Editorial: Consider issues separately

December 19, 2017. Lawrence Journal-World.

If Douglas County does decide to pursue a mental health crisis center, any bond issue to fund the center should be presented separately from a proposal to build a new county jail.

A plan for a mental health campus was presented to Douglas County commissioners last week. The site is north of the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center along West Second Street and northeast of Lawrence Memorial Hospital. The campus would provide three tiers of housing for people experiencing mental health crises:

Bullying, restorative justice, equity work among issues discussed at school district’s Community Conversation

December 14, 2017. Lawrence Journal-World.

Around 50 people filled the Lawrence Public Library’s auditorium Thursday night for a public discussion on challenges facing the Lawrence school system.

The Community Conversation took place nearly a year after the district hosted its first event, which came after a tumultuous semester dominated by talk of racial equity and drew hundreds to Lawrence High School’s cafeteria. Race and other overarching equity issues were once again the focus Thursday night, along with concerns ranging from bullying and mental health services to curriculum and limited classroom resources.

Community members brainstorm ways to address drug abuse in Lexington

December 11, 2017. WKYT.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – People from 26 congregations gathered Monday night at Second Presbyterian Church to discuss how drugs have impacted their communities.

“Heroin addiction, heroin overdoses, people get hit by cars right there on Leestown Road because they’re strung out. All of these issues revolve around the same problem,” said Pastor Rick Smith from Historic Second Christian Church in Midway.

Last month, members of Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-Action (BUILD) voted to address the drug problem in 2018.

Charleston to hire new firm to audit police department, a move interfaith group begged for

November 28, 2017. The Post and Courier.

The city of Charleston is heeding the call of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry to find a new firm to audit its police department.

The city hired Novak Consulting of Cincinnati earlier this year to audit multiple city departments to improve their performance, a scope of work that included a review of the police department. Members of the local interfaith group have argued repeatedly at City Council meetings that the firm doesn’t have enough experience identifying potentially racially-biased police practices.

On Tuesday, Charleston City Council approved a decision made by the Public Safety Committee to remove the police audit from Novak’s contract and begin searching for a new firm to do the job.

Charleston Public Safety Committee agrees to start over on police audit

November 27, 2017. Charleston City Paper.

Activists walked out of City Hall feeling vindicated on Monday morning after the Public Safety Committee voted unanimously to remove a police department audit from Novak Consulting’s task list.

Novak Consulting was hired in February to conduct a performance audit of all city operations, as reported in February. The city-wide audit was a key vow of Mayor John Tecklenburg’s campaign. But civil rights and social justice advocates have repeatedly painted the firm as too inexperienced to gauge the intricacies of racial bias.