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League of Women Voters of Somers, NY

PO Box 371, Somers, New York 10589

This web page will not be updated after December 2015.
Instead go to http://www.lwvny.org/LLresources/bulletins/Westchester.html#somers 
and bookmark that location.

Annual Year End Party December 14, 2015

The Somers League of Women Voters will hold its annual "Year End Party" on Monday, December 14 at 10:30 AM at the Somers Library in Reis Park. The League will be honoring Harriet Leib, a Heritage Hills resident and past President, who has been a member since 1992. (See below) We will also celebrate eleven members who joined between 1993 and 1999.

Linda McNeil, another Heritage resident, will tell us how to put the necessary humor, fun and laughter into our daily lives. For 22 years Linda owned and managed Computer Ease, a successful computer training and documentation company in NYC specializing in Corporate Cash Management. She traveled the world teaching seminars based on books she authored in-cluding: Cash Management Templates and Lotus for Treasury Managers.

Refreshments will be served and, as always, there will be no admission charge.

President's December Message

As we rapidly approach the end of 2015, I look back at the good work done by the Somers LWV. Early in the year, Francoise Bennett, Sandra Brinkman and Anne Harper attended the Annual U.N. Briefing. After a tour of the U.N. they were escorted to the dining room for a delicious buffet. In April we met at Town Hall with Supervisor Morrissey and Councilmen Richard Clinchy, Thomas Garrity, Anthony Cirieco and Town Clerk Kath-leen Pacella who held our interest as they made their “Report to the People.”

The Somers League has addressed many important top-ics this past year. Paul Sheldon discussed finances and Dr. Ray Blanch spoke of matters facing our schools. Chris Ely, former butler to Mrs. Astor, (substituting for Elizabeth Loewy), spoke on elder abuse and the Astor case, while Kathy Cucchiarella alerted us to the problems narcotics cause our young peo-ple. Michael Kaplowitz and Chris Malone didn’t disap-point. Cindy Kennedy worked with Wesley Cash, our Student in Albany, who was sponsored by the Somers League. Wesley addressed the membership at our monthly meeting and was a delight.

Our Book & Author luncheon was a great success due to the efforts of Joyce Liebman and Bea Bartner. The authors ap-peared to enjoy meeting each other as much as we enjoyed lis-tening to them. Cindy Kennedy helped make our fall luncheon a success. We found the new Somers Library Director, Andrew Farber, impressive. In October, Francoise Bennett, Polly Kuhn and Loretta Nelson attended a ribbon cutting ceremony to cele-brate the opening of Muse 2 in Baldwin Place and then lunch in their meeting room.

The Bulletin is a major link between the Board, the Membership and the community. Carol Sturtz does a superb job and we thank her. Many others work diligently on the various committees, but more about them in a future issue.

Francoise and I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday

The League of Women Voters and Harriet Leib

I have had and continue to have a “good run” with the League. I started with the League in 1992, soon after I retired from my work in education. I was looking to get involved with an organization that gave me the chance to “give back,” having had a good life working with children from low- to middle-income families as an Assistant Principal in a Bronx high school, having a lovely family, and a special, supportive husband who encouraged me to become active (although every now and then he calls me Mrs. League, not Mrs. Leib.)

I have been a member of the Dobbs Ferry League, which became the Rivertowns League, the Westches-ter County League, the latter as co-chair of every committee, with the exception of the Budget Committee, as well as our wonderful Somers League. I became a director at the County League and eventually the First VP. I was asked to take the Presidency, but I did not want the ultimate responsibility. However, when I moved to Heritage and became part of the Somers League, one of its most persuasive members, Doris Lipman, talked me into the co-Presidency –even though she had promised when I joined that I would not be asked to become co- or any other kind of president.

A highlight of my time with the League was the creation of a Mock Presidential Convention, working with Charlotte Schienberg and Prof. Christopher Malone, that had 600 high school students from Westchester and New York City involved and speakers (pro and con) on each of the issues, readying and working both with the high school and college students to prepare them to be delegates, either as Democrats or Republicans, for the Convention, the latter taking place at Pace University. It became a 2-year project and the results made all the work worth the effort.

At Somers, I have been active as VP, co-President for a number of years, sat on many committees, chaired the education committee, enjoyed many brunches given by the members, loved the trips and holiday parties and many other activities. I have loved it all.

Thoughts on the '16 Election

In September of 1975, McGovern, Udall, Humphrey, Muskie - Democrats, in September of 1979 the names Baker, Bush, Connelly, Dole, Stassen and Wiecker - Republicans on primary ballots for the Presidential candidacy.. Quite a contrast from 2015’s list! Thus did “Our Professor” Chris Malone begin his November 8 talk to us as he gave us a perspective of primary races in the last forty years.

His advice to candidates, particularly current Republican ones, “Don’t be an early frontrunner.” In the past, Republican front-runners did well but those who emerged as candidates in recent years were usually down at the bottom of the list a year earlier. This seemed like encouraging news to some of us at the meeting.

While this advice applied to Democrats in the 70s and 80s, they have become more stable in recent years. In 2015 and 2016, they would appear to be more than stable. There is little doubt as to who will be the Democratic candidate. And, in Professor Malone’s opinion, Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to run in many a year.

Answering audience questions after completion of his presentation, he assured us of the scientific methods of conducting and tabulating polls. He doubts that there will be a split among Republicans and forecasts Marco Rubio as their ultimate choice. He may be able to compete more actively with Mrs. Clinton in reaching for the young and Latino voters.
It was, as always, a lively and enjoyable hour with Dr. Malone who promises to return in November 2016. Are there any predictions as to what he will report, or just prayers?

December 2015
Calendar of Events

Due to the changes in schedule this month, there will not be a Bulletin for October. The Bulletin will resume in November.

Tues. Dec. 1 "Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility" with Allison Lake, Westchester Children's Society and Lisa Friedman, Legal Aid Society. 7:00pm at the Chappaqua Library Theater, 195 S. Greeley Ave., Chappaqua

Thurs. Dec. 3  Westchester County LWV Holiday Luncheon with Dr. Melinda S. Miles, President of Westchester Community College. 12 noon at Scarsdale Congregational Church, 1 Heathcote Road, Scarsdale, $30 pp. For reservations call Kitt Rosenthal 723-5126.

Thurs. Dec. 3 League Day at the United Nations

Mon. Dec. 14
10am Monthly Meeting
10:30am Holiday Party with refreshments. Join us in honoring Harriet Leib and hear Linda McNeil on humor. Somers Library, Reis Park

Mon. Jan. 11
10am Monthly Meeting
10:30am County Legislator
Somers Library, Reis Park

December 1
Giving Tuesday

#GivingTuesday is coming up on December 1, 2015 and the League of Women Voters of New York State Education Foundation will be participating for the third year in a row.

Last year, donors gave over $3,000 to the state League Education Foundation in one day during GivingTuesday! Since its founding in 2012, #GivingTuesday has inspired giving around the world, resulting in greater donations, volunteer hours, and activities that bring about real change in communities.

Each year, generous supporters like you join us to celebrate a day dedicated to giving back to our community. To help us celebrate, we have donors who have offered to match all gifts to the LWVNYS Education Foundation received on #GivingTuesday. Stay tuned for more details about this match and how you can double the impact of your gift and participate in a global movement that celebrates generosity on December 1, 2015.

Affordable Housing in Somers

Affordable Housing in Somers had been on our agenda for ten years, and a consensus of the membership to support action was expressed seven or eight years ago. We have worked to get the 224 units required in the Angle Fly Agreement between the Town and Westchester County, wherein the town received $4 million towards the purchase of those 660 acres, and prevented a large development.

The municipalities in the northern third of the County have been the focus of the County effort. In Somers, the LWV has supported, and watched the successful building of two developments for senior citizens at Baldwin Place: The Mews I rental units for people 62 years and older, and last month, Mews II, for seniors 55 and older. Each has 75 units, is fully rented, and very popular with the residents. There have been 2 apartments for workers, built above a restaurant in Granite Springs. 2 apartments built above the offices on Rte.#202 next to Il Forno, and a Habitat reconstruction of a dilapidated house. Adding these up, the Town Board has stated that some 160 units, plus 16 more almost approved at Hidden Meadows, (also on Rte 6, at Baldwin Place, also by the builder of the Mews, Ken Kearney) is well above what the HUD settlement requires of Somers .With The County Executive continuing to fight the HUD settlement, it is not likely that they will press Somers to build more. They consider that Somers has made the “good faith effort “ which the Angle Fly Agreement required.

NOW, we can then turn attention to some of the neglected area of LWV work, like State agenda:campaign finance reform, ethics in government, education funding; or National agenda: immigration, income inequality, tax code reform.

Updated by Valerie Castleman Nov.30, 2015