March Meeting Minutes

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    The Diamondhead Democratic Club met on Wednesday, March 16, 2005 in the card room of the Community Center. Two new members, Ed and Lorraine Hanson, were introduced.

    Guest speaker was Tim Keller, Chancery Clerk of Hancock County. Mr. Keller spoke on the various responsibilities and duties of his office as Chancery Clerk. There was a question and answer session with interest questions being asked how annexation and/or incorporation of Diamondhead would possibly mean to Diamondhead. He stated that either of these actions would take many years to be put into effect. For example, Incorporation of Diamondhead would require a municipal governing body to first be in place, i.e. mayor, aldermen, police & fire chief(s), tax collector, etc. He spoke of Diamondhead in reality actually being the largest subdivision in Hancock yet with their own set of covenants and bylaws that affect the daily life of residents therein. He invited anyone to contact him with any questions or concern as he is always available to any Hancock County resident and does return any and all calls as soon as possible.

    After giving the Treasurer’s Report, Bob Springer spoke of the MoveOn organization that is nationwide and focuses on presenting the Democratic Agenda and ideals throughout the nation and which includes contacting Congressmen regarding certain issues up for vote in Washington. To find out more about MoveOn and what you can do, please contact Bob Springer at (228) 586-1331.

    After discussion, motion was made, seconded and unanimously passed to discontinue any dues for members, but that contributions and/or donations will be welcome at any time.

    Various Democratic activities held recently were mentioned, including the Jazz Funeral for Democracy in New Orleans on the day of the Presidential Inauguration; trips to Jackson by Club members to meet with State Legislators regarding the need for passage of a cigarette tax in Mississippi; an appearance in Mississippi by Howard Dean, newly elected National Democratic Chairman which was attended by several Club members; and the upcoming appearance of Governor William Winter in Gautier MS sponsored by the Gulf Coast Democrats which was set for the next night.

    It was mentioned that all Diamondhead Democratic Club members have been furnished telephone numbers for our Congressmen, Senator Trent Lott (228-863-1988), Senator Thad Cockran (228-867-9710) and Representative Gene Taylor ( 228-864-7670; 1-800-273-4363) and members were urged to contact these elected officials with any concerns and opinions, including views on proposed changes to Social Security, cuts to Military Retirees and, in particular, the proposed nominations and appointments of extremist judges to federal positions (referred to as “nuclear option”), whose appointments could override bipartisanship and could effect public health and civil rights, the environment, women’s rights and much more in the years to come.

    It was announced that the State Legislature met in special session recently for the purpose of extending Medicaid payments until June using tobacco settlement funds, though these funds will have to be repaid within seven (7) years. It was noted by the Sun Herald that this Special Session cost the voters of Mississippi $80,000.00 for lodging, food and overtime pay for the legislators and and the Medicaid crisis was the only thing addressed. The cigarette tax proposal was not on the Agenda for this Special Session.

    It was announced that to date no additional tax has been approved on the purchase of cigarettes. During discussion, it was noted that almost unanimously our Club is in favor of this taxation. Club members were urged to call our State Legislators indicating approval of a tax on cigarettes. It was also reported that Senator Scottie Cuevas is reportedly against this taxation, though Dirk Dedeaux is in favor to it. Members were urged to contact Mr. Cuevas and Mr. Dedeaux (phone numbers in the Coast phone book) with their opinions.

    It was reported that a Town Meeting was held on March 7, 2005 hosted by Gene Taylor, U.S. Congressman for our district, at the Diamondhead Community Center to a standing room only group of constituents from the general area in attendance. Our Diamondhead Democratic Club was well represented. There were questions posed concerning the cuts/changes to Social Security, the military retirement plan and benefits to retired servicemen; and the exorbitant federal deficit. Mr. Taylor presented a handout that listed the national debt and monies “borrowed” as of January 31, 2005 as follows:

    Social Security Trust Funds ($1.70 Trillion, an increase from $1.62 Trillion as of 6/31/04)
    Medicare Trust Fund ($296 Billion)
    Military Retirement Fund ($197,000 Billion)
    Federal Employee Retirement Funds ($653,000 Billion).

    As you can see, the”borrowed amount” owed to these funds continue to rise. Someone spoke up and stated that if Congress would repay these debts, we would not be having trouble with future Social Security Benefits. Most constituents there did not agree with privatization of Social Security nor any cuts from these funds. Again, our Club members put up flyers announcing the meeting, got the meeting listed on the outdoor Diamondhead bulletin board, and put in local newspapers.

    Any fund raiser in Diamondhead was put on the back burner for the time being, as there are several fund raisers and activities being planned by the Hancock County Democratic Executive Committee, including a Christmas In April project (repairs and renovations to a selected needy household in the County) in which our Club members will take part. Anyone interested in helping with this in any way, including taking already prepared meals to workers is urged to contact Janice Woodward, HCDEC Chairman at 467-2124.

    Announcement was made of the upcoming open meeting of the Diamondhead Property Owners Board of Directors and members were urged to attend and have any questions or comments written out to present to the Board. We have been advised that no discussion will be held from the floor and guestions will only be answered or commented on by the Board that are written out ahead of time. (Note: At this meeting, various issues were voted on only by the Board and members were not allowed to comment on anything from the floor nor question or vote on anything before the Board).

    The next meeting of the Hancock Democratic Executive Committe was to be held on Monday, March 21, 2005 at the Bay St. Louis library at 6:30 and Club members were invited to attend.

    The next meeting of the Diamondhead Demodcratic Club will be held on Wednesday, March 18, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. in the Card Room of the Community Center. Please mark you calendars. Tentatively, Dirk Dedeaux, State Representative is slated to be the guest speaker.

    Again, please call with any comments, questions or concerns.

    Sue Halpern, Chairman Norman Duffour, Vice Chairman
    Diamondhead Democratic Club Diamondhead Democratic Club
    986 Hawi Court 4222 Noma Place
    Diamondhead MS 39525 Diamondhead MS 39525
    (228) 255-5121 (228) 255-1509
    Email: Email:

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