Minutes of the Meeting of Longmont Area Democrats
March 1, 2006
Submitted by Rich Hansen
Chairperson Deb Gardner called the meeting to order at 7:10 pm. She acknowledged the snack sponsors and how appreciative we all are for their efforts. She also mentioned that there were several new faces in the audience and she welcomed them to our meeting. Deb introduced the special guests in attendance and explained the newly adopted rule that they would be recognized but not allowed to speak because of time constraints. The special guests in attendance were Karen Benker-City Councilperson, Gary Chandler- Campaign Manager for Angie Paccione and Tom McCoy- former City Councilman.
Pat Davis read the Treasurer’s report, mentioning that we have $685.65 in the checking account and $1550.00 in the small donor fund. Pat reminded the audience that yearly dues were only $10.00 and how important it is to supporting the local Democratic Party. She also mentioned that we now have a suggestion box at the check-in table and she encouraged attendees to use it.
Deb made the following announcements: (1) The meeting of the Boulder County Democratic Party on the 8th of March (2) The local Caucus meetings on the 21st of March (3) The Town hall meeting with Brandon Shaffer on the 11th of March (4) The Larimer County Democrats event on the 18th of March with Joe Wilson as the keynote speaker. Deb also explained the Caucus system and how important it is to the grassroots movement to participate in the democratic process. She also explained the Caucus system and how it leads to the delegates that go to the State Democratic Caucus and eventual selection of the candidates that are on the November ballot.
The Chairperson then introduced the first guest speaker- Tom Mayor. His main theme was how County Human Services partners with non-profit’s in the County.
Tom spoke about some general issues that face the public, Globalization, the debt burden of many third world countries, the issues involved with Multi-National Companies, and the immigration issue as it is viewed from the County, State and Federal levels.
He spoke about the working poor in our State and how the Federal Government is forcing the States to take an ever-increasing role in their support. He mentioned that 35 million dollars has been cut from the State budget, which was earmarked to help the poor.
He addressed how the County directly and indirectly supports the non-profit organizations in their efforts to improve the quality of life for the poor and working poor. He emphasized the enormous Countywide problem with meth-labs and the dangers too the innocent children that are exposed to them. He stated that the County has allocated over 3.5 million dollars to non-profits for the coming year! Tom stated that Boulder County is the best county in the State at recognizing and supporting the problems associated with the poor through the non-profit organizations.
The second speaker of the evening was Edwina Salazar Waldrip- director of Longmont’s Our Center. Edwina talked about how the Our Center developed from the converging of the various church service programs and that this year is the 20th anniversary of the Our Center. She mentioned that the Our Center receives 1/3 of its financial support from the City and County- 1/3 from individual and business contributions – and 1/3 from various churched in the community.
Although contributions were down in 2005, she attributes that to the demands placed on the charity system by hurricane Katrina.
She stated that the needs in the community for the services of the Our Center have increased in 2005. Edwina demonstrated this fact by stated that they served over 10,000 more meals in 2005 than in 2004. She also said that many of the meals were provided to the working poor and not the homeless.
They have started several new programs to meet the needs of the community. They now have a day shelter, which offers showers, clothing, and help in obtaining jobs for the homeless. They now also offer free breakfast to over 150 people each weekday in addition to the 250 free lunches that they serve daily. It was also mentioned that the kitchen was remodeled in 2005, with money that was received from a $35,000 grant that they obtained.
In ending Edwina stated that although the economy is believed to be improving, she sees and increasing need for services from the Our Center! She feels it is extremely important that we continue to support the Our Center and that they continue to partner with the County and other community based organizations, like Community Food Share and The Inn- Between!
There was some times allotted for questions from the audience, and among them were: (1) Is there a need for volunteers? (2) How do you handle Longmont homeless individuals? (3) There was a question raised about the need for more transportation assistance. (4) A question was asked about the relationship of the Our Center and the Inn-Between organization?
The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 and the usual time was given for personal one on one conversation with the guest speakers.