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Trump’s Vanity Wall Violates Tribal Rights, Federal Law

The following statement may be attributed to Alison Jones, Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party

It comes as no surprise that a lawless president would ignore a longstanding agreement to consult with the Tohono O’odham Nation before blasting lands held sacred for 10,000 years.

Nor should anyone be surprised that contractors are bulldozing cacti in Organ Pipe National Park, felling cottonwood trees on the San Pedro River or that the rush to build Trump’s monument to himself is threatening groundwater and disrupting migration patterns.  The Sierra Club counts 38 federal environmental protection laws suspended to build the wall.

No one was shocked when the president plundered funds from the military budget to build his wall – five times more than Congress authorized.

And it’s business-as-usual when Trump pressures the Army Corps of Engineers to award Fisher Sand and Gravel Company a $400 million contract after the North Dakota company lobbied for the job on Fox News. The contract for the steel was won by Zekelman Industries, which donated $1.7 million to a pro-Trump super PAC, the Star reported.  

Trump’s monument to fear is an example of the chaos and corruption that infests this administration. Instead of the comprehensive and humane immigration policy this nation so sorely needs, this “businessman” opts for a multi-billion-dollar wall that anyone with a homemade ladder can scale. This is one of many reasons why Arizonans are changing their party affiliation to Democrat and will turn Arizona blue in November.

PCDP Adopts First Platform

PCDP Adopts First Platform

By Richard Wiebe

“The county party needs a platform,” Tucson attorney Bill Reisner told his friend, Phil Lopes.  “Let’s make it happen.”

The challenge was a perfect fit for Phil, a, longtime party activist and four-term state representative.  From joining the first Peace Corps class in 1961 to joining Pima Community College’s first faculty in 1969, Phil knows how to create something from nothing.

PCDP Chair Alison Jones said, “I first heard of the plans to propose building a platform at the LD3 monthly meeting in November 2018. Bill said we need to stand for more than just electing Democrats. It was time to articulate our values to energize Democrats, and let voters know where we stand.”

A few weeks later, Bill made a motion at the PCDP Reorganization Meeting that PCDP form a platform committee to do just that. The County Committee passed the motion, and Alison appointed Phil and Paul Taylor as co-chairs. 

By March, the two had recruited 15 volunteers who met at least bimonthly for eight months.  Experts in the community contributed valuable information on issues like education and housing. Focus groups provided additional insights from typical voters.

“We started with a blank slate,” Phil said. The platform committee represents the diverse constituencies that make up PCDP. It was a lot of work, but the committee produced a platform PCDP will be proud of.”

PCs unanimously approved the platform on December 7 at the County Committee Meeting.  It covers 16 subject areas:

  • Access to and Participation in Our Democracy
  • Anti-Racism
  • Criminal Justice
  • Economic Justice
  • Education
  • Energy and Environment
  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Human Rights
  • Immigration and our Borderland Community
  • Native American Rights and Tribal Sovereignty
  • Peace
  • Public Health
  • Security and Safety
  • Taxes, Revenue and Spending
  • Technology

Positions on specific proposals, or “planks,” are listed for each subject.

To improve access to democracy, for example, PCDP supports strengthening Arizona’s Clean Elections system, the Outlaw Dark and Dirty Money ballot initiative, and reversing the Citizens United decision.

PCDP also supports increasing teachers’ salaries, expanding the low-income housing credit, overhauling immigration and customs enforcement, and removing English-only standards.

“I hope PCs will see the platform as a way of identifying ourselves,” Phil said. “The platform is intended to be a living document that will evolve as circumstances and viewpoints evolve.”

The platform can be found HERE.

Mission Accomplished at PCDP’s County Meeting

Mission Accomplished at PCDP’s County Meeting

By Richard Wiebe

A full agenda greeted the 224 elected PCs who attended the County Committee Meeting on December 7 in a comfortable lecture hall on the University of Arizona campus.

After a moment of silence to remember those killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor 78 years before, Carlos Martinez, president of UA’s Young Democrats, welcomed PCs and observers, and encouraged PCDP to reach out to younger members. 

PCDP Chair Alison Jones introduced the elected officials and PCDP officers in the room, and recognized the many volunteers committed to turning Arizona blue. She expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Cat Ripley, PCDP’s Executive Director, for her tireless work and incredible contributions to PCDP.

“Cat is the most capable person I know,” she said, to resounding applause.  

Alison also thanked HQ Operations Manager Bill Laray, volunteer coordinators Leftie Vaughn and Barbro Huth, and all others who, she said, have helped turn HQ into a lively and welcoming hub for the party and our Democratic candidates. Thirty volunteers now staff HQ, up from a small handful one year ago.

 ”Something magical is happening at HQ,” Alison said.

By any measure, 2019 was a banner year for PCDP. Tucson elected Regina Romero as its first Latina mayor with the highest voter turnout since 2003 (39%–which gives us a LOT of room for improvement). PCDP hosted the primary mayoral candidate debate, managed finances, and contacted voters through phone banks and canvassing. PCDP also hosted the primary and general-election night parties, and the Inaugural Luncheon – Adelante Tucson! – which attracted many from the business community.

Catalina Democrats, PCDP’s most generous individual contributors, helped PCDP exceed its fundraising goals in 2019. There were only six Catalina Dems one year ago; now there are 60, Alison announced. The Udall Dinner raised a record amount in 2019. The ongoing Platform Film Series explores important social issues, brings previously unengaged community members to PCDP, and brings in revenue. It’s not unusual to have 80 new faces in HQ at these events. Alison thanked Cat and others on the fundraising team for their success.

Treasurer Maggie Winchell reported on the financial condition of PCDP. Successful fundraising in 2019 has put PCDP in a strong cash  position going into 2020.  PCDP is compliant with reporting requirements. A 2020 budget will be presented to the Executive Committee in February, as the bylaws require.    

Training and education programs strengthen and grow PCDP. PCDP held workshops this year to train PCs, convention delegates, treasurers, and the voting public.  “Civics 2.0: What They Didn’t Teach You in Middle School,” is a monthly speakers series that covers issues, legislative news, and the workings of government.

PCDP’s social media reach continues to see “huge’’ gains in Facebook and Instagram visits, and a 90-percent growth in Twitter followers, Alison said. “While we don’t have the number of followers of the state or Maricopa County parties, visitors engage with PCDP sites at a much higher rate,’’ she added.

Recruiting new PCs and turning out Democratic votes are high priorities. ADP is working on the details of a coordinated campaign for 2020, but it really doesn’t change what our PCs need to do. The mission of PCs is to get out of our echo chambers and engage with those who have not felt a part of the process. “Talk to everyone you know,” she said. “Have uncomfortable conversations. Tell people why they must vote Democrat. You know what you have to do.”

Labor is fertile ground for PC recruitment. “I’ll go to any meeting Labor will let me in,” Alison said. 

PCDP faces an ongoing challenge to more closely resemble Pima County’s diversity.

“By far, the biggest shortfall is Latinx representation,” Alison said. “The Latinx community apparently does not see value in engaging with our party. That’s on us. It is our responsibility to fix this.”

After two officers elected in 2018 resigned, Alison appointed an acting treasurer and recording secretary. During the meeting, the body elected by acclimation Maggie Winchell and Zoey Fife, who served well in their acting capacities.  

After Michael Dues, a platform committee member from LD9, explained the committee’s year-long process, the full body voted to adopt the proposed platform. Representing a cross-section of PCDP constituencies, the platform committee met at least twice monthly for a year. They consulted local experts and held focus groups of Pima County PCs and others who provided feedback. The committee will recommend updates to the platform as circumstances evolve.

“The platform describes the world in which we want to live. It is aspirational.” Michael said.

The platform can be found HERE

Bylaws updates can be found HERE

They will remain linked in the main menu on our website under “About” so you can find them later.

LD2 Update | Sept 2019

LD2 Update | Sept 2019

By Michele Manos, Chair

At our August meeting, Merrill Eisenberg gave a thorough and inspiring presentation about the Outlaw Dirty Money ballot initiative. A pizza party followed, where we enjoyed socializing and learning more about each other. Our PCs are busy welcoming newly registered Democrats in their precincts, and circulating ODM petitions and petitions for candidates of their choice. We’re also ramping up to begin inviting selected independent voters to register as Democrats for the Presidential Preference Election.

LD Updates | June 2019

LD Updates | June 2019

Legislative District 2
Michele Manos, Chair

LD2 Dems has a new Chair, Michele Manos and a new 1st Vice Chair, George McGaughey. 

Our Committee continues its “Act Locally” efforts to support our PCs in establishing and maintaining relationships with the Democrats in their neighborhood territory. A top priority is welcoming newly registered voters (with a visit or call) within 6 weeks of each VAN update, and we’ll collaborate with the Democrats of the Santa Rita Area to send welcome letters to selected new voters. We’re planning, in the fall, to begin approaching independent voters who participated in the 2018 Democratic primary to encourage them to register as Democrats in order to vote in the March PPE.

We are formulating our “LD2 Outreach” program to reach precincts that are understaffed or have no PCs, and to create a District Committee that is more reflective of our constituents. As a start, we’ll be attending local events, hosting informal gatherings and going to the doors of new voters to welcome them.

Legislative District 9
Kim Holaway, Chair

The current Quarterly Theme for LD9 is: Precinct Building and Voter Engagement.The PC and Volunteer Committee has identified precinct leaders for approximately 30 of our 57 precincts. We had our first Precinct leader meeting on May 19 with nearly 30 leaders attending. Strategies and ideas for PC recruitment and voter registration were discussed. We now have 200 PCs!

Party building activities are continuing with a Happy Hour at Tap and Bottle (Ina and Oracle) on Tuesday, June 4, 4-7pm. Be sure to check out the new LD9 t-shirts!!!

Rachel Cheeseman will be our featured speaker at our June meeting. She will be discussing Poverty in Pima County. Please join us on June 25 at 6:30-

Legislative District 10
Bonnie Heidler, Chair

LD10 met on May 15 at Unitarian Universalist Church (UUC).  Significant items on the agenda included:

  • Presented our Voter Outreach project.
  • Discussed our first Voter Outreach project of Voter Registration and had a brief high-level training.
  • Plan to have people at 4 libraries in LD10 every Saturday for 2 hours, as well as events and the DMV.
  • Discussed the need for volunteers at the Monastery.
  • Our next meeting will be on May 15 at UUC.  We will be discussing our Communications plan.

Legislative District 11
Steve Witthoeft, Chair

May was a busy month for LD11. We held our annual fundraiser on May 4 and raised a record sum for District 11. Our guest speakers were Mark Kelly and David Fitzsimmons. Alison Jones, PCDP Chair, also attended the event.

On May 19 we held our first PC Summit to train and inform PC’s, volunteers, and wannabe PC’s. Steve Farley was our guest speaker. An individual packet was custom designed for each attendee giving them Democratic talking points, a walk list of Democrats in their precinct, and information on LD11 demographics and election results for 2018. We signed up several new PC’s and each attendee filled out a pledge sheet to commit to a fixed number of hours per month they would volunteer at a variety of activities. Many also signed up for our four Issue Action Committees on Public Education, Voter Registration, Environment, and Legislative Outreach.

Last but not least, we worked with Field Team 6 to hold our first voter registration event in Tucson. We had over 20 local and several FT6 CA volunteers who were trained and hit various “hotspots” around Tucson. We were able to sign up 122 new Democratic voters in just 2 days. We plan to hold future registration events around southern AZ using the FT6 methodology. Thanks to Evelyn Lathram, Gil Wier, and our LD11 officers and PC’s for all the success.

LD  Updates | May, 2019

LD Updates | May, 2019

Sen. Andrea Dalessandro (LD2), Rep. Rosanna Gabaldon (LD2), Rep. Daniel Hernandez (LD2), Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales (LD3), Rep. Alma Hernandez (LD3) and Rep. Andres Cano (LD3) answer questions from constituents at the Candidate Forum hosted by LD2 and LD3

LD2 and LD3 Town Hall

By Barbra Tellman, LD 2 PC

On Sunday, May 28th, all six legislators from the two Legislative Districts spoke and answered questions from a 60-person audience at our combined Town Hall at the Valencia Library. They addressed a wide range of concerns, including education funding, dealing with violence and suicide, voting rights, public health, border issues, climate change, water, transportation, ERA, the proposed budget, and how citizens can and should influence the Legislature. Michele Manos, interim LD 2 chair, skillfully moderated the session.

LD 3’s new trifold brochure, in both English and Spanish, talks about the district, has voter- registration and election tips, and clearly states what the party stands for. Click here to download the Spanish version. Click here to download the English version. Copies are available from the LD and at PCDP Headquarters.

By Kim Holaway, Chair LD9

The PC and Volunteer Committee is identifying precinct leaders for each of our 57 precincts. We currently have 195 PCs, with a goal of 230 by year’s end. Precinct leaders are being trained to organize PCs and volunteers for activities related to our quarterly themes leading up to the 2020 election. Some precincts will “adopt” precincts that have no PCs.

Many precincts are thanking our fall 2018 “targeted” voters – those who didn’t vote in 2014 but did in 2016 – with door-to-door palm cards or postcards. Undoubtedly these targeted voters contributed to LD9’s high voter turnout.

Our Voter Registration Committee is identifying strategies for registering new voters through the fall. Current efforts include high school and community college students, new residents, special events, and specific locations. By winter, we’ll be emphasizing the Presidential Preference Election (PPE) and targeting voters registered as Independents (who’ll need to switch to Democrat to vote in the PPE).

About one-third of LD9 voters live in the City of Tucson. We’re encouraging them to attend city election and initiative events. Many of our PCs and volunteers are circulating Outlaw Dirty Money petitions and are involved in supporting the Pima County Preschool Investment Proposal and the Red for Ed movement.

We’re raising money through Blue Wave 2.0 recurring donations and LD9 t-shirt sales. The popular LD9 Happy Hours – a great way for new PCs to meet others in a relaxed setting – will continue. We collected donations for the Benedictine Monastery refugees at our last LD9 meeting.

Our next monthly meeting will be Tuesday, May 28, 6:30 p.m.- 8 p.m. at Water of Life Metropolitan Community Church, 3269 N. Mountain Ave. Meetings feature speakers and state legislative updates. Please join us!

By Bonnie Heidler, Chair LD10

It has been a hectic first quarter in LD10, as we gear up to elect Democrats for Tucson’s mayor and city council. This is part of laying the groundwork for 2020: electing Democrats at the federal, state, and local level.

We launched our Voter Outreach program, designed to register voters, grow our volunteer base, and increase the number of PCs in LD10. We’re off to a good start on the latter, having added 16 during the first quarter of 2019, raising the total from 96 to 112. Our goal is to recruit 50 new PCs by the end of the year.

We also had a very successful fundraising event in March with LD9: our joint St. Patrick’s Day lunch. U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly, and the Tucson mayoral and city council candidates spoke. An all-woman Irish rock band played (led by PCDP’s executive director, Cat Ripley). We are now planning our July fundraiser: a beer tasting and silent auction.

Please join us at LD10’s monthly meeting, the third Wednesday of the month at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd St., 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. (social time 6 p.m.) Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will talk about his accomplishments as mayor and his vision for Tucson’s future at the May 15 meeting.

By Steve Witthoeft, Chair LD11

We have been busy in the first quarter of 2019 planning our annual LD11 fundraiser, which we held on May 4 in Sun City, Oro Valley. The theme was Cinco De Mayo. Speakers included U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly and Arizona Daily Star editorial cartoonist/humor writer, David Fitzsimmons. Look for a recap in the next newsletter.

In our efforts to increase voter registration, our Voter Action Committee has been working with a great group from Southern California, called Field Team 6, which helped turning Orange County blue. We will soon start holding events in various “hot spots,” and hope to register many new Democratic voters. As the registered Republican voters outnumber Democrats by 17,000 in our district, we need as many new Democrats as possible!

We are also planning our first PC Summit, on May 19 at the Oro Valley Library. The objective is to engage and train our PCs and recruit new ones. Steve Farley, candidate for Tucson Mayor, will give the keynote speech.

We’re planning to move LD11’s monthly meetings around our enormous district, which encompasses 2,000 square miles.