July meeting preview

Upcoming July 24, 2018 Meeting Preview – ECDC Leadership

Meeting will be held on July 24, 2018 at the Presbyterian Church at 545 Ashbury Ave, El Cerrito 94530. Meeting begins at 6:30 PM.


  • 6:00 Doors Open:  Pizza available ($5)
  • 6:30  Call to Order
  • 6:30  Approval of Minutes of June 26, 2018 Meeting
  • 6:35  Treasurer’s Report
  • 6:40  Summary of EBoard Actions of June 4, 2018 – Janet Abelson
  • 6:45  Committee Reports
  • 6:55  ECDC Board for next year – Peter Chau
  • 7:00 Upcoming Endorsement Meetings – Peter Chau, Mister Phillips
  • 7:05 October 20 Dinner – Mark your calendar
  • 7:10  Fall Precinct Walking Volunteers
  • 7:15  Announcements


The following are articles and speakers for the Program

7:25   El Cerrito Council Members Greg Lyman and Paul Fadelli

El Cerrito is presently a “General Law City” but is considering becoming a “Charter City.” Residents will have to allow such a change by voting in the general election this November.  As a Charter City, El Cerrito would have more options for funding important local services or important capital projects.  Potentially, the biggest impact for El Cerrito would be the ability to implement a Real Property Transfer Tax (RPTT).   A RPTT could generate approximately $2.7 million annually and would be levied whenever a property is sold and changes ownership.

The City held public hearings on May 1 and June 18th to discuss becoming a Charter City and to hear community input.  The City Council was scheduled to formally consider placing the city charter decision and implementing a RPTT on the November ballot at the July 17, 2018 regular meeting at City Hall.  If the Council agrees to put such an option on the November ballot, Councilmembers Greg Lyman and Paul Fadelli will discuss the background and advantages of becoming a Charter City and review the ballot language and the ramifications of a yes or no vote.

Hon. Greg Lyman has been a City Councilmember since 2008 and was Mayor of El Cerrito for two terms.  He is a civil engineer employed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC).  Lyman received Civil and Environmental Engineering degrees from Cornell University.  He was a member of El Cerrito’s special Charter City Committee.

Hon. Paul Fadelli was elected to the City Council in 2016.  Before that he was the Manager of State and Federal Legislation for the SF Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART).  Fadelli has worked for several elected officials in the state and federal capitals.  He holds Political Science and History degrees from UC Davis and a graduate degree in Journalism from UCLA.  He was a member of El Cerrito’s special Charter City Committee.

7:55 Robert Cheasty, Executive Director, Citizens for East Shore Parks

Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP) focuses on the acquisition and preservation of parkland in the San Francisco Bay Area.   CESP works to protect open space along the East Bay Shoreline for natural habitat and recreational purposes through advocacy, education, and outreach. The mission of CESP is to preserve and enhance the natural resources and recreational and educational opportunities of the east shore of San Francisco Bay, creating a necklace of shoreline parks from the Oakland Estuary to the Carquinez Strait.  Since its founding in 1985, CESP has worked to secure approximately 1,800 acres (730 ha) of public land, primarily through the creation of the 8.5-mile (13.7 km) long Eastshore State Park in 2002. Increasingly, CESP has been focusing on raising awareness of the issues involved with climate change and the resulting rising tides which will impact the Bay Area shorelines and parks.

Robert Cheasty, Executive Director of CESP, will discuss the impacts of climate change and global warming on our EastShore coastline and parks and what can be done about it.  He is the former President and a founding member of the organization.  For the past ten years he has served as President of the Bay Dredging Action Coalition, an organization dedicated to ecologically sound and efficient dredging solutions in San Francisco Bay.  Cheasty has also served as Mayor of Albany and held numerous public positions with the Albany Redevelopment Board, Albany Pension Board, Albany Earthquake Preparedness Program, Solano Avenue Association, and League of California Cities.  Cheasty  also heads a Berkeley law firm specializing in civil litigation located on Solano Avenue.

8:25  Adjourn   

Status of Climate Change


Climate Change represents one of the greatest challenges to global society. It is both a threat and a challenge. The threat is destruction of the life support systems of our planet Earth, on which we all depend for our well-being and our survival, and the challenge is to do this in a relatively short time – in the next few decades. The worsening symptoms are there now scientifically for all to see – rising temperatures, worsening wildfires, worsening hurricanes, worsening tornados, worsening rains, floods and mudslides, and sea rise and worsening coastal storms. Although the Climate Change Treaty was signed in 1992 at Rio de Janeiro, it was with US leadership (with Obama) that the Paris Agreement in December 2015 (23 years later) that the world finally got started with the kind of action needed. Nations said that they would like to aim at keeping temperature rise to below 2.0 degrees C, but the commitments made at Paris were estimated to only get us to a temperature rise of 3.5 degrees C – we are currently at about a 0.7-0.8 degrees average temperature rise and a carbon dioxide level exceeding 400 ppm (parts per million).  Globally, the whole process has suffered a big setback by Trump withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement, and there is now a lack of global leadership.


Trump withdrawing from the Paris Agreement may be called the “Great Leap Backwards”! Further, through the EPA and Scott Pruitt, he has succeeded in dismantling all areas that would provide solutions and taken actions like encouraging coal that would make things much worse. He has dismantled Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) that would have enabled the states to get started with their own clean power plans. North America and the US are suffering much already – Alaska’s glaciers are all melting, and no glaciers may be left in a couple of decades, wildfires are getting worse (2017 was one of the worst), worsening floods/mudslides, worsening hurricanes, and worsening tornadoes (the number of tornadoes in each cell has increased).


With national leadership headed the destructive way, states, cities and counties have had to try and take up the slack. California has been courageously trying to do its utmost, although there is some criticism as to the approach that California is taking towards solutions. Governor Jerry Brown has organized a global conference for early September in San Francisco to try and provide leadership. However, California still has many things it needs to do, both at the State level and at the local government levels.


It is easy to get disheartened. The good news is that the solutions are now there and are understood. – it needs the right type of leadership (that’s why it is critical to get the Republicans out of power), the political will and the funding to do the job. Through a combination of increased energy efficiency and renewable energy we could get the carbon reductions we need. The problem is that the more we wait and drag our feet, the higher the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the more drastic actions that will be needed. We have to move in two directions – first, totally transforming how we live, move and eat  to a low carbon society, and second repairing all of the carbon sink ecosystems – forests, oceans, soils, lakes, and coastal and coral reef ecosystems.

Future updates: In future, I will provide updates on what California’s past strategies and legislations have achieved in terms of Green House Gas (GHG) reductions, and what current bills being pushed in Sacramento are and what they are expected to achieve. (Sierra Club and Fossil Free California). It is obvious as soon as you get on our highways that our fossil fuel driven cars and traffic jams are a big contributor. So, in California we need to push for big changes in transportation (electric cars, and more mass transit, bikes and high-speed rail), and housing developments (must be the most energy efficient and all should have solar panels). At the same time, we need to start preparing all the time to mitigate the effects of our natural disasters – e.g. start preparing our forest areas before the wild fires come, and then prepare the burnt areas to resist mudslides when the rains come.

Pope Francis has recently said that if we don’t solve global warming, our civilization will be reduced to rubble. What I am saying is that if we get seriously started now locally, nationally and globally (for it is GLOBAL problem), we can transform to a much cleaner, less noisy and  joyful existence – but our lives have to be transformed – the great thing is that we will have a planet in which the natural paradise will be rejuvenated, and the productive capacity will be restored – sustainable agriculture, horticulture, forestry and every kind of natural culture (food or natural raw materials). It will a bigger version of what the US did after the dust storms of the 1920s and the 1930s, only this time it will need the activities of us non-farmers to be transformed also, and we need to show the global leadership to not only do it ourselves but also lead and cooperate with the rest of the world.

Recap of Jun 26 Membership Meeting


  • 6:00     Doors open-pizza available for $5 per person
  • 6:30     Call to order
  • 6:35     Business meeting
    • Approval of Minutes of May 2018 Meeting
    • Treasurer’s Report
  • 6:40     Summary of EBoard actions of June 4, 2018
  • 6:45     Committee reports
  • 6:55     4th-of-July volunteers
  • 7:00     Deadline for paying membership fee to vote on endorsements
  • 7:05     Fall precinct walking volunteers
  • 7:10     Announcements
  • 7:25     Kim Alexander, President and Founder, California Voter Foundation (CVF)
  • 7:55     Maria Alegria, Chair, Democratic Chair of Contra Costa County Democratic Party


6:30 Meeting called to order

  1. There is no conflict with too many EC Council board members because there are no discussions or agenda items regarding El Cerrito Council items.


  1. There is a mis-statement in the May 22 general meeting minutes. Erase this statement completely “Institute for food and nutrition is a broader issue.”  Betty clarified that her comment on food and nutrition was that the institute for Food and Development Policy, otherwise known as Food First.  She has a serious concern about industrial food policies.   The Institute for Food and Development Policy, is a nonprofit organization based in Oakland.   More information is available at https://foodfirst.org.


  1. Betty moved that the May 22 minutes be approved as modified
    1. Motion passed by affirmation of the majority of the members with just one member abstaining.
  1. Maria makes motion to waive the ten-day notice rule.
    1. Seconded by Cheryl and motion passed without opposition.
  1. Maria makes motion for our club to sponsor the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County annual BBQ for $100.
    1. Seconded by Jonee Grassi and motion passed unanimously.

Action Items

  1. Kim is going to make Peter her presentation so that it can posted to the club website.
  2. Hari is going to find speakers on climate change and coordinate the speaking schedule with Paul Fadelli.
  3. CDP: Executive Board meeting in July 13-14 will vote to endorse US Senate Race (60%). Meeting will be held at the Marriott Oakland City Center in Oakland, CA.  Maria will send information on this to Greg and Paul.

Kim Alexander, President and Founder, California Voter Foundation

  1. Kim is introduced by Paul Fadelli, whom together go way back to the times when they worked together on energy policy for the California Senate.
  2. The California Voter Foundation (CVF) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working through research to improve the election process so that it serves the voters. It was founded in 1994.
  3. Problems: Foreign adversary placed a person in the presidency on a technology level that affected the voter machinery. Voter systems are not auditable. Voter software is proprietary. “We all play role in security for elections”. We will discuss opportunities and challenges for voters in 2018.
  4. CVF wants to ensure that votes do count, that there are equal treatment and opportunities for voters, that there is more funding for election administration, and that there is voting system security and meaningful audits of ballots.
  5. CVF cares about:
    1. voting security, and
    2. voter privacy in the digital age.
  6. CVF opposed paperless electronic voting and led fight for voter verified paper trail.
  7. CVF led effort to require internet tools for reliable election information and online disclosure of campaign finance data.
  8. Anyone with enough money can place an initiative in the ballot but it is a lot harder to pass.
  9. The CVF created the online voter guide and is open to feedback on using songs to attract younger voters.
  10. The 2018 challenges include:
    1. Varying election models in neighboring counties.
      1. Talk to board of supervisors if you care about voting.
      2. Five counties are implementing the voter’s choice act. Neighborhood polling places replaced with countywide centers.
      3. Napa, San Mateo, Sacramento, Nevada, and Madera can vote at any center.
      4. 53 other counties are still on old system.
      5. See http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voters-choice-act/
      6. Latinos are less likely to vote by mail because postage is an issue.
      7. California Assembly Bill (AB216) to provide postage paid envelopes to people that want to vote by mail.
    2. Signage verification and vote-by-mail missing rejections.
      1. Voters not notified that their votes are rejected.
      2. 58,000 mail ballots rejected in the November 2016 statewide election according to the Secretary of State.
      3. Review California Senate Bill 759 for the latest legislation on voter procedures.
    3. Suggestions for improving your own vote by mail
      1. Keep copy of form signature.
      2. Match your signature to your driver’s license especially if you register online.
      3. Online voter registrations use the driver’s license signature.
      4. Top two reasons for rejected mailed ballots are due to missing signatures or mismatched signatures.
      5. Third party return of voted ballots may encourage ballot parties. In 2017 some campaigns went to homes to deliver ballots for them.  The voter has the right to refuse this offer.
    4. Foreign interference of elections.
      1. California voting systems require voter verified paper trails.
      2. We also need stronger post-election audits.
      3. A quirk in the code has weakened post-election audits by limiting the types of ballots that are required to be audited.
    5. The need for increased funding to support elections.
      1. There is a question to ask the governor what she or he will do to ensure local governments get support from the state.
  11. CVF maintains all its information archived. All its voter guides go back to 1994. There is a new California registration law that allows a voter to re-register up to the day of the election.
  12. El Cerrito does both: early voting and re-registration.
  13. Question: What is the percentage turn-out in places that vote by mail?
    1. Answer: Will find out that preliminary numbers show healthy turnout.  For example, King County, Washington had 30 to 37% increase when vote by mail was supported with postage paid envelopes.
  14. Question: any ideas about one-person one-vote?
    1. Answer: Registrar at Contra Costa County reported results once per week, while Alameda County reported results more frequently.
    2. Do we want results daily, weekly, more frequently? Some counties prefer to verify ballots before reporting their numbers.
  15. Question from Peter Chau: Regarding volunteering in an election versus being hired by professionals in areas such as New York. Even volunteers should get background checks. How do we trust them with ballots?  How do we improve so that one person equals one vote?
    1. Answer: Do you recall taking an oath at the start of the election volunteer activity? Yes, California voting is highly decentralized.
  16. Question from Hari Lamba: I have a question about the right to vote or about voter suppression.   Is there an online proposal for the Right to Vote Constitutional amendment?
    1. Answer: We need to strengthen democracy to fight Trump such as purging voter rolls. There is a movement to pass voter identification laws, to limit early voting, etc.
  17. Action Item: Kim will forward tonight’s power-point presentation to Peter Chau and the PDF presentation will be posted online.
  18. For more information visit https://calvoter.org/donate.
  19. Other contact information: kimalex@calvoter.org, @kimalex3, @calvoterfdn, facebook.com/calvoterfdn (916) 441-2494

Business meeting – Started at 7:21 pm

Treasurer’s Report

  1. Club balance is $10,684 including $132 deposits due to membership renewals minus $159 in expenses (website renewals)
  2. Janet Abelson made motion to acknowledge Treasurer’s report.
  3. Michael seconded motion, and motion was carried.

Summary of EBoard actions of June 4, 2018

  1. Chris and Sandy, authors of “Love Trial” will be our guest speakers at our annual dinner.

Committee reports – None

4th of July volunteers

  1. The Club still needs volunteers to man our club table for the 4th of July festival.  Connect with Greg or Champagne for morning, mid-day, or afternoon shifts.
  2. Our club will make a presence from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Deadline for paying membership fee to vote on endorsements

  1. The deadline to renew membership is July 11.  Only paid members that renew by July 11 will be allowed to vote for the endorsements.
  2. Connect with Greg or Champagne if you have doubts about your membership status.

Fall precinct walking volunteers

  1. Al Miller has volunteered for the Precinct Walk.  We aim to deliver endorsement flyers to 50 households per volunteer within a two-hour shift. We have around 55 routes for El Cerrito, and 15 in Kensington. We also need volunteers to organize the literature.
  2. These activities start from the third week in September to the 2nd Weekend of October.
  3. All work is done by October 10th. Only democratic candidates are endorsed by our club.
  4. Volunteers will pick up packets from Janet’s porch.


  1. A member had a question about the newsletter? Greg confirmed that the newsletter is always sent 10 days before each meeting.   Suggests checking spam to ensure that email is not getting blocked.  Newsletter is also posted on the club website.
  2. The club is looking for a Vice President of Media to publicize events. Come to the Board Meeting, which is held on the first Monday of the month.  Let Janet know if you are interested in the position.
  3. Betty Brown announced about health care for all and pushes for single payer legislation. The club officially supports single payer.  Senate Bill 562 did go through as policy but it is suspended and passage did not budge the bill.  There is a state steering committee campaign for health for all.
  4. Betty’s also passed out a newsletter written by doctors for doctors. See pnhp.org Physicians for National Health Program (PNHP) or contact  info@pnhp.org, (312) 782-0600.
  5. Jonee also spoke about Health Care for All. Jonee recommends that we put pressure on the Governor’s race to support health care for all.
  6. Jonee pointed out that you can sign up and be a member. See healthcareforall.org.
  7. SB 562 (Lara/Atkins) establishes “Comprehensive universal single payer healthcare coverage and a healthcare cost-control system for the benefit of all residents of the state.”
  8. See healthycaliforniaact.org/home for more information on the healthy California Campaign Coalition.
  9. Ruby McDonald would like to see more speakers on climate change. Her request was seconded by Hari Lamba.  Ruby recommend Cal Professor Dan Kamen who can speak to political issues on climate change.
  10. Action Item: Hari and Paul are going to find speakers on climate change and coordinate the speaking schedule with each other.
  11. Cheryl Sudduth spoke about the true fact forum in California. The board of Supervisors will hold a hearing on in the Martinez chambers on ICE and enforcement.  Need public feedback to question Sherriff on policies from 2017 and in regards to Senate Bill 54.  This meeting will be posted on the Board of Supervisor’s website at least 96 hours before the hearing is heard.
  12. The Democratic Party of Contra Costa County is inviting us to the annual BBQ, Sunday July 29, 12:00 – 4:00 PM, Rankin Park, 100 Buckley Street, Martinez, CA. Tickets available at ContraCostaDems.org.  $25 regular, $10 students (12-25 years), $1 child (11 & under).  Carpool encouraged – free limited parking in lot and street.  Free shuttle available from nearby parking lot.  Nearby public transit.  Sponsorships: $100 Grassroots (1 ticket), $250 supporter (2 tickets), $500 activist (4 tickets),  $1,000 resist (8 tickets).  For more information: sue4dems@gmail.com or (925) 330-3723.  Make checks payable to: Democratic Party of Contra Costa County, PO Box 4112, Walnut Creek, CA  94596.
  13. Celebrating Diana Becton’s victory in being the next District Attorney. There is a fundraising event on June 28th at 1000 Burnett, Concord.  Suggested donation is $67 per person.  See https://secure.actblue.com/donate/stand4diana or contact laurie@earpevents.com.  Donations can be made to Diana Becton for District Attorney, 2018,  4200  Park Blvd, #128, Oakland CA

7:55     Maria Alegria, Chair,

Democratic Chair of Contra Costa County Democratic Party

  1. The June elections had about a 36% voter turnout.
  2. Maria shared a handout with statewide and county candidates advancing to the November election
  3. The results are as follows:
    1. US Senate: Kevin DeLeon (D), Diane Feinstein (D)
    2. Governor: Gavin Newson (D), John Cox ®
    3. Governor (endorsement): Eleni Kounalokis (D), Dr. Ed Hernandez (D)
    4. Secretary of State: Alex Padilla (D), Mark Meuser ®
    5. Controller: Betty Yee (D) Konstantinos Roditis ®
    6. Treasurer: Fiona Ma(D), Greg Conlon ®
    7. Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara (D), Steve Poizner (NPP)
    8. Attorney General: Xavier Becerra (D), Steven Bailey ®
    9. Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond (D) 35.6% our endorsed candidate, Marshall Tuch (D) 37.2%
    10. BOE: Dist 2 (Close Contest): Malia Cohen (D) 38.7%, Mark Burns ® 26.9%, Cathleen Galgiani (D) 25.6%
    11. Assembly District 15: (Close Contest): Buffy Wicks (D), Jovanka Beckles (D) 18,733=15.8%, Dan Kalb (D) 18,007=15.2%
    12. Assembly District 16: Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (endorsed by CDP), Catherine Baker ®
  4. Diana had 50.67% of the vote making her the winner. Diana was a success because her campaign started early. Diana also arrested some gang members and got recognition in the serial killer announcement.
  5. Lynn Mackey, County Superintendent of Schools advances to November election.
  6. Ayore Riaunda, County Assessor-Controller, did not advance to the November election.
  7. 86% voted No on P, city of Pinole “Keep Term Limits”.
  8. Around 100,000 democrats voted by mail.
  9. There was low vote by mail returns by the 2nd week that they were out.
  10. DPCCC revised its bylaws (June 21, 2018) to be in compliance with the CDP Endorsements and Open Meeting requirements. Our club does not need any bylaw ‘trickle downs’.
  11. CDP: Executive Board meeting in July 13-14 will vote to endorse US Senate Race (60%). Meeting will be held at the Marriott Oakland City Center in Oakland, CA.  Maria will send information to Greg and Paul.
  12. AD 15 Post Primary Endorsement Caucus voting late July. Convention voting Delegates that live in AD 15 that can vote (60%).
  13. November 2018 Elections: DPCCC reviewing and prioritizing races to endorse in the November Election: Club to share their own endorsement to build party unity (to avoid conflict if a club does not endorse a candidate).
    1. 19 cities: 3 mayor: Martinez, San Ramon, Richmond
    2. 18 school districts: WCCUSD
    3. 4 fire districts: Kensington, Rodeo-Hercules.
    4. 6 Special Districts: AC Transit (at large), BART District 2/East, EBMUD Ward 2, 3 (West County: Pinole/Hercules) & 4
    5. Board of Education and Contra Costa College Board: 3 seats: Ward 1 (Richmond, El Cerrito, San Pablo), 3, and 4
    6. East Bay Regional Park District, Ward 7: Pinole, Hercules, Martinez, Bay Point
    7. 15 Sanitary & Water Districts: Rodeo, Stege, West County Waste Water
  14. August 16 DPCCC meeting: By-law amendments to give Chartered Clubs voting membership at DPCCC.
  15. Michael is Chair of Endorsements County Committee. He suggests that we use the same survey to have one form and to use colors for the clubs.  His goal is to consider coordinated party endorsements.
  16. Candidate Training opens on July 11 and closes August 10th.

Meeting adjourned around 9 pm.