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Mid-City CAN Blog

Center for Policy Initiatives seeks to unite advocates

Kyra R. Greene
Kyra R. Greene
Transparency and equity are the themes that run through the work that the Center for Policy Initiatives does.

CPI is a research organization that also advocates in partnership with many other organizations, including more than 25 groups that make up the Community Budget Alliance.

CPI's work with the Community Budget Alliance is funded by The California Endowment's Building Healthy Community Initiative, a 10-year, $1 billion effort to change the way that health happens in 14 communities in California, including City Heights.

"The Community Budget Alliance focuses on promoting accessible and equitable governance in the San Diego region," wrote Jessica Cordova, CPI's communications specialist in an email. The Alliance is about four years old and includes both small and large faith-based, labor, environmental and community organizations.

For many of these organizations, the CBA is a strategic shift.

"This means not just asking for dollars for one specific place, but pushing the City to allocate adequate and equitable funding," wrote Kyra R. Greene, CPI's research and policy analyst in an email. "It allows us to avoid being pitted against one another."

While not limited to City Heights, Greene said, that area is one of special focus and where many of the CBA's most active members concentrate their work.

City Heights is one of several "neighborhoods in the urban core of the City that tend to have larger percentages of people of color and higher rates of poverty, underemployment and underinvestment," she wrote.

Greene works with Samer Naji, CPI's coalition organizer, who coordinates the Community Budget Alliance.

"My job as a researcher at CPI is to provide answers to specific questions, provide research briefs on topics related to budget, infrastructure and service and to advise the coalition on policy," Greene wrote. "I am not the only person who does this work, sometimes our member organizations have specific expertise that they share with the coalition."

The Community Budget Alliance has pushed the City of San Diego to include an equity component when allocating funding for capital improvement projects.

"Budget requests include things like increasing park hours, building new parks, expanding library hours and spaces, funding for fire stations in underserved neighborhoods with substandard fire-rescue response times, installing new streetlights as way to increase safety and usability of public spaces, funding for community policing, and improvements of streets and sidewalks to facilitate more and safer bicycle, pedestrian and public transit," Greene wrote. "The work is wide-ranging which reflects the immense need in the communities that the CBA organizations represent."

The CBA also supported an ordinance that required banks to maintain foreclosed properties.

The group wants to continue the progress it has made.

"We want to make sure that as the City thinks about post-redevelopment economic revitalization, it does so with an eye toward creating good-paying jobs for local residents, affordable housing that allows people to stay in their community and to making sure that development provides community amenities like parks, sidewalks, safe streets," she wrote.

Another group that CPI works with is planning an event called the #YouthPower Summit. Partners include Maximizing Access to Advance our Communities Project, The American Civil Liberties Union, Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity and Mid-City CAN.

"We are hoping 500 people from all over the country come to talk about what youth power means," said Trinh Le, CPI leadership development coordinator.

The #YouthPower Summit will be from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. April 4, at San Diego State University. Mid-City CAN is arranging transportation to and from the event from Hoover, Lincoln, and San Diego high schools, as well as a planned South Bay location. To register for the event, click here.

Center for Policy Initiatives podcasts

Community Budget Alliance members include

  • Affordable Housing Coalition of San Diego
  • AFSCME Local 127
  • Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
  • Alliance San Diego
  • Asociación de Liderazgo Comunitario
  • Bayside Community Center
  • Bay Terrace Community Association
  • BikeSD
  • Center on Policy Initiatives
  • Circulate San Diego
  • City Heights Community Development Corporation
  • Environmental Health Coalition
  • Greater Logan Heights Community Partnership
  • Interfaith Center for Worker Justice of San Diego County
  • Justice Overcoming Boundaries
  • League of Women Voters of San Diego
  • Library Organizing Project
  • Maximizing Access to Advance our Communities Project
  • Mid-City Community Advocacy Network
  • NAACP San Diego Branch
  • National Urban League Young Professionals, San Diego Chapter
  • San Diego Housing Federation
  • San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council
  • San Diego Organizing Project
  • San Diego 350
  • United African American Action Council
  • Urban Collaborative

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