727.327.2796 office@pinellasdemocrats.com

Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee
General Meeting Minutes

February 22nd, 2018

Call to Order – 7:10 pm

Words from the Chair – Susan McGrath

  • Pledge
  • Moment of silence for 17 victims of Parkland
  • Dems are flipping seats in deep Red districts
  • Dems flipped 2 governor seats,
  • Wisconsin, Missouri, Florida, Kentucky (swing of 86 points) had district seats flipped, showing momentum
  • Margaret Good was well supported by the party, won district 72, +7 pt spread, white Republican district, Trump won by 5, district was 36% for a special election, highest in turnout for a special election, Dems from across the country supported Margaret Goode (calls, fundraisers, canvassing – Dems showing up) Republican women flipped and voted for Margaret Goode, James Buchanan (his father is a long term sitting member of Congress in Sarasota) Margaret outraised him in small dollars
  • Pinellas County – daily contact to volunteer and desire to get involved,
  • Clubs and caucuses continue to have record attendance, kudos to north county, Largo & Pinellas, South St. Pete is very active
  • Actively recruiting districts for state house – 70 and 69 candidates, 68 reelect Ben Diamond, 67 needs a candidate, 66 Alex Heeran who needs donations and volunteers, 65 needs a candidate to run against Chris Sprowls,
  • State senate seats – close to finding a candidate to run against Brandis,
  • School board seats, support the municipalities for March races, think a couple cycles ahead, recruit short and long term
  • Deborah Clark has someone potentially running against her
  • Pat Gerard is up for re-election and needs her support,
  • County commission district 6 (red), vacated by John Marroni, Ahern, Kathleen Peters, Barb Hazleton – trifecta needs to be taken on
  • Republicans have taken NRA money, difficult position, Corcoran will introduce a bill to deal with some gun legislation, watch and see
  • Charlie Crist helped to bring Cheri Bustos for the Prelude to Victory dinner – she won a Trump dominated seat 20 pts, Illinois, need to study her strategy to win more seats, at the Kapok Tree Restaurant, will sell out, can start taking ticket sales tonight, $125 floor level, mezzanine level $80
  • Soft commitments from all 4 gubernatorial candidates to be there


Approval of January Minutes. – Motioned by Jan Lund; Seconded by Ramona Mae Clark, Motion to approve the minutes All Approved


Vice Chair Report – Amos Miers

  • Thanks to Bob and Sharon Loughry for providing sound
  • Bylaws – framework for county organization to work effectively, to accomplish shared goals, 2 efforts 1 – work with Ramsay to review bylaws after the Democratic conference local bylaws, 2 get out a form to get people interested in committees to give you a voice in the county structure


Treasurer Report

  • January expected to be slow for overall activity including fundraising, review of Treasurer Report
  • Need to pick up fundraising,
  • Kriseman gave a $4,800 check and helping with fundraising
  • Larry Biddle has a plan
  • North Dem Party Club – won in terms of getting dues in to the party
  • Prelude to Victory Dinner – Ryan will sell tickets this evening after the meeting, only 80 $80 seats, you can buy a table of 10, $125 tickets for the floor
  • Pinellasdemocrats.org – can donate directly,
  • It is time to reinstate your recurring monthly donations


State Committee Report

  • Wanda – the DCCA on April 13  – 15 at the Orlando Rosen Center Hotel, you can meet the new executive director Juan Penalosa
  • Rick – working on developing state party rules, current bylaws from 1974 and much has changed since then, in order for the Democratic party to grow and get stronger it needs to change, more than just 2 members can be a part of the state committee, 7 counties control half the votes on the state committee, to adopt the new bylaws there needs to be 2/3 approval of state committee members, Pinellas County Democrats have been supportive of the change, other members of the state committee who control a majority of the vote who are not inclined to change the status quo, there needs to be conversations with other Democrats around the state to support the need to diversify the party (numbers, participation, demographics of membership) and create change, expandthetable.org website you can indicate your support for changing the bylaws and if you are interested in state committee positions


Sergeant of Arms Report

  • N/A


Campaign Report –

  • N/A


Credentials Report – Doug Landau

  • Karen deserves thanks for initiating the plan to update records with phone numbers and email addresses, so that you will receive meeting notices, district chairs have forms, <20 people were absent last month, people are going through the procedure to get their absences excuse, if you show up you need to sign in
  • District Chairs with new members
    • Barbara Scott – Joyce Abelson
    • Paul Ford – 7 people David Winchel & Lucy, Kim Holland, Mary Saunders, Kim Neimeier, Kristine Post, Dave
    • Ginny Nelson – Dana Polk
    • Jen Griffith – reinstate Michelene Everett,
    • Matt Byrd – Antwon Jackson, reinstate Brett Bell
    • Denise Lombardi – reinstate Eric Lynn, Judy, William Wells, Halobosco, Sean Savall, Samantha Fenwick, Jonathan DeMayo, Sherri Sexton
  • Motion by Ramona Mae Clark, Seconded by Rebecca Falkenberry, approved


District Chairs Report – N/A

Office Manager Report – N/A

Outreach Report – Matt Byrd

  • We want to be in Black communities North and South county, groom voter base and tighten up messaging, and knock on doors, thank Paul Ford for contacts in north county, gearing up for 2018, people power is what’s going to make the blue wave happen, renew Black Caucus membership


Old Business – N/A

New Business – N/A

Announcements –

  • Tarpon Dem Club, want to start clubs in high schools, Palm Harbor, East Lake, Tarpon High (there was one once before), goingerald@gmail.com if you are interested in creating a club
  • Young Democrats – take a photo to show support for human rights of the people in the  Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Johnny – last Friday of month in Clearwater, show Dems serving the people, March 20th meeting potluck, find events on FB
  • South St Pete Club – 3rd Saturday of the month, 6 walk teams organized, consulting on March for Our Life, who wants to be part of leadership team in Pinellas, want 100% coverage from all the high school, like the FB page, 3/17 is the next meeting talk about gun protection laws
  • Denise Lombardi – Sunrise lanes 4/28 4 – 6 pm bowling, 2nd Monday of every month at Allendale Methodist Church,
  • Stonewall Dems, honoring Karl Nurse for leadership, at the Catalou (old Manhattan Casino ) 642 22nd Street S, 6:30 – 8:30, 2/23, $25 suggested donation,
  • Mary Lou Ambroze – get candidates to the club meeting and introduce them to everyone
  • Joe Barclay – current chair of veterans caucus, March event, need a central place to hold 15-20 people, Vice chair of PSTA – Spring Break in Clearwater congestion by having free parking at the center then a free PTSA trolley to the circle at Clearwater Beach,
  • Susan – AA Woodsen history museum, Sunday night St. Pete’s elected officials 4 – 6 pm , (2040 9th Ave S)

Candidates –

  • Fl Attorney General – Ryan Torrens – was in Tallahassee with students from Parkland, localities can’t do anything about gun control, if he is Attorney General he is not going to enforce the law (preventing municipalities from having their own gun control laws) so localities can protect their citizens, will stand up to the NRA, www.ryantorrens.com, need volunteer help
  • Alex Heeren – state house rep district 66, local, LHS grad, UF, worked in public schools, believes in well funded public schools, against private and charter unaccountable schools, house of reps wouldn’t even debate about the guns in the FL legislature, Dems will do a lot of good, Eagle Scout, believes in public service, protect the environment, on board for PCYD and assists with feeding homeless on 3rd Tuesday in Clearwater, need volunteers (call and canvas) sign up for voters and need to raise money for AlexHeeren.com
  • Jennifer Webb – when Dems vote and get involved, we win, we all rallied together to get Margaret Good to win way ahead, house district 69, have to build on this momentum, need to join the team to help her push across the finish line, can’t be silent as kids begged to have a bill heard, need morally courageous leaders now more than ever, canvas Sunday noon to 3 pm meeting in Gulfport, fundraiser on February 28th at the Iberian Rooster,
  • Nicholas Wright – 12 years a teacher, shed tears for Sandy Hook, shed tears again after Parkland, District 7 seat for school board, don’t want to see any more children killed or damaged at school, need more resources for the wounded souls, more mental health resources, more help to the families to avoid the morally horrendous acts,
  • Steven Perenich – District 12 for congress, reset relationship between govt and people, resources are limited leads to us vs them – it is a lie to benefit a rigged system that destroys communities and families, opposition to the disease of the lie of the lack of resources, consultant firm started with 8 out of work friends and family and by valuing persons over people we became the largest local tax practice in the state, progressive, my values are in collision with current philosophy, medicare for all which is good for families and businesses, full employment initiative and give us a 21t century infrastructure, justice with a living wage that rebuilds working class and strengthen nation, standing with children and young adults demanding new gun laws to close loopholes in background and 6 month investigation licensing process, comprehensive campaign finance reform, new limits for lobbyists, term limits, represented by people working for people not money and power, new relationship to join the revolution for democracy, March 2nd at Silver Kings Brewery coinciding with the first Friday.


Speaker: Ken Welch – Susan thanked Jen Griffith for bringing attention to Black History Month, local, Lakewood graduate, band brat, USF Bull and FAMU Rattler, bikes around the community, plays the sax, elected to Pinellas Board of County Commission in 2000, father was voted to St. Pete city council – David Welch, history of public service, 2000-2012 only had 1 Dem on county commission, currently 4 Dems

  • Thank you for Democrat support from 1 to a majority Dem commission the first time in 15 years.  4 P’s – pray, plan, prepare and perform, thank you to the PCDP, comments don’t need to be written because the things are happening around us, witnessing a peaceful revolution in our nation, in the midst of tragedy but out of this tragedy we will be moving into triumph, one is the epidemic of gun violence to the point of numbness (58 in Vegas, 49 in Orland Pulse, 17 at high school) one gunman caused these tragedies, but a revolution is being born, watch the protests in Tallahassee and DC, the town hall victims stood without fear of NRA’s blood money, the junior stood against Marco Rubio , Nelson and Deutsch have been advocating gun control for 10 years, it took the nation this tragedy to understand that sensible gun regulation is for the future of out nation, Broward sheriff called out the NRA, the right doesn’t own public safety, faith nor patriotism, time to take those things back, Christ, Bilirakis and aides for Nelson and Rubio were at a meeting and receive a text about a shooter at NEHI, Long was very forthright about Bilirakis is just cowardly and people are dying. Seal and Maroni Republicans told them they were cowardly, too for supporting gun rights, 97% support universal background checks, 2/3 support an AR ban, Rubio couldn’t say he wouldn’t take NRA money because so indoctrinated in the power of a few, that path will lead to the revolution going faster, Republicans this week refused to bring an Assault Rifle ban to up to a vote, Scott refused to attend the CNN town hall – tragic failure of leadership, this movement is fueled from the heart – moral authority,  this issue is not going away, will fuel a new generation of voters, Trump administration is another failure, failed every test of decency, competency and leadership, Gov’t shut down, no credible around the world,, puppet to a foreign power, lying is a new art form. Totally unfit for office, his presidency is the definition of tragedy, buy out of this Dems will be triumphant as seen in elections around the country, change is on the way, need to continue to do the work at home, Pat Gerard needs to be supported to keep Dem majority on the Pinellas County Commission, District 6 needs someone to run as a Dem. Imagine 5 Dems on the Commission, the revolution is happening, Dem principles are the best thing for our country.
  • Q – how to tap into the young people involved in the Democratic party, Johnny Boykins – the young people need to speak with their own voice.  
  • Ken Welch – need access to the processes, young people need to find solutions, hopefully the YD’s are doing that and energized,
  • Johnny  – access to beaches $5 for Ft. Desoto – a lot of money for some in the community
  • Ken send an email to put in the public comments, still operating on 1989 level of staff, gov’t assistance gets a discount, yearly pass is cheaper, homestead exemption will hit fund by $17 million, because Corcoran limits taxes, if Rays goes to Tampa – $8 million of debt tax is back to the county
  • Who are you supporting for governor?  Gillum is a fellow rattler, wants to see someone who can speak to our issues without wavering, Levine has a strong presence, want someone to win like Graham’s strength – will vote for the Democrat
  • Sting on unlicensed  contractors –
  • Welch – state created a license board for contractors, wants the jurisdiction to come under the county commission to fix the problems, to get the small businesses licenses and prevent scams from unlicensed contractors
  • Ban Styrofoam per Jasina
  • Welch – Jasina send best practices to me
  • Constitutional Review Commission meeting in St. Pete on March 13 from 1 – 7 pm. What’s the big issue?
  • Welch – roll back CRA (community review areas) to fund programs to get people out of poverty, oil drilling issue opposed to gulf drilling, are the 2 worst, can’t legislate gun regulation will be removed from office and fined $5,000

Adjournment – Jan Lund motion to adjourn, Jen Webb 2nd to adjourn at 8:55

Minutes Completed – by Grieta Patenaude, Secretary PCDEC