State of the Region Conference Unites Bay Area Social Equity Leaders

We got together and made it happen. On April 26, Urban Habitat hosted 120 Bay Area leaders for the annual State of the Region Conference at The California Endowment’s Oakland Conference Center. On a day that threatened rain but eventually brought the sun, social justice advocates came together to talk about equity, how to problem-solve, act, and organize.

Urban Habitat President; CEO, Allen Fernandez Smith kicked off the event by celebrating the victories and achievements of the more than 80 organizations in attendance, while outlining the important work being done in the region and all that still needs to be done moving forward.

Panel sessions explored the challenges in more depth, ranging across the board, from local and regional planning issues that affect low-income communities and people of color to the changing geography of race and class, the dissolution of redevelopment agencies, and regional agency reform. Workshops were offered to help social justice advocates build capacity to develop the tools they need to win regional campaigns, fund regional advocacy work, and build stronger inside-outside relationships with progressive decision-makers.

Press Release: Richmond General Plan Passes!

PRESS RELEASE                                    
For Immediate Release                                                    

Richmond General Plan Passes!

RICHMOND, Calif. –On Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 12:44 am, the Richmond City Council voted to pass the General Plan 2030 (GP) with a vote of 5-2—Councilmembers Booze and Bates voted ‘no’.  Nearly 30 members of the REDI (Richmond Equitable Development Initiative) collaborative filed into an already packed City Council chamber around 8pm Tuesday evening for the second and final round of the GP adoption hearing. The GP agenda item didn’t begin until 10:45pm. Roughly two hours into deliberations, the Council voted unanimously to approve the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), then minutes later to approve the Plan.
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REDI's Christy Leffall on KPFA's Morning Mix - April 19, 2012

Listen to Christy Leffall, land-use program coordinator and coordinator of the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) at Urban Habitat, on KPFA's Morning Mix hosted by Richmond Planning Commissioner Andres Soto that aired on April 19, 2012 at 8:00 am. Leffall gives a recap of the General Plan Rally at the Richmond City Council Chambers on April 17th and subsequent adoption hearing of the General Plan with the Environmental Impact Report, which REDI has been working on for over six years.

REDI members turned out in significant numbers to this meeting. The vote was tabled until next week because the general plan agenda took over four hours, one hour for the staff’s presentation, and another three hours for public testimony where 111 speakers had signed in to speak. The upcoming City council vote on Tuesday, April 24th, 6:30pm at Richmond City Hall. Listen to an edited version of the segment here (or download). Visit, KPFA to hear the full version.

Christy Leffall is currently a Land Use Program Coordinator working in Contra Costa County. Leffall is coordinator of the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) in Richmond, CA, which advocates for the adoption and implementation of equitable elements within the city’s updated General Plan. 
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Support the Richmond General Plan on Tuesday, April 17

Richmond transit village, where BART buses, and Amtrak come together. © 2008 Scott BraleyDear Richmond Community Allies: Finally, after six years of community-­based planning, education, and advocacy efforts, the Richmond City Council will vote to adopt the General Plan.

We, the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) are excited to attend the General Plan Adoption Hearing to support and urge our allies to put community health and the quality-­of-­life of city residents first!

When: Tuesday, April 17, 6:30pm
Where: Community Services Building 440 Civic Center Plaza Richmond, CA

We are optimistic that our allies on the City Council will pass the Planning Commission’s recommendations to the General Plan, but We Still Need Your Help!

We ask that you please commit to supporting REDI’s General Plan campaign by doing one or more of the following:

• Call and email our allies on the City Council to adopt the General Plan
• Bring your friends and family to the April 17th adoption hearing
• Speak in support of the General Plan at the adoption hearing
• Forward this attached letter to all of your community allies (Download the PDF here)

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6 Wins for Social Equity Network and the Regional Transportation Plan

6 Wins Photo 2 c. 2012 Urban Habitat/Christine Joy FerrerWho We Are

The 6 Wins for Social Equity Network works to ensure that the Bay Area’s transit, housing, jobs, and sustainability policies break the patterns of segregation, sprawl, and pollution that have plagued our communities for generations. We are a group of more than 30 social justice, faith, public health, and environmental organizations that came together in 2010 to advance:

(1) Affordable Housing,
(2) Robust and Affordable Local Transit Service,
(3) Investment Without Displacement,
(4) Healthy and Safe Communities,
(5) Economic Opportunity and
(6) Community Power.

We believe that by working together, we can build a stronger and more equitable future for everyone.

Urban Habitat CEO: Equity Is Key to Bay Area's Prosperity

Allen Fernandez SmithThe Golden State’s tremendous diversity will be the key to its future economic success—if its leaders take action to increase fairness and opportunity. Equity is not only a moral imperative—it is also an economic one.

These are the key messages of the new report California’s Tomorrow: Equity is the Superior Growth Model, authored by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE). The report was released at a legislative briefing earlier this month hosted by PolicyLink and the California Legislative Tri-Caucus, and was attended by legislative staff and nearly 40 advocates from all parts of the state.

Below is a reflection on the report from Urban Habitat President & CEO Allen Fernandez Smith:

Urban Habitat fully supports PolicyLink and PERE’s core finding in the California Report that to create a prosperous California, we must address current systemic inequities, avoid creating new ones, and serve residents of all races and incomes equally.

Urban Habitat's Bob Allen on KPFA's Morning Mix - March 26, 2012

Bob Allen, director of transportation justice, Urban Habitat and Larry Hanley, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, speak on transportation justice on KPFA's Morning Mix with with Adrienne and Steve that aired March 26, 2012 at 8:00am. Listen to an edited version of the segment here (or download). Visit, KPFA to hear the full version.

Bob Allen, Director of Transportation Justice. His background and experience include community planning and policy work both in the United States and overseas with international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). While at UH, Bob led the successful 2008 Campaign to help pass a regional measure, Measure VV, which raised funds to keep bus passes affordable for seniors, youth, and disabled riders. Currently, Bob is leading UH’s efforts on federal and state transportation advocacy. Bob received both his Bachelors Degree in Political Science and History and his Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers University.

Petition: Support Free Public Transportation for Youth. MTA Board will vote on April 3rd.

We're in the home stretch in San Francisco with the Free MUNI for All Youth campaign. On Tuesday, April 3, MTA's board will take up proposals for Youth Transit:

1) Status Quo: Keep a Reduced fare pass for Youth - now $21 but has risen in cost 100% in two years ($10 - $21)
2) Fee For All Youth - OUR Proposal and Ask for next Tuesday
3) Reduced fare/passes for All from current costs
4) Free for All Low Income (free/reduced lunch) - this is the proposal MTA leadership supports

Call To Action, Re-Fund Transit, Make Banks Pay!

Free MUNI Youth Pass Campaign and National Day of Action for Public Transit Funding. ©2011 Joe Feria-Galicia/Urban HabitatFor the past five years, working people in the Bay Area have faced brutal cuts to vital services. Bus riders have been hit especially hard, some losing more than 15% of their transit service. This means longer waits, higher costs, and missed appointments.

Banks Must Pay
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Banks that wrecked our economy continue to overcharge our public agencies—the Metropolitan Transportation Committee (MTC), for one— millions of dollars on bad loan deals.

What You Can Do
On Feb. 20th through 24th, join bus riders, ACCE, Urban Habitat, and our allies in the Transportation Justice Working Group, as well as the 6 Wins For Social Equity, for a Week of Actions, to demand that banks renegotiate interest-rate swap agreements.

Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute Information Sessions


Urban Habitat's Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute Information Sessions

Join us to learn about the nomination process for our 2012 cohort! Come hear how the BCLI has empowered and supported the next generation of advocate commissioners working for and representing the needs of low-income communities and communities of color, and learn about the nomination, interview, and selection process. Alumni will be on hand to answer your questions and share their experiences.

February 16, 2012
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
The California Endowment
1111 Broadway, 7th Floor


February 29, 2012 
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. 
Easter Hill United Methodist Church
3911 Cutting Boulevard

March 23, 2012
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 
The Greenlining Institute
1918 University Avenue, 2nd Floor
San Francisco
March 30, 2012
10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Eric Quezada Center for Culture & Politics
518 Valencia Street

RSVP to Riana Shaw Robinson at riana[at]urbanhabitat.org.

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