Monday, November 16, 2020

Confronting the 2020 Election, Part 3 Marjorie Cohn, Esq., and Andrés Kwon, Esq. ICUJP Friday Forum.


Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace

Please join us online

ICUJP Friday Forum
November 20, 7:30-9:30 am Pacific

US flag in distress

Confronting the 2020 Election, Part 3
Marjorie Cohn, Esq., and Andrés Kwon, Esq.

Register here
(If you registered previously for the series, you don't need to again)

Call in by phone: +1 (669) 900-6833*
Meeting ID: 878 4681 3482 PASSCODE: 381312


"The Election is in Danger. Prepare Now" - Atlantic article

Research shows Americans increasingly believe "violence would be justified" if their side lost the election. People of faith and conscience must stand against this.
NY Times op ed

Take action to defend the election outcome: Protect the Results

Prayer by Rabbi Susan Goldberg

*Meeting controls for call-in attendees:
To mute/unmute yourself: *6
To raise hand: *9

The historic 2020 presidential election has confirmed the deep divisions in American society. Moreover, it has shown how much the fragile peaceful transfer of power depends on adherence to democratic norms - which President Trump is flagrantly flaunting as he and his enablers inflame his base and refuse to accept the results.

Is this a coup d’etat or a temper tantrum? Can the Electoral College still choose Trump? What are the legal and constitutional ramifications of this denial?

Locally, we need to acknowledge the election was a mixed bag for progressive causes, with significant victories (such as George Gascon's election as LA District Attorney and passage of Measure J) and heartbreaking losses (including rejection of affirmative action and corporate tax reform). What does all this mean to ICUJP's mission and the issues we care about?

ICUJP has invited an outstanding group of speakers to help us navigate these troubled waters. In our series conclusion this Friday, Nov. 20, Marjorie Cohn, Esq. and Andrés Kwon, Esq., will join us. We'll discuss the current state of post-election affairs and look at the implications for the days, months, and years to come.

Marjorie CohnMarjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where she taught from 1991-2016, and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Professor Cohn lectures, writes, and provides commentary for local, regional, national and international media outlets. Professor Cohn has served as a news consultant for CBS News and a legal analyst for Court TV, as well as a legal and political commentator on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and Pacifica Radio. The author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Cameras in the Courtroom: Television and the Pursuit of Justice (with David Dow) and Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent (with Kathleen Gilberd). Professor Cohn is editor of and contributor to The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse, and Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues and a contributing editor and contributor for numerous other publications.

Professor Cohn is the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the Association of American Jurists and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, as well as a board member and advisor with numerous organizations. Her many honors include the San Diego County Bar Association’s 2005 Service to Legal Education Award, the Peace and Justice Studies Association 2008 Peace Scholar of the Year Award, Amnesty International-San Diego’s 2009 Digna Ochoa Human Rights Defender Award, and the National Lawyers Guild’s 2018 Debra Evenson Venceremos Award. Professor Cohn previously lived in Mexico and is fluent in Spanish. Learn more on her website. 

Andres KwonAndrés Dae Keun Kwon is Policy Counsel and Senior Organizer at the ACLU of Southern California, which he joined in 2016. For more than a decade, he has worked in immigrant rights and social justice, and he currently focuses on the intersection of immigrant rights, policing, and criminal justice reform. After immigrating with his family from Argentina, Andrés worked as a community organizer and then became a human rights lawyer to fight alongside individuals and families like his who struggle to navigate and access justice in a complex, punitive criminal-immigration legal system.

Andrés graduated in 2016 from the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law. He served as Senior Editor of the UCLA Law Review and, through legal internships at ACLU SoCal, led an effort to strengthen representation of low-income immigrants charged with crimes. This work has expanded immigration expertise within public defender offices, including a fivefold expansion of the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office Immigration Unit. He is fluent in Spanish and Korean.

ICUJP Board members: Following the Forum, please stay online for the November meeting.


Start your morning with us!

Reflection: Susan Stouffer
Facilitator: Anthony Manousos
Zoom host: Daryn Kobata

* Link to this week's agenda*
** Meetings begin promptly at 7:30 am Pacific. **

Saturday, November 14, 2020

"Fierce Love": Quakers gather virtually in Washington, DC, to advocate for an end to police brutality

[This is a message I shared at Orange Grove Meeting during adult study on November 15, 2020.]

It’s a great joy to share with you FCNL’s response to the current election and also what’s happening during FCNL’s annual gathering which is taking place as we speak. Right now over 500 Friends and supporters of FCNL from around the nation are meeting virtually to advocate for our Quaker values in Washington, DC. Despite, or maybe cause of Covid, more people have participated in FCNL’s annual fall gathering as well as in FCNL’s spring lobby day than ever before.

The mood at this year’s FCNL gathering is very different from four years ago. I vividly remember flying into DC and arriving at the airport just as the election results were being confirmed. The news was so daunting and disheartening that I saw grown Quaker men weeping during Meeting for worship, and I was one of them. We were devastated but we also felt blessed. We weren’t grieving alone. We had each other. We worshipped together, we share our fears and hopes, and we committed ourselves more passionately than ever to social justice and to being the change we want to see in the world. I came back to Pasadena eager to start an advocacy team and our team took off and grew and linked up with Interfaith Communities United Justice for Peace. We advocated for peace in North Korea and Iran, and for sunsetting the Authorization for the Use of Military Force. And we are still going strong.

The mood that Quakers are feeling today is one of relief and joy and renewed commitment. Our clerk, Ron Ferguson, reminded us that FCNL is faith-rooted and non-partisan. He read to us the words of a 17th century Friend named Edward Burroughs that seem especially relevant today: "We are not for Names, nor Men, nor Titles of Government, nor are we for this Party, nor against the other, because of its Name and Pretence; but we are for Justice and Mercy, and Truth and Peace, and true Freedom, that these may be exalted in our Nation." This is the message our sick and divided nation needs to hear today.

The theme of our 2020 FCNL annual session is “fierce love”—a term that may seem strange to mild-mannered modern Quakers, but “fierce love” describes what it means to be prophetic. Fierce means fearless, relentless, unwilling to give up. This is the kind of love that a mother feels for her child when it’s threatened. This is the kind of love that motivated John Woolman, Gandhi, Dr. King, and contemporary Quaker activists like David Hartsough and George Lakey.

As we Quakers gathered virtually in DC, ten thousand pro-Trumper protesters gathered to protest the election results. They felt the same kind of disappointment and fear that many of us felt four years ago, and they were filled with outrage. Their demonstration drew counter protesters and ended up with violence in the streets.

As Friends, we need to mobilize a different kind of fierceness and speak out fearlessly for love and truth and peace. We also need to be as gentle as doves and be a force of healing. Especially with friends and family members who voted differently from us and feel angry and upset. It isn’t easy to be a peacemaker and a prophet, but that’s the work that Spirit calls Quakers to do.

I was excited to learn that the focus of this year’s lobby day is racial justice, and specifically ending police brutality. We are calling on Congress to pass the Justice in Police Act (HR 7120/S.912) or advance legislation that includes the bill’s provision to ban racial and religious profiling; outlaw chokeholds; prevent police officers from using lethal force except as a last resort; and end the militarization of local police departments. Click here to find out how to contact your elected officials to advocate for police reform.

I can’t think of anything more relevant for Quaker to advocate for, especially for Orange Grove Friends. We know only too well about police brutality here in Pasadena. We know what happened to Kendrec McDade, Reginald Thomas, Christopher Ballew and most recently, Anthony  McClain. Some of you participated in a Quaker worship service that took place at the Anthony McClain memorial next to Pintoresca Library, only one mile from our Meeting. Many of us advocated for a police commission and independent auditor that was approved by the Pasadena City Council a week after McClain was killed by Pasadena police. We were disappointed that this commission and independent police auditor aren’t as strong or independent as we would like, but at least Pasadena is moving in the right direction. Let’s not rest in peace until we have ended police brutality in our city and across our nation.

I will provide information so that you can join us in advocating for Justice in Policing. I also hope you’ll go to the FCNL website and make it a regular practice to write to your elected officials. FCNL makes it easy to show your fierce love for justice and truth.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

What do we do to help protect Democracy this week? A message from David Hartsough

 David Hartsough, one of the most dedicated Quaker peace activists I know, sent me this email even though he is going through a very serious health challenge. Please hold our friend David in the Light, praying for a speedy recovery. He continues to do all he can to work for peace and justice and sent out this email: 

Have you heard? Millions of people are planning to protest in the streets if Trump loses the election and refuses to leave office – it's called Protect the Results. This is a coalition of more than 100 organizations that are committed to protecting our democracy if Trump throws our country into a manufactured constitutional crisis.

Here's the plan: we will hit the streets in our communities and demand that every vote be counted, even if it takes days or weeks to get an accurate count from critical states, especially given the expansion of mail-in and absentee voting during the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to ensure that the loser of the election concedes and that Congress, the Electoral College, and state officials honor the accurate, final vote count.

If Trump declares victory before all the votes are counted, makes unfounded claims that the election was "stolen," tries to stop votes from being counted, or otherwise threatens the election's integrity or the peaceful transition of power, Protect the Results will activate nationwide mobilizations.

These potential actions will be happening nationwide next week. There are more than 485 events (and counting!) already scheduled on the event map. People like you are organizing in their communities to prepare to mobilize in case of a worst-case scenario.

If you're ready to save our democracy, check out the events map to find an action on November 4th or November 7th near you. We need you now more than ever.

"Confronting the 2020 Election, Part 1" Rabbi Susan Goldberg and Eisha Mason: ICUJP this Friday at 7:30 am


Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace

Please join us online

ICUJP Friday Forum
November 6, 7:30-9:30 am Pacific

US flag in distress

Confronting the 2020 Election, Part 1
Rabbi Susan Goldberg and Eisha Mason

Register for the series here
(You'll get access to the Nov. 6, 13, and 20 Forums)
Call in by phone: +1 (669) 900-6833*
Meeting ID: 878 4681 3482 PASSCODE: 381312


Research shows Americans increasingly believe "violence would be justified" if their side lost the election. People of faith and conscience must stand against this.
NY Times op ed
Take action to defend the election outcome: Protect the Results
*Meeting controls for call-in attendees:
To mute/unmute yourself: *6
To raise hand: *9
The Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election may be one of the most momentous in American history, taking place during a deadly pandemic with candidates whose visions for our country could not differ more starkly.
Whatever the outcome this week, we need to brace ourselves for multiple challenges of voter fraud and voter suppression. We need to come together, express our fears and anxieties, and seek guidance. We need to understand the political, legal, and constitutional issues we are facing. And we need to organize, organize, organize for whatever might happen in the streets.
ICUJP has invited an outstanding group of speakers to help us navigate these troubled waters. This Friday, Nov. 6, Rabbi Susan Goldberg and Eisha A. Mason will join us as we come together to debrief the week's events, process emotions, and look for ways to channel our energy and continue working for justice in the coming months.
Rabbi Susan is the founding rabbi of Nefesh, a new, open-hearted spiritual community on LA's east side. A fourth-generation Angeleno, she comes from a family committed to justice and peace. She serves on the national board of Bend the Arc and is active with CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice) and New Ground: A Muslim-Jewish partnership for Change.
Eisha MasonEisha is a transformational counselor, spiritual teacher, community facilitator and activist. She focuses on healing collective trauma of racism and building Beloved Community as as she writes, teaches and facilitates in spiritual and social justice spaces. She formerly served as Associate Regional Director/West Region of the American Friends Service Committee.
To prepare for this series, please check out Anne Applebaum's excellent article in The Atlantic magazine, "The Election is in Danger. Prepare Now."
Start your morning with us!
Reflection: Michael Novick
Facilitator: Carolfrances Likins
Zoom host: Susan Stouffer
* Link to this week's agenda*
** Meetings begin promptly at 7:30 am Pacific. **

Here's how to join the online meeting:

To join by video conference, you'll need to download the Zoom app on your computer or mobile device. Click on the link to join the meeting and then enter the Meeting ID number and passcode. You'll be able to see slides and video, as well as speakers and other attendees.
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If you're new to Zoom and would like to use the video option, we recommend you download the app well ahead of time.
ICUJP Friday Forum Series Part 1 - 11/6
Time: 07:30 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Option 1: Register for the series (Nov 6, 13, 20) here(You'll receive a confirmation email with the direct link to join the meeting.)
Meeting ID: 878 4681 3482
PASSCODE: 381312
Option 2: Dial in by phone only:
+1 (669) 900-6833 US (California)
Meeting ID: 878 4681 3482
PASSCODE: 381312
(To find a dial-in number closer to you, go here.)
Please note: Our Friday Forums and other events are open to the public. By attending, you consent to having your voice and likeness recorded, photographed, posted on ICUJP's website and social media, and included in ICUJP materials and publications for noncommercial purposes. If you don't want to be photographed or recorded, please let the facilitator know.

NOV 13 and 20: Confronting the 2020 Election, Part 2 and Part 3. Following one of the most momentous elections in history, join ICUJP and guest speakers to debrief, share thoughts and concerns, and look at what may lie ahead. Speakers: Greg Palast, investigative journalist and author, How Trump Stole 2020; Marjorie Cohn, Esq., law professor and former president, National Lawyers Guild; Colleen Flynn, attorney, National Lawyers Guild; and Andres Kwon, Esq., attorney, ACLU.

Passing the Virtual Bucket

We can't pass the bucket in person, but ICUJP still needs your support. Please give as generously as you can:

• On our donation page. You can set up recurring gifts too!
• Use the Give+ app for iPhone or Android
• Text a gift amount to 323-701-1467

Thank you!


Help Support Families in Need

The need for Immanuel Presbyterian's Food Pantry is greater than ever. Please donate here. Thank you!
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Saturday, October 31, 2020


Hey, wanna come to my party? I got my cash register here but I won't charge you nothing! 

It's  4:00-5:30 pm on Sunday, Nov 1. Don't forget to click here:

Love, Jill

PS Check me out in my cute grass skirt and having a hula lesson on my 7th wedding anniversary in Hawaii!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Affordable housing is something to boast about, not be fearful of, says Mayor Terry Tornek


Pasadena aims to build affordable senior housing in civic center lot

This article in the Star News has a great quote by Mayor Terry Tornek about the value of affordable housing at Pasadena Civic Center, and throughout the city:

“But frankly, I don’t think it’s a sacrifice [to use city-owned land at the Civic Center for affordable housing],” he continued. “I think that part of what we’re doing here is demonstrating that we don’t think affordable housing is something that needs to be tucked away someplace. It is something that can happen throughout the city, and the fact that it’s across the street from City Hall is tangible evidence of that.

“We’re not fearful of it; we boast about it.” 

 To which, we at MHCH say AMEN!

By BRADLEY BERMONT | | Pasadena Star-News

PUBLISHED: October 21, 2020 at 3:21 p.m. | UPDATED: October 21, 2020 at 10:48 p.m.

Pasadena officials have picked their ideal plan and company to develop affordable housing on the vacant site across the street from City Hall, owned by Pasadena Water and Power, but it’s not a done deal yet.

On Monday, Oct. 19, the City Council gave its approval for staff to begin six months of negotiations with National Community Renaissance, a nonprofit developer based in Rancho Cucamonga, which wants to build affordable senior housing for those who are near homelessness.

“This site demonstrates who we are, as a city, when we say we want to put affordable housing for seniors — coming out of homelessness — right smack in the middle of our civic center, our most important civic buildings, and prominently place it where we are,” Councilwoman Margaret McAustin said during the meeting.

It’s the first of two projects slated for the city’s civic center; the other will be across the street at the historic YWCA site, which could be renovated into a boutique hotel. The city is still evaluating proposals for the YWCA site, City Manager Steve Mermell said in Monday’s meeting, though he expects to have more details about the city’s pending selection in the coming weeks.

All of these proposals were presented to the public last month, although one of the participants — Edgewood Realty, which pitched a hotel for the YWCA site — has since withdrawn its application.

National Community Renaissance, more commonly referred to as National CORE, pitched a 112-unit building that would be 100% affordable. The nonprofit plans to offer those apartments to homeless or struggling seniors who are in the city’s very lowest income designations.

For the project, National CORE partnered with Union Station Homeless Services, a Pasadena-based nonprofit. It’s the second time this team has come together, having built Marv’s Place — a lauded affordable housing site in Pasadena — to great fanfare and success years earlier.

Marv’s Place is in McAustin’s district; she worked with National CORE on the project.

“Everything they ever said they would do on a project, they did it,” she said.

McAustin expressed her support for Mayor Terry Tornek, who she said led the effort to turn this site into affordable housing. She was joined by Councilman John Kennedy and Vice Mayor Tyron Hampton, who both echoed her praise.

“This is a great moment,” Tornek said. “This is a very tangible way that we’re communicating, to the public, our commitment to getting affordable housing done.”

While everyone on the council was supportive of the project, Councilman Andy Wilson expressed some hesitancy about whether this was the best use the valuable piece of property, though he admitted “that ship has since sailed,” and expressed confidence in the selected project.

Tornek recognized the land was valuable and said it represented “a demonstrable piece of evidence to show how committed we are.

“But frankly, I don’t think it’s a sacrifice,” he continued. “I think that part of what we’re doing here is demonstrating that we don’t think affordable housing is something that needs to be tucked away someplace. It is something that can happen throughout the city, and the fact that it’s across the street from City Hall is tangible evidence of that.

“We’re not fearful of it; we boast about it.” 

Mermell asked for six months to negotiate terms of the project; it will get some level of funding from the city and aims to get state grant money.

After negotiations, a final proposal will be brought to the City Council for a vote, Mermell said.

Councilman Victor Gordo stressed the importance of public participation moving forward, asking Mermell to outline the ways the public can get involved once negotiations are complete.

If the project is approved by the council next year, National CORE will have beat out two competing proposals, both from nonprofit developers. Officials said National CORE’s project was selected, in part, because it would build more units of housing at a cheaper price than any of the other proposals.



Cities Need to Plan for More Affordable Housing, says former Pasadena Mayor Rick Cole

 Rick Cole, former mayor of Pasadena, has become a strong advocate for affordable housing and works closely with MHCH and POP! (Pasadenans Organizing for Progress). He wrote this column for the Pasadena Star News in which he explains why we need to plan for more affordable housing when we revise the city's Housing Element and General Plan. 

PUBLISHED: October 25, 2020 at 7:00 a.m. | UPDATED: October 25, 2020 at 7:00 a.m.

Every city in California faces a huge challenge next year: revising land use rules to ensure we build more housing.

That means your city is headed for a consequential, contentious and costly struggle — and you should be paying attention right now!

State law has long required every city to have a General Plan to guide development. The Housing Element of that plan must be updated to meet targets for building new housing which are set every “cycle.”  The last cycle covered 2014-2021. Up next is 2021-29.  Next October is the deadline for every city to revise its current Housing Element to comply with the new housing targets. A year may seem like ample time, but for government, it’s not.

Given the severe housing shortage, the state has allocated a target of 1.34 million new homes and apartments to be built in Southern California by 2029. To apportion that number among 191 cities, the Southern California Association of Governments voted on a formula that makes sense — but is politically controversial.

The new formula reverses our long-standing pattern of sprawl — building new housing tracts out on the region’s fringe.  That’s a colossally expensive way to accommodate growth. It paves over environmentally sensitive areas, requires expanding our pharaonic-sized freeway network and necessitates building elaborate suburban infrastructure from scratch. It exacerbates racial segregation, steals family time from commuting workers and drains resources from inner-city neighborhoods.

The problem with the new formula is that it requires building more housing near where the jobs are, which is also near where you and I live.

Local elected officials know that can be unpopular, so many are rushing to appeal their city’s allocation. That’s not surprising. The new targets will be tough to hit. Appealing them allows politicians to pander to vocal constituencies. But some of the rhetoric of resistance crassly exploits community concerns. Opposition to new housing intensifies racial and political polarization and imposes unacceptable economic and social pain on the young, the poor, seniors, families, renters and essential workers.

The answer is active local democracy.  Not the stupid kind we are currently bombarded with — divisive soundbites that inflame passions and misleading ballot initiatives that try to trick you into believing “yes” means “no.”  Real democracy requires convening people of differing backgrounds and perspectives to solve our housing challenge together.

Clearly Southern California needs more housing. Just look at the shameful surge in homelessness spreading across the Southland. Ask any young person looking to rent their first apartment as they start their careers. Imagine being a middle-class family struggling to buy a home in a safe and welcoming neighborhood.

Instead of saying “no” to more housing, cities should think creatively about how to add housing in ways that make communities better, not worse.  Concerned about more traffic?  OK, how can we put new housing near transit and make streets more walkable and bikeable?  Worried about ugly, out-of-scale development nearby? Then let’s devise design standards to assure new development compliments the best of the past.  Fearful of running out of water or not having enough parks?  So let’s figure out how to adapt our communities to serve both existing and future residents.

That’s real planning, real democracy. It takes time for people to work on shared solutions, especially given how COVID-19 restricts face-to-face dialogue.

What’s your city doing about this challenge?  Think about how we might tackle this problem together. Let’s use our common sense for the common good.  This is an opportunity to get it right and ensure a brighter future for all.

Rick Cole is former mayor of Pasadena and former city manager of Azusa. He welcomes feedback at