7:00 pm – Zoom Conference
Members: Mike Hugo, Beverly Hugo, Kurt Fusaris, Barbara LeDuc, Cesar Stewart-Morales, Chris Broyles, Maria Robinson, Mel Warshaw, Norma Shulman, Parwez Wahid, Robert Case, Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley, Larry Stoodt, Jack Duffy, Carmen Chico, Margareth Shepard, Adam Steiner, Chris Lorant, Patrick Dunne, Gwendolyn Holbrow, Kathie McCarthy, John Stefanini, Jack Patrick Lewis, Mary Kate Feeney, David Magnani
Associate Members: Ohad Klopman, Andrew Machkasov, Tracey Bryant, Audrey Hall, Cheryl Gordon, Isabella Petroni
Guests: Mallory Hanora, Leslie Creadle, Karen Spilka, Alex Bausch, Anne Manning
Welcome, Announcements and Updates – Chair Mike Hugo
Chair review the agenda and called the meeting to order at 7:05pm.
Decarceration in the COVID Age: A discussion of abuses, unnecessary imprisonment, alternatives to incarceration and Equitable Police Budgeting in Massachusetts – Mallory Hanora, Exec. Director, Families for Justice as Healing
Mallory Hanora and Leslie Creadle spoke to the committee about the need for decarceration in MA, especially during the pandemic. DOC has only released 17 people due to COVID even after tons of activism and protests to the Executive Branch and the Governor. They are proposing legislation to help inmates stay connected with their families instead of paying exorbitant fees to call or write to their loved ones. It costs families $24Million a year to keep in touch when it costs Sheriffs and the DOC $6Million. One method to keeping people out of jail is for the DOC budget to be restructured or reduced. That money could instead be used to fund construction detail jobs for local community members at $68,000 a year instead of hiring police officers. The BPD turns down more construction detail work than they can work.
Senate President Karen Spilka – Expressed interest in the decarceration issue and was happy to hear that presentation
- Police Reform Bill – her top priority
- Way too important to allow to not get it all passed and signed
- Second priority right now
- Worked very hard through the shortfall with the house
- Took only a month to get it done
- Anticipated a 3 billion shortfall, but with rainy day funds and other measures they were able to at least level fund and actually make some increases:
- w/o any tax increases or cuts to school aid
- Funding for Early education care so people can go back to work
- Board of health funding
- Housing and RAFT are important to keep in place, not the time to make any cuts in those services.
- Keeping the boat afloat, and hoping for Federal Stimulus in the next year
- Major surge is not the time to forget one another, need to stay safe and assure that we reach out.
- Roe Act, hoping to beat back the Governor’s attempts to cut it back
- Thank and congrats to Norma as an elector
- Looking forward to the changes in Congress and the White House.
- Hard to believe we are 3 weeks from the next session, Happy Holidays and New Year. Thank you to Framingham for always being there.
A Word from the Campaigns
- Georgia Opportunities – Alex Bausch, MA Coordinator for GA Democratic Party
- Within the last couple of weeks, the Ossoff and Warnock campaigns have started a coordinated campaign. Over 20 phonebanks are going on across the Commonwealth into GA. There is something to do every day of the week for volunteers.
- Working America Update – Mike Hugo – GOTV phone banking starts on December 18th. People who are emailing letters are being mailed on the 23rd.
Secretary’s Report – Minutes of July 19, 2020, Business Meeting – Robert Case, Secretary
Kathie McCarthy motion to approve; Jack Duffy seconded.
Motion passed unanimously.
Treasurer’s Report – Larry Stoodt – Annual Dues are due, Associate Member discussion.
$20 in dues paid from Cheryl Tully Stoll and Lori Bornstein. $4,925.24; Outstanding checks are $1,000 to the two GA grassroots voter organizations and $15.39 to chair leaving a total of $ 3,909.31.
Kathie McCarthy motion to approve: Mel Warshaw seconded.
Motion passed unanimously.
Reports from Mayor, City Council & School Committee
Mayor – not present
Tracey Bryant – Recodification review at the next Subcommittee meeting; asking the FDC to pick an area that is important to them and attend subcommittee meetings to keep up to speed.
Robert Case – two Council meetings scheduled for this week in regards to water and sewer funds, a Youth Council update is supposed to present on Tuesday (the update has been postponed until January per the chair of the Youth Council, Isabella Petroni.)
Phil Ottaviani – busy Tuesday night to solve the short term and long term problems with water and sewer funds.
Margareth Shepard – left the meeting not feeling well; not present
John Stefanini – Rules committee having a hearing at 12/22 at 6pm on CPA implementation
Adam Steiner – By-law recodification; Finance Subcommittee meeting again tomorrow night to continue discussing water and sewer fund shortfalls.
Cesar Stewart-Morales – Water and sewer funds are the focus for this week.
Beverly Hugo – FPS is planning to have all students except for those opting to stay remote back in mid-January, also dependent on community statistics. Fuller Middle School is on schedule to open in September. Zero Tolerance Discipline System is not working and looking at implementing an exciting program.
Question: Has the Mayor every approached the School Committee about the budget shortfall? From what she knows from Finance Subcommittee and School Committee she has not heard of it before and learned through the media. She is not the chair or Finance Chair, but she has not heard of it.
Report from our House Delegation, discussion of State Budget, Police Legislation and Public Health Legislation – Rep. Jack P. Lewis, Rep. Maria Robinson, Rep. Carmine Gentile, Sen. Pres. Karen Spilka
Maria Robinson – mostly not positive news from Beacon Hill due to Gov Baker gutting the ROE Act, DOC line items, Policing Reform Bill. 4 or 5 bills still in conference committee. Econ Development bill, Transportation bill, Healthcare not moving in committee currently, have until January 5th to get everything done. The House did not pass a veto proof vote on the Policing Reform Bill so have to be strategic in trying to get this passed. No update on Republican election lawsuit joined by Ingrid Centurion who was Carmen Gentile’s opponent – everyone is showing their true colors.
Jack Lewis – trying to connect the dots for Dems that the Governor is not our friend as evidence by these vetoes. Still trying to help constituents with unemployment issues and getting info out to residents.
Chair – we need to rally behind who is the most viable and best candidate in the next Governor’s election because we need to change the direction of our state government.
State Committee Report – Parwez Wahid, Norma Shulman
Parwez Wahid – trying to find out how we are proceeding with platform hearings and convention for next year. Could be remote convention and hearings due to COVID.
The Jacques report was not discussed at the election of the state party chair meeting. There was concerned that state party leadership was involved in interfering with Alex Morse’s primary. Bickford and Martinez were involved but conflicting reports on who said what. Not sure if Jim Roosevelt was involved or not. Mass College Dems at UMASS accused Morse of having relationships with students constituting sexual harassment. The advice was to send Morse a letter. Some tough questions still need to be asked but not sure when that opportunity will happen. Bickford has only said so far that he could and should have handled it differently.
Norma – Doesn’t disagree with anything that was said. Not sure we could not help the College Dems as they are an official organization of the party. If it was mishandled by leadership that is a different topic.
The Electoral College votes tomorrow at 3pm and you can view at the link provided in the chat.
Jack Lewis – questions remain on who knew what when and who acted on it. He was not comfortable voting for Bickford again and voted for Mike Lake. He is part of a large group of State Committee members who are not happy and will continue to pursue this.
Subcommittee Reports, discussions, actions and votes:
- Bylaws – Mel Warshaw
- To change bylaws with what the State Party charter requires us to do. Those changes are in Green. The meeting in January we will vote on these changes.
- Any vote taken on endorsements would be by secret ballot, but it is not written that way in the bylaws.
- Subcommittee voted 7-0 unanimously to pass instead of a 2/3 vote to change our by-laws only require a majority vote. Also, instead of giving 30 days notice, we will give 14 days notice. Almost none of the other local committees give 30 days because it is a long period. If our meeting were to fall on a different date, due to the calendar we would fall within 30 days and we must delay 2 months before a vote. A full discussion will be held at the January 17th
- The chair will be mailing out by-laws to members and life members that do not have the ability to receive it electronically or who cannot attend.
- Communications – Gwen Holbrow/Jim Hansen – no report.
- Civics Education – Beverly Hugo – 12/11/20 met. Between now and Jan 5th the main purpose will be to educate voters in GA and how important it is to the nation. Plan Strategic plan for 2021 year and the timeline. Will work with programming and exec board to start with a community forum on lesson learned and how to win back disengaged voters from Presidential Campaign, a forum on critical thinking and voter information, media bias and accurate news, resurrect our why it is important to vote pamphlet, questionnaire to all candidates to go in depth to see the differences in candidate and to dig deep, want candidates to prove their experience and votes align with Dem issues, hold Candidates Forum by using questionnaires to dig even deeper, GOTV in black and brown populations and vulnerable populations and low turnout precincts in the City.
- Environmental/Climate Change – Larry Stoodt
- Shoutout to Maria, Jack and Carmen on transparency in the house and in Jan there will be a vote on the House rules that all votes must be public and on the record.
- Shoutout to city Council who has done more for sustainability and environmental issue in the city in the last year than has improved in a long time.
- Retaining Environmental Justice language in the bill and control greenhouse emissions are the top two issues in the letter from Maria and Jaime Eldridge and we should all contact our senator and encourage her to support this too.
- Ask members to support councilors and encourage them to encourage the Mayor to expedite the community aggregation energy program.
- Legislative – Kurt Fusaris/Barb LeDuc
- Met 12/2/20 – movement to reform Mass Save to reform the distribution that it is not in the hands of utility companies and more in control of State. Policing reform bill needs to find a way to have a veto proof majority so this passes. Discussed the ROE Act and Baker’s opposition to certain aspects of it. Right to Die issue is coming back and something to watch for. Discussed briefly on why Rank Choice Voting and why it failed.
- Bill to reform Public Health, making all board of health and public health depts to live up to statewide standards and follow guidelines.
- Outreach – Carmen Chico
- No report
- Programming – Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley & Cesar Stewart-Morales
- In March, a piece of programming will be a speaker to bring in to discuss how to improve and help locally with environmental concerns.
- In January we will start with Liza Talusian and our series of anti-racism meetings which will be outside of our regular meetings.
- Would like to bring back Jesse Mermell to speak to our committee on some topic as she is a rising star for the Dems.
Putting in a link on COVID testing and how to make an appointment. It will say there are no appointments, but appointments keep opening so keep trying and be persistent. They hand you the swab and swab your own nose and then hand it back in a tube. Only 3 like this in the state so it is competitive to get an appointment. If you feel symptomatic you can go to CVS, the pCR test is the one to go with not antigen test.
Discussion – you can also get a test through your doctor through insurance if there is a medical reason. You should ask where they are sending the tests to the lab – if out of state they will be 4 days or more to get results.
New Business, member announcements, general announcements
Gwen Holbrow made the motion on behalf of Andrew Masachov, as he is not a full member yet and cannot bring a motion to the floor, – Biden’s choice for Sec of Defense will need waiver to serve because of law put together saying it has to be at least 7 years out of service before serving as civilian as Sec of Defense. He is also on Raytheon’s board after working for a defense contractor. The committee should ask our MA federal delegation to not vote for this nominee. Mel Warshaw seconded.
Discussion: Maybe we should table this until the next month? Time is important, but by the time of the next meeting it could be too late. Maybe we should do this individually to do research and study and be timelier. Several members want to abstain because of not being prepared for this vote. Respect everyone’s opinions but feeling unprepared to vote.
Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley made a motion to table – Kathie McCarthy seconded; Not debatable.
15 yeas -3 nays – motion to table is approved.
The Chair asked Andrew to bring his motion to the Legislative Subcommittee if there is anything we can still do.
Kathie McCarthy motion to adjourn; Phil Ottaviani.
Motion passed unanimously. Meeting adjourned at 9:29pm.
Special Note: If you or a loved one are experiencing any issues that we can help with during this extraordinary time please contact the Chair or any Officer and we will do all we can to get services or meet any needs that we can for that person. Our Committee has many well placed members who are always happy to answer the call to action, and we would be honored to render discreet aid to anyone in need, to the best of our abilities.
Thank you for your support of our Democratic Values!