LWVSTL Unit Meeting Topics, 2023-24
November--Why Voting Is Important
December--Option for Each Unit to Determine Topic
January--How Caucus System Instead of Presidential Primary Will Work in Missouri This Year
February--MSD Rate Increase (local option for St. Charles unit)
March--Legislative Shenanigans based on current behavior of the Missouri legislature, with special attention to education and state initiatives on libraries, book banning, or curriculum control
May--Local Book Banning and Library Regulation Issues
Call the League office at 314-961-6869 or send an email to league [at] lwvstl.org to request the Zoom link for virtual unit meetings. Some meetings are held in person.
League Unit Meetings in the St. Louis region
|Name||Leader||Usual Meeting date/time *|
|St. Louis City||Kathleen Farrell||2nd Saturday, morning|
|North St. Louis County||Louise Wilkerson||2nd Wednesday, evening|
|Webster/Kirkwood||K Wentzien||2nd Wednesday, morning|
|West County||Laurie Velasquez||2nd Thursday, morning|
|St. Charles County||Don Crozier||2nd Tuesday, evening|
|Office/Hybrid||Anne Sappington||2nd Monday, evening|
*Check latest monthly newsletter (In League Reporter) for exact dates and times.
What is a unit?
There are many opportunities for members to participate in one or more activities in a local League. They run the gamut from attending a holiday luncheon, registering voters, joining an issue study committee, participating in an advocacy campaign or answering people’s telephone questions in the League office and many more.
Units, which are discussion groups that meet monthly, are an important component of our large League because they are our most frequent opportunity for learning how to engage in civic dialogue and learning about issues in a non-threatening atmosphere.
Units have approximately ten to thirty members in attendance. They meet at various locations and at different times. Members may attend any unit they choose. They may prefer to go to the same one regularly or go to a different unit meeting that is convenient for them at a given time.
Units are the life blood of the League. Each monthly unit meeting has the same program in which League members discuss and learn about a priority subject, and some units discuss locally relevant issues as well. The program is usually presented by members of one of the League study committees. If the League needs to decide what our position is on a particular subject we discuss it after the presentation and get the members opinions (take consensus). After the consensus of all the units is complied, it is presented to the local Board. Based on the outcome of the units’ discussion, the board approves the final consensus. A position statement is written and it serves as the basis of the League’s advocacy on that issue.
Each unit has its own chair. A member gives a brief report of what is happening in the League and reminds members of various activities that are coming up. If there is time members just informally continue to talk. The chair contacts members who normally attend a unit to remind them of the meeting.
Like all League activities, attendance at unit meetings is optional, but members who attend a unit regularly discover that they get to know people better. Many form lasting friendships.
Following are the reports of the units at our April, 2023, annual meeting of the entire League.
CITY UNIT REPORT
The City Unit celebrated the passage of Prop R by close to 70% in the April 2022 election. After its passage, alderpersons initiated actions to remove it. League members contacted all alderpersons to urge them to respect the vote of the people and vote against any removal legislation. Those efforts were successful and it remained in place. However, to this date no mechanism to put the Conflict of Interest Policy into effect has been initiated. Members have contacted aldermanic candidates running for election in April 2023 to take action if elected.
In May 2022, four aldermen sued the City and the five petitioners on the Prop R petitions to repeal the measure and also curb further political actions by these citizen volunteers. Two were City Unit members, Kathleen Farrell and Anne Sappington. The League itself was not sued. A judge dismissed the suit against the individual petitioners. The suit against the City is still pending. Two aldermen and the President of the Board of Aldermen were indicted on bribery and fraud charges and are now in federal prison.
Several special elections were held to replace alderpersons who resigned and to replace the President of the Board of Aldermen. League members worked to educate the public about these elections through social media and by working at the polls.
Voter education efforts to explain ward reduction and the newly drawn wards were City Unit projects. Group presentations, social media messages, and canvassing efforts were conducted in collaboration with SLACO and other organizations. Over 3,500 postcards were sent to voters in low turnout precincts to encourage voter turnout.
Members became concerned about the Board of Election practices and deficits. They began monitoring those meetings, chronicled the lack of transparency, compliance with requirements for meeting schedules, minutes, etc. In particular, they focused on the inaction of the Board to replace its aging election technology and assign polling places. League President Angie Dunlap communicated those concerns formally through letters and a Sunshine request. We continue to press these issues with the BOE and have worked to set up Board of Alderperson hearings on BOE practices and the need for additional resources after the April 2023 election.
Regular monthly meetings were held, and City Unit members were active in LWVSTL and LWVMO activities. Meetings were held virtually. We hope to meet again in person at least quarterly beginning in Summer 2023.
-Kathleen Farrell, City Unit Leader
ST. CHARLES UNIT REPORT
Over the last year, the St Charles Unit has been engaging with the community in a variety of ways.
High School Voter Registration- We are providing high school students in 10 area high schools with all of the materials they need to register to vote, including steps to register, absentee voting in college, and military voting. Total outreach: 2500 students.
GOTV- Sent out approximately 1500 postcards to infrequent voters in underserved communities within St Charles County and printed St Charles County specific voter information cards.
Voter Registration and Outreach- Overall number confirmed registrants: 67; Overall outreach: 1000
Breeze Park senior living community in St. Charles; Tabling: 3 libraries in St Charles, St Peters, and Wentzville; St Charles Farmers Market, Back to School Bash, Boys & Girls Club of St. Charles County;
St Charles Community College Democracy Days event, St Charles Community College Student Center;
Lindenwood University Dining Halls & Tailgates
Partnerships with other organizations with complementary missions- NAACP St. Charles County Branch, Moms Demand Action, St. Charles County Families for Public Schools, Francis Howell Forward.
Best attended St. Charles event: “Winning the War on Truth” by Jennifer Lohman -18 in-person and 4 on Zoom. The audience questions were great throughout and showed what a great rapport Jennifer built with everyone.
We supported Election Protection efforts in St. Charles county.
Youth Voice - St. Charles
In January of this year, the St. Charles unit of the Metro STL League in conjunction with Dr. Jeanie Thies and Professor Andrew Smith, Lindenwood University faculty, who have supplied the project with two interns and grants to fund the startup costs of the program, launched an experiment in youth-led civic engagement called Youth Voice St. Charles. Myah France, the primary Lindenwood intern for the project, after spending a lot of time researching and speaking with the leaders of other groups, has developed a recommended game plan for this group. Mary Baker and Janet Eubanks, unit members and former teachers in St. Charles public schools, are working to make appointments with superintendents and school leaders in which Myah can present the program and start recruiting high school youth to participate. In the meantime, Myah has begun recruiting a core group of students at Lindenwood. We look forward to watching and guiding this exciting new group into the future!