Minutes for MPJC Meeting of July 28, 2009


Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Pam, Ron, Carol, Bill

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for July 14: The minutes were approved with some typos corrected. Glenda Rae clarified the gun buyback results: Mishawaka, 43 functional, 10 non-functional, including 33 handguns and 20 long guns; St Joe County: 52 functional, 9 nonfunctional; South Bend: 68, for a total of 182 guns.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Hiroshima-Nagasaki protest: We will gather at Morris Civic Plaza at 11:30. Lois will contact Morris to tell them we are coming and will coordinate the event. There will be an anti-nuclear emphasis. Peter will look through his signs for appropriate ones. We brainstormed a little about what to do. We considered having people write to Obama, thanking him for negotiating a reduction of nuclear arms with Russia and urging him to ban depleted uranium weapons. The theme should be "Then and Now." We will finalize plans by phone and email.

        b. International Day of Prayer for Peace: The next meeting of the committee was to be Wednesday, July 29th. There was not much more to report and Lois was not able to attend. We will discuss this more at our September 1 meeting.

        c. Donnelly and Bayh meetings: Ellyn, Peter, Rey, Lois, Ron, and Carol attended a session with Donnelly's representativs (Peter Garrett and Mike Schmuhl) at 11am the day of the meeting and another session with Senator Bayh's representative (Julie Vuchovich) at 1pm that day. We focused on the war and how money spent on the war could have been used for health care. The total spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars since 2001 will surpass a trillion dollars by early next year. This is the amount health care is expected to cost over 10 years. In response to our request for Donnelly's support for an end to these wars, Peter G. said that Donnelly believes it was wrong to go into Iraq but since we have destroyed so much of the country we are obliged to stay and try to rebuild it. Several of us disagreed since staying involves killing more Iraqis and U.S. soldiers. Lois was passionate in opposing the use of drones to kill Afghanis. The drones are piloted by folks living and working in San Diego. Peter G. promised to give our message to Donnelly. He was encouraged since we were all in favor of reforming health care and many of the constituents they have been encountering have been opposed to changing the health care system.

Julie said that 12 out of 13 of the district meetings Bayh's office staff has held recently have had a majority in favor of reform. She also promised to take our anti-war message to Bayh. We discovered that every regional office has to prepare a report of all the contacts made that day and the sentiments expressed and forward the report to the national office every evening. We urged both Donnelly and Bayh to press for the end of the wars, but neither is likely to do so.

        d. Health Care Initiative: Judy was unable to attend so we did not have an update on the progress in this regard. We noted that the House had a bill on the floor. Peter had gone to the SEIU rally on July 15. There was a small but spirited crowd. There will be another SEIU-sponsored rally to push Obama's health care initiative at the Chamber of Commerce at noon on July 29th. Cameron Webb, a medical Student, is sponsoring a Healthcare Reform Town Meeting from 6-7:30 pm on Wednesday, August 12, at the Charles Martin Youth Center. He is hoping a broad spectrum from the community, including representatives from Donnelly and Bayh's offices will attend. When discussing why the health care insurance companies are in favor of reform, we thought it might be that they would make out like bandits if everyone was required to buy health insurance.

        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 again emailed Mike Baxter from the Catholic Peace Fellowship to see how we could help.

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. Tyler Boudreau Bike trip: Tyler is an ex-marine who opposes the wars and is riding his bike from Seattle to Maine to try to call attention to this issue. He will be in Goshen on August 15, but we can't find anyone there who knows anything about a venue for him to speak. Caity will get a room at IUSB if someone organizes a event for him in South Bend. Ellyn will try to pull something together and be in touch by phone and email.

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

    4. Other Topics and Issues: There will be an all-day conference on September 1, sponsored by the URC, focusing on military families. We will have a birthday party for Pat Bryan at 6:30pm, August 1, at the Holy Cross Nursing Home. Call Ellyn if interested celebrating Pat's 70th. She is a long time peace and justice activist. The Saturday 1pm vigils continue. Call Glenda Rae before attending to make sure someone will be there.

    5. Next meeting: The next meeting will be at Pam and Ron's on Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 7 pm.