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    Center on Policy Initiatives

A journey through the 20 year history of CPI.

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1507745112528{margin-top: -12px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”1998″ font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Coda%3Aregular%2C800|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1507745054323{margin-right: 12px !important;margin-left: 12px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1507744908564{margin-top: 25px !important;margin-right: 12px !important;margin-bottom: 12px !important;margin-left: 12px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]When CPI founders Donald Cohen and Mary Grillo started this organization they recognized that working people and families in San Diego were losing ground. They identified some of the things we needed to do to stop falling back and to start moving forward.

One, we needed an organization that focused on San Diego.  CPI’s founders and early supporters were visionaries who understood that real change starts at the local level. But they also ensured that we are allied with organizations around the country doing similar work. Our ongoing affiliation with Partnership for Working Families and our newer membership in the Center for Public Democracy are examples of how CPI coordinates with other city- and regionally-focused organizations to support each other, share ideas, and work together on broader goals.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_hoverbox image=”2069″ primary_title=”” primary_align=”justify” hover_title=”Mary Grillo “]

CPI co-founder and first board chair, former Executive Director of SEIU Local 2028, recently retired after 34 years of fighting for workers’ rights.


CPI founder Mary Grillo
(hover over photo to read bio)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_hoverbox image=”2068″ primary_title=”” hover_title=”Donald Cohen”]CPI co-founder and first executive director, now Executive Director of In the Public Interest, a national research and policy center committed to democratic control of public assets and services.[/vc_hoverbox][vc_column_text]

CPI founder Donald Cohen
(hover over photo to read bio)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1507745519738{margin-right: 12px !important;margin-left: 12px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Our founders also knew that to win policy change we needed to know the facts for ourselves.  The economic justice movement needed reliable, focused research on poverty and low wages in San Diego. The very first CPI report (published in 1998), Poverty and Prosperity in the New Economy, revealed the hidden truth of economic inequality and insecurity in this sparkling tourist city. Our commitment to fact-based policy analysis is why we’re honoring Dr. Murtaza Baxamusa tonight.

Early on there was a recognition that facts don’t go far without action.  Since its founding CPI has led and participated in coalitions that have had great successes. We know that the key to winning is organizing and bringing labor, community groups, faith leaders, and all the diversity of our community together. That’s why tonight we’ll recognize CPI’s first organizer—Quynh Nguyen.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_hoverbox image=”2067″ primary_title=”” primary_align=”justify” hover_title=”Murtaza Baxamusa, PhD”]

CPI’s first research director, now Director of Planning and Development for the San Diego County Building Trades.


Murtaza Baxamusa, PhD
(hover over photo to read bio)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_hoverbox image=”2070″ primary_title=”” primary_align=”justify” hover_title=”Quynh Nguyen”]

CPI’s first organizer, now CPI Development Director. Quynh is CPI’s longest serving staff member.


Quynh Nguyen
(hover over photo to read bio)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2055″ img_size=”100X100″ alignment=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1507746154996{margin-top: -25px !important;margin-bottom: -15px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1507745112528{margin-top: -12px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”2005″ font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Coda%3Aregular%2C800|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1507748193722{margin-right: 12px !important;margin-left: 12px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1507745519738{margin-right: 12px !important;margin-left: 12px !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″ css=”.vc_custom_1507750853111{margin-top: 15px !important;}”][vc_column_text]In 2005, we won the long battle for the City of San Diego Living Wage Ordinance, ensuring that any company contracting with the City of San Diego must pay all employees a living wage. And under Clare Crawford’s leadership, we raised the floor on wages and ensured access to 5 sick days for everyone employed in the city, by any employer.


[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2055″ img_size=”100X100″ alignment=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1507750893623{margin-top: -25px !important;margin-bottom: -15px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”2016″ font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Coda%3Aregular%2C800|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1507750049827{margin-right: 12px !important;margin-left: 12px !important;}”][vc_column_text]The corporate opposition was so fierce we had to win that one twice, at City Council in 2014 and with overwhelming approval by San Diego voters in 2016.[/vc_column_text][vc_hoverbox image=”2077″ primary_title=”” hover_title=”San Diego Raised the Wage!” css=”.vc_custom_1507750872642{margin-top: 15px !important;}”]In 2016, the Center on Policy Initiatives in coalition the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council passed Prop I. Proposition I raise the wage for more the 170,000 San Diegans and provided 5 earned sick days to all San Diegans.[/vc_hoverbox][vc_column_text]

Prop I Victory Election Night 2016
(hover over photo to read bio)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_hoverbox image=”2075″ primary_title=”” primary_align=”justify” hover_title=”Clare Crawford”]

CPI’s second executive director and leader of the campaign for San Diego’s minimum wage, now Senior Policy Advisor with In The Public Interest. .


Clare Crawford
(hover over photo to read bio)

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2055″ img_size=”100X100″ alignment=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1507750919415{margin-top: 45px !important;margin-bottom: -15px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”2017″ font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Coda%3Aregular%2C800|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1507750232100{margin-right: 12px !important;margin-left: 12px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Today” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Coda%3Aregular%2C800|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1507750990745{margin-right: 12px !important;margin-left: 12px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Over our twenty year history, CPI has help pull back the curtains on incompetence, dishonesty and heartlessness at SANDAG, and in various city halls and at the county board of supervisors.  Everyone we’ve fought alongside union members and other community leaders to make San Diego a better place to live, to work and to raise a family.

Thanks to 20 years of this work and the 100’s of other staff, volunteers, activist, and supporters, San Diego has a relatively strong economy. We have powerful leaders who are committed to fighting for working families and who know that those families are diverse in their race, class, gender, sexual identity, and nation of birth. We have unions that are adding members and negotiating contracts.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2078″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

CPI Staff at the CPI 20 Year Gala.

(left to right: Andrea Slater, Jessica Cordova, Kimberly UyMarco Briones, Jennifer Addison-Epps (Co-Executive Director CPD), Anjleena Kour Sahni, Jeremy Addis-Mills, Kyra Greene, Ph’d, Peter Brownell Ph’d, Susan Duerksen, Quynh Nguyen, Emily Howe, Sarah Farouq, Trinh Le, Ashley Rodriguez

Written by CPI San Diego

Justice for Warehouse Workers/ Justicia Para Trabajadores de almacen

join the fight against wage theft/ Unéte a la lucha contra robo de salario