Notes from August 11, 2018 CDSA Executive Committee Meeting

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August 11, 2018

Chicago DSA Executive Committee Meeting
Crossroads Conference Room
Chairing: Leonard Pierce
Minutes: Joseph Altura



Committee Members in Attendance:
Joseph Altura
Pedro Bortoto
Ramsin Canon
Ed Corcoran
Ryan Lange
Robin Peterson
Leonard Pierce
Lillian Osborne

Committee Members Absent with Notice
John Aspray
John Patrick “JP” Kaderbek
Lucie Macías


The regular monthly meeting of the Executive Committee of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America was called to order at 12:11PM August 11, 2018 by Leonard. After introductions and a review of feminist process, the agenda was reviewed. Joseph moved that three minutes be removed from the Secretary Update(Section II, Item f) to add a new item for discussion under the Upcoming Events Section (Section V, Item w) about the upcoming chapter general meeting to be presented by Anna Forsher of the Logistics and Planning Committee. This motion was seconded and approved unanimously by committee members present. Then the agenda for the meeting was moved, seconded, and approved unanimously by committee members present.

The committee then reviewed the July minutes. Joseph moved that the July Executive Committee Meeting Minutes be approved. The motion was seconded and approved (6 Ayes: Joseph, Pedro, Ramsin, Ryan, Robin, Leonard; 0 Nays; 2 Abstentions: Ed C, Lillian). Anna reported on issues that were occurring with reserving the chapter’s office. As a result, she and Lucie established a process for reserving the space that Lucie would send out to membership the following week.

Simon S presented on the state of North Side Branch Elections. The deadline for nominations and announcement of candidates was August 1, with the election to occur at Hairpin Arts Center on August 22 using a process similar to the February 2018 North Side Branch Elections. He asked, if possible, that volunteers from the other branches might help with the election.

Pedro reported that the West Cook Branch would be holding an election at their branch meeting August 12. They have four candidates for five positions. They need someone to run for their designated EC rep position.

Robin reported that the South Side branch had five members interested for their four branch representative positions with one definite alternate.

Joseph presented on the state of the chapter wide election to fill two new Executive Committee officer roles to keep with the new Constitution. Lillian was the sole candidate for Campaigns Coordinator, Zach Shearer for Communications Coordinator. Their candidate statements had been sent out, a list of registered voters compiled, and the vote would be opened midnight August 12 and closed 11:59PM August 16.

Joseph then gave a report as secretary. The chapter file structure had been reorganized to more closely match the new chapter structures and file permissions changed limiting the amount of edit access officers received. In addition, the Internal Elections Standing Committee had met. In this meeting, they had discussed drafting the chapter officer election procedure the committee was tasked to create according to the chapter constitution. This document would need to be approved before September 28 by the Executive Committee. The Internal Elections Standing Committee also discussed developing similar processes/guidelines for elections of National Convention delegates, branch leadership, and working group officers. The secretary also reported on an issue with Action Network emails ending up in membership spam folders and how this issue had been resolved.

Leonard gave a report on Midwest Socialist. The next print edition was being laid out and the podcast was rebranded to match the magazine. Charles was looking for contributions from Illinois and the Midwest. In addition, Leonard discussed how National was looking for contributors to their publications, if anyone was interested they would contact Charles, Leonard, and Lucie.

Leonard also gave an overview of social media protocols for all CDSA branded social media. Posts through CDSA accounts should focus on CDSA content as much as possible. They should avoid implied endorsement if the chapter had not endorsed the content. Ramsin asked if keys to the accounts had been transferred to the officers as outlined in the chapter constitution. Joe responded that the process had been started.

Ed reported on a breakdown of the budget. The chapter had a balance of 24,000. July was the lowest expense month since January. Also, a great deal of fundraising had occurred through ACTBlue recurring donations. The chapter received its national dues share of 20% of all monthly dues from the first and second quarter of 2018. The third quarter payment would arrive in November and the fourth in February. Dues sharing was not in the original budget so the chapter is close to its yearly fundraising goal. In addition, the chapter was selling shirts with at least 32 orders made at that point.

Leonard presented on events going on for Labor Day on the South Side. There would be a bike ride, park service ceremony, and then event afterwards with a strong socialist contingent. If interested people should speak to Tony Ginocchio.

Leonard presented also on a proposal from SPUSA for CDSA to provide a speaker, preferably a union member, for a panel discussion around Labor Day. Ramsin moved that the proposal be sent to the Labor Working Group for consideration and if approved to provide a member. Leonard seconded. The motion was approved unanimously by the committee members present.

Ed Corcoran presented on a proposal brought to the EC by Aaron James around using the chapter account to fund a separate Action Network group for a list from the Medicare-4-All tabling that the Healthcare Working Group did weekly. The Healthcare Working Group would provide the funds for a year and review the value of having the group after a year’s time. The motion was moved and seconded. The motion passed unanimously by the committee members present.

Edward Hirsch presented on a proposal to hold a barbecue in Kilbourn Park in response to white supremacists placing fliers in the park with razor blades beneath them. During discussion it was decided to budget $500 with an understanding that this was the chapter experimenting with an event of this nature. The motion was moved and seconded. The motion was approved unanimously by the committee members present.

The proposal to endorse the August 21 Prison Strike was moved to be tabled due to the lack of a presenter. The motion was seconded. The motion was approved unanimously by the committee members present.

Jamal Abd Rabbih presented on an amendment to the chapter’s endorsement process for candidates concerning circumstances where multiple candidates in the same race proceed to a vote for general membership. This would allow the Electoral Working Group to decide whether a contest can be limited to one endorsement or may have multiple. This decision could be overruled by the Executive Committee. The process used at the general meeting would be a ranked preference system organized by the internal elections committee. Ramsin moved the proposed amendments to the endorsement process and Leonard seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously by the committee members present.

The discussion of the Northwest Side Branch exploration committee was moved to be tabled by Ramsin. The motion was seconded. The motion was approved unanimously by the committee members present.

Ramsin reminded those present that the Cooperative Economy Summit was upcoming and that members should attend.

Leonard presented on a DSA tabling opportunity for a musical group called Ganstagrass who would be in Chicago at Bourbon on Division on August 26. If anyone was interested in tabling to please reach out to Leonard or Lucie.

Leonard presented on the Midwest Leadership Training to occur in St. Louis the weekend of August 18. The chapter has 15 people who intended to go, with 5 slots still available. The Chicago chapter would cover transit, National would cover housing. The training would end at 2:15PM on Sunday.

Jamal presented an update on the electoral endorsement process. Of candidate questionnaires reviewed by the electoral working group two, Rosanna and Ugo, had been approved to be interviewed. Other questionnaires were still being reviewed. One candidate Diane Daleiden did not pass an interview by a slim margin and could be interviewed if the EC voted on it. Lillian moved to table this question with Leonard seconding. The motion was approved unanimously by the committee members present.

Ramsin presented an update to the political education and policy standing committee. At least 20 people were confirmed to participate in the August 23 meeting around planning of education and research and policy functions of the chapter. In addition, another Introduction to Democratic Socialism event was being planned for hopefully early September.

Anna opened a discussion on planning the next chapter general meeting. After discussion, the date of October 7 was moved and seconded. The motion was approved unanimously by the committee members present.

Ed H requested the August 21 Prison Strike proposal be reconsidered. Ed C moved for it to be taken off the table with second by Joseph. The motion to reconsider passed (6 Ayes: Joseph, Pedro, Ramsin, Ed C, Ryan, Leonard; 0 Nays; 2 Abstentions: Lillian, Robin). Zach Shearer recommended that of the proposed actions that in the first bullet point CDSA would make a blog/recent news post instead of creating a page on the site, that the drafters of the proposal should also draft the statement to be sent out as well as recommended tweets and other social media posts to be given to Communications to publish. It was decided that these recommendations would be passed along to the
drafters of the proposal who could then present the proposal to the Executive Committee. The proposal was the moved to be tabled, which was seconded. The motion to table was approved unanimously by committee members present.

Joseph moved to allocate $10 more a month to email costs to allow for the creation of two new email accounts for the two new Executive Officer positions of Campaigns Coordinator and Communications Coordinator. The motion was seconded. The motion passed (6 Ayes: Joseph, Pedro, Ramsin, Ed C, Robin, Leonard; 0 Nays; 2 Abstentions: Ryan, Lillian)

The meeting was moved to be adjourned by Leonard with a second. The motion to adjourn was passed unanimously by committee members present. The meeting adjourned at 1:50PM.