May Newsletter

  1. Upcoming Meeting Preview for May 28, 2019
    • Agenda – from Janet Abelson
    • Program – Labor Union Presentation and discussion of development projects in El Cerrito
    • Program – Your ECDC Membership Matters – Greg Lyman
  2. March Membership Recap – from Glen
  3. April Membership Recap – from Glen
  4. Article on Climate Action Plans – from Hari
  5. Update from Environmental Committee – from Bob/Hari
  6. Fourth of July Volunteering – from Greg
  7. Annual Dues Discount for Club Vote


May 28, 2019

Upcoming regular Membership Meeting will be held on May 28, 2019 at the Presbyterian Church at 545 Ashbury Ave, El Cerrito 94530. Meeting will start at 6:30 pm

Agenda submitted by Janet Abelson

6:00 Doors Open:  Pizza available ($5)

6:30 Call to Order

6:35 Minutes

6:40 Treasurer’s Report

6:45 Report from Club Representative to Central Committee

6:55 State Democratic Party Convention 5-31-19 to 6-2-19 in San Francisco.  Check website at for more information.

7:10 4th of July

7:15 Announcements

7:45 Program

Labor Union Presentation and discussion of development projects in El Cerrito (15 minutes) (this portion of meeting will be conducted by

Champagne Brown, as councilmembers will likely need to leave the room as topic may be considered by the El Cerrito Council.)

Your ECDC Membership Matters – Greg Lyman

Come learn how the El Cerrito Democratic Party (ECDC) plays a role in the upcoming California Democratic Party (CDP) Convention.  Greg Lyman, Vice President (VP) of Membership and a former CDP Delegate, will explain how the ECDC bylaws and our activities over a 24-month cycle fits into state-wide election cycles; why we make a difference and how we can increase our influence over state law makers.  Greg will walk through the ECDC calendar and link our actions to CDP activities. Greg is the longest tenured Executive Board member with 10 years of including serving as the Executive VP, VP Treasurer and VP Membership. Greg has worked on coordinating walk campaigns, running endorsement forum, setting up monthly meetings and the July 4th booth, organizing the Annual Dinner and revising the Bylaws and Standing Rules.  

8:29 Good of the Order

8:30 Adjourn

Recap ECDC Membership General Meeting – March 26, 2019

  • Call to Order

President Janet Abelson began the meeting of the El Cerrito Democratic Club (Club) with a quorum at 6.30pm.  

  • Minutes

A motion to approve the minutes of the February 26, 2018 meeting was seconded, and approved unanimously with no abstentions.  

  • Club Reports – including report from Club representative to DPCCC

Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto discussed the March 21 meeting of the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County (DPCCC) and upcoming deadlines, including:  

  • May 1-15: Report ECDC’s paid membership; Greg Lyman following up
  • June 1:  Submission of Club charter and voting rules
  • July 9:  Pre-election submissions due

Rochelle noted that MOE (Mobilize, Organize, Elect), an electronic database, is available to assist groups like ECDC.  

The California Democratic Party Convention in San Francisco runs May 31 to June 2, Rochelle said, and will include election of the state Democratic Party Chair.  

Betty Brown inquired after her two resolutions, voted upon at the January Club meeting.  Champagne Brown said these would be presented to the DPCCC’s Issue Committee.

Joey Smith observed the DPCCC’s 2019 People’s Barbecue happens June 12, noon to 4pm, at the Concord Community Park.  

  • Treasurer’s Report

Cathy Fleming reported the Club has $10,056 in the bank and $207 in its PayPal account.  

  • Replacement of DPCCC Alternate

The DPCCC rejected the Alternate to Rochelle previously selected by the Club because that person already held a position with the DPCCC.  Hari Lamba offered his services. Greg’s motion to close nominations was seconded by Champagne, and approved unanimously by the Club membership.  Greg’s nomination of Hari Lamba as DPCC Alternate was seconded by Champagne, and approved unanimously by members.

  • Announcements

The Club’s Climate Committee meets April 11 at 7pm at Janet’s home, Hari said.  Members were encouraged to attend.

Earth Day is being observed April 13 by El Cerrito from 9am to noon, followed by a free lunch at the Community Center, Al Miller said.  

Rosa Esquivel encouraged involvement in El Cerrito’s Crime Prevention Committee and local Neighborhood Watch groups.  

  • Program:  El Cerrito Mayor Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto

Rochelle discussed what inspired her to run for El Cerrito City Council, and her plans in 2019 as Mayor.  She thanked her “fantastic husband” and her brother-in-law for their support. She suggested paying City Council members more than their current $400 monthly stipend in order to encourage more citizens to become involved.  

Her vision for El Cerrito in 2019 includes:  

  • Affordable housing strategy for “at risk populations”
  • Environment, including work by the El Cerrito Environmental Quality Committee to reduce the quantity of plastics disposed of in the city, and developing recycling industries in the state
  • Healthcare and the proposed closing of Alta Bates Hospital, where she is a nurse, and promoting Single Payer Healthcare
  • Emergency preparedness and fire prevention
  • Developing and testing evacuation routes
  • Brush clearance
  • Creating fire barriers between homes and parks
  • PG&E abatement work

Question and answer followed.  

  • Adjourn

The Club adjourned at 8.30pm.  

Recap ECDC Membership General Meeting – April 23, 2019

  • Call to Order

President Janet Abelson began the meeting of the El Cerrito Democratic Club (Club) at 6.30pm.  

  • Minutes

Minutes of the April 26, 2018 meeting were not ready, and this item was postponed.  

  • Treasurer’s Report

Cathy Fleming reported the Club has $10,042 in the bank and $208 in its PayPal account.  

  • Report from Club Representative to the DPCCC

With Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto’s absent, Champagne Brown made the report on the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County’s (DPCCC) April 19 meeting when four candidates for the California Democratic Party chair spoke.  

  • Membership and pre-endorsement process and vote in September

Michael Nye outlined the process for the California Democratic Party vote in September:  

  • Each club gets one vote for every 20 members
  • California’s primary is in March 2020 – earlier than the past – which compresses the calendar, with local endorsements likely in January 2020
  • Booth at El Cerrito’s July 4th Festival

The Club’s booth at El Cerrito’s July 4th Festival requires two to three member volunteers staffing two-hour shifts between 9am and 6pm.  Various gimmicks to draw people’s attention to the booth were discussed.

  • Announcements

The Club’s Climate Committee meeting on April 11 had five people attending.  A brochure developed by the committee on how to save energy was shared for review.  The next meeting is May 13.

  • Foreign Policy Resolutions from Wellstone Club with a request to endorse – May 1 deadline

The following resolutions, as published in the Club’s print newsletter, were read aloud, voted upon, and passed by members.  Betty Brown said she would follow up with Wellstone.

  • Peaceful Resolution of the Crisis in Venezuela

Motion to adopt the resolution by Betty, seconded by Hari Lamba.  Ayes carried with one no, two abstentions.

  • Support of Nuclear Arms Control

Motion to adopt the resolution by Betty, seconded by Hari.  Ayes carried with two abstentions.

  • Repeal of the AUMF (Military Force Authorization)

Motion to adopt the resolution by Bob, seconded by Glen Nethercut.  Ayes carried with two abstentions.

  • Audit the Pentagon

Motion to adopt the resolution by Betty, seconded by Bob.  Ayes carried with one no, two abstentions.

  • Program

There was no program.  

  • Adjourn

The Club adjourned at 7:55pm.  

Article on Climate Action Plans – Hari

Lamba Climate Action Plan – Solar System!

In order to walk the talk, I decided to start reducing my carbon footprint at the house in East Richmond Heights that I moved into in August 2017. As a first step, I bought 14 Watt LED bulbs that replaced 100 watt incandescent bulbs and am about half way done for the replaceable bulbs – these last much longer and consume much less, reducing my electric bill and my carbon emissions. Next, I just got a solar system installed for my house April 28 by Sunwork, the nonprofit contractor ( – its 3.45 Kilowatt size, three roof sets and an inverter in the garage. It produces electricity at full power about midday when the sun is high. It cost about $8,600 (although actual total may be less), I get 30% off of my taxes next year ($2,580), and so the net cost is $6,020. My annual electricity bill of about $1,000 will go to zero.  So, in 6 years I will have all of my money back, plus a hefty reduction in carbon emissions. Next steps are to get energy efficient appliances and either get a plug in hybrid or an electric car! Please see a photo of part of the solar panels on my roof.

El Cerrito Climate Action Plan (CAP)

Items to Note: The Plan was published and established in 2013 at a time when Greg Lyman was Mayor and Janet Abelson was Mayor Pro-Tem. Thanks are due to both of them for having shown the vision and the courage to establish and implement this! The document is 104 pages long and there is much information in it. So, I will include a summary this month, with more to follow next month. Janet has told me that they came up with this plan in response to the Kyoto Protocol signed in Japan in 1997, which committed industrialized nations to reduce their green-house gas (GHG) emissions by certain levels compared to 1990.

The Plan states, “The City of El Cerrito is committed to reducing pollution that causes global warming. … In February, 2011 the City Council passed Resolution 2011-12 adopting GHG emission reduction targets of 15% below 2005 levels and 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 for both municipal operations and the El Cerrito community.” Although the initial estimated numbers were higher, the latest Green-house Gas Inventory Report are reported here. These numbers are expected to be updated later this year. If the city did nothing (Business as Usual scenario), the GHG emissions were projected to increase from 130,413 tons annually in 2005 of CO2e (Carbon dioxide equivalent – that means all other gas emissions calculated so as to be equivalent to carbon dioxide) to 147,462 tons per year in 2020 and 170,203 tons of CO2e in 2035. The Climate Action Plan reduced the targets to 110,851 tons in 2020 and 91,289 tons in 2035. The City is actually doing better than its projected goal of 117,732 tons by 2015 and the actual calculated value was 112,698 tons of CO2e per year. The main areas where action was focused were commercial energy use, residential energy use, transportation and Landfill waste.

So, lets present an example of what has been achieved. the writer visits the El Cerrito Community Center frequently and was impressed by the solar system there. The Center achieved Net Zero electricity use of its operations (as much electricity used as it consumes) by its solar system installed in its parking lot and on its roof.  Here is an aerial photo provided by the city. More to follow next month.

Environmental Sub-Committee & What We Can Do to Mitigate Climate Change As has come alarmingly clear, not enough progress has been made in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to prevent global warming so that we are experiencing increasingly violent storms, wildfires, migration of wildlife, acidification of the oceans, sea level rise, etc.  As serious as global warming is and may become, however, many residents are not acquainted with or are not themselves following relatively straightforward methods of fighting climate change.

The Environmental Subcommittee is trying to get El Cerrito residents to act in three areas: Energy efficiency upgrades for their homes, getting solar panels installed, and substituting their gas cars with electric cars. Bob MacDonald feels that the brochure is a useful tool to motivate people to go to the website and will talk to the issue at a future meeting. If the solar panels are slightly over sized, they can not only produce all of the house’s electricity, but also charge the electric car overnight. The committee is seeking to do this activity by placing information on the club website and by handing out written materials that motivate and guide folks to the website. Please contact Hari Lamba ( or Janet Abelson   ( or Bob MacDonald ( for more information.

The City of El Cerrito is doing its part. As the residents of the city and surrounding areas, let’s do our part, and communicate with and motivate others in the community

ECDC at the Fourth of July Festival

Spend 90 minutes on Wednesday July 4 at the ECDC booth and listen to music from all over the world on the WorldOne stage.  El Cerrito’s July 4th Festival brings locals to together in harmony.  The club has a booth to promote our issues, attract new members and register new voters.  This year we will be promoting our agenda to influence policy makers on key issues like single payer health care in California, reduction of greenhouse gases, gun control, ending disproportional incarceration, promoting affordable housing, and defending civil/human rights and civil liberties for everyone in our community. We need volunteers in the July 4th booth who can explain why it is important to 1) elect democrats with values that align with ours and engage these elected officials to create change; 2) encourage people to join our club; 3) help set up the booth at 8:30AM; and 4) help take down the booth at 5:00PM.  Ninety (90) minute shifts start at 10:00AM, 11:30AM, 1:00PM, 2:30PM and 4:00PM. The last shift helps with take down. We are looking for 12 volunteers. Please contact Janet Abelson at or sign up at the May or June meetings.

Club to Vote on Annual Membership Dues

The ECDC Bylaws require the club to set our Annual Dues at the September meeting.  Additionally, our Bylaws say that anyone who joins after September 1 becomes a member in good standing through the following calendar year (16 months for $20).  The Executive Board would like to ask Club Members to consider a promotional offer to be extended at the 2019 Fourth of July Festival. We would like to offer individual memberships for the 30-month period of July 1, 2019 through December 2021 for the price of $40.  For new members that join between July 1 and September 1, this is a $20 discount. This amounts to three years (2019, 2020 and 2021) for the price of two years. This offer would be extended on the Fourth of July and for the entire months of July and August on our website.  New members who joined under this promotion would be eligible for discounted 2019 and 2020 Annual Dinner tickets (a potential for an additional $10 in savings).

Another promotional offer the Executive Board will be offering this year is discounted Annual Dinner tickets for Members that join or renew and attend the Annual Dinner.  ECDC discontinued offering member discounts for the Annual Dinner tickets about 6 years by offering the discounted price to all. This new promotional offer would provide a $5 discount on Annual Dinner tickets (currently estimated at $25, final ticket price to be set later this year) for each 2020 Club Member that attends the Annual Dinner. For example, an individual renewing for 2020 and buying a single dinner ticket would pay $40 instead of $45 ($20 for dinner ticket and $20 for 2020 Dues).  Similarly, a couple that joins and buys 2 dinner tickets would pay $70 instead of $80 ($40 in dinner tickets and $30 for their 2020 Annual Dues). This offer would apply from September 1 until the Annual Dinner tickets sell out. The Annual Dinner ticket discount of $5 would not apply to 2019 Members who just buy dinner tickets. Members who joined using the “3-years for price of 2-years” promotional offer described above would be 2020 Members, and eligible for the discounted Annual Dinner tickets.  

~ The End ~