PUEBLO conducted an in-depth survey, had interviews in the homes of our precinct leaders, and organized a Working Families Candidate’s Forum to determine which pro-working family City Council candidates to support. Over 25 members participated in our endorsement process including Precinct Leaders and Neighborhood Chapter Leaders. During the election, PUEBLO was the main organization contacting voters door-to-door for the Santa Barbara City Council race. We distributed over 500 lawn signs throughout the City, sent out personalized letters from precinct leaders, made phone calls nightly, and canvassed every weekend. 25 Santa Barbara Precinct Leaders contacted voters in their neighborhoods for 6 weeks up to the election. On Election Day we had over 100 volunteers mobilizing voters to the polls for Grant House and against Schwarzenegger’s initiatives. The election of Grant House represents a significant shift on the Santa Barbara City Council, since he replaces Dan Secord, the most conservative City Council member who opposed most of PUEBLO’s positions. Grant House is a co-founder of Cesar Chavez Charter School, small business owner, renter, and longtime Eastside activist. He was able to run for City Council because of our work on Measure A one year earlier (see November 2004).
Stopped Schwarzenegger Initiatives
When Schwarzenegger launched his attack on working families by calling Special Election, PUEBLO started organizing against his series of initiatives that would have silenced the voices of working people (while enhancing corporation power) and cut funding for schools. Over 40 PUEBLO Precinct Leaders walked door-to-door in Carpinteria, Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria, informing infrequent voters about Schwarzenegger’s dangerous initiatives. We contacted thousands of voters and mobilized voters on Election Day. PUEBLO distributed lawn signs, participated in press conferences, made phone calls, and contacted voters door-to-door. When Schwarzenegger came to Santa Barbara to tout his initiatives, PUEBLO was a key organization organizing a protest at Marborg where he was speaking. All of Schwarzenegger’s statewide initiatives were voted down. All but one failed in Santa Barbara County.
City Appoints Bus Rider to the MTD Board!
By a narrow vote, the Santa Barbara City Council voted to appoint a bus rider to be on the Metropolitan Transit District Board. The City Council appointed Logan Green, a transit dependent bus rider and PUEBLO member, as well as John Britton, who was reappointed to the MTD Board for a 3rd four-year term. Both appointees were supported by PUEBLO, which has been working for two years to get bus rider representation on the MTD Board. SB CAN also played an important role in this campaign.
Council members who voted for Logan Green were Marty Blum, Das Williams, Helene Scneider, and Iya Falcone. Council members who voted for John Britton were Marty Blum, Das Williams, Helene Scneider, and Dan Secord.
This victory will help shape MTD for years to come. While there has been talk of a new fare increase in the coming years, both John Britton and Logan Green have been
Won 8.6 Million for Affordable Housing- PUEBLO pushed the Santa Barbara City Council to commit to spending significantly more of Redevelopment Agency funds for affordable housing than in previous years (January, 2005).
Passed Isla Vista Community Center Initiative: Coordinated the Measure D campaign in Isla Vista, which will help to build an Isla Vista Community Center. 78% of voters voted yes on Measure D.
Organized support to enable working people to run for office: Played crucial role in the Measure A campaign by organizing voters in 20 of Santa Barbara’s 50 precincts. Measure A will increase the salary of City Council members to a “living wage”, which will enable more working people to run for city council and in turn, improve representation.
July and August, 2004
Obtained Local Support For Drivers License Bill SB 1160
PUEBLO has been at the forefront of the struggle for the new drivers license bill, SB 1160. Driver’s licenses have been a high priority in PUEBLO house meetings for the past two years. After the repeal of the former drivers license bill, Governor Schwarzenegger stated that he would support a drivers license bill that addresses his security concerns. SB 1160 does that, and more.
In June, PUEBLO invited Senator Gil Cedillo to Santa Barbara for a public forum with over 200 people. PUEBLO has developed a coalition of organizations who support SB 1160, including the Women’s Political Committee, Democratic Central Committee, El Congresso, Santa Barbara Green Party, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, LULAC, and MEChA. Together, we have obtained the support of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, the Santa Barbara City Council, and our Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson. Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez has also be an important supporter for this bill, as he is the head of the California Police Chief’s Association. On August 10th, 20 PUEBLO members traveled to Sacramento for an SB 1160 rally, and to lobby State Senators, including Santa Barbara State Senator Tom M
Stopped More Redevelopment Agency Funds for the Granada Garage
The City is building a $26 million parking garage downtown. When the garage costs were more than expected, the City staff wanted to take an additional $1.5 million out of the Redevelopment Agency, which is the City’s largest potential funding source for affordable housing.
PUEBLO demanded that the City prioritize affordable housing by using Redevelopment Agency Funds for housing, not for parking lots. Two City Council members reversed their votes, and the Council decided not to spend any additional Redevelopment Agency funds for the parking lot, but instead dip into the abundant parking reserve fund. Supporting PUEBLO’s position were Council members Roger Horton, Iya Falcone, Brian Barnwell, and Das Williams. In opposition were Council member Dan Secord, and Mayor Marty Blum. This was a great first step towards ensuring that the Council members live up to their stated #1 priority of supporting affordable housing.
New Years Day Bus Service Spared
One year after the MTD decided to back off their planned rate increase, MTD staff came up with another bad idea- eliminating New Years Day Service. MTD staff admitted that the 2,500 riders would have no alternative form of transportation on New Years Day with their proposal. Those who have to work on New Year’s Day are the most economically vulnerable in our community- many of which are restaurant and hotel workers. PUEBLO lobbied MTD Board members and organized bus riders to attend the MTD meetings to oppose this proposal. The MTD Board narrowly voted 3-2 to keep the New Year’s Day service for another year. Voting in favor of saving the service were Board members Dave Davis, Olivia Rodriguez, and John Britton. Voting against were Lee Moldaver and Brian Fahnstock.
Wal-mart defeated in Inglewood
Few people thought it was possible… But in the end of the community of Inglewood defeated the worlds largest corporation. Embarking on a bold new strategy to steamroll local communities, Wal-Mart’s put an initiative on the ballot in Inglewood to build a 17-football field size Supercenter while prohibiting the community from having any oversight or input in the project. This was a historic victory for a coalition of labor and community organizations who were outspent 10-1. This victory send a strong message to Wal-mart that they will not be able to bully communities to build their goal of 40 Supercenters in California. This is the first time Wal-Mart has been defeated at the ballot box!
9 PUEBLO members went to Inglewood to help in the campaign, many who walked precincts the final four days. Our leaders are bringing back knowledge and experience that is helping us in our organizing in Santa Barbara.
Community Support for Striking Grocery Workers
During the 5-month long grocery workers strike, PUEBLO organized strike support committees at nine stores. Strike support committees were primarily made of local organizations who joined the picket lines several hours a week, providing much needed community support. Some also raised money for the striking workers. Organizations that formed strike support committees included Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILF), Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the Green Party, El Congreso, Asian Sisters and brothers for Ideas and Action Now (ASIAN), and the Coalition of University Employees (CUE).
Mobilized Low-income Voters for City Council election
For years, low-income neighborhoods were ignored in City Council elections. In the recent City Council election, lower income neighborhoods had a huge impact in the results. Three out of the top four vote getters were public supporters of the living wage, many winning low-income precincts considerably. PUEBLO organized get out the vote efforts in 20 precincts on the Eastside, Westside and Downtown areas of Santa Barbara. We educated voters on the candidate’s stances on our three key issues- living wage, funding for alternative transportation, and affordable housing. Two of the newly elected council members are PUEBLO members.
October 23, 2003
Propostion 54 Defeated
PUEBLO lead a grassroots effort in Santa Barbara, contributing to the statewide defeat of Proposition 54, which would have banned public access to racial information. Grassroots organizations and civil rights groups depend on racial information to fight discrimination and illuminate inequities in housing, jobs, and education. PUEBLO organized in three low-income neighborhoods, informing and turning out occasional voters against Prop. 54. Election results showed that the highest No on 54 precincts were all PUEBLO precincts! Over 150 PUEBLO volunteers made phone calls, walked door-to-door, and distributed information over the course of the campaign. This is the first time in over ten years that a well-financed right-wing proposition targeting communities of color was defeated!
Low-income Child Care Center saved
In July, Cleveland elementary school parents who had been attending and hosting PUEBLO house meetings received notice that their subsidized child-care center would be eliminated due to budget cuts. This subsidized childcare center is a vital resource since many parents work 50-60 hours a week on low wages and can not afford $700 a month per child for child care. The parents and PUEBLO met with the school superintendent, School Board members, City Council members, and Cleveland’s principal to ensure funds were allocated to keep the center open. The parents organized a rally and attended the August School Board meeting, demanding affordable child-care. Community leaders have responded. Council members Babatunde Folayemi and Roger Horton have raised several thousand dollars and have approached foundations. School Board members are vowing to fund the program in future budget years. While all the funding has not been raised, the children of Cleveland are still being cared for.
At the August School Board meeting, parents organized a rally and urged the School Board to keep the program. These parents convinced the superintendent to postpone the closure of the program while they work with local elected officials to find funding in the short and long term to keep this valuable program.
Making Public Transportation More Affordable
When MTD proposed a $1.50 bus fare increase and a $75 monthly pass, PUEBLO spearheaded a campaign against MTD’s bus fare proposal. PUEBLO organized hundreds of bus riders and activists to demonstrate at the MTD transit center, gather petitions, and pack MTD hearings to ensure that the Board did not balance their budget on the backs of the working poor, disabled, and youth. Working with a coalition of local organizations (such as COAST, SB CAN, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce), we were successful. We won MTD’s first unlimited monthly pass in twenty years (amounting to 68 cents a ride for adult daily riders), a discounted 10-ride pass, and a discounted youth pass now available all year long. While the one-way fare has increased to 25 cents a trip, anyone who buys a pass will pay less. These victories came with no staff reductions nor service cuts. Together we won one of the biggest local victories for working people in recent history!
Living Wages for 211 City Temporary Workers
PUEBLO led the campaign for a Living Wage Ordinance in the City of Santa Barbara. Taxpayer money should not subsidize poverty wage jobs. PUEBLO launched the living wage campaign in 2001, and built a large and diverse coalition of faith-based, labor, and community organizations to push for a comprehensive living wage ordinance. In March of 2002, the City Council voted 4-3 to raise the wages of 211 City temporary workers. This was a first step towards passing a living wage ordinance that will eventually cover all employees working on City contracts and projects subsidized by the City.