10/23 General Membership Meeting Notes

PELA General Membership
Fall 2014
Thursday, October 23rd
Mark Taper Hall (THH) Room 112

18 members in attendance (mix of MPLs, MPPs and MPAs and first, second and third year dual-degree students)

  • Community Relations
    1. Meeting with LAANE two weeks ago. They are working on economic development and worker organizing, particularly port and hotel workers on the $15 minimum wage campaign. They would like us to participate more in their campaigns and they can host a workshop for us, participate in a panel and are open to collaboration.
    2. Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD) about how to plug in with them. They work on youth development and affordable housing in Southeast LA.
    3. Our Skid Row, and they are in need of volunteers for mapping.
    4. Alumni Peter Enziminger wants to introduce us to an organization called From Lot to Spot, which turns urban blighted areas near freeways into community gardens and parks just south of LA in Hawthorne.
    5. Members discussed how PELA needs to figure out a way to sustain partnerships with organizations beyond the graduation of current members. Some organizations have had previous relationships and lost them when students they were working with graduated.
  • Beyond the Gates tours
    1. The feedback on the two tours that occurred so far (Historic South Central area surrounding USC and Boyle Heights) were positive. We had 25-30 people attend each tour and members enjoyed the tours since got to know the community better. Some challenges have been timing. We had them during the weekday before 5pm because we want to accommodate the schedules of staff members at partner organizations. Still, we’ve had good turnout so far.
    2. We are excited for the upcoming bike tour in Watts in November that will happen on a Sunday.
    3. Members agreed we will have an informal social component at the end of tours at a local small business with food and drinks.
    4. Next semester, we want to organize tours in Skid Row and Little Tokyo. We are working on adding a third tour somewhere on the westside with USCLA Planners of Color for Social Equity (PCSE). We are also exploring doing a Sustainability Tour that focuses on environmental justice and a “Beyond the States” tour of planning and policy issues at the US/Mexico border.
    5. We will share maps of all the tours with those who could not attend.
    6. We also want activism to come out of the tours. At the end of tours, it would be ideal to have an action item they can do or do soon. We will promote partner organization’s events and campaigns in our newsletters encouraging students to attend.
  • Institutional Relations
    1. MPL Diversity in Planning Workshop. PELA has worked with Julie Kim and Marlon Boarnet to put on workshops to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to apply for the urban planning degree. PELA members were asked to come by to mingle with prospective planners. It has been an effective program thus far.
    2. A meeting with Marlon Boarnet is being organized to discuss issues about diversity and social justice at Price. Date TBD.
  • Communications
    1. Newsletter Protocol: everybody who wants to submit something sends it to Communications Chair Jonny Rivas by Tuesday night or earlier. You don’t have to write a summary, he can just look at event info and summarize.
      1. If you have any other ideas for what can go into the newsletter, let him know: A resources section with info on other newsletters, blogs, etc. that might be useful for social justice and equity oriented research and career development.
      2. Members love getting the newsletter! We also feel it puts PELA more on the map. Thank you Jonny for all your amazing work!
    2. Social Media Presence: Please follow us on all social media sites at @USCPELA (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook).
      1. Should we make a group on Linked In? Yes, as long as not too much up-keep. More like an association that we (current students, PELA alumni, other social justice-oriented students and alumni) can all join to build connections for social justice community at Price. This can also be a venue for sharing jobs!
    3. Blogging: Members can blog! Just write a short entry about anything related to social justice or equity and email Jonny. Suggested topics are advocacy, affordable housing, environmental justice, transportation, etc. Doesn’t have to be a long post, can just forward an article and write a response.
  • Other Business
    1. PCSE – we are meeting up with them at the Watts Tour and exploring ways to partner.
    2. December Member Potluck – this will be an opportunity to meet again to plan for next semester and discuss important issues.
    3. Spring 2015 Plans: In addition to Beyond the Gates Tours, we also plan to have:
      1. 3-4 trainings focused on social justice and equity advocacy. Currently, the topics are: 1) framing, 2) power analysis by LAANE and 3) data analysis by PERE.
      2. Panel on Participatory Budgeting.
  • Member meetings: Keep to 2 per semester (bi-monthly). 1 meeting for planning and 1 meeting for in-depth substantive discussion.
    1. How do we keep the discussion going?
      1. Perhaps use pechakucha method, each person has 300-600 seconds to speak about 1 topic you’re passionate about to get members to share ideas about topics they know a lot about. You can have a common theme.
      2. When something surfaces (like what happened in Ferguson) and you want to discuss with other like-minded folks (PELA members), you can just post on the Facebook page saying you’ll have a coffee hour or happy hour to discuss a specific topic. We encourage members to self-organize and we can promote those events on the newsletter.
  • Use the blog to discuss.
  1. Members will form a documentary club.
  1. Suggestion: have one big focus each semester and organize efforts addressing those in the community, like minimum wage panel last year.
  • Member Interests: we want stronger connections to social justice professional opportunities. We can advocate through the career office and also create opportunities ourselves.
    1. Bring this up with Marlon Boarnet
    2. Bring this up with Career Services- already noted in a meeting, they asked us to connect them with our partners.
    3. Potential Networking Night if useful
    4. Post opportunities newsletter and Facebook – create job section of newsletter?
    5. Find a way for employers to post opportunities on our website
    6. Ask alumni to send us opportunities and continue to support their efforts to keep relationships going.
    7. LinkedIn group will help with this.
  • Social Justice Oriented Course Recommendations for Spring 2015 & beyond.
    1. PPDE 630 Community Health Planning Class with David Sloane
    2. PPD 628 Urban Planning and Social Policy with Lisa Schweitzer
    3. PPDE 647 Civic Engagement in Governance with Terry Cooper
    4. COMM 653 Research, Practice and Social Change with Barbara Osborn
    5. SOCI 520 Qualitative Research Methods with Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo
    6. Spatial Analysis Class with Annette Kim
    7. Fall semester- Seminar in Social Justice with Schweitzer
    8. Watch out- some courses sound good but weren’t what you were expecting. [If interested, please email PELA to get this list.]

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