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The Justice & Peace eWeekly is a weekly survey of upcoming events, local news and activism opportunities. Feel free to forward this to anyone you know who might be interested.

 


Week of November 23, 2020


 

Irrational Roadblocks Tossed at Transition

 

President Gets Nowhere with 30+ Lawsuits, Attempts to Block Michigan Certification

Even as the nation faced the grimmest prospects of the year-long pandemic during Thanksgiving Week, the White House tossed out an endless series of roadblocks to disrupt the transition process. Insiders say the president does not believe he won the election, nor has he become mentally unbalanced. Rather, he is angrily seeking vengeance against Democrats, U.S. citizens in general, and the U.S. political process, seeking a nihilistic way of burning down the house before Jan. 20.

After the initial 28 lawsuits filed by the Trump legal team against U.S. election results failed miserably in court, the bulk of the president’s outside legal staff resigned from the process early last week. He was left with only loyal attack-dog Rudy Giuliani and former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell to continue legal challenges. Giuliani hit the media mid-week with an outrageous theory that George Soros had financed an effort by Hugo Chavez to manipulate the Detroit-area vote in Michigan (Chavez, former leader of Venezuela, has been dead for seven years). Giuliani is uniformly rejected as senile these days, but his very sane associate Sidney Powell made the same accusations to several right-wing media outlets. When Tucker Carlson of Fox News challenged her to provide evidence, right-wingers demanded Carlson be fired for insisting on evidence. Powell, according to Forbes magazine, has been an active QAnon believer for the past year or so. One conservative source familiar with media outlets of the right said that “when people like Matt Drudge or Fox News try to pull back from the abyss, millions of Trump loyalists say they reject facts and demand crazy, and will only go those media outlets who give them crazy.”

Trump invited the GOP heads of the Michigan state house and senate to the White House Nov. 20 to discuss a plan to de-certify the election within the Michigan legislature. The two officials politely took the meeting, but immediately rejected such a notion. At the end of the day Nov. 20, the Michigan Welfare Rights Coalition and three Black voters in Wayne County filed suit against the Trump campaign for such a brazenly illegal attempt to disenfranchise Michigan voters.

The flailing within the executive branch could be dismissed as hilarious and a bit pathetic, except for the multiple fronts in which the White House is implementing executive action to bar the Biden transition team. The most obvious example is barring the General Services Administration from allowing any transition team members from working with executive branch agencies. But the Trump team also is trying to prevent future environmental rules by opening up the Alaskan North Slope for drilling, locking in air pollution limits, killing attempts to make furnaces more efficient, gutting the Endangered Species Act, and dozens of similar efforts. In the State Department, Trump briefly considered a pre-emptive attack on Iranian nuclear sites in a Nov. 12 Oval Office meeting, according to a Nov. 17 report in The New York Times. During the past week, the State Department has implemented regulations to make it difficult to return to the Iran nuclear deal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also seeking to approve new Israeli settlements in the West Bank and to brand as terrorist any group that supports a boycott of Israel.

Meanwhile, progressives must keep any eye on President-Elect Biden as he prepares to announce a cabinet prior to Thanksgiving. The biggest effort centers on getting Biden to drop any interest in naming Google chair Eric Schmidt to any executive post. Schmidt has never shown any liberal tendencies in his years at Google or Sun Microsystems.

A columnist with Antiwar.com also warns that many national-security advisors on the Biden team also would be willing to launch pre-emptive war with Iran or China. Danny Sjursen pointed out that one national-security insider, Mieke Eoyang, suggested that anyone who raised policy questions about Susan Rice or Michele Flournoy were acting against women of color. It is important that frank discussions of peace policy be carried out within peace communities without raising race or gender issues – particularly since Susan Rice made several questionable decisions while in the Obama administration.

About the only positive aspect for progressives since the election is that far-right activists are staying relatively quiet for now, save for some violent activity by anti-mask activists in San Francisco. In fact, some Trump supporters are opting for nihilistic actions of their own that could help Democrats – Trump supporters in Georgia, angry that the state GOP played by election rules, are threatening to boycott the January runoff elections, which could hand one or both seats to Democrats. Still, we must be vigilant in anticipating more serious violent actions before Inauguration Day, and in making sure the rule of law is followed before, during, and after Jan. 20. And our work scarcely ends with the new administration assuming power. It only means that debates over peace and justice enter saner territory as the lunatic fringe of populists leave town.


 

 

City Seeks Comments for Module 2 of Housing Plan

 

Last week, we told you about the city’s virtual open house on Module 2 of its RetoolCOS plan. Now, the Colorado Springs Pro-Housing Partnership is encouraging members and friends to comment on Module 2, released Nov. 18. Here’s the appeal from COS-PHP:
We wanted to let you know that the city published a first draft of Module 2 yesterday, and public comments are needed to make sure they prioritize affordable housing. Roughly 50 people sent in comments on Module 1 and it prompted the city to revisit their draft. Our goal is to get more than 50 on Module 2. These comments don’t need to be more than 2-3 sentences.
Module 2: 
Module 2 deals with development and design standards—the elements of the zoning code that restrict how property owners build on their land. It requires that they have a certain amount of land to build anything (minimum lot sizes), not build on large portions of it (maximum lot coverages, setbacks from the edges of the property, height restrictions), and dedicate a certain amount of it to parking. 
How Module 2 Impacts Affordable Housing:
When these restrictions are too onerous, they limit the amount of land that can be used for housing and make housing more expensive to build. 
How to comment: 
Email retoolcos@coloradospring.gov and your city council members (email addresses here).
BCC cspringsphp@gmail.com so that we can keep track of how many comments the city receives. 
Emphasize that your primary concern is ensuring that everyone in the city can afford a place to live, which requires that the city do the following:
  1. Reduce minimum parking requirements more than the Module 2 draft already does
  2. Make it easier to build missing-middle housing by easing onerous development and design standards such as minimum lot sizes, setbacks, height restrictions, and lot coverages more than the Module 2 draft already does
  3. Include incentives for affordable housing in the zoning code, such as increased height allowance and lot coverages, and reduced parking requirements
If you’d like to learn more about why these things are so important, and use the information to beef up your comment, click here.



And if you're as concerned about our planet's future as we are, make sure to mention that the electric vehicle charging station incentive should be even bigger than it is.

Finally, if you didn’t comment on Module 1, include a sentence at the end saying that you want to see more permitted uses in single-family zones. If you did, reiterate your support for more types of housing in more parts of the city.
Thanks so much for your commitment to a future in which all of our neighbors can afford a place to live.

Best,
Max, Liam, and Elam


 

New Podcast from Pikes Peak Women

Pikes Peak Women expanded their “Elevating” Podcast series with a new series, “Women Making Change,” with the first episode featuring Stephany Rose Spaulding. Elevating Pikes Peak Women covers a wide array of diverse topics and critical issues for local women, hosted by former Mayor and community icon Mary Lou Makepeace. During each episode, local women of diverse backgrounds, ages, and political persuasions explore their experiences, values, and beliefs about local issues that affect the women in our community. Here’s an introductory clip to tell you a little about the PPW podcast.  Our October focus was on Voting Matters, covering topics like the mechanics of voting and how to negotiate your way through the long ballot of issues that are of critical importance to women. Going forward, we're planning episodes on Black Women's Lives Matter, Life in the Time of COVID (including the high rate of women's unemployment and the effect on the family), and Education in the Time of COVID.  We all know that the burdens of the pandemic are falling disproportionately on women, in their roles in the workplace and in the family, so we are looking to women who are change agents and supportive voices to bring us to higher grounds.
The new podcast with Dr. Spaulding is HERE


Thanks to our partner Studio 809, you can easily find and listen to all recent episodes here. The podcast is also available via SpotifyLibsynRadio Public, and Apple
Do YOU have something you'd like to add to the general conversation? Feel free to contact us with any comments, questions, and ideas at pikespeakwmn@gmail.com
.
PIKES PEAK WOMEN
Mary Lou Makepeace, Marcy Morrison, Denise Abbott, Karole Campbell, Lindy Conter, Susan Davies, JJ Frazier, Kimberlie Griffis, Melissa Marts, Michelle Ray, Cianna Reider, Beth Roalstad, Carrie Simison, Barb Van Hoy, Deb Walker, Kayla Zowada
 



 

Catch the Nov. 14 Lynching Memorial Online

 

If you missed the Nov. 14 memorial for lynching victim Preston John Porter at Denver’s Creekside Park, you can view the ceremony at the Colorado Lynching Memorial web site HERE.

Participants in the ceremony  included Rosemary Lytle, president of NAACP state conference; Aurora poet laureate Jovan Mays; Episcopal Church Bishop Kym Lucas; Rev. Tawana Davis of Soul2Soul Sisters; Gov. Jared Polis; Denver Mayor Michael Hancock; and Denver City Council Member Candi CdeBaca.

The marker commemorates the Nov. 16, 1900 lynching in Limon of 15-year-old railroad worker Preston Porter Jr., falsely accused of killing a girl. Porter was one of four African Americans known to have been lynched in Colorado, who are being recognized by the CLM project.
  
 

Peak Environment Podcast 65 Compares Travel Eco-Footprints in "Does This Flight Make My Footprint Look Big?"

 

Dave Gardner, originator of Studio 809, provides a holiday-appropriate look at relative environmental impacts of flying, driving, bus, train, bicycle, on foot, even staycations - What do we need to know to make responsible decisions about the way we move about? This program is based on an Oct. 23 presentation Gardner made to the Pikes Peak Environmental Forum. It includes results of a Lund University study on carbon footprints, a study of green flight bookings, and a discussion on whether physical conferences have a future in the post-pandemic world.

You can hear the latest podcast here:
http://studio809radio.com/does-flight-make-footprint-big/
 
You can still hear Podcast 64 of Peak Environment, which features speakers from Colorado Springs Utilities, discussing the city’s new energy plan. Christian Nelson and Michael Avanzi of Colorado Springs Utilities share the future of energy production in our community. The Colorado Springs Utilities Board approved an Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) portfolio in June of 2020 that represents a significant departure from the utility’s heavy reliance on coal and natural gas generation. What does this mean for the Pikes Peak region and renewable energy?
This episode was recorded at the Sustainability in Progress (SIP) event on September 16, 2020. Sustainability in Progress is a monthly program of the Peak Alliance for a Sustainable Future. During COVID we’re meeting virtually on the third Wednesday of most months from 8 to 9 a.m.

You can hear Podcast 64 here:
http://studio809radio.com/new-energy-plan/
You can also download the PDFs the CSU speakers here:
http://studio809radio.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Peak-Alliance-for-a-Sustainable-Future-Presentation-9-16-20.pdf
 
 

PPJPC Seeks Interest for Officers of Board

 

PPJPC is distributing flyers to Colorado College, UCCS, and Pikes Peak Community College to seek student membership on our board. We also welcome board members from the general public. If . If you are interested in nominating yourself or someone else to a board position, contact us at (719) 963-2979, or Gabriel.Cordova01@gmail.com.  
 

RAWtools Offers "Taking Stock" as a YouTube/Facebook Resource Following June 28 Debut

RAWtools debuted its new poetry video, “Taking Stock: Loaded Words and Bullet Points” in late June to rave reviews. The video features local poets reading works on issues of gun violence. The video was directed and produced by Mary Sprunger-Froese and Lauren Weaver, and includes poems from Jonathan Andujar, former Pikes Peak Poet Laureate Susan Peiffer, NAACP activist Rosemary Lytle, and PPJPC Chair Loring Wirbel.  The video is now on YouTube for viewing at any time, you can find it here: https://youtu.be/8t16wRcVHa4

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