Political Reality in February, 2019 as Seen By Norma Schatz

To Plymouth Harbor Democrats...and others who care February, 2019

The fossil fuel giants will have their way with this administration – and threaten our beaches. From US News 1/15/19: Things are happening at the federal level that impact oil drilling and, potentially, Florida. In November, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued "incidental harassment authorizations" that will allow five companies to use seismic airguns to explore potential oil and gas fields off the Atlantic coast from Delaware to Cape Canaveral in central Florida. (The “incidental harassment” is to sea life.) Attorneys General from 10 states (but not Florida) and several conservation groups are suing the fisheries service and its boss, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in an effort to impede the seismic survey process... Meanwhile, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is about to grant drilling permits, authorizing action after the seismic surveys locate fertile fields. Also, if Congress does nothing to extend the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, a moratorium on oil drilling and exploration, it will expire in 2022. Environmentalists say the subsequent legal vacuum would invite drilling in the eastern Gulf, close to Florida's west coast. Taking us further backward, Trump proposes allowing construction of new coal plants without any meaningful pollution safeguards.

And the swamp gets swampier. The nominee for head of EPA Andrew Wheeler, former coal lobbyist, acknowledged he hasn’t even read the full report written by experts at his own agency on climate change – and plans to pursue deregulation of dangerous mercury emissions and relax fuel emissions standards. Scott Hutchins, nominated as chief scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture would be the third member of Dow AgroSciences’ pesticide and seed division to hold a high-level position in the administration’s USDA. Lobbyists from Big Pharma now in Health and Human Services, Boeing execs in Defense, fossil fuel and water industry lobbyist at Interior; our U.N. Rep is a former Fox News person. Factoid: EPA criminal action against polluters hit a 30 year low in 2018 in the number of pollution cases it referred for criminal prosecution. Enforcement activities have also been curtailed at the Consumer Financial Protection Board, designed as a consumer watchdog agency. Are we moving more and more to a Government of and by the Corporations?                                                                                                Some good news: the U.S. House of Representatives will hold hearings on gun violence.

And in Florida – Gov. DeSantis wasted no time appointing three conservative judges to the highest state court (one not ever having been a judge but very conservative) and calling for a “Florida Deregathon”. One can only hope that what the Governor calls “hurting our businesses”, ”costly “ and stifling competition, some of the deregulation will not endanger the physical or financial health of the average Floridian when licensing requirements are relaxed. It's more than a month til the Florida legislature is in session for voting on bills. But committees are meeting, hearing and moving on proposals. In Education, requiring public schools to offer elective Bible courses and for the teaching of “controversial” science theories and concepts in a “factual, objective and balanced manner” (possibly challenging climate science and evolution). There has yet to be clarification as to whether the return of voting rights will be made difficult. Again religious and political rather than medical opinion are shaping women's reproductive rights and access to a legal medical procedure. Bills have been submitted to limit access to abortion to 20 weeks (federal law, now in jeopardy, is 24 weeks) and to 6 weeks (when a woman may not even know she is pregnant).

Some dates of interest: Feb 5 – 6 p.m. Selby Library; Dr. Dale Anderson on How Fascism Works; no charge. Feb 11 – 7 p.m. Dem Club of SRQ & Dem Environmental Caucus; Futurist David Houle on Climate Change; info & reservation: <www.sarasotadems.com>. Feb 12 – LBK lunch; info at <www.lbkdems.com>.. Feb 24 – Democratic Party King-Kennedy Dinner; info & reservation: <www.sarasotadems.org/event/kennedyking2019/>.

Your comments and suggestions welcomed here.

Norma Schatz...T-1501...x360...nrma520@yahoo.com

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LBKDC Receives an Award from The Sarasota Martin Luther King Celebration Committee

The Longboat Key Democratic Club Received An Appreciation Award At The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast

 

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On January 21, 2019 the Longboat Key Democratic Club was recognized at the 40th annual awards breakfast honoring the Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Junior. The award was in recognition of our club's many years of dedication to the Newtown community in Sarasota. The award was presented by the Sarasota Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee. 

THE LONGBOAT KEY DEMOCRATIC CLUB has a longstanding partnership with the Newtown Community.  During this past election, many members of the Club canvassed in the area and began to develop personal friendships. When asked how we might strengthen our partnership, it was suggested that we organize a group to take a trolley ride and learn about the history of the area.  Friendships continued to deepened with a much greater understanding and admiration of the way contributions of residents of Newtown have made Sarasota what it is today. See Board Member Becky van der Bogert's has written a description of the tour here

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LBK Democratic Club Trolley Tour of Newtown by Becky van der Bogert

The_Trolley__3.jpgOur leader, Vicki Oldham, began the tour by informing us about the Newtown Conservation Historic District project that involved the writing of a report about the history of the area.  The first part of the tour took us through Overtown which was the first African American community in Sarasota.  This area is now known as The Rosemary District.  We learned that the community was developed because of the restrictions put on African Americans about visiting the stores in Sarasota and the “Sundown Laws” which kept anyone African American from most parts of Sarasota before sunrise or after sundown.   

We then disembarked from the trolley to offer libation to the grave of Reverend Lewis Colson, the first free African American to settle in Sarasota in 1884. He and his wife were credited with establishing the first African American Church where he served as their minister.   As we stood watching Vicki pour libation on his grave and hearing of his struggles and the obstacles he’d met, his courage and resilience were brought home to us.  We were no longer hearing stories in a textbook, but we were truly experiencing Newtown coming alive.

Boarding the trolley again I could feel a palpable sadness and need to reflect on what we’d experienced.  Just then one of our leaders, Troy, broke out in spiritual songs such as Jacob’s Ladder and Wade in the Water.  Our sadness was lifted as we became a joyous community. We were experiencing something together that was bigger than ourselves.

We then passed the first African American hotel constructed in 1925 to house visiting musicians and African American travelers who weren’t allowed to stay in other Sarasota hotels.  The hotel was appropriately named the Colson Hotel. 

As we approached Newtown we heard about the migration from Overtown that has become prime real estate for developers.  There are two opposing versions of why this migration happened.  One is that it was a “gentrification” project precipitated by some who feared having the black community so close to the town and the other is that there were many opportunities in Newtown such as the ability to own homes and a vision of a better life. With the entrepreneurial spirit, many African American businesses were founded and thrived in Newtown.

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Philip Kotler Presented on the Weaknesses of U.S. Capitalism and Democracy at our December 13 Luncheon

Philip_Kotler.jpgTo our surprise and delight we had a greater than expected attendance at our December 13 luncheon.  Our speaker was Philip Kotler, PhD, who Board Member Robert Gary introduced as the Father of Modern Marketing.  Dr. Kotler is the Professor Emeritus of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.  He is the author of over 150 published articles and 60 books, including Democracy in Decline: Rebuilding its Future.  Dr. Kotler shared his views on several problems facing our nation including the questions of whether capitalism in our democracy is working.  He also shared his insights about the value proposition that the Democratic Party should adopt going into the 2020 elections.

The title of Dr. Kotler’s presentation was Great Inequality of Income is a Threat to Democracy.  The main shortcomings of American capitalism, he says, are growing income and wealth inequality, low wages and high consumer debt, huge educational debt for graduates of colleges and professional schools, together with high executive pay, uncurbed growth of monopoly, oligopoly and financial capitalism.  American Democracy is plagued by voter suppression, low voter literacy, and gerrymandering.  Our two political parties are polarized and gridlocked.  He pointed out that U. S. voter turnout is disappointingly low (55% in 2012) compared to other free countries and our voters and our voters are mostly uninformed.

Capitalism is corrupting our Democracy, he said.  A U.S. politician seeking election must start with $1 million and attract many wealthy donors if he/she is to continue running.  Kotler advocates shorter election campaigns financed by the government.

Rather than focusing on criticizing the current administration, Dr. Kotler made a strong argument that the Democratic Party should stay proactive, positive and work hard to improve our Democracy and our capitalism.  The Common Good should be our value proposition going forward.  The Common Good insists on excellent basic education and health coverage in our society, and expects businesses to have a societal purpose.  The Common Good should be served by an active government and an active nonprofit sector.  

The theme of The Common Good should drive the selection of the next Democratic candidate for President.   Some of our major political stands going forward should be reducing the growing income and wealth gap, transitioning our health system to Medicare for All, allocating money to fix deteriorating infrastructure, revising gerrymandered districts, reducing education debt, improving gun control policy and reducing poverty and hunger. 

Our Democracy can also be improved by fixing our government.  We should have term limits, perhaps 24 years, for the House of Representatives, the Senate and The Supreme Court. 

In short, Dr. Kotler says “Let’s Save Democracy and Make it Work for More People”. 

Dr. Kotler’s presentation was followed by a lively question and answer period where we, among other things, explored the qualities for some of the potential 2020 candidates.  The presentation was very well received and the discussion that followed was lively.

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LBK Democrats Register High Turnout in November Elections

There are 1162 registered Democratic Sarasota County voters on Longboat Key.  Eighty-three percent of these voted either with vote by mail, early voting or on election day.  That is an outstanding performance.  See more of the voting statistics below:

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Democratic Clubs of LBK and Sarasota Fund Raising Event with Jill Wine-Banks

There were 515 in attendance at fundraising dinner hosted by the Democratic Club of Sarasota and Longboat Key Democratic Club. The event was held on Sunday evening, October 7 at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota.

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Robert Gary, LBK Democratic Club Board member, introduced the featured speaker, Jill Wine-Banks, a prosecutor during the Watergate Scandal and a current legal analyst for MSNBC.   As the Trump Administration chips away at the First Amendment and the core tenets of American democracy, Wine-Banks examined the abysmal state of a country divided by hatred, discrimination and “alternate facts”. She recounted exactly what happened at the Watergate burglaries, drawing parallels with current events.  "Trumpgate", as she calls it, is worse than Watergate because it involves a foreign hostile power meddling in our elections.  Wine-Banks made the point not to call it the Mueller investigation but to call it "Trumpgate".

 

 Chris_King_cropped.jpgJoAnne_DeVries_2.jpgKindra_Muntz.jpgWe also heard remarks from Chris King candidate for Florida Lieutenant Governor and David Shapiro, who is running for House seat against Vern Buchanan.  Liz Alpert, current Mayor of Sarasota, gave a welcoming speech. JoAnne DeVries, Chair of the Sarasota Democratic Party introduced the four field organizers of the Florida Democratic Party, and Kindra Munz, spoke about the  Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections. 

 

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Tribute to Marvin Morse, retired LBK Democrats Board Member and Former President

Marvin_7.jpgJudge Marvin Morse has been a genuine and distinguished lifetime Democrat. He has served with honor and distinction as a member and President of the Longboat Key Democratic Club. He has retired from active service this year. We are proud and greatly appreciate his extraordinary participation and service to our Club. He has made a positive and significant difference. Here, in his own words, is his story.


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