Minutes for MPJC Meeting of May 31, 2011

Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Rey, Wanda, Galen

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for March 17: The minutes were approved as corrected. CFED refers to the Community Forum for Economic Development. Ellyn proposed several changes in the MPJC position on End War: Reduce the Deficit. These were approved and Peter will post them on the website.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Topic of the Month: End War, Reduce the Deficit: Having received no further comments after the last meeting, Peter posted this statement on the website. Ellyn had some clarifications to propose and others helped word some of these. Peter will post the corrections. We also noted that the area will have $15 million less money for social programs in the coming year so that Headstart is being cut and already can't meet the need, while vouchers are going to for-profit schools that do not have the accountability that public schools do.

        b. Peace Education Fund Board: The new Board has not met. Several of the candidates want to talk about the Fund before committing to the Board. Peter will talk with them and help Glenda Rae call a meeting. He will help Glenda Rae file the Postcard 990-N to the IRS in mid-July.

        c. IPJN News: This news hardly ever concerns us in north central Indiana. We will discontinue this topic in the future.

        d. April 18 plans: Rey and Glenda Rae set up a table at Jefferson and Michigan at noon and handed out "Where does your money go" leaflets and asked folks to participate in the bean poll. There were some willing to do so, especially among the Move-On demonstrators against Corporation Bail Outs. There are a lot of leaflets left over for next year. Downtown South Bend director claimed that he had no authority to give us permission to leaflet, so Glenda Rae called the mayor's office and got permission. It was very cold and few people were out.

        e. Election Results: Pete B won the Democratic nomination for mayor due in part to the negative ads put out by Ryan D. We will have to see how he works out. The City Council seems to be more conservative. One issue that was affected by the election was the Tax Abatement bill. Pat McMann withdrew his version of the bill until the new mayor takes over, but another version is up for a vote or may be tabled at the June 13th council meeting. The Council Committee on Community and Economic Development is considering the bill at a special meeting on June 6 at 5:30, and then may make a recommendation to the full Council. Glenda Rae hoped for better support from the community at these meetings. The County Council has passed this bill, but there is a move to repeal it.

3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is $90.13 with $30 in petty cash. This is about $100 less than last report since Glenda Rae and Peter discovered that some of the funds we thought belonged to MPJC actually belonged to the Nicaragua project when they audited the books to get ready for the new Peace Ed Fund board taking over.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? Ellyn wrote to Virginia Black at Donnelly's office asking for a meeting with him about the war and the budget in the next few weeks. She has not yet heard back. She wants us to think of questions and be ready to state our position at the meeting.Examples are: What is he doing to end the wars, and what is he doing to encourage military contractors like A.M. General to diversify?

We asked whether we should get involved with new organizations like Progressive Democrats or Ed Cohen's Long Range Change group. Wanda and Galen went to the Progressive Democrat's meeting but did not see them taking action in the near future. Peter said he would look into Ed's group and report back.

    2. Topic of the Month: We discussed developing a position on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, but decided to wait on this. We will each try to bring in an uplifting story about how nonviolent action by a few people made a big difference. Rey kicked off this project by recounting how he was able to step in and difuse the situation where a protester was disrupting a Kalamazoo meeting by making accusations instead of asking a question. Rey realized that the man needed to be heard and had come looking for a verbal battle. Rey talked to him in a low voice to show that he would listen to him. The man's voice lowered as Rey's did and the rest of the discussion was able to take place. Eventually the man left.

    3. Other Topics and Issues: Rey handed out some Audacity of Hope flyers and asked everyone to write a letter to be sent on the boat named Audacity of Hope which is to sail soon to bring humanitarian supplies and letters to the people of Gaza. The address is Audacity of Hope, 119 W. 72nd St. #158, New York, NY 10023.

We noted that the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia will be a disaster. Let our representatives know!

Code Pink has resolution for the Mayor's Conference asking them to push Congress to redirect military spending to domestic priorities. Peter will put on the list serv a plea to sign this letter, and will bring a copy to the June 6 vigil for folks there to sign. Lois will deliver it to the mayor's office.

August 6-9 are Hiroshima/Nagasaki remembrance days. We need to plan a response. Perhaps gear the August 8th vigil to this purpose.

September 21 is the next International Day of Peace. The committee is looking for ideas and volunteers. Contact the acting head of URC.

    4. Next meeting: The next meeting will be on Thursday, July 21 at 7pm at Pam and Ron's. All are welcome.