Testimonials during SBCAN March 19, 2022 Membership Meeting
View a video of the Membership Meeting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKAY510-qZk
Meagan Harmon (Santa Barbara City Councilmember and California Coastal Commissioner): [6:09] “I would be remiss if I didn’t take just a couple of minutes to talk about specifically in the last year the big wins that we’ve had, both in the City of Santa Barbara, and at the Coastal Commission that I can say, I think, without any hyperbole, really are due to the advocacy of SBCAN. Really due to the work that all of you did. Your roundtables, your comments, your consistent engagement with elected officials. Over many topics, but there's a couple things that I want to highlight, just really as a thank you from me to you for the incredible amount of work you put in.
I’m going to start with Santa Barbara City Council. The renewed focus on affordable housing, I think, is directly tied to the advocacy that you all have done with our City Council. We’re nowhere near done with that conversation [...] many, many miles we have left to go. But wow, just in the last year we have made great strides in terms of centering housing justice as a key part of anything and everything that we do on the Santa Barbara City Council, and a huge part of that is the continuous engagement - whether or not we have an agenda item at the council, you all are having that conversation in your roundtables, making comments at public comment, that keep it at the forefront of our minds. That’s a huge win.
And economic justice. I have two words for all of you: Hero Pay. That would not have happened in the City of Santa Barbara without SBCAN. So, I truly ... my gratitude. It absolutely would not, I can say that unequivocally. For those that may not be familiar with it, our hero pay ordinance was to give our frontline grocery and retail workers an extra $5 an hour for 60 days as recognition of the incredible work that they did to keep our community running during Covid. Was it enough? Absolutely not. We’ve got to do way more, but it was a huge win, and to me, it was representative of so much more than just that particular policy, because for the first time in my [...] three years on council, we were centering economic justice, and explicitly articulating the importance of economic justice as a city policy effort. To that end, we’ve really seen the implications of the work that you all did to get this passed longer term.
Recently, we had a process to allocate our ARPA funds, and you may have seen this in the paper, but - get this - city staff came to us and suggested that we allocate $1.5 million to hero pay for our city employees. I am telling you, that would not have happened without the advocacy of SBCAN for front line grocery and retail workers some six months before. I am proud to say that with continued advocacy alongside all of you, we inched that number up [...] and we ended at $2.5 million going to city workers. That is the folks who keep our water clean, they keep our streets cleared, they keep us safe. That was a huge deal. And it’s really the first time that I’m seeing that kind of recognition of the importance of economic justice in the city of Santa Barbara, in the last couple years anyway. So I just wanted to take this opportunity really to point out that we have these sort of concrete identifiable policy wins, but so much of what you do have much broader implications over the long term for how we think about policy as a city, as a city council, and as individual policy makers ourselves.
On the Coastal Commission side, so many of you were so supportive of my effort to get that appointment, so I credit that to all of you as well. My sincere thanks, I know there were lots of letters, lots of communications going out, and I truly appreciate it.”
SBCAN BOARD MEMBERS:
Lawanda Lyons-Pruitt [46:55] “One reason I am on the Board and I am seeking reelection is I enjoy the work. It’s good work. I feel good about it. I am a passionate person. The work that is being done is very passionate. [...] As progressives we don’t always get the results that we want, but working with SBCAN I just really enjoy the passion, I enjoy working with all the other board members, Ken, Jeanne, Nadia, Dick, Janet, all you guys, I just love it. I am happily wanting to continue on with the work that we are doing. And it also complements the NAACP as well and our position on environmental justice.”
Rebecca August [48:50]: “I really care about SBCAN and value it because of the unique intersectional work that we do across the county. And also these are all the issues that I care about and the values that are my values, and I don’t have to go to lots of places to work on these things, I can just serve on this Board. It’s a really amazing group of people, super hard-working staff especially, but the Board members too. Show up to meetings, they show up to hearings. And the last thing is it really complements the work that I do at Los Padres Forest Watch. [...] I’m thrilled and honored to have the opportunity.”
Jonathan Abboud [50:10] “I’m at the retreat for the IVCSD, which was actually how I got involved with SBCAN. I had gotten a grant to work on creating this organization back in 2014 from the Fund for Santa Barbara, and Dick got me connected with SBCAN and Ken to be the fiscal sponsor, and the rest is history. It’s been a great time working with SBCAN for the last five years, being on the board. So I’m excited to continue, thank you.”
Stanley Tzankov [56:22] “There are so many connections between SBCAN and CAUSE, even some that I learned today. So I really appreciate the role that you all play in kind of connecting community advocates, activists, organizers, with the work that we do and support it, are a part of it, help guide it. And then, just switching hats, in my free time at the Tenants Union, SBCAN has been a really great insightful partner in policy advocacy and the work that you’ve done, Dick, to convene folks, I know Linda is on here, and certainly Nadia, it’s been a really good resource for us as we have been trying to grow our organization. Thanks for the niche and important role that you play.”