21Dems General Meeting Notes, Feb. 16, 2022

Notes – Peter Henry, Secretary

I arrived late at the meeting, 7:21


7:00        Call to Order 7:05        Announcements and Introductions (Electeds / Candidates – one minute) 7:10        Election of 2nd Vice Chair 7:20        Special Speakers:  

Cong. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) CD 1 – Current Congressional Topics

Melinda “Mindy” Woods — Housing Crisis

7:50        Minutes, Officer Reports, Committee Reports

8:00        Bio Break

8:05        Old Business

8:10        New Business: Confirmation of Sue Nicholls as Deputy Treasurer

8:15        New Business: Resolutions (TBD)

8:20        Good of the Order

8:25        Adjourn  

22 participants as of 7:36


Jason Call, candidate for Congress, 2nd CD

Representative Suzan DelBene (1st CD)

Election of 2nd Vice Chair

(Sue Nicholls appointed as interim deputy Treasurer by Executive Board, so she resigned as 2nd VC)

Nominations (needs to be someone who is not self-identified as male):

Heather Damron self-nominated; seconded by Sharon Holt and Mindy Woods

No other nominations

Sharon Holt motion; second by Ahamad Ceesay

12 for, 0 against

Congratulations Heather! You are the new 2nd Vice Chair!

Speaker: Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

Thanks to Rep. Peterson, Rep. Ortiz-Self and Senator Liias!

Challenging time in Washington, DC – CARES Act, Infrastructure legislation. Some funds going to local governments, some competitive grants (projects). Lots of areas in E. SnoCo there is lack of broadband – hurt especially during pandemic. Also need for water, wastewater, culvert infrastructure

Q: Housing – trying to cut housing from Build Back Better

A: There is a housing crisis all over. Might be possible to move this forward in other legislation.

Q: Probably economic boom in rural areas if they get WiFi infrastructure

A: Basic need like Rural Electrification, telephone service. Can’t depend on private sector incentive. Also affects housing. 

Q: All new housing is what middle/low income can’t afford. Starting to look at social housing. It takes local money (capital). Advocates for federal money for social housing program like in Vienna.

A: Low Income Housing Credit only available for affordable housing. With wrap-around services. Incentives for projects in rural, tribal communities.

Thank you Congresswoman!

Speaker: Mindy Woods. What about the housing crisis?

There is an exceptional amount of homelessness and people on the verge of homelessness. COVID has made a terrible situation worse. 

My son and I experienced homelessness in 2010. Home was taken over by black mold, put us in the hospital. No resolution with landlord so I stopped paying rent. We had to leave, had nowhere to go. Couch surfing, then a motel for 6 weeks, then a YWCA shelter for 3 ½ months. Then an apartment in Edmonds. 3 years later the landlord did not extend a new lease – I was evicted again, on a Section 8 voucher which landlords don’t commonly accept. Placed son with a friend, couch surfing another 8 months. 

Just under $1M for average house in Edmonds. Over $1M in Mill Creek. This is “economic eviction” – People need to make 3x or 4x the rent just to qualify! 

A lot of bills in the Legislature didn’t make it past the cutoff, we will be back!

One bill, HB 1904, asked for 6 month notice for high rent increases (over 7.5%). Landlord lobby killed it.

This is life and death for many people. It costs $40-$50 for each rental application!

In South County there’s only one shelter – women and children only. Wait list for Section 8 rent subsidy is 8 to 10 years! 

To call County Resource line (211) you may need to wait 2 hours on hold. To call DSHS was 3 hours, now it’s improved to 30 minutes. Still unsupportable. Let alone digital applications – if you are unhoused!

Challenges include NIMBYs, public misperception (homeless). The #1 cause of homelessness is <duh!> lack of affordable places to live.

Also, Political willpower is lacking. 

Washington Low Income Housing Alliance is working to push specific legislation.

Q: re: motels Seattle and KingCo are buying. It’s working there. What about SnoCo?

A: It’s feasible, county is discussing with motel in Everett now. Edmonds City Council approved human services budget. $200K was marked for homeless services.

Q: Fire service is under pressure, 911 calls … fundamental thing is there isn’t enough supply for the demand. What happened to building low income housing? Most of landlords now are corporate vultures. Why can’t fed. govt. build high-rises or whatever. Need volume. 

In Utah, “housing first” and then worry about getting people clean.

A: No one-size-fits-all solution. Need federal program. Prevention of homelessness is way more productive than solving homelessness.

We’ve had 40 years of disinvestment in low income housing AND human services. Since the early 80s. These things can intersect. Need public pressure on local/state/federal levels.

Private sector CAN build low-income housing if there’s public support. Housing Finance Commission can fund $12B a year. Enough of a carrot for a developer to build to 80% of median income.

Government high-rises is a fail. Needs to be integrated into the community. 

Mindy will supply Joel with ‘action alerts’ to send out to 21st LD members about commenting on housing bills.

Vote to confirm Sue Nicholls as Deputy Treasurer (to Tom Jurewicz) 

Moved Sharon, seconded Heather Damron

10 for, 0 against

Congratulations Sue!

Bio break

Review minutes from Jan. 19. No objections to adopting minutes.

Treasurer’s Report – Joel states we are in a good financial position; membership renewals are coming in. Sue reports we are doing well, she is accessing trainings and is getting support from Al Apodaca and will get help from Sharon Holt if needed. 

Al reports about memberships. As of noon today we have 34 paid members. As of end of 2021 we had about 98 paid members. Come on guys! Pony up!

We do have 2 recurring contribution members!

Joel – We decided as the e-board that if someone signs up with a recurring donation of $5 or more per month, they will automatically be signed up as a paid member.

Chair’s Report – Caucus committee will meet Friday at 7 pm to plan for the caucus on March 26 (online). New delegate selection plan. The goal is to select delegates to the state convention, to be held in Tacoma and virtually, based on preference of delegate. 

State rule says: To participate / vote in the caucus, you must be a member of the State organization 30 days prior to the caucus. If you haven’t paid your dues you need to pay within the next 10 days. If you are not sure ask Al Apodaca.

State Committeemembers – Thom Garrard – proposed a successful amendment to allow delegates to attend virtually at their preference (to notify state dems by April 1). Heard from Sen. Murray, new Secretary of State Hobbs. Approved 2022 budget in an undemocratic fashion. Official Black Caucus has been chartered. 

Sharon Holt – please register support on SB5560 to improve redistricting process.

First VC, PCO Coordinator – Micah Rowland. They removed access to Votebuilder for PCOs concurrent with redistricting. Planning a meeting (in person / virtual) for all PCOs once redistricting is done.

Second VC – Heather Damron (was County rep) – no report from County

Ahamad Ceesay (other County rep) – Gala some time in September; general meeting this Sunday. Young Dems is accepting candidates for consideration of endorsement

Bylaws Committee – Micah – Need bylaws change to add recurring contributions membership. Need to work on details.

No other committee / officer reports

No new resolutions

Good of the order

Micah has Reach out to fire districts, school boards etc. so we can be notified in case there is a vacancy and we can get appointed. “The ability to reach a consensus” is important!

Move to adjourn – Sharon Holt; Seconded, adjourn by acclamation