Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Minutes Oct. 2, 2007

Washington County Democrats met on October 2, 2007, in the Day Lounge of Halcyon House in Washington. About 23 people attended, including candidates and campaign organizers.

The meeting was delayed by a storm with tornado sirens blaring, and we spent the first few minutes in a designated shelter area.

Then Sandra Johnson, chair of the county Democrats, called the meeting to order.

John Greener introduced guests and candidates and presented a calendar of campaign events occurring in the next few days.

First speaker was Valerie Biden Owens, sister of Sen. Joe Biden. She began by saying that, agreeing with her "much, much, much older brother ... the race is about you, your hopes and your aspirations and your future. ..." She said,we would be "electing the leader of the free world ... whose job it is to save the best vestiges of civilization as we know it. ..." She said her brother is a lot like the people he has met in Iowa, who are "the heart of the campaign ... getting up each day and thinking you can make a difference." Sen. Biden "hates bullies [and] the abuse of power ... [and there has been] abuse of power for the last seven years."

Ms. Owens spoke of Sen. Biden's having to cope with tragedy (in the loss of his wife and infant daughter in an auto accident shortly after he was elected to the Senate at age 22) and illness over the years. She said he understands that there is "more that unites us than divides us." He wants to help our veterans. He wants to restore the middle class with education and health care. He offers ideas.

Next speaker was Kiana Scott for Sen. Barack Obama, who will be at the Washington County fairground tomorrow, on his 15th wedding anniversary--after which he will go right back to Chicago. She spoke of his having opposed the Iraq war in the beginning, which took "incredible bravery ... to go public with his opposition to the war at that time." The Obama campaign had raised just over $500,000 in donations since he announced he would run for president. He will speak on Wednesday and will be willing to answer any questions on what is happening on the campaign trail, etc.

John's calendar of upcoming events included the kickoff for Larry Marek's campaign, occurring from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6. Mr. Marek is a candidate for the office of State Representative. Governor Chet Culver will be present at at the kickofff, probably around 10 to 10:45 a.m., but people are invited to come for visiting and coffee and refreshments starting at 9:30 a.m.

Larry Marek said he is excited to do this and glad he was asked to do this. He said Kay Ciha is treasurer of this campaign venture, "which is a big commitment." He has served on the Fair Board Association. If elected, he could help the state by:

1. Creating good jobs from opportunities with renewable energy, to make cheaper fuel, etc. Ehtanol is in overproduction right now.

2. Placing a lot of emphasis on education. Teachers need more pay. We need to hold our youngsters in the state (of Iowa).

3. Maintaining our status in agriculture. We are strong in corn and beans. We could see some cattle coming back in. ... "When the cattle [production] left, the young families also were gone." He commented that Iowa is a really good place to raise a family, and livestock producers will be able to do that.

4. Working toward developments in renewable energy products. Lots of federal dollars are being spent on things like this.

5. Protecting our natural resources. Hog farming can be done better for simple economics. He has been involved with NRCS. Funds need to be available to help save the soil.

6. He would like to see taxes in line and in fair proportions, taxes done fairly and in balance. As one example, there could be some changes in capital gains taxes--and it should be easier for an older farmer to sell a farm to a young farmer.

Larry said, "There is some balance that needs to be looked into. ... With my farm experience and your help, I think I can do a good job."

He told about commodities' having been below cost in production. We have seen now that raw commodities have come up.

John's calendar includes the appearance of Governor Bill Richardson at noon Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Washington High School. Campaign organizer Travis Leavitt introuced new staffer, Will, and said, "We keep adding staff and building our base." An article will be appearing next month in The Nation about the Richardson surge.

It was noted that candidates Richardson and Chris Dodd are the only candidates who would commit to having all of our troops out of Iraq by their second term.

John said John Edwards will be at the Washington High School at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 6. Laura, campaign organizer for Edwards, introduced new worker, Alyssa, and added that this is Alyssa's birthday. They spoke about having members of the Legislature see what it's like to be without health care insurance coverage for at least a few days, if they do not have a universal health plan ready by July. They reminded us that Edwards will accept no money from lobbyists or people in/from Washington, D.C.

Chris Dodd will be at Cafe Dodici in Washington on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 12:45. His campaign worker, Ruth, spoke and said that his campaign is as busy as everyone else's. He took part in a forum in Davenport Sept. 20, and she has the link so that anyone can view that forum. She said that one thing Dodd is committed to doing is providing a secure, dignified retirement for seniors; he has a detailed plan to make seniors's lives more enjoyable and secure. His heart is also with the middle class. She said Mr. Dodd had called Secretary of Treasury Bernanke to discuss issues again facing the middle class, such as subprime lending; soon afterward, the mortgage interest rates went down somewhat.

Ruth pointed out that we will have a unique opportunity to see the candidates and compare and contrast their stance on issues of importance to us. She said that Chris Dodd was the first of the candidates to agree to appear at the Johnson County fairground barbecue event this coming weekend; afterward, all of the other candidates decided to come, too.

Bonnie Bannister spoke for Sen. Hillary Clinton, as the field organizer could not be present this evening.
It is not known at this time when Sen. Clinton will come to Washington. She will be at the Johnson County barbecue event, and Governor Culver will be endorsing her. Sen. Clinton will make an address in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, Oct. 7, at a site yet to be announced.

John told of other appearances: Senator Biden and his wife and sons Hunter and Beau will be at the Johnson County fairground. Sen. Biden will be at the Chadwick Library on the Iowa Wesleyan campus in Mt. Pleasant on Friday, Oct. 5.

John recognized Ferd Marie, who has previously organized an October wiener roast, and suggested that it could be done in November this year.

Sandra confirmed that the annual Jefferson Jackson Day dinner would be Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007.

Sandra introduced two women from the 2nd District who had come to visit and to see how other Democratic parties handled things. One of the women had lost her son last January; he could not afford health insurance.

Secretary Louise Frakes could not be present this evening. The minutes for the Sept. meeting will be on the program. Mike moved that the minutes be approved, Dave Smithers seconded, and the motion carried.

Treasurer Kay Ciha gave the financial report covering the time between 9/4/07 to 10/2/07. In September there was a total of $999.99 in the treasury. Participation in a candidates' session at the county fair had netted $6.90. No bills were turned in to be paid. Cash on hand as of October 2 was $1,006.95. These financial statements will be placed on record.


Kay reported that we have 73 households as members. We had 74 last month. Chuck Hotle's death meant that we lost one.

Dave Smithers from the 2nd District said they'd had no meetings as yet but would get going on that.

There had been a 2nd District training session for activists, candidates and caucus organizers. No one present knew the amount of money raised. Some people thought it was overpriced, and only 25 attended it. This was in hopes of having college students caucus in their hometowns--otherwise they may not caucus at all. Fred mentioned that the Republican Party has on its platform the outlawing of students' registering to vote in the college towns where they are located.

Sandra distributed some copies of maps showing the proposed county redistricting, for the purpose of electing five county supervisors, one from each district chosen by the residents of that district. A goal of redistricting had been to try to stay within as many township lines as possible.

A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. October 10 in the courthouse. At that time questions can be addressed. If anyone has another proposal, the public hearing would be the time to discuss and/or submit it; the proposals must be in writing.

The question arose: If supervisor candidates failed to get a plurality vote, how would the winner be decided? Would it go to county convention?

There was discussion about the redistricting and whether it would impact existing precincts--13 now, soon to be changed to 10--in setting up the cuacuses.

Sandra and Kay will try to get answers. Sandra reminded us that the public hearing would be the venue for airing these questions.

Patty Roe reported on the recent school board election, and said that the returning board member brought a lot of experience. Jeff Dieleman had been elected to fill the seat vacated by Jim Gorham.

Mike commented that Renewable Energy on Parade had been good. This was met with applause and favorable comments.

Everett Burham asked who would decide when the caucuses would be held, and how soon would the decision be made. Sandra said that that state secretary, in conjunction with the governor, would decide.

Everett asked: "And when will the decision be made, and by whom, on who will preside at that caucus? We'd decided on caucus chairs a month ago."

Sandra said we should have that at the next meeting, and, "Our understanding is that Iowa caucus dates cannot be set until we know when New Hampshire will have their caucus night."

We discussed our next meeting time, which would regularly occur on Nov. 6. This is also the day of our all-city referendum vote. Terry moved to hold the meeting at the regulary scheduled time, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. Bob S. seconded, and motion carried, with one abstention.

Pete questioned whether that meeting would be at the required distance of at least 500 feet from the polling site, since 4th Ward polling place is also in Halcyon House. Fred pointed out that this election is non-partisan. Sandra will check with the county auditor for clear instructions so that we will do the right thing.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted by Nan Stark, secretary pro tem

Minutes Nov. 6 2007

Twenty-two people signed the attendance list at the Washington County Democratic meeting, which began at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, at Halcyon House Day Lounge.

Sandra Johnson, Chair, called the meeting to order.

An item of Old Business (No. 6 on the agenda) was moved up on the agenda. Tina Thomas, from the county redistricting commission, needed to go to another appointment after speaking to our group. Tina explained that one goal of the commission had been to make sure there was a population figure of 4,134 in each district. The commission used figures from the 2000 census blocks. While redistricting has resulted in significant distances between polling places, she pointed out that absentee voting would be an option as well as early voting (courthouse is open for voting for one or two Saturday mornings preceding an election).

The next stage of the redistricting process is to work with county auditor Bill Fredrick and to send the plan on to the state. An ordinance must be passed, as well. Once the plan is approved by the state, it is sent back to us as approved. After an additional 26 days, the commission will be disbanded.

Currently the members are working on legal descriptions of the district boundaries. They had to follow a lot of rules and regulations.

A question-and-answer period followed.

2. Next in the regular order of the agenda, John Greener, Events chair, introduced guests.

For the Biden campaign, Polly Savage spoke and introduced Barbara Grogg and John Hugh from Delaware. Ms. Grogg spoke for Sen. Joe Biden, saying he had been a famous person in the state of Delaware for more than 30 years; one of his sons has recently been named attorney general for Delaware. Sen. Biden has a number of family members helping with his campaign.

Terry Philips introduced Brian Bailey from New Hampshire. Brian hails from New Hampshire and says he is enjoying it here. He is an organizer for the Chris Dodd campaign.

Alyssa spoke from the John Edwards campaign. One activity the Edwards people enjoyed was a recent picnic. And she said John Edwards had received a number of CIU endorsements. She urged us to check out his most recent television ad; the things he says in the ad are true. She pointed out that he had visited in all 99 counties of Iowa--for the second time. She said that he is "not just a one-policy candidate."

Joe Katz, organizer for the Lee County area of the Burlington campaign office for New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, was the next speaker. The original Richardson organizer for Washington County was called away by a death in the family. Mr. Katz said Gov. Richardson has worked on a veterans health care plan that would enable veterans to receive health care at their local hospitals as well as at a Veterans Administration Hospital--they would have that choice. Also, Gov. Richardson had presented a Purple Heart posthumously for a serviceman killed in the Korean War, who had been from Independence, Iowa. He had also helped to get the remains of soldiers from that war back to their families. Mr. Katz said that Gov. Richardson has the longest track record of turning the great ideas--which all of the candidates have--into realities. And New Mexico will have health care available for everyone by the end of next year.

A house party for Richardson supporters will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at 2866 Vine Avenue, Crawfordsville.

Alice Curtain spoke about the Clinton campaign; she is the new organizer for Washington County. Sen. Clinton will open an office in the Fishback Fotography store in Washington, probably by the end of this week. Alice is trying to arrange for Sen. Clinton to visit Washington in person.

Steve Maxon spoke for Dennis Kucinich, who today made a motion in the House seeking to open debate on articles of impeachment of vice president Richard Cheney. Sen. Kucinich also has a resolution for universal health care, including mental health. Steve pointed out that an online poll has shown that the majority of respondants have chosen Sen. Kucinich.

Kiana Scott spoke for Barack Obama, who will be coming to Muscatine, Burlington and Fort Madison on Wednesday, and on Fairfield on Thursday morning.

Bonnie Bannister gave an excellent admonishment on our wholeheartedly supporting whoever wins the Democratic nomination. She also told about her involvement in Sen. Clinton's Women in Leadership groups.

3. Next the agenda dealt with minutes of the October meeting, which had been sent by e-mail. Terry moved to approve them, John seconded, and minutes were accepted.

4. Treasurer Kay Ciha gave the treasurer's report, covering the time period from Oct. 2, 2007, to Nov. 6, 2007. Cash on hand at the beginning was $1,006.95. One membership of $30 was added, and there were no expenses. Cash available as of Nov. 6, 2007, is $1,036.95. Mike moved to accept the report. Tom seconded, and motion carried.

5. Committee Reports

Membership--Kay Ciha reported that we have 74 households. Three members have died--Chuck Hotle, Betty Krueger, and Phyllis Carter.

Events--John Greener said he had no special upcoming events to announce--but the opening of the Clinton campaign office in Washington is a special event. He said we need to turn each one into a special event.

John asked about the possibility of renewing memberships early, since caucus time is coming and there are expenses. The consensus answer was affirmative.

Sandra said tickets for balcony seating for the Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner Saturday, Nov. 10, are sold out.

Terry Philips reported on the Democratic Veterans Caucus meeting at the Richardson campaign headquarters in Des Moines Saturday, Nov. 10, at 10 a.m. Veterans have been experiencing lengthy delays between applying for benefits and actually receiving them. Veterans at the caucus will draw up a criteria of four points of honor, and will ask every presidential candidate to sign it. The situation now is as if, after veterans have served us, we turn our backs on them. The candidates will be asked: "How are you going to honor the contract with veterans?"

6. Old Business.

Caucus training for Keokuk, Mahaska, and Washington counties was held Nov. 3 at the Public Library in Sigourney. Sandra was very happy with the outcome. Attending were Sandra, Terry Philips, Everett Burham, Kay Ciha, Judy Goodrich, Harold Frakes, Bonnie Bannister, Ceanne Alvine, Steve Maxon, Les Lamping and Barb Edmondson.

New precincts--we studied the material about the new precinct sites and temporary chairs. Sandra has been checking into having a template format provided for secretaries to follow, to make recording simpler and minutes more uniform.

We were given the opportunity to express a preference to try to get by with the original 13 precincts. Consensus was to move ahead with the 10 precincts now.

John said he believed we would need more than one chair--such as, a chair, an assistant, and a secretary. He also believed we should have at least two precincts at every site, and would so move.

Everett asked to "weigh in on that" and said he was 1,000 percent supportive of this evaluation. He suggested that the temporary chairs listed could each name an assistant and a secretary; and on caucus night the group would immediately elect whomever they want as permanent chair, assistant and secretary. Having the temporary people lined up ahead of time would expedite the procedures; up to 30 minutes will be allowed on every issue. So that these people can be knowledgeable, it would help for all 30 of the temporary people to meet to discuss "a common operating platform."

John said, "This is right; organizing is going to be a key problem."

The state does not need to be informed on the names of the two additional helpers in each precinct.

There was consensus agreement that each precinct temporary chair will have his or her "team" of temporary helpers.

Harold Frakes spoke about county secrectary Louise, whose health is improving. She may be able to come home from the hospital in a few days.

7. New Business.

Caucus on Nov. 3 starts at 6:30 p.m.; registration must be completed between 6:30 and 7 pm. Participants must be registered, or at least in line to register, by 7 p.m.

8. The next county meeting will be a Christmas party with pizza at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 in Halcyon House Day Lounge.

Terry moved to adjourn, Fred Stark seconded, and meeting was adjourned.

Platform - County Convention March 4, 2006

PZ - Environmental Planning & Zoning
Be it resolved that the livestock buildings sighting requirements shall be a local prerogative.
ER - Environment Enhancement and Regulation
Be it resolved that legislation be enacted to mandate energy efficient engines and alternative energy sources.
Be it resolved that the State government and the EPA unite to fully implement and enforce the Clean Water and Clean Air Act against corporate animal farms and factories.
Be it resolved we support research into clean alternative energy sources and mass transit.
SE - Environmental Safe Energy
Be it resolved we support significant increase in government support for clean, renewable, and efficient fuel technologies
SA - Structure of Agriculture
Be it resolved we support major reform of America’s agriculture policy, primarily through the Government’s shift of support from the large animal factories to family-scale enterprises.
Be it resolved we support organic and sustainable agricultural practices, and the creation of locally produced "value added" products.
US - U.S. Agricultural Policy
Be it resolved that we support full funding of the Resource Enhancement And Protection Program (REAP) from the Environment First Fund.

WR - Workers Rights and Safety
Be it resolved that we support immigration reform.
PI - Pension and Insurance
Be it resolved that we support the current ratio of employee/employer contributions for the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement Systems (IPERS) and support a level of funding based on actuarial assumptions.
ED - Economic Development
Be it resolved that Iowa place more economic development emphasis on small businesses.
Be it resolved that additional support be given to NASA.
Be it resolved that we support the creation of millions of jobs by moving quickly to rebuild America’s infrastructure.
LW - Living Wage
Be it resolved the minimum wage be increased and future increases be indexed to the cost of living.
Be it resolved that we support the right of every U.S. eligible worker to gainful employment with a living wage.
TS - Transportation Services
Be it resolved that no foreign country of company be allowed to manage U. S. Ports.
JS - Job Security
Be it resolved that special incentives and tax breaks negatively affecting working people be eliminated.

TR - Trade Regulations
Be it resolved that we support trade agreements that ensure protection of U.S. workers rights, human rights, and environmental quality.
Be it resolved we support tax penalties for corporations "outsourcing" jobs to other countries.
BT - Budget and Taxation
Be it resolved that tax cuts enacted by the United States Congress in 2003 pertaining to the taxpayers earning over 200k be rescinded and the Federal Budget be balanced.
Be it resolved the State and Federal Governments shall be required to account for the collection all State and Federal funds earmarked for specific projects through a public record.
Be it resolved that the state shall renew and fund the Homestead Exemption and the Veterans Exemption for property taxes.

SA - Student Aid
Be it resolved that the State of Iowa shall increase post secondary grants and loans.
SP - Public School Programming
Be it resolved to support federal funding for reproductive health services and age-appropriate medically accurate sex education.
SN - Special Needs
Be it resolved that we call on Congress to support full Federal funding of Special Education.
SF - School Funding
Be it resolved that we oppose diverting public monies away from public schools to fund vouchers, tuition tax credits, or private for-profit education businesses.
Be it resolved that we support providing adequate funding for public schools at every level, from pre-school through college.
Be it resolved that we support Federal and State funding of college tuition for qualified residents at public and state universities.
Be it resolved that the State of Iowa shall increase post secondary grants and loans
Be it resolved that funding be increased on a per student basis for community college in order to decrease tuition rates.
ST - Standards
Be it resolved we support the repeal of "No Child Left Behind Law".

CR - Civil Rights
Be it resolved that we support the repeal of the Patriot Act
TS - Taxes and Social Security
Be it resolved that we oppose the diversion of Social Security funds for any other programs or projects.
Be it resolved we support cuts in non-personnel defense budge of approximately 15 percent to avoid the need to cut essential military protection programs.
Be it resolved that the Homeland Security Program preserve Americans rights and freedoms and be funded appropriately.
Be it resolved that we support providing adequate state and federal funding for public safety, human services programs, and basic county and city services.
CE - Campaigns & Elections
Be it resolved that the president shall be elected by popular vote.
Be it resolved that every vote cast shall have a paper copy.
Be it resolved that Congress adopt a strict code of ethics and a commission be established to investigate possible violations. .
Be it resolved that lobbyists be banned from giving gifts and travel to members of Congress and their staffs.
Be it resolved that members of Congress be restricted from lobbying for two years after their term.
Be it resolved we support a public funding system for presidential campaigns.
Be it resolved we support the posting of lobbying contacts on the internet so the public can assess the impact of lobbying on public policy making.
Be it resolved that we support limiting all Federal and State elected and appointed officials to a two consecutive terms in their respective elected and/or appointed positions.
CJ - Criminal Justice
Be it resolved that we support the impeachment and removal of the President, George W. Bush, and Vice-President, Richard Cheney, for high crimes and misdemeanors for the run-up to and prosecution of the Iraq War.
IN - Internet
Be is resolved that internet and communication providers be required to protect their clients from viruses, spy-ware and scammers.
Be it resolved that the State of Iowa collect taxes on Internet and mail order purchases
GR - Reasonable Gun Regulation
Be it resolved we support a ban on assault rifles and "Saturday night specials".
VE - Veterans
Be it resolved the Federal Government provide reasonable benefits and care for veterans.
PG - Participation in Government
Be it resolved Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Marianas be granted a final resolution.
Be it resolved that full constitutional privileges be given to the residents of the District of Columbia.
Be it resolved that the English Only Law be repealed.
Be it resolved that Congress must act upon a bill that relates to only one issue and what is relevant to that issue, with unrelated riders and amendments strictly prohibited.
Be it resolved that the United States increase the amount of humanitarian international aid.
Be it resolved that the United States renounce the first use of nuclear weapons.
Be it resolved that the United States support a ban on the development and testing of nuclear weapons.
Be it resolved that the United States provide adequate peacekeeping and redevelopment funding for Afghanistan and Iraq.
Be it resolved that full constitutional privileges shall be given to the residents of the District of Columbia.

UH – Universal Health Coverage
Be it resolved that the United States shall institute a single payer universal health care system making Medicare available for all residents.
Be it resolved the government shall guarantee access to affordable health care coverage for every resident of the United States.
Be it resolved that we support Medicare regulations that shall fairly reimburse the qualified healthcare professionals and medical facilities in Iowa.
SC - Stem Cell Research
Be it resolved we support federal support for stem cell research.
ES - Elderly Services
Be it resolved that seniors be allowed to receive health care services in their home.
CI - Health Care Initiatives
Be it resolved that the medical use of marijuana be legalized,
CC - Health Care Costs
Be it resolved that the state and federal government support through increased funding, all Veterans Hospitals.
Be it resolved we support the state of Iowa’s use of its purchasing power to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for the best prices on prescription drugs, and pass those discounts on to residents.
Be it resolved that any government health care system be allowed to bargain for the cost of drugs.
SH - Safety in Healthcare
Be it resolved we support the state of Iowa to ban all advertising of prescription drugs through the media.

RL - The rule of Law
Be it resolved we support the establishment of a Cabinet Level Department of Peace and recognition of the World Court.
TN - Treaty Negotiations
Be it resolved that the United States Senate ratify and participate in the following treaties and conventions:
Rome Statute creating an International Criminal Court.
U.N. Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.
U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
Biological Weapons Convention Protocol
Ottawa Treaty to Ban Landmines
U.N. Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming.
Be it resolved the United States comply with the International Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
CU - Cuba (relations with)
Be it resolved that we support normalization of relations with Cuba.
HT - Humane treatment
Be it resolved to support federal funding for voluntary international family planning.
Be it resolved that prisoners and detainees be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention.
ME - The Middle East
Be it resolved that the federal government shall endorse a Middle East policy consistent with international law.
Be it resolved that we support replacement of American troops in Iraq by internationally sponsored Muslim nations’ peace keeping forces.
RT - Response to Terrorism
Be it resolved the United States work with other nations to eliminate terrorist networks and resolve international conflicts.
Be it resolved we support strengthening international institutions and cooperative diplomacy to eliminate the use of weapons.