Next Membership Meeting – March 12, 9:30 AM, Room 410 B, Civic Center

Hello Fellow Members,February has turned out to be one of our most active and exciting months. First, Catherine McKown and Betty Mattea began the annual Spring process of planning and executing the most comprehensive new juror orientation and training program of all California chapters. The first meeting was held on February 5th where it was decided to increase the training from 6 days to 8 days. This will allow more Q&A time with the numerous speakers that participate. Also, a day of “team building” will be added to the training. The next meeting of the Orientation and Training Committee is set for March 24th at 1pm in the Civic Center Cafeteria. All Chapter members interested in helping should contact Catherine.

Nadine Muller and Jean Gunn have led the Outreach Committee in accomplishing another “first” for the Chapter. On February 12th our first Open-House Informational Meeting was held at the San Rafael Community Center. As you probably saw, ads were placed in the Independent Journal for several prior weeks inviting people to this event. At the designated hour of 4pm Jean Gunn, Phyllis Berger, Al Lozano, Nancy Frease, Betty Mattea, Reva Saper, Patti Church, Ray Schmaltz, and myself nervously wondered if we’d get even four or five interested people showing up. By 4:15pm about thirty very interested, wide-eyed citizens were sitting in hastily arranged chairs wanting their numerous, insightful questions answered. A short presentation ensured, which included Supervisor Damon Connolly speaking and then a very lively discussion. Even three current Grand Jurors, Jack Nixon, Mike Obley and Karin Hern, showed up to contribute their support and experience. This outreach event was so successful that we hope to schedule another for March. Look for the ad in the IJ!

Not satisfied with just one “first”, the Outreach Committee has negotiated with IJ to have a generic Grand Jury ad appear on their webpage for the next few weeks. This allows us to connect with all the people who get their local news electronically. Also, Nancy Frease is planning a small “open house” at her residence for her neighborhood. All Chapter members interested in joining this unstoppable committee are most welcome and should contact Nadine or Jean.

Not to be outdone, Tom Borden and Helene Marsh are guiding the Implementation Review Committee into uncharted realms. We have completed four follow up summaries on reports from 2012-13 and are conducting at least five follow-ups for 2013-14 reports. Since most of the committee’s work continues into unchartered territory, new situations arise all the time that call for delicate and diplomatic interactions with public officials. With Tom’s and Helene’s leadership, the IRC quickly makes decisions and templates to ensure consistency and quick responses. So far we have about a 90% “cooperation” rate with all the people we contact. All Chapter members interested in joining this important committee are most welcome and should contact Tom or Helene.

Nancy Frease, Co-Chair of our Social Committee, informs me that our next social event will be the Annual Membership Meeting, which will be in June of this year. She also wants to remind everyone that July 22nd will be the annual “Transfer of the Gavel” party where we acknowledge the work of the out-going Grand Jurors and welcome the in-coming Grand Jurors. All Chapter members interested in helping on the Social Committee are most welcome to contact Nancy.

Gene Dyer continues to keep our modern website humming along.

Special Message from Owen Haxton:

The doctors tell me that membership is in stable condition, not in immediate danger of expiring, but certainly not full of boundless energy. All of the tests are within an acceptable range other than “member flow”, established by a Board of Medical Experts as 100. Currently the “member flow” is about 19% under the acceptable level. I am told that “every member get-one” and a diet of active participation on at least two committees will bring “member flow” into the currently established standard range.

And the current state of “member flow” is: Honorary Members-3, One Year members-40, Multi Year Members-20, Life Members-25 and Members in waiting-unknown! Total = 88

As you may be aware, the Chapter has become much more active in the areas of “Follow-on” of responses to the Reports of Investigations by the Regular Grand Jury, Social events with guest speakers and in Outreach to encourage citizens to apply for empanelment on the Grand Jury. To this end, the member dues structure is being revised as well as an effort to identify and obtain additional funds in the form of grants. Any change in dues will be effective July 1, 2015.

This chart shows the dollar values of current dues and the two suggested raises:

One year fee Life Member Multi-year Extended period remarks
Current $20 $150 $15 $200 current
Plan A $25 $175 $20 $250 Interim raise, but probably not enough
Plan B $30 $200 $25 $300 Should be enough to support the new efforts.