Meeting Minutes – March 27, 2024

7pm     Sarah Edwards, Board Chair – Called to order and Land Acknowledgement

            (Carrie Wilbur taking minutes)

Approve Agenda – Monica moved, Rudy seconded. Passed by voice vote.

Approve February Minutes – Rudy moved, Monica seconded. Passed by voice vote.

7:04  Candidate: Mike Pellicciotti, incumbent candidate, Washington State Treasurer

  • Only candidate to beat incumbent Republican in 2022
  • 3 things office does:
    • Debt management (bonds)
    • State’s banker, cash flow
    • Financial policy, per commission of state legislature (state pension, GET program, etc.)
  • Changed investment policy: no treasurers can accept money from corporate donors
  • 50 times increase: about $3 million/day MORE than was coming in when he took office, just with policy changes
  • $548 million/year saved in interest no longer paid
  • State has AAA credit rating with Moody’s
  • “Do not let anyone tell you that Democrats aren’t the party of fiscal responsibility.”
  • Working with Manka Dingra on baby bonds means babies born on Apple Health (47% of births statewide) receive $25-35,000 at age 35. Money can be used for (just examples) licensing fees, property purchase, professional education, need for time off for qualifying or training for careers.
  • Proposing financial literacy requirement in Washington classrooms
  • Retirement: WA Saves means opportunity for all workers to have retirement account/investments.
  • Looking for federal match of $1000/mo for people with WA Saves.
  • Reality is: we are transforming the economy as Democrats.

7:19  Questions:

Brian Gunn: (clarifying) accessing Baby Bonds at what age?

Answer: between 18 and 35.

7:21     Mark Boswell: do you support the issue of a state bank?

Answer: support all forms of public banking. Example of how that works:

  • Local loans (school or library district needing financing for a project, bundled, then out to larger market for lower rates)
  • Investments for local governments = better interest rates. This is where the results become 50x what they were. That money is invested by the office.
  • Support all constitutionally appropriate options, but that’s up to the state legislature and local governments.

7:24     Tamara: Proposed financial literacy/schools programs. Does this include “sports gambling is bad”?

Answer: Must be addressed as age appropriate, and talk with your local school district. It passed, but House and Senate could not agree about graduation requirement.

Sarah refers to Chris Reykdahl (OSPI, in attendance) for further questions.

Mark replies that there’s a collaborative office housed in OSPI which has the two agencies working together.

7:28     Sarah: We have a Google form to use for questions to pose to officials/candidates/guests – if you can’t attend or don’t want to speak, please use this form. Submit at least 2 days prior to the scheduled meeting.

7:30     Tamara: Michele is the Live Person responding to emails, so let’s be nice when communicating.

7:31     Candidate Manka Dhingra – running for Attorney General

  • While King County Prosecutor, enabled/supported
    • Therapy alternative unit
    • Veteran’s Court
    • 48 hr Crisis Intervention program
    • Diversion
  • Running to protect the people of Washington, no matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like. To whit:
    • Expanding mental health crisis access: 988 call line. Received national award, WA state system is now nationwide.
    • Unionization is making a difference for citizens
    • Attorney General must be proven fighter and litigator
    • Must protect rights of immigrants, women, LGBTQI
    • Consumer and Environmental protection are 2 huge priorities (her father worked at Union Carbide in Bopal, India – complained of terrible conditions, wasn’t heard, died at 40)

7:37 Questions:

Monica – thank you for your list of accomplishments and focus. Appreciate especially the Consumer Fraud focus.

            Answer: Whenever she speaks someone has a story of fraud targeting, and we need the education/information. Regardless of our titles in life, people have to be comfortable coming to us with these kinds of questions/stories.

7:40     Brian Gunn – You’re running for statewide office, which means votes from outside of King and Pierce Counties. Statewide officials need to know and understand rural issues. Please focus on outreach to folks not on the “wet” side of the state.

            Answer: Appreciate this comment. 2017 race resulted in the most money spent in WA state legislature race ever. Spent that race at independent/undecided/moderate Republican doors. Began going to Tri-cities, Omak, Whatcom, etc. in 2023. Hearing from people at all locations about mental health and violence, from people appreciative of her work. “We have more shared values than differences.” Bipartisan work during her time in the legislature = 12 bipartisan bills passed during the 2024 session.

7:46     Candidate Chris Reykdahl, incumbent candidate running for Superintendent of Public Education

  • Please thank the educators in your lives – they’ve been through a lot in the last 4 yrs
  • A lot of active positives. Some of what we’re NOT reading about:
    • Preschoolers have high enrollments
    • More kids getting breakfast and lunch at schools
    • Eighth grade reading scores now in the top 4 nationwide
    • Youth suicide rates down 30%
  • Why don’t we hear these things? Fearmongering sells.
  • Running for reelection because we’re doing well but we have more to do.
  • Loved school as a kid, did well, wanted to be a teacher.
  • “Why I’m fired up”
    • School privatization nationwide. ¾ of those kids on vouchers were already students i private schools. Those states will never get back the $10K/yr lost from public ed.
    • We’re down $1billion statewide or $1000/student since pandemic and ensuing inflation.
    • Smartphones are seriously knocking kids’ mental health.
  • Up now:
    • Changing learning standards re: mis/disinformation – critical thinking, age appropriate instruction
    • Fully fund public schools
    • Keep public schools public
  • Average statewide Democratic candidate wins 7-9 counties across the state. Reykdahl won 19. Travels the state – “For the most part, people just want to know their kids will be okay.”
  • Asking for 31st support and endorsement

8pm  Questions:

Rudy – WA charter schools. What’s the status?

            Answer: They have failed multiple times in this state. Candidate supports the existing ones because that’s the law. WA can’t have new/more than there are now (5?) because the window for founding charters closed per the law.

            Keith: How much to fully fund schools?

            Answer: Legislature defined “fully funded,” that was affirmed by state court in 2019 (McLeary). Local districts shouldn’t have to spend from local funds for Special Education – that’s a federally guaranteed right.

            Matt: School bus driver shortages in local districts. Meanwhile, external CBD oil application can disqualify people for 5 yrs.

            Answer: We have a severe shortage in many places. Pay and benefits are most important for recruiting. Districts are blaming OSPI for 5 yr ban, but Dept of Licensing and Dept of Transportation rules/laws figure largest here. What does the Medical commission recommend? Would follow those guidelines.

            Carrie: Given that the McLeary decision exempted Special Ed, what dollar amount would fully fund Special Ed in WA?

            Answer: $3 billion/yr is cost for Special Education, or $26-27K per student. Still needed to fully fund: additional about $400-500 million/yr. “Is money from the legislature plus federal funds meeting the needs? The answer is no.” Would need legislature to increase funding from 12.5% to 16%.

8:12     Sarah: Math skills at college level seem to have dropped terribly. Students quizzed last week don’t remember that info this week.

            Answer: “Retention is different from how it used to be.” Remediation at college level is down, even though the need is increasing. Seeing this across the nation. Work to be done.

            Monica: Thank you very much for your part in public schools. WA is lucky and doing well.

            Answer: Educational unions show the difference. Talent drain evident in “right to work” states, but in WA, ⅔ of new high school teachers are at the same high schools they graduated from.

8:17     Candidate: Keith Swank, running for Pierce County Sheriff

  • Was in charge of training at Seattle PD during the consent decree, focused on Crisis Intervention and De-escalation.
  • Went on to teach same nationwide with DOJ under Obama – pleased to have decreased use of force.
  • Union member – worked with City and unions toward contracts
  • Pierce Co Sheriff Dept needs a fresh set of eyes training to highest industry standards and increasing de-escalation.


            Monica: have there been any thoughts re: police response vs mental health specialists responding to calls?

Answer: Must be careful for volatile situations. “I have a psychology degree.” “Police are mental health specialists.” Risks to counselors because of volatility.

Michelle: [Screen-sharing. Graphic composed of several screen shots of individual tweets/posts from Keith Swank’s Campaign Twitter/X account. Ex: “Another Democrat scam.”] Why come here to ask for endorsement from people you hate?

Answer: “A lot of what I do on Twitter is satire.” “I also hold Republicans accountable but I do that in person.”

[There was more back and forth here, but the above example reflects the content and tone of the exchanges.]

Tamara: Youth crime. Would you support more incarceration?

Answer: Difference between violence and theft. Has run before as a Republican, “and you all probably don’t agree with me about fiscal policy, but I hope we do agree” that people want/deserve to be safe.

Sarah: Some Sheriffs have declared that they won’t enforce a particular law …

Answer: Does not support that [“constitutional sheriffs”] …

Sarah: … would you as Sheriff share personal information regarding abortion care/access with states that outlaw/penalize same?

Answer: Personally pro-life, but would enforce state law only. Referred to WA here as “pro-abortion state.”

Monica: We prefer Pro-choice terminology. Nobody here is pro… abortion, only pro-choice – a woman’s right to choose her care.

Answer: Fair. This state is a pro-choice state and the numbers of support are higher than ever before, about 85% of all residents, Democrat or Republican.

Rudy: State agencies collect and hold information. Too much information held, can be used against citizens. What would you do with that?

Answer: Too much weaponization… would purge info that is past retention dates. Follow the law.

8:33     Endorsement Requests

  • Supreme Court Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud
    • Brian moved to endorse, Monica seconded.
    • Brian, speaking to motion: “…highly qualified, extremely intelligent, one of the best jurists…”
    • Passed by voice vote
  • Judge Tom Quinlan, Pierce County Superior Court
    • Michelle moved, Brian seconded
    • Michelle, speaking to  motion: “…example of how judges can work to help, not just incarcerate.”
    • Passed by voice vote
  • Rebecca Saldaña – not qualified because she left the meeting without speaking to the voting body
  • Senator Manka Dhingra, for Attorney General
    • Rudy moved to endorse, Brian seconded
    • Rudy, speaking to motion: “…she makes a comprehensive description of a lot of territory… passion for the job.”
    • See below…

8:38     – Andrea Ornelas [point of order?] questions: Does the 31st dual endorse candidates?

  • Answer (Sarah): we do not prohibit
  • Andrea: asks about process of questionnaire solicitation
  • Answer (Sarah): questionnaires are available on website but are not solicited.
  • Andrea moved to table endorsement to next meeting of the 31st, Monica seconded
    • Discussion: Andrea – access for members to process concerns/time constraints
    • Monica – appreciates concerns, does not see that concerns need to block vote tonight for candidate who has applied
    • Sarah/Brian (?) – timeline between this meeting and next won’t allow for campaigning with endorsement for applicants

8:43     – Vote to table fails, 7-8 (show of hands and online poll)

8:45     – Vote on motion to endorse Manka Dhingra passes, 14-0 (show of hands and online poll)

8:47     – Tamara moved: 31st requirement of questionnaire submission prior to endorsement be waived for the incumbent candidates who appeared in person, Monica seconded; passed by voice vote

8:49     – Tamara moved to endorse Chris Reykdahl for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Monica seconded; passed by voice vote

8:53     – Nominations: Sarah addresses that Helen, who is traveling, has agreed to be Outreach chair, if someone should nominate her. Sarah addresses that Robin, who is traveling, has agreed to be Secretary, if someone should nominate her. Sarah asks for nominations for Outreach Chair…

  • Tamara nominates Helen for Outreach Chair, speaks to nomination: “…though traveling, Helen is qualified, will do great work.” Passed by voice vote.

            Sarah asks for nominations for Secretary…

  • Tamara nominates Robin, speaks to nomination: “Robin has been doing a great job as secretary.” Passed by voice vote.

8:57 Sarah: Robin has been PCDCC rep (Kirby and Carrie second and third reps), but if nominated as Secretary, would resign PCDCC rep position, recommending Judy Chelotti take her place.

  • Judy nominated (by… herself?). Passed by voice vote.

9pm     Committee Reports:

  • Treasurer: numbers from previous report remain unchanged, just through the end of February 2024.
    • Monica moved to accept report, Rudy seconded. Passed by voice vote.

9:02     State Convention, June 22

  • Have 20+ spots, so volunteer! Go to Bellevue!
  • Deadline: March 31

Delegate Forum, April 6, Auburn Library

            Planning Meeting for same, happening March 28 on Zoom

            Confirm your membership and email with Tamara

            Vote for delegates!

  • Redistricting: in 2022, Latino voters sued, saying that in 2021 redistricting had diluted Latino power in Yakima area. They won.
    • New maps were finalized March, 2024. Old maps in effect through end of December 2024.
    • Lost Enumclaw, gained Orting
    • No follows county lines more closely
    • If you know Democrats in Orting, please connect us with them

9:12     Amber, Book Club: March 30, 1-3pm, Sumner LIbrary, snacks provided. “The People’s Hospital”

9:13     Brian Gunn, Platform Committee report

  • Please sign up to be a delegate
  • Push from state party is to shrink the Platform document, aiming toward less detail
  • Delineating basic policy, not the how/prescriptive
  • Delegates can vote endless amendments to resolutions as we see fit – if things are removed that we see needing to be put back, that can be sent from 31st to PDCC and from there on to the state.
  • Call people and ask them to be delegates

9:18     Kirby, PDCC report

  • Balance: $19,539
  • Discussion pending on $10 annual dues
  • Looking at renting office at IBEW hall for 6 months – will allow in-person meetings to resume
  • Asian Pacific New Year celebration went well

9:20     Robin and Helen, in absentia (Sarah) – Fairs

  • Buckley 6/29-30, Auburn 7/4, etc. Will hear more from them when they’re back from their travels

9:20     Good of the Order

  • Michelle – City Council Opening after mayor was selected from council
    • Applications taken through 4/8, interviews the following Tuesday
    • Must be Bonney Lake resident
    • 6 member council, need 4 votes for majority votes (current make up: 3 very conservative/”Motion Church”, 3 are conservatives who are trying to keep everyone level)
  • Kirby – Mike Cathey passed away. There will be an opening for his position with East Pierce Fire.
  • Judy – attended meeting with high school Dems. Hopeful after seeing the kids in action there.
  • Tamara – Deb Norris retired from SBLSD School Board. Opening not yet posted.

9:25pm – Adjourned

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