Click here for West/Southwest IAF Key Victories in 2018

'Nevadans for the Common Good' Educates Constituency on Payday Lending

Leaders with 'Nevadans for the Common Good' have begun building a constituency of voters who are educated about the dangers of payday lending by holding civic academies on the subject.  The next civic academy is scheduled to take place at Las Vegas University United Methodist Church.

Community Groups Urge Nevadans to Learn Risks of Payday Loans, Public News Service


MOC Advances 'Just Cause Eviction' Ordinance

Despite fear of eviction, forty tenants in San Rafael, CA worked with Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) and Marin Legal Aid to fight back against a 40% rent increase that puts most of their families at risk of homelessness or displacement.  After a change in ownership, rent was increased by $700 a month with only 60 days notice, from $1,900 to $2,700 by September 1st.  Tenant and community leaders argued that the rapid rent hike would leave families homeless and deprive 60 schoolchildren from stability in their home lives and education.

Marin Organizing Committee called upon the landlord to negotiate with the tenants and called upon the City of San Rafael and the County of Marin to put stronger renter protections in place.  San Rafael City Mayor Gary Phillips, Marin County Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, and San Rafael School Superintendent Mike Watenpaugh pledged support moving forward.  MOC ultimately shepherded a negotiated deal in which the rent increase would be phased in over 16 months (by 2020).

Having successfully advocated for a Mandatory Mediation Ordinance in 2017, MOC is now pushing for passage of a 'Just Cause' Eviction ordinance which would establish a set of criteria for eviction and provide stronger protections for tenants in a County with historically weak recourse for renters. Leaders packed a Marin County Board of Supervisors workshop to support such an ordinance, including clergy, tenants, and apartment owners who testified that such an ordinance would not hurt landlords operating in good faith.  The Board decided to move forward, directing County staff to prepare options for consideration at an upcoming meeting. 

[Photo Credit: James Cacciatore, Marin Independent Journal]

Marin Supervisors Want to Move Ahead with 'Just Cause' Ordinance, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]

Marin Faith Community Rallies Behind Families Facing Huge Rent Increase, Catholic San Francisco [pdf]

San Rafael Canal Landlords, Tenants Strike Deal on Rent Hikes, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]

San Rafael Activists Decry Canal Rent Surge, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]

Evening News Segment (Segment 7, Minute 21:38), KPFA 94.1

Video Clip

George Russell: Troubled Waters in San Rafael's Canal, Marin Independent Journal [jpg]


COPS/Metro, Austin Interfaith Lift Municipal Wages to $15/Hour

Four years after launching living wage campaigns in their respective cities, COPS/Metro and Austin Interfaith leaders celebrated hard won hikes in the lowest wages paid to municipal workers in both San Antonio and Austin. This week, both cities become the first in Texas to set a $15/hour wage floor for city workers. In Austin, this new standard additionally applies to contracted workers, part-time and temporary workers AND to employees of private businesses receiving economic incentives (more in next section).

Leaders also leverage increased city investments in long-term workforce development ($2.4 Million for Capital IDEA and $2.2 Million for Project QUEST) plus affordable housing (San Antonio). Bexar County announced that they, too, would pay their lowest earning employees at least $15/hour. Austin leaders successfully intervened for programs under threat of budget cuts, including PrimeTime after-school programming and parent support specialists in the Austin Independent School District.

Additional background:

Press Statement, COPS/Metro Alliance
Press Statement, Austin Interfaith
San Antonio Ranked Among Nation's Highest-Poverty Cities, Rivard Report
City of San Antonio boosts municipal wages (2015)
City of Austin passes 'Living Budget' and closes labor loophole (2015)


Together Baton Rouge Discovers $400M Omission in Property Tax Records

After succeeding in changing how economic incentives are granted in Louisiana, and teaching local municipalities and school districts how much tax exemptions cost the people they serve, Together Baton Rouge (TBR) leaders identified another source of public revenue loss: property tax roll omissions. 

Vigilant leaders of TBR discovered that approximately $400 million in taxable property (at four Baton Rouge facilities owned by ExxonMobil) appears to have been omitted from the preliminary 2018 property assessment rolls provided by the East Baton Rouge Parish Tax Assessor. 

Left uncorrected, this apparent omission of taxable property would result in a one-year loss of approximately $5.9 million in revenue to East Baton Rouge Parish taxing bodies over the next fiscal year, including a loss of $2.7 million to East Baton Rouge Parish public schools in the current fiscal year (a year in which the school district is running a multi-million deficit).

Holding Their Feet to the Fire, Bayou Brief

Letter to Tax Assessor, Together Baton Rouge

Attachments, Together Baton Rouge


Marin Organizing Committee Shepherds Deal Between Landlord, Tenants

Despite fear of eviction, forty tenants in San Rafael, CA worked with Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) and Marin Legal Aid to fight back against a 40% rent increase that puts most of their families at risk of homelessness or displacement.  After a change in ownership, rent was increased by $700 a month with only 60 days notice, from $1,900 to $2,700 by September 1st.  Tenant and community leaders argued that the rapid rent hike would leave families homeless and deprive 60 schoolchildren from stability in their home lives and education.

Marin Organizing Committee called upon the landlord to negotiate with the tenants and called upon the City of San Rafael and the County of Marin to put stronger renter protections in place. San Rafael City Mayor Gary Phillips, Marin County Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, and San Rafael School Superintendent Mike Watenpaugh pledged support moving forward.

MOC ultimately shepherded a negotiated deal in which the rent increase would be phased in over 16 months (by 2020) instead of by September 1.  “I’m happy with the result,” said Timoteo Maldonado, a tenant leader and father of three, “...at least it gives us time to make a plan.” 

Having successfully advocated the passage of a Mandatory Mediation Ordinance in 2017, MOC is now pushing for passage of a Just Cause Eviction ordinance which would establish a set of criteria for eviction and provide stronger protections for tenants in a County with historically weak recourse for renters. Leaders plan to go to the Marin County Board of Supervisors meeting this week to support a just-cause eviction ordinance.

[Photo Credit: Alan Dep, Marin Independent Journal]

San Rafael Canal Landlords, Tenants Strike Deal on Rent Hikes, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]

San Rafael Activists Decry Canal Rent Surge, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]

Evening News Segment (Segment 7, Minute 21:38), KPFA 94.1

Video Clip

George Russell: Troubled Waters in San Rafael's Canal, Marin Independent Journal [jpg]


Austin Interfaith Protects Living Wage Requirement for Taxpayer Subsidized Jobs

On the eve of Labor Day weekend, Austin Interfaith leaders celebrated the protection of living wages for all jobs subsidized by City of Austin taxpayers and applauded the Austin City Council for adopting a $15 an hour living wage floor requirement as a key feature of its expanded Economic Development Incentive Program.

Says David Guarino of All Saints Episcopal Church, “Austin Interfaith recognizes Mayor Steve Adler, City Manager Spencer Cronk and the members of the City Council for hearing and acting on our concerns.”

“Tonight, the Austin City Council has set a national standard for urban economic incentive programs by recognizing that people deserve the dignity of a living wage from employers who receive economic incentives,” Guarino.

Austin Interfaith has worked years to encourage the city to implement living wage standards for city-subsidized companies.

Support Your Local and Small Businesses, Austin Chronicle

Council Set to Approve Incentive Plan to Help Local, Small Business, CBS Austin [pdf]

Council Considers Which Strings to Attach to Corporate Incentives, Austin Monitor [pdf]

Video of Austin Interfaith Testimony



Landlord Puts Families at Risk of Homelessness; Immigrant Tenants & MOC Fight Back Despite the Odds

Despite fear of eviction, forty tenants in San Rafael, CA worked with Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) and Marin Legal Aid to fight back against a 40% rent increase that puts most of their families at risk of homelessness or displacement. After a change in ownership, rent was increased by $700 a month with only 60 days notice.

Marin Organizing Committee called upon the landlord to negotiate with the tenants and called upon the City of San Rafael and the County of Marin to put stronger renter protections in place. San Rafael City Mayor Gary Phillips, Marin County Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, and San Rafael School Superintendent Mike Watenpaugh pledged support moving forward.

Having successfully advocated the passage of a Mandatory Mediation Ordinance in 2017, MOC is now pushing for passage of a Just Cause Eviction ordinance which would establish a set of criteria for eviction and provide stronger protections for tenants in a County with historically weak recourse for renters.

San Rafael Activists Decry Canal Rent Surge, Marin Independent Journal

Evening News Segment (Segment 7, Minute 21:38), KPFA 94.1

Video Clip

George Russell: Troubled Waters in San Rafael's Canal, Marin Independent Journal 


DAI Parish ID Effort Featured in HBO Special

In response to undocumented families expressing fear about reporting crimes -- even when they themselves are victims -- because of an inability demonstrate who they are, Dallas Area Interfaith and the Dallas Catholic Diocese worked together to create a solution. 

Last year, 1,500 leaders stood with Bishop Edward Burns to invite three police department chiefs to allow their officers to accept parish identification cards, in order to help build trust between the community and the police.  Police department chiefs from Carrollton, Farmers Branch and Dallas agreed.

This year, parishes in the Dallas Catholic Diocese have issued tens of thousands of parish identification cards to parishioners, who now feel more confident in relating to the police.  HBO covers this story in a special segment: 

Catholic Church is Now Issuing Undocumented Immigrants ID Cards, HBO


TMO Gets Out The Vote for Harris Co. Bond Election

TMO leaders organized seven civic academies across Harris County to educate voters about an upcoming County Bond election.  Guests, including Bayou City Initiative’s Jim Blackburn, Harris County Flood District Representatives, and Commissioner Ellis’ staff, joined the meetings.

TMO leaders then organized follow up phone banks to reach thousands of voters during the early voting period.