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League of Women Voters Cook County
Newsletter - March 2022
2022 LWVCC Annual Meeting
• The LWVCC 2022 Annual Meeting will be held on May 2, 2022 via Zoom. All members of Leagues in Cook County are invited to attend.
• The business meeting (9:30 – 11 am) will include all business that needs to come before the membership, including election of officers and directors, approval of the proposed 2022-23 budget, approval of any proposed bylaws changes, and approval of the proposed 2022-23 Program.
• The Program will be a panel featuring the three Cook County Commissioners who are not seeking reelection - Cook County Commissioners Peter Silvestri (District 9), Deborah Sims (District 5) and Larry Suffredin (District 13) The program will follow the business meeting and be over by noon.
• Look for more details about the Annual Meeting in next month’s newsletter. An invitation to register to attend will be sent to all members in April.
Recent LWVCC Actions
LWVCC Endorses the Cook County Forest Preserve Referendum
At their February Board Meeting the LWVCC Board voted to support the proposed Cook County Forest Preserve District Referendum to raise the district’s tax levy. The decision was based on the recommendation and materials presented by the LWVCC Forest Preserve Interest Group and included cites to LWVIL and LWVUS positions. The referendum will be on the ballot in the November election. The referendum will seek voter approval for the Forest Preserve District to raise its property tax levy to cover needed restoration and to ensure that existing lands continue to be protected. The Interest Group is preparing materials that will be available to all the Local Leagues to educate voters about the referendum.
Cook County Forest Preserve Tax Referendum will be on November Gubernatorial
Interested in Learning More?
If you are interested in working on this project, send an email to info [at] lwvcookcounty.org
June 28 Primary Election
March 14 was the deadline for candidates to submit petitions to be on their respective political party ballots for the June 28 primary. There could be challenges to eliminate some of those who filed, but we should soon know who will be on the ballots.
WTTW Video Voters’ Guide
The Cook County League will again be partnering with WTTW on producing a Video Voters’ Guide, that will include candidates for the offices in the Cook County and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District governments. Watch for more information in future issues.
• March 30 is the first day voters can apply for a vote-by-mail ballot from the Cook County Clerk’s election division, and the Chicago Board of Elections.
• NEW this year: you can apply for permanent vote-by-mail status, eliminating the need to apply each election. You will be able to change the party ballot you wish to receive for primary elections and the mailing address as necessary from time to time.
• Both the Cook County and the City of Chicago election authorities will have applications that can be filled out online at their respective web sites. THIS IS THE PREFERRED WAY TO APPLY, and will allow you to receive email notices of your application being approved and of your ballot being sent. Note that you will need to specify which political party ballot you want for this primary election. You can also print out and mail or drop off the application to the appropriate election authority.
• June 23 is the last day to apply online or by mail, with June 27 the last day to apply in person at the election authority’s office .
To apply for a mail in ballot:
• Suburban Cook County Residents click here
• City of Chicago Residents click here
LWVIL VOTER GUIDE
LWVIL's comprehensive online tool that provides nonpartisan election information for the entire state, including when and where to vote.
Candidate profiles will soon be available.
Budget and Structure Interest Group News
The Budget and Structure Interest Group alerted the Chicago, Homewood/Flossmoor, Palos/Orland, and Park Forest Leagues about the recent Cook County Inspector General report detailing serious conflicts of interest, waste, and institutional mismanagement at the South Suburban Mosquito Abatement District. The three Mosquito Abatement Districts in Cook County are independent bodies established by state law and are not subject to Cook County Board oversight. However, the Cook County Inspector General does have the authority to review their operations. The Budget and Structure Group has offered to facilitate a meeting among the local Leagues and the Illinois League if they wish to pursue the issues raised by the Inspector General report.
Forest Preserve Interest Group News
The Friends of the Forest Preserves (FOTFP) are hosting a year-long “Get to Know the North Branch Hiking Series" consisting of 15 hikes that showcase the different Forest Preserves of the North Branch of the Chicago River. Visiting most of the Forest Preserves along the North Branch, hikers will experience the unique flora, fauna, natural and human history, and the conservation efforts at each site. Check the FOTFP website for details.
MWRD Flood Management
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) has made significant investments in developing over 170 capital storm water projects since it assumed authority for storm water management in 2004. It has worked with many villages and towns to help mitigate flooding problems. There is much more work to be done, and the MWRD Commissioners have become more proactive in urging the staff to promote its flood control programs and identify communities of need.
Below are a few of its accomplishments and on-going efforts:
• Required construction of millions and millions of gallons of volume control, detention, and floodplain compensatory storage for commercial development projects
• Purchasing flood prone properties particularly along the DesPlaines River
• Provided GPS units to local municipalities to begin mapping their sewer systems
League members can support these efforts.
Beyond working with, and monitoring, watersheds and units of local governments on specific flood control issues, League members can also monitor small streams that run through their communities. The Small Streams Maintenance Program is one of the MWRD's little know programs. If left unattended, this debris can cause stream blockages and lead to flooding. League members can help by reporting blockages and debris in streams at the MWRD website or calling (312) 787-3575.
Observer Reports Highlights
At the February 10 Cook County Board meeting, the Cook County Commissioners amended the ordinance pertaining to the selection of a new Independent Inspector General. The current Inspector General, Patrick Blanchard, has announced his retirement as of Oct. 2022. The amendment slightly streamlines the selection process. Comm. Suffredin stressed that all those involved with the selection are subject to the County’s Ethics Code, which responded to a concern that the League had raised.
LWVCC observes several of the Cook County Board, committee, and agency meetings each month. To read more: LWVCC Observer Reports
Upcoming Local League Events
Cook County Local Leagues invite you to their upcoming events.
Oak Park River Forest League
• March 20, 2 p.m. via Zoom An Afternoon with Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt's story in her own words in a one-woman performance by Lynn Rymarz. A virtual performance fundraiser. $25. To register click here.
• March 24, 6 to 7:30 p.m.: LWV of Chicago's "State of the City" virtual fundraiser featuring former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and former Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson. The "Making Democracy Work" award will be presented to Ami Gandhi, Senior Counsel of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights. Tickets are $25. To register click here.
• Mar. 30, 6-7 p.m.: LWV of Chicago's Chicago in Focus: "Police Reform in Chicago" featuring Adam Gross, newly appointed Executive Director of the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, the civilian commission charged with overseeing the Chicago Police Department. Free, to register click here.
Glenview Glencoe League
• March 22 6:30 -7:30 p.m. An Evening with Jan Schakowsky, A Discussion of Federal Policies for Environmental Justice In person at the Winnetka Congregational Church and live-streamed. This event will focus on federal policies and initiatives in environmental justice impacting communities nationwide and globally. To register click here.
• March 30 7:00 p.m. Keeping Kids Safe: A Program on Safe Gun Storage Join them for a presentation on the topic of safe gun storage and how this mandatory practice saves lives for children of all ages. To register click here.
2021-2022 Cook County League Board Members
OFFICERS: President: Cynthia Schilsky, LaGrange Area; Vice-Presidents: Pris Mims, Chicago, Karin Hribar, Arlington Heights; Secretary: Betty Hayford, Evanston; Treasurer: Nancy Clark, Oak Park/River Forest.
Board members: Carolyn Cosentino, Homewood/Flossmoor; Laura Davis, Palatine; Diane Edmundson, Park Ridge; Jan Goldberg, LaGrange Area, Kathi Graffam, LaGrange Area; Georgia Gebhardt, Wilmette;
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, political organization whose mission is to encourage informed and active participation in government; to increase understanding of major policy issues, and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to anyone regardless of gender, race, or ethnic group.
League of Women Voters of Cook County
332 S. Michigan Ave. Suite 634, Chicago, IL 60604