Jim Conn

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Jim Conn

Rev. James (Jim) Conn has been a member of the National Teaching Faculty of the Evanston, Illinois based Asset-Based Community Development Institute since 1998. He is a practitioner of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach to neighborhoods and organizational development. He has worked with a variety of religious, non-profit and municipal organizations including: churches, neighborhood councils, social service agencies, community associations, and health care organizations. His work encourages individuals, associations and institutions to identify their strengths, resources, skills, abilities and gifts and to build relationships between them. He is a trainer and facilitator of ABCD approaches to community building and problem solving.[1]


An ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, Conn currently serves as the Director of New Ministries for the United Methodist Church in the Los Angeles area, responsible for all new church developments and revitalization projects. For ten years he was Urban Strategist for the United Methodist Church in Southern California and Hawaii, helping congregations develop a dozen different community-building projects. He went to that position following 22 years as founding minister of the untraditional "Church in Ocean Park,” where he initiated a dozen social service projects and community organizations and also served on the City Council and as Mayor of the City of Santa Monica. He is married to Ms. Susan McCorry. His son is a sound editor for film in New York City, and her daughter practices psychotherapy in the San Francisco Bay area. [2]

He helped found Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Los Angeles, and was its second chair, and was a founder of Santa Monica's renter's rights campaign.[3]

Santa Monica DSA

In the early 1980's James Conn was a member of Santa Monica Democratic Socialists of America[4].

DSA Elected Representatives, 1990

Democratic Left, Jan. 1990, page 7

As of January 1990, Democratic Socialists of America members holding elected public office included;[5]

Socialists organize to "challenge for power" in Los Angeles

Trevor email 1 (3).jpg

On March 11, 1998, Los Angeles Democratic Socialists of America leader Steve Tarzynski wrote an email to another Los Angeles DSA leader Harold Meyerson.

Tarzynski listed 25 people he thought should be on an "A-list" of "25 or so leaders/activists/intellectuals and/or "eminent persons" who would gather periodically to theorize/strategize about how to rebuild a progressive movement in our metropolitan area that could challenge for power."

Tarzynski listed himself, Harold Meyerson, Karen Bass, Sylvia Castillo, Gary Phillips, Joe Hicks, Richard Rothstein, Steve Cancian, Larry Frank, Torie Osborn, Rudy Acuna, Aris Anagnos, Abby Arnold, Carl Boggs, Blase Bonpane, Rick Brown, Stanley Sheinbaum, Alice Callahan, Jim Conn, Peter Dreier, Maria Elena Durazo, Miguel Contreras, Mike Davis, Bill Gallegos, Bob Gottlieb, Kent Wong, Russell Jacoby, Bong Hwan Kim, Paula Litt (and Barry Litt, with a question mark), Peter Olney, Derek Shearer, Clancy Sigal and Anthony Thigpenn.

Included in a suggested elected officials sub-group were Mark Ridley-Thomas, Gloria Romero, Jackie Goldberg, Gil Cedillo, Tom Hayden, Antonio Villaraigosa, Paul Rosenstein and Congressmen Xavier Becerra, Henry Waxman and Maxine Waters.

Tarzynski went on to write "I think we should limit the group to 25 max, otherwise group dynamics begins to break down....As i said, I would like this to take place in a nice place with good food and drink...it should properly be an all day event."

Liberty Hill Foundation

As at 2009, Jim Conn was a member of the Advisory Board of the Liberty Hill Foundation, a Los Angeles based organization seeking to advance movements for social change through a combination of grants, leadership training and alliance-building.[6]