Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
Minutes of the April 2011, meeting of Washington County Democrats
Washington County Democrats met at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2011, in the second floor meeting room of the Washington Public Library. Sixteen members and guests were present. Chairman Pete Morrison called the meeting to order with the group’s reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Minutes of the last meeting, which had been sent by e-mail as well as printed on the blog, were approved as written. Treasurer Kay Ciha distributed printed financial reports, which showed a balance of $962.31. The minutes and the treasurer’s report will be filed for audit.
For the chairman’s report, Pete said there would be a number of issues to cover under the categories of Old and New Business, in greater detail. Other than that, he had attended the Second District event in Riverside. There were no administrative committee reports presented.
Old Business. We discussed redistricting maps. We now have published redistricting maps in both the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate. Though these were considered tentative, it looks as if they are rapidly becoming OK with all parties. Gov. Branstad hasn’t heard any negative comments from anyone. This was then passed by a Senate committee, and the House is now undertaking it. A redistricting committee of either five or seven members will be needed; if five, Democrats will be allowed to select two; if seven, Democrats can supply three. This will actually be addressed in September. It was noted that three county supervisors will be running for election in 2012, and we need to think of Democrat candidates to run.
Pete has talked to several people about chairing various committees. No one at the present time wishes to commit to these responsibilities. This includes the position of the events chair. It looks as thought there are only three upcoming events in which we could participate --Ridiculous Day, TrekFest, and the Fourth of July at Wellman. Concerning the Kalona event, there was a question about whether there would be enough people to represent us. These events would be an opportunity to provide exposure for any candidates running for office.
An executive board meeting will be held from 10:30 to about noon on May 7, in the back room of Dodici’s Shop. County dues are due and would be appreciated, and we are asking for updated e-mail addresses. John Stellmach spoke about activity going on now involving union supporters and, it is hoped, a backlash against what has been happening to unions this season. There was discussion about whether the configuration of the board of supervisors would remain at five supervisors or whether it might revert to three. If returning to the three-person board, this would not take place immediately. There may be potential candidates among people moving into northern Washington County from Johnson County.
We discussed the possibility of having new Democratic Party shirts printed. Consensus was that this should be done before the county fair. Louise Frakes moved that Pete look into buying new shirts. John S. seconded. A price should be available at the May meeting. Louise said she would like a shirt similar to the gray one but with blue lettering instead of red. Doris Park expressed willingness to create a new design according to specifications. The motion carried.
New Business. Republicans in the Iowa House have passed some questionable stuff. Group consensus was that not much of significance is being accomplished in the Iowa Congress. The good news was that at least little harm is being done. A positive note is that Senator Gronstal’s district is changing very little.
Louise and Harold Frakes had attended the Workers United event in Des Moines; neither state Senator Sandy Greiner nor state Representative Jarad Klein had been present. John S. commented that the bill 525 in Iowa would be much worse than what is happening in Wisconsin and Ohio. There, dues and fees would cease to be deducted from paychecks, resulting in the bargaining agent’s always having to organize and scramble to collect dues. If this bill should pass in Iowa, there would go the money which is the last bastion of trying to compete with corporations. In Iowa Sen. Gronstal saved us, killing the bill. The issue will come back again (in two years). John further explained that the bill would do away with seniority and progressive discipline, which requires just cause for an employer to discipline a worker. It was pointed out that Sen. Greiner is very much in favor of the free agent concept, which could benefit her.
Pete Morrison, Steve Maxon, Doris Park, and Louise and Harold Frakes attended the April 3 Second District meeting. Pete reported that a workshop is being planned, and that Washington has been considered as a possible site. They need a large room and about four adjoining breakout rooms, and cost is a factor in selecting a site. The meeting was mostly about seeking a location, and about the redistricting. Louise said the Second District is encouraging a women’s group to get together and discuss women’s issues, regarding women in general, of any party.
Pete said the Progressive Caucus has put together something that is more positive as an alternative to the “Ryan proposal.” The debt ceiling battle promises to be a really difficult issue. It may not end up being the best for us.
Pete brought up the IDP document and questionnaire for Washington County -- an assessment of how we are doing. A rundown includes party structure, communication, fundraising, technology, etc. Pete will scan the document and send it to everyone with e-mail addresses. We will discuss it at the May meeting. It is to be turned in by May 13.
The next meeting will be May 11 at 7 p.m. at the library. The April meeting was adjourned for refreshments graciously provided by Doris and Steve and which were very much enjoyed and appreciated.
Nan Stark, Secretary