Greenlining and Southern California Edison Partner to Bring Community Voices to Clean Energy

Greenlining and Southern California Edison Partner to Bring Community Voices to Clean Energy

Here at Greenlining, we often say that if our community members aren’t at the decision-making table, we’re on the menu – and so often that is true. We find ourselves in rooms all the time in which decision-makers, industry folks, and even advocates like us are all talking about this community or that community, and what people there need and want, but no one is actually talking with community members to ask those critical questions. To begin to solve this problem, Greenlining and Southern California Edison (yes, the electric company) have kicked off a working group that we hope will change that dynamic and, in turn, change the way SCE…
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How Diverse Is California’s Renewable Energy Portfolio? A Different Take on the Question

How Diverse Is California’s Renewable Energy Portfolio? A Different Take on the Question

Because of our name, Greenlining is often mistaken for an environmental organization, and understandably so. I always tell people who ask that we’re not not an environmental organization – while our mission is economic development in communities of color, we believe strongly in environmental justice, in the green economy, and in renewable energy as powerful tools for building equity. Renewable energy is cleaning up our air, it’s creating green jobs, the price is less volatile than fossil fuel prices, and we’ll never run out of fuel for a solar panel or a wind turbine (or if we do, we’ve got WAY bigger problems than all this). California is not only…
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Telecommunications Redlining: Modernization Shouldn’t Leave Anyone Behind

Telecommunications Redlining: Modernization Shouldn’t Leave Anyone Behind

Last month, Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) introduced AB 2395, an industry-backed bill that tries to move California from our traditional copper telephone system to an all internet-based phone system. The premise of the bill is that many of us – myself included – don’t use old school landlines any more. We get our phone service in our pockets via wireless or we get VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), typically from our cable or internet provider. Therefore, the story goes, it should be ok to force everyone who’s still using traditional phone service to do the same thing I’ve chosen to do. Here’s the kicker. The old school phone network…
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Smart Doesn’t Solve Everything

The first two articles I read upon returning to work this morning after the holiday break (that I am fortunate enough to have) were about persistent racial discrimination against black and Latino sheet metal workers from within their own union, and about AT&T going big on “Smart Cities.”  The details of what a “smart city” might be, according to AT&T, are yet unannounced, as it plans a big reveal at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show.  For Greenlining, these issues are closely related. Local 28 of the Sheet Metal Workers has been under investigation for racial discrimination for decades, and only began allowing non-white members after a court ordered it to. …
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Building More Solar In Communities That Need It The Most

Building More Solar In Communities That Need It The Most

You may have been hearing a lot about rooftop solar lately. California is just nutty for solar power, with more than 3,500 megawatts installed across the state and more on its way. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, that’s enough to power more than half a million homes. We have so much solar, in fact, that the legislature ordered the Public Utilities Commission to revise the price paid for rooftop solar power – essentially to move from start-up mode to a more long-term sustainable price. In regulated utility circles (the in-crowd if ever there was one), we’re calling it NEM 2.0. The Commission just issued its NEM 2.0 Proposed…
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The Secret Sauce Behind California’s Record-Breaking Supplier Diversity

The Secret Sauce Behind California’s Record-Breaking Supplier Diversity

  Earlier this week I sang the praises of supplier diversity, as both a way of keeping quality up and prices low for the companies that actively practice it and as a huge potential driver of economic growth in communities of color.  Since then I know you have been just itching to know why this handful of companies has drank so much of the KoolAid.  Wait no longer. In 1988, following legislation authored by Assemblywoman Gwen Moore, the California Public Utilities Commission enacted General Order 156, or GO 156 if you’re in the biz.  GO 156 requires utilities to make outreach efforts to diverse businesses, so that they know about…
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Supplier Diversity is SEXY

Supplier Diversity is SEXY

  Today Greenlining released our annual Supplier Diversity Report Card, in which we grade California’s energy, telecom, cable, and water companies on how much of their goods and services they buy from businesses owned by people of color.  If this is news to you, you’re not alone.  There aren’t a lot of people out there, even racial equity advocates like myself, who think much about this issue.  In fact, I often joke with our press guy that the only way we can make supplier diversity news sexy is by adding a picture of Denzel Washington.  (Come on, you know you’d read that press release….) All kidding aside, even though I’m…
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Why Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Should Be the Poster Children for Universal Broadband

Why Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Should Be the Poster Children for Universal Broadband

I am a big Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fan, which I admit even though I live in Oakland and that puts me in a distinctly hipster demographic (disclaimer:  I am NOT a hipster).  Not just because their music is TIGHT, which it is, but also because the way they came up tugs at my telco nerd heartstrings.  Wha??  Read on… Rapper Ben Haggerty, known to fans as Macklemore, comes from Seattle and has had a big underground following for years.  He got big by releasing songs and albums through iTunes and videos through YouTube.  So big, in fact, that his first full-length album (with producer Ryan Lewis, as well as…
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How to Pick an FCC Chair and Not Get Eaten By Bears, Part IV

How to Pick an FCC Chair and Not Get Eaten By Bears, Part IV

I’ve spent three posts arguing that we need a Federal Communications Commission chair qualified to address the policy, technological, and legal issues that the Commission will face in the near future.  You’d think that at this point I’d be able to write, “our new FCC chair should be able to address all of the stuff I’ve just talked about,” and wrap things up.  As always, it’s more complicated than that.  In addition to the education, experience, and skills to address all of those issues, our next FCC chair must also understand that those issues are interrelated and have major impacts beyond telecommunications policy Policy Telecommunications policy issues are usually considered…
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How to Pick an FCC Chair and Not Get Eaten By Bears, Part III

How to Pick an FCC Chair and Not Get Eaten By Bears, Part III

  My last post discussed how our next Federal Communications Commission chair will face the difficult tasks of ensuring service quality, robust network infrastructure, and universal service.  As I mentioned, it doesn’t seem like those goals should be terribly difficult to implement. Communications technology and communications law are complicated in the sense that they are composed of intricately combined parts. However, at the end of the day, the goal of telecommunications regulation should be the same as it always was: to allow everyone to make phone calls – safely, reliably, and at reasonable cost —  using today’s essential technology.  However we get there, that should be our end goal, as…
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