... Open, Fair Decision Making

Working Partnerships USA believes everyone should have a voice in how government works. We support a decision making process that is open, authentic, and represents a board range of interests. Our work in this area includes tracking and taking action on local government decisions on budgeting and land use, fiscal policy, vital public service preservation, and the creation and retention of high-quality jobs.

Current Projects

Community Budget Working Group (CBWG). When the San Jose City Manager proposed a budget that included drastic cuts to city services, Working Partnerships USA led the effort to create the city’s first Community Budget Working Group (CBWG) in 2008. Now convened annually and led by a diverse team of grassroots community leaders, the independent group has worked annually to help solve the city’s significant budget problems while maintaining vital services, including fire and police services, library hours and park ranger positions.

Land Use Decisions. Working Partnerships actively participates on a number of committees to ensure local governments make land use decisions that benefit the widest group of citizens.

Public Subsidies Accountability. For nearly a decade, Working Partnerships USA has led local efforts to ensure private projects that receive taxpayer money in turn produce tangible community benefits. We are an anchor organization of the Partnership for Working Families, a nationwide network of local groups doing work in this area.

Past Projects

Tax and Fiscal Policy Project. WPUSA joined a statewide alliance of progressive organizations named the California Alliance and now known as (California Calls) working to change California state laws which block the ability of local organizations to make much needed regional reforms. This is a collective effort to boost civic involvement of like-minded progressive citizens through voter education and mobilization.

San Jose Living Wage Ordinance. WPUSA was instrumental in helping create the city's first Living Wage Policy and played a critical role in helping craft the 2008 Living Wage Ordinance for the San Jose Airport. We were instrumental in expanding the living wage to cover San Jose International Airport workers. Today, more than 8,000 San Jose workers benefit from a living wage. Read "Building a Better Airport".

City of San Jose’s Competition Policy. In response to the city’s budget deficit and concerns over the recession, the City of San Jose has considered significant privatization and outsourcing of government services. Working Partnerships USA researched the impact of outsourcing and explored policies to protect the quality of City services and to retain quality jobs for City workers.  Armed with this information, we actively participated in the City Council Committee stakeholder process and helped to reshape the City’s draft policy.  The end result was a policy that safeguards against poor decision-making and negative impacts on city service quality. 

Cost-Benefit Analysis Program. In 2007, through Working Partnerships USA’s research, policy development, and advocacy, the City of San Jose adopted a cost-benefit analysis program. This program requires a thorough study of neighborhood and economic impacts for projects that receive more than $1 million in public subsidies. This program provides a valuable tool for the public to assess the community value of proposed economic development investments.

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