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


More affordable housing for Pasadena, not a futile attempt to fight the state's requirements!

 The City Council of Pasadena is unhappy with the state's new Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) numbers requiring that it plan for 5,000 new units of affordable housing so it is planning to spend tax-payer money on a futile appeal. This appeal will almost certainly fail since the state has determined that local municipalities need do their utmost to address California's severe and growing housing crisis. Please join us by contacting the City Council to let them know you support more affordable housing in our city. To make a public comment, go to:

This is a letter written by Jill Shook on behalf of Making Housing and Community Happen, followed by a letter from POP! (Pasadenans Organizing for Progress), written by Rick Cole

Dear Honorable Mayor and City Council,

Yes, the 9,409 RHNA allocation for Pasadena of total new housing units in the next eight years (5,960 to be affordable at various income ranges) is indeed a high number, but not impossible. 

It’s easy to resent the SCAG, but thankfully this time these numbers are reflecting the real need: 23,000 on Pasadena’s section 8 waiting list, 50% of Pasadena is spending more than 50% of their income on housing, 527 counted as homeless, and 700 PUSD students experiencing homeless and 19% of all PCC students are homeless. Each of these statistics are outrageous and you have the power to help them become housed. What kind of city do you want?  A city known for its compassion or for its exclusion? 

Please pass a policy that would allow churches to supply a portion of this need. With only the 17 churches interested so far, 1,177 units could be accommodated. Pasadena already has over 740 ADUs – it’s part of the historic character of our community. This could be tripled with the right incentives. There are many main corridors with businesses that would appreciate the infusion of more folks close by to help our city thrive, not just survive. 

Please search your hearts, change your vote, and save our tax payer’s money on a needless appeal. Certainly there is enough creativity and compassion in our great city to meet this urgent need.

             Thank you!! Jill Shook, director of MHCH—Making Housing and Community Happen

Letter from POP!:

The staff accurately outlines the very narrow grounds available to Pasadena to appeal its Regional Housing Needs Allocation.  It is clear that Pasadena has little likelihood of prevailing – and even if it were to do so, any reduction is likely to be minimal.  While we acknowledge the Council’s concerns about the fairness and practicality of Pasadena’s allocation, the City staff’s time and attention would be more productively devoted to addressing the magnitude of the affordable housing challenge, regardless of the outcome of the appeal.  

The City has only one year to submit to the State a realistic Housing Element plan for building in the next cycle at least 5,000 affordable units of housing when it has produced less than 250 during the current cycle.  Pasadenans Organizing for Progress strongly supports the recommendations of Making Housing and Community Happen to involve a true cross-section of our community to solve this challenge together.  

We are encouraged by the Council’s verbal embrace of Councilmember Kennedy’s call for a goal of building 1000 affordable units in the next three years.   Those homes are urgently needed by thousands of Pasadenans facing eviction or struggling to make their rent.  That’s where your focus should be now!


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Join us for Jill's birthday party on Nov. 1 at 4:00 pm!

 Dear Friends, You are warmly invited to celebrate Jill's special day on Sunday, Nov 1, from 4:00-5:30 pm  next week. Look forward to seeing you via Zoom!

Register in advance for this meeting: 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Affordable housing changes lives, and so does advocating for housing

We at MHCH so appreciate your partnership with us. Especially during this time of pandemic and economic challenges. 
During this scary and uncertain time, we are doing our best to ensure that everyone has access to decent, affordable, and safe housing. 

Your support is what makes our work possible. That's why we are inviting you to contribute to our "There's No Place Like Home" campaign. Our goal is to raise $25,000 by the end of the year.  We also invite you will join our annual celebration, which will take place online this year Dec. 3-5. For more info, go to:

Register here for  "There's No Place Like Home" Celebration

Thank you! Thank you for your generosity! We welcome one-time donations of any amount. We also hope you will also consider becoming a monthly sustaining partner as we diligently seek to address the severe housing crisis.

Affordable and supportive housing changes lives, and so does advocating for housing. 

Cynthia Kirby, a mother with a  college-age daughter, lived for many years on the streets of Pasadena. She felt hopeless. Eight years ago she was housed through Union Station and her life turned around. She now attends college, works for the First Baptist Church, and volunteers for MHCH. She shared her story with us and concludes:

“It has been a blessing to advocate for permanent housing solutions, to be a part of direct democracy, to realize that my voice is powerful…. I’ve been to City Council Meetings, had one-on-one meetings with Councilmembers, spoken with the Mayor—and who am I? Can I do this? Im a citizen, and a community member, and my voice matters. The  advocacy, prayer vigils and sleep-outs by Heritage Square led to its approval [69 units of supportive housing for seniors experiencing homelessness] and now it’s being built; the work they do works. Everyone should support MHCH’s pioneering work to equip faith communities to  be the church….Please, join us in building a better community.”

 We are grateful for your support, which is needed now more than ever as we face the housing challenges due to an economic downturn caused by the COVID pandemic. Despite or maybe because of these challenging times, our work is thriving. Our Affordable/Supportive Housing team is leading a campaign that could create nearly 100 units of affordable and supportive housing at the Civic Center next to City Hall. Our Congregational Land Committee has over 30 churches interested in building affordable housing on their excess land. Our Safe Parking Committee has identified over 11 churches willing to provide parking lots for people living in vehicles (with support to become housed). And our Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU or “back house”) Committee is working to streamline the process and reduce costs to make ADUs affordable. Our new Community Land Trust (CLT) Committee so is working to make homes permanently affordable. Finally, we have hired Gary Moody, a community organizer, to help with the North Fair Oaks Empowerment Initiative, to transform a neglected historically Black corner of our city. 

 Please join us online on Dec. 4, 7:00 pm, Dec 5 4:00, or Dec 6 4:00 pm. To register for the “There’s No Place Like Home” celebration of MHCH with music,  stories and presentations, go to

 To contribute, go to 



Friday, October 9, 2020

Ballot Propositions: Join our upcoming online forum to find out where MHCH stands


Join us for our Monthly Housing Justice Educational Forum, sponsored by Making Housing and Community Happen (MHCH). In addition to providing encouraging news about what’s happening around affordable housing in Pasadena, there will be an interactive discussion of ballot propositions and county measures relating to housing justice. We will also hear from churches about what they are doing around affordable housing and homelessness.

When: Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020, at 7:00 PM

Register in advance for this meeting:  

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Where we at MHCH stand

YES on Prop 15: Requires only commercial and industrial properties to be taxed based on market value and dedicates revenue for colleges and schools in lower income areas.

YES on Prop 19: Changes tax assessment transfers and inheritance rules, with extra tax revenue going mostly to Fire Protection Fund.

YES on Prop 21: Expands local governments’ power to allow local rent control.

YES on Measure J: Sets aside 10% of LA County budget for alternatives to incarceration, including social services and affordable housing.

YES on Measures O and P which provide funding for schools and city services in Pasadena. See  and

Scroll down for faith-based perspectives on other ballot propositions.


Please save these dates and join us online for the  “There’s No Place Like Home” celebration of MHCH with music, stories and presentations.  Dec. 4, 7:00 pm, Dec 5 4:00, and Dec 6 4:00 pm.To register go to

Also please continue to donate to our work and consider making recurring donations at 


For faith-based perspectives on propositions, see the CA Church IMPACT blog: and (Quaker)



Prop 14:



Prop 15:



Prop 16:



Prop 17:






Prop 19:



Prop 20:



Prop  21:



Prop 22:



Prop  23:



Prop 24:



Prop 25:



Monday, October 5, 2020

The 2020 California Ballot Propositions: where ICUJP stands


Please join us online

ICUJP Friday Forum
October 9, 7:30-9:30 am Pacific

The 2020 California Ballot Propositions

Join videoconference:

Call in by phone: +1 (669) 900-6833*
Meeting ID: 883 2305 7131  PASSCODE: 879740

10th Annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture

Wed Oct 7, 10am PT

Online event featuring climate activists Vanessa Nakate and others. RSVP and wish the Archbishop Happy Birthday on the event web page.

Help Support Families in Need

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

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

NOTE: As of this month, you'll need a password (included above) to join Friday Forums. Please be sure to keep this email handy!

ICUJP Board Chair Steve Rohde will lead a discussion about the very important local and state measures that Los Angeles County and California residents will decide on Tuesday, Nov. 3.


ICUJP Positions on 2020 Ballot Measures

Prop 14: Authorizes $5.5 billion in new bonds for stem cell and other medical research; adds more oversight and better patient access to treatment – YES

15: Raises property taxes on most commercial properties worth over $3 million to provide new funding to local governments and schools – YES

16: Repeals Prop. 209 and reinstates affirmative action – YES

17: Gives parolees the right to vote - YES

18: Gives voting rights to people at age 17 – YES

19: Real estate property relief – carries forward profit from sale – No position

20: Repeal of propositions 47 and 57, which reduce mass incarceration – NO

21: Rent control expansion - removes Costa Hawkins so local communities can decide their own rent control – YES

22: Exempts ride-sharing and food-delivery companies from Assembly Bill 5 (2019) so drivers working 30+ hours weekly can be considered contractors, not employees – NO

23: Kidney dialysis worker protections – YES

24: California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act of 2020 - would expand the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), create the California Privacy Protection Agency, and stop businesses from fixing violations before being penalized - No position

25: Referendum to repeal Prop 10 (return to cash bail) – YES, with caveat: This is a start, but still work to do

LA County Measure J: Requires 10% of discretionary funding go to incarceration alternatives - YES


A constitutional lawyer, lecturer, writer and political activist, Steve Rohde authored the books American Words of Freedom and Freedom of Assembly and coauthored Foundations of Freedom. He has written for the Los Angeles TimesLos Angeles Daily Journal and Los Angeles Review of Books.

Steve RohdeFor over 45 years, he practiced law in New York and then Los Angeles, specializing in communications and intellectual property law, civil and appellate litigation and constitutional and civil rights law. A graduate of Columbia Law School, Steve has been honored by the American Bar Association, the ACLU, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and Bend the Arc.


Passing the Virtual Bucket

We can't pass the green donation 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!

Start your morning with us!

Reflection: Rubi Omar
Facilitator: Steve Rohde
Zoom host: Daryn Kobata

* 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.

If you prefer to join by phone, you'll be prompted to enter the Meeting ID number and passcode. You won't be able to see the visuals or attendees, but you can view them on the meeting video recording afterward. 

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 10/9
Time: 07:30 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Option 1: Join Zoom Video Meeting:

Meeting ID: 883 2305 7131
PASSCODE: 879740

Option 2: Dial in by phone only:
+1 (669) 900-6833 US (California)
Meeting ID: 883 2305 7131
PASSCODE: 879740

(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.


OCT 16: Peace Camp 2020 - Susan Stouffer, SoLa Community Peace Center

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