Minutes of the April 27, 2015 General Membership Meeting

Democratic Club of Claremont
General Membership Meeting
7:00 PM Monday, April 27, 2015
Porter Hall, Pilgrim Place

The Agenda for the meeting was approved after John Forney, Chair, welcomed 35 members and guests.

POLITICAL STRATEGY committee report: Debi Evans, committee chair, told of several actions including (1) A "Close the Gap" event was held to recruit women especially for the Assembly District 40 seat, narrowly lost to the GOP candidate in 2014; (2) Meetings are occurring between State Senate District 25 candidates and Democratic activists; (3) Consideration is being given to forming a local Stonewall Club, as its members are usually young political activists; (4). Chris Holden will establish an Environmental Advisory Committee so we encourage our club to have a presence on it; and (5) The Inland Valley Democratic Club's reception honoring Congressman Pete Aguilar attracted 75 locals and the luncheon was followed by a coffee for Aguilar.


Dr. Shawki El-Zatmah "The Arab Spring Four Years Later and the Rise of ISIS" Dr. El-Zatmah's presentation encompassed one hundred years of historical events in the Middle East. It began with the division of the former Ottoman Empire into French- and British-controlled areas, as shown on a political map of 1921. The French Mandate contained Syria while the British area included Iraq. Both European powers chose to form armies comprised of minority groups within their areas such that the minorities exerted power over the majorities. El-Zatmah then told of the rise of Egypt as a secular, progressive country through the years of 1945-1970. When Egypt was defeated by Israel in 1967, Egypt lost its status and, in its place, Saudi Arabia rose to power. Saudi Arabia began spending its oil dollars to promote Islam, with the money spent to "put ideology into practice" as young members of the faith were provided full funding as they were educated. Outward changes occurred, such as Islamic women wearing head coverings. The Middle East began to focus more on its religiosity.

The "War on Terror" was begun in 2001 as a military opposition of Islamic al-Qaeda and other extremist groups. The war with Iraq left that country disintegrated. As many of the peoples of the Middle East realized the corruption and lack of control within their countries, they rose up in the actions of the "The Arab Spring". Armies and police forces disintegrated, making openings for ISIS and other extremist groups to battle within the area. Most of these groups are funded by Saudi Arabia.

Dr. El-Zatmah approves of President Obama's policy toward the Middle East, stating that for us to intervene with troops on the ground would be "another Viet Nam".

During the Question/Answer session, the following information was given: There are more than 12 million refugees in the Middle East; Lebanon's population now is 25% Syrian refugees and it is unable to provide for them; Jordan now has a serious problem providing for the refugees in the country; Saudi Arabia has had protests but no reporting has gotten out about them.


MSA (Gar Byrum) The Minutes of the General Membership Meeting of March 30, 2015 were approved unanimously.

President's Report: John Forney recommended Elizabeth Warren's book, "A Fighting Chance".

Committee Reports

FINANCE: Carol Whitson, committee chair, reported a balance of $2661, with more than $3,000 in membership dues received for this year. When asked, Carol told of the larger expenses the Club accrues annually. She stated that, because delegates to County and State events are apportioned according to membership, we are aiming for more than 100 members this year.

PROGRAM & ISSUES: Merrill Ring, committee chair, told of (1) Gathering more than 150 signatures on our petition re. a carbon fee at our Earth Day booth and (2) Receiving acknowledgements from Governor Brown and Assemblyman Holden re. our letter concerning fracking. Luncheon and General Meeting programs have assigned speakers up to our summer recess. (See below, under Announcements: Club Events .) A suggestion was made that we ask Pete Aguilar to speak or that we plan a fund-raising event for him.

COMMUNICATIONS: A vacancy in this position continues.

MEMBERSHIP: Gar Byrum reported that we have now at least 95 members. He was applauded for his efforts in contacting those members who have not renewed for this year.

Report of LACDP and CDP: Bob Gerecke reported that the LA County Central Committee had met with six members of the National Committee to share more than 40 suggestions. The committee itself passed many resolutions:

  1. Support the grocery workers boycott of El Super grocery stores.
  2. Support the Chiquita Canyon landfill.
  3. Address Turkey's denial of recognizing the Armenian genocide.
  4. Support for expansion of arts education in LA County.
  5. Protection of real-life habitats of species.
  6. Support for detailed inspection of meat and poultry.

Bob also reminded Democrats of the JFK Awards Reception at Town & Gown, USC, on Sunday, May 31.

DCC in the Community:

  1. A report of our Earth Day booth can be found in the May edition of the Voorhis Voice.
  2. Suggestions for our Independence Day booth and parade entry are sought - please contact Merrill Ring with your ideas.


Club Events

  • Friday, May 8 - Luncheon: Jerry Fenning - "Using Natural Gas to Power our National Truck Fleet" at Darvish restaurant, noon

Other speakers will include:

  • Shirlee Smith "Incarcerated Mothers as Parents"
  • Sam Pedroza, Claremont City Councilman "California and Local Water Issues" (with Mel Boynton "Tour of California Water Facilities")
  • Linda Skyrdlant "Monsanto and GMOs"

Other Organizations

  • LACDP Kennedy Awards - May 31, 2015 (see "Report of LACDP and CDP" above.)
  • Tuesday, April 28 noon Andy Winnick will speak on the Arab-Israeli Conflict at the University Club's luncheon. Padua Room, Hughes Center. The talk will begin at 12:30 PM.
  • NAACP Dialog - Friday, May 22 11 AM at the Kennedy Austin Center, Pomona
  • Whitehead Conference/ Seizing an Alternative scheduled for June 4 - 7 at Pomona College
  • Andrew Bacevich's talk at Pomona College has been taped and will be available on the Agenda for a Prophetic Faith website.

Adjourn: The meeting adjourned at 8:35 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carolee Monroe, Recording Secretary