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Net Neutrality: Is Ajit Pai a Real-Life Harry Potter Villain?

Net Neutrality: Is Ajit Pai a Real-Life Harry Potter Villain?

In August, Greenlining had a silly ‘awards’ ceremony and my telco and tech team got the “Fueled by Bottomless Rage” award. While it was funny, I didn’t feel all too much rage – after all, telecom policy under the previous FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler was pretty solid. He put in rules protecting net neutrality, told internet service providers (ISPs) they couldn’t spy on your browsing history and sell it to advertisers, expanded the Lifeline program to make it easier for low-income folks to get access to broadband and promoted ISP competition to drive down prices and increase adoption. In other words, the FCC was doing its job: protecting consumers and…
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Carbon Revenues Spike: What’s Next for Climate Investments?

Carbon Revenues Spike: What’s Next for Climate Investments?

Let’s talk carbon policy and equity outcomes for low income Californians and communities of color.  This November, the fourth quarterly carbon market auction of 2017 sold out of carbon allowances, with allowances going for the highest prices in the system’s history (though at $15/ton, still modest compared to the social cost of carbon). Buoyed by the extension of cap-and-trade until 2030, the November auction raised over $860 million for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which finances projects to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and deliver environmental, health and economic benefits to communities. So what’s the big deal, and what does this mean for our most impacted communities? For us, it says…
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Tax Cuts for One Percenters

Tax Cuts for One Percenters

According to a 2017 Federal Reserve Report, the U.S has reached record inequality: In 2016, the richest one percent of families controlled a record-high 38.6 percent of the country’s wealth while the bottom 90 percent of families held just 22.8 percent. In the face of record inequality, what’s the GOP’s response? Preparing to pass a tax plan that drops 60 percent of its tax cuts into the pockets of one percenters. This tax plan is a repeal of footholds to economic stability and wealth creation that will only grow the racial and gender wealth gaps. Wealth represents economic security, a safety net to weather emergencies, and economic mobility. Without wealth,…
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Clean Tech Innovations for Good

Clean Tech Innovations for Good

What if venture capitalists prioritized funding a new technology not only for its return on investment, but also based on its potential to positively impact people and communities? The Greenlining Institute has been working as a CalSEED partner for the last year doing exactly that. CalSEED is a program that funds innovators and entrepreneurs who work to bring early-stage clean energy concepts with social impacts to market. As California continues its path towards a clean energy economy, Greenlining is here to ensure that this new economy does not continue to leave underinvested communities at the epicenter of environmental pollution burdens behind. To achieve this mission, we have been conducting targeted…
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Climate Resilience: We Can Protect California’s Vulnerable Populations from Extreme Weather

Climate Resilience: We Can Protect California’s Vulnerable Populations from Extreme Weather

Does the term climate resilience seem unfamiliar? Consider this: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, devastating floods in South Asia, and the California wildfires.  What do these events have in common? For starters, they all happened during the time I’ve been Greenlining’s Environmental Equity Legal Fellow — just two and half months. The real answer though, is climate change. Climate change contributed to, created the conditions for, or directly caused all those devastating extreme weather events. Scientists warned us for decades that the frequency and intensity of extreme weather would increase along with our planet’s temperature. So, these back-to-back climate disasters should not surprise us, and yet they do. We’ve seen the…
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Native American Genocide and American Exceptionalism

Native American Genocide and American Exceptionalism

In 1846, California had a Native American population of about 150,000. Just 27 years later, that figure had plummeted to just 30,000. I didn’t learn that as a schoolkid in southern California in the 1960s; I picked up that and lots of other facts I was never taught from a recent book called “An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe,” by UCLA history professor Benjamin Madley. And that got me thinking about “American exceptionalism.” American exceptionalism, explains historian Ian Tyrrell, “refers to the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty.” California’s 19th century Native American…
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Consumers May Get a Dose of Bad Medicine Named Mick Mulvaney

Consumers May Get a Dose of Bad Medicine Named Mick Mulvaney

With the recent news that Richard Cordray, President Obama’s holdover appointee director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is stepping down, consumer advocates nationwide are preparing for another disaster-of-the-week. To follow up on #45’s perfectly awful pairings of cabinet secretaries to federal agencies they seek to dismantle (see: anti-public school advocate Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, whose previous experience included filing a lawsuit to increase toxic mercury exposure to kids), supporters of the key agency designed to protect against the dangerous and predatory financial products that fueled the 2008 economic crisis are cringing at the clown car of inappropriate replacements the White House is reportedly…
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Tax Reform: They Say They Care About You. THEY’RE LYING

Tax Reform: They Say They Care About You. THEY’RE LYING

There they go again. Earlier today, Congress passed a so-called “tax reform” bill weighted heavily towards the top one percent. Desperate for a legislative victory, Congress passed this much-maligned tax plan after failing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a major booster of the bill said, “We’ve got to start winning. That’s what this does.” The Speaker also lauded this bill as a sign of “hope and new opportunity.” He’s lying. Or maybe he’s duped himself. Any basic analysis will find that this tax bill is a scam that props up the powerful at the expense of the powerless. By giving a…
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Tariq Meyers: Lyft’s Head of Inclusion and Diversity Discusses Advocacy, Empathy

Tariq Meyers: Lyft’s Head of Inclusion and Diversity Discusses Advocacy, Empathy

Here at Greenlining’s Leadership Academy, we’ve been on a journey. Over the summer we posted a series of blogs from our Greenlining Fellows, exploring their own personal transformation and #ChangeFromWithin, and what that means for leadership development; I also posted some reflections on what it all means. You can read those prior posts here. I recently spoke to a few of our alumni from prior years, and am offering some of their thoughts, Tariq Meyers is the Head of Inclusion & Diversity at Lyft. Tariq served as a 2014-2015 Economic Equity Fellow at The Greenlining Institute and helped support minority and women-owned businesses and helped lead resistance to bank mergers…
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Jane Kim on Politics, the Private Sector and Leadership

Jane Kim on Politics, the Private Sector and Leadership

Here at Greenlining’s Leadership Academy, we’ve been on a journey. Over the summer we posted a series of blogs from our Greenlining Fellows, exploring their own personal transformation and #ChangeFromWithin, and what that means for leadership development; I also posted some reflections on what it all means. You can read those prior posts here. I recently spoke to a few of our alumni from prior years, and will offer some of their thoughts this week and next. First up: Jane Kim, a Greenlining Fellow in 1999-2000. She has been a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors since 2011, where she spearheaded the effort to make San Francisco City…
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