Board Meeting Minutes

Davis Democrat Club Meeting March 10, 2004

This meeting was held at the home of Betty Weir.
Present (14 members total) were:
President: Tony Gruska,
Vice President: Kingsley Melton
Treasurer: Betty Weir
Recording Secretary: G Richard Yamagata
Past President: Stephen Souza, not able to make meetings
Newsletter Editor: Anais Vayssieres, absent
Board members: Julia Sanchez, Mary Lou Hernandez, Jerry Lester, Barbara Slemmons, Bob Bockwinkel, and Mike Syvanen.

Guests: Campus Democrats were missing from this meeting.

Tony called the meeting to order at 7:06 PM.

The minutes from the February Meeting were moved forward for a vote by Mike Syvanen and were seconded by Betty Weir. The motion carried unanimously.

Tony Gruska commented about the Woodland Democrat Club. No Action was required nor taken on this subject.

It was asked that discussion of the General Meeting election be added to the agenda as New Business. This was moved by Mike Syvanen and seconded by Betty. Mike, Betty and Mary Lou Hernandez all said they wished to speak on this issue.

So far this year, 117 members have paid their dues; $195 was collected at the door of the meeting. There were 62 votes cast in the election. The club expects $5 at the door. There were 11 absentee ballots cast for the election.

The total amount of the deposit this month was $1490. The club has $3144.66 in the checking account and $7000 in a reserve CD. A total of over $11,729.66 remains in the treasury. It was again commented that this is not enough money to keep a campaign headquarters open. The club had over $15,000 the last time it opened the headquarters. Ideas were put forward for raising funds and to get more people to pay their dues into the club.

So far we have 18 households at $50, 8 households at $100 and 117 current memberships paid.

Telephone calling was discussed again and it was emphasized that we should remind people that we need money towards opening the campaign headquarters for the general election in November to defeat Bush.

[NOTE: The idea of a database to be set-up and call the list was made at the February meeting. The cost is 5 cents a call and to telephone all 3,000+ Democratic households, it would cost about $150. This will be done after the March primary election. – This was not discussed again at this March meeting]

The “red dot” campaign on newsletter must have been successful, considering the 117 memberships. We had a lot of student memberships sign up at the general meeting.

Tony announced that the only date that the club could get for the Blanchard Room was March 31, not a day in April. There was a discussion amongst the board that this date was too close to the March election and the electeds would not be in the mood to come to the meeting. This is also the day after the swearing in, and it was discussed that people would be too tired to come to a meeting the day after partying until 3AM that morning. There would be not enough time to get a proper article into the Enterprise nor to send out a post card. There definitely would not be a newsletter to announce a March 31 meeting date.

It was suggested that the March 31 meeting be held to congratulate Sue Greenwald being elected mayor pro-tem and Stephen Souza for being elected to his first term. [The minutes were changed to included Don Saylor as a person to be congratulated, though no advocate was present at this meeting.] At this point, an argument was made against this plan.

It was specifically requested by Barbara Slemmons that Kingsley’s idea be put into the minutes to be noticed by the elected candidates. The idea is that the elected candidates should be thanking the Democrat Club, not the club inviting them to meet the public or the club to congratulate them upon being elected. The electeds should put out a thank you to the club in the newspaper or some public space. It was suggested that a letter to the club newsletter from individual elected candidates was appropriate. It was stated that the people elected should be contacted. There was discussion of this idea, but no one stepped forward to contact the newly elected or re-elected candidates.

At this point President Tony Gruska stated we should not have the March 31st meeting and that the club should put more effort into the Champagne Brunch. The following dates were discussed: May 2nd, May 16th, and May 23rd. At this point in the meeting Betty called the Cook’s to settle on a date. They were not home and a message was left. [NOTE: The Cook’s later contacted the club and let us know that they want to host this event at their home on June 6th.]

Possible keynote speakers suggested were: Dr Mike Syvanen, Mike Thompson, Darryl Steinberg, and some representative from the Kerry Campaign. The time of the Champagne Brunch was now discussed. In the end, it was decided that the event should begin at 11:30AM. The speakers would be scheduled to start speaking at 12:30PM.

Bob Bockwinkel will pick up the champagne and glasses. Various people will purchase the needed orange juice. Mary Lou Hernandez stated that people should bring something different to the brunch than what they usually do. She also stated that things like donut holes should be replaced on the menu. Jerry Lester pointed out that the donut holes were always all eaten up well before the end of the event. There were general grumblings and more objections were evident by the show of hands and people wishing to speak on this issue. At this point in time, Tony said that we have at least 2 meetings before the event if it was held on May 23rd, so there will be more than enough time to have this discussion at a later date. The meeting moved on for a second time after getting bogged down.

The club was reminded that the reason that we continue to participate at the 4th of July concessions is that we hope to one day get the beer concession. This is awarded by lottery and we have come in second, twice, meaning that if the primary group withdrew, we could have gotten the concession. This has never happened. We also need to maintain a presence, because the Republicans and the Greens both have booths at this event.

It was discussed what to sell. It was decided that we should sell ice tea. To continue continuity for people looking for our booth and beverages, that we continue with the Hawaiian decorations. The club would ask Stephen Souza about the Hawaiian decorations. The idea is that we could sell a variety of flavored ice teas. It was suggested that we also sell lemonade, but with Susan no longer on the board, the free lemons are no longer available to the club. [The minutes were changed for Susan Peter-Thomas' schedule is such that she can once again attend the meetings.]

It was suggested again by Mary Lou Hernandez that the club board members donate the ingredients for the booth drinks, which for the last booth came to several hundred dollars. It was stated by Tony that the ingredients for ice tea, the cost is so small, the club should be able to pay for it. It was brought up by Richard Yamagata that we should just have the central committee chip in paying for the club booth expenditures, like they promised to do last year. It was stated that the Yolo County Central Committee did not pay for anything, the last 4th of July and hence the club did not have to share the @$100 earned that the event. It was also brought up that the board members already have to provide all of the food for the Champagne Brunch and the December holiday party and that the board should not have to shoulder another event cost. Mary Lou then called for more board members to be placed on the board. A discussion followed that there are board members on the list that do not participate by coming to the meetings. It was suggested that they be elevated to emeritus status as board members – suggesting that they would not have to pay annual dues, if they pay dues. Betty Weir stated that she felt that the emeritus members would not understand the elevated status, only that they were not officially on the board.

The secretary of the club, Richard, brought this up again. The comic book is being reviewed by the past president. No action was taken on this at the meeting. It was decided that no action will be taken until the comic book was read by all of the board members. (Recap – it was moved by Bob Bockwinkel that the club sell the comic book at its web site to the public. The board agreed that is must see the comic book first, before it voted on this issue.)

No representative from the campus Democrats was present at this meeting, therefore no report was given.

Bob Bockwinkel spoke on behalf of his daughter, representing the Davis High School Democrat club. He reported on Julia speaking at the general meeting and things that they are doing.

At this point, the meeting shifted into the discussion of the General Meeting and the election of the officers. Mike Syvanen made several observations and points. These comments were removed from the minutes at the suggestion of Barbara Slemmons and seconded by President Tony Gruska. Mike Syvanen agreed to the deletion of his discussion.

Betty Weir made her point and argued for a committee to work on the by-laws in regards to the election of officers to tighten up control of balloting at the meeting. It was stated that there were ballots on every table and that people could have voted multiple times and handed in their ballot. This was an extremely sore point with Richard Yamagata, who stated was told that he was not on the membership list as having paid his dues and that he would have to pay them again to vote. He then paid his money and paid money for the Kaneko’s so their vote could be taken. He stated that he saw nothing wrong with the election process as applied to him. It was noted that Teressa Kaneko wanted to know why she did not have her own vote in this process, considering that they pay as a family at the sponsor level of membership.

After Richard made his point, it was noted by Mary Lou that the election process broke down as people were waiting in line to pay and to vote. To process the people faster, no verification was done and their ballot was taken without validation as to having paid their dues. It was noted that Betty Weir was taking a break eating dinner, when the process broke down at the entrance table and that Mary Lou was in charge of the entrance table. Mary Lou stated that she did not want to make people wait as they processed their memberships and collected the ballots. There was record attendance at this meeting with 55 people reported to being at the meeting. Hence the bottleneck at the door. There were 12 absentee ballots and 61 votes total cast. That there was election fraud is not born out by the numbers, given that 6 people must not have voted that were present at the meeting. But, it is clear that some people in family memberships and present at the meeting did vote, whereas the Kaneko’s were allowed only to cast a single vote.

It was noted that the previous club election, two years ago, only 12 ballots were cast and only 5 members were present at the general meeting in 2002. Only two of the officers on the board were present at the meeting.

At this point, Bob Bockwinkel stated that the club should only promote club members in elections. As club members these people have the right to vote for officers and therefore are represented and there should be no problem.

It was stated that the by-laws need to be revisited in view of the conduct of the last election. There needs to be more organization and there needs to be an up to date list to have the names checked off for the votes. Tony stated that we need to have a committee examine the by-laws in regard to the election of officers. Bob stated that the specific jobs need to be pre-planned and assigned as to who is going to collect the dues and who is going to collect the ballots and who is going to coordinate the two events on a list.

This was made into a motion by Barbara, that the president revisit the by-laws in regards to the election of officers. Julia seconded the motion. The motion stated that there must be prior notification to the entire membership as to who the candidates for each office are and that there must be a deadline or cut-off date for nominations. Once the nominations are made, the entire membership must be notified as to the candidates and only then will an election be help with all of the candidates noted on the ballot.

Tony amended that the president would name the committee to make the changes to the by-laws and this motion was passed.

At this point in time, Mike Syvanen moved to adjourn the meeting. Jerry Lester seconded the motion and the meeting was adjourned by unanimous agreement at 8:25PM.

These minutes are respectfully submitted by:

      G Richard Yamagata

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updated by
G.Richard Yamagata. Last updated: April, 2004

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