April Newsletter - Volume 4, Issue 7
Upcoming WDC Events
Upcoming Democratic Candidates Forums
Montgomery County Democratic Party's Annual Spring Ball
Maryland Democratic Party Gala 2014
2014 Ballot Questions Advisory Committee Needs Volunteers
It's Still the Economy, Says Plouffe
WDC County Executive Forum Makes Headline News
How Bad is Montgomery County's Mental Illness Problem?
New Newsletter Feature - INTERVIEW
Social Media Update --- We're on Twitter!
Political Book Club
Volunteers: It Takes a Village
You may click on one of the above titles to go directly to that subject, or simply scroll down the newsletter.
Thanks to Sybil Cantor, Teddi Pensinger, Stacey Maud, Joyce Lipman, Linda Kolko, Bonnie Wicklund, Helene Guttman, and Rhea and Harold Troffkinfor their contributions to this newsletter.
UPCOMING WDC EVENTS
7141 Arlington Road, Bethesda
Want to meet new people and talk politics? Join us at the next WDC Happy Hour. Every second Thursday of each month, Democrats who are passionate about politics gather to relax and network with WDC members and their guests. Whether you want to meet elected officials, make new friends, form new business contacts or just have fun, the WDC Happy Hour is the perfect place to meet and greet fellow Democrats.
Monday, May 12
WDC Dinner featuring U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, of Maryland's
7th Congressional District
Courtyard Marriott, 5520 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase
Parking is free.
Cost: $28-Members; $33-Guests
Representative Elijah Cummings, the ranking minority member
of the House Committee on Oversight, will speak to the Club about holding Republicans to account and advancing Democratic priorities in today's increasingly polarized Congress.
Reservations close on Thursday, May 8 at 12 noon.
To make your reservation for the luncheon, send your check to: Judith Heimann, 6900 Marbury Road, Bethesda, MD 20817 or reserve online at http://www.womansdemocraticclub.org.
For questions, please call Natalie Bouquet at 301-907-7856.
Thursday, June 26
Save the Date for the WDC Quadrennial Post-Primary Kiss and Make-Up Party - A Montgomery County Democratic Tradition! Details coming soon.
UPCOMING DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FORUMS
Sunday, May 4
District 17 Candidates Forum
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. (Doors open at 1:45 p.m.)
Twinbrook Community Recreation Center Gymnasium
12920 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville
The forum is free and open to the public. Membership in the D17 Democratic Club is not required and the Club welcomes new members.
Candidates for D17 Senate: Cheryl Kagan, Luiz Simmons
Candidates for D17 Delegate:
Kumar Barve, Jim Gilchrist, Susan Hoffmann, Andrew Platt, Laurie-Anne Sayles, George Zamora
For questions or more information, contact Al Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, May 6
County Council Candidates Forum - Montgomery County Districts 1-5 and At Large
6:30 - 9:00 p.m. (Doors open at 6:00 p.m.)
Rockville Executive Office Building Cafeteria, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville
The schedule is as follows:
Districts 1,2,3,4 - 6:30 p.m. - Roger Berliner (1), Duchy Trachtenberg (1), Neda Bolorian (2), Craig Rice (2), Guled Kassim (3), Sidney Katz (3), Tom Moore (3), Ryan Spiegel(3), and Nancy Navarro (4).
District 5 - 7:25 p.m. - Christopher Barclay, Evan Glass, Tom Hucker, Terrill North, and Jeffrey Thames
At-Large - 8:20 p.m. - Beth Daly, Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal, Vivian Malloy, and Hans Riemer
In addition to the WDC, co-sponsors include:
Montgomery County Young Democrats, African-American Democratic Club, Hispanic Democratic Club, Greater Silver Spring Democratic Club, Leisure World Democrats, D19 Democratic Club
For more information or to request accommodations, contact email@example.com or 309-530-3775.
Thursday, May 8
District 16 Delegate Candidates' Forum
7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Walt Whitman High School Cafeteria, 7100 Whittier Boulevard, Bethesda
Candidates: Jordan Cooper, Peter Dennis, Bill Frick, Hrant Jamgochian, Ariana Kelly, Marc Korman, Karen Kuker-Kihl, and Gareth Murray
Moderator: Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee Chair Emeritus Karen Britto
In addition to the WDC, this forum is being sponsored by the D16 Democratic Club.
For further information contact Eliot Greenwald on 301-320-5750 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY'S ANNUAL SPRING BALL
Saturday, May 10
Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
5701 Marinelli Road, Rockville
Tickets $100 per person
Join WDC for the Spring Ball sponsored by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee. Jane Merkin, the immediate past President of WDC, will be honored as the recipient of the Democrat of the Year Award. Two other Award recipients are also WDC members. Marylin Pierre will receive the Morgan-Jerney Community Service Award and Ann Statland will receive the Dean-Peacock Precinct Official Award. For more information, call 301-946-1000 or
MARYLAND DEMOCRATIC PARTY GALA 2014
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - (Save the Date)
VIP Reception 6:00 p.m.
General Reception 6:15 p.m.
Dinner 7:00 p.m.
13905 Central Avenue, Upper Marlboro
For more information please contact Jamiere Folmar at RSVP@mddems.org or 443-.569-4181.
2014 Ballot Questions Advisory Committee Needs Volunteers
Volunteers are needed for the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) Ballot Questions Advisory Committee (BQAC). The role of the BQAC is to study the 2014 ballot questions and judicial candidates and to prepare a report on them. That report is presented to precinct officials in advance of a Precinct Organization meeting in the early fall (date, time and location to be announced). Precinct organization members will vote on what they feel should be the position of the Montgomery County Democratic Party on the ballot questions and judicial candidates. These positions are included in the Sample Ballot that goes out to all registered Democrats in Montgomery County.
To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to the MCDCC at Montgomerydems@msn.com ,
by fax to 301-946-1002, or mail to MCDCC, 3720 Farragut Avenue Suite 303, Kensington MD 20895.
MCDCC must receive resumes and cover letters no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, June 6, 2014.
The resume should include the applicant's involvement in campaigns, their community, and the Democratic Party. The cover letter should explain why the applicant wants to be on the BQAC.
MCDCC rules require that at least half of the BQAC members be precinct officials (precinct chairs, vice chairs, and area coordinators). In addition, the rules instruct MCDCC to "strive for ethnic, geographic and ideological balance within the members of the Advisory Committee."
IT'S STILL THE ECONOMY, SAYS PLOUFFE
by Joyce Lipman
"Everyone here represents a model for the kind of grassroots effort we try to put together," announced David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager, at the Women's Democratic Club's April luncheon. That effort's focus, he told us, is wide -- the whole country's Senate, House, and Gubernatorial races.
According to Plouffe, Democrats will be playing defense because they have two strikes against them. First, the electorate is "harder." The difference between the presidential and off-year electorate is greater than ever. It will be challenging in the off-year to continue to engage all the nontraditional voters that Democrats were able to pull in for the national race. Secondly, geography is against us. The primaries will be run in tough states, and we must remember that in 2008 all incumbents won re-election. Democrats have been doing well in urban/suburban areas but have struggled in rural areas.
Plouffe expects the House to remain status quo and the gubernatorial races to come out neutral. The Senate, on the other hand, will be hard, though "everything has to go right for Republicans for them to win." Overall, he said, there are a lot of close races, and we will win some seats. The question is how many.
He believes that right now the political atmosphere cannot get worse for Democrats. Although he expects the economy to improve, that may happen too late for the election cycle. Here in Montgomery County, he told us, we are "divorced" from the swing voters in the country. Households across the country that bring in less than $60,000 a year are still feeling the effects of the recession. As it always has, that economic hardship will drive the election, along with voters' frustration about the state of governance.
On the plus side for Democrats, Republicans are not seen as a "safe alternative," as swing voters fear tea party extremes. We need to capitalize on this. Plouffe regards 2008, 2010, and 2012 as "wave elections," reactions against the leadership, but not this year.
Turning to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Plouffe wondered why the Democrats are not "raising their flag and running on this," as only 25 percent of the population wish to see it repealed. We need to implement it and then try to improve on any glitches. While the Republicans focus on their pointless-and tiresome-war on this legislation rather than on serious issues, we can highlight the experiences of people who have benefited. Middle class people who see the ACA as only for the poor, will eventually see security in the law, but unfortunately for the election, not by November.
To win the election, Plouffe said, Democrats need to be aggressive and, recognizing the negative reaction to Republicans' extreme positions, "put these guys on trial." To win votes, our side needs to speak to the economic issues that strike a chord with the electorate. Then we need to work hard in neighborhoods and precincts to get out the vote.
Q & A
The ACA: Asked about the necessary tweaking, he replied that first we need to make it more easily available to more people. We will also have to deal with such concerns as the probable doctor shortage and rising costs. The biggest roadblock is that people did not realize that they could get subsidies. That is changing. Another issue is that we have to be making decisions about the system as a whole based on science, something we have not been doing. Plouffe is confident of the future of the ACA and believes we should be proud that we got this "sticky wicket" passed. "The fact that 7 million families this morning had health care made it all worth it," he said.
As for the effect on small business, though not all will benefit from the ACA, he thinks 80 percent will. They just need more information on how to make it work for them.
Asked why we have not done a national campaign on the benefits of the law, Plouffe had a one-word answer: money. The enrollment problems used up a lots of funds that could have been used on getting the word out about the parts of the law that would be more popular. Thus the Republicans have been able to rally their base by focusing on the individual mandate. But, Plouffe believes, "at the end of the day, healthcare is not going to win this election."
A national vision on the economy:
Plouffe stated that "there is no national campaign. That's a myth." We just need to get the economy growing in general with investments in things like education and research and development to release creativity. Republicans, Plouffe argued, have not modernized; they have stuck with their trickle-down theories, which we were able to turn against Romney. Ryan offers the same ideas.
Election Strategy: Plouffe gave some thoughts on several closely fought races, like Kentucky and Georgia. He thinks that in a lot of races the candidates are only a few points apart. "If it weren't for the tea party," he added, "we would be in worse shape."
A couple of questions centered on "Organizing for America," what Plouffe called a decentralized effort created by supporters who wanted to stay involved in the issues (health care, gun control, etc.). He re-emphasized that the focus is not on a national strategy but on individual races. It is not about the use of technology but "the most valuable contact is a human being talking to another human being." This has always been true and will always be true.
Voter Suppression: Plouffe called voter suppression by Republicans a curious strategy for a party trying to win over minorities. Thus, though this strategy may offer them short-term gains, in the end it will defeat them. We must nonetheless use every method we can think of to combat this problem on a case-by-case basis, including motivating people by reminding them that Republicans "don't even want you to vote."
WDC County Executive Forum Makes Headline News
by Stacey Maud
The Washington Post said that the County Executive Forum on April 6, 2014, "...produced some of
|WDC President Beth Tomasello and Moderator Charles Duffy|
the County's political season's most robust and revealing exchanges." The Gazette wrote at length about the heated rhetoric the candidates exchanged on the mechanics of budgetary attainment and the management of the Silver Spring Transit Hub project.
Ike Leggett, Doug Duncan and Phil Andrews agreed on maintaining the County's exceptional school rating and ensuring an economically robust future, but that is where the similarities ended. Each contender had differing opinions on how to achieve Montgomery County's future success.
Under the expert moderation of Charles Duffy, host of "Political Pulse" on the Montgomery Municipal Cable Channel, criticisms and pointed questions by the candidates about their opponent's accomplishments, affiliations and plans for the County's future sent fact checkers scurrying and gave attendees an unvarnished look into this highly contested race.
Silver Spring Transit Center: Andrews claims there is a secret committee working on this project to which he can't get access. Leggett maintained that safety was the first priority and that it would probably open in the fall. He added that there is no secret committee and that no additional money will be expended.
On the budget: Andrews was cautious about salaries and other benefits of spending and opposed raising taxes. Duncan said job growth is at the lowest it's been in recent times and wants to grow the tax base by growing jobs particularly through the development of the innovation corridor. Leggett made no promises about not raising taxes and touted job growth as being the highest in the tri-state area. He questioned Duncan on a $43 million overrun that allegedly happened under Duncan's leadership as a former County Executive. Leggett also mentioned the "C" rating that Duncan had received and noted that he'd left the County broke. Duncan responded saying, "I am not interested in 2004 ratings. I had a balanced budget for 12 years and left the County with a large reserve of $300 million."
|Candidates Phil Andrews, Doug Duncan and Ike Leggett.|
Spending on schools: Debate cemtered on the
the so called Maintenance-Of-Effort (MOE) law which provides a per-pupil dollar amount which is set to escalate each year to ensure predictable and stable funding for schools. But with the economic downtown causing a drop in tax revenues, counties have been seeking new ways to patch budget deficits. All three candidates agreed that the MOE law should be changed. Duncan advocates supplemental State funding. Leggett said that his budget includes an increase for MOE and police and leaves an 8% surplus; and Andrews says that he would balance the needs of schools against other County needs.
Traffic and transportation: Duncan advocates public-private partnerships, and expansion of the lanes on I270, as well as lower tolls on the Inter County Connector (ICC). Leggett proposed a gas tax increase to enable new road construction. Andrews stood behind the Purple Line construction, and for better planning and better use of road capacity, including more access for pedestrians and cyclists.
Vision for the next four years and closing: Leggett proposes moving forward in the areas of transportation, cyber security, affordable housing and education. He put forth that he kept the County budget intact through the difficult economic times, and that he is running on his record. Andrews advocates environmental protection, negotiating County contracts and careful spending. He wants to secure public funding for elections, running on the platform that he's the only candidate not accepting special interest money. Leggett replied that negotiation is not possible because the County has binding arbitration. Duncan is advocating for better schools, better job growth, and better county government. He states that we need applied science centers and higher education facilities. He wants to foster the incubator space, and get rid of illegal campaign funds.
Two hundred people attended the forum at the Silver Spring Civic Center which was cosponsored by 18 Democratic Clubs: African American Democratic Club of Montgomery County, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Democratic Breakfast Club, Greater Silver Spring Democratic Club, Hispanic Democratic Club, Montgomery County Green Democrats, Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, Northern Montgomery, Woman's Democratic Club, Young Democrats of Montgomery County District 14 Democratic Club, District 15 Democratic Caucus, District 16 Democratic Club, District 17 Democratic Club, District 18 Democratic Caucus, District 19 Democratic Club, District 20 Democratic Caucus, District 20 Democratic Breakfast Club, District 39 Democratic Club, and the
Democratic Club of Leisure World.
How Bad is Montgomery County's Mental Illness Problem?
WDC Found Out
by Stacey Maud
|Lucy Freeman with panelists Cari Cho, Art Wallenstein and Stephanie Rosen |
It was a stellar line up of panelists at WDC's Montgomery 101: Living on the Edge with Mental Illness event as experts Cari Cho, Stephanie Rosen and Art Wallenstein joined more than 60 WDC members and friends to discuss the state of mental health in Montgomery County in Chevy Chase on April 11, 2014.
WDC Director and Co-Chair of the Education Committee, Lucy Freeman, kicked-off the event and explained, "Montgomery 101 was created in response to the question: what does the Montgomery County government do?"
Panelist Arthur Wallenstein is the Director for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He said that while the Montgomery County jail population is down 26%, and crime and police booking is down 25% - the percentage of inmates with mental health problems is growing! Twenty-one percent of the county's jail population is chronically and consistently mentally ill. "But these are not murderers and rapists", he said, they are crimes such as retail theft, urinating in public and domestic offenses.
While he acknowledged that mental illness is part and parcel of the system, he explained that this is in part due to the fact that for the mentally ill, prison can be easier to get into than a crisis center!
Wallenstein is an advocate for President Kennedy's call for a community mental health system, following the demise of the large state mental hospitals, "the battle is in the street, the Corrections Department should not be a treatment provider of any sort", as he described the use of the prison system for mental illness as a "diagnosis of last resort or least complexity."
Cari Cho, President of Cornerstone Montgomery, a non-profit organization which provides outpatient and residential programs for the mentally ill concurs, "Montgomery County offers a lot of services from pre-school to adult. But we need more access to those services for the privately insured and the uninsured."
Currently private insurance pays for physician and clinical services only, while to qualify for services such as residential programs, recipients need to qualify for medical assistance, which currently has a $2,280 per annum cut off - leaving the vast number of those in need, uncovered.
In addition, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which with other anxiety based mental health issues, constitutes the most common mental illness in our area (18%) is NOT an approved diagnosis for residential programs. Cho wants diagnosis limits and financial eligibility requirements revised, as well in order to attract good practitioners and secure more affordable housing.
Stephanie Rosen is the CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for Montgomery County, a non-profit which provides education programs, support groups, advocacy and a database of mental health resources. Rosen is working to address the subtle stigma of the issue, and would like to see the community surround the individuals and families affected with support as they would if it were a physical disorder, and not isolate them.
Based on statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, there are 200,000 people in Montgomery County who are suffering from a diagnosable mental illness, and 45,000 are serious cases. This means that there are 1 in 4 adults suffering from a diagnosable mental illness in any given year, and 1 in 17 with a serious condition. After anxiety based disorders such as PTSD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which affects mostly children, has the second highest rate of occurrence in our area.
INTERVIEW edited by Bonnie Wicklund
MaeWanda Jackson, our co-chairperson of the Membership/Outreach Committee, was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. As an only child, she spent most of her free time playing with the neighborhood kids, and learning to sew and to play the piano and violin. At thirteen, she convinced her parents to let her attend a New England boarding school, because she was very frustrated with the segregated public schools and environment in the South. Thus, in September 1959 at 14, she embarked on an incredible journey when she attended boarding school in Darien, Connecticut. After graduating from high school, she attended Marietta College in Ohio where she received a bachelor's degree in biology with a chemistry minor. After working a year as a basic research scientist in neuroanatomy at Harvard Medical School, she made her way to Washington, DC where she attended graduate school at Howard University, earning a master's degree in counseling psychology. MaeWanda married, had a daughter, and worked as a rehabilitation counselor, personnel management specialist, and senior program analyst.
I like fiction, history books, and books dealing with political issues. Currently I am reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a young Nigerian writer. I also enjoyed reading Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being and John Grisham's Sycamore Row.
I enjoy seeing movies such as the recent "12 Years A Slave" and "Philomena." Two other films I liked were "King of Masks" and "The Red Violin."
I listen to WETA for classical music, and NPR.
A few years ago, I took a cruise to Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize. Hopefully, I will do more traveling in the near future, maybe to parts of Europe and the Middle East I've never seen.
I am an avid supporter of Barack Obama and have been absolutely excited about him since his delivery of the Keynote Speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston
POLITICAL HIGH POINT
The inauguration of President Obama in 2009 was a great high point, but I was even more thrilled when he won the 2012 election.
URGENT POLITICAL ISSUE
It is urgent that we resolve the voting rights/voting suppression issue. Income and education inequality are still very pressing issues. The failure to resolve these issues within the next few years, I think, could jeopardize our democracy.
SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE - WE'RE ON TWITTER!
WDC has a Twitter account! Our Twitter handle is @WomenDems. Be sure to follow us!
Don't forget to like us on Facebook; we're listed as Woman's Democratic Club, Montgomery County.
|POLITICAL BOOK CLUB
Want to learn more about what your fellow Democrats are reading about American or political history? Join WDC's Political Book Club - our longstanding literary conclave that meets on the third Wednesday of every other month. Meetings take place at 1:30 p.m. at members' homes. A facilitator for each book leads the discussion. For more information, contact Estelle Stone at email@example.com
On May 21st the book selection is The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, WilliamHoward Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin. She analyzes the friendship between Roosevelt and Taft, which first made for a powerful partnership but then dissolved with disastrous consequences for both. She also describes how journalism can capture the public's imagination and help shape the national agenda. There are no meetings during the summer.
Future selections include My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor on September 17, and The Presidents Club by Nancy Gibbs & Michael Duffy on November 19.
If you're interested in seeing what other books have been discussed, please go to www.womansdemocraticclub.org and click on Political Book Club, which is listed under Events.
VOLUNTEERS: IT TAKES A VILLAGE
We need your help creating a vibrant Club and we solicit your ideas and participation. And the most valuable contribution you can make to the Club is - you guessed it - your time. Sharing your skills and expertise with us and joining a committee are fun ways to meet other members and make new friends while helping the Club accomplish its goals.
WDC is looking for members to help on the Communications Committee and on the Membership and Outreach Committee. We need photographers for our events . Want more information? Email Carmela Cowgill at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also go to www.womansdemocraticclub.org and click on "Get Involved" then "Volunteer" to complete the volunteer form.
Do you have ideas for future programs? Do you know someone who would be a great speaker at a future WDC event? If so, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Keeping members better informed, better connected and more politically effective since 1957