Minutes June 28, 2020 (Zoom)

Meeting Attendees

Members: Mike Hugo, Beverly Hugo, Gwen Holbrow, Kurt Fusaris, Adam Freudberg, Barbara LeDuc, Cesar Stewart-Morales, Cheryl Tully Stoll, Chris Broyles, Dhruba Sen, Doug Lawrence, Maria Robinson, Mary Kate Feeney, Mel Warshaw, Norma Shulman, Parwez Wahid, Robert Case, Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley, Jack Patrick Lewis, Kathie McCarthy, Larry Stoodt, David Magnani, Jack Duffy, Carmen Chico, Margareth Shepard, Tom Mahoney, Caraline Levy, Adam Steiner, Jim Hansen, Chris Lorant, Patrick Dunne, John Stefanini

 Associate Members: Ohad Klopman, Andrew Machkasov, Vanessa Poindexter, Tracey Bryant, Brandale Randolph, Yvonne Spicer, Priscilla Sousa

Guests: Senator Ed Markey, Jim Cantwell, Liam Horsman, Alex Bausch, Rachel Hayden, Isabella Petroni, Bianca Blackman, Sue Herzberg

Welcome, Announcements and Updates – Chair Mike Hugo

The chair brought the meeting to order at 7:05pm. Welcome to all.

Zoom Protocols, from Communications SubcommitteeJim Hansen and Gwen Holbrow

A review of the Zoom meeting etiquette policies that FDC has adopted. The top name with their electronic hand raised will be recognized first and then we will work the way down the list of names until no more hands are raised.

Reports from Mayor, City Council & School Committee

MayorThe city has been going through unchartered waters during the last several months. The last 3-4 weeks have been adding another element due to the murder of George Floyd.  The Mayor is reviewing the use of force from the FPD and declared racism a public health emergency in Framingham.  Next Tuesday the Mayor is hosting a community conversation on what does it take to be an anti-racist community.  Everyone is welcome to attend and encouraged to participate. Also updates on COVID and anti-racist resources are posted on the website.

City Council

Adam Steiner – The next meeting of the Council is Tuesday.  The CPA is coming up for a vote.  The budget process is completed and found the right balance for the financial health of the city.  The budget didn’t make excessive cuts to services.  There were painful cuts, but the budget stayed true to progressive values. We need the federal govt to provide more help to municipalities across the country, and we need to elect a Dem House, Senate and White House in November to help with this.

Cesar Stewart-Morales – On Tuesday the Environmental Subcommittee is bringing 3 recommendations to the full Council. Recommending we advance the CPA to the ballot in November with a 1% surcharge. This will allow us to be eligible for matching funds from the state to preserve historic buildings, open space, affordable housing, and outdoor recreation. Also recommending a resolution to the Mayor to create an internal sustainability committee with City departments and to develop a municipal power aggregation plan.

 John Stefanini – Locally folks should pay attention to Cedar Woods and the contamination there. Environmental justice is important for us to focus on so we as a city can grow. The city opened up the beaches free of charge to all residents; thank you to the Mayor for doing that.

Robert Case –The City Council is accepting applications for the 9 District seats on the Youth Council whose terms expire on June 30th; applications are due by 5pm on Thursday, July 9th.  Each district city councilor will appoint one person between the ages of 13-22. If you know of a young person that should apply or who would like to serve, applications can be found on the City Council page of the City’s website or have them contact me at my City Council email address –  rcase@framinghamma.gov .

Tracey Bryant – Thank you to residents and Dems for attending rallies and protests.  Thank you to Chief Trask on his retirement. The police officers are listening and there to protect the community. Keep up the good work as we transition to a new chief.  Thank you to Dr. Sam Wong and all of his department’s work on COVID related issues. Thank you to DPW for being sensitive for Beaver St Bridge project. We need to put all efforts into electing Dems in November so we can control the Senate, House, and White House.

Margareth Shepard – She is working with Learned Pond neighborhood on trash, speeding, and parking and how to handle all of these issues during the summer months.  The cuts in the city’s budget were difficult to make.

School Committee

                Adam Freudberg – The budget has been completed and thank you to everyone for their hard work.  SC recently completed review of Superintendent and two solar projects at Brophy and the new Fuller Middle. Equity audit being done by outside firm and will be presented later this year.  SC has 310 different policies and they will be reviewing all policies to make sure they are aligned with state law and the times we are living in currently. PRIDE month proclamation signed by the Mayor, Council and School Committee.  The first round of State guidelines to re-open schools have come out. Let’s all take a deep breath as these will continue to evolve.

                Beverly Hugo – The Statewide School Committee passed resolutions to support COVID financial assistance from the state, signed on to a Black Lives Matter resolution, Medicaid proceeds go to schools ,3-year moratorium on MCAS, and Framingham wrote the bill making gender identity a protected class of students and it passed overwhelmingly.

 

Secretary’s Report – Minutes of April 5, 2020 Reorg/Business Meeting – Robert Case, Secretary

Minutes were emailed to everyone on Thursday and again today.  If there are any edits, please bring them up during discussion and let me know. Thank you!

Motion to accept made by Kathie McCarthy; seconded by Jack Duffy.

No Discussion. Motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report – Larry Stoodt – Annual Dues are due now. Starting balance of $4,811.28.  We received $40 in dues and interest of $0.40. The check for $540 to the Framingham Public Schools came through finally where we rented the auditorium for the caucus. We are left with a balance of $4,311.68

Treasurer’s Report was emailed to everyone.  Regular and Associate Member dues should be mailed to:

Larry Stoodt

615 Belknap Rd

Framingham, MA 01701

 

Motion to accept report made by Kathie McCarthy; seconded by Tom Mahoney.

Discussion – Motion by Norma Shulman to have the Treasurer Reports to include reminders of the number of general and associate members who still need to pay dues; seconded by Kathie McCarthy.

Motion to approve report and motion for Treasurer Reports to include dues reminders passed unanimously.

 Candidates & Campaigns

  • MetroWest for Biden – Alex Bausch & Beverly Hugo –
    • Beverly – Tomorrow MetroWest for Biden will have its first phonebank from 6:30 to 8:30pm. 373 in Framingham that have made donations or want to volunteer and help. 1700 people in MetroWest signed up. We will be calling New Hampshire and Maine for coordinated campaign with Ashland, Medway and others. Details for phone bank will be emailed to everyone.
    • Alex – started to create local teams to call voters in MA and New England area. Email Beverly or Mike at metrowestforBiden@gmail.com to be involved or with Questions.
  • Joseph P. Kennedy III – Rachel Hayden – regional field director for Kennedy. Continue to make thousands of calls to Seniors to check in with them about COVID. Also calls to let voters know how to vote safely. Please reach out if you would like to get involved.
    • Adam Steiner – He has known Joe for 25 years. He has what it takes to be an effective leader and modern progressive leaders use every tool they have and passion to inspire others – that’s Joe Kennedy.  Keep an open mind for his candidacy for Senate.

 

Report from our House Delegation, discussion of current issues and challenges

Maria Robinson – Working on big supplemental budget to cover COVID costs and making Juneteenth a state holiday.  Passed a 1/12 budget to get through the next month.  Each side has passed different versions of vote by mail.  Everyone will be mailed an absentee ballot application.  The contract of the MBTA and commuter rail will be extended for another year, with the MBTA board expanding to 7 people next year.  New proposal for Allston Interchange, the timeline is ticking, but a lot of concerns about lawsuits from Environmental groups if it goes into the Charles River. Several bills to change MCAS, some to waive for a few years until we can figure out to have school safely and another to review MCAS and whether that should be reformed.  Act to Save Black Lives – stop use of rubber bullets, choke holds, tear gas was sponsored by Maria, Jack and Carmen.  Big move by Governor’s office to have a training certification for officers for de-escalation techniques.

Jack Patrick Lewis – Social distancing, face coverings, and washing hands are still huge if we are going to continue to re-open the State.  Door canvassing for candidates by just dropping off lit at the doors – contact Jack and Maria if you want to help. Supporting ten-point plan of Black and Latino caucus.  Need to move past discomfort in calling out others or ourselves on racial issues. State Budget is still a major concern. A lot of elected officials think we need to cut services, but progressives think we need to think creatively to create new revenue. Carmen has a very conservative Republican opponent with an impressive resume, and he is going to have to fight hard over the next several months. Need to help Rebecca Rausch as well to retain her seat.

Maria – The rainy-day fund is around $23 billion but hesitancy to use this as it could affect bond ratings.  The current idea is to use half this year and half next year.

Jack – To continue to sit on the rainy-day fund and not use it now seems disingenuous.

 

Pride Month Activities in the days of COVID-19– Cesar Stewart Morales

                June is Pride month and Councilor Case wrote a proclamation and it was passed unanimously by all three branches of government. Many members of this committee were going to participate in Rolling Rally parade. The FDC was going to have a car representing us.  The rally was cancelled instead to join a student protest for racial equality. LGBTQ community in Framingham is getting more involved in our government.

 

Subcommittee Reports, discussions, actions and votes:

  • Bylaws – Mel Warshaw
    • No report.
  • Communications – Gwen Holbrow/Jim Hansen
    • Met June 27th to go over Zoom guidelines. Please everyone read them.  If you want to be contacted by text message, contact Norma and she will help figure out how to do that. IO groups and other seems to be working well. No major disasters on FB accounts and twitter accounts are functioning properly. If you haven’t checked out the website, please do.
  • Civics Education – Beverly Hugo – substantive meeting this week. CPA will be presented to City Council on Tuesday. Going to be creating a volunteer calendar of things to do between now and election with Barb LeDuc.  Discussing GOTV and how to stimulate interest in low turnout districts. Kurt and Andrew will put together a packet of info for voters.  4th Friday of every month at 5pm will be regular committee meetings going forward.
  • Environmental/Climate ChangeLarry Stoodt– The Committee met and discussed a lot of issues. Cesar spoke on a lot of them already such as municipal aggregation for the City to control the % of renewable energy we buy, solarization projects and city council and school committee are working on that now.
  • Legislative Kurt Fusaris/Barb LeDuc
    • Black Lives Matter and Justice in Policing – ten-point plan by Black and Latino Caucus which are good steps forward in tackling issues. An Act Relative to Save Black Lives and Public Safety by Cynthia Creem. Carmen Gentile created legislation that includes every community to have a civilian police review board. Lastly, we discussed the Justice in Policing Act which is the federal legislation covering these issues.
    • Motion to support all four pieces of legislation addressing Black Lives Matter and Justice in Policing. If we take supportive action as a full committee to endorse these pieces of legislation, then we would ask the Executive Committee to send letters in support to each of the respective bodies where these pieces of legislation are being considered.
    • Motion by Beverly Hugo to support all four pieces of legislation that address the time sensitive issues around BLM and policing reform as mentioned in the report; Seconded by Carmen Chico.
    • Discussion –

Kathie McCarthy – going to vote no because of a couple points and not satisfied with them.

  • Vote is 30-1-1; the motion to support passes.
  • Outreach Carmen Chico – subcommittee has been discussing reaching out to former associate members who are now inactive. Preparing a plan to reach out to marginalized groups to get them to vote, show them the importance of voting and having an effective marketing plan to do all of that.
  • Programming & Charity Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley – speak with her or Cesar to provide input on plans for future programming and supporting charities in the area.

 

Senator Ed Markey will drop in to say hello and discuss his campaign and the races in swing states from the perspective of a Senator with a vital progressive agenda, who cannot move it.

 

Chair welcomed Senator Markey.  The chair went to DC on Feb 26th and visited with each delegation member about funding for COVID-19 and to discuss CDC funding and the dangers and realities if the virus hits the US. Katherine Clark and Ed Markey’s staff distinguished themselves with preparedness info and were up to date on everything.  Senator Markey’s staff had the best understanding of COVID-19 and the number one Senator who understood the problem.

 

Sen. Ed Markey – Sen. Markey was the first Senator to call for an Administration update on Jan 23rd and Jan 27th on covid-19. He led the charge to extend unemployment benefits for gig workers.  He led the way to get minority businesses the help they need, and for hospitals to get the funding they need to stay solvent. The biggest fight in July will be to argue continuing unemployment funding. Mitch McConnell is saying no but more red state governors are starting to say yes. This president is racist, and tens of thousands of American residents are losing their lives because of him. We are fighting for the soul of our country. Death of George Floyd makes that clear. Racial injustice is the root of large issues across the board.  We have a racist system built into our government and across the board.  Heroes need help sometimes and that’s what the Dem party and people on this phone are about.

 

Question – USPS – The mail keeps going no matter what. Advertising has fallen off by half. Republicans want to privatize the USPS and get rid of union workers too.  Fighting for funding to save the Post Office for many reasons. We need to save it and thank the workers.

 

Question – Refresher on Seniority rules of the Senate and why it is important to have someone with seniority in the job. – To be chairs on congressional committees requires members with seniority to be in those positions. His law made car standards requirements higher, he hates monopolies and broke them up for a Broadband revolution, beat the NRA in December to stop ten of millions of guns from coming in the country. Job of congressman is to get laws passed to help families. 15 million baby boomers will come down with Alzheimer’s. $230 billion right now to take care of Alzheimer’s patients now.  $25-30 billion dollars needed for research and to find a cure.

 

  • Comments by Liam Horsman – MetroWest field organizer for Markey Campaign. They need our help making calls and volunteers to make calls into their own neighborhoods and communities on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays. Message or email Liam to let him know when we can participate.

 

Chair Hugo – We have an extremely progressive group of Dems when it comes to door knocking and campaigning.  We have worked with a lot of great field organizers, but Liam has been the best one yet.

 

Reports of Grass Roots Organizations

  • Report on Together for 2020 – Mike Hugo – if anyone is interested in phone banking outside of MA we will put the website in the chat.
  • Report on Progressive Framingham/MetroWest – Beverly Hugo – Tuesday night Progressive Framingham having a joint meeting from 7pm – 8pm and the head of the state legislative issues for Progressive Mass will be in attendance and racial policies is a big issue.

 State Committee Report – Parwez Wahid – Mobile mass campaign efforts should be on the state party website if anyone is interested in volunteering, dates are also on the website for campaign events in Maine.  In the recent special elections here in MA all seats were flipped from Republicans to Dems.  National delegates are not going to  Milwaukee and it will be virtual national convention.

 

National Convention – Norma Shulman – The national Dem convention will be virtual, and delegates have been asked to stay home.  Convention will be anchored in Milwaukee, but they are working out the details to make it virtual across the country.

 

Discussion of Black Lives MatterBrandale Randolph

Qualified immunity is absurd and SJC ruled that a 15 year old boys family could not bring suit against the police officer who shot him in the back because the court said the boy did not know he was in a position of danger.

Not a member of BLM. Doesn’t want anything from anyone.  Only wants to put bold policy behind reform to achieve justice.

Schools – disproportionate disciplinary situations for black and brown students.  Police should not be the safety net in our schools. A student lashing out may be abused at home or may not have eaten last night and been neglected. Black and b brown kids are often misdiagnosed and could be gifted but they are seen as behavior problems.  Law enforcement should not be taking on these responsibilities.  An armed police officer should not be breaking up fights between two 15-year-old boys, it’s a waste of resources.  It is time for radical change, not small incremental changes. Need Dems to put forth legislation to make schools safe and holding people accountable to actually do their jobs in the schools.

Police – Black, low income, minorities, unemployed are 3x times more likely to be arrested and these people are 4x times higher at risk to contracting HIV.  Quality and affordable housing, healthcare, metal health is what we need.  We must stop dumping on our police dept to be the catch all councilors or mental health professionals. People we do give money don’t do their jobs now.

Qualified immunity for police officers passes the buck. Is there anything in our contract with the police union or contracts that force us to keep officers with multiple infractions?  Who has the power to dismiss them? Can we get rid of them?

A noose was found at McAuliffe Charter School and nothing happened; but if a black student did that it would be a huge situation. Let’s legislate, create policy, and do things that are not easy if we really believe black lives matters.

Chair Hugo – you see signs of DEFUND the police but it’s not to defund the police it’s to realign the police department. Only 25% of police action is spent on violent crime, the rest are issues in schools.

Priscilla Sousa– There is a motion for the full school committee to discuss SRO’s. There are seven items bring up with the MOU that gives SRO’s a lot of space to decide what to do, draft automatic reports for any hands-on incident on any student, provide know your rights training for all students, quarterly meeting with SRO’s and student leaders, de-escalation training for all SRO’s and students, more discussion on the actual role of SRO’s and clearer data collection to evaluate effective of programs so nothing is missed.

Jack Duffy – we have to have Dems win elections across the board to make real progress.

Tracey Bryant – we need accountability at all levels to make it happen.  Different issues and realities make things difficult. There is work to be done in Framingham.

John Stefanini – we have to do better locally to get things moving in our city.

Kathie McCarthy – thank you for speaking and for your compassion which comes through with kindness. There needs to be more support in the schools, better programs for outreach to parents.

Jack Patrick Lewis – the only way we can hold Republican and others accountable is by holding our own members and fellow Dems accountable. We still have work to do in our own party.

Adjourn

Motion made by Larry Stoodt; seconded by Kathie McCarthy.

No discussion. Motion Unanimously Approved. Meeting adjourned at 9:51pm.

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.

Please Mark Your Calendar for our Next Meeting on July 19th at 7pm.