Reflecting on a successful year for the Bay LWV
The Bay Village League of Women Voters' 66th year has been our most active in decades. I want to share with you our annual report – and even more, to thank you, our community, for being the reason for it all.
In a local election year, voter service is Job One. Last year's mayoral primary forum had a standing-room-only crowd with TV coverage. When the Indians decided to make the playoffs, general election forum attendance plummeted, but online video saved the day with 270 views.
The Westlake | Bay Village Observer re-engineered our Voters' Guide. With answers to two questions in print and an additional four available online, it was our most-comprehensive-ever candidate comparison.
Voter education went beyond political races. Last June, westside LWV chapters wrapped up our three-part regionalization series with a forum on evaluating fire district mergers. During election season, we wrote articles to raise awareness of Cuyahoga County's voter purge, provisional ballot rules, and voting deadlines. More recently, we celebrated spring with a piece on Sunshine Week.
Our westside LWV observer corps took off last August by documenting Westshore Council of Governments meetings. Branching out to Rocky River Wastewater Treatment Plant and WCOG Fire District Study meetings, westside chapters have brought sunshine to important meetings that are not covered elsewhere. In the process we have come to know our mayors, and they have come to appreciate the visibility we give to their good work.
In Bay Village – again choosing less visible but important government bodies – we have published observations on our Planning Commission's townhouse development discussions and the Civil Service Commission's rules rewrite.
We are working closely with City Council. We asked Council to publish their meeting packets online, and they have done so since February. We advocated for a charter amendment to close the loophole that allowed a write-in candidate to bypass last fall's primary election. As individuals, we successfully stood up for clear statements against luxury condominium tax abatements and for expanded equal opportunity employment.
Beyond Bay, members participated in the LWV's national Agriculture Study and helped register new voters in Cleveland high schools. We screened forum questions in other cities. We partnered with other Leagues to purchase reusable Vote Tuesday! yard signs. In May, the Cuyahoga Area League, of which we are a part, voted to merge with the Cleveland Area and Shaker Heights Leagues to form one Greater Cleveland League that will serve all of Cuyahoga County.
We are a civic organization as well as a League. We have given back to Community Council, the Holiday Caring & Sharing program, Cahoon in June, and the fireworks fundraiser. Looking to the next generation, we even sponsor our own girls softball team! As is tradition, we gave Good Citizenship scholarships to two outstanding seniors.
We now have 35 members, 25 of whom have joined since 2012-13. Our monthly meetings, which are always open to the public, feature interesting local and regional speakers.
We believe that a strong LWV contributes to a responsive local government and a vibrant community. The only requirement for membership is a passion for democracy. Please do join us at lwvcuyahogaarea.org!