Stockbridge Democrats       
                                          "All politics is local."

 
Secretary - Minutes
September 8, 2016 - SDTC Summer Members Meeting
March 5, 2016 - Stockbridge Democratic Party (Members' Meetings, Town Caucus, State Caucus) 
June 27, 2015 - SDTC Members Meeting and State Convention Caucus
March 14, 2015 - SDTC Members Meeting and Town Caucus
August 2, 2014 - SDTC Summer Members Meeting
March 1, 2014 - Stockbridge Democratic Party (
Members' Meetings, Town Caucus, State Caucus)
January 12, 2014 - SDTC Officers Meeting
August 3, 2013 - SDTC Summer Members Meeting
March 2, 2013 - Stockbridge Democratic Party (State Caucus, Town Caucus, Members' Meetings)
January 26, 2013 - SDTC Officers Meeting.


Anne Rabinowitz is the SDTC Secretary

The SDTC Secretary is responsible for keeping records of meetings and functions, overseeing correspondence and ensuring the organization's registration papers with the state and town are up to date and valid.

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Minutes of Meetings of Stockbridge Democrats
September 8 2016 – 5pm, Don’s House, Stockbridge MA
Don Chabon, Chair of the SDTC presiding


Order was called at 5.20pm. A quorum was noted. There were 12 attendees.
The Treasurer’s report was read and approved.
The minutes of the last meeting were reviewed and approved.
The status of membership was noted. We have 32 members.

Election of officers:  Kate Fletcher was reelected Vice-Chair and Sue Rogers reelected Treasurer. They were thanked for their continued participation.

The status of Youth Involvement and the Berkshire Brigades was noted as no involvement.

By-Law Revision: It was proposed that to participate in the town Democratic Caucus, the deadline for registration as a Democrat be changed to be any date prior to January 1 of that caucus year.  The previous provision allowed Democratic registration up to Caucus day, but saw people switching parties back and forth just to influence our caucus and advocate for an individual. This change makes us consistent with State Democratic Committee by-laws. The revision was discussed and unanimously approved.

Other items:
Don mentioned re-thinking the sending of delegates to the annual Democratic convention. The subject was deferred until the Spring Meeting.
Kate had a question about the appointment of Planning Board Chairman and noted Planning seats coming up.
Don mentioned interviews coming up for Town Administrator. There was a discussion of shared services and a shared town manager.

The meeting was adjourned at 6.10pm

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Minutes of Meetings of Stockbridge Democrats
State Caucus, Town Committee and Town Caucus
March 5, 2016 – Town Offices, Stockbridge MA
Don Chabon, Chair of the SDTC presiding

Order was called at 10:05a.m. A quorum was noted. There were 49 attendees.
Don opened by welcoming those present and with officer introductions. The meetings to be held were identified:

  1. State Democratic Caucus
  2. SDTC Members’ Meeting
  3. Town Democratic Caucus

The rules and procedures applying to each meeting were reviewed.

The State Democratic Caucus was called to order at 10:05 a.m.

Guest speaker State Representative Smitty Pignatelli spoke and congratulated the STDC on a great turnout and took questions about jobs and the energy situation in the area.

Don went over Caucus rules, discussed State Convention details and identified the delegates allotted to Stockbridge for the Democratic Caucus, to be held Saturday June 4 in Lowell.

Attendees were asked if anyone was interested in being a delegate to the Democratic Convention. The following volunteered and were unanimously voted in: Delegates Anita Schwerner and Hank Schwerner. Alternates Anne Rabinowitz and Heidi Teutsch.  Don Chabon, as Chairman, is an Ex-Officio delegate

The caucus was closed at 10:20 am

The Meeting of the Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee was called to order at 10:20 a.m.

Treasurer Sue Rogers read the finance report.
Don reviewed the minutes of the summer meeting, which had been made available.

The status of membership was noted. We have 33 members and are allowed 35. Don explained membership and called for anyone interested to let him know. Two Associate Members were unanimously approved for full membership – Nancy Socha, Gary Pitney.

Don reviewed involvement in the Berkshire Brigades and called for the encouragement of young people to participate in politics both locally and at a state level.

A change in the by-laws was discussed. There are currently four meetings per year. Don suggested reducing this to two per year. The Democratic slate was voted on and filing a statement of organization was discussed.  Don suggested the Summer meeting be at his house.

Motions were made to close the Stockbridge Democratic Town Caucus at 11:35 a.m.

The Stockbridge Democratic Town Caucus was called to order at 11:35 a.m.

Don reviewed the purpose of the Caucus, Caucus procedures and rules, open positions and known candidates for each position. Candidate nominations were called one at a time:

Town Clerk

Terri Iemolini was nominated and spoke of what her job entails and that she intends to become certified. Gary commended her on a job well done.

Planning Board

Gary Pitney was nominated and spoke about being the town gatekeeper and that we need to do things differently and encouraged participation in the master plan.

Gene Talbot was nominated and noted the need for a knowledge of local history.  

Kate Fletcher had a question on rotating the Chairman of the Board. Gene noted that the Board has become more administrative than planning. Don agreed, would like to see functions expanded. The four members of the Planning Board present agreed.

Board of Assessors

Doug Goudey was nominated and spoke of his position and the Board’s accomplishments. Beth Nathan asked about the process of real estate tax assessments. Would like to see RE taxes paid by Stockbridge Bowl residents come back to the Bowl. Tom Stokes noted that RE assessments of Stockbridge Bowl houses are detrimental to the town. Doug responded that he has no control over RE tax assessments. A discussion of RE tax around the Bowl ensued with George Shippey bringing up that non-profits are not contributing to the town and we need a source of income from the non-profits.

Water & Sewer

Peter Socha was nominated and spoke on Water & Sewer and noted that we have very low rates. There was discussion on how rates are decided.

Board of Health

Don read a letter from Cathy Plakun, who was nomintaed. Tom Stokes asked for specifics on her background. George Shippey wholeheartedly endorsed her.

Parks & Recreation

Sue Rogers was nominated and spoke of her interest and purpose for serving on Parks & Recreation. She would like more attention paid to the town beach.

Housing Board

Jim Welch was nominated and spoke on his perspective, being a resident and having a professional background in housing.

Select Board

Don Chabon was nominated and spoke on his reasons for running and his optimism for the future of the town. George Shippey heartily endorsed Don and praised his tremendous job on the Democratic Town Committee. Tom Stokes had a question on historic preservation and raising funds through, for instance, an entertainment tax. Tim Geller brought up re-distribution of school costs between the three towns.

Don thanked the candidates for running and noted that so many towns don’t have people willing to step up.

Ballots were distributed and tallied - all candidates received the “Democratic Caucus Nominee” endorsement.

Motions were made to close the Stockbridge Democratic Town Caucus and the meetings were adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted
Anne Rabinowitz, SDTC Secretary

 




Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee
Summer Meeting – June 27, 2015

Don Chabon SDTC Chair Presiding

The meeting was called to order at 10:05 a.m.  Twenty three people were present and a quorum of members was noted.  Don welcomed those present and introduced the officers.

Stockbridge State Democratic Caucus

Kate Fletcher chaired this Caucus and called the meeting to order.  Don introduced guest speakers Suzanne Bump, State Auditor and Patsy Harris, Registrar of Deeds, Pittsfield

Suzanne Bump spoke about her political history and her agenda and mentioned the momentous week Democrats had just experienced. There was a brief discussion of the new fair housing legislation, possible future candidates for governor and how the present governor is performing. Patsy Harris introduced herself and spoke briefly about her office. Tom Stokes asked why there are multiple registry of deeds offices (public convenience).

Kate reviewed the Democratic Convention details, fees and rules of nomination and read excerpts of the letter from State Chairman Thomas McGee.

Don Chabon, Anne Rabinowitz, Kate Fletcher, Heidi Teutsch and Patrick White volunteered to be delegates to the convention and were elected.

The Caucus was closed.


Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee Meeting

The town committee meeting was called to order.  Minutes of the March 14, 2015 meeting were reviewed and approved.  Treasurer Sue Rogers noted that we have $1002.83 in available funds.

Don presented membership status:  We currently have 30 members out of an allowed maximum of 35.  Two Members and one Associate Member have dues outstanding.  The Treasurer will contact these individuals.  It was noted that we have 44 non-members as contacts on our email list.  Attendees who were not members were invited to join and the process for becoming a member was outlined.

Election of Officers: 

Don went over the process for the election of officers including term durations.  Anne Rabinowitz was nominated and re-elected as secretary.  Don announced that this will be his last term as Chairman and called for someone else to step up. Kate Fletcher will consider it. Don Chabon was nominated and re-elected as Chair.

Don reported that although he has tried to get us involved in the Berkshire Brigades and Young Democrats there has not been much response and things are quiet these days.  Results of the survey taken at the last meeting were reviewed, which gives insights into the voting practices of our residents.  Data from this survey is posted on our web page.

Local Political Items:

A list of discussion points was introduced:

Discussion began with Chuck Cardillo speaking about how he has been dealing with having been elected Selectman but not being able to fulfill that position and the Fire Chief position and what he is doing about it. There were some questions and discussion. Tom Stokes said that the Democratic Committee should not take a position at this time. The consensus was that there should be a caucus for a special election when the time comes.

Steve Shatz spoke on the Master Plan, the hiring of a facilitator and recommended reading the 1996 Master Plan on the town website.

It was decided not to have more discussion on the Elm Court issue.

There was a discussion of Stockbridge Bowl maintenance and the need for a central committee to handle the various issues.

Town communication with citizens was discussed.  Members stated a need for a better method of communication (possibly a town newsletter e-blast), more discussion of issues and a forum for discussion.  Member Tom Stokes commended Don on his management of the Committee, and Don in turn thanked many of the members and especially past Selectmen for their support.

It was moved that the meeting adjourn, this was seconded and approved.  The meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

Respectfully Submitted
Anne Rabinowitz, SDTC Secretary



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Minutes of Meetings of Stockbridge Democratics
Town Committee and Town Caucus
March 14, 2015 – Town Offices, Stockbridge MA
Don Chabon, Chair of the SDTC presiding


Order was called at 10:05a.m. A quorum was noted. There were 49 attendees.
Don opened by welcoming those present and with officer introductions. The meetings to be held were identified:
1. SDTC Members’ Meeting
2. Caucus - Town
The rules and procedures applying to each meeting were reviewed.

The SDTC Members’ Meeting was called to order at 10:15 a.m.


Treasurer Sue Rogers read the finance report.
Overview of the last (Summer 2014) Meeting Minutes had previously been made available: Don highlighted points – membership, new members, election of officers, local issues – Elm Court, Stockbridge Bowl, town election, state politics, convention, visits of representatives, etc

The Minutes and the Treasurer’s Report were approved.

The status of membership was noted. Don explained membership and called for new members.  Julie Edmonds, Heidi Teutsch and Chuck Cardillo had been Associate Members and were unanimously approved for full membership – bringing participation to 31.

Democratic District Conference – this was explained and candidate Sheila Murray of the Berkshire Brigades and the West Stockbridge Democratic Committee gave a presentation. Richard Seltzer, Heidi Teutsch and Don Chabon volunteered and were elected to be Stockbridge representatives to the Democratic District Conference.

Don presented a proposal to modify current practices on advertising for local campaigns. Amounts for campaign advertising had previously been approved individually but Don requested flexibility to suit the elections at hand and a range from $0 up to but not exceeding $300 pending approval of the Treasurer was proposed. The request was unanimously approved.

Don presented a proposal to clarify procedures on re-eligibility of membership:  Lost membership for dues non-payment could be reinstated by paying arrears without going through the nominating process again.  This motion was accepted.

It was reemphasized that the SDTC Membership List is absolutely confidential - not released to anyone for any reason.
Don reviewed involvement in the Berkshire Brigades and called for the encouragement of young people to participate in politics both locally and at a state level.

The Summer Meeting (Saturday June 27, 2015) was announced and agenda proposals put forth: A forum to consider openness and access of town communications; A review of the procedures for the SDTC to take positions on issues; Town solicitation of candidates for office.  Also it was noted that the Summer meeting would include the State Convention Caucus and election of SDTC officers.
Motions were made to close the Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee meeting at 10:30 a.m.

The Stockbridge Democratic Town Caucus was called to order at 10:30 a.m.

Don reviewed the purpose of the Caucus, Caucus procedures and rules, open positions and known candidates for each position. Candidate nominations were called one at a time:
Planning Board
Don Chabon was nominated and gave a brief overview of the Planning Board.
Housing Authority
Barnie Edmonds was nominated and spoke of the activities of the Housing Authority.
Board of Assessors
Gary Pitney was nominated and spoke of his qualifications for Board of Assessors.
Moderator
There were no candidates for Moderator. Don gave an overview of the position.
Tree Warden
There were two candidates for Tree Warden.  Mark Faber had indicated interest in the nomination but was not present. Peter Curtin was nominated and spoke of his duties, frustrations and accomplishments as Tree Warden over the years.
Board of Health
A letter from Jonathan R. Chabon re his qualifications for Board of Health was read by Kate Fletcher. He was nominated and seconded.
Sewer and Water Commission
Donald Schneyer had taken out papers for this position but had not requested the caucus nomination.
Parks and Recreation Commission
No candidates came before the Caucus.
Select Board
Chuck Cardillo was nominated, seconded and spoke of his qualifications for Select Board.

Sitting Selectwoman Deb McMenamy, who was running again, gave a presentation on her qualities and achievements. (Note that per SDTC rules, as a registered Unenrolled candidate she was not eligible for the Caucus nomination since a registered Democrat was nominated).

The floor was opened for questions: Tom Stokes asked Chuck and Deb how they would handle new building in residential neighborhoods. Both replied that it should be in keeping with the existing neighborhood structures. Julie Edmonds asked Chuck whether he would have voted in favor of Elm Court. Chuck replied that, while he would have listened to the concerns of the people, he personally would have voted for it.  

Questions ended and Don gave instructions for the ballots and voting. Voting ballots were handed out and collected.  
While the votes were being counted, a survey was distributed, designed to help us better understand the town’s voting practices. Results were to be posted on our web page.

Sue Rogers announced that Peter Curtin had won the nomination for Tree Warden, and all other unopposed candidates received the Democratic Caucus Nomination.

Motions were made to close the Stockbridge Democratic Town Caucus 11:00 a.m.

Respectfully submitted
Anne Rabinowitz
SDTC Secretary

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Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee
Summer Meeting - August 2, 2014
Don Chabon SDTC Chair Presiding

 The meeting was called to order at 10:07 a.m.  21 people were present.  A quorum of members was noted.

 Committee Business

 Minutes of the March 2, 2014 meeting were reviewed and approved.

Sue Rogers reviewed finances: Total in accounts is $994.20, with $886.29 in savings and $107.91 in checking.  The financial report was approved.

Membership

Don presented membership status:  We currently have 32 members (we are allowed a maximum of 35).  Associate Members were introduced for approvals - Catherine Chester, Matt Chester, Nick Peck and Michael Roisman. A motion was made to approve and all were accepted as SDTC Members.  Eight members have dues outstanding.  The Treasurer will contact these members.  It was noted that we have 44 non-members as contacts on our email list; this includes 39 friends and 5 representatives.  Attendees who were not members were invited to join and the process for becoming a member was outlined.

Election of Officers

Don went over the process for the election of officers including term durations.  Hank Schwerner had asked to not continue as Vice Chair and was thanked for his service.  Sue Rogers was nominated and re-elected as Treasurer, Kate Fletcher was nominated and elected as Vice Chair, and Anne Rabinowitz was nominated and elected as Secretary for the remainder of the term replacing Kate Fletcher.

Matt Chester volunteered to look into being the SDTC Berkshire Brigades representative. Don suggested the SDTC could cover those dues, and the membership in attendance had no objection.

Points of Order

Proposed rule change:

It was proposed that at our annual spring caucus meetings, instead of presenting all the rules for each and every meeting (to inevitable yawns), they would instead be posted and referred to. All agreed to this change.

Dealing with issues:

It had been questioned whether it is appropriate for the SDTC to deal with issues, discuss them, vote on them and/or take a position.  Don pointed out that both the National and State Committees definitely take positions on issues so there is very good precedence for us doing the same.  Participants were reminded that if a member wants the committee to take a position, we have a straw pole procedure in place whereby we contact members and allow a vote over email. Tom Stokes moved and reaffirmed that we do take on issues. Catherine Chester asked if there is a filter on issues taken on. Don explained that all such items would always be presented to the SDTC Officers for prior approval. Tom Stokes suggested that it should not be requisite that any candidates abide by SDTC positions. It was noted that such a provision already exists in our by-laws.  Matt Chester asked whether there is a special meeting to discuss issues, Kate Fletcher commented that there are very few (so far only one). There was consensus that when asked to take a position on an issue, SDTC officers will poll members asking if anyone wants to meet to discuss the issue before putting it out to vote. The by-laws will reflect this change. So moved and approved.


Local Political Items

Elm Court:

Barney and Julie Edmonds gave a brief summary of the project and expressed their concerns regarding how this project will impact the neighborhood and town. They requested signatures on the petition and encouraged people to attend the August 4 Select Board meeting at which the special permit will be reviewed.

Stockbridge Bowl Clean-Up:

Hank Schwerner spoke of the campaign to raise $2M to dredge the bowl, and that once funds are raised they will go to the town to ask for additional funding. Hank asked if the SDTC would want to be involved in reviewing the proposal. Tom Stokes commented that before we talk about dredging we should be talking about storm water runoff and several present including Hank and Anita Schwerner agreed this should be part of the discussion. Steve Shatz commented that the storm water run off is a major issue and that he expects a bylaw will be proposed this year to address the issue and that dredging would be on a dual track with addressing storm water run-off. Catherine Chester asked if we would be looking only at SBA’s proposal or all the options. It was suggested that Hank Schwerner consider a position paper on this item.  Steve commented that the dredging is a $4M project, is a long way off and that nothing to this point begins to address the ancillary issues of  Lily Pond and the retention basin. Kate Fletcher asked who the town is working with to evaluate the issue and Steve mentioned an engineering firm, stating their report was available in the Town Offices for citizen review.  It was noted that they are also working with the state, and the Secretary of Environmental Affairs is coming next Friday for a meeting at 11:00 a.m. at the lake. This is an open meeting. Steve also mentioned that budget considerations will mean choices/decisions need to be made.

Upcoming Town Positions:

Don reviewed upcoming local elective positions, and asked members to consider running for office. Of special interest is the Select Board position.  A list of 2015 election openings was distributed.  

State Politics

State Convention:

Matt and Catherine Chester reported on the convention. Matt mentioned it was a first for them and that it was a rousing event; and despite some organizational glitches it was overall a wonderful experience. He noted it’s a good way to meet people from other towns and find commonality. Catherine confirmed that it was a good experience. Don mentioned they got bogged down on a paper vote count, and he’ll be writing to the State Chairman suggesting a more modern balloting system using current technologies.

Representatives from Campaigns

1. Don Berwick organizer Jesse Lederman spoke about Don Berwick’s background, experience and position on issues.
2. Martha Coakley representative John Di Angelo spoke about how he came to be a supporter and organizer for Martha Coakley, his experience as a campaign organizer, and Martha’s background, experience and position on issues.
3. Steve Grossman representative Mary Lee Walsh spoke to Grossman’s experience and effectiveness, he is particularly good at creating jobs due to his business experience, has worked on earned sick and family time.

GMO Labeling:

Anita Schwerner spoke on what is known on the status of the bill.  Heidi Teutsch asked about pesticide on labeling, Anita mentioned this is not part of the same bill.

Gas Pipeline:

Elly Johnson, Gt. Barrington, rep for The Better Futures Project spoke of their focus on and review of the proposed gas pipeline. She mentioned that New England needs are much less than the capacity being built and that as MA residents do not need the gas, they should not be paying the environmental and other costs. Tom Stokes recommended that they better publicize the compression station that would be needed in Richmond, these are very noisy and pose a danger and he felt people would be concerned about the impact. Matt Chester asked for a comparison with the existing pipeline.  Representatives and candidates who have opposed the pipeline include: Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren, Don Berwick, Ben Downing and Smitty Pignatelli.  Also 25 towns have passed resolutions opposing the pipeline.

Gun Control:

Mention was made that the bill was passed with a provision that local police chiefs could withhold licenses for certain individuals but would need to petition the court to do so.  Anita Schwerner noted that the bill is on the governor’s desk for signature.

Primary Elections:

Don distributed a handout listing all the primary candidates, and referring people to the web link for further information. Tom asked if it was unprecedented for the committee to endorse a candidate at this point. Don said it had not been done, and suggested it would be inadvisable prior to the primary.

It was moved that meeting adjourn, this was seconded and approved.  The meeting adjourned at 11:19 a.m.

Respectfully Submitted
Kate Fletcher, SDTC Secretary

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Minutes of Meetings of the Stockbridge Democratic Party: Town Committee, Town Caucus, State Caucus
March 1, 2014 – Town Offices, Stockbridge MA
Don Chabon, Chair of the SDTC, Presiding


Order was called at 10:15 a.m. A quorum was noted (there were 30 people present to start, and at 10:52 a.m. attendance was 36).

Don opened with officer introductions. The three meetings to be held were identified:

  1. SDTC Members’ Meeting
  2. Caucus - Town
  3. Caucus – State

The rules and procedures applying to each meeting were reviewed.

1. The SDTC Members’ Meeting was called to order at 10:20 a.m.

Reports: The Treasurer’s report and Secretary’s minutes had been previously distributed.  These were approved.  The status of membership was noted – 28 Members in good standing plus one Associate Member.  Tim Geller, our Associate Member, was nominated for membership and unanimously approved – bringing membership to 29.  (Addendum – the officers later approved four of our convention delegates as new Associate Members.)

Expenses: Upcoming anticipated expenses were presented - An amount of $375 for convention delegate fees; an amount of $130 for ads to support our Caucus Nominees. While it was understood these were approximate figures, the expenditures were unanimously approved.

Old Business:  The SDTC Straw Poll practice was reviewed – We recently conducted a straw poll at the request of member Rich Bradway to vote on whether the SDTC supports the school renovation project (31 emails sent, 15 yes, 2 no, 1 too late).  As a result the SDTC endorsed the school project.  In discussion it was noted that the members generally liked this process and it was agreed we would continue to use it where appropriate.  Concerning the ongoing effort to get people to run for town office - it was noted that Chairman Don Chabon and Vice Chair Hank Schwerner had gone to the town to request they take a more active role promoting open positions.  While these positions are now listed on the town web page it is believed much more can be done.  Don requested that this subject be tabled until the SDTC summer meeting and, as there were no objections, the subject was closed.  It was reemphasized that the SDTC Membership List is absolutely confidential - not released to anyone for any reason.

New business:  Don made note of two areas for attention – (1) We have no representation on the county’s Berkshire Brigades and need someone that would represent the SDTC, would be willing to report back to us and would coordinate town efforts for state and national candidates. (2) The state has an active Young Democrats organization (ages 18 – 35) and we would like to get a local chapter going in town.  While often started at the school level, SDTC can serve to initiate this process.  It was agreed to defer both these items to the Summer Meeting. 

Motions were made to close the Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee meeting at 10:30 a.m.

2. The Stockbridge Democratic Town Caucus was called to order at 10:30 a.m.

Don reviewed Caucus rules, open positions and known candidates for each position. For all positions there was only one candidate except Select Board, which had two candidates.  Candidates were called one at a time -

Select Board
Steve Shatz was nominated, seconded and spoke of his qualifications for Select Board.

Select Board
Heidi Teutsch was nominated, seconded and spoke of her qualifications for Select Board.

Tax Collector
Nancy Socha was nominated, seconded and spoke of her qualifications for Tax Collector.

Board of Health
Hank Schwerner was nominated, seconded and spoke of his qualifications for Board of Health.

Sewer and Water Commission.
No candidates came before the Caucus.

Planning Board
Barbara Cohen Hobbs was nominated, seconded and a statement was read of her qualifications for Planning Board.

Parks and Recreation
Steve Knopf was nominated, seconded and spoke of his qualifications for Parks and Recreation Commission.

Housing Authority
Tim Minkler was nominated, seconded and spoke of his qualifications for Housing Authority.

Treasurer
Karen Williams was nominated, seconded and a statement was read of her qualifications for Treasurer.

Voting ballots were handed out and collected.  Later - Sue Rogers announced that Steve Shatz had won the nomination for Selectman, and all other unopposed candidates received the Democratic Caucus Nomination.

Motions were made to close the Stockbridge Democratic Town Caucus 11:00 a.m.

 
3. The Stockbridge Democratic State Caucus was called to order at 11:03 a.m.

Guest Speakers Ben Downing, Smitty Pignatelli, David Capeless were introduced.  All spoke and questions were answered.  Subjects included economic challenges, the new governor to be elected, the need for more state support and the ongoing prescription drug crisis.  Guests commented on the impressively active Stockbridge participation.

State Democratic Caucus – Don went over Caucus rules, discussed State Convention details and identified the delegates allotted to Stockbridge.

Representatives from candidates Don Berwick, Steve Grossman, Martha Coakley and Juliette Kayam spoke.

Attendees were asked if anyone was interested in being a delegate to the Democratic Convention. The following volunteered and, after discussion, were unanimously voted in: Catherine and Michael Chester of Main Street as delegates. Alternates: Anne Rabinowitz of Lake Drive, Nick Peck of Cherry Hill Road and Michael Roisman of Glendale Road.  Don Chabon, as Chairman, is an Ex-Officio delegate.

Motions were made to close the Stockbridge Democratic Town Caucus at 11:35 a.m. and the meetings were adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted
Kate Fletcher, SDTC Secretary

 ___________________________________________________________________

Minutes of the Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee Officers’ Meeting January 12, 2014 – Don Chabon’s House, Stockbridge, MA
Don Chabon, Chair of the SDTC, presiding
Present: Don Chabon, Chair; Hank Schwerner, Vice-Chair; Sue Rogers, Treasurer; Kate Fletcher, Secretary



Meeting called to order at 1:00 p.m.

Treasurer’s Report, total savings and checking: $1257.36.   PO Box Fees: $44.00, was discussed and approved for payment.

Political Committee Report: Signed by the officers.
Campaign/Political Finance Report: Sue is taking care of.

Vote on membership: One added, one removed - Kathy Plakun taken from membership and put on friends list, all voted in favor of. Tim Geller has requested to be an associate member to come up for membership at March 1 caucus/membership meeting, all voted in favor of.

Letter to members: Caucus is March 1. Don talked about three meetings normally held in one meeting (town caucus, state caucus, STDC committee), we often have guest speakers, this leaves us little time to do our business. Don suggested we have our local caucus first, then the state caucus after, all agreed.

Review of town offices and candidates: Discussion of candidates and status of openings/incumbent intentions (see attached).

Review of convention information: We will be allowed one male, one female delegate to the convention as well as three alternates. Alternates can be one male, one female and one ‘either’.

State candidates and their local participation: Every major position is open (see attached), all gubernatorial candidates will be here on January 26 at the ITAM, dates reviewed for nominating papers, Don will find out deadline for town election nominating papers.

Don mentioned the Democratic Dispatch from Kate Donoghue, administrator, democratic party in MA, Don will forward to officers.

Meeting adjourned at 1:45 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted
Kate Fletcher, SDTC Secretary


Minutes of the Meeting of the Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee
August 3, 2013
Town Offices, Stockbridge, MA
Don Chabon, Chair of the SDTC, Presiding

Don opened the meeting at 10:05 a.m. with a quorum of nine members and two guests in attendance.

I. State Senator Ben Downing addressed the meeting, informing us about what was going on in the State Senate:

A. Discussion of the budget: The budget is better than previous budgets but not successful in passing educational reforms urged by Governor Deval Patrick.

B. Transportation: Discussion on railroad connection from the Berkshires to New York City. To achieve this, Massachusetts needs cooperation from Connecticut.

C. Education: This is the first budget in 5 years without fee increases for public colleges. There is not enough state support for public colleges. In the next 6 months Downing wants to push for more support for early education, for helping people get the skills necessary for supporting themselves and for improving the economy.

D. Downing wants to raise the minimum wage and to establish a task force in Western Massachusetts to help eliminate hunger. He discussed the connection between poverty and lack of good education.

E. A question was raised about towns’ liability relating to pensions. Senator Downing said this is a difficult issue which must be dealt with in the next 6 months.

F. A question was raised whether the Scenic Railroad would be included in a plan to have passenger service on the Housatonic Railroad.

G. Senator Downing discussed candidates running for State offices.

II. Reports:

            A. The minutes of the February meeting were read and approved.

            B. The financial report was read and approved. 

Note: Mention was made that in future meetings we may have the reports distributed to members beforehand and then have them highlighted (but not read) at meetings – it was agreed this be discussed among the officers to be decided with the consent of the new officers.

IV. Don Chabon reported on the Democratic State Convention and the upcoming contest for Governor.  He urged support of state and national Democratic efforts and sought Stockbridge representation to the Berkshire Brigades.  Anita Schwerner and Steffi Fletcher were considering active efforts with the Brigades.

V. The passing of long time/ tenured SDTC member Mary Flynn was noted.  Tom Stokes suggested that she be memorialized by a project that would encourage young people to engage in political discourse.  This suggestion was accepted and the Chairman would consider options and review suggestions with the Board of Officers.

VI. Discussion of upcoming elections:

A. The State Democratic Party maintains a political database that candidates for office may want to use.

B. The Town Committee has developed a one-page guide to running for town office – also available to candidates.

C. Solicitation of candidates should start earlier, Don mentioned that he and Hank Schwerner went before the Selectboard (SB) to advocate that town openings and positions to be better promoted and advertised.

D. Discussion was held on which positions are key and how they are filled.

E. Steve Shatz said that the SB would be appointing a committee to look at appointed versus elected positions in town. The goal is to get control of the administrative budget and have accountability. He said that the SB feels it is important that there be accountability in every public position - there is no recall. He also mentioned that the Conservation Committee would like the SB to be more responsive to the question of how we deal with climate change, in particular as it relates to the 50-year, now 10-year storms. Kate Fletcher mentioned that the master plan needs to be updated.

VII. Election of SDTC officers:

A. Don Chabon reelected as Chair.

B. Kate Fletcher elected as Secretary.

C. Sue Rogers elected as Treasurer.

VIII. The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Steffi Fletcher, Secretary

 



Minutes of Meetings of the Stockbridge Democratic Party
March 2, 2013 – Town Offices, Stockbridge MA
Don Chabon, Chair of the SDTC, Presiding

Preliminary Announcements

The four meetings to be held today were noted.  The SDTC Officers were introduced.  Members and first time attendees were welcomed and plans and rules for the day’s meetings were reviewed.  Participants were urged to take an active role.  It was noted that the meetings were duly posted and arranged, and that a quorum was present so all business could be conducted.

Stockbridge Democratic Caucus – Massachusetts State Convention

The Caucus was called to order at 10 a.m.

Two guest speakers were introduced:
Richard Dillon
, Superintendent of the Berkshire Hills Regional School District, listed recent accomplishments of the school district and then discussed the proposed project for improving the facilities of Monument Mountain High School.
Sheila Murray
, Chair of the Berkshire Brigades, pointed out that the Berkshire Brigades purpose is to unite all three Democratic areas of the Berkshires. She also made the point that the Brigades sponsors events for Democratic candidates and urged that Democrats join the Brigades and join one or more of the committees organized by the Brigades.

Don went over the rules for the election of delegates to the Democratic State Convention which takes place July 13, in Lowell.  Volunteers to be delegates were called for and Chuck Gillett agreed to go and was approved by acclimation.  He will be joined by Don who goes ex officio.

The meeting was closed at 10:30 a.m.


Stockbridge Democratic Caucus for the Endorsing of Candidates for Town Offices

The meeting was called to order at 10:30.

The rules and procedures for endorsing candidates were reviewed.

The following candidates presented themselves for the noted positions:
- Selectman – Chuck Gillette (D)
- Board of Assessors – Doug Goudey (D)
- Town Clerk – Linda Hunt (D); Terri Iemolini (D); (Sally Underwood-Miller (I)  withdrew in favor of Terri Iemolini)
- Board of Health – Harriet Vines (D)- Sewer and Water Commission – Peter Socha (I); Clinton Schneyer (I)
- Planning Board – no candidate
- Parks and Recreation – Phil Heller (D), and, if Mary Hart resigns, Barbara Cohen Hobbs (I)
- Housing Authority – Anne Rabinowitz

Secret ballots were distributed and then tabulated:
The successful candidates were
- Selectman – Chuck Gillette
- Board of Assessors – Doug Goudey
- Town Clerk – Terri Iemolini
- Board of Health – Harriet Vines
- Sewer and Water Commission – Peter Socha
- Parks and Recreation – Phil Heller and Barbara Cohen Hobbs
- Housing Authority – Anne Rabinowitz

The schedule for the election was noted, participants were thanked and the meeting was closed at 11:05 a.m.


Meeting of the Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee

The rules and procedures for participation were reviewed.

Reports -
Membership - The SDTC now has 32 Members and Associate members in good standing with a “friends” list of 30 individuals.  Associate Members Chuck Gillett and Rich Bradway were proposed for full membership and unanimously approved.

The Minutes from the SDTC meeting of June 9, 2012 were read and approved.  The Treasurers Report was read and approved.

Old Business -

Motion was made and accepted to approve the funding of our convention delegates.

There was a short discussion about the support of unenrolled or Republican candidates.  It was noted that the ruling that the candidacy of a Democratic candidate would preclude support of an unenrolled candidate for town office endorsement would be reviewed at the summer meeting.

Status of the SDTC effort to engage Town Administration (per the chair letter) in “Publication, Promotion and Open Disclosure of Town Positions” was reviewed.  It was noted that while the Select Board was positive in its reception of the idea, nothing had been done.  Rich Bradway noted there would be something in the new town web page that would address this.  The Chair noted that we would continue to pursue this issue.

It was noted the officers reviewed the policy of not disclosing of our membership list, with the decision to keep it restricted as is.  Questions from the floor were taken but the decision remained unchanged.

New Business -

A brief discussion was held on supporting our candidates.  It was noted that a guide to running, “The Stockbridge One Page Guide to Running for Small Town Office,” has been developed and is currently being reviewed.  This will be made available to all our caucus nominees.

Additionally, in order to better help our candidates and understand how our town votes, the chair was developing a questionnaire: “How and Why we Vote.”  It is likely that this would be available for review at the summer meeting.

It was noted that the SDTC summer meeting this year needed to be (after the State Convention) in late July, early August - tentatively August 3.

Notation was made that this meeting was to be followed by a hearing on the Stated Democratic Platform moderated by Vice-Chair Hank Schwerner.

The meeting was closed at 11:30 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,
Steffi Fletcher
Secretary, Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee

__________________________________________________________________________


Minutes of the Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee Officers’ Meeting
January 26, 2013 – Don Chabon’s House, Stockbridge, MA
Don Chabon, Chair of the SDTC, presiding
Present: Don Chabon, Chair; Hank Schwerner, Vice-Chair; Beth Lester-Nathan, Treasurer; Steffi Fletcher, Secretary

The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m.

There was a discussion of the annual Stockbridge Democrats’ meetings - to be held on March 2, 2013 starting at 10:00 a.m. in the Community Room at the Stockbridge Town Offices. There would be four consecutive meetings:
1. A Caucus to select delegates to the State Democratic Convention.
2. A Caucus for to nominate candidates for town positions.
3. A Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee Members’ meeting.
4. A Hearing to take Testimony for the State Democratic Platform

Some details are as follows -

(1) Our State Democratic Convention Caucus will elect Convention Delegates as follows: 1 male and 1 female delegate, and three alternates to be 1 male, 1 female and 1 either/or.  The Chairman (Don Chabon) automatically goes as ex officio delegate.

(2) For the Town Caucus (to nominate candidates for town offices), the officers agreed that a single secret ballot is needed to be in compliance with state regulations on nominations.  Additionally, it was decided that the ballot should include “do not endorse” options to allow delegates to forego an endorsement should they feel a candidate is unsuitable.

(3) The Members’ meeting would accept new members, approve convention expenditures and consider other actions brought before it.

(4) It was agreed that the State Democratic Platform Testimony Hearing would immediately follow the members meeting.  Vice-Chair Hank Schwerner agreed to conduct that hearing.  Results would be reported to the State for inclusion in the 2013 review of the platform at the state convention.  Details to be announced.  

Throughout the above meetings, it was agreed that speeches would be limited to 5 minutes. The Vice-Chairman will be responsible for keeping time and advising people when they reached that limit.

There was a brief discussion of the positions up for election this coming May along with efforts to get candidates to run.  Hank Schwerner reported on the meeting with the Stockbridge Selectboard to urge publicizing all positions – those up for election as well as appointments. The Selectmen welcomed the suggestion that open positions would be published on their web site and would consider posters in prominent town locations.

The SDTC officers agreed that the three SDTC members who have not paid dues (in spite of repeated reminders) are in violation of the bylaws and their membership is revoked.  They would be retained on the mailing list as contacts.

Beth gave a SDTC Finance Report:
Savings balance as of December 31, 2012:  $959.55.
Checking accounts balance as of December 31, 2012:  $323.53.
Total funds available @ Dec. 31, 2012: $1,283.03

Use of the StockbridgeDemocrats.org web page was discussed and agreement was reached that we commit to 2 years (about $180 for two years), thus qualifying for a 30% discount. 

Discussion was held on listing SDTC member names - though not including contact information.  But the decision was made that the list would not be opened and would remain confidential and be used exclusively for SDTC purposes.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Steffi Fletcher, Secretary          

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