Tag Archives: Organizing

Districts Are Good For Us

A couple years ago, there was a huge debate across the state about redrawing the legislative districts throughout California. And these legislative districts are an important aspect of our statewide events like Local Legislative District Days and I&E Days (I mean, how do you have District Days without districts?).

But district representation is also critical in the local communities we do most of our tobacco control work in. Recently, this news story from San Mateo caught my eye. Last November, San Mateo residents voted to become the last county in California to be divided into districts, rather than having their county board of supervisor members elected at-large.

This is good news to me because in general, having districts makes more accountable representatives and a more accountable government, since a supervisor/member represents fewer people. This gives all community members, in particular diverse populations and those in rural areas of a county, more access to the people who are representing them. Read More »

We Have Resources for Your CX Process

Recently, I’ve started getting lots of questions about how many and which communities have passed various local tobacco control policies. This is all part of the CX process that local tobacco coalitions are in the middle of right now. At the Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing, we produce a lot of documents that list the details of policies ranging from tobacco retailer licenses to secondhand smoke ordinances. In addition, we’ve done a lot of public opinion polling over the years, which might also be useful for your coalition to consider.

But with so much information, how do you all figure out what is available for each indicator? There are a lot of indicators, and we have resources for many of them. Here is a quick and dirty summary of some of the information you can find on our website: Read More »

ABC’s of Juliette

Meet Juliette, the Center’s Evaluation Consultant! Read her ABC’s to get to know a little more about her.


A is for Area Code: 510

B is for Breakfast. What did you have for breakfast today? Eggs with kale and tomatoes and a big cup of coffee

C is for Calling. What do you consider your calling to be? Promoting democratic processes and public health to improve the world we live in

D is for Dogs. Do you have any? Never have, though my husband and son are working on me

E is for Energy. What do you do when you need more energy? Drink coffee and eat chocolate

F is for Fun. What do you like to do for fun? Travel to adventurous and exotic locations around the world

G is for Greatest Accomplishment. What is yours? I placed in the Intel Science Talent Search as a high school student Read More »

Smokfree Multi-Unit Housing: The Next Frontier

Over the past several years, cities and counties throughout the state have been tackling the policy mountain that is smokefree multi-unit housing (SF MUH), with great success. So much work has been done that we even saw an attempt to pass smokefree multi-unit housing at the state level with Assembly Member Marc Levine’s bill, AB 746. While that bill did not see success this year, Assembly Member Levine has vowed to bring it back during the next legislative session.

Meanwhile, SF MUH policies have been passing left and right at the local level. In fact we are up to more than 30 local policies statewide and even more voluntary policies. Recently, the Center profiled two different communities, who successfully passed SF MUH policies, in their latest Community Organizing Update. Check out some of the keys to their success by clicking here.

–Erin Reynoso

A Legacy Worth Fighting For

Guest Blogger – Serena Chen, American Lung Association in California

Over the past 20+ years as a tobacco control advocate I have met some pretty special people – one of the most memorable has been Kenneth Leung, who, at the time I met him in 2007 was 77 years old and ready to fight for the right to be able to breath in his own home.

A former smoker, he had emphysema and had quickly realized that shortly after moving into a senior housing complex in Alameda that his health was deteriorating due to the smoke drifting into his apartment from his downstairs neighbor.  Although the property manager offered to move him to a “safer” unit, he refused because “someone else would be put into harm’s way.”

He called the American Lung Association and found me who asked him to wait until I could set aside some time to help him.  He didn’t listen.  He began to organize his fellow residents to advocate for non-smoking buildings within the 168-unit complex.  He brought the issue up with the City of Alameda Housing Commission, ultimately recruiting nine other tenants to attend a commission meeting and brought letters of support from an additional eight residents.

As a result of his efforts, the Smoking Policy Committee was established in July 2007 with Housing Authority staff, residents from the Independence Plaza complex including Mr. Leung, and me.  He had started the “revolution” without me and now I was joining in to help him bring it to a successful outcome.  Along the way, he worked with the Chinese-speaking residents who made up about a quarter of the residents to ensure that they understood the process.

He told me that when he turned 70 he sat down and reviewed his life to see what achievements he was most proud of.  “I had nothing.  What I can do here [for smokefree housing] is going to be it,” he explained to me.  How could I not help this man! Read More »