Wednesday, January 2, 2008

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.