Colorado IAF Secures Commitments from DPS Board Members to Engage in Bargaining Process, Support Teachers’ Demands for Fair Compensation

One month before a potential strike vote for Denver educators, who have been negotiating with the district for over a year to improve compensation and address teacher turnover, nearly 400 educators, students, parents, and community members gathered at the Montbello High School Auditorium to share stories regarding the state of schools in Northeast Denver and discuss the need for increased teacher compensation.  Organized by the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) and the Colorado Industrial Areas Foundation (CO IAF), the assembly represented a broad-based network of schools, congregations, unions, and non-profits.

Colorado IAF and DCTA leaders secured commitments from DPS board members Jennifer Bacon and Dr. Carrie Olson to participate in the upcoming bargaining sessions and to support teachers’ demands for fair compensation. This will be the first time in recent memory that DPS board members will take an active role in bargaining to support teachers.

When Ms. Bacon and Dr. Olson were asked if they would support the union’s demands for fair compensation, they both answered with a resounding “yes!”  Ms. Bacon, whose district includes Montbello, assured the assembly that she has instructed the senior staff to “get to work and find the money” to support the teachers.  Dr. Olson made the commitment “not just to listen, but to act.” 

DPS interim superintendent Ron Cabrera and the next superintendent, Susana Cordova, were present. Sen. Angela Williams, Rep. James Coleman, and City Councilmember Stacie Gilmore also committed to working with DCTA and Colorado IAF to address the issues raised.

As the assembly unfolded, DPS board members Angela Cobian and Barbara O’Brien reached out to the organizations, committing to meet with them and answer those same questions before bargaining resumes in early January.

Teachers in Colorado make on average 37.1% less than other professionals with similar education, and compensation for Denver teachers lags that of nearby districts.  Furthermore, Denver’s salary system for teachers, ProComp, puts substantial money in one-time incentives that are unreliable and unpredictable – meaning educators cannot plan for their future.  This contributes to a high teacher turnover rate, resulting in over 3 of 10 Denver teachers being in their first three years of teaching.

Educator Leaders Meet with DPS Board Members to Discuss Teachers Compensation, Denver Channel [pdf]

AMOS Announces Support for Des Moines Local Option Sales Tax, Big Step Forward for Children's Mental Health

During the summer of 2018, AMOS leaders in Des Moines engaged more than 500 families around the question, "What matters enough to you that you would be willing to raise your own taxes to see it happen?" Out of these conversations, AMOS leaders crafted a proposal of six funding priorities to include in the city's upcoming a one-cent sales tax proposal. The now released and approved city spending resolution includes five of our funding priorities, and AMOS leaders have secured a separate commitment from the city to address the sixth.

At a press conference Monday, AMOS announced support for the local option sales tax initiative.  AMOS Children's Mental Health Team co-chair Connie McKeen, of Walnut Hills United Methodist, proclaimed it a big step for another AMOS priority: children's mental health services.

Mrs. McKeen announced the formation of a Task Force of elected officials, mental healthcare providers, and community leaders who have committed to work together to implement a Children's Mental Health Mobile Crisis Unit and Crisis Observation. This team will identify the staffing, funding, and location for these crisis services to open by June 30, 2020.

Co-Chairing this Task Force on behalf of AMOS are Dr. Linda Krypel, of First Unitarian of Des Moines and co-chair of the AMOS Children's Mental Health Team, and Teresa Bomhoff of NAMI Greater Des Moines.

Members of the Task Force include, to date, the Mayor of Des Moines, Polk County Supervisor, Des Moines Public School President, CEO of Broadlawns Hospital and other key public and private health executives.

Des Moines Weighs In On March 5 Local Option Sales Tax Vote, WHO TV

One-Cent Tax Increase Could Fund 'Blitz On Blight'KCCI

Local Option Sales Tax Planned for March 5 Vote in Des Moines, Business Record

Des Moines Will Vote on Sales Tax Increase in March, Des Moines Register

Group Pushes Des Moines to Use Sales Tax Money to Extend Library Hours, Des Moines Register

AMOS's live video of the press conference

From the Archives: COPS Launched Efforts in 1974 to Improve Basic City Services

[Excerpts below]

In August 1974, the same month that President Richard M. Nixon resigned amid the Watergate scandal, COPS members marched on City Hall and demanded better drainage.

Some areas of the city lacked paved streets, running water, sanitary sewer service, adequate police protection and other basics.

The group won the support of Mayor Charles Becker, who worked to pass a $46.8 million bond issue to fund long-neglected drainage projects on the West Side.

With a power base that was rooted in Catholic parishes, COPS members focused their anger in a positive way, remaining vocal but never violent, and brought lasting change.

[In photo: Candidates for District 6 listen to a question in a 1983 COPS “accountability session.” Staff File Photo, San Antonio Express-News]

Grassroots Group Energized Hispanics: COPS Launched Efforts in 1974 to Improve Basic City ServicesSan Antonio Express-News [pdf]

MOC Protects Renters with 'Just Cause' Ordinance Win in Marin County

After careful agitation by leaders of Marin Organizing Committeethe Marin County Board of Supervisors passed a 'Just Cause for Evictions' Ordinance with a unanimous vote.  Leaders [in photo above] filled the County chambers in support of the ordinance which is expected to protect approximately 3,400 renters currently without protection from arbitrary eviction in Marin. 

In its coverage of the meeting, and the multi-year fight, Marin Independent Journal called Marin Organizing Committee "the leading voice calling for action to address the housing crisis."  

The Just Cause Ordinance was carefully crafted to provide protection to tenants without restricting landlords from acting to remove problem occupants.  Evictions are permitted when tenants skip out on rent, breach rental contracts and or pose other problems. 

While the ordinance is limited to protecting only tenants in unincorporated Marin, leaders are hopeful that the data collection incorporated in the ordinance will establish important evidence about rental conditions across the County.  

Marin Supervisors Improve Renter Protection With 'Just Cause' OrdinanceMarin Independent Journal [pdf

Marin Supervisors Support 'Just Cause' Rule for EvictionsMarin Independent Journal [pdf]


Education Funding Summit by 'Nevadans for the Common Good' Draws Full House

80+ leaders and education allies packed the library at Western High School in Las Vegas for NCG's "Education Funding Summit," building momentum for a significant increase in public education funding.

The Guinn Center for Policy Priorities disclosed that nearly $2 billion is needed to adequately fund Nevada schools. Clark County School District Superintendent Dr. Jara and County Judge Voy spoke to the need for greater funding, and Assemblywomen Swank, Miller, and Backus declared their support.

This is part of a larger campaign to prepare for the 2019 Legislative session in which leaders plan to push for expanded funding for schools, increased affordable housing units, and protection for consumers through a payday lending enforcement system.

Project QUEST Wins National $1 Million Grant for Training

[Excerpt below]

Project QUEST, the nonprofit workforce development organization created more than a quarter-century ago by the COPS/Metro Alliance, has been awarded a $1 million grant that the organization says will allow it to serve more San Antonians with expanded job training programs.

The award comes from the Rockefeller Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as part of their Communities Thrive Challenge, which awarded $1 million each to 10 organizations across the nation, working to “help low-income and financially insecure people find and retain well-paid, meaningful work, achieve financial security or build economically vibrant neighborhoods.”

San Antonio’s Project QUEST wins national $1 million grantSan Antonio Express-News [pdf]

Dallas Municipal ID Draws Local Support, Faces State Resistance

[Excerpt below]

A handful of Dallas-area churches, with the support of Dallas Area Interfaith, started issuing their own ID cards this year. Police departments in Dallas, Carrollton and Farmers Branch have been given discretion to accept those church cards as a form of identification.

Socorro Perales, a senior organizer at Dallas Area Interfaith, said her group was excited about the possibility of a city-issued card....

[Photo: Dallas Morning News]

Dallas Draws Local Support, Faces State Resistance as it Inches Closer to Issuing City ID CardsDallas Morning News  

TMO Fights Proposed Changes to "Public Charge" Designation

[Excerpt below]

This past week, many of us sat down with our extended families at Thanksgiving celebrations. As faith leaders, we teach that family is sacred. We are moved to keep families together, so they may thrive together.

The Trump administration has proposed a policy that would force immigrant families to make an impossible choice between caring for their children, parents and grandparents and keeping their family together in the United States. The proposed changes to the 100-year-old “public charge” regulation will make it more difficult for an immigrant to become a legal permanent resident or obtain a visa to visit the United States if he is not wealthy, have a preexisting health condition, or participate in programs that support health, nutrition and housing stability....

Don't Penalize Children for Being Poor, Especially After HarveyHouston Chronicle [pdf

Push Back Against Proposed Changes to 'Public Charge'TMO

With Support of One LA, Healthcare for Low-Income and Undocumented is Preserved and Enhanced


At the urging of One LA, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to preserve and enhance healthcare for 146,000 low-income and undocumented residents.  Several years ago, One LA was instrumental in the formation and implementation of My Health LA (MHLA).  This innovative program provides health services to LA County residents who do not have access to other government health programs due to their immigration status. 
In November, the Board voted to authorize the Director of Health Services to execute agreements that will preserve and strengthen the My Health LA (MHLA) program.  This will ensure that MHLA will continue to provide health services for over 146,000 people in LA County who do not otherwise have access to health insurance.  The agreements ensure that access to vital preventative care services will continue and also include increased funding for community clinics.

One LA leaders and allies from St. John's Well Child and Family Center, Clinica Romero and the Building Healthy Communities effort in Boyle Heights testified in support of the program's preservation. 

The Board of Supervisors also voted to direct the Director of Mental Health to come up with a funding plan for providing mental health services to MHLA patients at primary care settings.  This is a major step forward toward increasing access to mental health services, which has been a big priority for One LA.  Leaders recognized Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Katherine Barger for introducing the motion, and the entire Board of Supervisors for addressing the need for increased access to mental health services.           

Medicaid Expansion Passes in Nebraska, OTOC Educates & Gets Out The Vote

With access to health care on the line for 90,000 Nebraskans, OTOC leaders worked hard to expand Medicaid for those with no health insurance.  After efforts to secure enough votes to overcome a filibuster in the Nebraska Unicameral proved unsuccessful, OTOC partnered with allies in 2018 to secure a place on the November Midterm ballot for 'Initiative 427' as a way to secure Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska.  On November 6, 2018, the effort succeeded.

Over the course of the year, OTOC leaders mobilized 50 individuals who secured 3,500 signatures in the effort to get the initiative on the ballot.  OTOC organized 17 civic academies in Omaha congregations and public libraries to help build an educated constituency and, in efforts to educate the public, published seven Opeds, including four in the Omaha World Herald.  In the final days leading to the vote, the World Herald selected OTOC to counter final arguments by a team including the former Governor, Attorney General and a member of Koch Brothers Nebraska.  

Leaders testified at State hearings, leveraged commitments from winning Congressional candidates to protect Medicaid Expansion if Initiative 427 were to pass, and organized a fall accountability assembly in which all seven Unicameral candidates committed to implementing Medicaid expansion.    

Initiative 427 won with a margin of 41,594 votes statewide.  Counties where OTOC focused -- Douglas and Sarpy -- were critical to overcoming vote deficits elsewhere.  In Douglas County, alone, 111,630 residents voted FOR Initiative 427, approximately one third of the statewide total, and far exceeding the margin of victory. &nbsp

OTOC leaders are now turning their attention to implementation of Medicaid expansion, to ensure it reaches those who most need it.  

Imperative That Nebraska Pass Initiative 427 and Expand Medicaid, Omaha World Herald

Medicaid for Public Health, Omaha World Herald

Complete report of OTOC Action, OTOC

West / Southwest IAF Organizations

Northwest IAF Organizations