With a new mayor taking office December 3, Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI) helped set the tone for shifting San Diego's traditionally developer-centered policy agenda to a focus on fighting working poverty. On December 4, we started a two-week campaign to get 500 San Diegans to send letters to the new mayor urging him to "Make Poverty a Priority."
We passed that goal a week early and had more than 1,100 signers within 10 days.
Our online campaign included brief blog posts every day or two from labor and faith leaders as well as community members with first-hand experience of poverty. It also included a 30-second video, info graphics and original memes featuring superheroes, a Wanted poster and Mr. Rogers.
All are viewable on our Facebook page. At least 26 local organizations joined us in spreading the word.
While homelessness and unemployment are obvious elements of poverty, this campaign focused on increasing awareness of working poverty. CPI's 2012 analysis of Census poverty data had shown that a third of adults living below the federal poverty level in our region were employed. As our letter to the mayor said:
"Our city government can do much to combat working poverty, with policies that focus on living wages, access to affordable healthcare and creating quality jobs for San Diego residents."
That's the work ahead of us in 2013. Mayor Bob Filner, commenting on the Make Poverty a Priority campaign, has said he's with us on that.