County Board of Supervisors are responsible for overseeing services to county residents in cities and in unincorporated areas alike. What advocacy approaches could be used to secure a commitment to improve services provided to Communities of Interest by county government?
Using local and county general plans, as well as plans for housing, transportation and capital improvements, as vehicles for securing adequate infrastructure for unincorporated areas. Although existing Community Development Block Grant money could be used to fund infrastructure improvements in our Communities of Interest, at the present moment resident leaders do not have enough power to successfully compete with other interests groups that are vying for these resources. What new framing and advocacy messages could help the build alliances needed to impact planning and decision-making? For example, could connecting the infrastructure needs of island and fringe Communities of Interest to the advocacy agenda of anti-sprawl and smart growth advocates through a “fix it first” strategy in general plan discussions about growth work? Would emphasizing the threat posed by the high percentage of Communities of Interest residents that rely on aging and leaking septic tanks to ground water that supplies all city and county residents (and the greater costs associated with cleaning up contamination) help to broaden support proposals to spend city and county funds to connect Communities of Interest to the municipal sewer system?
Using existing federal and state civil rights laws to document patterns of disparate inputs and outputs in Communities of Interest that have higher populations of color than the region as a whole. What additional documentation would we need to support litigation or legislative advocacy on disparate access to basic infrastructure supports?
7. Using regional planning and governance entities to address the needs of low-income unincorporated communities. Our research and discussion with policy experts surfaced a number of regional planning efforts aimed at improving social and economic conditions in the San Joaquin Valley. Some of these are led by government agencies; while others feature collaboration between government, business, and community leaders. For example, the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley’s Land Use, Agricultural and Housing Work Group presented a Strategic Action Proposal that was adopted in September 2006; this proposal included Principles for a Sustainable San Joaquin Valley that specifically called for “new growth to be located in or adjacent to existing communities whenever possible.” What advocacy and partnership strategies could be used to put the infrastructure needs of Communities of Interest on the radar screen of these efforts? What would it take to enlist the leadership and support of these