Just Cause: Grassroots Alliance Announces Plan for Inclusive, Just, Wildfire Recovery
By Brandon McCapes
North Bay Bohemian
July 26, 2018
More than 20 labor, environmental and social- and economic-justice organizations banded together July 19 to endorse the Alliance for a Just Recovery’s 25-point plan to ensure a “just recovery” following last October’s unprecedented wildfires.
The self-described grassroots organization called for unity and action from community members and politicians to address problems plaguing Sonoma County, such as lack of affordable housing, good jobs, living wages, environmental sustainability and equality across language divides. Local city councilmembers and representatives of Congressmen Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman joined more than a hundred other attendees in Santa Rosa’s Christ Church United Methodist multipurpose room, where chairs were added to accommodate the crowd.
In the wake of the terrible firestorm that hit Sonoma County in October of 2017, North Bay Jobs with Justice quickly mobilized community, environmental, housing and labor organizations to meet and form the Alliance for a Just, Equitable and Sustainable Recovery (Alliance for a Just Recovery, or AJR, for short). The Alliance for a Just Recovery meets the first Thursday of every month to review current issues facing our community in regards to the rebuild, and has been working since November of 2017 to put together a policy platform with which individuals and organizations can use to help ensure our community recovers not just for some but for all.
So what IS a Just, Equitable and Sustainable Recovery?
Our Alliance believes that a truly just recovery from any natural disaster requires a holistic approach, and that:
Structural issues of inequality, climate crisis, and racial and environmental justice are part of the recovery and rebuilding process;
The most impacted community must have a meaningful voice at the table of all decisions made;
All recovery and rebuilding processes are transparent, inclusive, and create economic opportunity for low-income communities and eliminate environmental disparities across communities;
Combine our strengths as independent organizations, groups, places of worship, and labor unions to touch on four major areas of recovery and rebuilding: Good Jobs, Affordable Housing, Sustainable Energy and Green Construction, and Community Engagement/Democratic planning.
HOT OFF THE PRESSES AND AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD: "Voices from the Grassroots" This report includes AJR's "Common Agenda" for the recovery, as well as the full text of the entire July 19th forum presentations.
Click HERE for the full VIDEO of the July 19, 2018 Just Recovery forum.
Still Reeling: What Does a Just Recovery Look Like?
By Mara Ventura and Martin J. Bennett
North Bay Bohemian
July 10th, 2018
Eight months after the most destructive wildfire in California history, many Sonoma County residents are still struggling to recover. Long before the Tubbs fire, widening inequality, increasing poverty, and the expansion of low-wage work had undermined economic security for low and middle-income residents. Moreover, building in high fire risk areas, one of the major causes of the fire, will continue and will increase the risk of another devastating fire...
...A just recovery must include public policy to raise the wage floor, make housing more affordable, and create good living wage jobs...
Give Santa Rosa Renters A Floor and A Ceiling
by Martin J. Bennett
The Press Democrat
July 6, 2018
The county’s affordable housing crisis which was challenging prior to the Tubbs fire, is now on the verge of catastrophe. The county and all cities must adopt new emergency measures and a multi pronged approach to avert the displacement of low- and moderate-income renters.
A 2017 report by the California Housing Partnership Corporation (CHPC) outlines the scope of the crisis. Between 2000-2015 inflation-adjusted median rent in the county increased by 16 percent while median renter income declined by 6 percent. Then, according to the web site Zillow.com, median rents jumped by 36 percent after the October 2017 fires. The CHPC report also indicates that since 2008, federal and state funding for affordable housing in the county dropped by 87 percent.
Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature approved a package of bills last year to increase funding for affordable housing including a $4 billion bond measure that the voters will consider in the November general election. Santa Rosa may also place a housing bond measure on the ballot. However, even if both bond measures are approved, construction will take several years.
The county’s housing and displacement crisis requires immediate action and is compounded by the high cost of living in coastal California and the explosion of low-wage employment.
Dumped On: Republic Service's Union-Busting Tactics Didn't Work
By Martin J. Bennett
North Bay Bohemian
May 23-29, 2018
On April 18th workers at the county landfill and transfer stations voted to affiliate with Teamsters Local 665 in an election certified by the National Labor Relations Board.
The landfill is operated by Republic Services, the second largest company in the waste management industry with 190 landfills in forty states. The union victory is important for the workers and the entire community.
When the landfills were contracted out in 2013, Republic cut wages by $3 an hour and workers lost their pension benefits.
*Congratulations to Sebastian Mendoza, for his award this year in starting this walkout/march:
Protesters Show Support for Undocumented Immigrants in Santa Rosa March
By Martin Espinoza
The Press Democrat
March 6, 2018
More than 1,500 immigrants and their supporters marched through downtown Santa Rosa on Monday as part of a national campaign calling on President Donald Trump and Congress to bring permanent relief to undocumented immigrants.
The march, which started at Santa Rosa Junior College, was held on the day the president had hoped to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA — an executive order under former President Barack Obama that granted temporary relief from deportation to those illegally brought to the United States as children.
Also check out this great video news clip from Univision: https://www.univision.com/san-francisco/kdtv/dreamers-protestan-en-las-calles-de-santa-rosa-video
And don't forget to check out our Facebook page for more great photos and video clips from the march!