PDC Annual Meeting and Election of Board and Officers

Guest speaker and new East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwell (CD 15) energized attendees at the Peninsula Democratic Coalition’s Annual Meeting February 23. As one of the youngest members of the House of Representatives, Swalwell is a fresh face on the national political scene. (See his website here: http://swalwell.house.gov) He recounted tales of his blue collar background and need to contribute to his financial support at an early age. He was the first member of his family to attend college. When an injury dashed his hopes for a career in professional sports, he turned to public service. After receiving a law degree from the University of Maryland, he joined the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and also served on other community boards. His description of the quick orientation that is required of new Representatives made it clear how much he has had to absorb in a very short time. He expressed commitment to progressive causes and to moving the country forward.

In other business, members recognized outgoing board members and elected the 2013 board. Retiring board members Larry Aronson, Hayes Alexander, Laura Casas-Frier, Marie Chadderdon and Jon Kessler, were thanked for their years of service. A warm welcome was extended to first-term board members Sue Debowski, Judy Plaska, Pam Salvatierra, Tony Singh, Dave Walter, and Cory Wolbach. Attorney Marc Berman, who was elected to the Palo Alto City Council in December, stepped down from the PDC presidency, but remains on the Board as President Emeritus. The proposed new slate of officers was elected without contest. 

Financial planner Amy Pearl, who was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2012, is the PDC’s new president. Board officers who were elected are: Nicole Fernandez, Vice President; Katherine Forrest, Vice President for Program; Joe Rolfe, Treasurer; and Carol Kuiper, Secretary. They join returning board members Danielle Cullinane James, Andrea Eaton, Rita Friedman, Rita Friedman, Stephanie Grossman, Kristen Lohnes Johnson, Diane Rolfe, Joe Rolfe, Mark Solomon, Kavita Tankha, Emy Thurber, and James Thurber.

Special awards were given to two Board members for their extraordinary services to the progressive cause this past year. Carol Kuiper received the Thurber award, usually given at the August picnic, for her extraordinary service to the club working as secretary and membership organizer. Rita Friedman received a special award for her vision and work in creating the successful Democratic Volunteer Center in Menlo Park. She had been working on that project since 2004!

Several members gathered signatures on a petition for the California DISCLOSE Act, which this year is numbered SB 52. The petition is sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign which has been working since 2001 to lessen the undue influence of Big Money in politics.

Turnout was strong at the meeting. Over 90 people came to enjoy the lunch prepared by Board Member Mark Solomon. There were many new faces that turned into new members as well as a number of veteran members who renewed their memberships. 

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