By: Elizabeth Orozco and Alfredo Carlos

On August 1st, Santa Ana became the first Southern California city to formally pass a resolution supporting worker cooperatives. The City Council voted on a resolution to study ways that the city can support the development of worker cooperatives. The research will focus on studies to observe work cooperatives, including a report of recommendations on incentives for cooperatives, reviewing business license fee structure, reducing rates, and creating strategies to fund and develop cooperatives. The study will take place within 90 days of the resolution passage; and decisions on how to fund and support the expansion of worker cooperatives will be further announced.

Communities all over California, including low income communities in Southern California, are suffering from gentrification in the form of rent rates increasing and stagnant wages. Residents of Santa Ana have been the victims of this process, with 20% of them living in poverty. Santa Ana, situated in Orange County, is home to Disneyland as well as the home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the county’s average income is $81,194 compared to Santa Ana’s $54,640 average. Rent has increased 9.3% and for residents earning a $10,000 annual income, a $2,065 monthly rate for rent has them living paycheck to paycheck. Worker-owned businesses would help some of these traditionally low income residents build community wealth, helping to offset the effects of rising housing costs and stagnant wages by keeping profits with the workers themselves.

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