Recap of Sep 25 membership meeting


6:00 Doors open-pizza available for $5 per person
6:30 Call to order
6:35 Approval of Minutes from August 28, 2018 Meeting
6:40 Treasurer’s Report
6:45 October 20 Dinner – Mark your calendar and signup
6:50 Fall precinct walking volunteers – Signup to assemble and to walk
6:55 Announcements
7:00 Matt Duffy, Superintendent of West Contra Costa Unified School District
7:30 ECDC Endorsement Panel: AC Transit Director at Large
7:30 California Proposition Endorsements (#3, #5, #7, #10)
8:30 Adjourn


1. 630 Meeting called to order
2. 639 started taking minutes.
3. Volunteers needed for Precinct Walking

3.1. Volunteers are asked to just ensure that packets get delivered to homes by October 8th. This is when the absentee ballots arrive at homes.
3.2. Our goal is to reach out to new members of the El Cerrito/Kensington Community.
3.3. Another goal is to market our club endorsements.
3.4. There was a signup sheet at the meeting.
3.5. We need volunteers to prepare packets on Thursday September 27, 2018 at 7pm.
3.6. Sign up to walk one or multiple precincts.
3.7. See Greg Lyman for more information.
3.8. Do not place packets on screen doors.
3.9. Do not place packets in the mailboxes.
3.10. We will provide create ways to leave the packets at the door.
3.11. There are 121 different walks, so we need at least 26 volunteers.
3.12. Pick up packets from 7 Pomona starting Tuesday, October 1, 2018.


4. Betty makes motion to suspend the 10 day noticing rule and vote on Measure FF. Hilary amends motion to include endorsement of one candidate for the US Senate Race.

4.1. Champagne seconds the motion as amended.
4.2. A unanimous vote carried motion

5. Betty brought our attention to the Mailing on measure FF – She asks that we consider endorsing Measure FF to support the East Bay Regional parks. Measure FF will continue existing voter approved taxes to support local parks. It is just an extension of an existing tax and it is not an increase in taxes.
6. Al Miller announces that the El Cerrito Library friends are sponsoring a local book titled the “The 57 Bus”.

6.1. Multiple books have been donated to readers.
6.2. These books tend to be available at the Community Center, City Hall, or the Library.
6.3. “The 57 Bus: a True story of two teenagers and the crime that changed their Lives”, Dashka Slater, 2017
6.4. Please return any read books back to Al, the Library, or any associate from the Library so that the books can be distributed to other readers.
6.5. In addition, there is an event sponsored by and at the Library on October 9th. There will be two student discussion student groups from 6:30-8:00 pm.
6.6. Once the community is done reading the books, the Friends of the Library would like to take custody of the books at end of program. These books will then be going to English teachers at El Cerrito High School.
6.7. The book is about two 14-year old Oakland teenagers, Sasha and Richard and the crime that occurred on the 57 Emeryville – MacArthur Blvd AC Transit Bus. The author describes an event in Oakland, “where Sasha’s skirt is set on fire. The author is telling a story of each individual and on how they came together and the subsequent trial”.
6.8. It made Al aware of new words and it helped to get his language updated on newer terms; in terms of modern pronoun use.

7. Michael announces that the county democratic central committee has noticed each club.

7.1. We can have a vote at the county central committee, but we need to change our bylaws to indicate how to select that one person.
7.2. The candidate selected will have to attend central committee sessions to vote.
7.3. See note from Sue Hamil on the Central Committee re-organization meeting in January.
7.4. There was a question about club officers being allowed to represent club?
7.5. The answer will be in our bylaws.
7.6. There is a deadline for action as specified in email sent to club board.
7.7. Greg is the bylaws keeper.
7.8. He was planning to bring up the topic of the club bylaws at the October 20th dinner.
7.9. See the upcoming newsletter for more details.
7.10. The information from the central committee sent to club leaders has some language. We just have to review two sentences.

8. Hari announces his proposed resolution on stronger jobs and economy.

8.1. Hari self-published his own book: “Rejuvenating America”.
8.2. Download the 20 page free guide from
8.3. Provide your feedback to improve both, first by email and then later on the blog “Rejuvenate Talk” –
8.4. The aims of the guide and book include:
8.4.1. Understanding and overcoming the dangers posed by Trump and his Republicans.
8.4.2. Uniting the movements that have arisen in opposition to them.
8.4.3. Detailing a bold, courageous and constructive vision.

9. Champagne Brown, Membership Vice President,

9.1. Renew your club membership today and it is good until the end of 2019.
9.2. Dues are: $20 for a single, $30 for two people at the same address, and add $12 to each for printed mailings of the newsletter.

10. October 20 Annual Club Dinner

10.1. Dinner payments are also available online or Greg can take cash payments.
10.2. Dinner tickets are $20 for a single or $40 for two.

Matt Duffy

11. Our Superintendent will present an overview of the West Contra Costa Unified School District and the many challenges that face the district going into the new school year. Those challenges include: limited budgets, security concerns, curriculum, discipline issues, and the ongoing issues involving Charter vs. Public Schools.
12. Duffy spent nine years in the Oakland Unified School District serving as a principal and an Area Superintendent. As an Area Superintendent, he saw a portfolio of 15 schools including middle and high schools throughout the city. Before coming to WCCUSD in 2016, Duffy served as the Assistant Superintendent in Milpitas Unified. He was in charge of teaching and learning, leadership, enrollment, technology, special education, and Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) development. Superintendent Duffy is the ninth Superintendent in WCCUSD history. He lives in Oakland with his wife Tamara and their three children.
13. Mister Phillips presents and introduces Matt Duffy as the Superintendent for the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

13.1. Matt was a teacher in Harlem.
13.2. He was also a Principal in the Oakland Unified School District Principal.
13.3. Matt also spent time in the Milpitas School District.
13.4. And now Matt has over three years as the West Contra costa Unified School District Superintendent.

14. Matt started by describing general school district in broad strokes.
15. See his Roadmap handout.
16. Today WCCSUSD has over 30,000 students.
17. It serves five cities: El Cerrito, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Kensington, and El Sobrante.
18. There are six comprehensive high schools.
19. Goal: Achieving students.
20. Goal: Thriving employees.
21. Goal: Engaged communities.
22. Over one third of the student population is classified as English learners.
23. Goal: Increase the quality of teaching and learning.
24. Improved salaries will help schools.
25. Goal: Make salaries competitive in West Contra Costa School District.
26. We have a mandarin-immersion school, which started last year run. This is a first from a traditional school district.
27. District enrollment is growing, especially at Fairmont & Korematsu.
28. Enrollment is flatter in Richmond. Could it be housing, gentrification, and charters in Richmond?
29. There are nine new Principals.

Questions for Matt

30. Al says thank you for your continued support in truth and your recruiting program.
31. Betty Brown asks: “What requirements does District impose on additional funding for English learners, homeless or fostering? How do we document what the sites are spending with their money?

31.1. A: We have increased and given more agency to a single plan for student achieve for foster youth, English learners. Check the plan and it goes to the board for approval.

32. Mike:”1. Talk about more retention for teachers. Are you eliminating nurses or are you looking at certificated teachers?”

32.1. A: Certificated teachers, but nurses are struggling because they make more outside the school district.
32.2. We are having trouble retaining across the board and this includes those that are certificated.
32.3. The Kennedy family of schools is losing the most teachers. We are trying to provide extra support there.
32.4. We do not have a problem retaining counselors.
32.5. We do have statistics on UC/state acceptance but we do not track community college enrollment. I have statistics of UC/CSU but don’t have data on community college.

33. Question: It can’t be easy to raise teacher salaries. How did we do it?

33.1. A: We had extra money from the state and used it to improve teacher salaries. We also looked for any extra money and scrubbed the budget to close vacant positions. This reduced $10 million for now but need to plan for future. We have hard choices around shifts as a district and we are streamlined with resources. We have to stick to core business.

34. Dollene Jones asks – “Is there any concern about AC Transit cutting bus service to schools”

34.1. Working on situation to get more busses to Korematsu for after school programs. Not aware of any reduction in bus lines. Will go back and ask to ensure there no reductions to servicing schools.

35. Charter school deficits – We cannot deny charter school applications.

35.1. Charter schools cause loss of enrollment and loss of funding for public schools.
35.1.1. Yes charter schools do worry Matt Duffy on future funding.
35.1.2. 100 kids going to charter schools is a loss of $1 million dollars.
35.1.3. Helms Middle School lost 100 kids. Matt Duffy is doing what is under his control. That is to make WCCUSD schools as attractive schools.
35.2. Rocket ship Charter was denied by board, county, and rejected by state which helped local schools.
35.3. Why are schools choosing out?
35.3.1. Enable district or enable legislation that reviews fiscal impact for granting charter schools.
35.4. Retirement benefits costs $20 million.
35.5. Each kid’s contribution is greater when WCCUSD loses kids to charter schools.

36. What is the reason for lack of achievement in Math for African American students in students?

36.1. A: I would like to argue that there are a lot of factors
36.1.1. What is quality of teaching? Quality is significant. Our goal is to improve the quality of teaching.
36.1.2. I need to get the core instruction to be better. We are doing stuff to increase funding so as to improve the quality of teaching.
36.1.3. How do you get people to stay? How do you raise money to cover salaries?
36.2. Get quality teachers in order to improve student achievement.
36.3. We provide an additional five days of professional training.
36.4. We also provide two day early literacy training.
36.5. It is fundamental of teaching to improve literacy.
36.6. We prefer to get away from teacher housing to shift focus and to be an organization about teaching and learning. But we need teacher housing to remain competitive in the Bay Area.

37. Music do you have course in Music starting in 4th grade?

37.1. A: Yes, we do play and grow music programs as well. We do have coral and orchestra programs at schools.
37.2. There can never be enough music. My son plays the violin.

38. Dwight asks: “As a former high school teacher, I understand the importance of high school. Is the K-8 program the same in depth as the high school experience?”

38.1. A: We do monitor the junior high school experience.
38.2. Korematsu likes the smaller intimate environment.
38.3. Pre-high schools do have a comprehensive environment.
38.4. Chinese-English learners do have options including dual immersion at three kindergarten programs and at Serra Adult School.
38.5. East Richmond hills have three new classes of kinder for mandarin and for racial/ethnic and social economic diversity. We do have a high number of low income students.
38.6. Mandarin immersion is carried and supported by parents.

39. Last question is about volunteers at Lovogna DeJean. Why was the writing program discontinued?

39.1. The local sites make to make their own decisions on what they do with funds.
39.2. DeJean voted to not support a writing coach – another school said yes.

40. Thank you for coming for Contra Costa schools and we are looking at different food options at schools. We are looking at organic locally grown food and many other choices.


41. Motion to endorse local Measure FF.

41.1. It provides for wildflower protection, visitor use, public access, trails, and creeks.
41.2. It is $12 per parcel per year.
41.3. Funds go to upgrading Huber Park it does benefit us directly.
41.4. Support: 20 hands
41.5. Opposed: none opposed
Two abstentions
41.6. Motion passes

42. Deleon versus Feinstein

42.1. Hilary endorses Senator Dianne Feinstein to be our Senator – she is the ranking Democrat on the Finance and Judiciary committees.
42.2. She also supports the Desert protection act and gun control.
42.3. Deleon fought to protect the Giudice reservoir in California but he could not get through the committee.
42.4. Deleon co–authored the bill on allowing Charter school funding from state funds. Deleon is for STEM research and he supports clean energy.
42.5. All in favor of Feinstein 17
42.6. All in favor of Deleon 4
42.7. Abstentions 1
42.8. Feinstein is endorsed

Dollene Jones, candidate for AC Transit Board at Large

43. Candidate Jones is Co-Founder and CEO of Abundance Worldwide Enterprises and was an AC Transit bus operator for more than 21 years.
44. In her introduction, Dollene shares her experience driving an AC Transit bus over the Bay Bridge during the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Questions for Candidate(s)

45. With the baby boomers retiring – how do you propose improving a diverse workforce?

45.1. A: Retention of drivers is a challenge in light of a new marijuana bill.
45.2. Create a Re-entry program.
45.3. We need bus cleaners.
45.4. Go should go to where the people are.
45.5. This has never done before.
45.6. Bring interest back into transit.

46. What is the five year infrastructure plan?

46.1. I got this at the AC Transit Board Meeting: The budget year-end update report.

46.2. According to the report we have an unaudited financial results of a $12 million surplus. This is due to $4.1 million higher than expected revenues.
46.3. Capital of $11.2 million is leaving a surplus.
46.4. AC transit has new home. The Salesforce lease of $2.2 billion.
46.5. How does the agency coordinate with BART; because BART gets the biggest piece of the pie?

47. What can the agency do about the housing crisis?

47.1. We should use AC Transit driving. For example, run the busses late at night and use busing for housing the homeless. The whole bus can be filled up.
47.2. We should use the building at 106 and International to refurbish the buses.
47.3. Drivers are not showing to work. Drivers live in Pittsburgh/Antioch. Many drivers have to sleep at AC Transit due to their long commutes.
47.4. I live out in Richmond, and I say “NO on Proposition 10”. Rents are too high.
47.5. Get the corporations like Chevron to help out more because it does not contribute enough to the community. Chevron should build right here.
47.6. I am currently into driving a dump truck and I’m learning about construction and engineering.
47.7. This is my fifth time running for this seat.
47.8. I say No on Prop 6 – do not screw Transit. California is so big and we have so many roads to build.
47.9. I support a bus only lane across the bay bridge.

48. What are the significant budget challenges of AC Transit?

48.1. Contract services with BART. The budget says $858,000 is spent on BART Bay Bridge activity.
48.2. Starting in February from 4am to 5am use AC transit to pick up service due to BART track closures. AC transit will pick up slack. I tell the people of Vallejo, what happens when this train does not show up?

49. Final Words from Dollene Jones running for AC Transit Board Directors at large. In her summary, Dollene is endorsed by the East Bay Women’s club and San Francisco Evolve. And more importantly she is endorsed by Mister Phillips, our club and board member.
50. Candidate Joel Young was invited but not present.

Remaining California Proposition Endorsements (#3, #5, #7, #10)

#3 Water Bond Measure

51. Do we wish to take a different position on Proposition 3 on the Water Bond?
52. The state Democratic Party took a no position because it did not get a 60% approval. It did get a majority vote but it was not enough for the endorsement.
53. Environmentalist Jerry Merrill wrote this proposition for: long term drought preparedness, repair Oroville Dam and other run offs. This would not build a new dam. Supported by Garamendi.
54. Ducks Unlimited supports it.
55. Total cost will be $17 billion over long term.
56. In terms of dam building – it carries through for the life of the bond.
57. Sierra club opposed, because it could be used to build dam.
58. Safe the Bay Save San Francisco is strongly in favor of this bond.
59. A support a lot of clean safe drinking water.
60. Al is troubled by tolls; this bond is paid for by us. This competes for the same funds that goes to general obligation bonds. The nature of bonds are to be repaid in the future.
61. Hilary is requests clarification about the comment “who are the beneficiaries”. The State of California are not specific beneficiaries but they are to pay the bond. This dilutes the money and there is no new revenue for this bond.
62. A label of supported by environmentalist does not necessarily make it environmentally friendly.
63. The measure does not ensure that we get the type of clean water and it does not really address the drought issues.
64. One member says opposed because program does not address the exact issues
65. Betty is recommending a no vote based on her research into past California bond measures. While many are worthy projects, according to the Sierra club, the proponents have added many items to help rich investors profit at taxpayer’s expense. We all have previously approved $31 billion for various water projects, and roughly 1/3rd of those bonds are still available to use as of June 2018. These statements were signed by the Chairman and Executive Committee of the Sierra Club.

#5 Transfer Tax

66. Proposition 5 – The state Democratic Party said we should oppose the transfer tax assessment.
67. It was previously called the moving penalty for the elderly.
68. California Teachers oppose it because money will leave local cities.
69. Rental association supports it. Richer can take away downsized home from poorer services.
70. It further raises cost of housing.
71. Money not coming back to the local community.
72. Question is why 55 when everyone else is 65?
73. Only 11 counties in California do this.

Proposition #7

74. Members had lively discussion about understanding how this measure would work out.
75. We get more sun late in summer and more morning sun in the winter with daylight savings time.
76. Minute Taker left meeting around 8:30 before the meeting was adjourned. Discussion on the remaining propositions continued past 8:30pm. For more information check the final endorsements at our club website.