Minutes for May 16, 2021

Meeting Attendees

Members: Mike Hugo, Robert Case, Beverly Hugo, Barbara LeDuc, Parwez Wahid, Larry Stoodt, Cesar Stewart-Morales, Gwen Holbrow, Adam Steiner, Phil Ottaviani, Mel Warshaw, Norma Shulman, Tom Mahoney, Mary Kate Feeney, Chris Lorant, Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley, Kurt Fusaris, Doug Lawrence, Margareth Shepard, Jim Hansen, Patrick Dunne, Kathie McCarthy, Tracey Bryant, Maria Robinson, David Magnani, Margareth Shepard, Jack Lewis


Associate Members: Andrew Machkasov, Audrey Hall, Cheryl Gordon, Ricky Finlay, Ohad Klopman, Tilia Jacobs, Mayor Dr. Yvonne Spicer, Vanessa Pendexter, Joel Winett, Isabella Petroni

Guests: State Rep. Tami Gouveia,  Liam Horsman, Irma Napolean, Nadia Ulman, Wes Ritchie


Welcome, Announcements and Updates – Chair Mike Hugo

  • The chair reviewed the agenda and called the meeting to order at 7:03pm.

Discussion with Mayor Dr. Yvonne Spicer: A presentation on her accomplishments, vision for moving the city forward, and recruitment of campaign workers to assist her in her upcoming race.

  • The chair welcomed Mayor Spicer and invited her to offer her comments.
  • Mayor Spicer presented her re-election campaign video.
  • The video highlighted accomplishments around the city.
  • Mayor Spicer spoke about her platform and goals going forward.
  • Mayor Spicer took questions:
    • How do you propose to improve relations with City Council?
      • There has been tensions and I have offered public apologies. We must come together to do the work for the city. She will not only build bridges with the Council and School Committee, but she will improve communications and keep the dialogue moving.
    • How can FDC members help you out?
      • There is a need for volunteers to collect signatures, door knocking, and making phone calls.
    • Mayor Spicer put her campaign contact in the chat for members.
      • If you are re-elected, what will you do to improve traffic in your next term?
    • We have a study looking currently at traffic issues, we will rely more on the traffic commission, increase bike lanes, electrify our train systems, evaluating a comprehensive Traffic Dept, looking at ways to improve our bus system, and continue looking at ways to get people out of their cars.
      • What will your administration do to work on Mary Dennison Park, Cedar Swamp, and other environmental issues that come up during your next term?
        • Mary Dennison is still under negotiations to have Dennison pay a little more for the cost of the cleanup after estimates came in higher, plans and design for renovations are underway; the remediation of Cedar Swamp will be determined by what we choose to do with the property. General Chemical is being cleaned up now and removed the houses.  The goal is to clean up as much of the contamination as possible across the city.

Rep. Tami Gouveia, DPH, 14th Mdsx. Dist., Discussion of her Rapid Testing Legislation, Q&A, vote on FDC Endorsement which she is seeking (see info sheet distributed).

  • The chair introduced Rep. Dr. Tami Gouveia.
  • She has been tracking what the Baker/Polito response has been during the pandemic and has been abysmally disappointed.
  • PCR testing has not been free and readily available in all cities and results have not been sent quickly enough.
  • Rapid testing needs to be implemented statewide to get people back to work and school, re-open our economy, and do it in a way that is equitable for everyone.
  • Had discussion with a wide variety of stakeholders on how rapid testing could improve their personal and work lives.
  • Average time for a result in PCR pooled testing in schools is 19 hours. With rapid testing we would know within 15 minutes.
  • There have been cases where unvaccinated individuals have given COVID to vaccinated individuals.
  • Legislation will require the state to begin an 18-member Rapid Testing Board to develop a rapid testing program for the state. We could make it available at local pharmacies, mail the rapid tests to homes, make them available to houses of worship, etc.
  • Baker/Polito response has been to privatize each item in the response.
  • If the State will pass this legislation, and pay for it, there will be an equitable answer for everyone to have control of their own health.
  • Questions:
    • The Rapid Test will test to see if you are infectious or not, will this replace or be in addition to PCR testing?
      • There is a role for both, and the PCR test is still really important. If you receive a negative rapid test, then you would take a PCR test to confirm. Then we could send that result to a lab for better sequencing to track infections and variations of the virus. There is not enough participation in the school testing program and rapid testing would prevent missed time from school and from missing school activities.
      • Would it possible to make results from rapid testing mandatory to local Dept of Health and will it encourage others to participate?
        • That will be up to the DPH to look at and review.
        • The two things that are concerning is that it is not mandated by the state and the cost and will it be fully funded by the State?
          • Yes, the desire is to be fully funded by the State and schools should not be burdened by this program. DPH would have to pick up the program to determine if it can be mandated for students.
          • What is the level of support and opposition in the legislature and how can we help you get this approved ASAP?
            • The bill was just filed, and she met with the Chair of the Way and Means, met with business community, restaurants labor, congregant care settings, etc. She has not been really hearing opposition at this time.
            • How accurate are the rapid tests now, have the tests improved since the tests at the beginning of the pandemic?
              • Results have greatly improved to catch 9 out of 10 people, but right now we are missing all 10.
              • The tests are not perfect, but they are continuing to improve.
              • There is no requirement for reporting or contact tracing and everyone should be able to get these tests, would there be a budget to cover the program?
                • Would prefer the DPH mail tests home to certain types of adults and individuals so they can test twice a week.
                • This is one tool that we can get our lives back to normal and economy back open. This program will not force us to retreat in a couple months if things start to go wrong again.
              • Motion to endorse Rep. Gouveia’s bill made by Gwen Holbrow; seconded by Beverly Hugo.
              • Motion approved unanimously.

Secretary’s Report – Minutes of April 18, 2020, Business Meeting – Robert Case, Secretary

  • Motion to approve the minutes by Rozzy Hooper-Hammersley; seconded by Beverly Hugo.
    • There was no discussion; motion approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report – Larry Stoodt – Annual Dues are due, Associate Member discussion.

  • The secretary will put his name and address in the chat again and you can mail him a check of $20 for members and $15 for Associate Members. 16 members (including full, lifetime, have not paid dues.
  • $3,855.89 starting balance. Earned $0.15 in interest, earned $260 in dues and donations, spent $16.92 that leaves a current balance of  $4,099.12.
  • Motion to approve the report by Kathie McCarthy; seconded by Tracey Bryant.
    • There was no discussion; motion approved unanimously.

Reports on the Budget from City Council & School Committee

  • City Councilors Adam Steiner, Finance Subcommittee
    • Budget process is very concentrated and the best way to guide where our City goes.
    • The Mayor released her budget, and it restores items that were cut during the Pandemic.
    • To Pay for it the proposed budget calls for the full 2.5% increase in property taxes. Local Aid is down, and we are using federal money to supplement some of that and also using some free cash as well.
    • Finance Subcommittee has 21 days to make a recommendation to the full Council and will make that recommendation on May 25th.
    • Speak up and attend Finance Subcommittee and full Council meetings and get your voice heard and your input into us.
      • Of the federal money mentioned how many years does that span? Framingham is getting $30 million in AARPA money spread across two years. If there are things, we should be spending federal money on you should be contacting the Mayor and your City Councilor to make your voice heard.
    • School Committee Member Beverly Hugo, Finance Subcommittee
      • The School Budget has been cut 4 times this past year. This current budget cut is $1.4 million dollars. The School Committee will be looking at how to adjust and if it is possible to sustain those cuts.
      • School Committee will be working with Council on coming to an agreement.
        • Is it a cut or a cut from the budget request?
          • A cut form the budget request.
        • There is a vote on Wednesday night to rename Woodrow Wilson school to either Ruby Bridges or Harmony Grove.
          • Straw Poll Vote on Renaming of Woodrow Wilson Elementary
            • Ruby Bridges Elementary – 5
            • Harmony Grove Elementary – 26
            • There were 4 abstentions.
          • There is a Curriculum Review this week with a lens of equity being held by the Teaching Subcommittee.

Report from our House Delegation, – Rep. Jack P. Lewis, Rep. Maria Robinson, Rep. Carmine Gentile, Sen. Pres. Karen Spilka  

  • Jack Lewis – House proposed their budget a few weeks back, the Senate will take up their budget in a few weeks. Please reach out to Senate President Spilka’s office with any concerns or issues. The Vineyard Wind project has reached final federal approve, and he was present in the meeting with the Speaker. Bills have been assigned to committees and hearings have already begun. If anyone needs help to testify or offer testimony, please contact his office.
  • Maria Robinson – Excited to see MWRTA has finally received funding from the state to have Sunday service. Carmen Gentile’s language has made it into the budget to use CPA funds to build and maintain rail trails. Helping David Halpert a Framingham native running for at-Large City Council in Boston, there will be an event for him in a few weeks.
  • Carmine Gentile – Excited about a bill to ban glyphosate from the Commonwealth, the legislation would put together a commission to gather scientific data and info to put together a report to give to the pesticide committee to empower them to reduce the use of glyphosate in the state. It is used in Round-up and has been known to cause different forms of cancer. It has gotten into processed food in our grocery stores already. Carmen’s own blood level of glyphosate is 3 times of what is allowed in Europe. Another bill to ask for a 28th Amendment to undo the harm of Citizens’ United.  Happy with the House Budget with slight increases to local aid and education. Senate will take up the budget next week and that process will start. He will text the bill number and info to the Chair.

State Committee Report & Caucus Planning

  • Norma Shulman – Next State Dem Meeting is June 25th. Roosevelt Awards is a virtual reception and if you are interested in attending Norma will put info in the chat. The Women’s Caucus will meet on Thursday and several elected leaders will attend. The Senate President will also provide info on the series of HERstory part 2 that will be hosted in the State House. Each Saturday at 3pm, 30-50 people volunteer to make calls and work on projects.  Pay attention to the redistricting hearings. Blueprint to 22 is the relational organizing program and we will have more info coming next month. The State Party will have facilitators to help each chair run the caucus meeting and they are trying to cover every possible scenario.  We should feel confident they will figure this out.
  • Parwez Wahid – Hybrid Caucus Information
    • The window is the 15th of June through 31st of July. The date for our Caucus will be June 27th.
    • State Convention will most likely be in September and likely at an outdoor venue with in-person attendance and leave some sort of ability for virtual attendance as well.
    • We are going to be working on doing the same for our Caucus, and you will be receiving more info from the FDC Exec. Committee.
    • You need to be a registered Dem in Framingham to be a Caucus Member and same day registration is possible.
    • The Chair has put in a draft of the Preliminary Call to convention, but keep in mind any and all info could change. It could be a large screen where virtual delegates attend, and delegates will somehow be able to vote virtually and on paper.
    • It should be at the UMASS Lowell Stadium but there are still loose ends to be tied up. If you have questions, please contact the Chair and he will pass on the info to the State Party.
    • The State Party is looking for volunteers to assign to Caucuses where technical assistance will be needed. Let the Chair know, and he will put you in touch with the State party.
    • The Exec Committee agreed to allow the Chair to offer our paid Zoom account to other committees who will need the help for their caucuses.

Subcommittee Reports, discussions, actions and votes:

  • Bylaws – Mel Warshaw
    • The committee reviews our Bylaws and make sure we are in line with our State Party Charter and bylaws. The committee makes recommendations to the full committee on changes that should be made.  It does meet as frequently. There is no report this month.
  • Communications – Gwen Holbrow/Jim Hansen
    • 1 post per person, per day, on our various social media platforms as we move into Campaign Season.
  • Civics Education – Beverly Hugo
    • We are finishing up the Voting Brochure and will be delivering these to public locations and when people canvass, we will also deliver those. Thank you to Andrew for his help in translating the brochure into Russian. There are between 70-77 languages spoken in the schools. The committee has finalized all candidate questions and the letter that will go out to candidates. There will be a two-week turn around period to get answers back.  There will be a Candidate Forum two weeks before Preliminary Election and another one two weeks before General Election.
  • Environmental/Climate Change – Larry Stoodt
    • The Subcommittee has presented environmental resolutions and legislations locally to the City Council, to the State Legislature, and Federally as well. Next meeting is May 26th and anyone that is interested in dealing with the environment send Larry and let him know or join the meeting.
  • Legislative – Doug Lawrence
    • The committee reviews and makes a recommendation on pending legislations locally, statewide and federally. The committee makes a recommendation to the full FDC on whether or not we should support and sign on to particular legislation.
    • There are two bills in the Senate and House which relate to End-of-Life options and have been debated in the past. They are being brought forth again.  The committee voted 8-2 to bring the legislation forward to recommend the FDC support both of these bills.
    • This legislation and type of legislation has been presented to the FDC twice. A number of safeguards have been added to verify each step of the way and allows terminally ill patients to give them the means to do this themselves. There has not been one verified case of abuse of this type of system. If you cannot do this and take the medication by yourself then you will not be allowed to do this.
    • The subcommittee voted 8-1
      • Motion to approve the subcommittee recommendation to support the End-of-Life legislation House Bill 2381/Senate 1384 by Larry Stoodt; seconded by Norman Shulman.
        • Discussion:
        • What is the time frame for the bills to be voted on in the Legislature? The chair has shared the legislature will be embroiled in the budget between now and our next meeting, so we have some time.
        • The thing that has not brought up usually during this conversation is Doctors are currently allowed to give medication to alleviate all pain, even if it hastens their passing.
        • The COVID pandemic is not the right time to be discussing this and looking into it.
        • This needs more discussion as it is a life issue.
      • Tracey Bryant made a motion to table the item; Seconded by Chris Lorant.
        • Motion passed by a 2/3 vote and will be tabled and added to next months’ agenda.
        • The subcommittee also discussed the Fair Share Amendment, and the vote was 9-1 to endorse this legislation. This legislation will only effect those who make over $1M. The tax will only be on anything over the first million. Capital gains are included.
        • This is a ballot initiative to go around the legislature to implement a millionaire’s tax.
      • Motion to support Larry Stoodt; seconded by Norma Shulman.
      • The vote to support the Fair Share Amendment was 24 for/2 against; the motion passed.
      • Outreach – Parwez Wahid/Carmen Chico
        • The committee is to make sure underserved populations and their voices are represented and heard. The committee continues to engage and provide outreach to these underrepresented communities. Meeting at May22 at 11am for the next meeting. All new members are encouraged to attend the Outreach Subcommittee meeting next week.
      • Programming – Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley & Cesar Stewart-Morales
        • At our meeting in June, we will be working with the comments and ideas that were given by members at our last meeting during the wrap-up from our workshops.
        • The chair mentioned there is also a hospitality committee when we meet in person and volunteers will be sought when that happens again.

New Business, member announcements, general announcements

  • Has anyone sent a card to Jack Duffy or Carmen Chico yet? If anyone would like to send a card, we will provide members with their address.
  • The chair will implement closed captioning on all future FDC zoom meetings.
  • Tilia Jacobs shared info about a presentation by an Environmental expert and invited everyone to attend. She will distribute the info.
  • Cesar Stewart-Morales reminded the committee that June is LGBTQIA+ Pride Month and hopes the committee members will support and attend events around the city.
  • A court in Ecuador has fine Chevron and they are refusing to pay. The lead attorney is under house arrent as the judge ordered him to turnover privileged client information. The chair asked Andrew to present this to the Legislative Subcommittee for a resolution or recommendation.
  • Next meeting will be June 13th since the third Sunday is Father’s Day. The Caucus will be in the afternoon on June 27th.


  • Motion to adjourn by Phil Ottaviani; seconded by Tracey Bryant.
    • There was no discussion; motion approved unanimously.


  • The meeting adjourned at 9:07pm.


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.

NEXT MEETING June 13, 2021 at 7pm

Caucus Meeting June 27, 2021 TBD