Category Archive: advocacy

  1. Partnering for Transportation Equity

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    This month, ELP Advisors has invited a friend of the firm to share her knowledge and experience with our readers. We’re exploring how coalitions focused on transportation equity are gaining momentum in Los Angeles County to fundamentally shift how transportation investments are deployed. We’ve invited Jessica Meaney from Investing in Place to share outcomes from the nonprofit’s latest partner meeting and explain how we move to a transportation future where local investments advance social equity, public health, and environmental goals.

    Earlier this month, Investing in Place convened over 70 partners to discuss lessons learned from SB 535 (2012 de Leon), a bill on cap-and-trade investments that prioritizes housing and transportation funds for disadvantaged communities based on a data-driven framework (CalEnviroscreen). The purpose of our meeting was to discuss lessons learned as we continued to refine framework recommendations for Metro’s potential 2016 Los Angeles County Transportation Sales tax ballot measure.

    Keynote speaker Vien Truong from #GreenfromAll inspired the group with her experience and lessons learned from SB 535, and offered advice on how leaders could use this framework to inform conversations about transportation investment in Los Angeles County. Vien described the efforts of SB 535, as rooted in a “collaborative movement and partnerships,” with an inside policy game that was grounded by a community-led effort. (more…)

  2. Workers Gaining More Protections

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    Recent decisions stand to fundamentally change the relationship between workers and employers. Even as the U.S. economy expands, productivity gains and GDP growth have not translated to higher wages for most workers. And with our economy’s growing reliance on low-wage workers, it’s important that labor rules and regulations offer protections for this growing class of employees. As we’ve seen successful battles waged to increase state and local minimum wages, there have also been policies put in place to help address the gender pay gap and redefine rules that make it easier for employees to organize. Likewise, an ongoing legal fight has the potential to offer contract workers more protections. As businesses increasingly rely on a contingent workforce to increase flexibility, it’s up to organized labor, advocates, policymakers, and elected officials to identify the best mechanisms to enhance worker protections. Here’s a rundown of some of their latest accomplishments. (more…)

  3. Making Life Easier on the Outside

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    The United States is home to more prisoners than any other nation on earth. And with close to 700 out of every 100,000 residents in prison, the nation has the highest prison population rate in the developed world. Our prison system is expensive and highly punitive. At the same time, recidivism rates show that our model isn’t particularly good at deterring crime. Recognizing the failures of the nation’s decades-long tough on crime stance, a rare bipartisan discussion of corrections reform has gained national momentum. With a renewed focus on investing in programs, services, and initiatives that equip formerly incarcerated individuals with the skills they need to navigate the world outside, we take a look at some of the more successful national models, staring here in California. (more…)

  4. Bringing Community School Parks to LA Neighborhoods

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    Los Angeles nonprofit, People for Parks, just launched its fundraising campaign to start two new Community School Parks. These neighborhood parks are schoolyards that are opened up to the community as playgrounds and parks when school isn’t in session. To reach its goal of opening two school playgrounds every weekend for one year, People for Parks needs to raise $24,000 in the next 30 days. (more…)

  5. Community-Led Planning

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    Image from Paul Narvaez: https://www.flickr.com/photos/the_photographer/14981389300/in/photolist-9BmgAk-9BpcwY-9Bmbtz-9BmbRB-9Bmcgv-9BpdaG-9Bmdse-9Bmiyi-9xAkXs-9xAiuE-9i4myd-9i227z-9i4CMo-9i1Twn-9xxjEX-9i1ob4-9i1nNe-9i1RCV-9i1RfH-9i4XBq-9i1phT-9i4Q4A-9i1oSR-9i4Tvs-9i1n6v-9xAgEb-9i1QQB-p75Uct-oPS1eM-oPRx6w-9i4DBo-9i4T8d-9i4M6W-9i1NwV-9i1Hik-9i4pR5-cg5rnJ-9xAiTN-9xxi7T-9i1J7p-9i4Uwq-9i1GU2-9i56tQ-9i1K1k-9i4UeG-9i21KT-9i1yo8-fEmcvw-bySMrU-7BwdCE

    Image from Paul Narvaez

    Increased development and investment in infrastructure have the potential to permanently alter the fabric of communities. Local planning efforts, in the form of ordinances or community plans, are just a few of the many tools used to ensure responsible planning and zoning, and provide an avenue for community engagement. However, traditional methods of community engagement can fall short in communities of color. For these populations language barriers, time constraints, and a dearth of easily accessible information conspire to keep residents in the dark. In response, residents and community groups in some locales have upended the traditional planning process and initiated their own planning efforts to guide development on their terms. (more…)

  6. Making All Votes Count

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    These days, it seems that post-election coverage in the U.S. often comes with a hefty dose of consternation about the future of our electorate. With each election, our national voting rates seem to hit another historic low. During the 2014 midterm elections, just 37 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot, registering the lowest turnout for a federal election since World War II. At the same time, voting in many parts of the country is becoming more difficult. A weakened Voting Rights Act coupled with attempts by some state legislatures to limit access to the polls has had the effect of making it more burdensome for citizens to exercise this fundamental right. Likewise, institutionalized gerrymandering and the outsized influence of wealthy political donors give many citizens the impression that their single vote is largely inconsequential. With these impediments in place, how do we move toward a voting system where our electorate is more engaged and more representative of our nation’s diversity? The most obvious answer may be to require every eligible voter to cast a ballot on Election Day. (more…)

  7. New Directions for Labor

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    The U.S. economy is on the rebound, but not everyone is sharing in the prosperity. As the nation continues to grapple with issues of income inequality, a shrinking middle class, and wage stagnation for low- and middle-income workers, we take a look at how labor unions are mobilizing to address the structural problems of the present economy. Our nation’s tried and true advocates for the middle class are rethinking their role in the American labor movement by embracing non-traditional methods to build power, expand their influence, and secure legislative and policy wins for low-wage workers – even though, paradoxically, these workers may not become union members. Faced with this evolving economic landscape, how is the U.S. labor movement transforming itself to stay relevant, empower workers, and maintain a self-sustaining organizational model? (more…)

  8. Bringing Equity to Transportation’s Sharing Economy

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    Bicycle sharing networks, car share services, and ride hailing applications have been touted as a new means to reduce our reliance on the automobile and give people more mobility options. Unfortunately, the promise of the sharing economy hasn’t been realized by all communities. In California, where communities of color are disproportionately affected by transportation-related pollution, there’s a growing movement to ensure that low-income neighborhoods and vulnerable populations benefit from the state’s investments in clean transportation. How can policy-makers and advocates use this momentum to bring car share and bicycle share services to low-income Californians? (more…)

  9. A Portrait of California 2014-2015

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    California’s economic engines are roaring back to life, but not everyone benefits from living and working in the world’s eighth largest economy. Measure of America measured human development metrics to assess the economic and social well-being of Californians living in the Golden State’s diverse regions. (more…)