General Meeting Minutes for June 11, 2011

Present:  Tanya Tussing, Ham and Joanne Richards, Russ and Diane Owens, Teresa Taylor, Stewart Snider, Mike Ignatowski, Kathy Carvel, Meg Kimberland, Ruth Epstein, Chuck Poutas, and Suzie Milam.

Agenda items

Permanent Board Introductions:

  • Mike Ignatowski
  • Diane Owens
  • Dave Rawlins
  • Joanne Richards
  • Stewart Snider
  • Teresa Taylor
  • Tanya Tussing

The Board will elect its officers at its next meeting.

Immigration Reform Initiatives by Teresa Taylor

  1. RITA is holding a press conference at state capitol on June 13 at 1:00 PM
  2. RITA is holding a rally at the Capitol on June 15 at 12:30 PM

Discussion of a proposal to organize a presentation by Ray Marshall, Professor Emeritus and Audre and Bernard Rapoport Centennial Chair in Economics and Public Affairs at UT-Austin. Prof. Marshall is one of the founders of the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal, non-profit, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy.  The EPI was established to “broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers.”  There is also a Center at UT-Austin named for him, the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources at UT-Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs:

The Ray Marshall Center is a university-based research center dedicated to strengthening education, workforce, and social policies and programs that affect current and future generations of American workers. The Center  partners with a range of stakeholders to conduct timely, relevant research and to translate that research into effective policies and programs.

The Center’s research emphasis is on

  • Workforce Development
  • Labor Market and Industry Studies
  • Family and Social Policy
  • Education
  • Early Childhood/Child Care

Prof. Marshall’s presentation would address economic and labor policy, and how these relate to immigration and to comprehensive immigration reform.  This would take place in the Capitol Auditorium.  His target audience would be legislative aides, legislators, and the general public.

If CP Austin hosts such an event, when would be the best time to coordinate it, considering that the legislature is likely to adjourn by July 1?  Ruth Epstein will research whether the legislature will have an interim study section on comprehensive immigration reform.  When the ACLU hosted a screening of 9500 Liberty for legislative aides, the audience was VERY small.  Why was the turnout less than optimal?  How did they publicize the screening?  Ruth volunteered to inquire.   We need this information before we can decide (1) whether to host such an event,  (2) who will serve on the committee to organize it, and (3) the target date.

Money in Politics Community Conversations & LWV by Stewart Snider

Stewart described a proposed change in the community conversations project partnership with the League of Women Voters.  Considering the outcome of the 82nd legislative session, the LWV has changed its focus for 2011–2012 to addressing the Texas budgeting process or lack thereof (addressing the structural deficit).  After much discussion, Coffee Party Austin proposes that CPA concentrate on researching the Influence of Money in Politics topic as originally proposed, and that LWV concentrate their research efforts on the budgeting process.  CP Austin would draft a fundraising proposal (letter of interest) and suggest the deliberative democracy organization best suited to our joint purpose.   Joanne Richards volunteered to continue to spearhead the CP Austin effort.   Because funders are more likely to fund a sustainable community conversation, the proposal to funders would suggest a study-circle concept where conversations would take place over time – one evening/week for ~8 weeks. The first conversation topic would be the budgeting process and the structural deficit (one evening/week for 3-4 weeks); the second conversation topic would be the influence of money in politics, particularly as it relates to judicial selection, but we would tie the more general topic of money in politics to the budgeting process conversation.

Pilot project on new CP-USA website

Coffee Party USA is contracting with Blue State Digital.  “Blue State Digital is a full-service digital agency.  It develops and executes multiplatform engagement campaigns for nonprofits and advocacy organizations, political candidates and causes, and brands and businesses.”  Diane Owens presented this as an opportunity for Texas to serve as a pilot on this new CP USA web site. This may include guest bloggers, links to social media, to create our own home page, generate letter campaigns, send email blasts and more.

Mike, Teresa, Tanya and Ham will meet on June 15 to explore this pilot project opportunity.

Regular Meetings

The Money in Politics Group will meet on August 27 instead of September 3, which is Labor Day weekend, at noon at the Yarborough Branch Library. The meeting inaugurates the Coffee Party Austin Book Club, which will discuss Simon Johnson and James Kwak, 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown. Discussion leader is Tanya Tussing. Bring your lunch; coffee is always provided.

The date of August 27th at the Yarborough library was confirmed.  An email announcement will go out to the Constant Contact email list.

It was suggested that we devote general meetings to Texas issues: budget crisis, education, Medicaid, tax policy, etc., and Money in Politics meetings to US and Texas issues like campaign finance issues.

Because so many people are traveling during the summer, we decided to take a break and not have a general meeting or Money in Politics group meeting until August 27.  An email announcement will go out to the Constant Contact email list.

We also decided to call a meeting, on a topic to be announced, on Thursday September 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM in a restaurant’s meeting room, to see if we can attract new people.  Kathy Carvel said that she would research the noise and cost factors of various restaurants.  Recommendations: Jorge’s, Sherlock’s, Nuevo Leon, La Madeleine.

Meet once/month with a speaker, film or book discussion; meet once/month for event planning.

Actions Required

  1. AR: Ruth Epstein will research whether the legislature (appropriate committee chairs) will have an interim study section on comprehensive immigration reform.
  2. AR: Ruth Epstein:  The audience for the ACLU-hosted screening of “9500 Liberty” for legislative aides was VERY small.  Why was it so small?  How was the screening publicized?
  3. AR Teresa, Mike, Tanya and Ham (?) work with Diane on a Texas pilot with CP USA in Blue State Digital
  4. AR: Dave Rawlins will send an email announcement through Constant Contact announcing our bookclub reading choice and that we will not met again until August 27 to give people time to read and digest 13 Bankers.
  5. AR: Kathy Carvel said that she would research the noise and cost factors of various restaurants.
  6. AR: Joanne Richards volunteered to spearhead the Money in Politics Community Conversations project.
  7. AR: Stewart Snider agreed to continue to clarify our proposal to LWV.


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