Helping the Homeless is a Moral Imperative: Vote #YesOnH!


Here's quoting from a beautiful essay about why ending homelessness is a moral issue, written by Matthew King, communications director for Heal the Bay. Heal the Bay has joined 300 other organizations, cities, and elected officials who have endorsed Measure H on the March 7 ballot with the goal of ending homelessness in LA County. You can see the names of the 62 faith leaders, congregations and faith-based organizations that have endorsed Measure H below the excerpt from Matt's essay (or you can read his whole essay HERE):

 . . . Welcome to L.A.—the homeless capital of the United States. Clinging underneath highways, sleeping in underbrush, passed out on doorsteps, roaming parks and beaches, these largely forgotten souls haunt our public spaces and our civic conscience. . .

. . . And while many live in the shadows, most homeless hide in plain sight. . . 

 . . . A spirit of resolve is palpable among the community and business groups supporting the initiative, which includes Heal the Bay. I felt it in the packed, cheering room when the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the ballot measure late last year. A wide swath of the county’s elite, from LACMA chief Michael Govan to billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad, voiced their support.

Homelessness is foremost a moral issue for Heal the Bay. To be clear, water quality suffers in our ocean and rivers when the homeless lack access to basic sanitation. But our focus is ensuring basic human dignity and access to clean water for all.

Now is the time for everyday citizens to uplift our region’s most vulnerable populations. We can’t wait any longer. It’s easy to get lost in the alphabet soup of initiatives on crowded ballots. But this measure is easy to remember and hard to ignore—H is for humanity.

Endorsers include:

Faith-based organizations
Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
AME Ministerial Alliance
Bend the Arc
Black Jewish Justice Alliance
Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles
Korean Churches for Community Development
LA Metropolitan Churches
LA Voice
Latino Muslim Association of America
One LA (coalition of 24 faith & non-profit groups & schools)
The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Los Angeles

Chosen Generation Fellowship Church
Holman UMC
Rose City Church
Sholem Community Organization
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
St. Agatha Catholic Church
Temple Ahavat Shalom
Ward AME Church

Faith Leaders
Rt. Reverand J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
Bishop R. Guy Erwin of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Bishop Grant Hagiya of the California‐Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church
Rabbi Sarah Hronsky of Temple Beth Hillel, Valley Village, and Vice President, Board of Rabbis of Southern California
Rev. Linda Culbertson, General Presbyter, Presbytery of the Pacific
Rev. Dr. Felix Villanueva, Conference Minister, United Church of Christ in Southern California and Nevada
Canon Robert Williams, President Interreligious Council of Southern California
Rabbi Sarah Bassin
Rabbi Haim Beliak
Father Gregory Boyle
Rabbi Sharon Brous, IKAR
Rev. John E. Cager, Ward AME Church
Rabbi Ken Chasen, Leo Baeck Temple
Rabbi Aryeh Cohen
Rabbi Neil Comess‐Daniels
Jaime Edwards‐Acton, Clergy, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Rabbi Anthony Elman
Rabbi Noah Farkas, Valley Beth Shalom, LAHSA Commissioner
Rabbi Morley T. Feinstein, Past President of the Board of Rabbis
Rev. Heidi Worthen Gamble
Rabbi Laura Geller
Rabbi Dr. Miriyam Glazer
Rabbi Susan Goldberg
Rev. Dr. Harold E. Kidd, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Inglewood
Rabbi Jonathan Klein
Rabbi Naomi Levy
Rev. Michael A. Mata, First Church of the Nazarene
Rabbi Robin Podolsky
Rabbi Laurence Scheindlin
Rabbi Ahud Sela
Rabbi Joel Simonds, University Synagogue & the Religious Action Center of Reform Judiasm
Rabbi Ron Stern, Stephen Wise Synagogue
Rev. Gary Bernard Williams, Saint Mark United Methodist Church
Rabbi David Wolpe
Cantor Keith Spencer‐Shapiro, University Synagogue
Yolanda Brown, Leader, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church
Beatriz Camargo de Sandoval, Community Leader, LA Voice, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
Jacquelyn Dupont‐Walker, President, Ward Economic Development Corporation
Robert Martinez, Staff, Our Mother of Good Counsel Church
Kathleen Petrini, Parishioner, Holy Family, So. Pasadena
Nick Warnes, Leader, Northland Village Church

LA Times Endorsement: Homeless people don't just need housing—they need services to get and stay housed. Vote yes on Measure H.


The LA Times published this endorsement Sunday: For homeless people to rebuild their lives, they need permanent housing. But that’s just one of the building blocks to a new, functional life. Homeless people need services to help them leave behind the isolation of life on the streets, get housed and stay housed, and those services are as varied as the reasons they tumbled into homelessness. Someone suffering from psychosis or depression needs mental health care. Someone with a drug addiction needs substance abuse treatment. Someone who’s been laid off and can’t pay the rent needs a short-term rental subsidy and help getting a new job. 

Measure H on the Los Angeles County ballot would raise the sales tax a quarter of a cent and generate about $355 million annually for that essential array of services. Funds from the measure can be spent only on homelessness services — including prevention — and the tax expires in 10 years. To help homeless people stay housed and off the streets, vote for Measure H.

This initiative does not duplicate Proposition HHH, the bond measure that city voters overwhelmingly approved last November to supply more housing for the homeless. Instead, it complements HHH by paying for the services to be provided in the city’s new supportive housing units for the chronically homeless. If housing is the hardware, services are the software that make it run.

Read the rest of the Times' endorsement HERE.

SIGN PETITION Telling Trump & Secretary Chao: Don't Cut Public Transit


From our transit allies at TransFormCA in the Bay Area: Clean, fast, reliable public transit gives us independence and freedom. It is one of the strategies Americans need to use less foreign oil, which saves families money and keeps us safe. Public transportation is better for our health and the environment, and it connects people to opportunity. These are American values, not partisan ones.

And yet the GOP is playing politics with public transportation, in an early test of the Trump Administration. All 14 of California’s House Republicans have written a letter asking Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to block a pending grant that will ultimately support California's high speed rail project until an audit of the project is completed. The letter cites cost increases, reductions in project scope, and a failure to attract private investment

The letter also asks to stop appropriation of a $650 million grant to the Bay Area's Caltrain commuter rail agency to install an electrical system that would ultimately be used by high speed rail, but would also allow Caltrain to provide cleaner, faster, more frequent, and safer train service that will serve many more riders.

If the GOP can convince the Administration to kill this project—in Silicon Valley, one of the economic engines of the country—it will embolden them to come after public transit funding anywhere.

Caltrain has already signed contracts to start the electrification project on March 1. If the Trump Administration holds off on approving these funds this month, Caltrain won’t be able to honor those contracts and would be liable for penalties, putting the whole project in jeopardy.

Politics shouldn't get in the way of building smart infrastructure with broad environmental and economic benefits. PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION to Secretary Chao and the entire California congressional delegation on Feb 15. We have nearly 1,000 signatures but we want 25,000!


Help 47k People Get Off the Streets & Out of the Rain: Pledge to Vote #YesOnH!


Linda, who uses a wheelchair, sleeps every night outside the Santa Monica Library in the cold and the rain. Arien, who sleeps in a tent under a bridge, says she feels lucky when she wakes up and hasn’t been robbed, and talks about how hard it is to get a job when she has no shower and no phone. Their stories about surviving on the streets are both heartbreaking and inspirational.

Pledge to vote YES on Measure H on the March 7 ballot to help end homelessness now--and encourage others to do the same! 

LA has become one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation and it’s causing a massive homeless crisis in nearly every city in LA County. There are 47,000 people sleeping on the streets on any given night, including women and young children, seniors, veterans, foster kids, the mentally ill, people with disabilities, and those struggling with addiction. Homelessness in LA County has increased nearly 20% in the past 4 years and it’s time to do something about it.

Please pledge to vote #YesOnH and help spread the word.

Homelessness is an extraordinarily complex problem that requires collaboration among cities, public agencies and community partners. LA County started planning a coordinated Homeless Initiative in 2015 with 47 strategies including mental health counseling, job training, substance abuse treatment, help with rent, expanded outreach, rapid re-housing, more affordable housing and improved case management. Measure H on the March 7 ballot would provide $350 million annually toward these service for 10 years beginning in July.

LA County could become the first community in America to vote to end homelessness--and to put our money where our hearts are! How cool is that?!

Please join us! #fight4homeless! #YesOnH! Pledge to vote. 

You can listen to interviews with both Linda and Arien at, a website that provides a space where people who are homeless can tell their stories. Visit the #YesOnH website for more info about the Measure H campaign.


75 Orgs Sign Letter Opposing CA Senate's Big Transport Funding Bill


Re: SB 1 (Beall) - Transportation Funding - Oppose Unless Amended

Dear Chairman Beall,

The undersigned organizations have a strong interest in how California invests federal and state transportation dollars, and our coalition has actively participated in the transportation funding dialogue throughout the last two years. We will support a proposal that includes the five recommendations we outline in principle below, and hope to work with your staff and other transportation stakeholders to craft those solutions. However, since we have not made progress toward those amendments to date, we regretfully oppose Senate Bill 1 at this time.

We appreciate the importance of maintaining our road infrastructure, and the urgency to find a funding solution as maintenance costs continue to climb. We also support your proposal for up to $150 million to the Active Transportation Program and 3.5 percent diesel sales tax to State Transit Assistance. In addition, we support investments to electrify freight trucks and equipment and reduce burdens on communities by the goods movement sector as proposed in SB 4, and want to see those provisions accompany additional infrastructure investment to the Trade Corridor Improvement Fund.

However, we still strongly believe that funding for our roads must be balanced with investments in a future transportation system that protects our environment, promotes social and economic justice, and improves our communities. We request amendments to address the following:

1. Advance social and economic justice by ensuring that significant investments from this package--not only from the ATP or GGRF programs--provide meaningful benefits for low income communities and people of color who are disproportionately in need of greater mobility, pay more than their fair share of the regressive taxes proposed, and bear the brunt of the health and safety impacts of our transportation system. 

 2. Dramatically increase sustainable funding for operating public transit and reducing fares, to provide high-quality, efficient transit service especially for low-income individuals and families.

3. Align transportation investments with federal, health-based clean air and our 2030 and 2050 climate standards by prioritizing projects that reduce vehicle miles traveled, while also improving air quality, physical health, and access for those without a car. Any funding that could potentially expand freeways or add new road capacity must be tracked and mitigated with projects that contribute to attainment of our air quality and climate standards. 

4. Increase Expertise and Accountability at the California Transportation Commission, which is responsible for oversight and approval of federal and state transportation dollars, and advises the Legislature on transportation policy. Future appointees to the Commission should be required to have expertise in social equity, climate change, and sustainable transportation.

5. Oppose any rollback of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which improves project outcomes and reduces environmental impacts of projects, by offering opportunities to inform the public about project benefits and for the public to inform the project.

Including these five reforms will ensure progress toward a transportation system that provides clean, affordable access to opportunity for all Californians, and that makes our communities healthy and safe places to live and work while addressing air quality and climate change. We look forward to working with your staff and other transportation stakeholders to find compromise on our concerns.

Read more

Measure H Kickoff


Monday’s crowded Measure H campaign kick-off press conference was a smash—even attracting coverage in the New York Times--and featured an all-star speaker line-up with compelling pitches from (among others) LA County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas, Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Rabbi Noah Farkas from Valley Beth Shalom.

The highlight was probably Danny, a focus of La Opinion's story, a particularly heartfelt and inspirational speaker who told his story of graduating from one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation, getting his MBA at Stanford, and working at Lehman Brothers and Bank of America before he lost his job in the crash of 2008. That fact combined with an HIV diagnosis sent him into a tailspin with the result that he ended up on the street.

But Danny also had good news to tell: After receiving exactly the kind of services that would be funded by Measure H at a homeless services agency called PATH (People Assisting the Homeless, also the site of the press conference), he’s becoming a CPA and starting his own financial services business.

LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who initiated the Measure H campaign with full support of members of the current Board of Supervisors, noted that there’s no formalized opposition to Measure H because “the need to do something about homelessness in LA County is so profound that every poll finds that people just want this problem to be addressed!"

“People are taxing themselves to pay for something that they consider a problem, but that may not immediately advance their own interests. People just feel it’s the right thing to do. It’s astonishing,” Raphael Sonenshein, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at CalState LA told the  New York Times.

(View the broad coalition of more than 100 Measure H endorsers HERE.)

The Daily News noted how Measure H complements the $1.2 billion bond measure to build 10,000 affordable apartments for homeless approved by voters in the City of LA last November. Measure H would fund countywide services designed to help people off the street and stabilize their lives. Speakers pointed out that because the county has limited funding for these services we are instead relying on trauma centers, emergency rooms and the police and sheriff’s departments to help the homeless—“costing taxpayers in ways that are more painful and less productive,” noted LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn.

Mayor Garcetti pointed out the importance of voting yes on Measure H and voting no on Measure S, which would put a two-year moratorium on most major developments and prevent the city from deviating from current zoning rules. If S passes, he said, 9 out of 10 affordable housing projects for the homeless that the City of LA is planning to build with proceeds from Measure HHH “cannot and will not be built.”

Watch some short video clips of the campaign kick-off speakers here--they were compelling!

LA's Low Income EV Carshare Could Be A Very Big Deal


(Photo of state Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon flanked by Matt Petersen [behind to left] and Susana Reyes [right] from the LA Mayor's Office of Sustainability, and Sharon Feigon [left] of the Shared Use Mobility Center at a press conference last summer when grant for low-income EV carshare was announced.)

The LA City Council’s approval on Dec. 13 of the contract to begin LA's low-income electric vehicle carsharing program is exciting for many reasons, including that it once again proves California is a climate change leader and is investing Cap & Trade dollars in LA's low-income neighborhoods. More reasons:

  • Carsharing programs haven’t scaled up in LA to the degree they have in San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago or Austin—for example—for reasons that aren’t well understood.
  • Very few low-income carsharing programs in the US have succeeded—but LA’s project involves the 2 people who operated the 2 most successful low-income programs (Sharon Feigon and Creighton Randall—more below).
  • EV carsharing, which requires the installation of significant EV car-charging infrastructure, has never been done in the US, but the company working with us in LA has run a very successful EV carsharing program in Paris (the Bollore Group and Autolib—more below).

The 100 electric vehicles and 200 charging stations will be located in low income neighborhoods in downtown LA, Pico Union, Westlake and Koreatown. The cost for low-income households to join is discounted: $3-$4 per month for a membership, depending on income, and $3-$4 per 20 minutes of use—relatively inexpensive if one compares it to taking a 20 minute ride with Lyft or Uber.

Read more

3 Ways LA’s Electric Carsharing Pilot is Setting the Urban Sustainability Agenda


Written by Creighton Randall, the Shared Use Mobility Center's Program and Development Director (Photo is of the Bollore Group's Autolib EV carshare program in Paris—with 4,000 cars!)

The City of Los Angeles made a big step forward for innovative, equitable mobility this week when the LA City Council authorized a contract with operator BlueCalifornia, a subsidiary of Bollorè Group, to run an electric carsharing program in disadvantaged neighborhoods in central Los Angeles. The program is supported by $1.67 million in grant funds from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and $1.82 million in EV infrastructure rebates, fee waivers, and in-kind support from the city.

More importantly, it contains several unique elements – from the myriad of benefits it promises to the wide array of partners it involves – that make the pilot truly the first of its kind in the nation.

A great deal of effort, commitment and hard work will still be needed to ensure the project delivers on its objectives. But we think it’s safe to say that, as other cities across the nation look for ways to expand transportation options for their residents, they would do well to follow LA’s example.

Here are 3 reasons why LA’s EV carshare pilot is helping to set the agenda when it comes to urban sustainability and shared mobility:

Read more

LA City Council Approves Contract for Low-Income EV Carshare Project!


Today the LA City Council approved a contract with Blue California to operate a low-income EV carshare program in DTLA, Pico Union, Westlake & Koreatown with 100 EVs & 200 charging stations!!! Thank you City of LA!!! Here's a part of the team, which includes the LA Mayor's Office of Sustainability, LADOT, Blue California, the Shared Use Mobility Center, NRDC Urban Solutions, Sierra Club & Move LA! Missing: TRUST South LA, KIWA (Korean Immigrant Workers Alliance) & SALEF (the Salvadoran American Leadership and Education Fund). Got a happy holiday feeling!

LA City Council Hopefully Considers Low-Income Electric Vehicle Carshare Contract Tuesday


There was lots of media at the press conference in July 2015 when CA Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon announced that LA had won a $1.67 million grant from the CA Air Resources Board to launch a low-income electric vehicle carsharing program. Fast forward--wait--that's slow forward to Dec. 12, 2016 and the LA City Council's Transportation Committee is only now voting whether to approve the contract. Why does Los Angeles continue to be such a difficult place for carsharing? Here is the letter of support that I wrote to the Transportation Committee. If it's a YES vote the contract will come up for a vote at the City Council Tuesday morning (as in tomorrow). Move LA urges a YES vote Councilmembers Bonin, Koretz, Huizar, Martinez and Ryu!!!

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