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OCTOBER 28, 2015


The meeting was called to order by Vice-President Roger Rhodes at 6:30 p.m.


The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Lee Askern.




Program Chair Doisey Landry introduced our speaker for the evening, Dianne Post.  Ms. Post is an attorney who over the past 26 years has worked in over 14 countries to design and implement fundamental legal, policy and programmatic reform on issues related to gender equality, domestic violence and empowerment, particularly among the most vulnerable populations.


She spoke to our group on the topic of Private for-profit prisons in Arizona.  Her energetic and highly informative power-point presentation was steeped in statistical facts regarding private prisons in Arizona:

·        Arizona has the top incarceration rate in the West.

·        Arizona ranks second highest in nation on percent of budget spent on prisons, 11% versus national average of 7%.

·        Arizona is one of only four states with a 100% bed guarantee for private prisons.

·        The incarceration rate for Black men and other populations of color is highly disproportionate to that for our White population.

·        Budgets for education have been decreasing at all levels over many years while money spent of private prisons has been consistently increasing.

·        High incarceration rates of the mentally ill and low level drug offenders are counter productive and come with a very high cost.

·        Money spent for prevention and treatment produces vastly better outcomes.


Acceptance of minutes:


The minutes of the September 30, 2015 General Meeting, as posted on our web-site, were accepted as posted.


Treasurer’s Report:


Vice-President Rhodes reported total income of $109.00 for the previous month and expenses of $0.00.




Paula Parkel, membership chair, reported that memberships are being accepted for the 2016 year ($20.00) and that five new memberships have been received to date.  Membership total currently stands at 124.


Diane Miller, social chair, reported 5 members at the last Blue Breakfast and 19 members at the Blue Dinner.




Vice President Rhodes announced that the Valley View Food Bank still needs our assistance and urged members to do what they can to help.  The Food Bank will be moving from its current location soon and is seeking a new location.

Paula Wilson, a new member, has volunteered to serve as Treasurer for the upcoming year.


The Program Committee still needs someone for the media portion of the position.  This involves submitting the monthly notification of meetings, speakers, etc. to the various newspaper sources for publication.  Please contact Program Chair, John Landry or President Reed if you are willing to take on this assignment.


We still need a Host/Hostess for the Holiday Party.  If you have a home large enough for this event and are willing to host the party, please inform one of the Board Members of your interest.  A committee will be organized to assist with this event.

Volunteers are still needed for the 11:30 a.m. slot for the November 7 Garage Sale.  Please call or email President Reed if you can help.


The petition circulated to recall Schools Superintendent, Diane Douglas, garnered 300 signatures in our community.

Attendees were reminded of the jar collecting for the Kids Grand Hand located on a back table and encouraged donations. 

There was no new or old business conducted.


The usual 50/50 raffle was not conducted.


The meeting was adjourned by Vice President Rhodes at 7:30 p.m.


Respectfully Submitted,

Jan Ashton-Beazie, Acting Secretary






SEPTEMBER 30, 2015

The meeting was called to order by President Frank Reed at 6:30 p.m.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Jack Hitchcock.

A motion to accept the minutes of the June 24, 2015, meeting as published on the Grand Dems website was made by Sharon Forbes, seconded by Jan Ashton-Beazie and passed.

President Reed gave the Treasurer's Report indicating our income was $269.80 and expenses were $1,814.64.  The checking account balance is $3,778.46 and savings balance is $1,240.34.



President Reed announced that there is a Petition to recall Diane Douglas, the Schools Superintendent.  Anyone wishing to sign the petition could do so at a table set up in the room.

We will have a table set up to represent our club at Octoberfest on October 10 and the Garage Sale on November 7.  We need volunteers to help staff the tables and Barbara Nelson is circulating with clipboards for sign ups.  Please help.

Our club donated $100.00 to the Maricopa County Democratic Party to assist them in paying for air conditioning this summer.

The Valley View Food Bank is in need of donations of cash.  They are short of funds to pay rent due to lack of sufficient donations.  Our club sent $300.00 to assist and we are asking members to please consider making a donation.  Slips with the address and email information are at the registration table for your convenience.

Before continuing with our agenda President Reed introduced the Mayor of Surprise, Sharon Wolcott.  She requested a few minutes to inform our members and guests of a matter currently being considered by the City Council regarding who the City Attorney reports to.  Currently the Attorney reports to the Council.  Several members of the Council are proposing that the Attorney report to the City Manager directly.  The Mayor's position is  the way the Attorney currently works is best to provide the proper checks and balances necessary to run the city.  By requiring the Attorney to report to the City Manager would unnecessarily create a possible conflict for the Attorney to be able to present unbiased opinions.  The Mayor suggested community members attend City Council meetings at City Hall to speak up about this issue.  These meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Tuesday evenings.  She said phone calls alone aren't very effective.  Also, perhaps a one-on-one meeting with our Council representative would be useful.


President Reed next introduced Doisey Landry our Program Chair who introduced our speaker for the evening;  Paul Bender, Professor of Law at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.

Professor Bender spoke about Supreme Court decisions this past year, especially regarding Gay Marriage.  He provided some insight about Justice Kennedy's recent voting record compared to previous years and suggested that this year it will be interesting to see how Justice Kennedy will be voting.  There were many questions from the audience on various subjects and Professor Bender provided thoughtful responses.


President Reed announced that John Landry has agreed to serve as Nomination Chair for the Board for 2016.  Vacancies that exist are Treasurer, Program Chair and Member at Large.  President Reed encouraged members to help our Club by volunteering to serve on the Board.


He informed the audience that Doisey Landry has been the Program Chair for several years and will be available to assist whoever takes this position in 2016.  Also, Sharon Levinson, former Program Chair, has offered her assistance to the new Program Chair.


The Treasurer position is very important especially since 2016 is an election year and there are mandatory reports that need to be filed. 

The Holiday Party is in need of a venue.  If you have a large home and wish to volunteer to host the party, please inform one of the Board Members so we can get a committee organized to help with the event.

President Reed introduced Matthew Lewandowski, Second Vice Chair of Legislative District 22 (our district).  Mr. Lewandowski announced a possible fundraiser for LD 22 and wanted to get our input as to interest in participating.   They propose a Casino Trip Social.  It would require 45 persons participating.  The cost would be $10.00 - with all profits going to LD 22.  The two choices are:  Wild Horse Casino where you would receive $10.00 free slots and a $5.00 food voucher.  This would take place on  Monday, Nov. 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The other choice would be at VeeQueva with $10.00 free slots and would take place on Tuesday, Nov. 17 from 10:30a.m. - 2:00 p.m.  By a show of hands at the meeting, 7 persons indicated an interest for Tuesday, Nov. 17.


The 50/50 raffle collected $74.00.  The winner of half the collection ($37.00) was Charles Grayson.

President Reed reminded attendees of the jar collecting for the Grand Kids located on a back table and encouraged donations.

A motion to adjourn was made by John Nuerenberg and on unanimous vote the meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda Cotton, Secretary



JUNE 24, 2015

The meeting was called to order by President Frank Reed at 6:35 p.m.

The pledge of allegiance was led by Roger Rhodes.

President Reed gave the Treasurer's Report reporting income this month of $498.38 and expenses of $136.79.  The checking account balance is $5,655.72 and savings account balance is $1,239.72.



Membership:  President Reed reported we now have 123+ members.

Social:  Diane Miller reported we had good turnouts for both events this month.


President Reed announced that, at this time, we would go directly with our speaker and he introduced Doisey Landry, Program Chair.  Doisey introduced Alexis Tameron, Arizona Democratic Party Chair.  Her talk took place via SKYPE since Ms. Tameron was out of town on business.

Ms. Tameron began by telling us that she is a native Arizonian.  She was born and raised in Superior, AZ (a small copper mining town).  She said her early goals were in education and she thought she would have a career in education.  She, however, joined the "young Democrats of Arizona" at Arizona State University.  She ultimately got more and more involved with Democrats and the party.  She served as Congressman Harry Mitchell's Chief of Staff and managed Dr. Richard Carmona's U.S. Senate race in 2012.  Before being elected to Party Chair she served the past two years as the first Vice Chair.  She is also a member of the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee.

Ms. Tameron said she believes it is very important that we broaden our reach as a party here in Arizona.  She likened being an Arizona Democrat to being on an emotional rollercoaster.  She believes we need to plan ahead and work back.  She said they are now focusing on a plan for 2020 and 2022.  She said our bench is in school boards and city councils.  We need to have Democrats in these positions so they will become known in their neighborhoods by voters. 

Ms. Tameron said a recent Board retreat concentrated on what we have been doing right and what we have been doing wrong.  She also believes we need to have a communications platform whereby everyone knows what everyone else is doing.  This communication goes both ways--from the State to counties, districts and precincts and back. 

Ms. Tameron stated that we have a superior voter file and we need to continue to keep that.  She said we are still in registration deficit and need to explore more avenues to get more registered Democrats and then to be sure they vote.

Ms. Tameron opened up discussion for questions from the audience.

The first question was "What is the plan for getting more people registered?"

Ms. Tameron said they are currently working on communication infrastructures to educate registered independents.  She said, however, going door to door is still the best way to connect.

Ms. Tameron also stated that it is very important to get National Party investment in our State.   We are trying to do this.  She believes that the 2012 election was hampered by the lack of investment by the National Party and other groups.   AND, unfortunately negative campaigning works. 

Another question from the audience was concerning the citizenship ceremonies and whether we, as a party, are in attendance and registering new citizens.  Ms. Tameron said that as a Democratic Party we are not there, however, some members of the legislature do attend these ceremonies. 

President Frank Reed thanked Ms. Tameron for her time.  She promised to attend a Grand Dems meeting, in person, in the near future.



President Reed announced the Maricopa County Democratic Party meeting on July 11 at union hall downtown.  He said to check the website.

President Reed reminded attendees of the Kids Grand Hand collection and encouraged donations.


The 50/50 raffle collected $66.00.  Audrey Ortiz won the raffle and donated her 50% back to the Grand Dems treasury.

A motion to adjourn was made by Tony Ortiz and seconded by Sharon Levinson.  The meeting adjourned at 7:43 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda Cotton, Secretary




MAY 27, 2015

The meeting was called to order by President Frank Reed at 6:37 p.m.

The pledge of allegiance was led by Roger Rhodes.

A motion to accept the minutes of the April 22, 2015, meeting as published on the website was made by Harriet Kahn and seconded by Tony Ortiz.

President Reed reported our monthly income was $338.77 and our expenses were $1,885.76.  Our current balances are:  checking, $5,347.12; savings, $1,239.51 and petty cash is $20.00. 



Membership:  Paula Parkel reported we now have 117 members. 

Social:  Diane Miller reported there were 4 attendees at this month's Blue Breakfast and 20 attendees at the dinner gathering at Coco's.



President Reed encouraged anyone attending who hasn't yet joined or renewed membership to do so.

President Reed informed everyone that our Adopt-A-Street cleanup crew found a $100 bill along Mt. View this month which went into our treasury.

President Reed reported on the Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) meeting this month.  He indicated a resolution was passed to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).   This announcement was greeted with applause.



Doisey Landry introduced Dr. Gail Pletnick, Superintendent of the Dysart Unified School District.  The Dysart Unified School District is the 10th largest school district in Arizona.  She became the Superintendent in 2007.

Dr. Pletnick began by telling us her two major interests at this time are the Dysart Unified School District and her grandchildren.  She said education in general in Arizona is vitally important to her as she has 4 grandchildren living here full time.  She stated that without an educated populace we will lose our freedoms.

She stated the vision or mission at Dysart is:  Power in Preparation; Excellence in Journey; and Success in Lifetime.  These are the guiding principles used in their 3-year plans.  The current plan runs thru 2017.  She also stated that Dysart is rated an A+ school.


Dr. Pletnick said a profile of a Dysart graduate is one prepared for college, a career and life.   This includes being technologically prepared as well.  They are currently participating in the training of students in architecture.  Dr. Pletnick suggested we go to their website: to more fully explore their district and all the activities going on.

She said safety is a concern with their schools and on a recent survey, both students and parents reported that they feel safe in their schools. 

Dr. Pletnick reported that they have over 26,000 students, 3,000 employees which include substitute and guest teachers, and 36 different languages.   This year they graduated 1,665 seniors.  They also reported that they had 64,143 volunteer hours this year.  For opportunities to volunteer she again referred the audience to the website:

The next subject was the pending "Override".  Dr. Pletnick stated that 100% of the override funds will go to classrooms.  Funds will be used to fund all day kindergarten and other K-8 activities which have been curtailed as well as high school programs.


The audience asked about the tax deduction for schools and Dr. Pletnick explained that these must be specified for a particular school and the after-school activity it should be applied.  The taxpayer decides how much (up to $250.00) and it is a direct reduction off State taxes.   She referred us again to the website for a listing of activities qualifying for this.

Another question from the audience concerning Common Core standards.  Dr. Pletnick indicated they are not struggling with the standards.  She said they write the curriculum and the teachers perform the instruction.  She said she believes we need to improve and not argue Common Core.

There was another question about the term "Override".  It was felt that this is a negative term making it harder to pass a vote.   Dr. Pletnick stated that legally it must be called an override.   She stated that there will be pamphlets sent to voters with the language and pro and con statements to review.  She is not allowed to engage in great discussions about this since she is an employee of the Dysart Unified School District.


Some audience concerns expressed were about how taxes are assessed and Dr. Pletnick said she is hopeful that in the future Arizona would look into this matter.

A former City Manager of Surprise, Bill Pupo, came forward to speak as a pro-override supported.  He also said, legally, it must be called an override.  He then went on to say his group plans to spend some $128,000 to get information out to the public supporting the override.   It was suggested by one member of the audience that whatever is produced, it must be prepared with the recipient in mind.  Retired people on "fixed incomes" need to hear something different than families with children in order to encourage their support. 

President Reed thanked Dr. Pletnick for her very informative presentation and presented her with a Grand Dems coffee mug.

The President then introduced Bob Protter, a member of Grand Dems, who spoke about volunteering in the schools.  He said he and his wife have been doing this by helping out in a local elementary school.   More opportunities as well as a form to apply is available on the website.  Since it takes 3 months to be certified, it was suggested that applications should be sent in as soon as possible.  Jane Cohen also had several applications available at the meeting.



The 50/50 raffle collected $44.00.  Audrey Ortiz won the raffle and donated her 50% back to the Grand Dems.

The collection jar for the Kids Grand Hand was passed around the audience for donations.

John Landry moved to adjourn the meeting and on a unanimous vote the meeting adjourned at 7:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda Cotton, Secretary