Opponents of Douglas County Jail expansion not assuaged by cheaper plan

January 21, 2019. Lawrence Journal-World.

After Douglas County staff trimmed a cost estimate for an expansion of the local jail by $21 million, the most outspoken opponents to the first plan have not changed their tune.

Several local groups formed the Jail No coalition last March to oppose a May 2018 ballot question — Proposition 1 — that asked voters to approve a half-cent sales tax to fund behavioral health services and a $44 million expansion of the jail. In the election, voters defeated the measure 53 percent to 47 percent, or by more than 1,500 votes.

Restorative justice events planned to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.

January 19, 2019. Lawrence Journal-World.

Ben MacConnell understands the dangers of attaching opinions on a modern issue to someone who can’t speak for himself, but he believes Martin Luther King Jr. would be a strong proponent of criminal justice reform.

“Given the billions of dollars we’re spending on jails and prisons, and the fact that more people of color are incarcerated than there were slaves at the height of slavery, he would be looking at this and, I think, want to spend a lot of time focused on it,” MacConnell said.

Editorial: Faith-based advocates take on challenge of affordable housing

January 11, 2019. The Columbus Dispatch.

It’s a good indicator that an issue is worthy of some attention when the local faith communities that join forces as B.R.E.A.D. identify it as their focus for the year.

For 2019, we agree with the interfaith group that a lack of affordable housing in Columbus and Franklin County is deserving of more effort from multiple quarters, public and private alike, to narrow the unconscionable and growing lack of safe housing for low-income families.

Friday Editorial: ICARE remains a powerful voice

January 4, 2019. The Florida Times-Union.

The scene for an ICARE meeting is impressive.

There is a sea of people in the church pews, but they aren’t all from one congregation or faith: there are Christians, Jews, Unitarians, Baha’is and more, making up a wonderful human quilt of Jaclsonville.

And the meeting they’re attending in this church won’t take hours: it’s a highly structured one with just a few minutes reserved for every speaker.

It’s appropriate, because ICARE has always been about turning words into real, tangible action.