Meeting Minutes from InspireSeattle Social on November 15, 2014

Restoring Democracy:  A Panel Discussion

Super PACs, the Koch brother's billions, privatization/corporatization efforts...where is the United States headed? InspireSeattle's November forum will discuss democracy in the United States the challenges we now face and possibilities for democratic renewal. From their extensive efforts in public service and community activism, a four-member panel of guest speakers will share their perspectives on detriments to democracy and paths we need to take to restore democracy in America. 

The panel will include Thom Speidel to discuss his new book, The Dragon and the Age of Wisdom--Repairing Democracy, Restoring the Earth, former Washington State Representative Mary Lou Dickerson, Alice Woldt, Executive Director of Fix Democracy First and Bill Bradburd of the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition.

Please join us for this important discussion!

Guest Speakers: 

Thom Speidel: 

Thom spent 20 years in the restaurant business after earning a BS in psychology at the UW.  He was managing Cutters Bayhouse near Pike Place Market when a search for more meaningful work led to a life transition, an MSW, and a relocation to rural eastern Washington where he built a straw bale home. A newfound passion for the Earth led him to begin speaking publicly in defense of all Creation, and people encouraged him to craft his message into a book. The result became The Dragon and the Age of Wisdom Repairing Democracy, Restoring the Earth. Part One of Thom's book discusses the forces that are dismantling our democracy and driving the destruction of the Earth.  Part Two is about solutions the foremost of these being the reinvigoration of our democracy. 

Mary Lou Dickerson: 

Mary Lou Dickerson is a recently retired legislator who served in the Washington House of Representatives for 18 years.  She is known for her strong advocacy for children and youths, for environmental reforms, and for legislation to legalize recreational use of marijuana.  As president of Responsible Choices, she led an effort to provide timely and unbiased information to the public about ballot initiatives in Washington state. Currently she is leading an effort to establish a Citizen Initiative Review (CIR) in Washington based on Oregon's successful experience with this model.

Alice Woldt:

Alice Woldt is the Executive Director of Fix Democracy First, and was formerly co-director of Faith Action Network. She has served as Executive Director of the Washington Association of Churches, the Church Council of Greater Seattle and Seattle Alliance for Good jobs and housing for Everyone (SAGE.) A former teacher in Illinois, she did graduate work in education at Northern Illinois University and after moving to Seattle, received her MPA from Seattle University.  She is known in the larger community for her activism on many peace and justice issues. As a former candidate for the legislature she experienced first-hand the need for campaign funding reform.

Bill Bradburd:

Following a career as an information systems consultant and a brief stint as an artist, Bill Bradburd has for the last decade been a citizen activist and organizer in Seattle.  His primary areas of focus have been on gentrification and land use, affordable housing and good governance.  He has typically worked outside of the established Democrat party organizations, instead focusing on the use of ad hoc coalitions to address specific issues.  Bill has been an active voice in trying to reestablish citizen involvement in neighborhood and City planning, and was an early organizer for Charter Amendment 19 which changed the election of Seattle City Council seats from citywide to a hybrid of districts and citywide.  He currently chairs the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition, an open membership association of citizen activists, and is active with local, district and citywide community councils.

Many thanks to our speakers, Candy and Joanne for hosting, and Dave for organizing and moderating the panel discussion!


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From left to right:
Dave Gamrath (moderator), Speakers: Thom Speidel, Mary Lou Dickerson, Alice Woldt, Bill Bradburd


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