📬 The Network Download: Centering Black workers, eliminating parking minimums, new resources & more! | November 2023

Here’s a look back and look forward at some of what’s happening around the network.

This past month, we’ve been celebrating the incredible life and mourning the heartbreaking loss of our friend and leader, Ady Barkan

The outpouring of love for Ady and his family that we’ve seen this month is a testament to the truly remarkable and incomparable human he was. Many of us will remember him for the impact he has made on our lives; many more will benefit from the legacy of his work.

LP is one of the many legacies Ady is leaving behind, alongside his fight for universal access to life-saving and life-giving healthcare. We honor his memory and carry on his unfinished work as we continue to fight. The road ahead is long, but Ady has paved so much of it for us already.

To learn more about Ady’s inspiring life’s work and find out how you can continue to build on it, we recommend reading the following piece, Ady Barkan Turned Dying Into an Act of Love, written by former LP Executive Director Sarah Johnson and NYC Comptroller & founding board member Brad Lander.

Black Local Electeds Urge Biden to Center Black Communities in EV Transition

With UAW workers ratifying contracts with the Big Three automakers, the need to center Black workers at this moment is more urgent than ever. That’s why more than 60 Black local electeds from across the country called on President Biden to use the full power of the presidency in support of auto workers organizing for good, fair jobs. In an open letter, the group of electeds – supported by LP and Jobs with Justice – highlighted the need to center the reality of Black workers, as the country rapidly transitions into the era of electric vehicle manufacturing. The majority of Black Americans live and work in the South, so ensuring that they have a path to organize and collectively bargain with their employers and within the industry is an essential part of a thriving multiracial democracy. “Automakers are moving their EV manufacturing and operations to the South in hopes of exploiting low labor costs and making higher profits. We refuse to stand idly by and let them repeat a cycle that harms Black communities and working families,” said Yterenickia Bell, Councilmember At-Large in Clarkston, GA. “We need leadership at all levels of government – especially local and federal – to ensure we use this EV transition to ensure workers are at the table and can build real power.” Read more →

NYC Passes Landmark Immigrant Workers Bill of Rights 

Early this month, the New York City Council passed landmark legislation creating the city’s first workers’ bill of rights, ensuring that all workers – regardless of immigration status – are aware of their rights and protections. The bill, which was first introduced by New York City Councilmember Shahanah Hanif, developed out of deep collaboration with unions and immigrant rights groups. Hanif explained that “compiling these rights and mandating distribution will help ensure immigrant workers, and especially newly arrived asylum seekers, know their rights on the job and about their pathways to legal status.” This comes after a report in August by Documented and ProPublica found that more than $203 million in wages had been stolen from 127,000 workers in New York over a five-year period – many of whom were immigrants. Read more →

LP Members Reelection Prove that our Vision is Effective and Popular

Election Day brought exciting wins across our network this year – proving that our vision of an equitable, multi-racial democracy is not only effective, but it’s popular too! Philadelphia progressives had a big night – with Kendra Brooks, Isaiah Thomas, and Jamie Gauthier all reelected to city council. New York City LP members won BIG as well – with 13 LPNY members reelected to city council! Minnesota progressives also won big – Minneapolis elected the most progressive council ever and St. Paul elected an all-female (majority women of color), majority progressive city council! Overall, 11 LPMN members across the state were reelected, including Mitra Jalali, Elliott Payne, Nadia Mohamed, and many more. In North Carolina, Javiera Caballero was reelected to Durham City Council, after championing the successful HEART community responder program. And in New Mexico, Johana Nayelly was reelected to the Las Cruces City Council – proving that her work creating a guaranteed basic income program for single-caregiver homes was enormously popular. We could go on forever shouting out our amazing members, but for the sake of space, we’ll just encourage you to check out our social media celebrations here. Read more → 

📅  SAVE THE DATE: 2024 National Convening!

That’s right – #LP2024 is happening in Oakland, CA on July 25-27! After doing it up big in St. Louis this year, we’re thrilled to be headed to the west coast.

We’ll be sending more information on registration, financial aid applications, and travel logistics in the coming months. In the meantime, please save the date and get excited!

Add it to your calendar:  iCal | Google | Outlook 

✔️ We’re Hiring! 

The LP team is growing and looking to fill one new position: California Coordinator! You can learn more about the position and apply here

🧰 New Safety Resource

Our friends at Vera just launched a new report detailing the critical role local offices of violence prevention and neighborhood safety (OVP/ONS) are playing across the country, including a roadmap for how local electeds like you can build and sustain such offices.

Check out the report here to learn more about how OVP/ONS can help you radilly transform governmental approaches to public safety in your community.

💻 Let us Answer your Questions about Procurement on Dec 6!

Interested in how to harness the power of procurement? Join us for a Q&A and discussion on Wednesday, December 6 at 3PM ET / 2 PM CT / 12 PM PT!  We’ll provide an overview of best practices for approaching procurement as a progressive elected official who is working to advance equity. Experts from the field will be eager to answer your questions, and we look forward to a robust discussion about the procurement issues that are arising across the network. Sign up here!

In the meantime, check out this report we published in collaboration with In The Public Interest this year on procurement!

🏘 New Policy Bulletin on Homelessness

Every year, local governments spend millions on violent sweeps to clear homeless encampments. Local elected officials are pushing back against destructive practices like sweeps, and have led the way in developing Housing First approaches and building out long-term solutions to homelessness. This resource includes examples of programs, funding mechanisms, and other tools that you may find helpful in working to shift local homeless response strategies and effectively address homelessness in your community.

Check out the policy bulletin here!

💭 Are you an LP member with a question? Ask the Help Desk!

The Local Progress Impact Lab works with members on policy, strategy, and communications support related to our core issue areas and other topics, by sharing our own knowledge and resources, making connections to other Local Progress members, and drawing on the issue area expertise of partners.

If you have a question, ask the helpdesk! Email helpdesk@localprogress.org.

Localities – Small and Large – Eliminate Parking Minimums 

In early November, Austin, Texas became the largest city in the country to stop requiring new developments to have a set amount of parking in an effort to fight climate change and boost more housing construction. The proposal’s author, Councilmember Zohaid “Zo” Qadri, pointed out that the city ensured parking access for people with disabilities. Carrboro, North Carolina made a similar move – eliminating residential parking minimums and instead, instituting maximums. Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils said the move will reduce the negative effects of parking requirements on housing costs and the environment. At least 35 cities or towns across the country have eliminated citywide parking mandates since 2017, including Seattle, WA and Buffalo, NY, where nearly 70% of the new homes built after parking reform passed would not have been allowed under previous rules. The results prove successful: less parking means more housing. Read more →

Local Leaders Step in to Help Address America’s Mental Health Crisis

Our country is in the midst of a devastating mental health crisis. Local leaders across the country are finding creative and proactive ways to help their communities. In Austin, TX, a new “one-stop shop” for trauma recovery opened on November 1st – it’s the first of its kind in Texas. The City of Austin and Travis County partnered with the African American Youth Harvest Foundation to provide comprehensive support to survivors at no cost, including therapy, crisis intervention, and legal help. Austin City Councilmember Vanessa Fuentes said that other cities who have trauma recovery centers have seen reduced rates of homelessness and of victimization. Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea said that that’s exactly what they’re trying to accomplish in Austin: “ break the cycle of harm that comes from violence and help people put their lives back together.” In Riverside County, CA, behavioral health specialists now have a new tool to serve community members suffering a mental health crisis: five specially-equipped vans. The vans provide a safe space for the behavioral health specialists to help unsheltered community members. Read more →

Localities Tackling the Incarceration-to-Homelessness Pipeline

Formerly incarcerated people are typically barred from federal housing assistance programs and discriminated against by landlords – making finding a place to live incredibly difficult. Communities across the country are taking steps to tackle this chronic problem. For example, Cuyahoga County, OH developed a housing justice plan that includes developing housing units available to individuals with criminal backgrounds, providing short-term funding to subsidize housing costs for folks leaving prison, and piloting a program to provide down-payment assistance or lease-to-own opportunities. The single most powerful move a locality can make to address this issue is to pass a fair chance housing policy. So far, such policies exist in Detroit, MI; Seattle, WA; Richmond, VA; Newark, NK; and Madison, WI. This past spring, a California lower court struck down fair chance housing policy impacting San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkely. Flint, MI is now considering the policy – the Flint City Council approved the creation of an ad-hoc committee to examine the policy this past summer, and are finding positive results. Read more →