Challenged by a local activist at the District 4 inaugural party on Monday night to make fighting poverty a priority in his administration, newly elected Mayor Bob Filner responded by quoting President Franklin Roosevelt’s rejoinder to activists in the early days of the New Deal: “I agree with you, now make me do it.”
And that’s exactly what the Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI) is doing. They’ve launched a letter writing campaign seeking to gather 500 letters by December 14th urging the Mayor to make poverty a priority in San Diego.
A statement by the group explains the rationale:
Together we can fight for strong city policies to combat working poverty through living wages, access to affordable healthcare and the creation of quality jobs.
The campaign is seen as a push back against business interests intent on repealing San Diego’s Living Wage Law, requiring businesses that contract with the City to pay their workers more than the minimum wage. Right wing groups around the state have been actively working to undermine prevailing wage requirements. Anti-poverty and union groups favor such laws.
Following is a copy of the letter CPI is urging local residents to sign. You join this effort by electronically “signing” the message to Mayor Filnerhere. The facts listed in the letter are from CPI’s most recent poverty and income report, which you can find here.
Subject: Mayor Filner: Make Poverty a Priority
Dear Mayor Filner,
Congratulations on your new job! I’m excited about San Diego‘s future with you as our mayor.
As you set the agenda for your first year in office, I urge you to make the fight against working poverty a priority.
It’s a tragedy that anyone in San Diego should live in poverty, especially those who work hard every day and still struggle to support themselves or a family. Consider these facts from the Center on Policy Initiatives’ analysis of census data:
• More than 206,000 women, men and children in the City of San Diego live below the national poverty level. That’s one in six of our neighbors.
• A third of all adults living in poverty in the San Diego region are employed. They are paid less than the national poverty level (about $11,500 for a single person, about $23,000 for a family of four).
• The actual cost of living self-sufficiently in San Diego is more than double the poverty level.
• Real wages are dropping in 10 of the region’s 15 largest industries.
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.
When all working people can support themselves and have money in their pockets to spend at local businesses, the entire city will benefit and we’ll finally be on our way to rebuilding our local economy.
As Mayor, you can make poverty a priority. I will eagerly stand with you in this crucial fight for the working people of San Diego.
Excerpted from the Starting Line at SanDiegoFreePress.org