Minutes for MPJC Meeting of July 14, 2009


Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Pam, Ron, Judy

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for June 9: The minutes were approved with some typos corrected

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Leafletting for Healthcare not warfare at the Morris on June 12: Peter and Lois distributed leaflets prepared by Progressive Democrats for America from 11:45 - 12:30. There was a good crowd and we went to everyone to ask if they wanted a leaflet. We had moderately good response. We gave out about 100 flyers. Lois took the rest to use at tables and other events.

        b. International Day of Prayer for Peace: Lois went to the URC committee meeting and Sara Shafiq agreed to be their representative to a planning group for the September 21st celebration. This group met yesterday. It consisted of Gladys Muhammed, Glenda Rae, Amy Schlide, Lois, and Gwen Phillips. They brainstormed some ideas for Sept. 21. One suggestion was to have a gathering at the County City Building at noon with groups approaching from all four directions. Another suggestion was for an evening gathering. The next meeting is July 29 at 11am, in the Peace Education office of the Charles Martin Center on Lincolnway West. All are welcome to participate, Glenda Rae will mention our idea about a gathering in the evening at the peace garden at Battell Park, perhaps with candles.

        c. Gun Buyback: This was very successful. All the sites ran out of vouchers fairly early. The South Bend site bought about 65 guns and the other two sites bought even more. One gun was discovered to be stolen.

        d. Campaign against Violence (Leafletting on June 19): Lois and Peter handed out leaflets prepared by Physicians for Social Responsibility. It was timed to coincide with ASK day which tried to get parents to ask those with whom their children play if any guns in the home were locked up where children could not access them. There were very few people at the Red Table day, and we gave up relatively quickly. The weather made it difficult to stay out long.

        e. Topic of the Month: Environmental Issues: Peter has not posted the list of ways to preserve the environment to the website. He is still working on it.

        f. Topic of the Month: Support for Conscientious Objectors: Rey has not made furthere contact with the Catholic Peace Fellowship to see how we could help.

        g. Hiroshima/Nagasaki protest: Lois was not present. Given the low attendance at the Red Table site in June, we wondered if the Morris would not be a better place for our noon protest on August 7. That Friday is also Bluegrass at the Morris.

3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is $157.95 with $1.76 in petty cash.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We are already doing quite a bit and postponed discussion on this topic.

    2. Obama's Health Care Initiative: Judy from Organizing for America, a grassroots organization working to bring Obama's plans to fruition, talked about their work. They operate out of Democratic headquarters and are trying to get more voters to sign a petition endorsing Obama's health care principles than the margin by which Donnelly won last November. The three principles are Reduce Costs, Guarantee Choice, and Ensure Affordable Care for All. They engage in phone banking, canvassing, and attending public events to try to gather signatures. The big push is this week - they hope to finish collecting signatures by July 20, and expect to have the bill on the floor by July 31. Cordell Martin, an intern from Organizing for America, is spearheading the effort locally with the assistance of Jennifer Peck and Judy.

There will be a rally in front of the County Court House on Main St. on Wednesday, July 15 at 5pm. This is sponsored by the union SEIU. There will be phone banking at Democratic Headquarters on Lafayette across from the County-City building on Thursday from 2-5 and from 5-8. There will be canvassing door to door on Saturday from 11-2 and 2-5. Meet at Democratic Headquarters. There will be more phone banking on Sunday from 2-5 and 5-8. They will need help entering the data into computers on Monday, 11-7. If you come to phone bank, bring your cell phone if possible. If we know anyone who wants to get involved in this effort, have them call Judy 574-850-2212.

Ellyn mentioned that insurance companies have been improving their computer systems for billing and for tracking. However, it is still a long road ahead for complete electronic medical records and it is an expensive changeover. It is not going to be a quick fix as part of health care reform.

    3. Topic of the Month: We decided to stick with the two topics we are already working on.

    4. Other Topics and Issues: We discussed the need to create new signs for the vigils. We are supposed to brainstorm short but powerful slogans for the signs, especially about Afghanistan. We had a long discussion about the futility of fighting a war in Afghanistan and how the Russians are just waiting for us to fail as they did. We wondered if there is a way to replace poppy growing with other crops which will bring in as much money. Britain used to have wide expanses of poppy, but replaced it with rape for making vegetable oil - not very good for a sign.

We regretted that we did not bring the long banners with the names of the dead in Iraq to any of the July 4 events, and wondered if it might be appropriate on September 21 (Day for Peace) or November 11, which should be renamed back to Armistice Day. We will discuss this more in later meeting.

There was a long discussion about the Monday night City Council meeting and Tuesday night's County Council meeting vis a vis the tax bill.

    5. Next meeting: The next meeting will be at Pam and Ron's on Tuesday, July 28, at 7:30pm. Note change of time