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In Defense of Compromise

In Defense of Compromise

When is it okay to compromise your principles? Activists wrestle with this question every day (and those who don’t probably should). The answers never come easily. I bring this up because I’ve been arguing about this year’s election campaign with an old friend via social media. If his preferred (underdog) presidential candidate doesn’t win his party’s nomination, he’s going to vote for a third party candidate because the likely nominee fails to pass my friend’s purity test. And I want to wring his neck. (You’ll notice I’m not naming candidates or parties here. Greenlining is non-partisan and I don’t even want to imply any sort of endorsement — and the…
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Not-for-Profit Hospitals Must Join the Fight Against Climate Change

Not-for-Profit Hospitals Must Join the Fight Against Climate Change

At first glance, the headline above may seem puzzling. What do hospitals have to do with climate change? Let me explain. California’s Central Valley contains six of the 10 most polluted cities, according the American Lung Association. Sadly, Orlando (pictured above) is just one of the many residents of the Valley who suffers from asthma that is largely caused or worsened by the poor air quality. Orlando uses a nebulizer, a device that administers medication in the form of a mist, to treat his asthma during school recesses. In the Fresno Unified School District, almost one in five students have asthma. In response to this epidemic, Kaiser Permanente donated $20,000…
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4 Things You Should Know About Not-for-Profit Hospital Community Benefits

4 Things You Should Know About Not-for-Profit Hospital Community Benefits

For the past several years, Greenlining has led a statewide coalition to advocate for not-for-profit hospitals to increase investments that improve the holistic health and well-being of communities of color and low-income communities. Each year, not-for-profit hospitals receive billions of dollars in tax exemptions and subsidies – totaling nearly $3.3 billion amongst not-for-profit hospital systems in California in 2010. In exchange, these hospitals are required to provide vital investments that address the health needs of the communities they serve, with an emphasis on building community health and disease prevention. These investments are known as community benefits. Communities of color and low-income communities, California’s most vulnerable populations, have the most to…
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Yes, the News Media Are Biased

Yes, the News Media Are Biased

If you’ve been following the presidential campaign (probably not a healthy activity for one’s sanity, but still), and particularly if you’re active on social media, you’ve likely seen a lot of rants about media bias. They’re blacking out Bernie! They’re helping Trump by putting him on TV constantly! CNN = Communist News Network! (Yes,some people actually believe that one.) As a former reporter who’s spent the last 15 years doing media relations for advocacy nonprofits, I can confirm that media bias really exists. But it’s mostly not what people think. Putting aside obviously ideological outlets like Fox News, most reporters, editors and producers do try to be fair. Yes, they…
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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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AB 1550 – Increasing Equity in California’s Climate Investments

AB 1550 – Increasing Equity in California’s Climate Investments

Yesterday I wrote about the progress California’s effort against climate change is making, both in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in bringing energy-saving and clean-energy investments to our state’s disadvantaged communities.  That’s important, but it’s just half the story. The second half of the story is our chance to make this landmark program even better. AB 1550, authored by Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) preserves the progress we have made so far in directing revenue from polluters to disadvantaged communities and then goes farther, ensuring that California Climate Investments benefit low-income households anywhere in the State. If it becomes law, AB 1550 will do two things: Send more money to…
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9 Things To Know About California’s Climate Investments

9 Things To Know About California’s Climate Investments

A few years ago, California started an ambitious program to charge polluters for the climate-changing greenhouse gases they put into our air, and then use that money to promote clean energy and energy savings while bringing the benefits of this growing clean energy economy to our most polluted and economically struggling communities.  How’s that effort going? We now have partial answers, and while incomplete, they’re encouraging. The California Department of Finance is required to submit an annual report to the Legislature on the status and outcomes of projects funded by the money polluters pay into the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF).  The 2016 Annual Report lists the projects funded by…
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Mo’ Money, Mo’ EVs: More Electric Car Rebates Available for Low-income Californians

Mo’ Money, Mo’ EVs: More Electric Car Rebates Available for Low-income Californians

California continues to be a national leader on electric vehicle (EV) equity. Yesterday (March 29, 2016), California took a critical step in getting new EVs into the hands of low-income drivers. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) changed eligibility requirements to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), spending limited dollars more equitably and working to make plug-in vehicles a real choice for working class Californians who can benefit the most from the clean air benefits and cost savings EVs provide.  The CVRP provided rebates to all Californians: $2,500 for battery electric vehicles like Nissan Leafs and Teslas and $1,500 for plug-in hybrids like Chevy Volts and Toyota Prius plug-ins. Now, low-…
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The News Business: We May Miss Journalism When It’s Gone

The News Business: We May Miss Journalism When It’s Gone

In less than a month, the Oakland Tribune will disappear as a daily newspaper, as the Bay Area News Group consolidates half a dozen papers into just two: the East Bay Times and the Mercury News, which will lose San Jose from its name and cover the South Bay and Peninsula. The group’s newsroom staff will shrink by 20 percent, and detailed local coverage will be relegated to once-a-week local supplements (one of which will reportedly continue to bear the Oakland Tribune name). This saddens me on so many levels I don’t know where to start. Under the leadership of Bob Maynard (the first African American publisher of a major…
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Big Sugar Created an Epidemic – Now They Should Pay for a Solution

Big Sugar Created an Epidemic – Now They Should Pay for a Solution

Growing up, sugary drinks were a part of my daily school lunch and home life as well. I remember my mom would give me a couple of dollars and send me to the corner store to buy 2-liter bottles of soda if we ran out. Because it was also the cheaper alternative growing up, I drank sugary drinks more often than I drank water. I couldn’t turn on the television without seeing commercials for sugary drinks, not only on English language channels, but Filipino and Spanish channels as well. Even more so today, the soda industry focuses much of its efforts and money marketing to communities of color and especially…
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