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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



APRIL 22, 2015


The meeting was called to order by President Frank Reed at 6:32 p.m.


The pledge of allegiance was led by Barbara Nelson.


A motion to accept the minutes of the March 25, 2015, meeting as published on the Grand Dems website was made by Tony Ortiz and seconded by Sharon Forbes.


President Reed reported that the fundraising event of April 11 resulted in an income of $2,145.75.  Currently the balance in our checking account is $5,668.70 and savings balance is $1,239.30 for a total of $6,908. 





Membership:  Paula Parkel reported we now have 102 members.  She reminded any attendees who have not yet renewed membership to do so and also encouraged attendees to invite new members.  Paula also announced that nametags are available for only $10.00.


Social:  Diane Miller reported that there were 11 attendees at the breakfast on April 2 and 18 for dinner on April 13.




President Reed provided a handout explaining the results of the recent election for LD22.   He informed attendees that LD22 had the best voter turnout in the entire State, which was 54.5%.  He attributed these results to the hard work done by our volunteers to reach voters by placing bags on 13,500 doors mostly south of Bell, Surprise Farms area and Peoria.


President Reed reminded attendees to pick up the flyer expressing what we believe--our elevator message. 


President Reed reported that our "Kids Grand Hand" collections resulted in a check for $472.41 being delivered on April 10.  We helped 22 kids last year with school supplies and clothing.


President Reed reported that the Maricopa County Democratic Party fundraising event was a success; however, both the State and County are running lean.   President Reed encouraged support to the County and the Grand Dems.




President Reed encouraged membership renewal and asked everyone to solicit new members.


President Reed announced the upcoming Nadaburg Education Foundation Golf Tournament on May 2 and encouraged participation.




President Reed introduced Kathryn Chandler, Executive Director and Mobility Manager for Northwest Valley Connect.  Prior to accepting this position she was a paratransit and mobility manager in Flagstaff, AZ. 


Ms. Chandler indicated that she is the only employee at this time and all others assisting her are volunteers.


She explained that Northwest Valley Connect assists persons needing rides.   They use their resources to direct people to existing rides and when necessary (no one else can assist) they provide the rides.  There are several resources around to assist persons needing rides. 


Ms. Chandler explained that their Call Center became operational in September of 2014 along with a call log.  She provided a handout showing what percent of their calls within a 6-month periodcame from which neighborhoods.  Sun City West was the largest at 27%, while only 10% came from Surprise and only 1% from Sun City Grand.  Ms. Chandler further indicted that 77% of their calls come from persons over 70 years old.   Most calls are from persons in their 80's and 90's.   Further, she indicated they are not able to find a ride for 43% of their calls. 


The lack of public transportation in this area has made this service so valuable to residents in the northwest area.   When other ride services can't or don't provide the service and a person cannot afford a taxi, then Northwest Valley Connect can fill the gap.


Ms. Chandler fielded many question from the audience about trips, costs, how they are funded, how large are their vans and how can persons volunteer to drive or help out with their Call Center. 


Ms. Chandler provided flyers about the Norwest Valley Connect for our information and encouraged attendees to volunteer and/or donate funds to keep this program going.  Their funding is from grants and donations.

President Reed thanked Ms. Chandler and presented her with a Grand Dems coffee mug.




The 50/50 raffle collected $57.00.  Harriet Kahn won the raffle and donated her 50% back to the Grand Dems.


President Reed reminded the audience to put their loose change donations in the jar for the Kids Grand Hand project.


Tony Ortiz moved to adjourn and on a unanimous vote the meeting adjourned at 7:28 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Linda Cotton, Secretary




MARCH 25, 2015


The meeting was called to order by President, Frank Reed at 6:32 p.m.

The pledge of allegiance was led by John Landry.

A motion to accept the minutes of the February 25, 2015 meeting as published on the Grand Dems Website was made by Sharon Forbes and seconded by Ethel Brown.

President, Frank Reed, reported income received this month was $603.86 and dollars spent were $300.00.  Income this year is $1,403.88 and $1,603.08 has been spent for a negative balance of $199.20.  Our treasury balance currently is $5,156.61.  The report was accepted as presented.


Membership:  Paula Parkel reported we have 93 members and encouraged attendees to please renew their membership or join if not already a member.

Social:  Diane Miller said we had good turnouts for both the Blue Breakfast and the Grand Dems dinner this month.  She asked anyone interested to contact her to assist with cookies for the upcoming meetings.

Fundraising:  Judith Bridges announced the upcoming Mediterranean Fundraising Dinner is April 11 at the home of Judy Neigoff.  She said the food would represent various Mediterranean cuisines.  There will be a silent auction with art and a round of golf among the silent auction items.  Live entertainment is included.  So far they have 32 reservations and can accommodate up to 60 persons.  She is encouraging more attendees.  Some members have already indicated they could not attend but have sent in a donation.



President Reed introduced Ben Goodman, Superintendent of the Nadaburg School District who announced a Golf Tournament the Nadaburg Education Foundation is sponsoring to support the Nadaburg School District.  He said the Nadaburg School District is about halfway between Sun City Grand and Wickenburg.   This is the Foundation's  first fundraising event and they are a 501.c.3 corporation set up last year.  He welcomed participation from everyone and said the $50.00 fee per person to play also included a lunch and award ceremony.  He also stressed that the majority of funds from this event are going to the educational programs of the school district.  Only the fee they need to pay for the use of the golf course will come out of funds received.


President Reed introduced Doisey Landry, Chair of Programs and Public Liaison who introduced our speaker Dan Nowicki, National Political Reporter for the Arizona Republic.

Mr. Nowicki began working for the Arizona Republic in 2002 as an editorial writer.  He then moved to political reporting in 2007 and 2008.  He spent two years on the presidential campaign trail covering U.S. Senator John McCain's unsuccessful bid for the presidency.  He was also part of the Arizona Republic's news team covering the attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords,D-AZ.  He has a weekly Sunday column on National politics for the Republic.  He indicated that he mostly covers the U.S. Senate and Congress.
He will be reporting on the upcoming 2016 Presidential and Senate races which he predicts to be interesting.  This week Scott Walker announced he is running in the Republican race to become the presidential nominee. Mr. Nowicki said ScottWalker visited Phoenix this week but allowed no press at the functions.  Mr. Nowicki said there were numerous potential candidates on the Republican side.  As of this date, Senator McCain has not announced but according to Rick Davis, the Senator's Advisor, he is 99% sure that the Senator is running.  As for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton is definitely the one to beat.
Mr. Nowicki briefly spoke on redistricting and indicated the current map may stay for the 2016 cycle depending upon Supreme Court action.   Even if the decision is overturned to declare the Independent Redistricting  Commission as unconstitutional, he questions whether there would be enough time for the decision to have an impact.

Mr. Nowicki then conducted an extensive question and answer session with the audience on a variety of subjects.  President Reed thanked Mr. Norwicki and presented him with a Grand Dems coffee cup.


President Reed informed the audience that the Board has agreed upon a brief message that we believe expresses what we stand for as Democrats.  The message has been printed on small flyers and are available at the entry table.  He encouraged attendees to please feel free to pick one up. 

President Reed announced a Forum on Election Protection to be held tomorrow, March 26, 2015 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.   It will be held at the Dysart Education Center in Surprise, AZ.  Yavapai and Maricopa County election officials will be discussing ways to make voting more accessible to voters.

Also, President Reed informed attendees that April 10 will be the last day for this season to donate to Kids Grand Hand.  We were able to assist 22 students throughout the Dysart School District this year and plan to continue this worthwhile program in the future.   He informed everyone that all of the contributions are spent on the children.  They receive any items they need to be able to attend school--clothes, personal hygiene items, school supplies, etc.  The jar for donations was passed around at the meeting. 


The 50/50 raffle collected $77.00.  Patsy Gates won and donated her share (50%) back to the Grand Dems. 

 Patsy Gates moved to adjourn the meeting which was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Linda Cotton, Secretary