Monday, June 14, 2010

SF Community Congress Economic Development Summit

Letter from the SF Community Congress Organizers

Hello progressive friends,

You’ve survived the mid-year elections and the annual budget crisis! Many of you have spent long hours developing revenue measures. Some of you have just returned inspired from the US Social Forum, ready to imagine that another San Francisco is possible! On Thursday July 8, 2010, we are inviting you to join community and worker organizations in building a progressive agenda to protect and expand economic opportunities for all San Franciscans.

This will be an important day building up to San Francisco's second citywide Community Congress in August – which will produce a progressive social, economic, and environmental roadmap. The "New Deal for the City" Community Congress is an exciting follow-up to the 1975 Congress that led to district elections and many other progressive gains. Since last Fall, members of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, the Human Services Network, Jobs with Justice, and numerous tenants rights, workers center, and environmental and economic justice organizations, have been meeting regularly to develop draft documents for the Congress. The principal goal is to develop a locally-actionable legislative and policy platform that we’ll encourage candidates for Supervisor (in 2010) and Mayor (in 2011) to support. This year's full Congress – including caucuses on economic development, housing, transportation, and health and human services – will take place at the USF campus on August 14-15.

You are all, in one way or another, important participants in community-based economic development (some of you have likely been playing a role already in this and other Congress working groups), and your participation in July 8's pre-Congress gathering is critical in order to discuss ideas, debate, and draft our economic development platform to bring to the August Congress. We need a strong turnout to create a strong progressive force for meaningful and lasting change in how – and for whom – the city works. We are inviting workers centers, small and back streets businesses, worker cooperatives, arts and cultural workers, urban agriculture, and students and low-wage workers: people and organizations that are key to a vibrant San Francisco future.

The attached framing document is a work-in-progress, emphasizing the critical role of the public sector as a major economic driver, with the responsibility to lead the city's economy, and on the importance of small businesses and cultural work that underpin other economic sectors. We believe the city should approach development in terms of economic opportunities for people who live and work in the city and who are most in need of dignified livelihood. We will discuss proposals for revenue and city budget reform that prioritize front-line workers, a municipal bank and city enterprises, labor standards, community jobs programs, green workforce development, arts and cultural economies, and light-industrial back streets businesses.

The July 8 Community Economic Development summit will be from 3:30 pm. to 8:30 p.m., at the SF Lighthouse Church (1337 Sutter Street @ Van Ness, San Francisco), appropriately located in the shadow of planned mega-development projects, where we will chart a different course for the future of San Francisco. A first working session will take place from 3:30 to 5:15, with a half hour break for light refreshments, and a second working session from 6:45 to 8:00. Please let us know by July 2 if you are planning to attend, or if you have any childcare needs (RSVP Also, if you cannot make it, but someone else from your organization or from allied progressive organizations can, feel free to pass on the information to them. For updates, and to review and comment online on the full draft recommendations of the working group, please visit

Thanks for your support and involvement,

Fernando Martí
Community Planning Program Director / Project Architect

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