Who is Concord Communities Alliance?
We are residents who work together for more just and equitable conditions for all in Concord. We want to make Concord a place of mutual respect, fairness, and real democracy, focused on the common good. Any resident of Concord who can wholeheartedly subscribe to our fundamental principles and core values can become a member. We support a diversity of perspectives and approaches, and encourage everyone to bring the perspective of your existing organizations or communities. That is why we are the Concord Communities Alliance. Here’s more detail on what we stand for.
The Concord Communities Alliance – “CCA” for short – seeks to build a better Concord for ALL residents by working towards better affordability, livability, sustainability, and resident empowerment. Residents of Concord should be able to comfortably live, work and raise a family here, move about Concord efficiently and sustainably, and do so in ways which respect and facilitate the ability of their neighbor to do the same.
CCA exists to educate, empower and organize Concord residents to achieve more just and equitable conditions for all who call our city their home—to move beyond the status quo to political, economic and social conditions consistent with the shared American values of mutual respect, fairness, democracy, and the common good. While built on important principles and values, we are about taking action to ensure that these values are manifest in concrete programs, policies, and practices, including ensuring greater accountability of City government to all residents.
All residents of Concord should have an equal voice in shaping city policies which bring about these objectives, which we will pursue in three dimensions:
- One – political reforms to level the playing field between the people and privileged and financial interests, and to increase accountability of elected and appointed officials to residents. We support district election of city council members and the use of ranked choice voting.
- Two – economic reforms structured to increase fairness to residents and decrease the ability to commercial interests to dictate city policies. Specifically, giving priority to employee owned enterprises, ensuring collective bargaining and local labor clauses in all development contracts, giving priority to housing affordability and justice in existing construction, as well as to inexpensive public transit, and requiring extensive affordability components to all new development.
- Three – community reforms which focus on livability, sustainability, and an atmosphere of mutual respect. Sustainable traffic mitigation measures are but one example; the broader goal is to transform Concord into communities where healthy and respectful choices are easier rather than harder. A greater emphasis needs to be placed on making it possible for people to live AND work in Concord, and to reduce the worst aspects of forcing residents to work elsewhere and of forcing workers to live elsewhere. Healthy dialogue is the hallmark of a process that fosters mutual respect and balancing the reasonable and basic needs of all Concord residents.
Our Comprehensive Approach
CCA at its core is oriented towards progress for all Concord residents—moving beyond the status quo to more equal and just social conditions consistent with shared American guiding principles such as mutual respect, fairness, democracy, and the common good. But there are important additional principles and values which support our work of educating, empowering and organizing Concord residents to achieve more just and equitable conditions for all.
We understand principles as universal concepts which inform our values, methods and objectives. Values are those shared ideals which broadly guide our behavior and other choices. Methods are the means by which we will achieve our specific objectives. Following is a summary of these fundamental principles, values, methods, and objectives.
Our Fundamental Principles
Equity – Equity is the absence of avoidable or remediable differences in power, dignity, and decent standard of living among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically, or geographically.
Equality of Voice – By virtue of equality in dignity and rights, there is an implied right to equal right of participation in the social life of the community on the basis of equality of voice. This is relevant in many dimensions, from equal opportunity to speak in meetings to removing the dominance of spending by commercial enterprises in the political arena. Transparency and representation are very important related aspects of equality of voice.
Freedom – in its fullest sense, including negative freedom from undue coercion by government or society and the effective freedom of every person to lead a fulfilling and economically secure life. Freedom in the sense that one person’s freedom does not impinge on any other person’s ability to achieve a similar freedom.
Grassroots Democracy and Empowerment – Democratic decision making processes, where as much decision-making authority as practical is shifted to the broadest geographic or social level of organization. Decision making authority is primarily vested in the members of the community rather than leaders.
Cooperation and interdependence – a recognition that we are not entirely separate, particularly as these ideas relate to city affairs, an overall humanitarian vision, and the importance of shared social and economic knowledge
The common good – broadly, a commitment in government and society to placing public needs and the concerns of the least well-off above narrow self-interest or the demands of the privileged. In Concord this means giving policy priority to the vital needs of working families and the most vulnerable, but most especially those conditions which are necessary to fulfill one’s human potential equitably.
Social justice – the proper arrangement of law, society, and the economy to ensure that all people have the formal and informal capacity to shape their own lives and realize their dreams.
At CCA, we recognize that principles must inform our social norms, what we can call our “values.” Following are explicit statements of those things which we prioritize in all of our relationships and engagement with each other and the public.
Mutual Respect – A commitment to mutual respect, expressed in the use of careful listening and strict avoidance of personal attacks and disparagement. We do not demonize classes of people or make personal attacks.
Dialogue – We give priority to learning by discussion rather than winning by debate
Consensus – We seek the place of general agreement; we only vote when necessary.
Placing People First – We emphasize the people in broadest possible terms: the vital needs of the most vulnerable from a policy standpoint; decision making authority vested in residents, not commercial interests; people come before profits; inclusivity and empowerment
Big Money Out of Politics – We engage the electorate with principles and ideas; we do not attempt to manipulate them with money. We require full transparency: no commercial contributions to campaigns (either directly or indirectly) nor independent expenditures, both of which expressly conflict with the priority of empowering the voice of voters.
Moral priority of principles and values – Our shared values, principles, and mutually established objectives take precedence over ideological commitments and labels, especially political ones.
Taking Personal Responsibility – We each will act and contribute to the best of our abilities; we will acknowledge our biases and relative privilege, if it exists; and we will not blame others for our disappointments.
This framework of principles and values is central to who we are as residents of Concord and members of the Concord Communities Alliance. We don’t seek to impose these values on anyone, but joining CCA is a voluntary commitment to living this shared framework.