San Diego Town hall brings together community, students and educators to Make it Fair

22894385_2032500563662715_6356633703169949226_nLast week 125 community members and students came together at San Diego City College. They joined community leaders and educators to talk about how we can use the power the community has built to close the commercial property tax loophole in Prop 13.

Speaking at last night’s event were Andrea Guerrero, Executive Director of Alliance San Diego; Kisha Borden, Vice President of San Diego Education Association; Ismahan Abdullahi, Director of Community Partnerships and Civic Engagement at Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans; Richard Barrera, San Diego School Board Member; Professor Isaac Martin, University of San Diego; Professor Jim Miller, San Diego City College; and Professor Kelly Mayhew, San Diego City College.

Guests answered questions and provided more context about how over $804 million a year for education and services could transform San Diego County.

When asked how closing the loophole will impact homeowners, Professor Martin reiterated that the proposal will not change current protections for homeowners or renters. “The main way closing the loophole impacts homeowners and renters is through the public services you’ll receive.”

Ismahan Abdullahi from PANA challenged everyone to take on the fight to Make It Fair. She reminded the packed room, “The message we send if we don’t close this loophole in Prop 13 is that corporations are more important than people.”

The town hall was hosted by ACCE, Alliance San Diego, California Calls, CFT, CTA, League of Women Voters, PANA, Pillars of the Community, PICO California and San Diego Education Association.

Make it Fair will host the last community town hall for 2017 in Bakersfield on November 9th.

Los Angeles is ready to close the loophole and “Make It Fair”

Last weekend 350 community members from across LA came together at Los Angeles Trade Tech College. They joined community leaders and local elected officials to talk about how we can use the power the community has built to close the commercial property tax loophole in Prop 13.

Speaking at last weekend’s event were State Sen. Holly Mitchell; Torie Osborn, Office of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Principal Deputy for Policy and Strategy; John Kim, Executive Director, Advancement Project; Clarissa Woo Hermosillo, ACLU of Southern California, Director of Economic Justice: Dr. Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California, Professor; Arlene Inouye, UTLA, Union Officer and Bargaining Co-Chair; and Alberto Retana, Community Coalition, President & CEO. Guests answered questions and provided more context about how over $3 billion a year designated locally for education and services could transform Los Angeles County.

State Senator Holly Mitchell (SD-30), a champion of the Make It Fair campaign since 2015, told the crowd “This is about making it fair. Corporations use our public infrastructure just like you and I. So, why shouldn’t they pay to help fix our streets?” and called the Make it Fair proposal an opportunity to correct a wrong.

The community college campus provided the perfect background to discuss the impact of $2.9 billion for education and services in Los Angeles. When Prop 13 passed Community Colleges in California were free, but now LATTC President Larry Frank pointed out after decades of increasing tuitions and housing cost a staggering 65% of Los Angeles’s community college students can’t afford balanced meals.

Alberto Retana, President & CEO of Community Coalition announced that after the years of working to pass state and local initiatives to fund education, housing, and reform the next big fight is reforming Prop 13, “There is one fight left that we’ve got to get together on” he said, “and that’s the fight to make sure that our schools and our communities get the money and resources we deserve to live like human beings in a community that treats us like human beings.”

The town hall was hosted by ACCE LA, California Partnership, Community Coalition, InnerCity Struggle, LA Forward, League of Women Voters, SCOPE, UTLA, California Calls, CTA, CFT, PICO California, and SEIU CA

Up next, Make it Fair will host community town halls in Chula Vista on October 18, San Diego on November 1, and Bakersfield on November 9.

San Bernardino Town Hall Ignites New Commitment to Reform Prop 13

Last Saturday nearly 200 community members packed into a small San Bernardino church to talk about closing the commercial property tax loophole in Prop 13 and raising $288 million a year for education and local services. The Town Hall – opened with a spoken word performance by local high school sophomore Sakinah Storks – focused heavily on the impacts of decades of disinvestment in San Bernardino and the grassroots power needed to reverse the damage.

Local elected officials and community leaders State Senator Connie Leyva, San Bernardino City Unified Board Member Abigail Medina, and Riverside Community College Board Member Bill Hedrick, Associate Director of Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement Pastor Benjamin Briggs, and California Calls Policy and Campaign Development Director Veronica Carrizales spoke passionately about why San Bernardino can’t afford to continue to let big corporations and the wealthy get away with not paying their fair share.

Board Member Hedrick noted that the impacts of Prop 13 were no accident and contributed to wealth inequality in the state. He called closing the loophole a good first step to addressing California having more poor people than any other place in the country. “It is immoral that we have people wandering the streets without a home, people unable to find a clinic or healthcare, schools that are inadequately funded and all of this is going on in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country.”

State Senator Connie Leyva announced her support of closing the commercial property tax loophole saying “I absolutely stand shoulder to shoulder with you in closing this loophole. It is absolutely disgraceful what has happened in our communities. I am with you, I am here, let’s make this happen together.”

Community leader and Executive Director of COPE, Rev. Samuel Casey called on several elected officials and their representatives to stand up and commit to meet with COPE and the Make it Fair campaign about the proposal. San Bernardino City Unified School Board Members Gwendolyn Rogers and Abigail Media, staffer for San Bernardino County Board Supervisor Josie Gonzales, Rialto Unified School Board District President Dina Walker, and a staffer for Republican Assembly Member Marc Steinorth all committed to meet with local groups to learn more.

The town hall meeting was hosted by Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement, California Partnership, SEIU 2015, Evolve, Inland Empire for Our Revolution, San Bernardino County Young Democrats, League of Women Voters -San Bernardino Chapter, Inland Congregations United for Change, ACLU, ACCE, Progressive Alliance of the Inland Empire and California Calls.

Chanting “Make It Fair” throughout the event, participants joined the nearly 100,000 people that have signed petitions supporting the Make It Fair Campaign and left the town hall with resources to spread the word in their communities and join future actions including talking with local leaders.

Six town halls are scheduled for September and October in communities across the state. RSVP for the next stop for Make it Fair this Saturday, October 7th in Los Angeles from 10am to 12pm.