Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee
General Meeting Minutes
(May and June minutes provided here, scroll down for June)
May General Meeting
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Called to order at 7:11
Reciting of The Pledge of Allegiance
Words from the Chair
- 45 has released a one page tax plan and we are all not going to be shocked to find out that the rich are going to get richer
- Our social safety nets (Medicare/Medicaid) are going to be at risk
- The freedom caucus has decided to be on board to appeal the affordable care act
- Spent time with Representative Crist and he’s on the floor and in meetings fighting a good fight; he’s introducing legislation that school buses are required to have safety belts.
- Spent time with Stephanie Murphy working on a lot of economic bills important t to Florida; Republicans are going after the seat she sits on and we need to make sure we keep people like her in the seat.
- The Florida House yesterday the Republicans passed a work requirement for people with Medicaid
- Bill 1238 – charges us as rate payers to pay for Florida Power/Duke Energy to Fracking. Asking all Democrats to make phone call to all State Senators it
- Constitutional revision committee they are touring the state to allow people to speak in response to the items that can be placed on the ballot. They will be in Hillsborough May 26th
- Request for surrogate has been turned in for our Prelude to Victory Dinner. DNC is working on it. As soon as we find out and the date we will let you know.
- New fund raising program will be rolled out in the next couple of weeks.
- Yesterday an announcement was made that the FL democratic party has hired a new President, Sally Boynton Brown, who will lead the party under Chair Bittel.
- Moroni is not looking to be reelected; We are going to fight to get
- Pat’s kick off will be the beginning of June; she’s working hard to get everything together;
Approval of March Minutes /Ramona motioned Suzette 2nd and approved
Vice Chair Report
- Information passed out about precinct committee members roles and responsibilities; training the trainers will occur at the DEC Headquarters which will include the district chairs so we can expand trainings across districts. The more precinct captains trainers we have the easier the District Chair will have to be able to train more people
- Earth day had caucus and environment caucus; registered voters; had a lot of elected officials come by including the Mayor
- Spoke with Ben Diamond and the Fracking bill is being stalled and we need to call our State Speaker.
Speaker: Ray Claire Johnson
- Played a film about how the American Promise has been executed and is behind what we are all struggling with today
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC); they meet regularly and determine which legislation they want passed and they go back to their states to work and have it passed in their states.
- ACCE American City & County Exchange and they have been charged with buying local legislatives so they can take over
- Freedom Partners is an organization formed by the Brothers who are an ALEC. Ray Claire predicts will be the next political party in the United Sates.
- Need to get the Amendment passed
- ALEC members control all 12 of our state universities; they have 3million students signed up to be spokes people to their generations and there’s nothing to counterbalance the movement.
- American Promise is trying to get the ordnance is the first of its kind it will outline super packs (the packs must report who they are giving their money to, but super packs don’t have to report anything). This is to assist with knowing where campaign spending is going June 22 @9am St. Pete City Hall.
- Trying to get a resolution for support to pass in the county to start educating our elected officials and residents as to how threatened they will be with the new movement of ACCE in their community
- Need people to sign up to collect signatures; need 100,000 to quality for the state to look at it and when they approve the validate initiative they we must gather 1million signature by January.
- Campaign of Dollars for Democracy; Put in $10 for American Promise $5 Ordnance of St. Pete and $5 for free Speech for Florida;
- Have to make it personal not just at the office but at their homes. We need to focus on the elective officials that are not doing what we want.
- Annual audit completed and submitted to Supervisors of Election
- 1st 2017 we had 91 individual donations in the quarter that totaled $5006
- 2017 Property Appraisal report is compliant
- Chair of finance committee is Larry Bittel; who will be spearheading our fundraising. Shannon Love and Monica Dixon will be working on events.
- Reach out to RyanCobin@gmail.com if you need or want any assistance with your treasury department
- Clubs and Caucuses pay according to size; determined by registration starting at $25 up to $100
- This is the highest number of people we have had in the last 8 years
- For the 1st time in the last 20 years we have the opportunity to cover all of our expenses covered by every member committing to $10 a month it would all be covered.
- Complete the envelope on your chair or go to the website and sign up.
State Committee Report
- Nick Pillotti director of Party Affairs due to his wife having a baby; he’s out for a couple of weeks; and the county has hired Rachel Burger as the Deputy in his stay
- Since last meeting we have had the state party meetings and thanked everyone for the number of people that showed up from Pinellas
- Rick is currently 1 of 3 co-chairs that’s rewriting the state charger and bylaws because we feel there are things that need to be updated and approved. Looking for comments and suggestions on things that can be fixed and such; please submit electronically to https://goo.gl/forms/XOg8jtUEqGGdABTg2
On May 20th, there will be a public hearing for individuals that have suggestions for the revisions
- Deadline was April 18th the Progressive Caucus and N. Pinellas Caucus got their paperwork in and it has been reviewed; Gulfport will be reviewed with the June report. There will be a conference call on Saturday, April 29; but won’t get certifications until after Junes meeting
- Next Deadline is June 1st; the next one is October 6
- Leadership Blue Gala is always held at the Diplomate in Hollywood June 16-18; working on getting Keynote Speaker. You can get tickets at a discount
New member for each district:
District 64 – 1
District 65 – 3
District 66 – 3
District 67 – 2
District 68 – 8
District 69 – 10
District 70 – 6
Jim Donelon moved Corey Givens 2nd
- St Petersburg has the most progressives he’s seen in his lifetime. A bill being passed preventing apprenticeships to be hired; but this is the worst legislature we have ever had.
- City Council voted to make on all new building and rebuilds as a matter of course to design them with solar in them.
- One of the committees is coming forward with living wage ordinance which means if we do a contract for someone to build or provide parking services they have to pay $12 per hour.
- Closing the loophole for part-time employees that have been there for less than 5 years.
- We had 910 boarded up houses before Rick Kriseman today we have 219 boarded houses.
- The polls have Rick Baker ahead of Rick Kriseman; this is going to be a tough race; if we lose a Mayor and Council Seats all the above will change.
The vote on the Rowdies Stadium will be on May 1st
Team Kriseman – Jacob Smith
- We have a lot of important work to do; we have four months to do an important job; Adrian is the field director;
- Going to go out and talk to people that have never voted in a City Council Race
Corey Givens Jr
- Running for Dist. 60 on City Council because he feels the city needs him
- He has a team of folks that are vested and care about the people in St. Pete
- Make sure St. Pete recruits and retains
- Early Childhood Education
- Affordable Housing
Jeff Larson – Running for Schoolboard Seat 2
- Been a teach for 13 year; 8th grade middle school; currently rebui9lding a union rep for his school
Jim Jackson – Running for District 6 St. Pete City Council
- Need to fix the school
- Need to rebuild the pier
- Need to improve housing
- We need Mayor Kriseman to win
Black Caucus had some elections today; We need new ideas and new solutions
Trevor Mallory – President
Carlo Bristol – 1st Vi\
Matt Byrd – 2nd VP
Sheria Hope – Secretary
Keith Harris – Treasurer
Motion approved by the board to oppose the Sabal Trail Pipeline
THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOVLED, that the membership of the Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee opposes, and urge the Florida Democratic Party to oppose, the construction, completion and operation of the Sabal Trail Pipeline
Moved by Bill Bucolo 2nd by Jay Alexander and approved by the membership. No one opposed.
- Susan – Rep. Crisp new finance person coming need some affordable housing; speak with Susan
- Tarpon Springs; Publicly endorse Jeff Larson for Schoolboard
- Jennifer Webb
- Handouts at table outside
- District 69 handed out info about monthly meetings
- Sunday 1-3 picnic
- Linda Lucas – South St. Pete Democratic Club
- Thanks for all the support for when Andrew Gilliam came to town
- May Day Picnic come by after work May 1st 4-7; bring a child
- Meeting at noon at the Sanderlin Center will be showing a movie
- Picnic May at Ft. Desoto
Adjournment 9:05 Moved by Rick Boylan 2nd by Ramona
June General Meeting
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Called to order at 7:12pm
Pledge of Allegiance
Words from the Chair
- Good news today on Capital Hill. Senate Republicans are trying to push through their health care bill, but 4 Republicans say they oppose it. Right now, it looks like they won’t be able to push it through.
- There were a couple of special elections this year. Karen Handel’s victory in Georgia lets the GOP kick the can down the road, but not for long. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon. We are the party of the middle class, always be proud to be a Democrat.
- We have been busy recruiting candidates in Pinellas. People are contacting us about districts to run in, someone from Ruth’s list contacted Susan today.
- We have been active with fundraising. We came close to having a fundraising dinner in July, but it didn’t work out. We are planning a Prelude to Victory dinner.
- Two appointments were made to our board. Ramsay McLauchlan will be the Bylaws Chair. Bonnie Agan will be an at large member.
- June is a month celebrated throughout the nation as the LGBT equality month. The Democratic party is the party that has already stood for equality. St Pete has the largest Pride event in Florida. It’s going to be a great week. A couple hundred thousand of our friends will be attending Pride. The Stonewall Democrats will have a float and a booth. The Pinellas Democrats will also have a booth, which will be managed by Jennifer Griffith and Ryan Cobin.
- Six more people are needed for quorum tonight.
- We are on a roll. We lost Georgia by a small margin in a district that has been held by Republicans. We didn’t take the seat, but we moved in the right direction.
- 62 people have signed up to cover 2 beverage booths and 2 beer trucks in St Pete Pride. We are in good shape, but we want to know we have this nailed. Mike asked for volunteers, 6 people raised their hands. Joshua Rumschlag went around the room with a clipboard and collected their sign up information.
- Ginnny Nelson will be signing up volunteers for any candidates who are not here tonight.
- Susan McGrath spoke about the municipal elections. It is important to elect Democrats. Darden Rice and Amy Foster are up for re-election. Darden has an opponent, Amy currently does not. There are 2 open seats. There is great progressive policy going on in St Pete right now, such as banning the box and universal recycling. It’s extremely important that we stand up. We need to support Rick Kriseman for Mayor. Toriano Parker is using his own business space as a campaign office. We can’t take the election for granted. Rick Baker is spending a lot of money and is ahead in the polls. We can’t let what happened in 2016 happen in St Pete.
- Patricia Plantamura noted that the end of the qualifying periods in the other cities is in July. We need to contact the city clerks and find out when they are. We need to run people in those elections.
- Susan noted that we never stop recruiting. Please see Toriano, Mike, or Jennifer. Jennifer is taking volunteers at the office.
Vice Chair Report
- Lisa DesCoteaux was elected as the new District 64 Chair.
- The Board has approved a technology upgrade. Will meet for the plan.
- The districts are doing great. District 70 is on fire.
- Clubs and caucuses are growing fast. Let’s keep it up.
- May had $2737.80 in expenses and $5368.00 in donations.
- The board approved a technology upgrade plan. Up to $2400 is budgeted for new computers, and the network in general will be upgraded. Our phone banking capabilities will go up to 8 or 9. When fledgling candidates don’t’ have their own campaign offices, they will use ours.
- Will use direct mailing for fundraising. Larry Biddle is doing great job.
- Phase 2 is projected to bring in more money. We are not going dormant on fundraising during off election years.
- A lot of space is needed for the Prelude to Victory Dinner. Clubs, Caucuses, and Districts will need to help out.
- There is a sign up sheet for St Pete Pride. The Stonewalls have 2 tents, the PCDEC has their own tent. There are a few spots left for volunteers. We will be signing people up to join clubs and caucuses.
- Envelopes are on all the seats to make contributions to PCDEC.
State Committee Report: Rick Boylan
- Everyone has a copy of the committee report.
- Last weekend during Leadership Blue, we met President Sally Boynton Brown, the new president of the Florida Democratic party. She was very impressive.
- The State Central Committee meeting on Sunday worked on rules for electing delegates at the State Conference. There will be more coming on the details of the timeline.
- There was an ad hoc meeting working on bylaws, which was a scheduled 5 hour meeting. The committee recommended that we no longer have signed loyalty oaths, and strengthen language in the bylaws. The committee will probably meet again in the middle of July.
State Committee Report: Wanda Schwerer
- There was a good lesson on parliamentary procedure.
- Congratulations to the Greater Pinellas Democratic Club, the Gulport Democratic Club, the Largo/Mid-Pinellas Democratic Club, the North Pinellas Democratic Club, the South St Petersburg Democratic Club, and the St Petersburg Democratic Club on their certifications.
- All Caucus certificates were given to the State Presidents of each Caucus to distribute. The certified Pinellas caucuses are: The Pinellas County Democratic Progressive Caucus, the Pinellas County Democratic Black Caucus, the Pinellas County Democratic Hispanic Caucus, the Pinellas County Democratic Veterans Caucus, and the Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County.
- The FDP is working on a new election plan.
- Maria Scruggs, candidate for St Pete City Council, District 6. Maria has always been a Democrat and was raised in St Petersburg. She graduated from Florida State University, and has been a public manager for over 30 years. She works in law enforcement in Orlando, and commutes 1500 miles a week. She served as President of the St Petersburg NAACP. We have to elect officials who have experience.
- Barclay Harless, candidate for St Pete City Council District 2. Barclay is a 5th generation Floridian. Graduated from the University of South Florida. Our city is doing a lot of things right. We should be inclusive and focus on small businesses. Early learning is important. If we don’t help kids, we will deal with issues in the future. Endorsed by Jim Kennedy, Renee Flowers, Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, and the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Federation of labor. Website: voteharless.com
- James Scott, candidate for St Pete City Council District 6. Two weeks ago, James was an NPA. Raised in a conservative family. He wants to participate in this election and the conversation, so he registered as Democrat. He votes for Democrats, and voted for Hillary. Works at USF St Petersburg. Secured funds for a campus student health services facility. Led an initiative that led to the Office of Sustainability. Serves as a contractor with the Sierra Club.
- Corey Givens Jr, candidate for St Pete City Council District 6. This election is personal. Corey is a 4th generation St Petersburg native. Our city has been on a course of progress. Corey’s campaign is not connected to big money. Believes in the people, they deserve a voice of inclusiveness and unity. St Petersburg has a lot to offer. The rainbow flag was raised over City Hall. Corey wants to represent minorities, and the majority that believe in a city of unity. Website: coreygivens.com
- Jeff Larsen, candidate for School Board, Seat 2. Has a passion for education and for public service. Has been teaching for over 13 years. In charge of the reading department and is the basketball coach. Has 2 sons in the Pinellas County schools. Served 2 terms as City Commissioner of Tarpon Springs, and was Vice Mayor. We can do better. It is not OK that parents know their son or daughter’s education will be good or bad depending on what street they live on. Website: votejefflarsen.com
- Trevor Mallory gave thanks to Wanda Schwerer for helping the caucuses become certified.
- Toriano Parker is using his office as a campaign office to keep Mayor Kriseman.
- Volunteers are working in the field in South St Pete. 400 signs have been picked up and distributed.
- Matthias Byrd, Chair of District 70, and Josh Rumschlag are doing outreach.
- The South office has been approved for funding.
- Will have picnics to raise funds.
- The South St Pete Club is having a City Council District 6 forum at noon, July 8th, at the Enoch Davis center.
- Corey Givens noted that there is a Mayor’s forum at the Mt Zion Progressive Baptist Church Tuesday, 6pm.
North Pinellas County Democratic Club
- Paul Ford spoke about this new club. There used to be a Palm Harbor Club. They decided to widen the area. The cities include Tarpon Springs to Dunedin and Oldsmar.
- Karen Mullins is working with Garry Miracle in Safety Harbor.
- This is a Republican area, but we can turn the area purple, if not blue. The club started with 25 members, it now has well over 100.
- 3 main goals: Outreach, tabling exercises, and expanding membership.
- Working on universal types of messaging. Everyone is concerned about solar energy and sea level rise.
- Sponsored VAN training, precinct committee training, and voter registration training.
- A lot of people turned out for Rep. Gus Bilirakis’ town hall on health care.
- They had a picnic, the club continues to grow.
Pinellas County Democratic Black Caucus
- Carla Bristol stated: “We are unapologetically Democratic”.
- The club had a kick off meeting this past Tuesday, 50-60 people attended.
- A bank account with Achieva Credit Union has been opened.
- Started with about 7 members, there are now over 40.
- The dates for the membership meetings have been changed. They are now meeting on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.
- This Monday there will be a showing of the film “American Divided, Democracy for Sale”.
- The next meeting will be July 18. Sen. Darryl Rouson will be the speaker.
Speaker: Franco Ripple, Vice President of CateComm
- Franco is working for Mayor Andrew Gillum’s campaign for Governor. In the era of Trump, it is exciting to work for a progressive candidate. Today, a state based plan has been rolled out in case Trump’s health care plan succeeds.
- Before the legislative session, House Speaker Corcoran made it clear that Gov. Scott is a lame duck. In the first week, he stated they would eliminate Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. Corcoran is a friend of the Koch brothers. The first week set the tone for the rest of the session.
- Bills were slashed, and at the end restored.
- There are not enough Democrats in Tallahassee.
- HB 7069 was passed in the final week. It provides funds for charter schools to come to neighborhoods with low performing public schools.
- There was not enough agreement on fracking.
- The Senate wanted to limit growers for Medical Marijuana to 5 dispensers and tax it. The House wanted 100, and did not want to tax it.
- The governor wanted to cut 1 billion in hospital reimbursements. The money is coming from Medicaid. More than 50% of Medicaid benefits children.
- Preemption is an increasing trend pushed by ALEC. It is the process of the state government telling local governments that they cannot pass laws.
Speaker: Marianny DeLeon, Regional Organizer for Planned Parenthood
- Make sure we have people who are informed, plugged in, and willing to be active. Stand for the right to choose. A lot of energy is coming from St Pete.
- Planned Parenthood has been around for about 100 years. There are over 11 health centers in southwest and central Florida, they provide services for all members of the community. They help people of low income.
- In spite of every attack, our doors will stay open. Everyone that needs to be seen will be seen.
- During the 8 weeks of regular session, there were volunteers every week at health committees. They met with representatives.
- Abortion remains safe and legal, but not everyone has access to it. Crises pregnancy centers are actually pro life centers. HB 19 was the big focus during this legislative session.
- There is a bill in the senate about defunding Planned Parenthood, which would mean that people on Medicare and Medicaid would not be able to go to Planned Parenthood.
- We fight back by making phone calls. Senator Marco Rubio’s Senate office number is 202-224-3041. This Tuesday in Tampa there will be a phone bank.
- Last year, 44,000 people were seen by Planned Parenthood. More than half of Planned Parenthoods are in rural areas.
- If 10 people show up at a legislation hearing in Tallahassee, that represents a small number of us. A lot of people from their districts showing up at hearings freaks State Legislators out, and changes votes.
- Committees are where the work of passing bills gets done. In September the committee meetings will start. This is where bills are talked about in advance.
- Franco built this website: denfendourcare.com. It allows you to enter your home address to bring up your representative and the contact information of live staffers.
- Marilyn Laymen noted that in 80% of cases, it is the women who care for the sick. But there was not one woman on that committee.
- Ryan Cobin has a sign up sheet for St Pete Pride volunteers.
- Susan Mcgrath announced we have Rick Kriseman yard signs.
- Patricia Plantamura asked about the St Petersburg “Defend our Democracy” ordinance. It passed 5-4 in favor of moving to the next step.
Minutes by Sharon Janis, PCDEC Member