Category Archives: Meeting reflections

Meeting of June 9, 2020 – Upcoming Ballot Measures

Tuesday, June 9, 7:00pm
…on ZOOM…

Once again, in order to continue maintaining social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Progressive Dems of Benicia held its June meeting on Zoom.

Members and friends received Zoom login instructions by email.  Those not currently on our member or interested parties email list who wanted to attend, could either Become A Member,  OR, if they were just interested and wanted to attend, could let us know on our Contact Us page, so that we could send Zoom instructions by email.


Our featured topic for discussion at our June 9 Zoom meeting was ballot measures on the Nov. 3 ballot. You may have already heard about a proposed “property tax reform” initiative promoted by Schools and Communities First and many other education, health, and labor organizations, plus the ACLU and League of Women Voters.

A “yes” vote would require commercial and industrial properties, except those zoned as commercial agriculture, to be taxed based on their market value, rather than their purchase price.

A “no” vote would continue taxing commercial and industrial properties based on a property’s purchase price , with annual increases equal to the rate of inflation or two (2) percent, whichever is lower.

Generally referred to as the Schools and Local Communities Funding Act, it would create a “split-roll property tax” where commercial properties valued over $3 million would be reassessed every three years at market value. Smaller businesses, farming properties, and residential homes would be exempt and remain under the existing framework.

  • Proponents claim the change could produce up to $12 billion annually – 60% earmarked for local governments and 40% for education. According to a study by the University of Southern California, schools and cities could benefit from the new revenue stream as soon as fiscal year 2021-2022.
  • Opponents of the ballot measure include the anti-tax group Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association – claiming the new tax burden would kill Main Street and the small businesses that survive the pandemic-induced shutdown; and, the California Retailers Association – property owners will raise rents if the measure is approved, meaning businesses will pass on costs to customers. Other opponents include the California Chamber of Commerce, California Farm Bureau Federation and California Bankers Association.

Meeting of May 20, 2020 – Get Out the Vote (GOTV)

Wednesday, May 20, 7pm
Our first Zoom Meeting

After canceling PDB general membership meetings for March and April due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we restarted our general membership meetings on May 20.  In order to maintaining social distancing, members met by Zoom!!!!!

On May 20 we will heard from Nancy Klein who works with West County Organizing, a group of volunteers in Contra Costa County and the greater East Bay who focus on electoral politics to help elect progressives and Democrats!

West County Organizing uses phone and text banks to register voters and Get Out The Vote (GOTV). They also encourage civic engagement through town hall attendance and calls to elected representatives.

Guest speaker Nancy Klein described their recent efforts and shared with us suggestions on how we can initiate and support GOTV efforts for upcoming races to be decided on November 3.

Our own Kathy Kerridge then described a GOTV letter writing party that she is planning, working through Swing Left.

Our first meeting on Zoom went with relatively few technical glitches, and was so well organized that we ended in just a few minutes over an hour!

We will look forward to zooming together again next month.

IMPORTANT: if you are a member of PDB, January was the month to renew your annual dues (unless you joined since October, 2019, in which case your initial membership and dues count for 2020).  PLEASE PAY TODAY!

Meeting of February 12, 2020 – Presidential Candidate Panel & Endorsement

Presidential Candidates’ Forum
& Endorsement Vote
Wednesday, February 12, 6:30pm, Dona Benicia Room, Benicia Library

In advance of the March 3 California Primary Election, we took an internal poll of our Progressive Democrats of Benicia in order to offer Benicians a PDB endorsement for a Democratic presidential candidate.  So we held a candidates’ forum at our February 12 meeting.

These are campaigns which were represented on the panel and the person speaking on behalf of their candidate:

    • Pete Buttigieg, Nick Fletcher (or representative), CA Campaign Political Director
    • Mike Bloomberg, Patty Mitchell, Regional Campaign Director, Contra Costa Co.
    • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Constance Beutel, Benicia supporter/local activist
    • Sen. Bernie Sanders, Mark Van Landuyt, (2016 Sanders delegate/campaign organizer Contra Costa Co.
    • Tom Steyer, Luis Sanchez, (CA Deputy Political Director)
    • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Anthony Galace, Oakland campaign office
    • (NOTE: Invitations were sent to the other campaigns but no responses were received.)

After the presentations by the candidates’ representatives, everyone present participated in a Q&A, and then PDB members voted to endorse the candidate of their choice.

Members not present had a week to vote online via the website.  The online Membership Poll went up on the website on 2/12/20 after the meeting.

Endorsement results were posted here on the website after online voting closed on 2/19/20.