Minutes of the Meeting of Longmont Area Democrats, Feb. 2, 2005
Submitted by Kathy Simon
Co-President Lee Springer called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm at the Longmont Coop at 2130 N. Main, Longmont.
He introduced Pat Waak who is running for Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party. The State Central Committee will vote in Denver on Saturday, March 5, 2005. Deb Gardner will run for “Bonus Member” on Feb. 9, 2005, and plans to vote for Pat Waak on March 5, 2005.
Treasurer Dave Ahrens reported no major expenditures, and a balance of $599. $10 dues, owed now for the year January-December, 2005, will be accepted following the meeting.
Lee Springer made a reminder announcement about the movie at Longmont Public Library on Wed. Feb. 16 at 7 pm: “The War in Iraq: Doctors and Soldiers Speak Out.” The last movie was on Jan. 12, 2005: “Unconstitutional,” and it addressed the Patriot Act.
Sheriff Joe Pelle was invited to comment on the Patriot Act and on Homeland Security. President Springer introduced him and the sheriff spoke briefly about how the Patriot Act has not changed his job one bit. A question and answer period followed.
Most of the topics came back to the facts he presented: his office will stick to the nine state constitutional statutes. Much information is sent to local law enforcers and also plenty of training and more money. The bottom line is “Public Safety” and our county jail is not certified to hold Federal prisoners. Our county sheriff is empowered to protect our state rights, not our federal rights. Martial law is not constitutional in the U.S. Martial law is for wartime only. It’s about military occupation. Criminal justice records have always been, and still are, public records. What has changed are records such as library records which once were private. Now the controversy is about releasing as “public information” who-reads-what from book stores and libraries.
Sheriff Pelle said a fear of terrorism is being used and abused to promote other agendas. The pressure is on concerning immigration enforcement. National Guards are state units commanded by the Governor, a militia called in as a last resort, and comprised mainly of 19 year olds with rifles. The Dept. of Homeland Defense is largely a central gathering of information and a sharing of resources. Communication is the biggest problem among local law enforcement agencies, since different counties use different radio communication systems. The Patriot Act changes investigative authority, not the laws. Things we should watch for: 1) keep ELECTED sheriffs, not appointed ones and 2) watch for immigration wording and law changes that hold immigrants responsible for situations beyond their control.
The Boulder County Sheriff’s Department has 350 employees and a 24-hour Language Line with interpreters. Handguns pose the biggest issues, not assault rifles.
Shari Malloy asked the question about how to send a message to Sen. Ken Salazar concerning disappointment about his vote for Condolezza Rice. Deb Gardner reminded the gathering that we first announce the issue ahead of time and then take a vote at the following meeting.
Pat Davis announced that Sen. Brandon Shaffer will discuss the state budget woes and the Economic Recovery Act (ERA) at the Longmont Public Library from 10:30 am to noon on Saturday, February 12, 2005.
Judy Lubow asked how to support change at the national level, especially in regards to the DNC chair position. Answer (from Deb Gardner): go to the online links on the Boulder County Democratic homepage. It was noted that Wellington Webb and Chris Gates support Howard Dean for Chair of the DNC.
Tim Haywood urged people to become new members of the CD 4 committee. Longmont, due to the local “Blue Vote,” will now have four members on the Fourth Congressional District Committee. Tim Haywood and Linda Feist will probably be appointed and two other members will be elected at the Feb. 9, 2005 Boulder County Central Committee meeting in Boulder. These four members will go the the March 5, 2005 meeting in Denver.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 pm and people gathered around refreshments provided by the Longmont Coop and LAD members, especially Lee Springer. Many paid their $10 dues. The next meeting will be March 2, 2005 with Mary Blue and three guest speakers from the Longmont City Council: Tom McCoy, Doug Brown, and Karen Benker.