Saturday, September 8, 2007

Minutes of September 2007 Washington County Democratic Meeting

September Meeting of the Washington County Democrats.

Washington County Democrats met in the Day Lounge at Halcyon House on Tuesday, September 4th, 2007. Chairperson, Sandra Johnson, called the meeting to order at 7:07 pm with 31 people present.

Vice Chair John Greener introduced six candidate representatives: Ruth Cox from the Chris Dodd campaign; Lara Glauber from the John Edwards campaign; Ben Farley, from the Hillary Clinton campaign, Jennifer Huson from the Joe Biden campaign, Travis Levitt from the Bill Richardson campaign, and Kianna Scott from the Obama campaign. Each of these guests gave an update on their candidate, gave dates of when their candidate would be in our part of the state. They encouraged people to come talk with them after the meeting.

Jim Gorham spoke on behalf of Larry Marek. He said an event is being planned for Oct. 6th. He also suggested that we write the state party and tell them that we expect their support for our candidate as he felt the state pulled the rug out from under the last several candidates. He said the state should provide staff time and financial support to get our candidate elected. He did not make a motion about the letter and no one was appointed to write such a letter though there were murmurings of approval.

Pete Morrison moved and Fred Stark seconded that the minutes of last month’s minutes be approved. Motion passed.

Kay Ciha reported a balance of $999.99 in the treasury. Her report will be filed for audit. Sandra Johnson reported on the County Fair “Penny Poll” where one coin was equal to one vote for that candidate. Obama was the winner with 21 coins; Kucinich came in with 5; Edwards with 4; Biden with 3; and the remaining candidates with one coin each. The total amount collected by this fun activity was $6.96.

Kay Ciha reported that we now have 74 households on our membership list.

John Greener asked for help to plan special events in November and December. Ferd Marie offered to host a wiener roast sometime in October. No firm date was set.

Kay Ciha reported on Renewable on Parade and passed around sheets for volunteers to sign up to work.

Sandra Johnson reported that the Harkin Steak Fry is Sunday, September 16th from 1 – 4:00 pm and encouraged people to attend. Bill McGinnis offered to buy 2 tickets for someone, as he is not able to attend. Contact Bill if you are interested.

David Smithers gave a report on the second district and encouraged people to go to his blog on My Space. There he publishes information about Second District activities and other political information.

Harold Frakes spoke about running for the School Board and reported that he had had a call from Elizabeth Edwards wishing him good luck and thanking him for running for this important post.

Fred Stark announced that the Jefferson-Jackson dinner is coming up. He thought it would be October 13th in Des Moines at the Wells Fargo Center. (The correct date is November 10th).

Terry Philips reported on the Veteran’s Caucus. John Greener asked for permission to write a letter on behalf of the Washing County Democrats to get the Merchant Marines treated as vets. Richard Gilmore moved and Everett seconded to have John write such a letter. Motion passed.

Louise read an article about the Topsy Turvy Bus sponsored by Sensible Iowans. Pete Morrison spoke about that group and said that you can see a video about them on their web site. Harold Frakes said that he became interested in that group when he realized that Tom Vilsack supports it. Harold suggested that maybe we could use the bus for the October 6th event, the Christmas parade the day after Thanksgiving, or for the Renewable on Parade event. Mike Phenicie moved that we have Pete Morrison look into it. Motion passed.

Louise also spoke about the magnetic pie charts to put on your vehicle and encouraged people to display them to draw attention to the amount of money our government is spending on the Pentagon and national defense.

Sandra Johnson announced the Precinct Caucus chair people and caucus meeting places. They are:
Brighton – Harold Frakes; Brighton Community Center
Crawford – Ceanne Alvine
English River – Kay Ciha; Mid-Prairie Middle School
Kalona – Lonnie Novie; Mid-Prairie Middle School
Iowa – Les Lampe;
Lime Creek – Judy Goodrich and Steve Maxon; Wellman Senior Citizen Center
Washington Ward 1 – Barb Edmondson; Washington Jr. High
Washington Ward 2 – Steve Butler; Washington Jr. High
Washington Ward 3 – Bonnie Banister; Washington Jr. High
Washington Ward 4 - Everett Burham; Halcyon House
Washington Rural – Terry Philips; Washington Jr. High
West Chester – Andi Reynolds; 2050 Keokuk Rd.
Ainsworth –

Under new business, election of a new vice chairperson was held as directed in our newly adopted constitution. (John Greener will serve on the Executive Board as Immediate Past President). Harold Frakes nominated Richard Gilmore, seconded by Robin Plattenberger. John Greener moved that nominations cease. Seconded by Mike Roe. Motion passed. Richard Gilmore was elected Vice Chairman by acclamation.

The Redistricting Commission was discussed. Sandra Johnson announced that she had appointed Rose Jaynes from Brighton and Tina Thomas, city clerk for Riverside who lives in Washington, as our representatives on the commission. She stated that she feels the highway 22 corridor is very important and that Tina is very capable and would serve that area well. The Republican party nominated Bob Stout from West Chester, Sandy Greiner from Keota, and Brian Hora from rural Ainsworth. Their first meeting will be next Monday and they will set their own hours. The general population can have input into their meetings and the meetings will be open to the public.

Terry Philips showed a map of the county which showed the population in each section. The new districts may only vary from each other by 1% with the goal of 4134 in each district.

There was a discussion about Gerrymandering. Terry and Sandy both spoke about the strict state rules to prevent that from happening. Pete Morrison asked if there was software available to actually do the redistricting. Terry replied that there is through Legislative Services but he didn’t know if the county could use it.

Harold Frakes asked Sandra two questions: 1. Since there are many capable Democrats in the county, why did she decide to appoint a Republican (Tina Thomas)? And 2. Why didn’t she use the Executive Board to help make her decision as the newly adopted Constitution says to do in Article 8, Section 2?

There was quite a spirited discussion about these two issues. At the end of the discussion, David Smithers moved and Pete Morrison seconded, that we accept Sandra’s recommendation of Tina Thomas and Rose Jaynes to represent the Democratic Party on the bi-partisan commission. The motion passed with 15 in favor and 3 opposed.

Louise reported that some people had mentioned to her that the Washington County Democratic Blog had not been updated for sometime. Sandra asked if Louise would start being responsible for putting the minutes on the blog. Louise agreed to do that.

The next meeting is set for October 2nd at 7:00 pm at Halcyon House. Meeting adjourned at 9:00 pm.

Respectively submitted,
Louise Frakes, secretary

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Minutes of July 2007 Washington County Democratic Meeting

July Meeting of the Washington County Democrats.

Washington County Democrats met in the Day Lounge at Halcyon House on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. Sandra Johnson called the meeting to order with 34 people present.

Vice Chair John Greener introduced four guests: Aaron Jennings from the Chris Dodd campaign; Lara Glauber from the John Edwards campaign; Kianna Scott from the Obama campaign and Justin Killian, from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Each of these guests gave a brief overview of their candidate and encouraged people to come talk with them after the meeting.

Tom Antosiak moved that the minutes of the June meeting be approved as sent out. Richard Gilmore seconded. Motion passed.

The treasurer’s report was given with a balance of $718.59. The report will be filed for audit. John Greener suggested that we start thinking about fund raising as we are going to be needing a lot more money with all the activities coming up. He moved that fund raising be placed on next month’s agenda. Sandra suggested we have a fall event for that purpose and that she and John put something together to present next month.

Events Chair, John Greener, asked for a committee to help set up at the County Fair on Saturday, July 14 at 9:30 am. The committee will be Terry Philips, Sandra Johnson, Tom Antosiak, Mike Roe, Bob Spinner, and John Greener. There was a sign up sheet for working at our fair booth. That sheet was passed around.

Copies of the revised Constitution and By Laws were passed out. Sandra Johnson and Harold Frakes spoke about some of the changes that had been made from the original version that had been presented a couple months ago. Members were encouraged to read through the new copies and send any suggested changes to Harold Frakes. He will print them out and we will discuss them at our August meeting. We will plan to adopt the Constitution and By-Laws at the August meeting and ratify it at the County Convention in March of 2008.

After much discussion, it was decided to leave our meeting at the regular meeting time for August with John Greener chairing the meeting. Sandra will be on vacation. (The meeting will be Tuesday, August 7th).

Sandra Johnson read through the list of Precinct chairs for the 2008 Caucus. We are still missing several and the list needs to be turned in to the State by August 1st.
There was a ten-minute break during which time the group sang Happy Birthday to Harold Frakes and then ate cake, courtesy of Tom Antosiak. Harold thanked the group for their singing and Tom for providing the cake.

Upon reconvening, there was discussion about the 2nd District Central Committee workshop which will be held on Saturday, July 28th at the North Liberty Community Center. The purpose of this workshop is to train people about what should happen on Caucus night. The registration begins at 10 am and is $10.00; lunch is also $10.00. That evening there will be a Fund Raising Dinner for Dave Loebsack at 6:30 pm. The cost of the dinner is $40.00. Terry Philips encouraged as many people as possible to attend and learn. Sandra Johnson suggested that people car pool. Louise will forward an email about the workshop to all Democrats for whom she has an email address.

Terry Philips reported on the Veterans Caucus. Their next meeting will be July 28th in Des Moines. Also, on August 13th there will be a picnic for this group at the Machinist Hall in Des Moines. They are hoping several Presidential candidates will be there. This will coincide with the “Veterans Day” at the State Fair.

John Greener and Kay Ciha reminded people that Renewal on Parade will be September 21 – 23rd, with the Presidential candidates speaking on Saturday, September 22nd. The Republican candidates will speak from 9:30 am – 12:30 noon and the Democratic candidates from 2:00 – 5:00 pm. The business end of this convention will be held in the Convention Center at the Riverside Resort & Casino and the Consumer end will be held at the fair grounds. A three-day pass is $7.00. That price is good through July 31st.

Harold Frakes asked for and was granted a moment of personal privilege. He suggested people purchase a Washington County Democrat t-shirt. Then he took “the Hat”, made a donation, and passed “The Hat” around.

Under New Business, Sandra Johnson, Terry Philips, and Harold Frakes spoke about the Special election to be held on July 31st. Sandra explained that Option one is to elect all the Supervisors at large with no residential requirement. The group was encouraged NOT to vote for Option 1.

Terry showed and read the ballot. Then he spoke in favor of Option 2 in which the County would be divided into 5 Districts. Under this option the Supervisor candidate must live in the District he/she would represent, but the entire County would vote for all the Candidates. Districts would not necessarily follow precinct lines.

Harold Frakes spoke in favor of Option 3. Under Option 3, the Supervisor candidate must live in the District he/she would represent and people would vote only for the candidate that would represent their district. Under this option, the districts would have to follow precinct lines. Harold encouraged people to vote for Option 3.

Terry respectively disagreed and encouraged people to vote for Option 2. They each gave reasons why they were supporting the option they were. There was much discussion with many questions answered and many opinions given.

Dawn Jones suggested putting something in the papers to explain these options. Terry replied that the County Auditor, Bill Fredrick, will be writing an article explaining the three options.

Sandra Johnson suggested that once Bill Fredrick’s article comes out, people write letters to the editor encouraging others to vote for the option they prefer. Sandra also requested that Terry and Harold email the positive points of Option 2 & 3 to her. Steve Butler spoke about not ignoring Option one. He stated that we need to acknowledge it and explain why it is not a good option. It was decided that at the County Fair, we would talk to people about the Special election, explaining the three options, and encouraging them to vote for the one of their choice.

Everyone agreed that it is imperative that we work to get people to go vote on this Special election. The default position is Option 1. A simple plurality is all that is needed to win (the position that has the most votes will be the Option to win).

John Greener was appointed to go to the auditor’s office and get the facts about absentee ballots for special elections.

Our next meeting will be August 7th at 7:00 pm at the Day Lounge at Halcyon House. The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Louise Frakes, secretary

June 2007 Minutes of Wash. Co. Democrat Meeting

June Meeting of the Washington County Democrats.

Washington County Democrats met in the Day Lounge at Halcyon House on Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. Sandra Johnson called the meeting to order with 29 people present.

Vice Chair John Greener introduced five guests: Ben Young and Aaron Jennings from the Chris Dodd campaign; Mike McCall from the John Edwards campaign; and Graham Wilson from the Obama campaign. Each of these guests gave a brief overview of their candidate and encouraged people to come talk with them after the meeting.

The other guest was our State Senator Becky Schmitz. Senator Schmitz expressed her gratitude for all the help given her through her campaign last summer and the support she had had through her first session of the legislature. She spoke briefly about the bills the legislature has been able to get passed this session: minimum wage increase, the cigarette tax, tax credit, and the teacher quality bill. She assured everyone that she would continue putting articles in the paper. She explained that many bills struggled in the House because that branch does not have as strong a majority as the Senate does. This underscores the importance of electing a Democrat to the House at the next election.

Chairman Johnson pointed out an unintended consequence of the minimum wage bill. Becky said she would take a look at that issue. Senator Schmitz also said that she is sure the smoking ordinance will come up again. She reassured people that the income from the cigarette tax has been earmarked for health related issues and smoking prevention programs.

Everett Burham pointed out that many of the people at the meeting were residents of Halcyon House. He introduced them to the group. He stated that the residents are very pleased that we are meeting at Halcyon House because it is so convenient for them to attend meetings.

The treasurer’s report was given with a balance of $599.19 after the expenses for the Fair Booth, postage for the second mailing, copying, post cards, etc., had been paid. The report will be filed for audit.

Under committee reports, Kay Ciha thanked Tom, Myra, and Bonnie for helping her get the second mailing ready to send. She reported that we have three new members since our last meeting.

Doris Park reported that she, Steve Maxon, Sandra Johnson, and Terry Philips attended the Second District Central Committee meeting in Riverside on May 6th. Their main task at this meeting was planning for the July 28th Training Workshop, which will be held at the North Liberty Community Center. In connection with the workshop there will be a fundraising event for the Dave Loebsack campaign, which will include a reception/social hour, a dinner, and a speaker.

Terry Philips reported for the Candidate Recruitment committee. He reminded us that the sheriff, the treasurer, at least four supervisors, as well as the House seat are all up for the 2008 election. That is a lot of good people we need to find.

Terry Philips also reported on the Vets Caucus. He and Sandra Johnson attended their meeting in Des Moines last month. The purpose of this group is to be sure veteran issues are very visible to the candidates. The next meeting of this group will be June 23rd at 10:00 am at the Riverside Casino and Resort in the Brighton Room. While in Des Moines, Sandra and Terry toured the veteran’s museum in Ft. Dodge. They said it was very interesting (and free) and they encouraged others to visit it.

Events chair, John Greener, reported on the great turn out for the John Edwards event on Friday, May 25th. John said this group was so easy to work with and so well organized. He received a thank-you note from the Edwards campaign after the event which he read to our group.

Other events that John Greener reported on were the Dave Loebsack listening post which was held May 26th and was well attended, the June 2nd Ridiculous Day parade which four people attended (but at least the Democrats were represented!), the June 2nd Hall of Fame Dinner in Cedar Rapids which no one was able to attend, and the June 3rd hear the debate party which was held at Kay and Dave Ciha’s. He also said that he had listened to an NPR report where the top three Democratic candidates talked about their values.

Dave Ciha reported on a special meeting where Obama met with veterans. He was very impressed that Obama took the time to shake hands with each person there.

Sandra Johnson encouraged everyone to go hear the candidates. It gives you a much better idea of what the candidate really is like than what you see or hear on the news clips.

A report was given on the “Liberty Project”. This is a non-partisan group dedicated to educate young people about our constitution.

After the committee reports, there was a short break before resuming the meeting.

Under old business, Sandra Johnson declared that the executive committee and the ad hoc committee which wrote the Constitution and By Laws will meet and revise those documents and will bring the revised version back to the group at the next meeting. She requested that if anyone has suggested changes they should email them to one of the officers or the committee. Everett Burham commended the committee on the work they have done to this point.

Under new business, Terry Philips reported on the petition for the special election. First, he thanked the group for the Get Well card (he had been in the hospital to remove his appendix). Since he was in the hospital, Sandra Johnson had turned in the petitions. We have only 19 more names than needed for the special election to be held. Terry spoke about the advantages and disadvantages of the three options that will be on the ballot. If we go to districts, all five-supervisor seats are up for election. If the decision is to elect at large, then four seats will be up for election.

John Greener reported on several upcoming events. The Kalona Days parade will be Saturday, June 16th. Bob Spinner will provide a hayrack. Dave Ciha will provide a tractor to pull it. We need as many people as possible to ride on the rack. Louise Frakes will put out an email to remind people. We will meet at Max Cast.

June 30th is Riverside Trek Fest and parade. We will use the same set up as at Kalona.

July 4th is the Wellman parade. Dave Ciha cannot provide the tractor for this parade. Steve Maxon and Doris Park will be the contact people for this parade.

The County Fair is July 15 – 20th. We will need people to set up our booth and people to man it. Bob Spinner volunteered to help Sandra Johnson set up the booth. Louise Frakes will have a sign up sheet at our next meeting for people to sign up for 2 hour shifts.

Kay Ciha is now the chair of the candidate aspect of Renewable on Parade. She said she will need lots of volunteers to help her. We will need to meet and greet candidates, help set up and tear down the stage, etc. The tickets are 50% off now through June 30th. She said she has heard from some of the surrounding counties and they are expecting invitations to come and help.

John Greener read a short memorial write up in honor of Phyllis Carter. It read, “It has become a tradition for Washington County Democrats to remember our comrades in New Business because their work is not yet finished. Phyllis Carter was a woman of many causes. To each cause she choose she gave her best effort. She made every place she was a better place to be. We are grateful that Phyllis chose the Democratic Party as one of her causes. We must all work harder to make up for her lose.”

Sandra Johnson reported that the place and precinct captains must be sent to the state by August 1st. Sandra asked for help finding new Precinct Captains. Several names were suggested. Sandra will call those people and confirm who will take those responsibilities.

Because our next meeting would fall the day before the July 4th celebrations, the meeting will be moved to Tuesday, July 10th at 7:00 pm at the Halcyon House Day Lounge. Meeting adjourned at 9:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Louise Frakes, secretary

August 2007 Minutes of Washington Co. Democrats

August Meeting of the Washington County Democrats.

Washington County Democrats met in the Day Lounge at Halcyon House on Tuesday, August 7, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. In the absence of Sandra Johnson, vice chairman, John Greener, called the meeting to order with 33 people present.

Vice Chair John Greener introduced seven candidate representatives: Ben Young and Ruth Cox from the Chris Dodd campaign; Lara Glauber from the John Edwards campaign; Kianna Scott from the Obama campaign Justin Killian, from the Hillary Clinton campaign, Holly Savage from the Joe Biden campaign, and Travis Levitt from the Bill Richardson campaign. Each of these guests gave an update on their candidate, gave dates of when their candidate would be in our part of the state, and encouraged people to come talk with them after the meeting.

Next John introduced guest Katya Boltanova and her husband, Steven Mitchell. They explained a website that they are creating where people can post interesting articles and information. They asked those present to participate in a General Civics Knowledge Survey. This test, once validated, would be used to screen people wanting to post things. The higher someone scores on General Civic Knowledge, the more weight their article would receive on the website. They passed the survey out to interested people. Those participating were asked not to look things up but to use the honor system and answer truthfully about what they know.

The minutes of the July meeting were approved as sent out.

The treasurer’s report was given with a balance of $884.59. The report will be filed for audit. There was a question about how the quarter voting for candidates at the County Fair turned out. It was determined that Sandra Johnson had picked up everything from our booth, and she would be the one who had that information. Sandra will report the results at the September meeting. Louise thanked everyone who helped with our Fair Booth.

John reported that he and Sandra had not decided on a fall fundraiser, but they would try to bring their idea to the September meeting.

John announced that Congressman Dave Loebsack will be at the Public Library in Washington at 9:00 am this Friday, August 10th. Everyone is encouraged to attend this meeting.

Kay Ciha encouraged everyone to get his or her ticket for Renewable on Parade. She also stressed to the candidate representative that it is important for their candidate to attend this on September 22nd.

Larry Marek was introduced and spoke to the group. Larry was seeking support from our group to run for House seat 89. Larry Marek is a Riverside area farmer who lives on a century farm. He and his wife Jan have three grown children and ten grandchildren. He was born and educated in Washington graduating from Washington High School in 1958. He attended Iowa State University where he took a two-year Farm Op. program. He served in the National Guard for eight and one half years. He has been a member of various farm commodity groups including Pork Producers, Cattlemen Association, Corn and Soybean Association. He was a director of a local bank for eleven years. He served on the Washington Co. Fairboard for over twenty years and held several offices as well as president. He is a member of Washington County Farm Bureau and has served on the county board as well as an officer. He has served as a county soil commissioner and is still an asst.soil comm. He has served on various county committees including FMHA, FSA, County compensation board, and extension council. He is a member St. Mary’s Catholic church in Riverside and has served as parish council pres. trustee, and lector. He is currently serving as a district nine director to the Iowa Soybean Association and is on the state executive committee as secretary. Also, he is now serving on the Washington County Riverboat Foundation that awards grants from the Riverside Resort and Casino. He is a lifelong supporter of 4-H and is involved in Foundation support. He has received these awards: Master Pork Producer, Meritorious Service to 4-H, Iowa 4-H Foundation recognition, and Farm Family of the Year in Washington County.

Jim Gorham stated that he wants someone who will fight for the people; someone who can talk to Republicans as well as Democrats. Larry replied that he thinks it is important to work for harmony between urban and rural residents and that he has many Republican friends. He believes he can work with both Republicans and Democrats.

Jim Gorham moved to back Larry Marek and encouraged him to get the petition papers to begin his campaign. Seconded by Ferd Marie. Motion passed. Jim Clegg suggested a kick off BQ at Larry’s place this fall.

Under old business, Harold Frakes moved that the proposed Constitution for the Washington County Democrats be adopted. Richard Gilmore seconded. Bonnie Bannister had several questions about the changes from the May version to the August version. Harold explained why those changes had been made. Motion to adopt the Constitution passed.

Then Harold read an amendment to the Constitution that would make Fund Raising a Standing Committee. Richard Gilmore seconded. Harold Frakes and Kay Ciha spoke against the amendment and in favor of Ad Hoc fund raising committees. Pete Morrison spoke in favor of the amendment. There was a lot of discussion. Louise Frakes called for the question. The motion to amend the Constitution failed.

Harold presented the By-Laws. Bonnie Banister had a question on them that Harold answered. Mike Phenicie moved that we adopt the By-Laws. Harold Frakes seconded. Motion passed.

The Constitution and By-Laws will be ratified at the County Convention in March. In the meantime they will serve as our operating documents. Thus, we will need to elect a Vice-Chairman.

Louise Frakes asked for the list of Precinct chair people and Caucus sites. John replied that Sandra had that information. It will be presented at our September meeting.

Larry Marek spoke about the Second District Workshop and said it was well worth the time to attend it.

There was a round of applause about the outcome of the Special Election. Everyone wondered how the committee to divide the county would be selected. Harold stated that he believed it would be Sandra’s job to appoint the Democratic members. He encouraged those who are interested to write a paragraph about why they want to be on the committee and to submit that to Sandra very soon.

Louise Frakes reminded people that August 13 is Vets Day at the State Fair and that the Veterans Caucus will be hosting Presidential Candidates that day in Des Moines.

Bill McGinnis thanked the young candidate representatives for their work and for coming to our meetings.

Jim Gorham announced that Harold Frakes is running for the School Board, district #7 seat. Several people commented on the poor coverage that was given in the Washington Evening Journal.

Everett Burham re-emphasized the need for people to speak clearly and slowly when addressing the group so that everyone could hear and understand.

Kay Ciha furnished ice tea, lemonade, and cookies for the group.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, September 4th at 7:00 pm in the Day Lounge at Halcyon House.

Meeting adjourned at 8:35 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Louise Frakes, secretary