January 2008

[Webmaster's Note:  These Minutes Contain an Incorrect Date for the April, 2008 meeting, so be sure to read the correction that follows the minutes.]

Minutes from the Sunday Supper Club
January 13th, 2008

Thank you to Ike Broaddus for filling in as moderator for David Roos.

Congratulations to David on his recent election as Chair of the Fauquier County Democratic Committee.

Congratulations also go to Ike for his election as Chair of the Vint Hill Economic Development Authority

Five Minute Flash Reports:

Treasurer’s Report- Our balance now stands at $86.55.   Although our needs and budget are small, we may have a website expense coming up so any and all donations are appreciated.

Clean Energy Lobby Day-  Neil Swanson reported that the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, along with a few other groups, will be holding a lobby day in Richmond on Monday Jan. 21st.  Virginia lags behind many states in our energy policies.  Citizen input and activism is necessary to promote legislation pushing for energy standards and renewable energy sources.  For more information go to http://www.chesapeakeclimate.org/getinvolved/event_detail.cfm?id=435

Democratic Primary in the 10th CD-  Colonel Mike Turner joined us to report on his campaign for the privilege of defeating Frank Wolf in the November Congressional Race.  Turner will run against Judy Feder in the June primary.  He has been involved in public service since the age of seventeen.  A 1973 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Turner retired from the USAF in 1997 after 28 years of service.  Turner performed multiple roles in the air force, including accumulating over 3,500 hours of flight time, serving as the personal briefer to General Schwarzkopf during Desert Storm and acting as policy planner for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Since his retirement Turner has worked as a national fundraiser for several non-profit organizations including the American Red Cross, Junior Achievement, and the National Foundation for credit counseling.

Turner describes himself as honest and blunt and vows to run this campaign on his own terms.  His principal issues are transportation and human rights.  While Mike Turner expressed admiration for Judy Feder, he believes he possesses the resume and experience necessary to defeat Frank Wolf.  For more information visit his website at www.miketurnerforcongress.com or call him at 540-735-4942.

Visit to Iran with Global Exchange-  Tom Pratt shared with us about his two week trip to Iran with Global Exchange (http://www.globalexchange.org/) , an international human rights organization founded by Medea Benjamin of Code Pink.  Thank you so much Tom for sharing your stories with us, my summary will be inadequate but I’ll do my best.

While his friends had been understandably worried about his safety before the trip, Tom found the people of Iran to be welcoming, hospitable, eager to speak with Americans, and happy for the chance to practice their English.  The Iranians he spoke with wanted him to assure us that they are not terrorists and that they do not like our government or their own.  Tom believes that the repression of the Iranian people is loosening; he spoke of the increasing number of women professionals, the 65% of university positions now held by women, and the trend of increasing education leading to increasing secularism.  Tom also mentioned that Iranians have excellent health care and are very focused on education.

Tom spoke of three defining points in the relationship of Iran with the U.S.
§         CIA support for the military coup of 1952 which resulted in the arrest and trial of Prime Minister Mossadeq
§         U.S. support for the Shah of Iran
§         U.S. support of Saddam Hussein during the Iran/Iraq war.

In Tom’s experience, the Iranians are not fond of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, believing that he promised them the economic moon in order to be elected but has failed to deliver. The Iranians do not believe he’ll be re-elected.

Surprising fact (at least to me):  Iran has a long ski season, excellent slopes and inexpensive lift tickets.

Dennis Kucinich Debate Exclusion-  Andrea Miller of the Virginia Kucinich campaign spoke of the petition they are circulating requesting that the structure of presidential debates be changed to provide fair coverage to all candidates.

Guest  Speakers:  Lawrie Parker and Liliana Anaya of the Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center

Thank you to Lawrie and Liliana for taking their time to educate us about restorative justice and the great work of the PDRC.

Restorative Justice (RJ) is relatively new in the states, having been around for only 10-15 years.  The Virginia roots of RJ are in Fauquier County, suggested by juvenile court judge Dudley Payne as a potential means of breaking the cycle of recidivism of young offenders.  The program has since expanded into General District Court and Circuit Court.   Additionally, the principles of RJ are now expanding into the schools as “restorative discipline”.

RJ v. Mediation
Mediation- used for civil disputes
“right/right” conflicts- both sides have legitimate and equally “right”
Concerns
Restorative Justice- used on criminal side
an offense has occurred

RJ is about joining the ideals of peace and justice by asking the questions:
§         Have we helped the victims reach a higher ground?
§         Has the offender reached a higher ground?
§         Have we helped the community become a more peaceful place?

Restorative justice is a set of principles that guide our response to crime and wrongdoing.    It is a victim sensitive and victim centered process which creates the environment for the story of the victim to be heard.

Typically in the criminal justice system we ask 3 questions:
1. What law has been broken?
2. Who did it?
3. What punishment do they deserve?

Restorative justice focuses on the offense as a violation of relationships and asks these questions instead:
1. Who has been hurt and affected by this action?
2. What are their needs?
3. Whose obligations are these?

“Addressing needs and meeting obligations are central to the healthy reintegration of both victim and offender into the community.  Healthy communities with strong relationships produce less crime and wrongdoing.”

Criminal justice and restorative justice are not mutually exclusive.  Currently juveniles come to RJ by way of the courts (pre-sentencing or post sentencing) or by diversion (avoiding the courts altogether).

Restorative justice practices include restitution, victim impact statements, letters of apology, RJ conferences, and community service.

The restorative justice conference brings together the victim and his/her support group, the offender and his/her support group, others affected by the offense and a facilitator.    Conferences say to the victim: “We’re sorry this happened to you.  What needs to happen to address the harm you have experienced?” and say to the offender: “What you did is wrong and you are accountable.  We care about you and the decisions you make.”  The conference aims to empower victims and to encourage the offender to accept accountability for his/her actions, recognize the harm done and fulfill his/her obligations to the victim and to the community.

The RJ program in Fauquier County has been quite successful in reducing recidivism in juveniles.  Before its inception the recidivism rate for 1st time juvenile offenders was 45%.  Within three years this rate has dropped to 3%.

PDRC has been instrumental in the introduction of legislation currently before the General Assembly which promotes restorative justice programs.  The summary of HB1290, sponsored by Delegate Clay Athey, reads as follows:

Restorative justice programs. Provides that courts may order offenders to be assessed for their suitability to enter a restorative justice program and, if found suitable, the offender may enter such a program. Restorative justice programs are intended to facilitate meetings or dialogues between victims of crime and the offenders, as well as other individuals and community members if appropriate, with the goal of addressing the needs of the victim and the community through agreements with the offenders addressing issues such as reparation, restitution, and community service.

For more information on this bill go to:   http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=081&typ=bil&val=HB1290.

If you share a belief in the importance and efficacy of restorative justice, PDRC asks you to contact your legislators and encourage them to support this bill.

Save the Dates- you won’t want to miss our upcoming meetings.

Sun. Feb. 10h-  An evening with Peter Schwartz

Sun. March 9th- Claire Gastanaga will speak with us about issues and legislation pertaining to immigration.  For more information on Ms. Gastanaga please see the article on the SSC site: http://sundaysupperclub.org/?q=node/2230

Sun. April 6th- multiple speakers on the topic of local food and sustainable agriculture.

Andrea Martens, Communications Coordinator

CORRECTION:

Dear Friends of the Sunday Supper Club,

Our apologies for including the wrong date for our April meeting in last night’s email.  Our April meeting will not be on April 6, but rather on April 13, and it will be held at the home of Ike and Julie Broaddus and their family.  I’m actually glad the opportunity arose to send this correction because we have details about April’s speakers that we’d like to share with you.  (Directions to the Broaddus’s home will be sent during the week prior to the meeting.)

The general topic will be Local Food -  how to find it, how to produce it, everything you want to know about eating local (also known as being a “locavore”).  Here’s information about our speakers (and many thanks to Ike Broaddus for arranging for them to speak to us and for providing this information):

Pablo Elliott – he and his wife have their own sustainable farm in New Baltimore – www.slfarm.us
They sell directly to the public and do educational projects throughout the growing season.
Pablo also runs the Local Food Project at Airlie Conference Center:  www.airlie.org

Here’s a quote from the Airlie site:

“Local food systems keep money spent on food closer to home to support local farmers. When consumers know where their food comes from, they can choose products that meet their expectations for health, quality, taste, environmental sensitivity and the treatment of farm animals.”

Harvey & Ellen Ussery – www.themodernhomestead.us

Here’s a quote from Harvey’s site:

“Whether you have access to fifty acres or only a patio pot, you have the opportunity to produce more of your own food for yourself and your family, to enter more fully into the yearly cycle, and to know your place in the web of life.”

Harvey will have handouts describing all the things you can do on a small plot of ground as well as a list of all the local food sources.  This is going to be a most
informative night!

So please mark your calendars for the next three months:

Sunday, February 10 – An Evening with Peter Schwartz – a wide-ranging discussion about local and state issues

Sunday, March 9 – A discussion of immigration issues and legislation with Claire Gastanaga.  See http://sundaysupperclub.org/?q=node/2230

Sunday, April 13 – Local Food, with Harvey and Ellen Ussery and Pablo Elliott

Thanks for your continued interest in the Sunday Supper Club!

Best,

Linda Swanson