Issues of focus/priority areas
Click on the attachment below for a summary of this information:
The League conducted a "full house" forum in April which gave us an opportunity to learn about the ramifications for our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. The speakers presented up to date information about the global climate change, the expected impact on Cape Cod, and the steps we can take to lessen the magnitude and prepare for unavoidable impacts to our built and natural environments.
Speakers were: Eric Davidson, Executive Director of the Woods Hole Research Center; Megan Tyrell, National Seashore's Research and Monitoring Coordinator; Lauren McKean, Director of the National Seashore's Climate Friendly Parks Program; and Paul Niedzwiecki, Executive Director of Cape Cod Commission
Money and Politics and concerns regarding the Citizens United decision and issues of campaign finance and transparency
Expanded Water Bill to include water, juice, iced tea and similar beverage containers to the current list of drinks with a 5 cent deposit
Casino Gambling and how it might impact the Cape
Waste Water Management and possible regional solutions to the Cape problem
Health Care and possible changes in the Massachusetts health care legislation
Members closely followed the Special Committee on Governance through its conclusion in February 2012. The League provided testimony to the Commission and we are continuing to follow the responses of the County Commissioners as they study the Committee recommendations.
The Committee put together information for use by the League in the March consensus on structure. The resulting position was presented to the County Commissionersand to the Assembly of Delegates.
View our Forum on County Government
On a different project, Karen Mazza, from the Supporting Youth Committee initiated a pilot community service project on voter registration with three students from a Communication and Persuasion class at Cape Cod Community College. At the end of the semester the pilot will be evaluated to improve the support and success of this project.
Contacting teachers and school officials to determine how we could help register students
Organizing and staffing local candidates' forums in four different towns
Supplying timers for a town meeting
Sponsoring our third "Don't Just Stand There...Run" program for citizens considering running for office
All those who participated deserve our thanks, with a special bow to new member Jan Hively, who worked with one town clerk to create an eighteenth birthday message (with voter registration form enclosed). We hope it will be adopted by other towns and Jan will introduce this effort at the annual Cape Cod Town Clerks meeting this summer.
Following Dr. Oakerson's remarks, Rob O'Leary, Co-Chair, Special Commion on Governess; Paul Niedzwiecki, CC Commission Executive Director; Maggie Geist, Association to Preserve Cape Cod; and State Senator Dan Wolfe commented on and discussed the issues.
Members of the audience received a packet of information and also took part in the discussion.
The meeting was open to the public and held at the Harwich Community Center September 17, 2011.
Background and History of the Affordable Housing Law: The affordable housing law was enacted in 1969 to address local zoning and land use restrictions that make it impossible or economically infeasible to build affordable housing under existing local zoning. Numerous studies have shown that these restrictions (large-lot zoning and the prohibition of multi-family housing) are responsible for high housing costs, low levels of housing production, as well as increased sprawl. Today, less than 1.5% of land in eastern Massachusetts is zoned for multi-family. The 1969 affordable housing law ensures that each community in the Commonwealth does its fair share to meet the housing needs of its residents. The affordable housing law (Chapter 40B) encourages a goal of at least 10% of affordable housing in each community. A total of 51 municipalities have met this standard+more than double the number in 1997. An additional 40 communities are close to reaching the 10 percent goal, demonstrating the significant progress this law has made in the creation of affordable housing. Today, Massachusetts remains an expensive place to live. The Committee to Protect the Affordable Housing Law is a grassroots coalition of more than 200 individuals and organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of residents. The coalition includes civic, business, religious, and academic leaders as well as senior, environmental, housing, and civil rights groups. The affordable housing law is responsible for 80% of the affordable housing created in Massachusetts, outside the major cities, over the past decade. Almost half of all of the affordable units created using this law were developed by non-profit organizations, like Habitat for Humanity, and by local housing groups. If this law goes away, a lot less affordable housing would be built and in some communities NO affordable housing would be built. Businesses of all sizes need the affordable housing law so their employees can afford to live here. In addition, some seniors would have trouble affording to stay in the communities where they have lived their whole lives, and working families wouldn't be able to afford to live in the communities where they grew up. 12,000 units of housing in the pipeline would never get built; we would lose the construction jobs that go along with those developments.
Increasingly across the country citizens have become upset and discouraged by the lack of civility in public discourse. Negative campaigns ads deliberately mislead and misrepresent; quotes are intentionally taken out of context, politicians avoid open forums because film clips can be so easily manipulated to their disadvantage and questioners are disrespectful. Editorials read: Politicians must work for greater good, not for partisan gain. Polarization has made it increasingly difficult for elected officials to work for compromise. News has become a product to sell. The We of We the people is becoming lost. Can we hope for something better? Fourteen organizations, including Cape Cod Community College and the League of Women Voters, think so! That's why they joined together to present a discussion about the problem and some possible solutions. When the critical mass of those wishing to make choices for greater civility gets large enough, change becomes a social movement that can impact the political process and change the status quo. It's been said: a growing seed can dislodge slabs of concrete!