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400 COPA Leaders Commit to ‘Stand Up Take Charge’ Campaign

In mid-November, more than 400 COPA leaders (from 24 institutions across Monterey and Salinas counties) launched their first-ever "Stand Up and Take Charge" campaign with a goal of organizing 20,000 voters in support of a common agenda of issues including health care, education, affordable housing, economic opportunity, immigration and safety. Leaders see this as a way to engage in public life and cut through the state of divisive, hyper-partisan politics in California. Leaders ratified a year-long plan that includes a regional agenda of issues, a core team of 60 captains, 400 leaders responsible for signing up 50 voters each and accountability sessions with county supervisorial candidate in May and US Congressman Sam Farr in October.

One LA Assembles to Address Health, Homes and Schools

In a November meeting, One LA assembled 678 people from 20 institutions to consolidate organizing and recruitment efforts in the San Fernando Valley and conduct public business around foreclosures, healthcare and education. State, city and school district officials committed to working with leaders to pressure banks to lower loan amounts, pass an Assembly bill that would give state officials the power to regulate increases in health insurance rates, and improve the health of school meal plans while attending to children's tastes.

Communities Gather for Change, Los Angeles Daily News

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WTOS Leaders Celebrate Power Behind Victories

"Sometimes the 'least expected' grandmother-type stands face to face with an elected official, not only getting that official's attention, a hearing, but also getting a mayor's personal cellphone number and an important friendship....It is in the power of churches from all areas of the city coming together to speak up, to fight for justice that WTOS obtains credibility among local city, county and state officials in their efforts to speak together..."

Glenda Harbert: Coalition Makes All Our Lives Better, San Angelo Standard Times

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OTOC Endorses Changes to Inspection Fees

Increase fees for code violations

Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) endorses the proposed amendments to the Omaha Municipal Code that would authorize fee increases for code violation re-inspections.

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One LA-IAF Fights for Community Driven Foreclosure Prevention

While interviewed on KCRW's 'To the Point', One LA-IAF leader Yvonne Mariajimenez asserted that the One LA foreclosure prevention plan "provides a better return for investors than going through with foreclosure." This is the same plan that has been adopted by the City of Los Angeles.

Beltway Bubble, KCRW


IAF Co-Director Ernesto Cortes Speaks on Workforce Development

IAF Co-Director Ernesto Cortes Jr., participated in a panel discussion alongside Robert Walsh, NYC Small Business Services Commissioner, and Ray Suarez of PBS Newshour; the event was hosted by the Aspen Institute.

Cortes asserts, "There are all kinds of sectors which are begging people to come into their profession, but unfortunately there are not the long-term job training programs to revive those skilled workers.... A lot of the work we've had to do is the political work of creating the political will create the funding streams to pay for training..."

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Building on Win, TMO Fights Wage Theft as Immigration Strategy

Building on an Austin victory criminalizing wage theft statewide, TMO institutions take the fight against wage theft to the pews.

"For The Metropolitan Organization, the wage theft law is not just about employees' rights; it is a way to carry out immigration reform in the current political climate. The Rev. Kevin Collins (photo right), the organization's co-chairman, says that... they will still benefit from the reform.

[Photo Credit: Wenjing Zhang, New York Times]

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Jeremiah’s Soft 2nd Mortgages to Help 1,000 New Homeowners

Four years ago, the Jeremiah Group created, fought for, and won approval for a proposal to set aside $75 million for home ownership in Louisiana (with $52 Million for New Orleans).

The Times Picayune reports that "the $52.3 million 'soft-second mortgage' program has endured many starts and stops over the years. The program was approved nearly four years ago by the state and former Mayor Ray Nagin, but it never got off the ground.

The faith-based Jeremiah Group, however, continued to fight City Hall for the money until it finally became a reality."

[Map Credit: Times-Picayune]

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One LA / IESC Halts Proposal for Waste Transfer Station

"We believe healthy communities require willing institutions to engage with each other in the public square for the common good..."

-- IESC Statement

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OTOC Wins Rental Housing Reforms in Omaha

"An alliance of Omaha churches and community groups celebrated Tuesday after the City Council unanimously approved measures to increase fees for city building permits and inspections...About 30 members of the group Omaha Together One Community filled ...council chambers as seven of its members testified in favor of the amendments..."We know that many owners respond by fixing the problem. Our concern is with those who do not," said OTOC member Susan Kuhlmann of Omaha."

Since 2003, city fees had stagnated at $41 per re-inspection, a fee so low that 4,000 cases with unpaid fees remain open. The change would increase the fees to $125 per re-inspection over the next three years, high enough for an unpaid fee to appear on a landlord's credit report.

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