Making Democracy Work

Irving Support Positions Handbook

SUPPORT POSITIONS HANDBOOK

This handbook contains local consensus and concurrence positions, as well as League of Women Voters of the United States Principles, upon which local action may be taken.

As any of these local support positions are re-studied and new consensus reached, the out-of-date pages should be replaced with the new support positions. As any new consensus or concurrence positions are formed, these should be added to this handbook in the appropriate place, appropriately numbered and dated.

It is most important that all support positions are kept up-to-date in this handbook so it will continue to be an accurate guide in formulating League action.

This handbook is an indispensable tool for League board members and program study committee chairpersons. It is available to any other member who would like to have one.

Original edition published by the Irving League of Women Voters October, 1982
Review, update, amendments, and recommendations: November 1988
Review, update, amendments, and recommendations: May 1996

TABLE OF CONTENTS

BLOODLINE OF THE LEAGUE: PROGRAM, MEMBER AGREEMENT AND ACTION

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS PRINCIPLES

IRVING LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS LOCAL SUPPORT POSITIONS

CHILD CARE

MENTAL HEALTH

URBAN PLANNING

  • Flood Plains
  • Open Space
  • Citizen Participation

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
  • Dallas County Criminal Justice
  • Dallas County Bail Bonds
  • Dallas County Juvenile Board

DALLAS COUNTY ROAD AND BRIDGE DISTRICTS

MASS TRANSPORTATION

SCHOOLS - IRVING INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT (IISD)

  • Guidance and Counseling
  • Elementary Schools Program
  • Secondary Schools Program
  • Class Size
  • Budget
  • Health Services

CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY

YOUTH SUBSTANCE ABUSE

TEENAGE PREGNANCY

WASTE MANAGEMENT

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

JUVENILE JUSTICE STUDY

KIDS AT RISK

LEAGUE BLOODLINE

BLOODLINE OF THE LEAGUE: PROGRAM, MEMBER AGREEMENT AND ACTION

LOCAL PROGRAM MAKING
League PROGRAM consists of a limited number of governmental issues chosen by the membership for study and action. Proposed programs are based on several criteria: member interest, available member power, money, timeliness, effectiveness of League study, and contribution to a solution.

PROCEDURE FOR SELECTING LOCAL PROGRAMS

  • Meetings are held for consideration of local programs and/or members are solicited for their suggestions for local programs.
  • The results are presented to the local board, which recommends one or more proposed programs for study.
  • Program items are presented and voted on at local convention.

TYPES OF MEMBER AGREEMENT Consensus - Agreement among a substantial number of members, representative of the membership as a whole, reached after study and group discussions.

CONCURRENCE - A method reaching consensus by accepting a position of:

  • another local league
  • a League program committee
  • the LWV-Texas or
  • LWV-US

ACTION
Action is supporting or opposing legislation or method of operation of any governing body (on the local level, city council, school board, city or school boards and commissions). League action is ALWAYS the outgrowth of previous study and agreement. Official League action is approved in advance by the board. Individual members may act on League positions only as individuals. Members are encouraged to take action. Only the League President or someone designated by the president or board may take action in the name of the League.

ACTION on League positions includes:

  • Lobbying on the appropriate government level
  • Presenting the League's views at public hearings
  • Writing letters to or interviewing public officials
  • Campaigning for public support
  • Forming or joining group coalitions

LWV PRINCIPLES

The League of Women Voters believes in representative government and in the individual liberties established in the Constitution of the United States.

The League of Women Voters believes that democratic government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens and requires that governmental bodies protect the citizens' right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings, and making public records accessible.

The League of Women Voters believes that citizens should be protected in their right to vote; that all persons should have access to free public education, which provides equal opportunity for all; and that no person or group should suffer legal, economic, or administrative discrimination.

The League of Women Voters believes that efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, the clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing, and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government.

The League of Women Voters believes that responsible government should be:

  • responsive to the will of the people;
  • maintain an equitable and flexible system of taxation;
  • promote the conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest;
  • share in the solution of economic and social problems which affect the general welfare;
  • promote a stable and expanding economy
  • adopt domestic policies which facilitate the solution of international problems.

The League of Women Voters believes that cooperation with other nations is essential in the search for solutions to world problems, and that the development of international organizations and international law is imperative in the promotion of world peace.

CHILD CARE

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports the following measures to upgrade child-care in Irving:

Establishing of licensed sliding scale fee for child-care facilities

Inactive items (accomplished):

  • Requirement of a city operator's permit for all child-care facilities
  • Enforceable minimum safety standards for private day schools
  • Simplified zoning requirements for child care facilities, especially those caring for less than five children
  • Safety regulations for transportation of children to and from day nurseries and day schools
  • The wide dissemination of facts concerning licensing standards for child care in Irving

Consensus Date: August 1971
November 1988: Membership agrees to taking action on this item; item updated.
Review: May 1996. Revised to reflect accomplishment of positions.

MENTAL HEALTH

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports the following measures to improve community mental health in Irving:

A. Establishment of more preventive, diagnostic, and rehabilitative mental health services within the City of Irving in addition to those available to all County residents within the City of Dallas.
B. Use of trained and supervised volunteers in certain mental health services.
C. Use of city public facilities to house programs where appropriate.
D. The involvement of a local representation of the citizens of Irving in a community mental health program which would provide for:

1. The continuous coordination and evaluation of existing resources
2. Interdisciplinary cooperation in planning and obtaining new services
3. Operative liaisons among local care-giving agencies, public and private, and other individual groups, with an interest in community health planning
4. A multi-faceted program of mental health education designed to serve all segments of the Irving population, including comprehensive coverage of local mental health developments by the media.
E.Establishment of a formal coalition of authorized spokesmen from local, private, voluntary and tax-supported groups and interested individuals to aggressively pursue these goals.

Consensus Date: August 1971
Update: State consensus, 1988
Review: May 1996. Revised and updated.

URBAN PLANNING - Flood Plain

INACTIVE STATUS

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports the following measures to improve flood plain control in Irving:

A. Adoption of a city ordinance regulating flood plan development which encourages "green belt" development in the flood plains or when not feasible, specifies restrictive zoning in the flood plains.
B. Freeze of further building in flood plains until such an ordinance is passed.
C. Improved maintenance of the creek channels by the city through proper weed control and elimination of obstruction to water flow.
D. Compliance with present city ordinance prohibiting dumping in the creeks.

In the 1988 local position overview, action on item two and update on items three and four were recommended by the membership.

Consensus Date: November 1971
Review for recommendations: 1988
Review: May 1996. Moved to inactive status

URBAN PLANNING - Open Space

Members of the League of Women Voters of Irving, recognizing the urgent need for adequate open space in this urban area, support the following principles.

Principles
A. Open space is an irreplaceable resource which contributes to the physical, ecological, social, economic, and emotional well-being of all citizens.
B. The importance of open space, apart from its value of parks and recreation, should be acknowledged in public policy.
C. Providing adequate open space in a community is a responsibility which should be shared by both the public and private sectors.
D.Private land development should not be allowed to deprive the general public of adequate open space.

Implementation
Members of the League of the Women Voters of Irving support continuing efforts of the City of Irving to:
A. Formulate and implement a policy plan for acquiring adequate open space, both in terms of amount and location
B. Exercise creative leadership in making effective use of existing public and private open space
C. Use every available method to acquire additional open space
D. Provide sufficient funds to purchase land and to maintain acquired land
E. Maintain planning policies which encourage all private developers to establish open space goals and which encourage developers to participate in the meeting of these goals.

Consensus Date: November 1972
Review and Agreement, November 1988
Review: May 1996. Revised and updated.

CITIZEN PARTICIPATION

SECTION DELETED

Consensus Date: Spring 1973
Review and agreement: November 1988
Review: May 1996. Delete but recommend update.

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE - Dallas County Criminal Justice

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports:

A. Diverting those apprehended on suspicion of Drunk and Disorderly or Drunk in Public from the criminal justice system in Dallas County. Both a detoxification center and a rehabilitation center should be established.
B. Increased availability of city and county magistrates. Night court should be available at both the city and county level.
C. Immediate appointment of adequate legal counsel for every accused.
D. Continuation of and expansion of the pretrial release program in Dallas with funding through city and county tax funds and/or from funds available through the Texas Criminal Justice Council.
E. The appointment of lay representation on the Dallas County Criminal Justice Council. Public hearings concerning proposed uses of Federal Crime Grant Funds should be held.

Consensus Date: September 1973
Review: November 1988. Item D for restudy and a criminal justice study recommended within a few years.
Review: May 1996. Retain but update.

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE - Dallas County Bail Bonds

INACTIVE STATUS

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports closer regulation of those licensed to be bail bondsman, and a continuing appraisal of their activities.

In our continuing survey of the administration of justice in Dallas County, the League of Women Voters of Irving has made a study of the bail bonding procedure as it operates in Dallas County, and on the basis of our findings offers the following suggestions:

A. Require strict adherence to the state licensing law.
B. Define the legal limits of a bondsman's authority as to arrest and supervisory functions.
C. Establish a specified time for which a bond will remain in effect.

Consensus Date: 1974
Review: November 1988. Continue studying
Review: May 1996. Move to inactive status

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE - Dallas County Juvenile Board

In area Leagues, an issue which relates specifically to one jurisdiction of the geographical area covered by the League is often studied by members living in that jurisdiction, and, after member agreement has been reached by those members, the other members of area Leagues are asked to concur in the results. That is the case here. In September 1977, the Dallas League reached the following consensus concerning the Dallas County Juvenile Board.

At the recommendation of the Irving League Juvenile Justice Committee, the Irving Board voted to concur with this position. This will enable us to work together with other area Leagues and citizens groups for a change in the Dallas County Juvenile Board with the legislature.(NOTE:Leagues of Garland and Richardson also concurred with these positions.)

We support the revision of the Dallas County Juvenile Board to a total of 10 to 12 members, including:

  • Five citizens appointed by the County Commissioners from a list compiled by the citizen organizations with a knowledge of and interest in juvenile justice;
  • Two juvenile judges
  • One domestic relations judge
  • One criminal district judge
  • One representative of the District Attorney's office
  • One representative from the Juvenile Probation Department

Concurrence Date: March 1978
Review: November1988. Continue studying
Review: May 1996. Retain and update from Dallas League study

DALLAS COUNTY - Road and Bridge Districts

The Irving League Board concurred with the positions reached by the Dallas League in the county road and bridge district study. These positions were adopted after membership meetings and the recommendation of the Irving League Road and Bridge District Committee:

A. Administrative expense of commissioners' district offices (e.g. administrative salaries, postage, telephone, office equipment and furnishings) should be included in the County Budget under the General Fund.
B. Priorities for county road work should be set with emphasis mainly on traffic volume and the condition of the streets. Less emphasis, but definite consideration, should be given to citizen request and meetings by the commissioners with local officials and civic leaders.
C. County road maintenance work should include roads in unincorporated areas, contract work with other governmental entities, and major thoroughfares in incorporated areas. Cities should be required to participate in paying for the maintenance of major thoroughfares in their own incorporated area.
D. The Dallas County Road and Bridge Districts should be consolidated.

Concurrence Date: March 1978
Review: November 1988, continue studying
Review: May 1996. Retain and update

MASS TRANSPORTATION

The Irving League Board voted to concur with the Dallas LWV on mass transportation as amended in November 1978.

Support of:
A. Recognition that mass transportation, as an essential public service, should be supported from public funds as necessary to provide a satisfactory level of service for all residents. The Irving Board did not want to eliminate the possibility of private enterprise being involved in mass transportation and did not believe the wording of this position did so.
B. Development of a balanced system to provide for alternate and coordinated forms of transportation, rapid and convenient systems, and improvement and preservation of environmental quality.
C. Inclusion of citizen education and participation early and during the entire planning process through better and more consistent communication between government and its constituents.
D. Coordination of transportation into a regional system. This system having:

1. The power to carry out its transportation functions through the action of a board of directors;
2. Composition of the board of directors to be part private citizens, part elected officials chosen to provide equitable representation of the participating cities and counties having the responsibility to seek citizen input and review, actively and on a continuous basis.

Concurrence Date: February 1979
Review: November 1988. Continue studying
Revised: May 1996. Retain as an action item and update.

IRVING PUBLIC EDUCATION - Guidance and Counseling

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports the following measures to improve the programs of the Irving Independent Schools:

I. GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING
A. Ratio of one qualified counselor to each 300 students
B. More clerical aid for counselors to give adequate time for students
C. More adequate space for private interviews
D. Guidance and counseling program in elementary schools including:

1. Counselors spending minimum of two days per week at each elementary school
E. Clinical psychologist in IISD staff to work with students who would benefit from limited therapy

II. ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS PROGRAMS
A. A system-wide kindergarten
B. Teacher Aides to relieve teachers of non-teaching duties
C. Remedial reading program
D. Accelerated classes for high aptitude learner
E. Sequential foreign language program
F. Art instruction with qualified art teachers in art classrooms
G. Music instruction in string, piano, and band
H. Use of schools as community or neighborhood centers

1. Increase in school taxes if necessary to implement these programs

III. SECONDARY SCHOOLS PROGRAM
A. System-wide developmental and corrective reading program
B. Low student-teacher ratio in English classes
C. Extension of ability grouping in academic subjects to include classes for low-achieving students. Parental and community understanding of the value of such a program
D. Time scheduled for new curriculum planning & in-service training of teachers
E. Encourage student participation in natural science laboratories with adequate laboratory facilities, particularly in grades 7 - 9

1. Increase in school taxes if necessary to implement these programs

Original Consensus: August 1971
Update: April 1980
Review, amend, and recommend continuing study, November 1988
Review: May 1996. Retain and make high priority for re-study

IRVING PUBLIC EDUCATION - Class Size

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports measures to improve the quality of education provided to students of the Irving Independent School District. Specifically, the League believes that:

A. Class size is an important factor of quality education
B. Smaller classes enable teachers to be more flexible in their teaching methods and to better meet the individual need of students.

Therefore, the League urges the Irving Independent School District to strive for a limit of 25 pupils per teacher for all classes of kindergarten through eighth grade and for all required academic courses on the secondary level. Non-required academic classes on the secondary level should be limited to 30, except for those classes that can exceed this limit effectively because of subject matter; e.g., typing, physical education, band, etc.

The League supports a reporting format that includes actual class sizes, ranges in class sizes and class size summaries.

Original Consensus: February 1974
Update, April, 1980
Amend, update, review, November 1988
Review: May 1996. Retain and make high priority for re-study

IRVING PUBLIC EDUCATION - Budget

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports the following measures to provide for increased citizen participation in the budget making process of the Irving Independent School District.

Specifically, the League believes that:
A. A statement of the long and short range goals of the IISD should appear in the budget book
B. A public meeting should be held during the early stages of budget preparation.
C. A complete budget book, including the expenditures of the previous year and short descriptive phrases explaining the code numbers, should be made available to the public in the administration building and in the Irving Public Library.

In administering the student activity fund on the secondary level, decisions on spending a significant portion of the funds should be made by a student/teacher advisory committee.

Original Consensus: February 1975
Update: April 1980
Review and agreement: November 1988
Review: May 1996. Retain and make high priority for re-study

IRVING PUBLIC EDUCATION - Health Services

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports the following points regarding the school district's health services:
A. We believe health services to be a vital part of the educational system. Health services, as defined for our purposes, include preventive education identification of illnesses and communicable diseases, and emergency care for students during the class day.
The quality of education encompasses the health and well-being of each child, as well as his/her academic progress. Each child, with the opportunity of public education, should also have the benefit of supportive health care.
B. We see a definite need for improvement and expansion of our health services department. There is a need for the use of registered nurses as resource personnel in the teaching of health-related subjects; there is a need for increased personnel, both professional and clerical. There should be a full-time registered nurse in each high school; full time registered nurses in the elementary and junior high schools; full-time aides in all schools, the same full-time aide assigned to each school at all times (i.e. five days per school week). The pay level of aides should be upgraded to encourage more qualified personnel to work for the district.
C. It is recommended that the nurse/student ratio not exceed 1/1700.

Consensus Date: February 1982
Review and agreement: November 1988
Review: May 1996. Retain and make high priority for re-study

CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY

INACTIVE STATUS

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports the following measures to improve municipal library services in Irving:

I. Government of the Library
A. The Irving Public Library System should be an integral part of the local government. The functions and responsibilities of the Director of Libraries, the Trustees for the Library Board, the City Manager, and the City Council should be clearly defined in writing and be periodically reviewed.
B. City of Irving Ordinance 114 establishing the Library Board should be reevaluated with particular attention to the following:

1. Giving the Library Board more authority especially in hiring the Library Director and determining goals and objectives for the Library
2. Limiting to three the number of terms which Trustees may serve

II. Goals and Objectives
A. The Library Should adopt a five-year plan of goals to include:

1. Updating library materials and services
2. Continuing to investigate new trends in library science
3. Increasing efficiency through automating internal operations such as: library networks, purchasing, cataloging, etc.
B. These goals should be reviewed annually by the Library Director and the Library Board. C. The Library should maintain a liaison with the Irving Independent School District, the City Council of RT.NS, Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Library, Cultural Arts Council and interested civic organizations.

III. Service and Collection
A. The services and collection should be kept closely related to the needs and interests of the community.

YOUTH SUBSTANCE ABUSE

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports the following in regard to substance abuse in Irving:

Specifically the League believes that additional substance abuse treatment is needed and should include:
A. Outpatient, residential and long term treatment facilities
B. Treatment for adults, youth 13-17 years and children to age 13 years
C. A detox treatment facility
D. Operation of facilities by private enterprise, donations and a combination of public funds (local, state and federal)
E. Governing boards appointed by sponsoring organizations (i.e. churches, school districts, medical groups, counseling groups)
F. Coordinated efforts between all facilities
G. If necessary to fund additional facilities, the League supports a tax increase at the local, state and county levels, with approval and cooperation of LWV of those levels.

Consensus Date: 1988
Review: May 1996. Retain

TEENAGE PREGNANCY

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports the following principles regarding Teenage Pregnancy:
A. Schools should provide age appropriate human sexuality, family life, and parenting education to students in grades pre-K through grade 12. This education should emphasize the idea of abstinence and self-responsibility.
B. Methods of teen-age pregnancy education should include the following:
1. Building self-esteem
2. Educating teenagers in methods of pregnancy prevention
3. Providing day care at school
4. Informing the public about the welfare costs
5. Placing the role of sexuality in its proper perspective in the media
6. Providing health care information and identifying health care resources
C. The Local League should recommend that the State League study possible changes in the Texas Family Code and state regulations regarding access to services so that teens have access to confidential reproductive health services including family- planning counseling, contraceptives, and information about the treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
D. The Local League should recommend that the State League encourage the State Board of Education to promote development of supportive programs to keep pregnant teens and teen parents in school.

Consensus Date: January 24, 1989
Review: May 1996. Retain

WASTE MANAGEMENT

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports an integrated approach to municipal waste management with priorities in the following order:
A. Source reduction
B. Recycling
C. A program supporting waste to energy
D. Landfill

We further recognize the need for participation and cooperation among the consumer, private industry and government to adequately address the mufti-facets of municipal waste management.

Consensus: 1990
Review: May 1996. Updated.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The Irving League of Women Voters supports funding for programs to reduce the incidence of Domestic Violence and to alleviate its effects. State funding should be available for seed money, capital funds, and operation costs for the following:
A. Local and regional residential center for victims.
B. Non-residential support services.
C. Counseling programs for offenders and all other members of the affected household.
D. Mandatory in-service training for police officers who deal with domestic violence.
E. Expanded training in police academics to deal with domestic violence.
F. Special training for prosecutors, judges, probation officers, and others in the criminal justice system who deal with domestic violence.
G. Public information about domestic violence.

Consensus: Adopted State Consensus: January 1985
Results; 1991 City of Irving purchased a facility to house a shelter in 1992. New Tomorrows contracted with the city to provide services from the city-owned building. In March 1992, New Tomorrows opened its doors to serve women and their children who suffer from domestic violence.
Review: May 1996. Retain.

KIDS AT RISK

The League of Women Voters of Irving supports effective programs, policies, and funding to meet the needs of at-risk children.

Specifically, the League supports the following:

In the area of Educational Services
A. Expansion of early childhood and alternative educational programs in IISD.
B. Expansion of music, art, theatre, and dance programs in the community.
C. Initiation of home instruction for preschool children and their parents.
D. Extension of hours in order to use school facilities to provide childcare and a wide range of community educational programs.

In the area of Health Services
A. Initiation of County Out Patient Clinic (also known as Community Oriented Primary Care Clinic), including dental care; a Family Advocacy Center, including mental health care; and school-based clinics, including dental care and mental health services.
B. Initiation of programs for substance abuse and run-away children.
C. Initiation of free or affordable transportation to community services.
D. Expansion of community and educational programs to address domestic violence issues.
E. Provision of Spanish-speaking personnel for all programs and services.

Consensus Date for above categories: May 11, 1999
Adopted: May 25, 1999

In the area of Homelessness
A. Housing options for kids still in school who are over 18 and/or are emancipated minors, such as; emergency homeless and transitional housing, like group residential homes or apartments both near public transportation.
B. A safe and secure 24 hour safe and secure environment near public transportation for homeless minors and their families.
C. Permanent affordable housing for homeless minors and their families.
D. Comprehensive counseling services for homeless kids who are still in school but are over 18 and/or are emancipated minors including but not limited to: health/medical; psychological; legal; vocational; life skills; employment; money management; and educational, including tutoring and mentoring.
E. Comprehensive counseling services for parents and minor children who are homeless including but not limited to: employment; money management; health /medical; psychological; legal; vocational; life skills; parenting skills; and educational counseling. The ability of the kids to become involved in extra-curricular activities should be fostered
F. Comprehensive funding for housing and counseling services for homeless kids and families should be pursued such as: governmental funding by federal, state and local entities; non-profit organizations; faith-based organizations; grants from foundations, corporations and other entities; clubs and service organizations and individuals in the private sector.

Consensus Date for homelessness: January 24, 2011
Adopted: February 8, 2011