Announcements

Michael Burleson, Rules Committee Chair

Michael Burleson, Chair of Rules Committee, sees role as leveling the field.

If you were fortunate enough to attend October 12th Comedy, Candidates, and Cocktail fundraiser, you heard Michael Burleson’s spot on impressions of George W Bush, Trump, and Bernie Sanders. He then took a moment to make his campaign pitch for Portland mayor. Besides running for mayor Michael is the new head of the MCD Rules Committee, which is why he is featured here.

Even at the tender age of five, Michael Burleson knew he believed in science, but he found himself the odd person out when after “a hokey presentation on how improbable it (evolution) was,” he was the only child left raising his hand attesting to the belief in evolution after someone said, “Wait, is evolution the one where we evolved from monkeys?” In suburban Texas, almost everyone was a conservative Republican.

That didn’t stop him from voting for Al Gore in his second grade mock election—a decision he is still proud of. “An Inconvenient Truth” taught him about climate change in 2005 when he was 12, contrary to those around him. “Basically, the gist is this; I’m a Democrat because the Republicans were and are anti-science.”

Michael Burleson is a relative newcomer to Portland, having come here for law school in 2016 after attending the Texas State Democratic Party convention in San Antonio. This is after he had convinced his parents to become state delegates for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, before Michael could vote. He became active in the party through his support of Bernie Sanders in 2015.

Michael’s first Multnomah Democratic event was probably in December, right after the 2016 election. It was a fellow Bernie delegate who suggested he get involved with the Rules Committee. Because it is the Rules Committee that creates the bylaws and standing rules for the organization and “if I wanted to “combat the institutional nepotism that keeps out brown, black, young, and working class folks from our party, this is where I needed to start.”

According to Michael, the Rules Chairman needs to have “a combination of parliamentary skills and the knowledge and strength of character to deal with systemic oppression.” In both of these areas, Michael feels competent. His understanding of parliamentary procedure started with high school debate and continued as he worked with the model United Nations in college. From his junior year in high school he also participated in Student Congress, where students learned how to pass bills and resolutions in a congressional setting. These experiences were so formative that he highly recommends them to young people.

Michael’s character has been forged through a number of experiences. First, his church, though backward about evolution, grew to be very social and racial justice conscious. He started organizing with them around issues like payday lending, and led a study group on school segregation while attending UT, Dallas. Throughout that time, the number of people whom he met who struggled to work several jobs and take care of school-aged kids troubled him. This led to a stint teaching at CitySquare AmeriCorps in Dallas, Texas, with a population that was largely low-income, minority, and/or refugees. He and his girlfriend, who was Pakistani and spoke three languages, taught a mock trial class together. But even with their combined skills, it was incredibly difficult to help students from around the world achieve the same reading comprehension as their peers. It was harder still to find kids whose parents cold pick them up at 3pm.

“My work at AmeriCorps, and in organizing, and later at the Innocence Project of Texas, still informs my dedication to racial and social justice. Specifically, I believe that our bylaws, even now, disenfranchise people of color and working people. A lack of time limits, seemingly endless meetings, and unwritten rules all plague us even now.“ Progress had been made. “the process for amending the bylaws and standing rules is now one month. We have a systematic program to put primary challengers on equal footing with incumbents through our candidate accountability program. We enacted STAR voting to further our voices. But there is more work to be done. I try to come to the position every day with the ides of doing what is right and not necessarily what is popular But, if I can, I try to make what is right a reality by constantly repeating the message of social and racial justice and elevating the voices of those in our party who are disenfranchised.”

When he’s not working on class action lawsuits for a local law firm while he waits to take the bar, Michael bikes, likes indoor rock climbing and would like to get back to karate. His ease with impressions comes from a few years of theater in middle school.

Aiming for Goals

Some of the goals Michael would like to accomplish are: 1) make the party chair a paid position at $15/hr to enable working people to be elected; 2)create firm time limits for central committee meetings; 3) limit the number of standing committee meetings before decisions are made on pending resolutions, bylaws, and other action items; 4) publish Robert’s Rules Cheat Sheets in all major languages; 5) move central committee meetings around town so that people of color are more represented at the meetings; and 6) identify other forces systemically oppressing people seeking to get politically involved.

Join the Effort

Michael is looking for committee members who would like to join him to “promote a socially and racially just democracy.” He would like to see more representation from women and minorities. Committee meetings are once a month, but can involve some homework. Innovative ideas, policy expertise and guidance on elevating other voices within the party would be greatly valued. If you are interested in providing input at every state of the development of our party’s rules and bylaws, contact Michael at rules@multdems.org.

Join us November 20 for the Democratic Presidential Debate

Debate Season, Episode 5

RSVP Now

Ten candidates will be at the upcoming Democratic Presidential Debate.

Since friends don’t let friends debate-watch alone, Multnomah County Democrats is hosting debate watch parties at its office. The last event, hosted by the Young Democrats, was a mix of raucous participation and careful viewing. And the eating of snacks.

Join of for all three. There will be pizza and soft drinks. Feel free to bring your favorite debate-watching snacks to share.

Multnomah County Democrats office, 3551 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland 97232

Doors at 5pm; Debates will air from 6-8pm PT

Register so we know you are coming!

See you there!

Facebook event

For public transportation options to/from the event location, visit http://trimet.org/. The Multnomah County Democrats office is wheelchair accessible. If you have any access or functional needs that you feel may prevent you from joining us at this event or that, if they can be addressed, might make the event more accessible [and therefore more enjoyable] for you, please email action@multdems.org.

The Central Committee meeting of the Democratic Party of Multnomah is this Thursday

November 14, 2019

Bring donations for the Holiday Party silent auction!

Hollywood Senior Center

1820 NE 40th Avenue, Portland 97212

(Map)

We have an interesting agenda forming, with special guests and important topics!

Schedule

6:00 PM Doors open.

6:30 PM Registration and Sign In

7:00 PM Business Meeting begins

9:00 PM Scheduled end of Business Meeting

First Notice: New Harrassment and Bullying rule

As notice in advance of an expected vote at the December meeting, please review the new rule here.

Precinct Committee Person Appointments

We will vote to fill vacancies for Precinct Committee Persons. Applicants are listed here.

Ready to renew your PCP-ship?

Read this to to be on the ballot as a PCP in 2020.

Climate Forum: "The Possible Role of Market Mechanisms in Comprehensive Climate Action in Oregon."

Forum Series Starts November 13: Comprehensive Climate Action

The Multdems Climate Action Team is convening a series of forums on comprehensive climate action, beginning with

The Possible Role of Market Mechanisms in Comprehensive Climate Action in Oregon.

Wednesday, November 13th.
Doors open at 6:30; Program 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Hollywood Senior Center
1820 NE 40th Ave.

There is a lot of questioning and concern among climate activists, here and beyond, about the viability of the ‘Market’, or ‘Market Mechanisms’, and by extension the Capitalist economic system, in moving forward to address the Climate Emergency. This has caused division and distrust among individuals and organizations in the environmental community – when we need to be united and moving forward. We want to provide a venue for conversation and discussion that will help identify and address underlying issues, in a way that affirms what we agree on, and helps build the unity and political power we need to accomplish goals we share.

Facebook event for the forum

Systematic Conversation

Beginning with an overview of the many facets of the climate crisis, the forum will propose a comprehensive strategy for climate legislation in Oregon that is needed to effectively address this crisis and is consistent with the aspirations of the Green New Deal.

Critical Questions Discussed

Questions such as the following will be addressed and discussed throughout the forum.

What are Market Mechanisms?

Is there a role for them in climate legislation?

What would work better?

Is the proposed comprehensive climate solutions strategy consistent with the aspirations of a Green New Deal?

How can we build the political power needed to pass legislation supporting dramatic climate action here in Oregon?

Let’s talk! Join us.

Download the flyer

The Multdems Climate Action Team’s charge is to educate, engage and activate Democrats to address the Climate Emergency. We are the action part of the Natural Resources Protection and Recovery workgroup (Article V in Multdems 2020 Platform). Contact CAT co-leads Debbie Gordon 503-318-6023 or Tracy Farwell tracy@better-energy-llc.com, or CAT member Pat DeLaquil 202-494-8836 in regards to this forum.

Register now for the platform convention and guide the next two years of party policy

You must register to attend the Platform Convention. See below.

The Platform Committee of the Democratic Party of Multnomah County has completed the Second Draft of the 2020 Platform which is now ready for review and comment. https://multdems.org/2020-platform-draft-2/. The comment period will end on October 19th. Focus on the ones you are interested in. Please let us know if anything should be added, revised or removed.

The preambles are a statement of what we believe and are the principles of the article. The planks further delineate these principles by identifying current important issues. The Legislative Action Items support or oppose legislative concepts and give us direction in future legislative work.

The draft platform features two additional articles: Tribal Sovereignty, and Oregon Anti Black Foundation. The order of the Articles has been changed putting like topics together which may change again in the final as we continue to refine it.

A lot of work and many interesting discussions were had with the individual Study Groups to come up with this draft. Editing removed a lot of verbiage for clarity and brevity which some of you may feel should not be removed. If you think thoughts removed should be returned please go to the link above to make your comments.

We know there is duplication both within and across the articles. In some instances the point may be important enough to have in both. The planks and LAI will be grouped according to topic and local, state or federal impact. These are some of the things to consider as we review and comment on the Second Draft.

After the comment period ends the Platform, Resolution and Legislative Committee (PRLC) will prepare the Final Draft of the 2020 Platform for submission to the Convention for adoption. The Convention is on November 23 at the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) offices.[ Map]

In order to attend the Convention you must register and indicate your preferences for the Short Sessions. There will be 2 Sessions at the Convention but indicate the top three in case the article group is overloaded and we need to shift some to another group. Register here.

Have fun reading and many thanks to all who put this together,

Lurelle Robbins, Chair, The Democratic Party of Multnomah County

Faith E Ruffing, Chair, Platform, Resolutions and Legislative Committee

And now for something REALLY serious. Tonight is your last chance to buy discounted tickets to our much-acclaimed Comedy, Candidates, and Cocktails fundraiser. Saturday (that’s tomorrow!) night, four top local comics will join local candidates for a fun-raiser of bigly proportions. Get your tickets now!

Learn more.

Announcing the October 10 Central Committee Meeting

This update includes information on the vote on Standing Rule “Control of Online Assets” and Resolution 2019-25 “Opposing Standardized Testing.”

We will also vote on new PCPs

The Central Committee meeting of the Democratic Party of Multnomah is this Thursday

October 10, 2019

  • Hollywood Senior Center
  • 1820 NE 40th Avenue, Portland 97212 (Map)

And thanks to the Community Action Committee, it will be a little different!

Community Action Committee cutting out fish for Central Committee
Community Action Committee preparing for their new take on Central Committee Meetings. Come see what they have in store!

Schedule

  • 6:00 PM Doors open. 
  • 6:30 PM Registration and Sign In
  • 7:00 PM Business Meeting begins
  • 9:00 PM Scheduled end of Business Meeting

Standing Rule “Control of Online Assets”

We will vote on a new standing rule: Control of Online Assets

Precinct Committee Person Appointments

We will vote to fill vacancies for Precinct Committee Persons. Applicants are listed here.

Resolution: Opposing Standardized Testing

We will be voting on Resolution 2019-25 Opposing Standardized Testing.

Click here to read the resolution

Lastly, buy your tickets for comedy night NOW. Before they are sold out!

Join us for the Debate Watch Party and Central Committee Meeting September 12, 5-9 pm

Presidential Debate Watch Party and Monthly Central Committee Meeting September 12

It is the third Democratic Presidential Debate! Ten Candidates will share the stage. Join us and watch with the Multnomah Democrats

RSVP Now

Our monthly business meeting of Central Committee will follow.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Hollywood Senior Center

1820 NE 40th Avenue, Portland 97212

[Map]

  • Watch the Democratic Presidential Debate from 5-8pm
  • Stay for the monthly Central Committee meeting of the Democratic Party of Multnomah County 8-9pm

Schedule

4:45 PM Doors open.

5:00 PM Presidential Debate Watch (5 PM – 8 PM)

6:30 PM Registration and sign in for PCPs begins

8:00 PM Business Meeting begins

9:00 PM Scheduled end of Business Meeting

At 8pm, immediately following the end of the debate, the September Central Committee business meeting of the Democratic Party of Multnomah County, in which precinct committee persons (PCPs) are the voting members, will begin. Not a PCP? Stay and observe Democracy!

RSVP Now

Resolutions and proposals for consideration

We will also vote to fill vacancies for Precinct Committee Persons. Applicants are listed here.

Coming up

Donate and Apply for the Sue Hagmeier Young Democrat Award

Get ready for Comedy, Cocktails and Candidates, October 12!

Platform Convention date announced: November 23

Donate to Multnomah Democrats

Your donations keep the party moving! Thank you. 

The Democratic Party of Multnomah County strives to be welcoming and accessible to all. If you or someone you know require ADA or any other accommodations to attend one of our events please contact us to tell us how to make your attendance possible. admin@multdems.org

Christian Burgess, New Chair of Community Action Committee

Written by Gloria Geiser

“Simply bring some passion and energy and life into our collective volunteer work.”

Join Community Action Committee

As 2019 ends and the challenge of the 2020 elections draws near, we have new committee chairs with new energy and visions infusing the Multnomah County Democrats. One of these is Christian Burgess, new head of the Community Action Committee (CAC), which he views as a force for “fostering and sustaining a sense of community within the party.”

But the CAC is much more. Christian sees it as “the group within our party that presents opportunities to build alliances with other progressive community-based groups; engage with Democrats and Democratic voters across the county via street fairs, parades, and other community events; and simply bring some passion and energy and life into our collective volunteer work.”

Emphasizing empathy

Christian remembers watching the 1988 DNC convention when he was 15. As the convention went about the process of nominating Michael Dukakis, Christian thought these are my people. He recalls the excitement, energy, diversity, and the wonder of an inclusive, forward-thinking platform. As an Irish-American from a white, Catholic, Southern background, he credits Catholics for Kennedy and his diocese, which emphasized “the peace and love Jesus over the scary and judgmental one” for his identification with Democrats at an early age. This was strengthened after he came out in his late teen years, which further cemented his “sense of self and ‘other’ — of empathy and a desire to understand other lives and struggles….”

He followed through with this empathy to attend social work graduate school at Hunter College in New York City where he majored in Community Organizing and Planning. After graduation, he worked in program development and advocacy work, making the Community Action Committee a natural fit. In addition he has organized a local social group, Portland Queers and Craft Beers for almost five years since moving to the Portland region in 2014, which currently has 1300+ members and involves a great deal of creativity and logistics.

Presently, he is Director of the national Disaster Distress Helpline, a crisis hotline dedicated to supporting survivors and responders of natural and human-caused disasters struggling with distress or other mental health concerns. This project is 100% federally supported and administered by his parent company, the not-for-profit Vibrant Emotional Health. Since Vibrant also administers the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, of which DDH is a sub-network, he works in both suicide prevention and disaster mental health.

Mixing creativity and hard work

His vision for the Community Action Committee is “to create a vibrant, diverse group of committed folks who want to help our party realize its progressive platform via engaging with the communities we work alongside and serve.” To accomplish this, Christian is seeking individuals with creativity and a desire to work with other folks to support DLs/ADLs/PCPs in organizing participation in local neighborhood events. A love of details, logistics, and event planning are also helpful skills. Essentially, the Community Action Committee is about “rolling up your sleeves, working hard, while also having fun.”

In his spare time, Christian runs, is an avid reader of print media, loves attending live music concerts, travels when he can, practices yoga, and gets out into nature as often as possible. He tries to maintain a healthy balance of time alone and with family and friends.

Help to connect the dots

“All of the Multnomah Dems’ committees are inter-twined and essential, and the role that the Community Action Committee plays is connecting the dots,” said Christian, “between Fundraising, Communications, Campaigns, Platform, etc.—with the communities we stand alongside and serve as Democrats. “Hashtag ‘#ItTakesAVillage’”

Will you join Christian to “help us energize, expand and sustain our Village?”

Are you one of those people who have a knack for connecting people or organizing events? Do you want to help grow the reach and activity of the local Democratic Party in advance of 2020? Join Christian and the Community Action Committee. Email Christian: action@multdems.org

Join Community Action Committee

Ethics and Grievance Panel Formation

August 18, 2019

The Democratic Party of Multnomah County, under the direction of the Chair, with the goal of achieving a more equitable and accountable organization, has created a special committee known as the MCD Ethics Panel which will carry out several important services to our community and its members.

First, the panel will accept, document, and review internal grievances from members of the party. The panel will investigate the grievances and provide recommendations to the Chair, executive committee or MCD PCP body, depending on the severity of the violation. While the panel will be focused on resolving future conflicts and incidents, members are encouraged to bring forward formal complaints from past conflicts/incidents if they a) have not reported the incident because of a lack of a formal system for submitting grievances b) have submitted a report to MCD leadership but feel the issue has been unaddressed or unresolved and c) the incident occurred within the past five years.

Second, the panel will offer guidance to the body about how to successfully adhere to the MCD Code of Conduct, Behavior and Office Use Guidelines. This may include seminars, training sessions, how-to guides, or reviews of institutional practices that may violate the Code. Our intention is to hold our community to these standards to ensure civility, respect, and fairness between our members.

As an organization that obtains its power from the collective action and support of its community, of particular concern to the Democratic Party of Multnomah County is whether any aggrieved individual or individuals have felt excluded, disenfranchised, or subject to intimidation or harassment to the point of no longer attending meetings or participating in events.

We seek to encourage ALL our members to participate and feel welcome at our meetings and activities. If you feel this basic tenet has been violated, we encourage you to submit a report to grievances@multdems.org and allow our Ethics panel to review it. Our ethics panel Chair, Anna Kanwit, can also be reached directly at ethics@multdems.org.

Details about the panel’s rules and procedures can be found by clicking on the following link:

Overview, Rules and Procedures for the Ethics Panel of the Multnomah County Democratic Party

We welcome any feedback regarding our Ethics panel and related policies, please send questions or comments to feedback@multdems.org.

New Treasurer Dean Price: “My father would say ‘help where you can.’ This is where I can.”

Dean Price was elected as Treasurer for the Multnomah County Democrats at the August 8, 2019 Central Committee meeting. He brings a strong sense of duty, leadership experience, and a distinct diligence to the role.

Raised in rural Virginia, Dean moved to Portland in 2015 after serving four years in the Marine Corps. After working for ADP and running his own bookkeeping firm, he now works for the City of Portland.

Dean says that he chooses to take up the responsibility of Treasurer because, as he said, “I believe this is where I can I help. I believe I can bring the skills I have learned in the civilian sector and use them to help us accomplish our goals as a party. When I think about taking on the responsibility of Treasurer, I think about my father. He would say ‘help where you can.’ This is where I can.”

As Treasurer, Dean’s priorities are bringing stability and transparency to the position.

Dean enjoys sports, movies, history, and politics. On Saturdays during the season, you will find him in a sports bar watching college football — particularly when the Virginia Tech Hokies are playing. “However, I do have a soft spot in my heart for the Oregon Ducks. I love the their fast pace offense,” Dean confessed.

Dean centers the big role of Treasurer around bringing the party together. “What I would love to see from our Democrat party is a party unity. We may disagree on how to achieve our goals but we can agree on those goals. We want every American to have healthcare, we want to face climate change head on can defeat it, we want equality and equity for all! Let not forget why we fight and who the real opponents are to our goals,” he said.