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The Center on Policy Initiatives is a research and action institute dedicated to creating economic prosperity, sustainable communities and a healthy environment for all. CPI serves a unique role in the San Diego region providing the analysis, policy solutions, education and alliances that advance social and economic justice.


Happening at CPI

Beautiful actions work through amazing people

  By Jeffrey DeVante McKennie | SEJ 2016 Fellow Coming into SEJ as a new fellow has been an exciting process, "one for the books," I think the saying goes. Determined and ready to learn was the mindset I was in when stepping foot into my site on the first day. Little did I know that I was in for a big treat as I began to integrate myself more into the inner workings of UDW (United Domestic Workers of America) day after day.  Continue reading

We are on the front lines of the impact, but we are also on the frontlines of the solution

By Krystl Fabella | SEJ 2016 Fellow When one thinks of San Diego, a flourishing beachside city is pictured. One does not know or think about the cities and neighborhoods that are interspersed between polluting industries, enclosed by expanding freeways, and beside the port and its many welders and warehouses. On the first day working at the Environmental Health Coalition, my supervisor Tuan, who is an expert community organizer, drove me through City Heights. The diversity of the city and layout is unmatched anywhere. In just a few blocks, one passes by Somali, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Karen, and other ethnic communities. “But we wanna keep it, we wanna keep the culture,” Tuan says, as we walked past different small businesses and said hello to a few community members.   Here, the fight is two-fold: improving the quality of life for residents so that the communities and culture can thrive, and fighting for the preservation of culture against gentrification, which pushes residents out. “The children here are being affected,” he explained thoughtfully as we approached an elementary school next to an auto body shop. "Trucks would just park in front of the school all day, engines running, and all the pollution would go to children's lungs. Nicer schools never have to worry about that! So the kids have higher rates of asthma. EHC fought that, so now they can’t park here.” Continue reading

We do not stand alone in our fight for what is right!

By Tylar Campbell | SEJ 2016 Fellow  Coming into the Students for Economic Justice fellowship I expected to gain experience with organizing, yet I have been provided with more than I could have ever imagined. In the first week I received an opportunity to engage myself in the history and lineage of not only unions but the ever changing labor movement, as the fight for workers’ rights has evolved over time. This is critical to note as we are currently celebrating the achievement of Proposition I passing in June of 2016; raising the minimum wage for workers right here in San Diego. We learned about non-profit organizations in particular 501 (c) 3s and how they operate and their capacity to create change. We also took a look into the economic landscape of San Diego. Although I have lived in San Diego for 17 years, I have never had the opportunity to look at San Diego in such depth and analysis. I can now envision a future for San Diego that functions at maximum efficiency while cultivating a population that can be self-sufficient. As the world continues to place what seems like obstacles in our lives, I have noticed they have really been stepping stones to our success. Listening to the fellows speak of life experiences that got us to this point, I noticed we share a similar resilience that shines through.  The SEJ 2016 fellowship has begun to take shape molding new avenues and networks for social justice to make crater like impacts as we take on the institutionalized establishment that amplifies this economic warfare against our youth. Our youth who are bearing the burden of a society that perpetuates inequality and poverty at such magnitudes for people of color… But we do not stand alone in our fight for what is right!

Minimum Wage Impacts

Documented Impacts of Minimum Wage Increases on Job Growth, Business Health, Consumer Prices, and Family Spending An overview of the U.S. experience, with new findings from San Diego County   June 2016 Peter Brownell, PhD   Introduction and Summary DOWNLOAD REPORT HERE As the cost of living varies from place to place and increases over time, many states and cities have set minimum wages above the federal level and raised them repeatedly. In just the 15 years from 2000 through 2014, the federal minimum wage rose three times and 30 states raised their own wage floors an average of five times each to various levels above the federal wage.[1] In addition, at least nine cities and counties enacted higher local minimum wages during the same time period, with many more following suit or considering proposals to do so since 2014. [2]The minimum wage was first put in place by the U.S. federal government in 1938. It is one of our nation’s most tried and tested policies for improving the lives of the working poor and supporting economic growth through consumer spending. Continue reading

Impacts of Proposition I on San Diego Workers

Impacts of Proposition I on San Diego Workers Cost of Living and Who will Benefit from the Minimum Wage & Earned Sick Days Policy  Proposition I is an initiative on the June 7, 2016, ballot in the City of San Diego that would raise the minimum wage for all jobs in the city to $11.50 in two steps. If Proposition I passes, the city minimum wage will be set at $10.50 right away, and will rise to $11.50 on January 1, 2017. Starting in 2019, it will increase with inflation each year. The measure also gives all workers in the city the right to earn up to five paid sick days per year, two more than are now provided by state legislation. The Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Days policy was passed in 2014 by the San Diego City Council, to provide relief for more than 170,000 people who work for wages too low to make ends meet in high-cost San Diego. The policy was to take effect in 2015, but was stalled by a petition drive that placed it on the June 7 ballot. Continue reading