Making Democracy Work

A Call to Action

How can I get involved in my community?

FEAT update!

Thanks so much to all who answered the call and helped us get the Reasonable Redistricting post cards sent out. We are making progress, albeit slowly. The NC FEAT RRR team is joining forces with Common Cause, Democracy NC and a few other organizations to get language agreed on by all that will go into a proposed constitutional amendment which we will ask the NCGA to put forth in 2020. Hopefully, all will be ready to go in a few weeks. Meanwhile, we here in Charlotte will continue to reach out to collect signatures on our RRR endorsement forms. Cate Stadelman and a few dedicated volunteers collected almost 100 signatures at the Women's March yesterday + kudos to you all!

Our goal at this point is just to collect as many signatures as possible. Good news: the FairDistrictsNC.org site now has an endorsement form that can be submitted online + yay!! So please take a look at it + and submit yours if you would. So, there are now 2 ways to forward our cause: carry endorsement forms with you to collect signatures (especially from businesses) and promote the website. Some of you had mentioned that your churches may want to be involved + Jennifer and/or I will be happy to speak to any groups. Of course, we especially need to persuade the conservative members of the NCGA + especially the senators, so if you know of anyone who lives anywhere in NC who has a Republican Senator that they would contact, that would be hugely helpful.

A Working FEAT Meeting

The holidays are in full swing and we are all busy but here's a quick overview of what we are up to: Our goal is to implement the Reasonable Redistricting Reform (RRR) plan that was presented at the Workshop in August. Research illuminated 5 principles that have worked in jurisdictions around the country that are working on redistricting reform. We are using these principles as the foundation of our plan because asking the current legislature to adopt 5 reasonable principles is more likely to win their support, rather than presenting them with a finished product which they had little or no say in creating. To do this, we plan to reach out to community/business/faith, etc. leaders to enlist their support. We asked the workshop attendees to list any community contacts they may have who might be influential in the Charlotte region. The response was gratifying and we have been working with the NC FEAT to hone our outreach strategy. We have created a spreadsheet of all of the contacts that the attendees provided and the next step is to send out a "mail merge" to introduce these potential supporters to the RRR plan and request a short, 15 minute meeting with them so that we can share more about our efforts and ask them to sign our endorsement forms.

Our FEAT Team is meeting on Thurs., January 10, 2019 at 6 pm at the LWVCM office (1817 Central Ave., Room 210) to address and stuff envelopes. Please join us if you can-these are exciting times and we have a chance to make a real difference.

Debbie Snowdon, Chair, LWVCM FEAT

Debbie.snowdon@yahoo.com

704.975.4335

Education Action Team Statement

Tom Bowers of the Education Action Team provided the following statement regarding the CMS Budget before the Mecklenburg County Commission meeting:

We appreciate the important synergy that exists between CMS, who develop and present a strong budget plan and the Commission, which must ensure careful oversight of the CMS budget. It is clear that both groups take their responsibilities seriously and conduct themselves with integrity and mutual respect.

The League of Women Voters has always supported strong public education. Our Charlotte-Mecklenburg League has been closely following the new CMS student assignment plan and bond referendum. We witness the educational challenges our community faces and the great legacy and successes we enjoy.

Members of the League urge your full support for the bond issue to build, replace and renovate much needed schools throughout the county because it will provide facilities that now serve almost twice the students for which a building was built. This results in aging mobile units, overburdened cafeterias, inadequate restrooms and no space for special classes.

These capital expenditures will also expand access to the district's planned magnet programs.

The League strongly urges you to approve the proposed expenditure to wipe out the waiting list of four and five-year-olds for the child care subsidy program. Study after study confirms the value of pre-K education for all children. You will recall that the Opportunity Task Force said,

"A child's earliest years have a profound and often lasting impact on his or her school success, career success, and adult life. Early care and education in particular pose opportunities for substantial long-term benefits to both children and the general public."

Chicago and Michigan studies* show that investments in early education return $7 to $16 for every dollar spent by reducing costs of remedial education, criminal justice, and welfare while increasing worker skills, income levels and economic productivity,

The budget proposal for early childhood education to serve all four and five-year-olds is a welcome start, and we urge your approval.

Important funding is still needed to complete the CMS plan for meeting the social and emotional needs of our students. $4.5 million is requested to provide an additional 42 counselors, 6 psychologists and 12 social workers. Physical and social needs must be met before a teacher can teach and a child can learn.

A caring community funds that commitment. We trust that as caring stewards you will support these vital programs that build the foundation for all of our futures. Thank You all!

  • The Chicago Child Parent Centers (CPCs) were similar to current state Pre-K programs in design and cost. The Chicago Longitudinal Study reported a $7.14 to $1 benefit-cost ratio. The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program that operated in the Ypsilanti, Michigan school district has been estimated to have a benefit to cost ratio of 16:1 over 40 years.

Medicaid Expansion

North Carolina's current Medicaid program covers only 30% of low income North Carolinians. This leaves 300,00-500,000 people in NC "In the Coverage Gap" which means they are too poor to qualify for subsidies on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace but do not fit into one of the limited eligibility categories for NC Medicaid. Being desperately poor isn't enough in NC to get health coverage. We need to change this. Join us in our Close the Coverage Gap Campaign! Opportunities for advocacy include:

  • Contact Governor Cooper and request that NC expand Medicaid. (919) 814-2000

  • Write your state representative and senator. Updated talking points will be available soon.

  • Help organize an informational session with community groups.

  • Give a presentation to your faith, neighborhood, or work networks.

  • Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper.