Board Meeting Minutes

Davis Democrat Club Meeting December 6, 2004

This meeting was held at the Blanchard Room in the Yolo County Library, at 315 East 14th Street
Davis Democrat Club Meeting

Present (17 members total) were:
President: Tony Gruska,
Vice President: Absent
Treasurer: Betty Weir
Recording Secretary: G Richard Yamagata
Acting Past President: Absent
Newsletter Editor: Dan Kehew
Publicity: Barbara Slemmons
Special Adjunct Membership Chair: Rita Martin
Parlimentarian: Arun Sen
Board members: Rhonda Gruska, Mary Lou Hernandez, John Chendo, Lyle Smith, Mike Syvanen, Pam Neiberg, Scott Lay, Jim Pollack, Jerry Lester, Julia Sanchez.

Absent from Meeting: Vice President, Kingsley Melton; Acting Past President and Newsletter Advertising, Bob Bockwinkel; Immediate Past President, Stephen Souza; Past Newsletter support personnel, Adrienne Kandell; Past Newsletter Editor, Anaïs Vayssières; Special Liaison, Susan Peter-Thompson; Board Member Max Rothe; Immediate Past Vice President, Joyce Wilson; Board Member, Rick Vulliet; Board Member Chris Blanchard; Board Member Vonnie Crutchfield.

Guests: The representative from the college Democrats, Avi Singh, was present. There were five named guests at this meeting with three other including two children . The named visitors were: Kandice Richardson, Rich Peterson, Jeff Steele, Sarah Taylor, and Burt Bach. Total number of people at this meeting was 27.

Tony called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

AGENDA: The agenda was moved for approval by Tony Gruska. It was seconded by Arun Sen. The agenda passed with no objections.

The minutes from the August 2nd and the September 6th meetings were moved for approval by Arun Sen and seconded by Julia Sanchez. The minutes passed with objections.

The Woodland Democrats were not at this meeting, even though a representative from the group is on the e-mail list. The UCD Campus Democrats made a report of their activities. No Action was required nor taken on either subject.

It was announced that $8,018.50 was in the club’s treasury. All bills have been paid. There was a $608 check from SBC, the phone company. Betty, having been ill the month of October, is missing the checkbook registry. Julia stated that it was in the desk that went into storage and that Robin or Stephen Souza should be contacted. If this registry cannot be found, it was stated that the club can ask the bank for copies of the scanned images of the cancelled checks to reconstruct the missing check registry.

It was stated that the club needs to have a fundraiser to replenish our treasury. It was stated that we should have a February General Meeting and invite the local electeds. It was discussed that all of the Davis City Council would be asked to attend, along with Mike Machado. It was stated that on January 10th, the 8th Assembly Democrats are re-organizing with a caucus to be held at the Blanchard Room. Jeffrey Steele was asked to save his comments towards the end of the meeting. The theme of the February General Meeting was suggested to be “Thank you, we love our constituents” or “I love to be a Democrat.” Rhonda Gruska volunteered to put the event together. It was tentatively planned for Tuesday the 8th of February. Rita Martin also volunteered with finding out if her residential complex community room would be available. Mary Lou also volunteered to help with the planning as to the format of the event, the food and the date. The date , Tuesday before Valentine’s Day was continued to be discussed with a program of speeches.

Mike Syvanen passed around a list for sign-up of what food people will bring to the Holiday Party. He stated that he would adjust the list if there were too many of one item that was selected to be brought at the end of the meeting. Mary Lou Hernandez is in charge of the raffle and she has lined up items from DeLuna’s, Aggie Fan Club, Strelitzia’s, a restaurant, a donation of two stuffed donkey dolls by Betty Weir, boxes of See’s Candy from VME, Inc., and gift baskets constructed by Mary Lou. Tony mentioned that napkins and paper plates would be needed. Betty stated that she will get the napkins and paper plates, along with plastic forks. Mike Syvanen would handle picking up the wine, which will all be white wine so as not to stain the rug if spilled. Betty will man the front table and take the money. Mike Syvanen will take care of assigning someone to introduce speakers and act as master of ceremonies. The pricing will be $5 for students, $15 for all others and $30 for couples. The pricing in the ads that have so far gone out will stand.

Dan Kehew, the newsletter editor, gave his report. There will not be a newsletter announcing the party. Dan asked for items to be e-mailed to him and explained that because of the lack of news, he was unable to put anything together. He gave his e-mail address and asked for submissions for articles.

Mike Syvanen commented that he had coordinated an article from the Machado campaign that did not appear, because there was no October newsletter. He further stated that people with the Machado campaign were upset that this piece was not printed before the election and with all of this he stated that providing articles was not high on his list of priorities. Dan answered that he had explained why the October newsletter had not come out, because of lack of other articles to go along with the Machado piece.

John Chendo announced that Tonya Chalupa was interested in providing interviews with electeds and candidates for comments and news stories for the newsletter. John Chendo promised to pass Dan’s e-mail address on to Tonya, so she could contact him.

Dan stated that he was focusing on the candidates with pictures and text. Now that the elections were over, he was trying to get articles and photos about office holders. He plans to use the newsletter as a tool to energize people with good coverage and fitting pictures

Dan announced that he was job hunting and depending upon the job he gets, may no longer be able to be editor of a partisan newsletter. With this comment, Mary Lou stated that Dan needed to assign or designate a new newsletter editor in training. President Tony Gruska stated that we should have a volunteer step forward and take responsibility of the newsletter in the event that Dan can no longer produce the newsletter.

Jerry Lester said that he will be leaving Davis as a resident and will live in North Notomas. Rhonda Gruska stated that she telephoned board members as a volunteer to help reduce the number of board members that are listed and not coming to meetings. She stated that Jerry Lester volunteered to step down from the Davis Democrat Club board. She stated that Adrienne’s daughter, Anais, the immediate past editor of the newsletter, cannot come to the meetings and would like to be removed from the board. (This causes a problem because the immediate past editor of the newsletter is suppose to help with the newsletter for one year after leaving the job of editor according to the by-laws. This by-law insures continuity. That Adrienne was involved in the production of the newsletter and remains on the board is a mitigating circumstance.). Stephen Souza and Scott Lay stated their objections to this pruning of the board list. Stephen Souza’s term is set by the by-laws for one year after vacating the office of President.

Scott Lay stated that he was resigning from the board. The board did not note or approve the resignations before it and went further to assign work to Jerry Lester. He is to contact Board Members that have missed 3 meetings in a row via a letter.

Scott Lay went on to say that the by-laws need to define definite terms of office (Term Limits). Scott made other suggestions. It was stated that having the Chair of the Yolo County Central Committee or a specific representative on the board of the Davis Democrat Club was important and should be in the by-laws.

Betty stated that everyone should have a copy of the by-laws. They were passed out in 2003 when Stephen Souza was president. It was stated that we need a constitutional committee to tighten the by-laws. Once the by-laws are changed, we can have a general meeting to vote on their passage. The committee of volunteers and appointees on this by-law committee were: Tony Gruska, Arun Sen, Rich Peterson, John Chendo and Mike Syvanen. Betty Weir stated that she would like to be on the committee and there were no objections. Richard Yamagata was stated to be on the committee as recording secretary to type up the changes in the by-laws.

It was stated that the reason so many people feel the need to come to the board meetings is that there are no general, open meetings. The club needs to reach out to the public as a grass roots organization. We need more open meetings to bring the public into the club and its sub-committees. It was moved by Barbara Slemmons and seconded by Mary Lou Hernandez that we have a general meeting 6 times a year. It was stated that officers of the club did not have the time to spearhead the implementation of all of these meetings. Richard Yamagata stated that we already have about that many events on the calendar, which is at the web site as a general outline of events for the club. The two events sponsored by the Davis Democrat Club Board are: The Champagne Brunch and The Holiday Party. We already have the annual meeting in February, sponsor the community booth activity for 4th of July, the Ice Cream Social in August, and the Fall Barbeque Event. This totals 6 events per year. Barbara withdrew her motion.

It was formally asked that Jerry Lester write to the board members that have missed 3 or more consecutive meetings to inform them that they would be removed from the board without a valid excuse for missing the meetings.

There was more discussion of general meetings with Rhonda Gruska stating the need for more general meetings of the club membership. It was stated that the club should have at least one general meeting per quarter that is a potluck event in addition to the two party events hosted by the Davis Democrat Club board. John Chendo made the suggestion that by-law committee create language defining the number of general meetings and present it at the next general meeting on its agenda.

Rich Peterson and Kandice Richardson spoke about the Yolo County Yound Democrats. They will be made up of the age group, 18 through 35, and will primarily be people that are not presently in college. They will be chartered through the California Young Democrats. They spoke about the need for such a group for this age group independent of the older Democrats and the college Democrats. Mike Syvanen moved that we support this group.

It was asked why do be need this group? It was stated that College Dems would have a place to go once they have graduated. Traditionally, the college students do not join the Davis Democrat Club. This would provide somewhere for these people to channel their energy. It would also provide a place for high school graduates that do not go on to college and were active in the high school Democrat clubs. Dan Kehew seconded the motion and it passed without dissent.

The following dates were discussed for the January meeting: 9th, 10th, 11th and the 18th. It was stated that Tuesday, January 11th was a good day, as was January 12th (Wednesday) and the third Monday, January 18th. Tony would check on the availability of the Blanchard Room on these dates and will inform Richard Yamagata and Betty of the date the room is available and hence the date of the next meeting.

Jeffrey Steele addressed the board and stated that there is a need to find a way to reach the people of the state senate district with a message that speaks to those that should be members of the Democratic Party. He stated, Mike Machado’s district should not have been a contested district and yet it was. The district is a microcosm that reflects what is happening throughout the state and the nation, that the Democratic Party is not being supported by those that the party supports. The demographics in terms of per capita income show that those in the lower socio-economic bracket are voting Republican. If we can figure out why people are voting Republican and turning away from the Democratic party, we may be able to turn this trend around. We need to turn the people around that the party helps with its socio-economic platform and need to get the party turned around.

Rita Martin stated that on the Channel 15 calendar that the Democrat Club is not listed. She said that she will contact Derek and see what can be done to add the Davis Democrat Club activities and meetings part of the calendar listing.

Richard Yamagata moved for adjournment of the meeting. Arun Sen seconded and the motion passed without dissent. The meeting ended at 8:01PM.

These minutes are respectfully submitted by:

      G Richard Yamagata

This web page is authorized and paid for by the Davis Democratic Club (Copyright © 2003,2004) and
updated by
G.Richard Yamagata. Last updated: April, 2004

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