Red River Valley
Voter

November-December 2001

A look ahead...
LWV public meetings are held in the Sons of Norway Lodge, 722 2nd Ave. N., Fargo, in the meeting room behind the cafeteria. Members and guests who wish to go through the buffet line and eat together (in the lodge meeting room), may do so at 11:30 a.m.

October 26, 2001 3:30p.m.
Local Study Mailing Preparation
Mary Davies' home--1001 S. 10th St., Moorhead

November 1, 2001 5:30-7:00 p.m.
LWVND Board Meeting
Fryn' Pan Restaurant 302 Main Ave., Fargo

November 2, 2001 12-1 p.m.
First Friday at Sons of Norway
Dispelling Myths about Islam
Speaker: Dr. Mona Ibrahim, Concordia College
(Note: School District Planning Administrator regrets that an
unforeseen conflict forced him to cancel his First Friday presentation
previously announced for this date.)

November 3, 2001 9:00-3 :00 p.m.
Women in Action Conference
Keynote Speaker: Heidi Heitkamp
Comstock Memorial Union, MSUM

November 6, 2001 7 a.m-8 p.m.
Minnesota Election Day
Moorhead City Council and School Board

November 14, 2001 5:10-6:30 p.m.
WVRR Board Meeting
United Way Office, 219 7th St. S., Fargo
This meeting is one week early.

December 7, 2001,2001 12-1 p.m.
Reactio s to Terrorist Attacks in the Refugee Community
Speaker: Barry Nelson, Executive Director, Moorhead
Healthy Community Initiative

January 4, 2002 12-1 p.m.
Preliminary Reports from LWVRRV Study Groups
Suzanne Dobbins and Barbara Headrick



West Fargo has grown rapidly

Larry Weil, West Fargo Planning Director for the past eleven years, spoke at the October First Friday meeting about what the community envisions for the coming years. People are moving fast, he said, and must look at what has happened and what is happening.

The population of West Fargo is 14,940. This represents a 21.6% growth in the past ten years. West Fargoans see themselves as a family community. Residences are 60+% owner occupied and 30+% multiple occupancy. There has been a lot of development along 13th Avenue. The 180 single family building permits issued in the past year is almost the same number as the whole Metro area. Multiple occupancy units have"high end" rents of $800-1200. All space is pretty well taken up inside the city limits. In the 1970s many single family permits were issued, however, construction fell in 1979 due to high interest rates. It picked up again in 1993, when the Horace -Sheyenne River diversion project was approved to alleviate flooding.

Some community needs are: different types of single family dwellings, assisted living units, additional access to the community and another interchange. Some issues are the location of new residential development, housing maintenance programs, quality of construction and land uses along Main Avenue and Sheyenne Street. There is an agreement with Fargo as to development west of I-29. The Eagle Run area is in West Fargo.

Question was raised about property taxes for West Acres. Weil pointed out that it is only school taxes that go to West Fargo, the rest go to Fargo. Member Sen. Judy Lee pointed out that West Fargo receives the school tax because many years ago when rural schools in the undeveloped area around the two cities closed, West Fargo agreed to bus the children involved to its schools thereby making the territory part of the the West Fargo school district.


 

" The League of Women Voters values diversity in its members. In principle and in practice, the League knows no barriers on the basis of age, creed, disability, gender, national origin, race or sexual orientation, and encourages full participation in and contribution to the organization by all its members. "

From the President
As we regroup from the events taking place on September 11 and since that time, I have found it comforting to remember the purpose of the League of Women Voters and all we are doing nationally and locally to promote democracy and the American way of life.

Dr. Carolyn Jefferson Jenkins, President of the LWVUS, said the following:"As a people, we have resolved that we will never allow our democracy be defeated by unseen enemies. Let us also resolve never to allow it to decay from within. Let us strike back at our attackers by demonstrating our national pride, deep patriotism and commitment to civic engagement and participation. Let us show the world that democracy is alive and well in America."

The League has already been busy promoting democracy on a local level this fall participating in the October Naturalization Ceremony at the Federal Courthouse. We continue to work to educate voters by providing candidates' forums during the week of Oct. 22, 2001 before the Moorhead elections in November.

The November First Friday meeting welcomes Dr. Mona Ibrahim who will be speaking about Islam. I hope to see a lot of you there, and please bring a friend. This promises to be a great dialogue.

Dr. Jenkins sums up the importance of our work best:"Americans have responded to terrorists with heroism. We have come together as a country and shown the world that strength lies within. Citizens have dedicated themselves to our nation in significant ways‹standing in line to help those in need through donations of money, blood, food, clothing and medical supplies. There is something else Americans can do for their country. Participate in your government. Let your voice be heard by exercising your right to Vote. Democracy, like the American spirit, cannot be broken by terrorism."

Proud to be an American,

Andrea Sather, President
League of Women Voters of the Red River Valley



Statement by Dr. Carolyn Jefferson Jenkins
President Speaking for the League of Women Voters of the United States September, 2001

Last week's tragic and savage attacks on our nation's financial center and government--New York City's World Trade Center and the United States' Pentagon--shocked and sickened America and the entire world community. They forced us as a national community to pause and reflect on our safety, security and on the true strength of our commitment to a unified democracy. The League Women Voters joins our country's elected leaders and the nation in their resolve to defend our country from external attack. As we begin to rebuild and heal our country, we must take care not to ignore or trample the basic civil rights, liberties, freedoms so precious to all Americans. Let us stand together to protect and strengthen the American way of life and our democratic systems of good government that our adversaries would like so much to try to destroy.

As a people we have resolved that we will never allow our democracy to be defeated by unseen enemies. Let us also resolve never to allow it to decay from within. Let us strike back at our attackers by demonstrating our national pride, deep patriotism and commitment to civic engagement and participation. Let us show the world that democracy is alive and well in America.

As Americans head to the polls this fall in communities across the country, many will be keenly aware of the role they play in selecting leaders, the preciousness of their right to vote and the value of an accessible and transparent system. Primary elections in New York City have been rescheduled for Sept. 25 and the LWV will be there helping things to run smoothly at the polling places citywide, through a citizen education phone service and at www. dnet.org., the league's online voter resource for local, state and national elections.

Americans have responded to terrorists with heroism. We have come together as a country and shown the world that strength lies within. Citizens have rededicated themselves to our nation in significant ways--standing in line to give money, blood, food, clothing and medical supplies.

There is something else Americans can do for their country. Participate in your government. Let your voice be heard by exercising your right to vote. Democracy, like the American spirit, cannot be broken by terrorism. Note: Check our the league's local web site--www.lwvnd.org --where dnet.org can be accessed for bios and positions of candidates in Moorhead's election and links with political party, city and other sites.


People Notes

Our hard working State League President and local Treasurer, Suzanne Dobbins, was recently honored by the national League. She was invited to join the national board of directors. Fortunately for North Dakota and our local leagues, she turned the position down. Suzanne was also interviewed by the National Voter for an article on Council 2001 (p.2 League Connections Section, Sept.- Oct. National Voter).

Former LWVRRV President Billi Jo Zielinski and her husband have arrived safely in the USA from Turkmenistan which borders on Afghanistan. Their tour with the Peace Corps has involuntarily ended. Future plans were indefinite at press time.

Vice President Julia Jones, Director of the Dakota Montessori School, is enjoying the school's beautiful new building at 1134 Westrac Drive.

Long time member, Helen Shirey, passed away recently. Helen had been living at Bethany Homes but continued to be a wonderful League supporter. She was at one time a State League officer.

On October 17, the board welcomed Carla Hartje to appointed membership on the board.

Kathy Kvalvog, Finance Chair, explained some of the activities her committee has planned in addition to the annual finance drive for which letters have gone out to former contributors and our own members. In the planning stages are a silent auction and a rummage sale. Planning discussion took place for a symposium to include and follow the First Friday meeting on Election Reform tentatively set for March . We hope to feature representatives from state, local and possibly federal government in a panel.


Local Study Update

Progress is being made on this study of non-elective boards and commissions in Moorhead, Fargo and West Fargo. Lists of these boards and commissions have been obtained along with names and addresses of members. Ways in which members are selected are being investigated.

A survey with cover letter has been completed and will be mailed to the board and commission members the last week in October. Questions addressed in the survey are related to appointment barriers, diversity of mem- bership-- if it does or does not reflect demographics--training of members, efficiency of invested time in the meetings, staffing by city employees, attendance policies etc. The budget for this mailing was approved at the last LWVRRV board meeting.

A face-to-face interview with selected members may follow the written survey. Active members of the committee are:

  • Mary Davies
  • Suzanne Dobbins
  • Barb Headrick
  • Carol Sawicki
  • Marlene Batterberry.

Other members are being sought to assist with mailing preparation, tallying of the surveys when returned, and preparation for the interviews. A meeting to prepare the mailing will take place at the Davies home, 1001 S. 10th St. on Oct. 26, at 3:30. Interested members are welcome. Attention!! We are looking for volunteers for a committee to organize our continuing study of area schools with a focus on planning. If there is no response, the study will be tabled.
Call the League office at 232-6696.


Meet New Board Members

Helen Rudie was elected to the board last spring. Although she retired as director of the Concordia Library Curriculum Center some years back she has been most active in our communities and abroad since. Helen joined the Moorhead League in 1965 after an invitation from a friend. She was able to help with studies of public health and recycling of solid waste by producing audio- visual aids. The league's health study contributed to the placing of public health nurses in Moorhead public schools.

In 1994, Helen traveled to Bratislava in Slovakia to serve as a volunteer mis- sionary librarian at a Lutheran High School. She traveled extensively in Europe and Southeast Asia. After four years in Slovakia, she returned to Moorhead.

Helen is particularly interested in community affairs, the environment and women's issues. She has been active in many organizations notably the American Association of University Women which she once served as Minnesota President and her church. She enjoys sharing slides of her travels and and information about life in Eastern Europe since the fall of communism.

Although long a Moorhead resident, Helen recently moved to the Park East Complex in Fargo.



Women in Action Conference

The Women's Studies Departments of our three colleges in conjunction with LWVMN will hold a conference on November 3 ( see A Look Ahead).

There will be three panels: Women, Politics and the Media featuring Heidi Heitkamp, Merrie Sue Holtan and Robin Huebner; Women on the Inside with Lisa Borgan, Arlette Preston and Cynthia Rothe-Seeger; and Community and Local Activism with Waulene Pennymon, Yok-Sim Gunaratne, and Jill Danielson.

Small informal discussion groups with individual speakers will conclude the event.

Registration is free to college students and $10 for all others. LWVRRV Board Notes



Observer Corps

Fargo City Commission

At this time each year the special assessment lists for the coming year are voted on by the commission. Most were approved without protest, but a few resulted in a lot of discussion.

One discussion concerned assessments for tree planting in new developments. Explanations by city staff members seemed to convince the protesting homeowners that all of the lots would end up paying similar amounts in the end, even though the rates appeared to be unfairly distributed at this time. These sorts of protests have come up fairly regularly in the past. The commissioners all mentioned that they think that possibly a different way of paying for tree planting in new developments should be used.

Several much larger assessments, for water mains and sewers in the area around the new Bennett School resulted in lengthy discussions also.

People who purchased new homes in this area are being assessed for an amount that is up to 40% more than the special assessment rate that they were quoted at the time of purchase. The specific reason for the discrepancy in this case was not determined at the meeting, but one cause may be that is very difficult to give an accurate estimate ahead of time when the assessor's office must make many estimates in a short time.

--Carol Sawicki, Observer

Fargo School Board

A large portion of the first October meeting was taken up with discussion of desirable ways to establish communication with the city, West Fargo School District and ND legislators. The discussion was continued from a previous meeting.

This board development process will continue as the time for the updating of the long-range facilities plan nears. It is expected that much engagement with the community will be required to complete the plan.

--Audrey Richmond, Observer

Moorhead Election

November 6 Moorhead citizens will elect a new mayor and a city council member in each ward. They will also elect three School Board members.

For information on many candidates go to www.dnet.org. This is the first year we have used this League web site for a local election and it is gratifying to see how many candidates have signed on. Candidates write up their own information.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m.‚8 p.m. The polls are the same as used in the general election. The city is in charge of the ballot and anyone needing an absentee ballot should contact City Hall.

--Mary Davies

JOIN THE LEAGUE!

Support the good work of the League by becoming a member or
renewing your membership. Send your check to: The League of Women Voters of the Red River Valley, P.O. Box 295, Fargo, ND 58107.
Current dues are: Student: $ 12.50,
Individual: $ 40.00
Household $ 60.00.

Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.

LWVMN Regional workshop

On Saturday, October 6, Fargo hosted the Fall Regional Training Workshop for Leaders. Members of the Minnesota LWV board of directors including President Carol Frisch, members Lee Humphrey, Evon Spangler, Ellen Mork and Ellen Biales shared methods of organizing and presenting program and voter
education including impressive publications and videos. LWVND President Suzanne Dobbins led a session identifying and attracting new members.

Especially interesting was the explanation of LOTT--Leaders of Today and Tomorrow--an arm of the Minnesota League which encourages young women to become politically active. LOTT is responsible for training the leaders of our own successful student LWV chapter at Concordia College. It is the only program of its kind in the country.

Present at the workshop were leaguers from three states.


Policy Governance…
A Management Model, Part II

(for part I)
In an an overview of the Policy Governance model of board organization begun in the last issue, it was stated that it is the system adopted by the Fargo Board of Education in October, 2000. The model was conceived by John Carpenter, PhD. and details are available on the Policy Governance web site-www. policy governance.com

In defining policy governance, Carpenter states that the model"informs" all aspects of board work, applies to all types of boards and can be successful without micro-management. It is designed to give the organization's true owners--in the schools' case, the community as a whole--"competent servant-leaders to govern on their behalf." In this capacity it is the board's responsibility to determine"ends" for the organization or"what results, for which recipients at what worth" based on their perceptions of the judgment and values of the community. For the schools examples of results could be the levels of skill in curriculum areas; recipients: adolescents, elementary students or special needs students; and worth: dollar cost or priority against other results. Board approvals of staff plans are not a substitute for setting criteria. The board is not responsible for deter-mining the"means" for meeting the criteria. That responsibility is delegated to a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) such as the superintendent. Means can include personnel, financial planning, purchasing, program services and curricula even governance itself, such as how to construct committees.

The board should allow maximum opportunity for staff to select means using their professional skill. By staying out of means decisions, except to prohibit unacceptable means, the board retains the ability to hold the CEO accountable for means decisions that take place in the system.

In order to be effective, all policies must be written--ends, executive limitations, governance process and board-staff linkage. These must come entirely from board deliberations and can be changed at any time. The policies are defined to the point where the board can accept any reasonable interpretation by the CEO. Governance process and board-staff linkage are delegated to the board chair who ensures that the board follows the written procedures it has established for itself. Carpenter suggests that board meetings should consist of three deliverables:

  1. Contacts with ownership in order to know what they think
  2. Production of written governance policies
  3. Performance that can be shown to be a reasonable interpretation of the board's ends.

The board controls its own agenda. The long term agenda should be part of governance policy and specifics can be filled in by the board chair.

Board meetings are for its members need to learn, to deliberate, discuss and make decisions together. Joint meetings with other boards are some- times desirable. The board makes decisions rather than committees although the latter can gather information on factors and options relating to a decision. The CEO is a participant but not a central figure. Other staff can have input if it relates to a decision before the board. Meetings should demonstrate that the primary relationship of the board is with the citizen ownership rather than the staff.

Board members or committees should not exercise authority over the staff because it undermines holding the CEO responsible for results. Ballantyne Consultants (www.Balantyne.com) hold that board members who have experience in management skills can have difficulty with the policy governance system since management is the province of the CEO. The staff can request advice from the board but does not have to follow it.

Legitimate board committees can explore consultation with community members as to ends or executive limitations options.

Evaluation of organizational performance is the same as evaluation of CEO performance. The CEO knows the criteria to be evaluated because it is part of the policies. For each end and executive limitation policy, the board will have set a frequency and method of monitoring so that reporting runs automatically. The CEO reports data and can include the judgment of a disinterested party such as an auditor. Often reports are mailed to board members and meeting time discussion can be minimal.

In conclusion, Carpenter describes good board members as those who can think conceptually with long term perspective, welcome diversity of opinion, abide by group decisions, speak on behalf of the entire owner-ship rather than their own or splinter group's perspective and place the accountability of the organization above personal gratification.

--Audrey Richmond

Table of Contents

  1. A look ahead
  2. West Fargo Growth
  3. From The President
  4. LWVUS President Statement
  5. People Notes
  6. Local Study Update
  7. Meet New Board Members
  8. Women in Action Conference
  9. Observer Corps
  10. Policy Governance…
    A Management Model

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