What Is This All About?

A handful of friends, of varied political persuasions, came together in the fall of 2016 in Half Moon Bay CA, to do some brainstorming on what was working and what was not in CA, what needed more attention, and what (more) might be done. It started as a pretty broad discussion, but we were (and still are) all policy nerds, so had no problem diving into a wide range of topics. Most importantly however, we were drawn to the opportunity to share in a positive, constructive conversation, among a multi-partisan group of friends at a moment (the 2016 primary season) when much political talk, irrespective of political party, was not particularly sunny.

We talked, we laughed, we cried. (Maybe no actual tears, but it was a full day and we covered a lot of ground.) The group wanted to keep talking, so we did. The next time we gathered, in L.A., the group took about two minutes to agree, unequivocally, that obstacles to economic opportunity and mobility in California faced by people in all regions of the state and often starting at (or before) birth, were indefensible, unacceptable, and getting worse. Everyone agreed: This was the issue (or more precisely, the set of issues) to address.

The group then sought to identify an action that could help, but that also would be realistic in terms of time commitment. We noted our many other friends and colleagues, from the left and the right, who would have much to add to the conversation, but lived all over the state (and had jobs and kids and stuff). We were looking for something that could bring people together, identify new allies, and be reasonably easy to manage. We settled on this “open letter” approach, and here we are.

This is an informal group with no budget. We are acting as private citizens who want to do more, and enjoy solving problems. We have been gratified by how many thoughtful Californians have already agreed to sign on to endorse the sentiments in the letter. If we continue to get a strong response to this letter then we’ll consult with all who have signed to consider possible next steps.

Please stay in touch, and watch this space…

Thanks very much,

The Economic Mobility Collaborative “Starter Group”
(See the first 12 names on the letter, listed alphabetically)



  • Issues that impact CA, and for which solutions will come from State, regional or local action
  • Actions that can materially improve the quality of people’s lives in CA, with an emphasis on individuals and families facing the greatest economic challenges and restoring meaningful opportunity for upward mobility to all Californians


  • Good public policy can help make people’s lives better
  • Bipartisan collaboration is possible, desirable and beneficial/ is more likely to lead to policies that endure
  • Policy should be well-informed by verifiable data as well as substantial input from the people it will impact
  • Listening and discussion among people with different views in pursuit of common understanding and common ground is an essential step in crafting good public policy
  • Individuals have significant power to make their communities better, and a responsibility to try to do so. This belief is what compels us as Californians to come together to share, hear, think and act