Welcome to the Progressive Club of the Islands (PCI) - formerly named the Democratic Club of the Islands - website.
Our mission is to provide information on important issues confronting our community, and to promote organizations and candidates which offer progressive solutions to these issues.
Click on this Contact Us link to add your name to our mailing list. To join PCI please visit the Join Us page and you can pay online or by mail (annual dues for the 2020-2021 membership year are $30 for an individual, $60 for a couple). You can also support our efforts through a donation or by giving your time.
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A bill, SB 90, is moving though the Florida legislative process that is attempting to alter the frequency which voters may request vote by mail ballots, making it more burdensome upon voters to have their voices heard in our elections. SB 90 was up Wednesday, March 10 before the Florida Senate's Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, chaired by the State Senator from our District — Ray Rodrigues. It passed to the next step by a strict party line 4-2 vote. It's next stop is the Senate Rules Committee.
As written, SB 90 will make voters work harder to get mail-in ballots. Parts of this bill complicate voting by mail in Florida for voters, Supervisors of Elections, our own Secretary of State, and numerous civic organizations like the League of Women Voters.
Under current law, a mail ballot request is valid through two election cycles, or up to four years. This bill, as written, would require voters to ask for a mail ballot over and over, every calendar year, year after year. This will undoubtedly confuse the current electorate, especially following a major election. It will increase cost and workloads on Florida's 67 Supervisor of Elections and their staff (66 of 67 of whom oppose the bill). The proposed law has already been amended to outlaw drop boxes for mail ballots and only allowing members of a voter's immediate family to pick up or drop off a ballot at a Supervisor of Elections office. This will have a severe impact on many senior citizens' ability to cast a ballot.
As indicated above, MILLIONS of Florida voters are enrolled in Vote by Mail through 2022 and even 2024. Under SB 90, they will have their Vote by Mail enrollments purged. These voters will have to re-enroll in Vote by Mail for the 2022 Gubernatorial and Senatorial election.
SB90 has received national media attention - labeling Florida as just another southern state engaging in Jim Crow voter suppression. Click here to view an article in the South Florida Sun Sentinel with further background.
For additional background, click here to view a guest editorial in the Orlando Sentinel written by PCI Member Howard Simon, Director Emeritus of the Florida ACLU.
We're urging all PCI Members and Friends to contact the members of the Senate Rules Committee below and encourage them to vote "NO" on this bill as written. The Committee Chair, Kathleen Passidomo from Southwest Florida can be most influential. Here are some key points you might mention:
Tuesday, March 2 is election day for 3 seats on the Sanibel City Council. Mail ballots have already started to go out. There are 6 candidates for the 3 seats. It is a non-partisan election. Each voter may vote for up to 3 candidates. The 3 candidates with the most votes will fill the vacancies. The PCI Board of Directors has unanimously endorsed the following 3 candidates (listed in alphabetic order):
Each of the above 3 candidates champions a solid commitment to the Sanibel Plan. They each bring excellent qualifications, experience, leadership skills, and fresh perspectives to the Sanibel City Council. They seek to prioritize community health and effective stewardship of our environment - especially our clean water issues. They all are long time Sanibel residents who have been involved in leadership positions in many community services initiatives. These are all long time island residents who as City Council members will be focused solely on our community.
Where were you on January 6, 2021, the day on which the National Capitol was breached by an angry mob during a joint session of Congress working on confirming the results of the Presidential Election? This was no peaceful protest by followers of President Trump. This was a full-scale assault on democracy. Following a charge by Trump, the seditious mob intent on violence marched to the Capitol and, overwhelming the police presence, smashed their way inside. People died as a result.
Many of us experienced the same anger, fear, and anxiety we did on September 11, 2001. This time, however, the threat was from within. This was a day that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
This was also the day when a reported 3,964 Americans died from Covid-19. On this day Florida broke its record (set just the day before) for the daily number of reported Covid-19 with 19,816 new cases. Yet millions of Americans, because of divisive political rhetoric, refuse to wear masks in public to protect their fellow Americans from the deadly virus.
We continue to be haunted by ongoing deadly consequences of systemic racism, cruel treatment of desperate families seeking asylum in our country, mass shootings, and now violent domestic terrorism.
We have overcome other tragedies in the past and emerged better for it. Hopefully January 6, 2021 will be one of those events. At the end of the tragic day of September 11, 2001, all of the United States Senators who evacuated the Capitol because of a bomb threat stood on the Capitol steps and sang “God Bless America”. At the end of the tragic day of January 6, 2021, both houses of the United States Congress completed the work the angry mob tried to derail and confirmed the election of the 46th President of the United States. We can’t kid ourselves, however, as there were still a number of legislators who persisted in keeping alive the myth that there was massive voting fraud in the 2020 election.
Also, however, on January 6, 2021, hundreds of thousands of Americans received Covid-19 vaccines. A Black Pastor and a Jew were elected to the Senate in the Deep South. Georgia became Blue.
We must commit ourselves to find constructive ways to agree to disagree and to hold our elected leaders to that same standard, working to remove them from office when they don't. We must also make certain they constructively deal with matters that truly help all Americans and our planet and not divisive political rhetoric – it really is what most Americans desire and what America needs.
Robert Dole, a Conservative Republican in his 1996 Presidential concession speech stated: “I've said repeatedly in this campaign that the president was my opponent, not my enemy.” Our leaders need to heed those words today when dealing with one another and the public as do we as citizens. For that to occur, the misrepresentation of facts and outright lying by our elected leaders to the American people must stop.
We, as Progressive Activists in Southwest Florida, need to work as hard as we can to remove from office those who have enabled the hateful, deadly, and divisive rhetoric and actions that we saw manifested on January 6 in our nation’s capital. We look forward to our work that is already beginning to help unseat Ron DeSantis, Marco Rubio, Byron Donalds and other so-called leaders who have exacerbated the current ugly and too often deadly American landscape.
Working together we shall overcome.
The Board of Directors
Progressive Club of the Islands
Unless you are a person of color, you cannot truly comprehend the experience of what it is like to be Black in America. The injustice and hatred we’ve seen recently is certainly not new. Hate based crimes and racial harassment have been committed throughout American history. Too often racially-based violence is perpetrated by the police, the very people charged with protecting and serving us all. It shouldn’t still happen, but we know that in 2020 it certainly still does. George Floyd was not alone; he was one in a long series of victims of institutionalized barriers to equal justice and equal opportunity in America.
Many of us are asking what we can do in our private and civic lives to help make the systemic changes required to finally put a stop to this injustice. While we may not know what it is like to walk in a Black person’s shoes, we all have in common one voice and two ears. We need to truly listen, learn, and offer support and understanding of what Black people are telling us. We also need to use our voices, arms, and legs to demonstrate and educate our families, friends, or anyone with whom we speak. We must listen, learn, and spread the word that racial injustice in America is very real. We need to encourage others to speak out and to take all possible constructive actions.
Speaking up is just a start. We must address glaring inequalities in housing and education opportunities as well as disparities in health care. We need to promote and support diversity in candidates for public office and contribute to organizations that empower people of color. We must demand accountability in policing and an end to racial profiling. Black Lives Matter to all of us – please speak up, reach out, work for change, and vote for change.
George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Freddy Gray, Sandra Bland, Sam Dubose, Alton Sterling, Terence Crutcher, Aiyanna Stanley-Jones, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Atatiana Jefferson, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tanisha Anderson and too many more -- Say their names.
Board of Directors
Progressive Club of the Islands
Florida makes it very easy to vote by mail (sometimes called "absentee ballots"). Democrats who register to vote by mail are much more likely to vote than those who don't.
If you would like to request a vote by mail ballot, please call the Supervisor of Elections office at 239-LEE‐VOTE (239-533‐8683) from 8:30-5:00 Monday through Friday or visit this page on the Lee County Supervisor of Elections website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your request to vote by mail must be received by the Elections office no later than 5 PM on the sixth calendar day preceding the election.
Enrollment in Vote-by-Mail is good for only two general elections. If you are not sure you are still enrolled, call the Supervisor of Elections office at 239-LEE-VOTE (239-533‐8683). They can check and re-enroll you over the phone.
If it has been over five years since you last registered to vote, please re-register to assure your current signature is on file
For information on early voting, visit the Election Dates page of the Florida Elections website.
At our February 21, 2019 monthly meeting the membership of the club approved the by law changes recommended by the Board of Directors. The club will now be named the Progressive Club of the Islands (PCI). We are looking forward to the greater opportunities for activism that our new by laws allow.
Please click here to view the new club by laws.
For your reference, please click here to view Frequently Asked Questions on the changed by laws