GOING LOCAL: How Communities Across the Nation Are Fighting Back.

AuthorDavis-Cohen, Simon

In the age of Donald Trump, some of the most significant political battles are taking place on the local level. Municipalities are struggling to raise wages and protect immigrants. School districts are subject to state takeovers across the nation. And efforts like the Community Rights Movement are seeking to upend the legal structures that allow private corporations to trump local law-making. From coast to coast, locally focused movements are finding innovative ways around restrictive top-down policies, showing that cities, towns, and counties can remain engines of progressive power.

1 Georgia: Promoting Sanctuary

Georgia is one of ten states to prohibit sanctuary city policies or require cities to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in some way. This has not stopped the Georgia #NotlMoreDeportation Coalition from working with municipalities to do what they can. According to Project South, the cities of Decatur and Clarkston, as well as Fayette, DeKalb, Clayton, Fulton, and Clarke Counties, have all passed policies to require U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide an actual warrant before local law enforcement can detain individuals on their behalf.

2 Portland, Oregon: Seeking Climate Action

A city of Portland ballot measure would create a 1 percent surcharge on in-city revenue for businesses that make more than $1 billion per year and ring up more than $500,000 annually in Portland sales. If passed, the measure would raise roughly $30 million per year for a "Portland Clean Energy Fund" for energy efficiency upgrades, home weatherization, rooftop solar, local food production, and "future innovation." Low-income residents and communities of color led the drafting process, and would be given prioritized access to funds. Petitioners gathered twice the needed signatures to place the initiative on the November 6 ballot.

3 Toledo, Ohio: Protecting the Lake

An imperiled Lake Erie and a looming water crisis in the Midwest has inspired the Ohio group Toledoans for Safe Water to draft a ballot initiative to establish "irrevocable rights for the Lake Erie Ecosystem to exist, flourish and naturally evolve." Asserting "a right to a healthy environment for the residents of Toledo," the ordinance decrees that any state license or permit that allows a corporation to violate the lake's rights will not be valid within the city. It would allow lawsuits to be filed against violators on behalf of Lake Erie, and the...

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