1 Monday, January 24, 2005
2 Monday, January 3, 2005
3 Monday December 13th, 2004
4 Monday November 29th, 2004
Click here to return to Reclaim Democracy Kansas City Chapter Main Page
Due to a heating malfunction at the Waldo branch of the library, the location of this meeting was changed to the Southeast branch on short notice.
Wal-Mart Demonstrations: The great success of the January 22nd Wal-Mart demonstration was discussed, along with ideas to improve the January 31 demonstration (4-5:30PM at 12th and Broadway). The next demonstration will be during rush hour and will not be conducive to having speakers. It was suggested that we lend some structure to the demonstration by having appropriate chants and perhaps songs ready to use. We have plenty of large signs and small frowny faces to share with anyone who would like to join us.
Opposition to TIF for Wal-Mart at Blue Ridge Mall: Discussed the need for us all to write letters of opposition to members of the city council's Planning, Zoning and Development Committee. The date and time the TIF for Blue Ridge will be on the committee's agenda is yet to be announced.
Sunflower Quarry: A summary letter of the status of the SNG's fight against the Hunt/Midwest Sunflower Quarry was read. We are encouraged to send letters in opposition to the quarry's application for a special use permit to the Johnson County Board of Commissioners.
Next chapter meeting: Monday, March 28, 2005 7 - 8:30 PM Waldo Library, Meeting Room A 201 E. 75th Street Map Kansas City, MO
Thirty activists participated in a lively meeting at the Waldo library branch. Here are the highlights of what we discussed:
Wal-Mart Convention is coming to town!
Donna C. and Joe S. reported on the work of the Wal-Mart committee. The chapter accepted the committee’s recommendations. Here are the basic plans for activities around the W-M annual convention at Bartle Hall later this month.
Demonstrations at Barney Allis Park W 12th St & Central St Kansas City, MO:
Saturday, January 22nd from Noon to 1:30 PM
Monday, January 31st from 4 to 5:30 PM
In preparation for the Demonstrations there will be a Poster-making Party from Noon to 3 PM on Saturday, January 15th at Waldo Library 201 E 75th St Kansas City, MO. Please bring your own poster board, magic markers, etc., if you can. Some supplies will be provided by the chapter.
The message of the demonstrations displayed prominently on the signs will be:
Is Wal-Mart Good For America?
Wal-Mart Hurts People!
Wal-Mart Hurts Community!
Wal-Mart Hurts Democracy!
We will hand out flyers at the Demonstrations that give facts that support each of the 3 statements. The flyer will also have a website/URL where the sources of the facts will be available. The attachment (Entitled: WMcommitteeInfo) lists the facts that we've established so far. The committee welcomes suggestions. If you know of facts that more clearly support the position, please, email them to me!
A Media Relations Committee was formed: Charles C. (facilitator), Jared W., Jon M., Mary L., plus possibly 2 others who weren't in attendance.
A Logistics Committee was formed: Gordon E., Nancy C., Donna C. and Grant N. That committee will scope out the best location near Bartle Hall for the demonstrations to take place and other details.
Sunflower Neighbors Group verses Hunt Midwest Sunflower Quarry
Penny S. gave an update on the Sunflower Neighbors Group's campaign to close Hunt/Midwest Sunflower Quarry. The quarry's application for a Conditional Use Permit is on the agenda of the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners on Thursday, February 3rd. Our chapter strongly supports the Sunflower Neighbors Group and encourages everyone to help fight the quarry!
Here's how you can help:
1) Send a letter, fax or email to the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners at the following address and please include a statement expressing your opposition to the quarry and requesting denial of the Conditional Use Permit.
Board of County Commissioners Subject: Hunt Midwest Sunflower Quarry Application County Administration Building, Suite 3300 111 South Cherry Street Olathe, KS 66061-3486
Office Fax: (913) 715-0440 Email to the full Board at: BOCC-Commissioners@jocogov.org
2) Attend the BOCC meeting on February 3, 2005. (As specific time and location are determined, SNG will send a notification ReclaimDemocracy.org/KC website.)
3) Speak and/or show support of other speakers opposing the quarry at the BOCC meeting. If you should like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact Sunflower Neighbors Group by emailing SunflowerNG@gbronline.com
Petition Drive opposing TIF for Wal-Mart at Blue Ridge
There is a petition drive by the Great Kansas City Coalition for Worker Justice in opposition to the $25 million TIF (Tax Increment Financing) proposal to build a Wal-Mart Super Center at the Blue Ridge Mall. Signatures from Kansas City residents and nonresidents are requested. Our RD/KC chapter is supporting this effort.
The Privatization of Elections Ben K. and Dee B. gave a brief report on this important issue.
Other upcoming events:
Jeff Milchen, founder of ReclaimDemocracy.org, will speak at a Public Forum on Friday, February 25th at 7 PM in the University Center (5000 Holmes) Room 106. This event is cosponsored by the UMKC Women’s Center, the UMKC Institute for Labor Studies and the Kansas City area Chapter of ReclaimDemocracy.org. Please come and invite your friends and family.
Rethinking Democracy is the title of a 2-day workshop Jeff Milchen will lead on Saturday and Sunday, February 26-27. Pre-enrollment is required for this event.
Within the next few days I hope to have final details on two screenings of the documentary, The Corporation.
The next ReclaimDemocracy.org/KC Chapter meeting will be Mon., Jan 24 from 7 to 8:30 PM at the Waldo Branch of the Library 201 E 75th St Kansas City, MO. This will be at the regular chapter meeting time: 4th Monday of each month.
ReclaimDemocracy.org/KC has gotten off to a very ambitious start. Let's keep the momentum going!
Please note (at the end of this report) the change of date for the next meeting.
There were 28 people at the 12/13/04 meeting of ReclaimDemocracy.org/KC at the Waldo library.
Rich DeYoung, chair of the Technology Committee, gave a report on the progress in the development of our chapter web page on the ReclaimDemocracy.org web site. The Technology Committee has already made the KC area chapter website more personalized than any other chapters' websites are. More improvements to the KC area Independent Business Shoppers' Guide section of our webpage are anticipated. Please post on the forum information about local metro businesses that you would like to have added.
Rich also talked about the forum on the RD website. The forum is an area of the RD website in which you can read about various issues related to democracy and corporations. You can also post opinions, links to articles or other sites that you think relate to what you've read. You can also start a "conversation" on a new topic either in the general portion of the forum or in the Kansas City portion of the forum. In order to post on the forum, you need to sign up there with a "user name" and a password. You can use your own name or make up something. Some of the current users have names like: sfpersonhood; dewpoint; fotoman, etc. So you don't have to reveal your identity if you choose not to. In the Kansas City Chapter's area of the forum, you will see there's been a lot of interest in the topic of Wal-Mart.
For those of us who aren't very familiar with navigating website, Rich says he'll make us a tutorial to help really get the most use out of our website. In the meantime, I encourage you to explore the RD website--it's loaded with interesting and useful information.
Dee and Ben then gave a report on how electronic voting has led to the privatization of our election process--and may have already resulted in election fraud. Here are 2 articles that shed light on some of the issues: "Slot Machines Are More Trustworthy Than Electronic Voting" and: "Another Corrupt Election or Conspiracy Theory?"
There was then vigorous discussion of issues around Wal-Mart and some possibilities of how we might involve ourselves in:
1. the current proposal for the city of KC, MO to grant TIFF (tax breaks) to Wal-Mart to build a Super Center at Blue Ridge Mall;
2. the Wal-Mart annual convention which will be held at Bartle Hall Jan 16-Feb 3. A Wal-Mart Committee was formed. The committee met Sunday, Dec 19 and report back to the whole group. I encourage you to go to the RD forum/ KC area where you can see the postings about Wal-Mart. Again, you are welcome to add your opinions and other information on the RD forum.
Penny Seavertson, leader of a DeSoto, KS citizens' group, told of their 14 year long legal fight against a Hunt Midwest Corporation quarry. Her story was quite compelling and she made her case with dramatic before/after photos. She said we could assist her group by writing letters and appearing in support of her citizens' group when their case is on the agenda at Johnson County Zoning meetings. She is compiling information which will be emailed to you and will be posted on the RD/KC website.
We will schedule a meeting for donor-members some time in January. The agenda will be to elect officers, discuss and pass bylaws, identify needed committees and to more clearly define our mission as a chapter. Only people who have donated to ReclaimDemocracy.org may vote or hold office in local chapters.
I want to clarify again the issue of donating to RD. There is no fee to join the local chapter. You are not required to donate to the national organization in order to participate in the local chapter. However, "voting members or office-holders of a local Chapter must be current financial supporters of ReclaimDemocracy.org." I do believe there is real value to us in having the support of the national organization and I hope that anyone who is able to donate will consider doing so. If you would like to vote and be involved in that aspect of the chapter, you may donate directly on the RD website. Be sure to write a note in the comment box that you are affiliated with the Kansas City Area Chapter!
I thank all of you who have already donated!
Click here for the full information on the RD policy regarding voting and becoming a chapter.
In addition to the Wal-Mart and quarry campaigns, we're planning for a 2-day workshop by Jeff Milchen that will probably be held on Feb 26-27 and Jeff will speak at a public forum on the night before the workshop.
We're still working to arrange a screening of the documentary, THE CORPORATION. Details will be emailed as soon as possible on the workshop, public forum and film screening.
There are many other campaigns that this chapter will be able to pursue as we become more established. So please, place on the table other concerns that you know of that relate to corporations and democracy.
We looked ahead to a next meeting and tentatively scheduled a date for which the Waldo library meeting room was already booked. So I reserved space for: The next regular meeting at Waldo branch of the KC Library, Meeting Room A, Monday, January 3rd from 7-8:30 pm.
We look forward to seeing you then!
There was a splendid turnout of over 50 people at the Public Forum! The original plan--for each person to introduce him/herself and share what aspect of corporate dominance had moved them to attend the meeting--had to be discarded due to the size of the group. Instead, I presented information about the mission and campaigns of ReclaimDemocracy.org.
Four single-issue primers from ReclaimDemocracy.org were distributed: "What Would Democratic Elections Look Like?"; "What You Can Do"; "Inherent Rules of Corporate Behavior" and "Our Hidden History." There are other primers and many other articles of great interest available on the RD web site.
At the public forum, I told of various organized ways we can learn more about the democracy movement.
There was discussion about the importance of patronizing local, independent businesses. I agreed to forward information given to me that evening or in the next few days. That will come in a separate email.
A committee of four people with technical expertise generously volunteered to facilitate the development of a Kansas City area site on the forum on the RD web site. They already have it up and awaiting postings! Thanks to Rich, Gordon, Margaret and Jon! (I didn't use their last names because we've not yet discussed the issue of confidentiality.)
We accomplished the essential goal of having enough new members (only 5 needed!) to officially sign a letter of intent to launch a local chapter of Reclaim Democracy.
I want to clarify the issue of donating to RD. There is no fee to join the local chapter. You are not required to donate to the national organization in order to participate in the local chapter. However, "voting members or office-holders of a local Chapter must be current financial supporters of ReclaimDemocracy.org." I believe there is real value to our having the support of the national organization and I hope that anyone who is able to donate will consider doing so. And, I thank all of you who already have donated!
Here is the policy regarding donations, which I cut and pasted from the RD web site:
When we receive a membership coupon with your local chapter's code on it (we can provide pre-printed coupons for brochures; you can write or stamp your code on newsletters), 50% of the contribution is set aside for your local chapter to use for local activities. We also are happy to credit web donations that specify your chapter in the notes box at the time of the donation (but please don't ask to credit anyone's donation retroactively).
At the Public Forum I addressed the implications of the nonprofit/nonpartisan status. I pasted the following from the RD web site: ReclaimDemocracy.org is absolutely nonpartisan. Chapters may not promote, endorse or discourage votes for any political party or candidate. A Chapter may not take a position on legislation or ballot initiative / referenda without explicit approval from the national office (there are strict IRS rules governing this advocacy that we can fill you in on at that time, or upon request). Publicizing results of candidate questionnaires with responses to requests for positions on issues is acceptable as long as no endorsement is given.
Meetings should be free of any partisan political material or discussion -- even if you "know" you all have the same opinion. Please keep a strict separation between partisan politics and democracy work, and politely call anyone on it if they breach that boundary. Not only can our nonprofit status be endangered, but we cannot build a movement without remaining open to a wide range of views among people who share the common interest of revitalizing democracy and revoking illegitimate corporate power.
The decision was made by the group to have the next meeting:
Monday, December 13th from 7-8:30 PM again at the Waldo Branch of the KC Library. 201 E 75th St Kansas City, MO. The agenda is being developed. We are working with Jeff Milchen, the director of ReclaimDemocracy.org, to determine the best way to proceed. It's a happy dilemma when a very special agenda is needed to tap the creativity and energy of so many concerned citizens. I ask for your patience. We will have a clear and useful agenda set before December 13. I will email an agenda to you next week.
The Kansas City area Chapter is off to a phenomenal start! Let's keep the momentum going!!