The troubling trend of political extremism will be explored in a panel discussion moderated by Glenn Pearson, 1st Vice President of the Manatee County Democratic Black Caucus.
First you will see a video that directly takes on the issue from a unique and unexpected perspective, followed by a panel discussion and question/answer session. Against the backdrop of Florida's culture wars, this promises to be a spirited event.
The meeting will be held on Zoom Thursday, September 22, at 6 p.m. Click HERE to attend. Meeting ID is 881 6971 4751 and the passcode is 899873.
The Manatee Democratic Club will host a talk, Should Donald Trump be Prosecuted?, at its October luncheon meeting, Thursday, October 6, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Peridia Golf and Country Club.
Sam Reich, retired assistant federal district attorney of Pennsylvania, is the speaker. He is a MDC member and a club director.
According to the Executive Director of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP), Dr. Dave Tomasko, the health and well-being of Sarasota Bay is a quality-of-life issue for Manatee County.
Dr. Tomasko gave reasons why the Bay is so important to nearly 50 persons at the Manatee Democratic Environmental Caucus Fall Picnic, September 11, at G.T. Bray Park, Bradenton. He said the Bay provides 20,000 jobs, supports as many boats and gives a $3 billion financial lift to the area.
Three Democratic candidates participated in the conversations about the environment. Reggie Bellamy, running to retain his seat on the Manatee County Commission, Harold Byrd, Jr., a Manatee County School Board candidate and Kurt Landefeld, running for Bradenton City Council, engaged in the lively discussion. President of the Florida Environmental Caucus, Russ Conn, also attended the picnic.
Dr. Tomasko mentioned water quality in the bay is better now that attention is paid to wastewater overflows. He also informed the environmental activists that sea level is up six inches during the last decade and is rising at an increasing rate.
The Manatee Democratic Environmental Caucus meets the second Thursday of the month, 7 p.m., at Democratic Headquarters, 435 Cortez Road West, Bradenton. For more information, contact Ruth Lawler, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Cyndy Rosso, email@example.com.
By Donna Hartman – The Hispanic Democratic Caucus of Manatee County is expanding its outreach initiatives this fall to register Hispanic and Black voters and provide them with supportive information on the voting process prior to the November 8 general election.
The caucus was newly formed when the pandemic broke out in 2020, which put a damper on its work. Now, it is stepping up its outreach to voters and looking for more volunteers to join the team and help out.
“We have been recruiting, reorganizing and are slowly growing,” said Pedro Melendez, caucus co-president with Graciela Greenberg. The caucus now has 20 members. Here are some of the caucus’ key initiatives:
Adoption of Precinct 215, a district in southeastern Manatee County with concentrated populations of Mexican, Puerto Rican, other ethnic Hispanics and Black residents. “It is a small community with a low turnout of Black and Hispanic voters,” Melendez said. “Some people may not understand the value of getting involved. One of our best strategies is educational activities.”
Some residents, he added, are terrified to vote in elections or go to meetings because of voter suppression tactics, anti-immigrant rhetoric and well-funded, right-wing misinformation strategies.
Three canvassers go to Precinct 215 every other weekend, distributing literature, and talking to people about voting and getting involved.
Tabling at Walmart. The caucus recently received permission to gather outside Walmart stores at State Road 64 and Cypress Creek Boulevard and at State Road 70 and U.S. 301. Caucus members register voters and instruct people on how to enroll for Vote-By-Mail. Caucus members plan to be at the stores every other weekend if volunteers are available.
Phone banking at Democratic Party headquarters or from home. The caucus recently completed calls to 350 families and has nine Spanish-speaking phone bankers, but could use more.
A civics curriculum in Spanish is in the early stages of development for young citizens or anyone who wants to learn. The caucus is exploring churches or community centers to offer the classes.
Helping with needs of residents in Precinct 215 with food banks, pop-up vaccine clinics as well as internet service and access to computers for school children.
Want to volunteer? Contact Pedro Melendez at firstname.lastname@example.org or Graciela Greenberg at email@example.com. For information, visit https://www.facebook.com/HispanicDemocratsOfManatee or https://floridavota.com/
By Donna Hartman – The Manatee Democrats Progressive Caucus (MDPC)’s ambitious and impactful affordable housing initiative is rooted in social justice, diversity and inclusion, and people from all walks of life helping each other.
“We are working for social justice and helping the average person,” said Steve Ryan, president of the MDPC. “We promote diversity, and we go out and engage with people. We need help, and welcome anyone who wants to join us.”
MDPC’s Manasota Attainable Housing Coalition (MAHC) and Diversity & Inclusion Young Adults (D&I YA) are two subgroups of the caucus working to build local affordable workforce and multigenerational housing in the Manatee/Sarasota region. They are working with various groups, businesses and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to achieve their goal.
MAHC’s client base, people interested in living in future affordable housing units, numbers in the hundreds and stretches across southwest Florida. MAHC emphasizes home ownership, with most clients on an ownership track. Clients apply for the program and are screened to determine if they qualify.
The housing initiative is in the preliminary design phase and MAHC has three sites lined up for Prototype Housing Communities.
“This is a social justice model to follow,” Ryan said. “People will have their own living space, but they can do things as a small community, like sharing cars and sharing meals with their neighbors.”
More information will be released as plans are finalized.
To help clients in their current homes, D&I YA, a diverse group of young adults up to age 40 (and some older) does “reno” (renovation) projects like cleaning, painting, moving and minor repairs. The “Tech” group supports clients with tech services and counseling (about housing and other issues). D&I YA members are full-time students and people in the workforce. They are trained and paid for their services and mostly work on weekends.
“This group is the backbone of our caucus,” Ryan said.
MDPC also works closely with ArtsForHousing.org, which provides an outlet for artists to display their work while raising money for producing multigenerational housing solutions in an affordable and eco-friendly manner.
Want to get involved? MDPC’s next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 14, via Zoom. To get on the meeting invite list or receive more information, email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit www.ArtsForHousing.org or Events (manateecountydemocrats.com).
The Manatee County Democratic Black Caucus (MCDBC) is having great success registering voters at area venues in our county. Recent registration events have been held at The Tree and Looking Good men's clothing store.
The MCDBC invites you to join them every Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and/or 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for voter registration, or Friday/Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can also volunteer for phone calling. Contact the MCDBC second vice-chair Florence Shelton-Clark at email@example.com.
"We've had some terrific results with our Voter Registration events," Shelton-Clark said. "We have been registering Returning Citizens, educating lots of people and distributing pertinent voting literature. "
The Florida Democratic Party is asking residents to check their voter registration status and party affiliation in response to reports that some voters had their party designation switched from Democrat to Republican.
Florida Dems said there is evidence that Republican-affiliated canvassers targeted elderly and non-English-speaking Democrats in public housing complexes in Cuban- and Haitian-American areas of Miami-Dade County. No reports of party switching have surfaced in Manatee County.
Manatee Democrats conduct voter registration and Vote By Mail enrollment at Democratic Headquarters, 435 Cortez Road, the Orange Blossom Shopping Center, Bradenton, (941) 301-4336. Registration efforts are scheduled in selected neighborhoods, as well as at community events.
Contact the Supervisor of Elections office, (941) 741-3820; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.votemanatee.com/ to check on your registration status. If you need help checking your registration or know of an incident of voter suppression, call the state Voter Protection Hotline at (833) 868-3352.
In this critical election year, Democrats need to have a presence at community events or specific locations throughout the county. Staffing an event or maintaining a specific location is an alternative to canvassing door-to-door to obtain voter registrations and enrollments in Vote by Mail.
There are many events in Manatee County that pose as ideal opportunities to set up an information table or roam through a crowd. Food distribution drive-throughs are also ideal places to establish a voter registration presence.
Volunteers work with Manatee County Democratic Party representatives and receive training, clipboards and forms to be filled out by folks attending the event. To volunteer for these event activities, Sign Up Here with the Manatee Dems. You will be contacted as needs arise. If you are new to voter registration, you will have opportunities to shadow experienced volunteers. If you know of potentially productive events or locations, contact Phyllis at email@example.com
Registering new voters is not enough to ensure that they actually vote. Recently registered voters need contact from like-minded voters to provide encouragement and comfort to build confidence and pride in the voting process.
The Follow-up Call Team is an initiative Indivisible Manatee developed to provide support to the voters who register during neighborhood canvassing efforts. A volunteer will call the voter after their registration becomes official. The newly registered voter will be congratulated and asked if they got their Voter ID Card. Closer to the elections, calls will be made to ensure each voter received a mail ballot, answer questions they may have and let them know which candidates and measures Democrats support.
Indivisible provides guidance and training. You will not be given more names than you can handle and calls will be to Democrats. For more information, contact IndivisibleManatee@gmail.com.
By Barbara Ehren and Cyndy Rosso – The deep-water injection well slated for Piney Point concerns many Manatee residents. As coastal Floridians, we are especially concerned with the quality of our water. The Piney Point situation has been unsettling to say the least, and we want to feel confident that the solution underway is a sound one.
On April 14, 2022, the Anna Maria Island/West Manatee Democratic Club and the Manatee Democratic Environmental Caucus co-sponsored a webinar on Zoom to explore the science of deep-water disposal wells with speaker Jesse Ehren, an expert in water disposal. Our focus was not on the politics of this issue for this webinar; the talk was about the science.
Mr. Ehren is Director of Water Treatment for Bosque Disposal Systems, Fort Worth, TX. He is a native Floridian with a master’s degree in planning from FSU, focusing on natural resource management.
(Barbara Ehren is president of the Anna Maria Island and West Manatee Democratic Club and Cyndy Rosso is co-chair of the Manatee Democratic Environmental Caucus.)
Manatee Matters now publishes twice a month, on the first and third Mondays.
In the September 19 issue: Voter Protection Team seeks volunteers, demographic shifts alter voting, bay's water quality and health, Hispanic Caucus steps up outreach efforts, Sign And Wave events, Blue Wave and MCDP literature drops and canvassing, meetings of the Public Education Caucus, LGBTQ+ Caucus, MCDBC, Manatee Democratic Club.
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