PICO Network News - December 1, 2005

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Sun Dec 4 18:11:06 CST 2005

From: "PICO National Network" <gwhitman at piconetwork.org>

PICO National Network | Unlocking the Power of People

PICO Network News

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Protecting children's health
Sharee works hard to support her family. Rent, gas, food and
heating consume most of her $20,000 annual income. Now the
House of Representatives has proposed budget cuts that could add
$1,000 to her bills, and put her three-year-old son and six
million other children at risk of losing health care. As the
Senate and House negotiate over starkly different budgets, PICO
federations are pressing Congress to support the Senate approach
which controls spending without increasing the number of
uninsured children and families or reducing access to Medicaid.
Visit http://ga3.org/campaign/housemedicaidvote/w35dkux4v5b7ei7? to add your voice or learn
more about this critical issue. 

Rebuilding Louisiana
Louisiana families press for action on housing, insurance and
With recovery efforts stalled, PICO LIFT leaders traveled to
Washington, DC to keep the pressure on federal officials to meet
commitments made to rebuild New Orleans. PICO clergy held a
press conference in the United States Capitol, met with
officials from FEMA and White House, Republican and Democratic
members of the Louisiana Congressional Delegation and briefed 23
United States Senators on the need for a federal aid to
strengthen the levees protecting New Orleans and to finance
housing reconstruction for families that have lost their homes.
Read more at http://ga3.org/ct/F1_svVd15mr-/.

Reflections from New Orleans
"Repairers of the breach would be an understatement...I don't
know if you would call it ironic, but the first breach of the
levee system flooding New Orleans happened at the 17th street
canal, that 'Berlin Wall' between Jefferson and Orleans Parishes
in southeast Louisiana, two parishes as different as night and
day; Jefferson is predominately white, Republican, middle-class;
and Orleans is predominately black, poor, and votes Democratic.
It was at this 'breach' that I re-entered New Orleans for the
first time since my family and I left at 2 a.m. on the morning
of the 28th of Aug., one month and a day ago..." Read more at

Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization
San Diego wins historic Community Benefits Agreement
San Diego City Council approved the largest redevelopment
project in San Diego's history with the City's first Community
Benefits Agreement. The agreement includes the creation of new
affordable housing, first-source hiring of local residents and
ex-offenders, living wage commitments, an on-site hiring center
and Environmental Green Building standards.

Camden wins $7 million for home improvement
In follow-up to a July 2005 action meeting with state Treasurer
John McCormac, Camden Churches Organized for People held a
series of work sessions with state officials to develop the
guidelines for a new Camden Home Improvement Program that will
channel $7 million in home repair grants to approximately 250
Camden homeowners.

Rebuilding communities in Kansas City
Kansas City Church Community Organization is a launching a Build
Communities Not Just Houses Campaign as a part of its multiyear
effort to reform the housing system in the city and region. The
campaign will focus on accountability over local, state and
federal housing programs, increased home-repair funding,
effective code enforcement, neighborhood preservation,
first-time home buyer incentives, and housing options for the
homeless. For more information visit

Immigration Reform
Greeley, Colorado churches rally against immigration-enforcement
Congregations Building Community (CBC) in Northern Colorado
helped defeat a Greeley city council resolution calling for a
new Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Weld County.
Six hundred residents participated in a CBC meeting to protest
racial profiling and stigmatizing of Latinos, who make up 35
percent of the county's population.

Youth Development
San Francisco creates Avenues of Hope for youth
Clergy and church leaders from San Francisco Organizing Project
(SFOP) filled the Mission High School Auditorium to address the
epidemic of youth violence in San Francisco. Congresswoman Nancy
Pelosi and Mayor Gavin Newsom publicly agreed to support the
Avenues of Hope platform that includes creating job training and
employment opportunities for young people and protecting and
expanding the number of small schools in the city. Read more at

Good Schools
Orlando works to protect parent involvement in Head Start law 
As Congress moves to reauthorize the $7.2 billion Head Start
program Orlando FOCUS has won bipartisan support for its effort
to defeat a provision in the new law that would eliminate the
voting power of parent-policy councils. Head Start parents from
FOCUS convinced Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Congressman Ric
Keller (R-FL) that parent involvement through the policy
councils has been critical to the success of the Head Start
program and they are now working across party lines to try to
amend the reauthorization bill.

School program for Alaska Natives moves forward in Anchorage 
As a result of a September 2005 meeting attended by 300 people,
mostly Alaska Natives, from Anchorage Faith and Action
Congregations Together (AFACT) the Anchorage School District is
piloting a new program to train staff members at two schools in
the culture and communication styles of Alaska Native children
and to establish better relationships with their parents. Read
more at http://ga3.org/ct/Fp_svVd15mrK/.

Sacramento parents put focus back on small schools 
Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT) brought together
450 parents with city and school district official to revive an
effort to develop new small schools in Sacramento. The
Sacramento District opened four new small schools in 2003 and a
fifth in 2005 as a way to address large failing high schools;
but changes in district leadership and rising construction costs
had put the reform strategy in jeopardy. ACT is working to
sustain the momentum behind reform.

Los Angeles parents and students organize to improve high school
Three hundred parents and students attended an LA Voice
community forum on the future of large, underperforming high
schools on October 19 at St. Odilia Catholic Church. They met
with Superintendent Roy Romer and education experts from across
California to discuss racial disparities in drop out rates and
the possible restructuring or conversion of Jefferson High
School into one or more charter schools. For more information
contact Lisa Milton at lisa at picocalifornia.org.

Other News
New organizing effort in Rwanda
Under the leadership of Lutheran Pastor John Rutsinditwarne PICO
is supporting the development of Congregations Rebuilding
Community in Rwanda, a new organizing effort designed to equip
grassroots leaders to rebuild community and democratic
institutions in a country that was torn apart by a horrendous
genocide in 1994.

Career Opportunities with PICO
PICO is looking for creative and committed people interested in
exploring a career as a community organizer. Visit
http://ga3.org/ct/Hp_svVd15mrY/ for more information.

The PICO National Network
171 Santa Rosa Avenue
Oakland, California 94610
510 655 4816

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