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FEBRUARY 25, 2015


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

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Vice President Roger Rhodes.

President Reed announced the restructuring of today's meeting by having our speaker begin her presentation.  He introduced Doisey Landry, Chair of Programs and Public Liaison who introduced our speaker, Mayor Sharon Wolcott of Surprise.

Mayor Wolcott began by saying that she feels "at home with this crowd".   She  was elected Mayor in 2011 and will be serving for 5 years until December 2016.   She indicated pleasure to serve at the local level where the residents of Surprise are her Special Interest Group. 

The Mayor touched on many topics during her speech including the fact that many West Valley cities are bearing the burden of being developed as bedroom communities.  She stressed the importance of having a well-balanced community with jobs, education, transportation and the arts all being important to this sought after balance.

The Mayor told us that she has 8 building blocks for achieving a  world class, global community and they are:

 (1) A unified city government.  She indicated that her work with the City Council has been very positive.  She also stressed the importance of everyone within her office being on the same page and delivering the same message.

(2) A business friendly environment.  Through much hard work she has recently attracted a Japan-based company to build a Western U.S. headquarters in Surprise, IRIS USA, Inc. This new facility represents $33-$40 million investment with 100 new jobs and $800,000 in new city revenues in the first year of operation.  Despite her continued attempts, Costco does not have Surprise in its 5-year plan at this time. 

(3) Top rated schools and skilled workforce.  Surprise has A-rated schools (Dysart)  and is one of largest per capita for charter schools.  85% are educated in public schools in Surprise.   The Mayor also talked about the Western Maricopa Education Center (WESTMEC) building a campus at Grand and Dysart that will offer 12 to 17 programs where students can prepare for careers in many different areas. 

(4)  Plentiful supply of clean water.  There are currently 120,000 single family lots to be built.  Builders will have to offer more than just building.  

(5) Efficient transportation system.  We now have the 303 and need rapid transit.  Transportation equals economic development.  

(6) Safe and attractive community.  Surprise has recently been recognized by Parenting Magazine as one of the safest communities to live in.

(7) A commitment to providing quality of life amenities.  She spoke about Arts HQ (the new showcase for the West Valley Arts Council) and invited everyone to check it out.   Also mentioned WHAM (What's Happening Art Movement) which is a renovated space providing art studios on Dysart.   Also mentioned was the first  Fiesta Grande held this year where there were some 14,000 attendees.   She said that she is committed to making sure that art is a part of our community and wants to hear ideas from residents to help make this happen.  Especially mentioned by the Mayor is the new construction for the Bell/Grand Avenue exchange.  She believes this is the "front door" to Surprise and wants to have an attractive front door.  All Ideas Welcome! 

(8) Ongoing capital improvements to attract business (domestic and foreign).   The Mayor said we are currently on sound financial policy as we are now operating in the black.  However, we currently have no secondary property tax--meaning bonds.  The Surprise City Council approved the creation of the Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee, which will be meeting for several months to develop capital improvement projects to be funded by a bond.   Public input will be sought and meetings will be held in the months to come.  The Mayor stressed the importance of these capital improvements to improve our infrastructure, which brings business and resources to Surprise.  Currently, 91% of working Surprise residents leave Surprise for jobs.  We would love to have them stay in Surprise.

There was some discussion about the Education Override, which did not pass in the recent election and the fact that north of Bell voted 2-1 against the bond while those south of Bell didn't vote.   This is a big problem and the issue must be better presented to voters.

Questions from Audience:  From a gentleman who said he felt Sun City Grand is a step-child of Surprise.  Cited roads and markings on roads not being attended to.  The Mayor said she also lives in Sun City Grand and our roads are old and some of the worst in Surprise.   She also said markings on the roads by companies doing work here are to assist them from doing damage to other services and are on the public right of way.   Without sufficient funding these infrastructure items get delayed.

Another question was concerning the recent advertisements in the paper about businesses coming to Surprise.  The Mayor said this is a matter with a developer and they are currently in discussion and litigation with this developer.

The Mayor's presentation ended and we took a 5 minute break at 7:48p.m.

Meeting resumed at 7:53p.m.

A motion to accept the minutes of the January 28, 2015 General Meeting as published on the Grand Dems website was made by John Landry and seconded by Ethel Brown.

Treasurer Harriet Kahn reported our balance of $4,858.75. 

Next item on the Agenda was the election of a Secretary of the Board.  Linda Cotton's name was presented and a motion was made by William Shield to elect Linda Cotton Secretary.  The motion was seconded by Sharon Levinson.   Any nominations from the floor were requested.  None presented; and a vote by show of hands voted Linda Cotton as Secretary.

Committee Reports:

Membership - Paula Parkel reported 88 members so far this year. 

Social - Diane Miller requested interested persons to please sign up to donate goodies for meetings,

President's Report:

President Frank Reed informed attendees of an email sent recently reminding them to renew their membership as soon as possible.  The email was sent to 343 addressees.

Also, a new Chair for ADP was announced.  She is Alexis Tameron from Superior, AZ,

The President also announced a March 26 event on "Election Protection:  Creative Solutions for Increasing and Sustaining Voter Participation" to be held from 9:30 - 11:00a.m.  at the Nathaniel Dysart Education Center in Surprise, AZ.   This is a forum where Maricopa and Yavapai County Election Officials will discuss ways to reach voters.  This event is hosted by the League of Women Voters of NW Maricopa County and we are one of the Co-Sponsors of the event.   Flyers about the event were available at the meeting and members and guests were encouraged to attend. 

New Business:

A fundraising event was announced by Judith Bridges.  They have re-formed their Fundraising Committee and will be sending out a notice to "Save the Date" of April 11 from 5-8:00 p.m. for an event to be held in a local home.  Event will include a Mediterranean dinner, entertainment, and a silent auction.   The cost is $25.00.   Look for the flyer this week.

Other Business:

The 50/50 Raffle collected $86.00 and the winner of half the monies collected ($43.00) went to Matthew Lewanduski.

A donation jar was passed around for Grand Kids and a member of the audience wanted to know what that was about.  Jane Cohen explained that monies collected go to homeless or needy children within the Dysart School District to help buy clothes and other needed items for school.

Motion to adjourn was made by Tony Ortiz and seconded by John Landry.  Motion passed unanimously and meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda Cotton




















January 28, 2015


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

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Roger Rhodes.

A motion to accept the minutes of the November 19, 2014 General Meeting as published on the Grand Dems Website, was made by Sharon Forbes, seconded by John Landry and passed.

Frank Reed reported a treasury balance of $2,908.22. The report was accepted as presented.

President Reed called for someone to come forward to fill the office of Secretary for 2015. The office is currently being filled on an interim basis. Please notify the President if you are willing to be considered for this office.


  • Membership: We have 42 paid members and 2 donors. Memberships are being accepted at each meeting and all previous members are encouraged to renew their memberships for 2015. The yearly dues are $20.00 per person.
  • Program/Communications: Doisey Landry announced the speakers for February 25, Mayor Sharon Walcott and for March 25, AZ Republic political reporter, Dan Nowiki.
  • Social: Diane Miller requested volunteers to make cookies for future meetings.


  • President Reed reported the following actions taken at the January Board meeting:
  • The Board adopted the 2015 budget with projected income of $7250.00 and expenses of $4971.00. The membership goal for the year is 150.
  • A request from the League of Women Voters of Northwest Maricopa County to co-sponsor a program on “Voter Enablement” was accepted by the Board. The program will feature innovations adopted and implemented in Yavapai County to increase voter registration and facilitate ease of voting. The program will be held on March 26 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Surprise. Consult our website for further information on the program.
  • The Board voted to approve a request to provide a scholarship in the amount of $300.00 to Emerge Arizona. Emerge Arizona offers a six month training program for Democratic women who wish to enter the political arena. The training includes topics such as fundraising, public speaking, field organization and political influence.
  • Dates for the Adopt-A-Street cleanups for 2015 were approved for posting on our website. Please see the website for these dates.


  • Roger Rhodes reported on a movement being conducted by former Attorney General, Terry Goddard to expose “dark money” contributors in politics. Mr. Goddard is soliciting volunteers to work on this effort to require complete, accurate and timely disclosure of the original source of every contribution or political expenditure made to influence an election in Arizona with the objective of allowing Arizona voters to make more informed choices.


  • No old business items were presented for discussion.

Doisey Landry introduced the featured speaker for the meeting, Surprise Fire Chief, Tom Abbott. Mr. Abbott came to Surprise in May, 2014 after serving more than 38 years with the Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department where he began as a firefighter and rose to become Assistant Fire Chief for Administrative Services. He spoke about the many services currently provided by the Surprise Fire Department and about plans for future services. He conducted and extensive dialog with the audience, answering questions and soliciting feedback.


The 50/50 Raffle was won by Bill Shields.

Joe Weintraub moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:05 p.m. Sharon Forbes seconded the motion and it carried.


Respectfully Submitted,

Jan Ashton-Beazie, Interim Secretary






November 19, 2014



The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by President, Marty Cohen.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Tara Jackson.

A motion to accept the minutes of the October 22, 2014 General Meeting as published on the Grand Dems Website, was made by Sharon Forbes, seconded by Jack Hitchcock and passed.

Frank Reed reported a treasury balance of $4,069.39.  The report was accepted as presented.


  • John Landry presented the following slate of officers for 2015:
    President – Frank Reed
    Vice President – Roger Rhodes
    Secretary – Vacant
    Treasurer – Harriet Kahn
    Members-at-large – Diane Miller, Doisey Landry, Marty Cohen
    MOTION: A show of hands motion was taken and the slate of officers was accepted as presented. Mr. Landry stressed the need for a secretary and urged that someone from the membership contact him regarding willingness to assume this position.
  • Membership – Paula Parkel reported that we have 154 paid members for 2014. Thirty five members have paid dues for 2015.  Dues for 2015 remain at $20.00 per person.
  • Diane Miller reported attendance at November Blue Breakfast 10 and at Blue Monday Dinner 27.
  • Marty reminded members that there is no meeting scheduled for December.  The annual Grand Dems Christmas Party will be held at the home of Karen Flynn on December 10, from 5pm – 8 pm.  Members attending are asked to bring either an appetizer or a dessert.  A sign-up sheet is available at the refreshment table.  Soft drinks and water will be provided by the club and those wishing to may BYOB.  See the Grand Dems website for address and phone number for the event.


  • Marty reported that the November 8 Garage Sale was a cooperative endeavor with LD 22 and the NW Valley Democratic Party. The Grand Dems raised $328.00 at this event. Marty also commented on the results of the November 4 election. He stressed the need to unify the state-wide Democratic Party organizations. We must accentuate the successes of our party with a simple and coherent message that resonates with our electorate.
  • Bonnie Boyce-Wilson also spoke briefly, thanking all those who worked on her campaign. Although she did not win, she was gratified by the positive reception she received and by the opportunity to communicate with so many people in the district.
  • Ben Goodman, Superintendent of the Nadaberg School District, spoke on behalf of the school district. He reminded members of the Arizona Tax Credit program that allows individuals to donate up to $200.00 and couples to donate up to $400.00 to a local school and receive a direct credit against any state tax liability. He, of course, urged members to consider his school district for their tax deductible contributions. Contributions go toward funding supplies and after school programs for students.


Doisey Landry introduced the featured speaker for the meeting, Tara Jackson, President of Arizona Town Hall.  ArizonaTown Hall is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to bring together a diversity of Arizonans to discuss critical, often divisive issues and build bridges, develop leaders and engage citizens in constructive dialog.  She spoke to the membership on civic leadership and how to build the type of leadership required to lead in today’s environment.


The 50/50 Raffle was conducted by Jane Cohen.  Frank Reed, winner of the raffle, received $23.50 which he donated back to the club.


Roger Rhodes moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:05 p.m.  Frank Reed seconded the motion and it carried.


Respectfully Submitted,

Jan Ashton-Beazie, Secretary





October 22, 2014

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by President, Marty Cohen.


The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Bonnie Boyce-Wilson.


Candidates Boyce-Wilson and Muscato spoke briefly, thanking all the volunteers who have worked for their campaigns and inviting all Grand Dem members to join them at Briarwood Country Club on election evening to celebrate what is hoped will be victories for them, as well as victories for all Democratic candidates on the ballot.


A representative of Valley View Community Food Bank announced that the food bank is sponsoring a benefit dinner on November 22.  Tickets for the dinner are $20.00 each with proceeds going to purchase groceries items for the food bank.  The $20.00 ticket includes dinner and 1 drink.  An auction and a band will also be part of the evenings festivities.  She indicated that the lines for food are long and have grown even longer since the ending of long-term unemployment benefits.  She will have tickets for the dinner at available at a table in the back of the meeting room.


A motion to accept the minutes of the September 18, 2014 General Meeting as published on the GrandDems Website, was made by Jane Cohen, seconded by Sharon Forbes and passed.


Frank Reed reported a Treasury balance of $3,491.00.  The report was accepted as presented.



  • Campaign Report – Barbara Nelson-Reed. Barbara read a list of all who volunteered for bagging, walking and driving during the campaign which began in May and will culminate on November 4. She again thanked those who volunteered and reiterated that all the time money and effort was to support the election of our Democratic slate of candidates.
  • Slate of Officers, 2015 – John Landry. John reported that he is still looking for someone to come forward for the office of Treasurer. A full slate of candidates will be brought forward for voting at our November meeting.
  • Membership – Paula Parkel. Paula reported that we have 154 paid members for 2014. She also stated that members can begin paying $20.00 dues for 2015.
  • Oktoberfest – Marty Cohen. This was a very successful event, with all of our LD 22 candidates and most the State candidates in attendance during the day. The candidates were able to shake hands and speak with a large number of people. Yard signs were available, as was literature on all of our candidates and Grand Dems merchandise items.




  • Adopt-a-Street cleanup group will meet on Saturday, November 1 at 8 a.m. at the usual Mountain View location.
  • Anyone having questions relating to the Judges on the November ballot should see Sharon Forbes. She has done some extensive research and has a list of recommendations should anyone wish to see it.
  • A sign up sheet for the November 8 Garage Sale was available at the back of the room. Volunteers are needed to work designated shifts during the day. Items are still needed for the sale and can be dropped off at the home of Harriet Kahn on the dates designated which was also available at the table. The list of items preferred as well as the drop off dates and times are also available on our website:
  • An election night party hosted by our LD 22 candidates will be held at the Briarwood Country Club in Sun City West. The event will begin at 7:00 p.m. A sign up sheet for those wishing to attend was available at the back of the room, and open to all paid members of the Grand Dems. The cost for this event is $15.00. The Grand Dems will pay $5.00 toward the cost for each member wishing to attend.
  • A Christmas gathering will be held on December 10 at the home of Karen Flynn. Further details on this event will be forthcoming.


Doisey Landry introduced Paul Bender, the featured speaker for the meeting, who spoke to us on recent Supreme Court decisions.  Mr. Bender is a Professor of Law and teaches courses on US and AZ constitutional law.  He has argued more than 20 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and actively participates in constitutional litigation in federal and state courts.  He spoke extensively about the recent Gay Marriage issue, which he reminded us, has been decided by the various State Supreme Courts without the U.S. Supreme Court acting upon the issue.  He offered his opinion that he believes that the current majority in the Supreme Court is not interested in the further development of equal rights and constitutional rights of citizens.  Mr. Bender also fielded numerous questions from the audience.


The 50/50 Raffle was conducted by Jane Cohen.  She reported that the total collected for the raffle was $86.00 with the winner receiving $43.00.

Joe Weintraub moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 p.m.  John Nuerenberg seconded the motion and it carried


Respectfully Submitted,

Jan Ashton-Beazie, Secretary







September 18, 2014


The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by President, Marty Cohen.


The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Arky Muscato.


President Cohen announced the following upcoming meetings and events:


  • The Sun City Grand Oktoberfest is scheduled for October 11.
  • Dr. Paul Bender will be the featured speaker at our October 22 General Meeting.
  • An Election Night gathering/fundraiser will be held at the home of Karen Flynn on November 4.  Further details to follow.
  • Our General Meeting for November will be held on 19th due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.
  • The new slate of officers for 2015 will take over at the January 21, 2015 meeting.




Sharon Forbes introduced the eight Democratic candidates in attendance.  Each candidate gave a brief statement of their reasons for running and some of the major issues they will pursue if elected.


Monica Goddard spoke on behalf of her husband, Terry Goddard, who is running for the office of Secretary of State.  Mr. Goddard has held several previous positions of note including Mayor of Phoenix and Arizona Attorney General.  Major issues for him will include protecting voter rights for all eligible voters, stopping dark money from trying to buy our elections, and stopping the political games at the Secretary of State office.


Sandra Kennedy is a candidate for the Arizona Corporations Commission.  She has previously served a term on the Commission and as such was a very vocal advocate on behalf of consumers.  She is a strong supporter of solar energy and for keeping rate increases as low as possible for consumers.  During her term on the Commission, 10,000 jobs were created in the Solar Industry.


Jim Holway is also a candidate for the Arizona Corporations Commission.  He is a Board member for the Central Arizona Project canal system, a director of the WesternLands and Communities program at the Sonoran Institute and a former professor at ASU. He is a strong advocate for energy efficiency and believes our state should be a leader in solar technology and solar energy.  He would work toward a solution to the EPCOR Water issue that would be in the best interests of all constituencies.


Archangel (Arky) Muscato is a candidate for State Senate.  He is a small businessman and retired teacher.  He is on the Executive Board for Peoria Education Foundation, Arrowhead Kiwanis, and serves AARP as Chapter President and National Advisory Team member.  His issues as a candidate include protection of vulnerable children and seniors, public education, and economic development.


Bonnie Boyce-Wilson is running for the State House of Representatives.  She has been active in the Arizona League of Women Voters, Benevilla, and as a social worker for Hospice of the Valley.  Her campaign is focused on protecting voter rights, increasing the minimum wage, a strong public education system, and more effective protection for children and seniors.


Larry Woods is also a candidate for the State House of Representatives.  He is a resident of Sun City West and served as President of PORA for three years.  He is a retired Computer Scientist and has served on the Advisory Council on Aging, and the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce.  His campaign goals are the licensing and regulation of home healthcare providers, reinstatement of childcare subsidies for needy working families and public education.


David Garcia is a candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction.  He is a native Arizonan and a product of Arizona’s public schools.  He is currently an Associate Professor in the Teachers College at ASU.  He has also served as the state Associate Superintendent of Public Instruction for Standards and Accountability and as a peer consultant for the U.S. Department of Education.  He believes that as a state we must begin to reinvest in our Public Education System and as Superintendent he would advocate for full funding of our public schools.  He is also an advocate for Common Core Standards.


Geoffrey Jacobs is a candidate for Justice of the Peace, Hassayampa Justice Court, MaricopaCounty.  He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a former police officer and pilot with the Department of Safety, and an owner of a local limousine service.  He has a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology from ASU.  He has dedicated his life to public service and as Justice of the Peace would continue this service in the best interests of the citizens of Arizona.

Following their individual statements, the candidates participated in a question and answer session, taking questions from note cards submitted to moderator, Sharon Forbes, by members of the audience.


A brief Business meeting followed the Candidates Forum.


A motion to accept the minutes of the June 25, 2014 General Meeting as published on the GrandDems Website, was made by Sharon Forbes, seconded by Jack Hitchcock and passed.


Frank Reed reported a Treasury balance of $4,054.86.  Contributions totaling $2000.00 have been made to candidates Fred DuVal, Felicia Rotellini, David Garcia and to the Maricopa County Democratic Party.  The report was accepted as presented.


Diane Miller reported the following participant numbers in the recent Blue Breakfast and Dinners:  August 11 Dinner – 10; September 4 Breakfast – 14; September 8 – Dinner – 13.


Barbara Nelson-Reed reported on activities conducted in support of our LD 22 candidates.  Volunteers have been busy stuffing bags with information on our candidates and delivering them to homes of Democrats and Independents in the area.  She reported that 6,000 bags have been hung on doors and another 6,000 is planned prior to November.  She thanked the volunteers for their dedication and repeated her request for more volunteers.

Sharon Forbes presented a report from the recent State Democrats Meeting.  The following resolutions were voted upon: 


  • Employer of the Year Award acknowledging businesses that contribute to AZ growth, innovation and leadership was passed.
  • Request for Internal Revenue Service investigation of ALEC asking whether ALEC has violated federal tax law by making substantial misrepresentations on its sworn tax returns was passed.
  • Opposition to the Death Penalty in AZ calling for an end to capital punishment because we can not be sure that it is fairly applied and it costs more than life incarceration. Resolution passed.
  • Resolution to President Obama asking that he stop deportations and extend Deferred Action status for undocumented residents. There were two main oppositions to the resolution. First, that it seemed to be critical of President Obama when he is not the problem with the lack of action on immigration reform. Second that passing this resolution just before the election could be harmful to many Democratic candidates who are in tight races in AZ. The resolution was tabled. 


Ms Forbes also reported that there will be a Hall of Fame Dinner on October 11, 2014, to honor retiring Congressman Ed Pastor.  Congressman John Lewis will be the keynote speaker.  She will be taking reservations so that we can have tables together.  Please contact her at cindersfm @ or 623/544-8721 for costs and other details.  This event will be held at the Talking Stick Resort.


The 50/50 Raffle was conducted by LD 22 Raffle Chair, Stephanie Rogall.  She reported that there was $100.00 collected.  The winner of the raffle was Joan Kroll who indicated that she would be donating it to David Garcia.


Frank Reed moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:10 p.m.  Margie Thompson seconded the motion and it carried.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jan Ashton-Beazie, Secretary