Minutes for MPJC Meeting of December 8, 2014

Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Rey, Sarah, Lois

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for September 15: The minutes were approved as corrected.

    2. Progress Reports

        a. Concern about Vote Centers and the November Elections: The committee studying Vote Centers meets on Thursday, December 11. Even if vote centers are approved, folks can still vote early and the vote centers will be open for a couple of weeks before election day. Karl King is worried that the county will not be able to get the vote centers ready for the 2015 elections even if they are approved soon. The committee has to make their report. Then the 3-member election board has to unanimously approve the plan. The county commissioners have to vote for the money for equipment and vote center salaries. The entire plan has to go downstate for approval. Then the equipment must be purchased, installed, and tested. The poll center workers have to be trained. Their pay will be higher since the vote centers will be open for several weeks, not one day. We wondered if we could start a campaign to encourage all residents over 65 to vote by mail. There was a concern raised that they might not have stamps. We decided to wait to see if the vote center project is approved before working on this campaign.

        b. November 13 Q&A session with Zoughbi: Despite a bad snowstorm, 8 folks showed up. The session started about a half hour late, but was very well received. Zoughbi showed a map of Israel/Palestine and some computer models showing the borders at four different points in their history: at the time of the original exodus; after the '67 war; when peace talks began; and now after the building of the wall and new settlements. In each model the Palestinian lands have been shrinking, until now the West Bank is a series of isolated regions with check points everywhere.

        c. Reducing Gun Violence: Rey pointed out that 70% of the NRA membership is in favor of universal background checks before selling guns, but the NRA leadership opposes it. We believe that the NRA is beholden to gun dealers for financial support just as Congress gets financial support from the NRA.

In solidarity with the national response to the police killing of unarmed black men without the police being being charged with a crime, some local youths staged a four minute die-in in the County City building lobby at 5:30pm on December 8, supported by a number of community members. We worried that they risked arrest and were not prepared for it, but there were no problems.

       d. Pearl Harbor Day statement: Lois wrote a letter to the Tribune but it has not yet been published. Her theme was that it was the eve of Dec 7 and wars are still raging around the world. Hope is waiting in the wings. Her letter also thanked the Tribune for printing an article by Kassig giving both sides of the question that revenge does not work. She also appreciated Lee Hamilton's columns. Sarah mentioned the film "Munich." It was very bloody and showed an aggressive and somewhat indiscriminate Mossad approach.

       e. Martin Luther King Day Table: Glenda Rae paid for the table. She will get Peter a form to fill out. Lois will also have a table focusing on a scholarship fund for young people. The education funds available have been cut because we used the money to pay for war.

       f. Human Rights Day program: 6pm on Wednesday in the downtown library. There will be a panel around the theme - Should the Minimum Wage Be Enough for Someone to Live On?

    3. Treasurer's Report: We paid $40 for the MLK day table. Our bank total is now $15.67 with $5.11 in petty cash. Sarah made a $15 contribution during the meeting.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We incorporated this topic into other discussion

    2. Topic of the Month: We decided to work on systemic racism. Glenda Rae will start out the discussion. She mentioned that African American soldiers returning from WWII were denied FHA loans. This is largely the cause of the great disparity between the housing values between black and white owners.

    3. Other Topics and Issues: The Little Taste of Peace will be held in the school cafeteria of St. Adalbert's at 6:15pm on Saturday, January 17. This is the kickoff for a series of Study Circles to reflect on race relations effect on education.

    4. Next meeting: Monday, January 26th, at 2:30pm at Peter and Ellyn's.