General Meeting Minutes – July 26, 2023
[13 on zoom (plus, Admin) 15 in person (plus 4 speakers). Attendance:31]
Disclaimer: timing and order of agenda items is tentative, subject to the availability of our guests and speakers.
Secretary’s Note: These minutes are longer than usual due to hosting several candidates, including 2024 Governor’s race. Their statements are summarized to the best of my ability to provide a more comprehensive account for our members to review.
CALL TO ORDER/LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT Sarah E: called the meeting to order.
“We acknowledge that our legislative district is on the traditional homelands of the Puyallup and Muckleshoot tribes, who have lived on and stewarded these since the beginning of time and continue to do so today. We recognize that this land acknowledgement is one small step toward true allyship and we commit to uplifting the voices, experiences, and histories of the Indigenous people of this land and beyond.”
APPROVAL OF AGENDA James J motioned to approve agenda, Brian G Seconded. Unanimously approved.
READ/APPROVAL OF PRIOR MEETING MINUTES
James J motioned to accept minutes. Brian G : Seconded. Minutes have been unanimously approved.
BL City Council Pos 4, Lived in BL for 8 years—family here for 20 years. Small kids in the school. Fiscally or co=socially not heading in good direction, needs to be more inclusive. Let us down on infrastructure and community by organizing we can make a difference. Never held office, worked on campaign, worked for CalPirg and worked an many local & federal campaigns. Brian G: How can the community be more inclusive? How would you do that? Leia is in the LGTBQ+ comm. Got first Pride proclamation in BL. Think our funds are not being spent wisely, water fees are too high, and system is failing. Tahaleh funds have not been spent as promised. Congestion is out of control. Michelle DP: How can we present you as a candidate? What can we say when we canvas. Leia: I want to get engaged with me, excited about the process. “I want my kids to engaged in politics. Want to get people passionate about being involved in their community.”
Incumbent for BL SD, Pos 3. First term in 2019 “before the world changed.” Originally, he ran unopposed. Always been in PTA & Boosters, looked for more opportunity to be engaged. “No specific agenda, just to serve. Now that I’ve been on the board, there are more challenges from misinformation.” and how hard it is to be teacher. KL Now, my ‘Why run’ is Equity. To reach 100% graduation rate. Too many dropouts. “Schools need to be more individualized, getting each student what they need to succeed, entering the world ready to be college, vocation, military, whatever they want to pursue.” “I love doing the job and enjoy being able to give back.” Tamara S: How much control does the SB have over para-educators salaries? Bus drivers not eligible for raise unless worked 7 years. KL: SB can influence the salaries for vote on those contracts. “When admin brings the SB a new contract, I ask for comps of surrounding SB’s so we are on par or exceed those rates. SB needs to pay attention to wages to recruit and maintain good staff.” Brian G: Did The McCleary decision provide more actual funding. KL: Not yet. A SB member is our liaison to Olympia to advocate for funding.
Running Pos 4 for BLSB. Lived in BL for 7 years, with 11 yr old daughter going to middle school. A teacher. My wife has been teaching in the district. MFA in education, worked in very diverse school. Focus on equity and inclusivity, for more complete wraparound services for children. Believe in having a diverse population. ”Everyone has a place, there should not be anyone who feels / is made to feel like an ‘other’.” JM: “We need cultural responsiveness to examine our own biases—we all have them whether we are aware of them or not.” In BL, this winter the board was not demonstrating a safe environment for all of our children. JM I was inspired to run to ensure the board advocates for ALL children. [FYI: A resigning SB member spewed a 20-minute, anti-LGTBQ rant at a meeting,] SB members should speak up if something isn’t right. “I’m there to support families and teachers.”
Born in Oklahoma, BA in chemistry, sons graduated from Auburn HS, has 3 grandkids. Volunteered with food bank and Auburn police, United Way for 10 years, Boy scouts and Girl scouts. PCO for 47th LD. Appointed to the Auburn Planning Commission. Changes started in the planning commission for housing issues. HA Campaigned in 2018. “I know Auburn and the community. Know the bias and discrimination. We need to keep inclusivity and equity improvements.” The seat is empty. Rudy: Are you running opposed? HA: 3 candidates, Hanan is in the primary. Brian: what opportunities for the city to adopt more green energy. HA, There is a lot of discussion about switching to newer electric tech. Good excitement about state ‘Green initiatives.’ HA is very supportive of green energy. James J: A developer approached Auburn City Council. The Pit by Stuck River, where minerals are being extracted lease will expire. Possibly putting in a new community development. TBD type of housing they would be proposing. James Jayeraj endorsed Hanan.
OFFICER & COMMITTEE REPORTS
Sarah E, CHAIR:
- Summer Fairs: Brian G is running Milton Days. Robin M is running Bonney Lake Fair. Volunteers needed. We have a Spinning wheel with fun civics questions. Robin M: volunteering in the booth is “fun.”
- August Picnic at Sunset Park instead of a General meeting.
- August 1 is the Primary deadline. Get your ballots in the mail. Check our endorsement page online for details on candidates.
- Doorbelling this weekend in North Lake Tapps
- LD Admin: Still open positions: King Cty Vice Chair still needed.
Outreach Chair: for booths & fairs, or other events. We have a Back-up Secretary. Still need a King Cty Committee Rep.
Tamara S, Central Comm: 31st LD Summer Picnic is last Sunday in August at Sunset Park in Lakeland Hills, under the Gazebo; there’s a playground for kids. Potluck style, with 31st providing meat for BBQ. Need help with setup/clean up. The newsletter will have more details.
Mark B and I are LD State Central Committee and we’ve made a 2024 priority list to get approval from each LD. We need Dems to fill out the survey to let us know their most pressing issues. Being emailed to all members and on our FB page. LDs are ‘unhappy’ about the state Dems not covering for booth at State Fair. Working to resolve for 2024.
Michelle DP: Communications: Newsletter signups growing—have sheet at the booth. Designing graphics for special Dates—and sharing them on FB page; developing relationships with diff groups. Young Dems Pierce Cty has been on social media A LOT!! Are very active. People can share events or local news or politics to the FB group. Rudy A: Signup sheets for newsletter: list email address and also for volunteering. Add the link to the newsletter so we can access it. JamesJayeraj: Endorsed candidates can post links to canvassing events in the group. His campaign kickoff is Sunday the 30th in Auburn.
Amber OW: PCO & Recruitment: 31st LD Book Club meets 5 – 7pm, August 20th at Anber’s home. “Saving US: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World.”
PCO events are planned for the Fall elections. Rudy A: PCO canvas met with Paul Gilmartin—had a good conversation about the Dieringer SD with Paul and assembled families.
PAUL GILMARTIN, Endorsed Candidate: Pos 5 in Dieringer:
Been knocking doors, people said “…because you showed up and showed interest,” people are voting for me. Sunday at 1pm, we are sponsoring a GOTV car parade around N Lake Tapps neighborhoods. As a candidate, Paul is hoping to pushback on some extreme views against equity and inclusion.
John S: Question for Kevin Lewis: Are there anti-trans, equity voices in BL-S: KL Yes–they are here, but the anti-‘s are not in majority. Not yet, BLSB Strategic Plan is centered around Equity. Access to variety of programs esp. for youth at-risk of dropping out. KL “I’ve been told that ‘equity is woke’ or ‘if you give equity to one person, you take it from someone else.’ Often, I invite them to have coffee. I begin a conversation: ‘…what are you concerned about. Can you give me an example of where that happened? In what classroom? On what day?
I refocus to what is happening in our district.”
Hilary Franz, Governor (2024)
Sarah E: Hillary Franz is WA State’s Commissioner of Public Lands, –Hillary was our last speaker prior to the Covid shutdown: HF: “It’s been my great fortune to serve for 6+ years all over the state, on the ground to see the crises “fires, housing, mental health, communities on the front lines of a rapidly changing climate. This community (Pierce County) matters to me: my grandparents came to WA in 1938,” –were ranchers in Roy, Yelm and University Place; learned my work ethic from them. “Since being elected, I’ve worked tirelessly to take care of our land and water.” After the 2014-16 wildfires, WA lost an entire town and 3 firefighters. WA lacked adequate resources. I went to these communities; asked, ‘How can we do better.’ We needed more air resource’s; we had Vietnam helicopters. underbudgeted. I secured more critical training, more air resources. More funding. Today, a majority of fires are under 10 acres—WA has seen more fires but keep them 90% contained. Focus is restoring health of the state forest on federal and tribal land—Will achieve my goal within 10 years. Running for Governor to bridge division between urban and rural and solve multiple health, housing, transportation, homeless crises.
Rudy A: Do you feel confident that you have built on org that can continue the work you I’ve accomplished as Commissioner. We hope that good work continues. HF: As Gov I will stand for critical investments –to care for our land and water. [at DNR] We’ve built a culture of excellence lifting people up, their value is recognized. We are ‘Outward Facing’, getting to know the public; we’ve built a culture of empowerment. Of leadership.” Brian G: This will be a hard choice for two amazing Dems in WA. How are you a better candidate? HF “I’ve been an atty, but the work I’ve done [as Lands Comm] is more representative of work as a Governor, I’ve responded to fires, COVID crises, procured masks and supplies for diverse populations. My focus has been growing economic opportunity through clean energy, expanding/sustaining state agriculture, protecting the coast and waters, shellfish marinas, ports, literally building housing, And funding schools: Leaking roofs, no heat, basic health and human services. We are 40% of some of these operating budgets. ?? Asked about Rep Reichert entering race: HF “Reichert’s been a congressman, but he doesn’t know the issues on the ground, hasn’t led an agency. Legislating is very different [passing laws] than managing people and being directly responsible for 2,000 firefighters lives on the line.” GOP vs Dem, rural vs urban, I’ve been in all of these communities — they know I’ve had their back. Tamara S: how do your children feel about you jumping in to this race? HF I have 3 boys: 18, 20 & 24. Homeschooled when they were younger; still practiced law but took time off when they were younger. “I always dreamed of being a public servant. They are behind me—saw me give up professional life to care for my father for 8 years. I created a policy to allow staff to bring your kids to work with you. Our workplace is where everyone belongs and can care for their family.” One of her first cases, HF was paid in sheep (the client ran out of money) so they bought a farm. “Farmlands are vanishing. Climate change is affecting food production and water protection.” Rudy A: Climate Resilience Plan—we need a plan: you know how big the problem is. HF Carbon sequestration works—but we need a strategy around drought. Need more water rights to keep them in the public domain—prevent private interests from buying our water, we are in drought now. Need to identify critical water storage opportunities, we don’t have an energy plan to get to 2040 clean energy so how do we achieve that: Building wind and solar—but could be on tribal land, we don’t have the tech to store that yet, how are we identifying the needs than form the plan.
Paul G: how do we help the housing crisis to get people off the streets? HF: “Need to get them into housing with wraparound services: support for drug addiction, education or vocational programs. WA has had Housing Crisis for 12 +years—but there is no real plan: not for current need for hosing due to substance abuse, economic stress, or mental health.” Assess the needs and then match industrial buildings or empty hotels. “…Work closer with the private sector and reduce restrictive permitting in suburban areas. Tiny housing has amazing potential. Offers privacy & dignity as well as community space.” Worked in Finland and other states. Should be the no1 priority. Paul G: Some people don’t want to be in a “house.” HF Build a relationship first to establish trust and safety. Need an army of social workers, with substance abuse and trauma experience –to build the relationships. Firefighters are now first responders to assist drug or metal crisis—they don’t have the background to help. “I’m grateful for all of your time. Thank you for working to get Dems elected.”
Endorsement of Eligible Candidates: Sarah E: There are five (5) candidates available to endorse tonight. However, it’s very early to endorse for Gov race. Remember: we can endorse more than one candidate in the same race.(i.e., potentially Ferguson & Franz)
Brian G: Motioned to endorse Kevin Lewis for BL/S School Board: Helen Seconded. Brian G: Kevin has been to speak to 31st LD several times. I appreciate his open communications approach and his clear passion for public service. Motion passed unanimously: Kevin Lewis is now endorsed by the 31st LD Democrats.
Tamara S Motioned to endorse Leia Timm-McKenrick, Michelle DP Seconded. Leia has entered the Bonney Lake City Council race for a 2nd time. Tamara S: “I believe that she has the commitment and courage to go toe-to-toe with current council members.” Michelle DP: “Leia represents what I want to see in the community— that she can be representative of ALL of us.” Motion passed unanimously Leia Timm-McKenrick is now endorsed by the 31st LD Democrats.
Tamara S: Motioned to endorse Jeff Moon: Brian G Seconded: I met him a while back, has improved as a candidate and matches our values of inclusion on the BL School Board. Motion passed unanimously. Jeff Moon is now endorsed by the 31st LD Democrats.
Robin M: motioned to endorse Hanan Amer for Auburn City Council. Helen W: Seconded. Robin M: Hanan would be a great asset to the city council, for the last 3 years since her first run, she has demonstrated serious commitment to engaging and serving the community, including volunteering with multiple orgs including her appointment to the Auburn Planning Commission. Motion passed unanimously. Hanan Amer is now endorsed by the 31st LD Democrats.
Tamara S: Motioned to endorse Hillary Franz. Helen W: Seconded. Tamara—3 years ago she came and laid out her goals, and it’s so amazing to see her achieve those goals and how she demonstrates her leadership by ‘doing.”. Helen W: “…Hillary has proven she can set goals and establish a process to accomplish those goals. Robin M: Hillary explained ‘how” she can beat Reichert in the more ‘crimson’ rural areas of WA, where she has been an effective “Do-er” by protecting ranches and farms, critical coastal economic zones, etc. Voting Poll was conducted online and via hand count: [6 ayes (online) and 5 hands (in-person)] Motioned passed: Hillary Franz is now endorsed for Governor’s race by the 31st LD Democrats.
ADJOURNMENT Brian G: motioned to adjourn, Tamara S: Seconded. Meeting adjourned 9:10pm.