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    Center on Policy Initiatives

REFLECTING ON 2020

A YEAR IN REVIEW

Message from Our
Executive Director

As I reflect on this year, I am filled with gratitude, purpose, and pride in our community.  Amid a global pandemic, racial injustice, and an economic crisis, I am amazed by how we as a community have found ways to be together while apart, to show up, and to support each other.

On behalf of all of us at CPI, thank you for your support. Whether you donated, signed a petition, shared a post, or signed up to stay informed, your support means the world to us. Thank you for putting your faith in us to lead the fight for social, economic, and racial justice, and build a more equitable San Diego region. We hold ourselves accountable to you, to the people, to the community and we couldn’t do this work without you. We are humbled and honored.

I’m excited to share some of our accomplishments and highlights from this year. While we celebrate this year’s wins, we also know it’s a constant fight and there’s much more to be done. Together, we can build the world that we know is possible — a world where everyone’s voice counts, and where our families, our communities and the people we love are safe.

We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well. Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a happy new year.

Yours in solidarity,

Kyra R. Greene, PhD
Executive Director

Thank you and happy holidays from the CPI Team!

THE PEOPLE'S
THINK TANK

We do research that is driven by what the community wants. It’s important to us that research is as accessible as possible. We research the facts and produce reports on issues of working poverty and economic inequity, laying the groundwork for policy development.

Poverty, Income, and Earnings Report Series

Issue-Specific Reports

People's Budget Demands

BUILDING
PEOPLE POWER

We bring people and organizations together to build the power to make things happen. We communicate what we learn in ways that reach diverse audiences and persuade decision-makers. We conduct trainings and support so that our constituents have the tools, opportunities and support to speak effectively for themselves. 

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COMMUNITY EVENTS, TRAININGS, AND ACTIONS
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PEOPLE PARTICIPATED

Our voice in the news

Activism around police accountability, greater awareness of the critical and myriad functions of public education, and clarity about racial and socioeconomic disparities has given CPI an unusual opportunity to speak to an engaged public about ways that we can improve well-being now and in the future. More people are paying attention to local budgets and governance and are joining CPI and the coalitions we lead in the fight to advance policies around living wages, affordable housing, healthcare, community-directed education, and workplace health and safety. 

CPI Executive Director Kyra R. Greene tells KPBS that policing is our problem.

WHEN WE FIGHT,
WE WIN

We partner with Black, Indigenous, People of Color and with low and middle income working communities of all races, genders and regardless of citizenship status or disability. We work to change systems so that people can participate in the decisions and lead the institutions that impact their lives. Our advocacy happens through in-person and online actions. 

2020 Policy Wins

  • The Community Budget Alliance has been fighting for years to uplift and center Black people, people of color, and low-income communities, and to push the City government to respond to our communities’ needs. It was heartening to see thousands of San Diegans show up for Black lives during this year’s city budget cycle and speak up at the June 8th budget hearing. It is not enough, but there were some victories that people have fought very hard for in this budget process and won. Some wins that will make a difference in people’s lives, including:
  •  
  • – $15.1 million for a rental assistance program
  • – $3 million for a community equity fund that can support tenants legal support, legal services, or other community services
    – $500,000 to provide internet access to low-income communities
  • – Expansion of the Small Business Relief Fund
  • – Prevent massive cuts to code enforcement staff who ensure that tenants living in substandard housing conditions have somewhere to go in the City
  • – Prevent cuts to critical positions that ensure City contractors are complying with the Living Wage Ordinance
  • – Creation of an Office of Race and Equity

On June 25, 2020, CARB unanimously voted to pass the most recent ACT Rule meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California by requiring manufacturers to increase the percentage of their zero-emission truck sales to be 55% of Class 2b-3 truck sales, 75% of Class 4-8 straight truck sales, and 40% of Class 7-8 truck tractor sales by 2035. The ACT Rule also requires companies with 50 or more trucks to report on their existing fleet operations to help identify future strategies for reaching zero emission fleet goals. 

CPI joined local and statewide partners in November 2019 to revise and strengthen the original proposal. After over six months of hard work, this is a huge win for environmental justice communities. We’re proud to have been part of the team leading this effort.  

On Tuesday, July 28th, the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt our Community Schools Coalition Resolution.

For the past two years, CPI and our partners in the coalition have researched the effectiveness of community schools, held community forums to discuss the challenges, opportunities, needs and resources of the SDUSD, drafted this resolution, and advocated for its adoption. Though our work on community schools existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, this crisis has highlighted why community schools are precisely what our communities need.

Now that the Board of Trustees have adopted our resolution, we are going to begin the work to implement the vision laid out in the resolution, so that communities can begin the work of creating their community schools in San Diego. You can read the full resolution here.

After months of public pressure from the Invest in San Diego Families (ISDF) coalition, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors made changes to the County Budget that will address some vital community needs. The budget adopted at August 25th’s hearing contains nearly $32 million in community investments that center social equity a change from the County’s historical spending practices, including: 

$24 million for rental assistance
$1 million for tenant counseling
$2.5 million for translation services across county departments
$2 million for income replacement for essential workers impacted by COVID-19
$2 million to ensure internet access for low-income families
$150,000 for an equity study
$90,000 for menstrual products

In a 7-2 vote on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, the San Diego City Council passed an emergency recall and retention ordinance for hospitality and commercial maintenance workers in the city, ensuring that laid-off workers who have given the most years of service return to their jobs once businesses begin to rehire.  This is a victory for some of the hardest hit workers in San Diego, protecting approximately 148,000 workers.

This win was a collaborative effort with our Raise Up San Diego coalition partners (UNITE HERE Local 30, SEIU-USWW, and the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council).

In another victory for working families on Sept 8, 2020, the City Council voted to support an expansion of sick leave that would close a loophole in the federal leave policy, Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The City of San Diego’s ordinance would implement temporary, supplemental paid sick leave of 80 hours for full-time employees of businesses with 500 employees or more, left out of the federal policy. On September 9, 2020, Governor Newsom signed AB 1867, which not only closes the gap statewide, but also gives every CA employee that has been exposed to or tests positive for COVID-19 access to paid sick days for the rest of the 2020 calendar year.

In-Person Actions

Defending
Our Democracy

As both an election year and census year, 2020 was an important year for democracy. CPI was a proud member of the Count Me 2020 census coalition, helping to make sure everyone in Region 10 is counted. In partnership with Engage San Diego, CPI ran a text and digital ads program to encourage people to vote early and learn more about important local races. 
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PEOPLE REACHED THROUGH DIGITAL ADS​
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PEOPLE REACHED THROUGH TEXTS​
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PLEDGES TO VOTE

GOING VIRTUAL

Because of COVID-19, we had to rethink how we conduct our trainings and events while prioritizing the safety of our community. We moved our community events to a virtual setting and provided translation services in multiple languages to make them as accessible as possible. We were able to reach even more people this year by going virtual, giving community members the opportunity to participate in the safety of their homes.  

Play Video

County Budget Town Hall Pt. 1

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County Budget Town Hall Pt. 2

Play Video

Community Schools Forum

Play Video

CBA Mayoral Forum

IN COALITION, ALWAYS

Nothing we do is done alone. We’re grateful to our coalition partners, ally organizations, foundation funders, individual donors, and community members who make our work possible. We are humbled and honored to serve the San Diego region. 

Learn more about the coalitions we lead:

JOIN THE FIGHT

At the Center on Policy Initiatives, we fight every day to reduce inequality and build a community where working families thrive. Your support helps carry on CPI’s work for economic justice throughout the San Diego region.

Written by CPI San Diego