MEETING NOTES FOR PEOPLE FOR PEACE, JUSTICE, AND HEALING
People for Peace, Justice, and Healing
May 10, 2008
People for Peace, Justice, and Healing met at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 10, 2008, at Associated Ministries. Present for check-in: Sallie S., Nancy, Terry, Vivi, Kyle, Sheila, Mark, Colleen, Sol, and Ian.
1. MARTIN LUTHER KING HOMELESS SHELTER -- DISCUSSIOIN (Nancy)
Nancy reported on Tuesday's Tacoma City Council meeting, where the homeless shelter grant issue came up around 6:30 p.m. Father Bill Bichsel rebuked the City Council for claiming that available funds were insufficient: "How dare you?" he asked several times. The Council votes again next Tuesday. Colleen pointed out that the quality of the grant application was also an issue. -- BACKGROUND: The News Tribune's account, published on Apr. 18, can be read here. It states: "After 39 years -- 10 years in its current location -- the fate of the shelter is uncertain following a recommendation from a citizens commission to not award crucial grant funding to its operator, Martin Luther King Housing Development Association. Combined, the grant requests totaled $135,000 of the shelter’s roughly $300,000 operating budget. -- The City Council is expected to make a final decision on the distribution of funds at its May 6 meeting. Councilman Mike Lonergan said he wants to use a council contingency fund to distribute $10,000 each to MLKHDA, Centro Latino, and the Salvation Army to soften the blow for three agencies that have previously received funding. -- Felix Flannigan, executive director of MLKHDA said he and his staff feel blind-sided by the grant recommendations. One of the grant requests received a score of 80 from the city’s Human Services Commission, one point shy of the cut to receive funding. A second grant seeking money to extend the shelter’s hours during bad weather months missed the cut by only two points. -- Commission members criticized the MLKHDA grant applications, saying one of the applications didn’t answer a question and it showed a 'confusing budget.' . . . Even before the failure of the two grant requests, Flannigan was pondering potential changes in the shelter’s operations. Downtown is gentrifying, Flannigan said, and he believes property developers no longer want a homeless shelter in the middle of the city. That sentiment is what’s behind a lawsuit, he said. -- A downtown property owner is suing the nonprofit association, claiming the organization has not done enough to stop the homeless who congregate outside from harassing people who use a nearby parking lot. The plaintiff, BRC Associates, also blames people drawn to the shelter for vandalism, trafficking drugs, and urinating and defecating in a parking lot. -- A trial was scheduled to start Monday, [Apr. 14,] but was postponed at the last moment. . . . Flannigan has come to believe the shelter is too large to operate efficiently in the city’s urban core and should be split up into five smaller shelters, one in each City Council district. Churches could operate the smaller shelters, he suggested. -- Flannigan and Brian Ebersole, the former Tacoma mayor who now lobbies for MLKHDA, met with City Manager Eric Anderson last week to discuss the shelter’s future. Anderson said afterward that he doesn’t have a solution. . . . David Curry, executive director of the Tacoma Rescue Mission, said his organization can take in more people during an emergency, but could not pick up the slack for an extended period of time without expanding, Curry said. The Tacoma Rescue Mission has 75 beds at its men’s shelter, and 450 beds total. . . . Amid the criticism and uncertainty, Flannigan is angry. He notes that MLKHDA is primarily a real estate development organization that only runs the shelter because the previous organization, the King Center, fell into money problems." -- The Human Services Commission has 15 members appointed by the mayor and City Council and serving 3-year terms. Its membership is mandated to "reflect the diversity of our community as to race/culture, gender, age, socioeconomics, geography and interest." The liaison city department is Human Rights and Human Services, and the staff liaison is Debbie Bergthold (253-591-5042). The News Tribune's most recent article on the subject is here.
2. MAY 3 VOTER-OWNED ELECTIONS FORUM AT TUUC (Sallie and Colleen)
About forty people attended the forum. See League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County, 702 Broadway, Suite 105, Tacoma, WA 98402 (253-272-1495). See here for more information.
3. CONOR BROWNE (Sallie S.)
Conor Browne, from Northern Ireland, who already has a Ph.D. in philosophy and is studying for an M.A. at Queens University in Belfast specializing in peace and national security studies will be in Tacoma Jun. 14-30. At 7:00 p.m. on Thurs., Jun. 26, PPJH will sponsor a talk by Conor Browne at King's Books (218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) on his own personal story, on the N. Ireland peace process, and on future prospects for peace in other global hot spots.
1. UFPPC'S BOOK DISCUSSION GROUP ON 'BAD MONEY' AND 'THE TRILLION DOLLAR MELTDOWN' CONTINUES MONDAY EVENING (Mark J.)
On the first two Mondays in May, United for Peace of Pierce County's Monday night book discussion group, Digging Deeper, will examine two books on the current crisis of financial capitalism: Kevin Phillips's Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism (Viking, April 2008), and Charles R. Morgan's The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Credit, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash (PublicAffairs, March 2008). -- Digging Deeper meets from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café (3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma). There is no charge for participation and all interested are welcome. -- Some copies of the books are available for purchase or loan.
2. UFPPC'S BOOK DISCUSSION GROUP READS 'THE DEATH OF AMERICA' AND 'CRACKING THE CODE' ON MAY 19 & 26 (Mark J.)
On the last two Mondays in May, United for Peace of Pierce County's Monday night book discussion group, Digging Deeper, will examine two books on revitalizing American democracy: Naomi Wolf's The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot (Chelsea Green, 2007) and Thom Hartmann's Cracking the Code: How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's Original Vision (Berrett-Koehler, 2007). -- Digging Deeper meets Mondays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café (3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma)....
3. LYRICISM AS A TOOL FOR SOCIAL CHANGE -- PANEL, WORKSHOP, & OPEN MIC (Sol)
On Sat., May 17, 2008, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Community Spring Fair of The Evergreen State College-Tacoma, 1210 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98405, will feature Dr. Dexter Gordon facilitating a panel discussion with artists from around Puget Sound about lyricism as a tool for social change, a workshop on writing and performing spoken word by Youth Speaks Seattlel, and an open mic hosted by General Wojack with performances. To register as a performer, please contact Charhyse @ (206) 382-3421 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org