Well before the 2016 presidential election, state legislatures and Congress, governors or the White House were often faulted for failing to address urban problems. Increasingly, the job of fighting poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation has shifted to the municipal level, where activist mayors and city councilors have tried to mobilize the limited resources of local government on behalf of previously neglected constituents.
Richmond, CA. has become a case study in what cities can do to protect immigrants, keep housing affordable, make the police more accountable, raise the minimum wage, reform local election laws, promote renewable energy, and seek fair taxation of corporations.
Since 2004, members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance have won 10 out of 14 municipal races, by campaigning for environmental justice, tenant protection, and workers' rights. Steve Early's new book on Richmond, Refinery Town, describes how a blue-collar community, long dominated by Big Oil, has become cleaner, greener, safer, and more equitable for its 80 percent non-white population.
A lawyer, labor organizer, Progressive Alliance member, and chair of the Richmond Personnel Board, Early will discuss how municipal government, in cities large and small, can become an incubator for innovative public policies.
Steve Early, author and organizer
Steve Early worked for 27 years as an organizer and international representative for the Communications Workers of America. He is the author of several books, including Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City (Beacon Press).
Hinckley Caucus Room (Bldg 73, Rm 110)
Pizza & Politics
Free and Open to the Public