September 2018 Minutes

9/4 Meeting Minutes

A. President Report
President Sue Geckle opened the meeting
Introduction of new people
Introduction of candidates in attendance: Elizabeth Fitch, Rich Gibson, Marcus Harris, Steven Bolen, Courtney Watson
Minutes from previous meeting accepted
Democratic Club Holiday Party December 1st
Starting in October working on joint effort
Providing monetary support for candidates

B. Treasurer’s report
Previous balance $5341.73
Dues $115
Picnic Sponsorships $340
Pavilion Rental (Picnic) $170
Food (Picnic) $142.64
Ending Balance $5484.09

C.  Providing monetary support for candidates
Meredith Bowman, compliance Director for Dem party for campaigns advised Rich. Talked to a law firm.  Maryland has one of the most complex campaign laws in the country. We must differentiate between a political social club as opposed to a campaign entity who’s primary purpose to is to raise money for candidates.  The recommendation is that we are a political club for social purposes and don’t give away more than 20% of your budget.  Therefore we can disperse a total of $1200 at this time.  If the percentage increases in Maryland, we can give more.  In order to avoid being a fundraising club, Rich recommends giving $1200.

We decided to support 6 candidates within our area: Natalie, Steve, Courtney, Katie, Liz and China.

Was there any discussion for money for Calvin, even symbolically?  We talked about it but then we thought there are a lot of other county wide candidates and that we would just give to those in our immediate area.  There are still meetings going on, outside of the club, that may raise the percentage.

Courtney suggested that the candidates who gave to the picnic have their money returned as dues were raised before we knew there were constraints in order to give more money to the candidates.   Rich answered that we need to make sure that’s not seen as a donation.

Suggestion in the group is to hold events – GOTV rallies – rather than give a direct donation.

Sue suggested that we give the money to the six candidates as planned and if the percentage increases we’ll make a donation to Calvin.  The Ayes have it.

Sharing a table at the Harriet Tubman celebration with the CDC.  We’re going to pay $15 and the CDC will pay $15.  Ayes have it.

Sharing a table at the Korean festival.  China Williams is organizing and we’re going to put in $100. Ayes have it.

We also want to create a new brochure that advertises the club that we can have at events.  Cost will be between $200 - $275.  Ayes have it.  Would like to have the new brochures by 9/15 so it’s ready for the two events.

Guest Speaker:  Ned Tillman (  Ned is the Principal of Sustainable Growth, LLC and leader of many organizations including Howard County Board on Sustainability, Chair of Howard County 2030 General Plan Task Force, Chair of the Sustainability Task Force for Howard Community College, Sustainability Policy Council for the Howard County Public School System and Past Chair of the Howard County Conservancy.  He is also the author of three books available on Amazon, The Chesapeake Watershed: A sense of place and a call to action, Saving the Places We Love: Paths toward environmental stewardship and The Big Melt.

Ned’s passion is to get a few people elected.  Ned’s observations:

  • Most people don’t get politically involved until there’s something we want to accomplish or something we want to save
  • One of Ned’s jobs at JHUAPL was to develop geo nuclear energy
  • How do you promote things and how do you regulate them?
  • Started his own company for environmental services – focused on contaminated soils
  • You can’t clean things up to 0 contamination
  • We don’t always bring the right people to the table to make decisions
  • After doing environmental service work, decided to get much more involved locally on issues he knew something about
  • Lived next door to Sen Jim Clark – came over to Ned’s house one day, at breakfast time and so they invited him to breakfast and he kept coming for the next 6 weeks. Took Ned to Mt. Pleasant and got him focused on Waverly Woods development
  • Ned spent a year negotiating with folks on limiting the impact from development
  • How do we work together
  • Worked on the Conservancy, great experience, didn’t understand the political side of things
  • Retired 12 years ago and noticed Ken Ullman running for Cty Exec and no mention whatsoever of environmental issues
  • Ned wrote Ken a letter telling him what his top 10 priorities should be
  • Ullman won and created a commission on environmental issues
  • Fairly significant effort on storm water management, green infrastructure
  • Tapped to be the Chair of the Planning Task Force for HC and created a sustainability plan, reviewed significant issues – learned more than maybe they accomplished
  • When Kittleman won, Ned was not a supporter, testified against him, knew him fairly well, but once he won asked Ned to serve on the transition team in order to get rid of the sustainability office. Tried to convince Kittleman’s people that it was worth keeping and they managed to save it.  Reports directly to the County Executive.  Integral to balancing issues.
  • Sustainability office has been ignored for 4 years. Some things have been continued or maintained, but there have been no new initiatives.
  • Disappointed by Kittleman the most by the fact that the inner circle has no interest in environmental issues because they don’t realize the value. There’s a lot of talent in the gov’t not being used.
  • Achilles heel is the lack of leadership in the K administration
  • Alan could not stop the last flood, but the fact that he won and campaigned on the rain tax makes him culpable. He’s been fighting storm water management all along.  He and the governor are similar.  “Rain Tax” is alternative facts.
  • The current administration’s view of EC is very short sighted. If there’s something out there that’s bad, don’t wait until you suffer.  Howard County has had a record of leadership pre-Kittleman on environmental issues.
  • Ned knows a lot of moderates and they’re too practical, don’t like to rock the boat. He has friends who are going to vote for Republicans.  These moderates say why shouldn’t they vote for Kittleman or Hogan, they’re nice guys.  Ned sees a lack of leadership.
  • What did they do to get elected? Proven, Independent, Leader?  Not sure he’s independent.  He’s mislead us on the ‘rain’ tax, mislead folks on the flooding issue.
  • Claims to support the Bay, but if you’re not a supporter of storm water management then you don’t support the Bay
  • Takes 50 years to make change
  • Howard County infrastructure is not in good repair
  • Make our community healthier (get rid of sugary drinks)
  • Most egregious, Ned has provided a list of recommendations and anything to do with climate change he refuses to talk about – that’s not leadership
  • World Economic Forum at Davos – biggest risk going forward is that people were not afraid enough of what might happen in the future. 5 major risks that could destroy the economic system – extreme weather events; natural disasters; cyber attacks; identity fraud; fail at mitigating and adapting to Climate Change
  • The Lancet evaluates community health risks – they said after studying that impact of climate change could mean the loss of 50 years of medical advances – we’d actually be going backward. Greatest opportunity for public health is to fix that.
  • The Pentagon says Climate Change is a threat multiplier (e.g., Syrian drought cause of issues in Syria).

Ned is sharing this information because some people are listening.

Brian Coster – we look at Climate Change and wonder what we can do, can we draft a resolution and have it read out?  Get the CDC to do the same thing?  Ned will put information on the internet.

Ned will be attending the Sierra Club event on Saturday from 2-5pm at Clarksville Commons.

What happened to the efforts that were started in the 70s?  There are more of us.

Ned will email the link to Sue for the top ten items so they can be included in the minutes.  The top ten items are listed on his web site

Tyler McCurday from Team Howard about what our candidates need.  Team Howard County is focused on building a robust field operation.  Targeting people leaning Democratic and Democratic.  Knocking on doors and making sure they show up to vote.  There is a coordinated effort and if you’re not involved, get involved with a campaign.  You need to get out there and make sure your neighbors know they need to get out and vote.

How do we find out, who are the ‘lazy’ Democrats in my neighborhood that I want to make sure get out and vote?  Is there a list somewhere.  How do I find out who is a registered democrat in my neighborhood?  Team Howard has the list of every registered voter in Howard County.    We know who they are, where they live and even have their phone numbers.

Commit to Vote campaign – will you vote for Democrats up and down the ticket? It’s a promise that people sign.

Provide training to anyone who is canvassing.

The goal is it’s for neighbors to talk to neighbors.  Talk to the people who live down the street.

Do you target independents?  Yes, those who have been scored as leaning Democrat.  We show up at friendly doors.

What score do you use?  Democrat likely turnout and Democrat

Other than canvassing, people also can to phone bank.  Get a list that is specific to your neighborhood.

If you’re curious what someone thinks, check their website, or ask them in person at club meetings.

Sean Ford, hired by speaker Bush to run two important races, Courtney Watson in Howard County is one, and they really need help talking to voters.  Every Saturday go out at 930 and 1pm from the Miller Branch Library.

Respectfully submitted by Karin Emery, Secretary