PDC General Membership Meeting
September 10, 2020
PDC members present: Brian Murtha, Nora Hochman, Judy Geer, Franco Picarella, Sandra Nichols, Peter Nichols, Patty Threet, Randa Solick, Mathilda Rand, Brett Garrett, Anne Mitchel, Lee Brokaw, Gail Jack, Sarah Ringler, Paulie Seales, Nancy Krusoe, Brian Heath, LizAnn Keyes, Marcia Heath, Ed Poter, Pete Shanks. There were also 2 candidates who are not members and 6 people attended as guests.
Zoom meeting called to order by Brian. Large attendance, with over 20 PDC members and others to form a quorum for endorsement voting.
Donations to Santa Cruz City Council candidates that we endorsed at our previous candidate forum: Brian made a motion to send campaigns of Kelsy Hill, Kayla Kumar, and Sandy Brown $400 each. Franco seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
Announcements: Veterans will gather tomorrow, Sept. 11, at 5 p.m. on the steps of the S.C. County building facing Water Street to protest against Trump's comments about them. Join veterans in support.
The Progressive Alliance will be meeting Sunday, Sept. 13 at noon at the SEIU office, to discuss the contents of the Progressive door hanger for November election.
On Sept. 15, Santa Cruz for Bernie is holding a Zoom forum for Board of Education candidates. Contact Jeffrey Smedburg for information and Zoom link. (email@example.com)
First speaker: Gail Pellerin, Santa Cruz County Elections Clerk
We are 54 days out to November 3 Election Day. All County ballots will be mailed by October 5. Voters can put their completed ballots in any of the election "drop" boxes that are being set up all over the County. These boxes will be emptied daily and ongoing counting of votes will take place. Your ballot needs to be postmarked by November 3, and reach the County by November 20. Polls will be open as well, from Saturday, October 31st (wear your Covid costume!) through Tuesday, November 3. You may register and vote on the same day if you vote in person.
Military personnel located abroad are also receiving vote-by-mail ballots.
During these 4 days, Gail will be traveling through the County in a pop-up votemobile to places where it may be difficult for people to vote, e.g. Davenport, are facilities. You can track your ballot at:
You can make a change of address online without having to re-register at: voterstatus.sos.ca.gov
To contact Gail's office or for additional information: firstname.lastname@example.org
S.C. County School Board candidates. The following three candidates for office in 3 different zones of the County attended: Alissa Wall, Dana Sales, and (our very own) Sandra Nichols. Each candidate spoke for 3 minutes on their backgrounds and goals as Board Trustees. PDC endorsed all three candidates.
Second Speaker: Mark Stone
Mark spoke mostly about current and on-going discussions in the legislature. Black Lives Matter issues have been top priority. A bill was passed in 2019 about police use-of-force procedures, to be used only when protecting loss of life. Mark believes we need more funding into training of police. Currently police forces around the state do not reflect the make-up of the communities which they are bound to "protect and serve." Not enough serious consequences for officers who use force indiscriminately. An attempt to pass a Decertification bill failed to pass in 2020. The qualification system for police recruits is also at fault, being biased against the LBGTQ community and people of color.
In 2019, Mark met with Andy Mills (S.C. City chief of police) and Sheriff Hart (S.C. County Chief) to develop a bill that was eventually passed and signed by the Governor, to end the cash bail system (and replace it with a system of "risk-assessment) that was keeping the poor (most often black and brown people) locked behind bars while wealthier people could pay their way out of jail. This year's Prop. 25 would keep the ban on cash bail. Stone encourages us to vote yes.
One ray of hope: there is a bill called the Crisis Act on the Governor's desk to start a pilot program of alernative responses to law enforcement when responding to 911 calls.
And, Stone had a quick comment on the fires in our state. He explained how we were completely understaffed to respond to all these fires. One of the big reasons for this is that in the past California has replied on the prison population to fight fires for us at slave wages. Just recently a law passed to allow any prisoner who has worked as a firefighter while still in prison, is now eligible to become a firefighter when released.