Merger Ashland League With Rogue Valley July 2011

Dear League of Women Voters of Ashland Community:
7/12/2011 4:50 PM
We are writing to tell you some exciting news about our League.

At our Annual Meeting in May, the board asked members to approve approaching the League of Women Voters of Rogue Valley (LWVRV) about the possibility of a merger with our League.  At our board’s request, Robin Wisdom, State League President, attended to tell us about the experience of other Oregon Leagues that have merged.  Robin reported that the single League resulting from a merger experienced fresh new energy and became more effective with a larger membership base.  She also reassured us that the merger process would not be complicated.  LWVRV members were present at this meeting and most comments concerned the benefits of a merger.

Our members voted to go forward with the proposal, and a Leadership Team was elected to guide the next steps.  On May 30, 2011 an official proposal letter was sent to the LWVRV board, who voted to pursue a merger, with the intent of having the full membership vote on it next fall.    Our membership will also vote on it at that time.

The leadership of both Leagues is very happy about the prospect of a larger, more vital League in Southern Oregon.   League of Women Voters membership has been declining over the past years, making it difficult to undertake activities that earn public notice, appreciation, and new members.  A larger local League will provide more people to carry out such League objectives as undertaking studies and publicizing the results, lobbying for League positions, monitoring local government policy-making bodies and facilitating mock student elections.   An additional benefit of a merger in our case would be to solve a problem that has arisen from time to time of people, including elected officials, confusing which League took a position or action.   Combining the two Leagues in Rogue Valley would ensure that we speak with one voice.

Our goal is to complete the necessary tasks – melding bylaws, positions and treasuries – in time for the fall meeting so each membership can vote on a merger.  Attorney Bill Mansfield, a Rogue Valley member, has offered to assist with some of the necessary legal work.

The Phoenix Library is being considered as the venue for membership meetings.  Located between Ashland and Medford, it may also have the advantage of attracting new members from Talent and Phoenix.  Our dues would also be lower: $56.00 for an individual and $84.00 for a spouse or additional household member.

This summer, we will be participating in the LWVRV’s board retreat to help plan for the coming year.  They have requested two people from the Ashland League to serve on the 2011-12 board.   One of the unfilled positions Ashland is being asked to fill is a publicity chair (who can also be off-board).  We are also seeking members who want to be part of an Observer Corps to attend and report on public meetings.  If you are interested in any of these possibilities, please let us know.   This merger is an exciting undertaking for the League of Women Voters in Southern Oregon, and we hope that Ashland can be seen as fully contributing to its success.

If you have any questions or wish to speak with one of us about our League’s future plans, please feel free to call.

Have a great summer.   We look forward to seeing you in the fall.

Sincerely,

League of Women Voters of Ashland Leadership Team

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