Monday, October 19, 2015

South Hampton Roads for Bernie Meeting Minutes - 10/19/15

The fifth official meeting of South Hampton Roads for Bernie was held once again at the Cutting Edge Cafe in Chesapeake, VA and began at approximately 6 p.m.  

We began with introductions, but instead of saying something we like about Bernie this time, we offered up brainstorming suggestions for events we can hold in the future in order to gather petition signatures and flyer.  Our many suggestions were to flyer/petition at: Hampton Roads Organizing for Action (OFA) against gun violence on Thursday, Oct. 29th at 6 p.m. in Greenbrier Mall at the Green Turtle; Kwame Alexander appearance on Tuesday, Oct. 27th at Chesapeake Central Library from 3:45 to 5:45 p.m.; bus transfer stations (on hold for now); college campuses (Erica and Jennifer will be flyering Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. at the TCC campus in Norfolk!); Norfolk State Homecoming on November 7th (Kiala will find out more details); a financial planning meeting Kiala suggested that she will find out more details for as well; holding our own music festival for Bernie (Jennifer will look into this and Dana F. will get in touch with someone at O’Connor Brewing Company to see if this event could be held there); the FilFest 2015 (although it may not be possible since it’s being held on private property); the Anthem Wicked 10K in Virginia Beach on Oct. 31 (race begins at 8 a.m.), for which someone suggested passing out personalized Bernie Sanders water bottle labels to the runners; the Naro Cinema in Norfolk during evenings in which they showcase issues movies with speakers; and potentially Pints for Pups in Norfolk on Sunday, Nov. 15th from 1-4 p.m.

Mike C. also suggested that we hold more voter registration events.  Some people were unclear on what all it takes to be able to register people to vote in the state of Virginia, so here is the link to that information, including the 30-minute online training certification, and here is a link to the printable registration forms. And if a potential registree has an updated driver's license, they can go to and register there in minutes!

Dana F., one of the leaders with Norfolk for Bernie, mentioned that Norfolk for Bernie’s next meeting will be on Oct. 28th at 7 p.m., with the location to be determined.  Possible suggestion choices, including churches and libraries, were given to her.  When that information is updated, it will be made available on the Norfolk for Bernie Facebook page as well as on our own South Hampton Roads for Bernie page.

We then moved on to discussing name recognition for Bernie.  We should all be wearing shirts, stickers, buttons, etc. whenever we can as well as using bumper stickers and yard signs if possible.  Bringing Bernie up in personal conversations in our own individual circles is also very important, so don’t forget to talk him up!

Mary Lou gave an update on petition totals as of October 11th, which are as follows: District 1 - 236; District 2 - 286; District 3 - 394; District 4 - 228; District 5 - 379; District 6 - 148; District 7 - 169; District 8 - 628; District 9 - 197; District 10 - 321; District 11 - 1345.  As of right now, the campaign itself will be focusing on Districts 1, 2, 4, and 6 to help gather petitions there.

We also slightly touched on the process of gathering petition signatures.  If you don’t already know about this process, check out this Youtube video and this Google Slides presentation to learn how!  If you have any questions, feel free to ask on the South Hampton Roads FB page.  And to help find voter’s districts during petition gathering events, check out these links below: (requires zip code, possibly address) (requires address, has interactive map) (lists representatives, has interactive map) (requires name, DOB, and last 4 of SSN)

In national campaign news, Bernie is polling at around 28 or 29 percent, is ahead 5 points in New Hampshire, and is running neck and neck with Hillary in Iowa.

Erica and Mary Lou both then gave summaries of the Debate Watch Parties held on Oct. 13th.  Erica held a party at CP Shuckers at the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach.  44 people total attended, and local candidate for the 8th District of the Virginia State Senate Dave Belote gave a speech before the debate began.  Mary Lou was the substitute leader for the party held at Roger Brown’s in Portsmouth where approximately 20 people attended.  Mary Lou also mentioned that she made contact with a regional group that helps disenfranchised voters.  We then moved into a discussion about felon voting information and how to get rights restored, which can be found at this link here.  Location(s) are to be determined for the next debate parties, which will be held on Saturday, November 14th.

Jennifer then offered a brief summary of her event at the Town Pointe Wine Festival on Sunday, October 18th.  She said six volunteers total were present, and so they split up into two groups each and stood at either end of the park to gather signatures and flyer.  They gathered approximately 38 signatures, mostly D2 and D3.  It was generally a success, even if the festival was geared towards older, more wealthy individuals, plus a lot of out-of-towners.

Mary Lou then talked about the October 11th meeting with the campaign in Richmond that she, Jennifer, and Erica attended.  Kevin Keefe, the campaign’s ballot petition manager for every state that requires petitions for their primaries, mentioned at the meeting a couple of notes for future petition gathering.  First, he said that the campaign wants the petitions to be separated by county AND city.  If a mishap occurs and someone from a different city signs the wrong sheet, don't go back up and "split" the cities at the top of the sheet in an attempt to fix the error.  This will get the entire sheet of signatures thrown out, so it's best to leave it alone and let that one signature get tossed instead.  Secondly, Kevin said to NOT send petitions to the address on the back of the forms; instead, they should go to the campaign in D.C.  There are two ways to get the forms to the campaign: you can either mail them to the D.C. address yourself (please make sure you mail certified!) or you can pass them on to Jennifer, Mary Lou, or Erica and they will get them to the appropriate location.  And lastly, Kevin also suggested to go ahead and write “VA” next to the city or county name on the form line.  For example, it should read “Norfolk, VA”, etc.  Mary Lou also mentioned again how important it is for the registered voters to write out full city names and to NOT abbreviate.

Currently for South Hampton Roads for Bernie, collecting petitions for Districts 2 and 4 will be our main focus.  Per the campaign’s request, we will potentially be holding petition gathering events at local polling places on Election Day, November 3rd, 2015.  Details on that will come forward soon, but some suggested polling places (in Chesapeake) included City Hall, Greenbrier Library, Camelot, Taylor Road, and South Norfolk.  Mary Lou will potentially organize an event for Chesapeake, and other people are needed to organize one for Virginia Beach and other areas.  And after signature gathering is complete, will we then switch our focus to voter registration events.

At this point, Ken suggested forming a committee to work on future plans for after Bernie is confirmed to be on the primary ballot.  That way we will be moving forward full steam ahead once petition signature gathering is over and have set plans in place.  Anyone interested in becoming a part of this committee should contact either Mary Lou or Erica.

Someone else made the great suggestion to volunteer for other causes outside of politics as a group while wearing Bernie swag.  This way we can combat any preconceptions people may have about Bernie supporters, especially if we showcase how we are contributing and giving back to our own communities and having a positive impact.  Future events like this should be determined soon and will again be advertised on our Facebook group.

Another idea for petition signature gathering that was suggested was to go to election night parties on November 3rd that the local progressive election candidates will be hosting.  Many of these people would be willing to sign petitions for Bernie and we should potentially tap those groups.  Erica volunteered to find out any information regarding Dave Belote’s party, and other people are welcome to find out any information on other progressive candidates.

Mary Lou then briefly mentioned the next Bernie event coming up, which will be a National Student Town Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 28th at 7 p.m.  It will be live streamed to colleges and universities all over the country.  

At 7:30 p.m., the fifth meeting of South Hampton Roads for Bernie officially ended, with the next meeting time and date to be determined, most likely on a Tuesday evening.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Local Leadership Meeting - 10/5/15

The leaders of a few of the Bernie groups in the South Hampton Roads area met for a local council meeting on October 5, 2015 in Norfolk, VA.  The meeting began at approximately 6PM.  Erica L., Mary Lou B., Jennifer L, and Elizabeth B. were in attendance.

We began with introductions.  Elizabeth B. said some words about herself and her group, Virginia Beach for Bernie Sanders, President 2016 and Mary Lou talked about South Hampton Roads for Bernie.  Elizabeth and Mary Lou both shared their next group meetings -- this Thursday, October 8th at 6:30 PM at Scrambled VB in Virginia Beach, and Monday, October 19th at 6PM at Cutting Edge Cafe in Chesapeake.

We also discussed what we plan to do as far as events and organization for our groups.  At least one debate watch party has already been planned in Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront at CP Shucker’s.  The VB group also plans to tackle Virginia Beach by dividing it up into its different socioeconomic areas and deciding where to canvass and flyer from there.  The VB group is also working on getting permission from various grocery stores in low-income areas to flyer outside of them.  The VB group will be designing and printing flyers for use by group members at these events.

Mary Lou then touched base on some of the information in the Get Out the Vote Training, but we will mainly be focusing on that in the future.  It’s more for a campaign in its later stages, and since we are still in our beginnings with forming our groups and finding our volunteers, we’ll take advantage of that training and their strategies down the road.

Jennifer then brought up that we should be working in tandem with the Sierra Club and any events/meetings they have.  She said that their members are very progressive and are great Bernie supporters, so we should be utilizing them in our grassroots efforts across our groups.

It was at this point that Elizabeth brought up a merger between the two Virginia Beach groups in order to strengthen VB’s Bernie outreach.  Jennifer was very open to the idea and they will both be continuing discussions to accomplish that goal.

Elizabeth suggested that a good way to keep our groups connected is to crosspost any event or meeting each group has across all of the social media pages each group utilizes, so essentially advertising for our local groups across all of our mediums.  For South Hampton Roads, Facebook is the primary medium, and for Virginia Beach, Facebook is in the process of becoming the primary medium.

We then moved on to discussing pro-Bernie businesses in our area.  Some names that came up were the Cutting Edge Cafe in Chesapeake, Scrambled VB in Virginia Beach, Croc’s in Virginia Beach, EcoManiac in Virginia Beach, the Old Beach Green Market in Virginia Beach, and possibly Cutlass Grille in Chesapeake.  We all agreed to actively search out these kinds of businesses in our areas and do what we could to support them.  Erica also mentioned, a union print shop in Portsmouth we should consider utilizing as groups.

We then ended the meeting on a few thoughts and questions.  Will Bernie’s campaign or another source allow us access to voter registration records?  If we can find out who voted in the 2008 primary, we can focus on them to campaign for Bernie.  We also need to find community leaders in lower socioeconomic areas and encourage them to join up with our grassroots efforts.

And with that, we ended our first leadership council meeting for the South Hampton Roads area at approximately 7 PM.  The next meeting time was not determined, but it is possible we will hold one again in the near future.