excised from the Voter
in the Voter ID law based on the “equal privileges and I.D. Law without destroying the primary objectives
immunities” clause of Indiana’s constitution, which states of the Law. However, the same cannot be said for the
as follows: “The General Assembly shall not grant to inconsistent and partial treatment favoring absentee
any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities voters who choose to mail their votes[,] without
which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to destroying the opportunity for mailing votes. There
all citizens.” The appellate court concluded that the law may be different ways in which the inconsistent
violated this provision in the following ways: and partial treatment of the Voter I.D. Law could be
cured, but it is not our task to form suggestions for
By exempting absentee voters from the photo id legislation.
The case is headed to the 5-man Indiana Supreme Court
As the Supreme Court noted, reducing voter fraud is one (there are no women), which will have the ﬁnal word on
of the ostensible goals of Indiana’s Voter ID law. The the constitutionality of Voter ID in Indiana. See, end
Indiana Supreme Court, however, had ruled in an earlier notes.
case that absentee voting was “more susceptible to …
fraud” than in-person voting. The appellate court decided, End Notes:
therefore, that excusing absentee voters from the photo ID
requirement conﬂicted with the law’s ostensible purpose 1. See http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?
and unreasonably discriminated against in-person voters. AID=2009909180393 for a report of Governor Daniels’
remarks about the Indiana court of appeals decision. For
By exempting residents of state-licensed care facilities an equally intemperate reaction to the Supreme Court’s
that also served as polling stations. decision upholding Voter ID, see the comments by League
of Women Voters President, Mary Wilson, at http://www.
Indiana’s Voter ID law exempts residents of state-licensed lwv.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&template=/
care facilities that also serve as polling stations, but not CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=11245.
Mark Harrington P.O. Box 139
Ph 269-469-1961 16153 Red Arrow Hwy
Fax 269-469-3151 Union Pier, MI 49129
2. Incidentally, the Michigan Supreme Court afﬁrmed Lake Michigan League of Women Voters (LMLWV)
Michigan’s voter ID law in 2007. A key difference between Annual Meeting Convenes During Blustering Rain at
Indiana’s and Michigan’s laws is that, in Michigan, a voter Saugatuck by Merrill Clark
who does not have a photo ID and signs an afﬁdavit to that
effect at the polling station, will be permitted to vote. With winds howling and waves whipping the shores of
the Presbyterian Camp just north of Saugatuck, the Lake
Michigan League of Women Voters convened this year’s
LWVUS President Travels to Michigan on Climate annual meeting, focusing on past year accomplishments
Change Mission and jobs to undertake in the future.
Mary G. Wilson, national president of the League of The work of the Healing Our Waters (HOW) consortium
Women Voters, recently completed a trip to Michigan to was reviewed; several members of LMLWV are involved
advocate for strong climate change legislation. in this continuing work, taking place both in Michigan and
Washington D.C., to create and get passed legislation that
After meeting with both Michigan residents and further protects Great Lakes waters. Proposed Program for
lawmakers, Ms. Wilson said, “I am more convinced than 2009-2010 includes several areas of emphasis:
ever that Michigan voters are ready for their leaders to
make the responsible and tough choices on this issue—and a. Monitor Great Lakes restoration bills from GL
support comprehensive reforms that fully acknowledge the Restoration Conference ‘09, including restoration of
urgency of the situation.” water quality, prevention of invasive species, clean
up of toxic pollution, and mitigation of the impact of
Alongside a panel of experts that included David Gard, global warming on the Great Lakes;
Energy Program Director from Michigan Environmental b. Implementation of the Great Lakes Regional
Council, and Shelley Vinyard from Environment Michigan, Collaborative Protection and Restoration Strategy;
Wilson spoke to a large group of citizens in Lansing at a c. Support efforts to reduce the use of pesticides and
September 17th forum, “Climate Change: Global Concerns promote non-toxic alternatives;
and Local Actions.” The event, sponsored by the League d. Advocate for water conservation and resource
of Women Voters of Michigan, focused on the effects of protection and monitor Great Lakes Compact
climate change at the local, national and global levels. implementation;
e. Monitor progress of the Review of the Great Lakes
“Studies indicate that the climate is already changing in the Water Quality Agreement with particular attention to
Midwest,” Wilson stated. “Until we get a grip on emissions, pharmaceuticals in the water and
these changes are expected to persist—and could have a f. Address the permitted discharges into the Great Lakes
dramatic impact on Michigan in the coming decades.” with a goal to reduce them.
The LWV Michigan CAFO (concentrated animal feeding
New Series of Reports on Climate Impacts to U.S. operations) position was addressed. This position
Midwest originated with the
The Union of Concerned Scientists recently released a series position. I referred Our food’s
of reports by state on the effects of global warming in the to a recent large- not only better when it
Midwest. Speciﬁcally, by the end of the century Chicago scale release from comes out of the kitchen,
could have 70 summer days of temperatures over 90, the a CAFO operation it’s better going in.
level of the Great Lakes would decrease by one to two feet, into the Black
spring and winter precipitation in Michigan would increase River in Michigan,
25% and warmer winters would increase the growing season which killed 100s
but also the pest season. The Union of Concerned Scientists of ﬁsh and other
was formed in 1969. Go to ucsusa.org for more information. water wildlife in
the area. Combined
Editor’s note: The thought of 70 days of summer temperatures sewage overﬂows
above 90 makes me glad I won’t be around at the end of result from billions
the century. Yet we are always being asked to consider the of gallons of raw
burdens we are putting on our children and grandchildren and, sewage dumped artisan comfort cuisine
in this case, great grandchildren and so on. So, since current into the Great Lakes waterfront dining • 269.469.1699
generations are responsible for this sorry state of affairs, we yearly. According to 600 W. Water St., New Buffalo, MI
really should try to do something about it. the Michigan DEQ, bentwoodtavern.com
over 33 million gallons of raw and partially treated sewage Poverty is on the Rise—In the United States
polluted the Rouge and Detroit rivers last year.
Time magazine (October 12) reports that the poverty level
In addition, Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak has has hit an 11-year high of 13.2%, with a 13% increase in the
been holding hearings in the state on the lack of oversight number of people getting food stamps. Poverty levels rose in
related to bottled water, less, in fact, than from municipal 31 states and the District of Columbia from 2007 to 2008.
systems. He reported in a handout “Bottled water has
been recalled due to contamination by arsenic, bromate, A USA Today Snapshot (September 30) shows the number
cleaning compounds, mold and bacteria. Ten bottled- of children eating subsidized school lunches was 24.2
water companies had a mid-August deadline to submit million in 1990, 27.3 million in 2000 and 31.0 million in
information about their sources of water.” 2008. That’s an astounding number of children whose
families are near or below the poverty level.
The LWV of Michigan Great Lakes Ecosystem position,
adopted in 1974, 1981 and 2005 ﬁlls two pages with The National School Lunch Act was signed by President
“provisions for cleaning up” as well as for “protection of Harry Truman in 1946. Any child at a participating school
water resources” before clean up becomes necessary. may purchase a meal through the National School Lunch
Program. Children from families with incomes at or below
Along with a naturalist who showed the myriad of wild 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals.
growth along the lakeshores, Melvin J.Visser, author of Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent
“Clear, Cold and Deadly: Unraveling a Toxic Legacy”, of the poverty level are eligible for reduced�price meals,
revealed that as a chemist at Upjohn (Kalamazoo) for which students can be charged no more than 40 cents.
earlier in his life, he had “migrated” into the company’s (For the period July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010, 130
environmental division, engaging in research to discover percent of the poverty level is $28,665 for a family of four;
the source of POPs (persistent organic pollutants) ending 185 percent is $40,793.)
up in the ﬁsh of the cold northern water of the Great Lakes
to the Arctic. “Can you imagine the most toxic chemical
in Great Lakes ﬁsh not being included in ﬁsh eating
advisories?” he writes. No longer with Upjohn and now a
quasi-informant on toxics used and released from places
similar to Upjohn, he tells all in his book, very much worth
the reading. Visser noted that both Michigan Congressmen
Vern Ehlers and Fred Upton know the issue, and “have
listened.” It is clear they need to hear from more people,
particularly in their jurisdictions, if saving a vital water
resource is to occur.
For Your Winter Reading Pleasure—New Book Group Embodying true League grit, member Lorraine Stepanek biked over 9
miles round trip to attend the Book Group meeting on September 14
Selection at the home of Liz Ennis and Annette Van Dusen.
The next Book Group selection is Cheap by Ellen Ruppell
Shell, just published n 2009. The subtitle of this book is
“The High Cost of Discount Culture” and her thesis is that
“America has been transformed by our relentless ﬁxation
on low prices.” Part history (this all began some time
ago with merchants like F.W. Woolworth, a clever creep
who exploited both his customers and sales staff), part
sociology (the Franklin Mills Outlet outside Philadelphia
attracts four times more visitors than the Liberty Bell)
and part economics (creativity and innovation, American
strengths, can get lost in the stampede to lower prices).
And do you have any idea how you are manipulated?
Get the book, read more and we’ll discuss it at a meeting in Senator Ron Jelinek chats with Sue and Werner Petterson and Chris
April. Vanlandingham of the Region IV Area Council on Aging at the
October 12 Legislative Luncheon.
League of Women Voters
of Berrien and Cass Counties
P. O. Box 232, Union Pier, MI 49129
Two Terriﬁc Meetings
Tuesday, November 3, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, November 20, 12:00 p.m.
Fernwood Botanical Garden
JOSEPH B. NAINES. Jr., Ph.D.
Economic & Marketing Research
P.O. Box 1361
Business Benton Harbor,
Haircare Bill Rattan
Massage 269.756.9775 Sense Michigan, 49023-1361
Handmade Soap 22b N Elm St 269/983-6989
Art Gallery featuring the Masters Three Oaks, MI