Minutes of the Monthly Meeting on October 26, 2023
We convened at the Glen Ellyn Historical Society. Since we are approaching the end of the petition-signing effort to put Democrats on the ballot for the primary in March, the meeting was preceded by a 60-minute session to have petitions notarized, and was followed by a similar session after the meeting adjourned. We are grateful to the many notaries who donated their time to this effort, as well as to the many PC’s who have obtained thousands of signatures.
Our scheduled speaker, Rep. Sean Casten, had to cancel his talk due to the ongoing turmoil in Washington in selecting a new Speaker of the House. As previously arranged, Jeff Gahris, Forest Preserve Commisioner for the 6th district, will take his place with a report on and discussion of the many Dupage Forest Preserves.
The meeting was called to order by Dennis Terdy (Chair), at 7:30 pm. Other officers in attendance were Steve Siemer (Treasurer), Stacy Slater (Operations), Jackie Williamson (Outreach), and Frank Merritt (Secretary).
Welcome (Dennis Terdy, Chair)
Dennis welcomed new members and invited anyone joining us for the first time to introduce themselves and tell us what inspired them to come tonight:
Duane Ness, who was brought here for the first time by his wife Deb. Deb commented that she loves this group, and wants them to be active!
Approval of September Minutes
Joe Fortunato moved and Stacy Slater seconded a motion to approve the September minutes without reading, since they have been posted on the DPMT website. The minutes were unanimously approved.
Treasurer’s Report – Steve Siemer, Treasurer
Steve reported that the amount collected by “the hat” last month set a new all-time record. We have also added 5 new members plus 2 renewals. Our budget now is somewhat above both the projection and last year’s September balance. Anyone wanting a full report should send email to Steve.
Chair Report – Dennis Terdy, Chair
Petition-signing canvass began on September 5. Vote-Builder was not available until Oct 2, but PC’s had relatively accurate walk-lists a month before that due to the efforts of Mike Nachman. This effort has gone very well, as Stacy will describe.
Our fund-raising project this year is the creation and sale of a Milton Democrats Calendar, with pictures of scenes and landmarks in Milton Township. The pictures, taken by amateurs, are gorgeous! Jackie will talk more about this.
Operations Report – Stacy Slater, Operations Officer
Driveway Petition Events
These were very effective! Thanks to everyone who hosted one: Dennis Terdy, Erica Bray Parker, Marguerite Burke, Dan Bailey & Nancy Roberts, Frank & Wyatt Merritt, Maggie Romanovich & her neighbor.
We averaged about 25-ish attendance per venue, which is more time-efficient than knocking on doors. These were also very pleasant events, bringing people together and giving voters a chance to meet each other and also the candidates.
We will plan to do this again next time with improvements: more dates and times, better geographic range, continued good publicity. New ideas are welcome!
January PC Forum
This will be held on January 13, probably 9:00 or 9:30 am (TBA). Early voting and vote-by-mail begins February 8, so we need to have everything ready before then.
We still have 26 uncovered precincts, and are working on ideas to get better coverage. We are leaving Dems behind in those PC deserts in the north!
Thanks for the donations of plastic bags, which were requested at last month’s meeting. We will drop them off and see if they need any more for next month. Watch the newsletter.
Small Acts of Activism
Sign an on-line petition! About 3 weeks ago, Scholastic (the gigantic educational publisher) announced a new policy to “segregate” controversial books at their school book fairs. They received huge pushback, especially in the form of online petitions, and have reversed course.
Outreach Report – Jackie Williamson, Outreach Officer
Calendars, which make great holiday gifts, may be purchased for $30 each at tinyurl.com/dpmt2024cal. This is a high quality calendar, and the pictures of Milton Township are spectacular. Jackie proceeded to show the cover and a number of individual months. All picures are credited with the photographer and with the location.
Pre-ordered calendars will be available at the November meeting.
Introduction of Tonight’s Speakers – Dennis Terdy
Dennis explained that Jeff Gahris and Dan Hebreard had agreed, over the last months, to be ready to switch places with Sean Casten if he was not able to be here in October. Dan is the president of the Board of Commisioners, and Jeff is the commissioner of District 4. We greatly appreciate their flexibility, as well as their continuing work to preserve and enhance our many forest preserves.
Jeff has an MS in Environmental Science, and 30 years of experience with the U.S. EPA and the state of Ohio. He is a 32-year resident of DuPage County, and has served as a Glen Ellyn Environmental Commissioner for 12 of those years. He is a great guy, and a much-appreciated member of our group.
Evening Presentation - Jeff Gahris
The Value of Our Forest Preserves
Our 60 Forest Preserves cover about 13% of the land area of DuPage County. No matter where you are in the county, you’re within 10 minutes of a Forest Preserve. We are continuing to make these more accessible by adding connecting bicycle trails, and have just opened a new one giving residents of southwestern Wheaton convenient access to the Danada Forest Preserve just south of Butterfield Rd.
The Forest Preserves benefit us in many different ways. People like living near a Forest Preserve, and this in fact enhances the real estate value of your home. There are significant health benefits, as well as aesthetic ones, and especially for kids.
In terms of CO2 emissions, we are already essentially at net zero. A new 260 kW solar array of 531 solar panels has been installed at the Fleet Management building in Blackwell Forest Preserve, and will offset about 110% of the building’s energy consumption. We have 3 golf courses, and all of them now use electric solar-powered golf carts, greatly reducing both pollution and noise. The modified Willowbrook Wildlife Preserve, which will open near the end of next year, will be entirely geo-thermal- and solar-powered. This will be a great attraction for visitors and school groups, All of these are being accomplished with no increase in tax rates, due to federal and state incentives and substantial private endowments.
We are also planting new trees, and in some cases removing trees in order to replace them with native plants. Our mission is not only preservation, but also restoration of the original trees and plants that are native to this area.
Jeff went on to virtually visit a number of specific preserves and to describe the work that is being done there. This was followed by a question-and-answer session, with both Dan and Jeff addressing questions from the group.
Judy Pitts moved and Larry Pitts seconded the motion to adjourn. The meeting adjourned at 8:35 pm.
The next meeting of the Democrats of Milton will be November 16 at 7:30 pm at Glen Ellyn Historical Society. Notaries will be available before and after the meeting, but we urge all PCs to get their petitions in as soon as possible.
Join the Democratic Party of Milton Township. Annual dues $25 ($20 for members of the DuPage Democratic Party). Join at www.democratsofmilton.com/membership.
Submitted by Frank Merritt, Secretary