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Five Principles of Just COVID-19 Relief and Stimulus-Pajaro Valley Local Response

These principles were developed by a coalition of groups including Climate Justice Alliance and Sierra Club.

Regeneración is issuing a Draft Action Program of recommended Pajaro Valley response to the Five Principles on April 23, 2020, to encourage community consideration, reflection, dialogue and action. Our proposal may be modified and updated as the situation changes.

Visit to view list of sponsors and organizations endorsing these five principles

and to sign on.

5 Principles for Just COVID-19 Relief and Stimulus

The COVID-19 pandemic demands swift and unprecedented action from the federal government. The depth of the crisis and the scope of the response mean that choices being made right now will shape our society for years, if not decades to come. As policymakers take steps to ensure immediate relief and long-term recovery, it is imperative that they consider the interrelated crises of wealth inequality, racism, and ecological decline, which were in place long before COVID-19, and now risk being intensified. This is a time to be decisive in saving lives, and bold in charting a path to a genuinely healthier and more equitable future through a just recovery.

1. Health is the top priority, for all people, with no exceptions.

We support the calls of community leaders, public health organizations, unions, and others for free and accessible testing, treatment, and protective equipment; expanded hospital capacity, including in rural areas, territories, and tribal lands; paid sick leave and paid family medical leave for all workers without exception; expanded federal funding for Medicaid; and full funding for Indian Health Service and urban Indian health centers. Critically, the government must ensure such health protections cover all people, including low-wage workers, health workers, independent contractors, family farmers, Black and Latinx communities, undocumented immigrants, Indigenous peoples, people who are incarcerated, people who are homeless or housing insecure, and others likely to be hit first and worst by COVID-19 and the economic downturn.

In the Pajaro Valley, we recognize that everyone’s health is interdependent and that physical health is dependent on emotional, spiritual, financial and environmental health.

We call for universal access to health care. No one should be uninsured, and no one should avoid medical treatment for fear of the cost.

We reject the proposal that farmworkers be paid less during this global pandemic as proposed by the Federal Administration and support a local response of continuing to pay farmworkers according to California wage standards.

We support California’s extension of paid time off to farmworkers and others who haven’t had that benefit.

We call for:

  • safe physical distancing standards for all workers;

  • free COVID-19 testing;

  • increase in multilingual education on proper health protections for workers and general public;

  • immediate housing for those without homes.

We support:

  • immediate decarceration to release people from prisons who meet certain criteria and implementation of protective measures for people in prisons and immigrant detention centers.

2. Provide economic relief directly to the people.

We support the urgent calls to expand the social safety net by broadening unemployment insurance, vastly increasing food aid programs, extending housing assistance, expanding childcare for working families, relieving student debt, and halting evictions, foreclosures, and shut offs of water and electricity. As with expanded public health measures, these economic measures must be implemented to ensure coverage of workers and communities likely to be hit first and worst by COVID-19 and the economic downturn. In addition, to counteract the economic downturn, the federal government should immediately direct sizable cash payments to every person. Larger payments should be made to lower-income workers and the poor, who are disproportionately exposed to both COVID-19 health risks and heightened job insecurity. These payments should be made swiftly and regularly throughout the duration of the economic recession.

In the Pajaro Valley we call for people who have more than they need to share their resources.

Further, we call for:

  • prioritization of direct aid from State and local level to all people in need including aid for people not eligible for federal relief;

  • job re-training to prepare workers for jobs actually needed for a long-term sustainable society;

  • pay raises for people working in hazardous conditions relative to the pandemic;

  • expansion of networks of mutual aid in our community i n favor of relying on private charities.

We support:

  • the local temporary moratoriums on evictions already in place in local counties, and we urge their continuation throughout the duration of the pandemic

  • temporary (minimum 60-day) deferral without penalties or interest of all rent and mortgage payments, and local support to anyone unsure how to access unemployment benefits.

3. Rescue workers and communities, not corporate executives.

Any financial assistance directed at specific industries must be channeled to workers, not shareholders or corporate executives. Specifically, any federal loans must be used to maintain payroll and benefits, not executive bonuses or stock buybacks. In addition, such funds should come with pro-worker conditions, such as requiring worker representation on the company’s board of directors, company-wide enactment of a $15/hour or higher minimum wage, and compliance with high-road labor standards such as payment of prevailing wages, use of project-labor agreements, adoption of a neutrality policy with regard to union collective bargaining, and adoption of a “ban the box” hiring policy to ensure fair employment opportunities for all.

In the Pajaro Valley we support paying workers to stay home and to receive online education about the climate crisis and job re-training.

We call for environmental protection to be viewed as essential work.

We urge community members and financial institutions to maintain and expand environmental education and protective environmental measures throughout the pandemic.

We support expansion of networks of mutual aid in our community.

4. Make a down payment on a regenerative economy, while preventing future crises.

While we urgently need a large, short-term stimulus to protect the health and economic security of those on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, it is imperative that policymakers also plan for a large, medium-term stimulus to counteract the economic downturn and ensure a just recovery. This stimulus should create millions of good, family-sustaining jobs with high-road labor standards; counter systemic inequities by directing investments to the working families, communities of color, and Indigenous communities who face the most economic insecurity; and tackle the climate crisis that is compounding threats to our economy and health. All three goals can be achieved simultaneously with public investments to rebuild our infrastructure, replace lead pipes, expand wind and solar power, build clean and affordable public transit, weatherize our buildings, build and repair public housing, manufacture more clean energy goods, restore our wetlands and forests, expand public services that support climate resilience, and support regenerative agriculture led by family farmers. Critically, stimulus packages should include conditions for industries to implement high-road labor standards, workforce development, and reductions in climate emissions and toxic pollution. The response to one existential crisis must not fuel another.

In the Pajaro Valley, we support investment in public awareness and civic responsibility related to climate justice, sustainable development in all sectors and healthy living in balance with our local environment, including:

  • the expansion of regenerative agriculture and aquaculture, reduction in use of fossil fuels in farming;

  • planting of trees;

  • prohibition of gas in all new construction;

  • job retraining in renewable energy;

  • expansion of bike lanes and safe walking routes;

  • free bus passes for City employees;

  • investment in public and group transportation systems;

  • encouragement of small farms to directly feed our community;

  • local business development to keep funds local.

5. Protect our democratic process while protecting each other.

People must not be forced to choose between exercising their rights as citizens and protecting public health. The federal government must support states, by providing funding and technical support wherever needed, to ensure that every American can vote safely in primary and general elections. Specific life-saving and democracy-defending measures include expanding vote by mail, online or automatic voter registration, among others. The 2020 Census must be fully supported and resourced to achieve an accurate and safe count under the new and evolving conditions. US Congress, state capitals and city halls should not shut down until they have amended rules to ensure continuity of governance in the case that in-person sessions are suspended.

In the Pajaro Valley:

We call for universal Vote from Home.

We support providing voter access, and stopping all forms of voter suppression, specifically for our community’s most marginalized voices in the Pajaro Valley and those who are most impacted by the effects of a changing climate, including farmworkers, people of color, and those who reside in low-income regions.

We encourage voters to “Vote for the Planet” and to “Vote for Climate Progress” in the November 2020 elections.

We seek partnerships to provide voter education, including but not limited to; voting options (online, mail-in, in-person) and voting polling locations, guidance for filling out ballots and voting remotely in both English and Spanish, voter guides that explain various environmental and climate related measures, and dissemination of scorecards of candidates related to their environmental and climate voting record.

We encourage enhanced practices that allow public participation in local policy making, ie. City Council meetings being live-streamed with ways for public input, including chat recordings that Council members could review following meetings.

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