Sanibel Lighthouse


September 2018 Monthly Meeting
How to Capture Progressive Victories in November

Bob Schaeffer spoke on the topic, "How to Capture Progressive Victories This November."  His presentation reviewed recent primary election results and assess the local, state and national races where significant wins are most likely. Among the topics covered: the many controversial ballot questions facing Florida voters.

A nineteen-year Sanibel resident, Schaeffer is the President of FairDistrictsNow, the statewide redistrict reform organization, and Treasurer of the Progress Florida Education Institute. A veteran of many election campaigns around the country, he is co-author of the Simon & Schuster book Winning Local and State Elections.


 Thursday May 17 @7:00 PM - Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel

The Club hosted a forum featuring four candidates for election to the Lee County School Board. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Here are short bios of the four candidates attending:

Karen Putnam-Watson holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from FGCU. She worked 22 years for Lee County School District where she taught Head Start, working with pregnant moms, infants, and toddlers. Devoted to modeling best practices and providing resources, Putnam-Watson advocated for moms and children 0-3 years while tutoring and offering a Family Home Child Care.

Career teacher Betsy Vaughn spent 38 years in the classroom, both in Texas where she was English Department Chairman for l9 years and the last eight years teaching Language Arts and Reading at Estero High School. Her BA in English is from Upsala College and her M. Ed is from the College of New Jersey. Vaughn is currently Chair of the CSI School Board Advisory Committee and a Guardian ad Litem child advocate.

Mary Fischer has served on the Lee County School Board since 20l0 and is now a candidate for re-election. She has served as Lee County School District School Counselor, Teacher, and Prevention Specialist. Fisher is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and is nationally certified Trainer in BullySafe, USA. Her B.A. in Social Science and M.A. in Counselor Education are from University of South Florida. She received the Lee County School Counselor Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Charles Dailey is a retired educator for Lee County who has served in various capacities including Dean of Students, Principal of High, Elementary-Middle School, Principal of Alternative High/Middle Schools, Principal of Community School and Co-ordinator of Desegregation and Director of Adult and Community School. Selected as Middle and High School Principal of the Year, Dailey was selected as Administrator of the Year for the State of Florida in 20l2.

ACLU Florida Executive Director Addressed the Club - Thursday, March 22@7:00 PM

On Thursday,  March 22nd, the Club hosted Dr. Howard Simon, Florida Director of the ACLU, discuss the topic ”Defending Human Rights in the Era of Donald Trump”.  The meeting will take place at the Sanibel Community House located at 2l73 Periwinkle Way, at 7:00 p.m. in the Founder’s Room. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Simon discussed the challenges facing the almost l00 year old non-partisan civil rights and civil liberties organization as it confronts the comprehensive  program of the Trump Administration to roll back advances in human rights over the last several decades. With over l00 lawsuits, ACLU is challenging the Trump Administration on women's rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, LGBT rights, as well as First Amendment and criminal justice issues.

Dr. Simon was awarded his Ph.D. in Legal and Political Philosophy and Social Ethics by the University of Minnesota in l974. He has served as a state affiliate Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for more than four decades, and is the longest serving director in the nation.

During Simon’s tenure, the organization has played a central role in issues addressing school vouchers, religious practices in the public schools, abortion rights, end of life care issues, and numerous controversies involving separation of church and state. He will address the recent Florida Legislative Session and the major challenges to fundamental values of privacy and religious freedom, and separation of church and state that are likely to confront voters this November, as a result of the Constitution Revision Commission. Simon will also discuss proposed Amendment 4 that has been certified for the November ballot, and is an historic opportunity to restore the right to vote to those who have committed a crime, but who have completed their sentence.

February Membership Meeting - February 15 at 7:00 PM
Founders Room, Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way

Program: Establishing Children's Services Council in Lee County - Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates

The push to establish a Children's Services Council in Lee County has been receiving quite a bit of publicity lately. Perhaps you have seen the stories on the local news or the extensive coverage in the News-Press and are wondering what exactly is a Children's Services Council (CSC) and how will it benefit Lee County.
Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates, one of the dedicated professionals who are spearheading this effort, will present an overview of the CSC, the opportunities and challenges it faces, and the role of voters in making this become a reality.
In an article published in the News-Press late last summer, Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates provided the following overview:
"A Children Services Council is a type of government entity that is established by county citizens to help fund organizations that service children and families. It is also created to ensure that dollars are spent wisely and invested into programs that will provide the best outcomes for the children and families in our community.
Florida is the only state in the nation with laws that allow local county leaders and the resident of those counties to create a special government entity with the sole purpose of investing in the well being of children and families.
The benefits of a Children Services Council are tremendous as the programs are designed to invest in prevention and early intervention programs which reduce the need for more costly services later. It also allows the county to allocate funds directly to community needs and it is a great source for generating local funding. In addition, the Children Services Council serves all children regardless of demographic or economic segments of the population."


On Thursday, January l8th, the Club featured a debate between Democratic Candidates Todd Truax and David Holden at 7:00 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House Founders Room, 2l73 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

Truax and Holden are vying for the l9th Congressional District seat now held by Francis Rooney, which represents Sanibel. Board member Chet Sadler will moderate the debate.

Todd Truax holds degrees in psychology and social service administration, with concentration in mental health and aging, from Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University. He earned certification from the Fisher College of Business in Nursing Home Administration and was licensed as a social worker in Ohio in l992 and in Florida in 2002. Truax served as the founding member of the Coalition for Optimal Behavioral Health and Aging, which was instrumental in bringing the Royal Palm Psychiatric Hospital to Southwest Florida.

David Holden earned a degree in political science from Temple University and his Master’s in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2009. This unparalleled training in leadership and organizational development, led him to California, where he served as Deputy Director of the California Association of Social Rehabilitation Agencies. CASRA is a pioneering non-profit in the field of mental health. Holden’s educational experiences have formed his deep commitment to quality public education and affordable access to higher education for all Americans. He and his wife are currently partners in a financial planning practice in Naples.

"Welcome Back" Pot Luck, Thursday, October 26, 6:00 PM at the Sanibel Community House

Representatives from the following organizations, who have presented programs for the Democratic Club, were present with materials to share, which support their specific cause or issue: Black Lives Matter; SURJ (Stand Up for Racial Justice); Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW); Equality Florida (LGBTQ Concerns); Planned Parenthood; Immigration Attorney; Children’s Services Council; Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense; Lee Freedom Now; Water Issues; Artist-Activist Myra Roberts.David Holden and a representative of Todd Truax, who are running for Congressional Seat l9 now held by Francis Rooney,  were also present to briefly discuss their positions and answer questions.

More than 100 members and guests attended

DCI August Membership Meeting - August 17 at 7:00 PM
Founders Room, Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way

Program: Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense                                           

Presenter: Lynn Moore

When Congress failed to act after the slaughter of 20 first graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary, Professor Lynn Moore joined MOMS DEMAND ACTION For Gun Sense in America. As a member she served as Local Group Lead in Bemidji, Minnesota.

Moore retired as Professor Emerita from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Minnesota. A life-long activist in Minnesota’s  Democratic Farmer Labor Party, and now the Democratic Women’s Club of Lee County, she became the Lead for Southwest Florida BE SMART Campaign. MOMS DEMAND ACTION for Gun Sense developed from the SMART framework to help parents and adults prevent child gun deaths. Children’s education and welfare was a priority which led her to volunteer at a local Head Start Center.

Moore will discuss the effort to change our laws as well as our culture, Florida Senate victories, as well as Federally Mandated Conceal Carry Reciprocity (CCR), and how attendees can help support reducing gun violence, as well as the opportunity to join MOMS DEMAND ACTION for Gun Sense. A discussion will follow.

FDP Party Leaders Visit Sanibel

The two top leaders of the Florida Democratic Party - Stephen BIttel, Chair, and Sally Boynton Brown, President -- spoke at a rally in Fort Myers on Friday, July 7. They came out to Sanibel for lunch wih the DCI Board and guests. Jill Dillon was our gracious hostess, and co-chair Elaine Schaeffer acted as the moderator during an extented Q&A session. 

BittelandGroup-640.jpgSteve Bittel and Sally Boynton Brown with DCI Board members and guests

BittelElaineSally-640.jpgSteve Bittel, Elaine Schaeffer, and Sally Boynton Brown

ElaineSally.jpgElaine and Sally

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