California regains its power to regulate internet service providers. Here’s why that’s good news for consumers

By Debra Gore-Mann and Paul Goodman
CalMatters

 

Eight years ago, major internet service providers convinced the California Legislature to deregulate their industry.

It was a bad decision that, mercifully, came to an end Jan. 1 when this ill-conceived law sunsetted. The California Public Utilities Commission’s power to protect consumers has been restored.

Let’s be honest: Communities of color suffer the most harm from un- or under-regulated industries. We could list examples all day, but here are a few:

For the past three decades, internet service providers, and their predecessors, phone companies, have successfully waged a war to deregulate their industry.

Regulation, they argue, will stifle innovation. That may have been true 30 years ago. But now, the only innovation we see is ISPs coming up with new ways to charge you more while delivering less, even as they find new ways to discriminate against people of color.

That’s why we, as advocates for communities of color, joined with other consumer advocates in opposing the deregulation push.

But legislators have generally bought the providers’ argument hook, line, and sinker.

California’s Legislature may be a leader in environmental justice and clean energy, but it has repeatedly done the bidding of internet service providers, which in 2012 convinced the lawmakers to essentially deregulate broadband services until 2020—all in the name of “innovation.”

Over the past seven years, internet service providers have come up with quite a few “innovations”:

So it’s no surprise that ISPs are consistently rated the worst companies in America, worse than airlines, banks and insurance companies.

The good news is that Californians are tired of this behavior and sent a clear message to legislators: Stop doing the ISPs’ bidding. This time, the legislature listened, and we stopped an industry-sponsored bill that would have extended the deregulation of internet services permanently.

Now, the California Public Utilities Commission has regained its authority to enforce service quality standards, require that internet service functions during power outages, and ensure that every household has access to high-speed, robust, and affordable internet service.

California needs to hold ISPs accountable, because the Federal Communications Commission—the federal agency that is supposed to regulate them—is being run by a chairman bent on eliminating every consumer protection he can get his hands on.

With the California commission’s authority restored, it can finally take actions critical to California’s consumers.

For years, providers have refused to provide detailed pricing data to the commission. Now, the commission has the power to force them to do so and to protect consumers from being gouged.

Similarly, the commission can enforce California’s new law on net neutrality, which is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.

Maybe most urgently, the California Public Utilities Commission can address how the companies ensure that internet services, including internet-based phone services, work during natural disasters.

While broadband providers claimed that they were prepared for Pacific Gas & Electric’s recent northern California power shutoffs, those claims were wrong.

Many households that lost power also lost their broadband and phone service. The commission can now take swift action to require that broadband providers have sufficient backup power to keep services running for at least 72 hours.

Public safety is at stake. When you dial 9-1-1, should you need to worry about what type of technology you are using? No. You just want to know that you can reach someone on the other end when there’s an emergency.

Internet service providers don’t give up easily.

We’ll see them back in Sacramento, making their same, shop-worn, baseless claims that they need to operate free of regulation. We need to maintain pressure on legislators to ensure that every Californian—not just ISP shareholders—benefit from everything a free, open, and affordable internet has to offer.

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Debra Gore-Mann is president and chief executive officer of The Greenlining Institutedebrag@greenlining.org, and Paul Goodman is Technology Equity Director, paulg@greenlining.org. They wrote this commentary for CalMatters.

Community Rejuvenation Project and The Greenlining Institute Announce Mural Project

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA — The Greenlining Institute and the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) announced today a large-scale mural project in downtown Oakland. Over the next few months, CRP will design and install the Greenlining mural on the west-facing exterior wall of Greenlining’s 360 Center at 360 14th Street. in downtown Oakland. Additionally, CRP will be hosting a series of free community engagement events and public activities throughout the mural production process, including design workshops, a panel discussion, an art exhibition, and an artist talk.

The mural will incorporate themes related to Greenlining’s equity policy issue areas, along with content developed directly from community engagement events. Born from a multi-ethnic coalition that first came together in the 1980s to fight redlining, Greenlining works to expand economic opportunity for communities of color. Its work now embraces a wide variety of policy areas, including banking and economic policy, health, tech, energy and the green economy. The Greenlining 360 Center, opened in January 2017, has become a center for organizing and education, hosting hundreds of community events, meetings and trainings.

The project is a follow-up to CRP’s beloved “Universal Language,” also referred to as the Alice Street Mural, a tribute to the cultural history and resilience of the Afro-Diasporic and Chinese American communities centered around the intersection of Alice Street and 14th Street, which is no longer visible due to a new development at that location.  CRP founder and Director Desi Mundo, the lead artist for both “Universal Language” and the Greenlining Mural, said in a statement, “As the new development at 14th and Alice eclipses our ‘Universal Language’ mural, we’re heartened by the opportunity to re-engage in an in-depth dialogue with our community around our local cultural heroes and Oakland’s resiliency as a whole. Collaborating with The Greenlining Institute feels like a beautiful partnership because so much of their work has been creating systemic equity that will protect vulnerable communities from the forces of displacement. While we intend to continue the previous project’s reflection of our shared values and heroes, we need to be clear that this is a new piece that requires an equally thoughtful approach. This presents the opportunity to build on our past work, while evolving with Oakland.”

”We created the Greenlining 360 Center to be much more than an office building for nonprofits, but a true community hub,” said Greenlining Institute President Debra Gore-Mann. “As Oakland fights to maintain its identity in the face of gentrification and economic inequality, we hope this mural will not only add beauty to our city, but will also be a source of connection to the history and soul of Oakland.”

In addition to Mundo, artists selected for this project include Dave Young Kim, Marina Wong,  and Rachel Wolfe. Kim, an alumnus of CRP, has gone on to become a prolific muralist in his own right. Wong, a member of Twin Walls Mural Company, is one of the Bay Area’s rising stars in mural arts. Wolfe is the co-founder of the Bay Area Mural Program, a non-profit organization which combines public art with education. Funding for this project was made possible by Creative Work Fund (a program of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation), the California Arts Council, and a contribution from Bay Development.

Specific activities include:

  • February 5, 2020 at The Greenlining Institute: State of the Arts, a panel discussion with Francisco Sanchez, Dave Young Kim, and Dan Fontes, moderated by Eric Arnold;
  • February 11-14, 2020 at Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC), Malonga Casquelourd Center and Greenlining: community listening and input sessions;
  • March 11, 2020 at the Malonga Center:  Mural design and feedback session;
  • April 8 at OACC:  Mural design and feedback session;
  • April 15 at The Greenlining Institute: Mural design and feedback session;

Additional events at The Greenlining Institute:

  • May 1, 2020 Opening reception for art exhibit;
  • May 14, 2020:  Artist talk;
  • July 25, 2020: Mural dedication ceremony.

For a complete list of events, activities, dates, times, and locations click here.

Media contacts:

Bruce Mirken, The Greenlining Institute, (510) 926-4022 or brucem@greenlining.org.

Eric Arnold, CRP: (510) 681-8213 or escribe68@gmail.com; Desi Mundo, CRP: (510) 551-1096 or crpbayarea@gmail.com; For more information on The Greenlining Institute, please visit www.greenlining.org. For more information on CRP, please visit www.crpbayarea.org

 

Newsom’s Budget Omits Some Key Priorities for Communities of Color

Budget Strong on Health, Homelessness But Weakens Climate Efforts in Underserved Communities

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute expressed great concern about important programs left unfunded in the proposed state budget released today by Gov. Gavin Newsom, while applauding proposals that can help preserve and enhance economic opportunity for California’s communities of color.

Greenlining applauded the governor’s proposed infusion of capital into the fight against homelessness. “Affordable housing and homelessness represent critical challenges for California, and particularly for communities of color,” said Greenlining Institute Economic Equity Director Adam Briones. “Black Californians represent about six and a half percent of our state’s population, but nearly 40 percent of California’s homeless. We look forward to seeing more bold leadership from the governor and legislature on this issue.”

Briones added, “Greenlining also applauds the Governor for addressing some pressing needs of small businesses, especially those owned by people of color. We are especially excited about his decision to propose an LLC fee waiver and look forward to assisting him in passing that legislation.”

Greenlining has long argued that addressing poverty and pollution at the same time must be core to the state’s fight against climate change. Unfortunately the proposed Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund allocation eliminates funding for the most comprehensive, equitable, and transformational program, the Transformative Climate Communities Program, as well as for other programs critical to low-income communities. This follows a troubling pattern of underinvestment in programs known to deliver the most measurable, direct, and assured benefits to California’s disadvantaged communities.

“We are deeply troubled by the Governor’s decision to eliminate funding for the Transformative Climate Communities Program,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez. “We call on the governor and the legislature to reestablish funding for this important program and to invest more, not less, in programs that deliver real climate solutions to low-income communities of color that are hit hardest by climate change.”

Greenlining urges that these key programs be funded at the following levels:

  • $100 million for Transformative Climate Communities (zeroed out in Gov. Newsom’s proposal)
  • $100 million for Low Carbon Transportation Equity Programs  ($75 million in Newsom’s proposal)
  • $5 million for Regional Climate Collaboratives (also zeroed out in Newsom’s proposal)
  • $75 million for Low Income Weatherization (also zeroed out)

In addition, the governor proposes a $4 billion Climate Resilience Bond.  “Unfortunately,” Sanchez said, “this includes insufficient funds to build the resilience of the populations most vulnerable to climate change, so we will strongly urge more funding for communities most at risk.”

Greenlining’s Health Equity team applauded Gov. Newsom’s inclusion of funding for full-scope Medi-Cal coverage for undocumented seniors as well as his $695 million proposal to transform Medi-Cal to provide comprehensive, coordinated physical and mental health services, especially for Californians lacking secure housing. “Coordinating funding to address housing as a health intervention is an important example of working across sectors to improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable. We want to see more investments in jobs and economic opportunities as a health intervention as well,” said Greenlining Health Equity Program Manager Kelsey Lyles.

In light of the Jan. 1 expansion of Medi-Cal to cover all low income Californians under age 26 regardless of immigration status,  Greenlining emphasized the need for investments in health workforce and loan forgiveness programs so that providers are equipped to serve the diverse needs of communities of color.

Greenlining’s Technology Equity Team applauded the governor’s inclusion of resources to map the state of broadband connectivity in California. “These maps are critically needed and will finally provide the state the data necessary to ensure that everyone has access to a robust, open internet at reasonable prices,” said Greenlining Technology Equity Director Paul Goodman. “More accurate data, combined with the Governor’s commitment of $900 million over five years to improve California’s broadband infrastructure, will ensure that all Californians see the benefit of a robust, competitive market for internet service.  We are especially encouraged that governor acknowledges that California can include the construction of broadband infrastructure as part of other state projects.”

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Pay for student-athletes is a racial justice issue

By Debra Gore-Mann and De’Zhon Grace
San Francisco Chronicle

 

The college football championship game will be played Monday in New Orleans. Millions of dollars will go to the conferences and participating universities, trickling down to their coaching staffs, athletic administrators and everyone in between — except the student-athletes playing in the game, who won’t earn a penny.

As controversy continues over the NCAA’s recent decision — spurred by a new California law — to take a step toward allowing student-athletes to profit from the use of their name and likeness via endorsement and marketing deals, we need to remember the real issue at play here: race.

America since its founding has profited from the labor of black and brown bodies while excluding them from the wealth they generated. This was true for enslaved families on southern plantations in the 1800s, for servicemen of color who were denied G.I. benefits in the 1940s, and it’s true today for student-athletes.

The authors of this piece have seen this issue close up through their own experiences in college athletics: Debra Gore-Mann played basketball on scholarship at Stanford and went on to serve as athletic director at the University of San Francisco. De’Zhon Grace is a first-generation intercollegiate student-athlete from Oakland who played on the UC Berkeley football team.

The CFP National Championship reminds us that college athletics is a billion dollar business — with the NCAA reaching a milestone of $1.1 billion in revenue in 2017 while some coaches, such as Dabo Swinney, have landed contracts north of $90 million over 10 years. And coaching is white-dominated. Per the NCAA’s database, 80% of men’s basketball coaches and 86% of head football coaches are white, wildly out of proportion to the percentage of black student-athletes they coach.

It’s also not just the NCAA and coaches who profit. ESPN committed $5.64 billion to the owners of the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, Orange, Cotton, and Peach Bowls for 12 years worth of broadcast rights. That’s equivalent to ESPN giving the 42,000 students at UC Berkeley more than $130,000 each. These “bowl game owners” are in effect a cartel. But that’s another story for another time.

These profits have not flowed — or even trickled down — to the student-athletes who make these teams and universities so profitable. In fact, coaches like Swinney threaten to quit rather than allow student-athletes to make a few thousand dollars. That’s right: A coach with a $93 million contract complained that “there’s enough entitlement in this world”— while some student-athletes literally went to bed hungry.

Unfortunately, this unfair system falls primarily on the shoulders of young people of color. According to the NCAA’s Demographic Database, 47% of Division I college football players and 55% of basketball players are black. While we don’t begrudge the $90-plus million paid to a head coach, we do take issue with the exclusion of the 85 scholarship student-athletes who make up his team — the people whose work, sweat and sacrifice create the value that everyone else gets to cash in on.

Let’s just leave it all on the field. While the NCAA has reluctantly opened the door a crack for this discussion around compensating student-athletes for their effort and labor, the NCAA and bowl games cartel must do more. We can’t help but wonder if the hesitation is because the largest grossing sports have the largest percentages of black athletes. We cannot have an honest conversation on compensation until we have an honest conversation about the role of race.

The NCAA has a unique and groundbreaking opportunity to provide an appropriate form of reparations and reduce the wealth inequality gap. The ball is in their court.

Debra Gore-Mann is president and CEO and De’Zhon Grace is economic equity fellow at The Greenlining Institute.

Cable Companies Fail to Hire Minority-Owned Suppliers, New Report Finds

Comcast, Cox Communications Both Get “F” Grades in Greenlining Supplier Diversity Report Card  

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Utility, telecommunications and water companies regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission continue to report overall growth in contracting with suppliers owned by people of color, women, disabled veterans and LGBT people, reports The Greenlining Institute in its latest Supplier Diversity Report Card. Still, some companies lagged, and results for particular groups were decidedly mixed.

Key findings of the report, compiled from 2018 data reported to the CPUC in 2019, include:

  • Comcast trails all other regulated companies in contracting with Minority Business Enterprises. Just 3.99 percent of Comcast’s contract dollars went to businesses owned by people of color, and its spending with businesses owned by women of color also ranked poorly at just 1.04 percent of total contracts.
  • Verizon Wireless sets the standard for diverse spending, with $290 million (33.92 percent) of its spending going towards businesses owned by people of color — more than 10x the amount of Comcast on diverse suppliers.
  • Although 37 percent of California businesses are owned by women of color, they got just 4.16 percent of contract spending in 2018.

Additional findings include:

  • Most companies improved their percentage of procurement dollars spent with Minority Business Enterprises in 2018, with Verizon Wireless and Sprint topping the rankings.
  • The cable industry continues to neglect supplier diversity, with Comcast (see above) and Cox both receiving grades of “F.”
  • Spending with African American-owned suppliers was a mixed bag, with a few companies’ spending dropping sharply.
  • Contracting with Latino-owned businesses increased at two thirds of companies, but overall levels remained low given the large Latino presence in California.
  • Spending with woman-owned businesses remained relatively flat.
  • Contracting with LGBT-owned businesses grew slightly but remained at generally low levels with a small number of exceptions.

“The groundbreaking supplier diversity efforts taken on by utility companies under the guiding principles of the California Public Utilities Commission’s General Order 156 have helped break the ‘old-boy network’ and create opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs,” said Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann. “We have seen that when commissioners make this effort a priority, it can generate unprecedented results. If our state is to remain competitive, regulated firms and their spending should reflect the demographics of our state.”

In 2018, the firms analyzed in Greenlining’s Supplier Diversity Report Card spent a combined $39.2 billion with outside contractors. Supplier contracts represent enormous opportunities for a wide variety of businesses owned by people of color and other marginalized groups and include things like construction, transportation, and business and legal services. Greenlining analyzed how much each company spent on Minority Business Enterprises (including African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Latino, and Native American-owned companies) and women-, LGBT- and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises. Overall, the utilities spent a combined $9.2 billion on businesses owned by people of color, a slight improvement over 2017.

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Driving a Tesla in the carpool lane: No longer just a perk for the rich

By Rachel Swan
San Francisco Chronicle

For years, driving alone in the carpool lane was a glimmering sign of privilege, limited to owners of flashy new electric cars.

In January, California will extend this benefit to the less affluent. A new state law will enable low-income motorists who purchase secondhand electric vehicles with expired “clean air” stickers — passports into the diamond lanes — to trade them for new stickers that are valid until 2024.

Social justice advocates champion the idea, saying it will expand what was traditionally a rich person’s market, enticing more motorists to choose zero-emission vehicles. The new law applies to people whose household income is 80% of the state median, or lower. Officials at the Department of Motor Vehicles pegged that threshold at $65,777 a year.

“Philosophically, this is really important,” said Joel Levin, executive director of the nonprofit consumer group Plug In America. “There’s a stereotype that electric vehicles are just fancy cars for wealthy people, but we want to make them available to everybody — especially low-income people who drive long distances to work. Used cars are going to be a big part of that story.”

But critics question whether the state should continue offering this perk, which jams traffic in carpool lanes. On some freeways, the crush of plug-in vehicles is slowing down public buses and carpools, putting two environmental strategies in competition. As of August 2018 the DMV had issued 363,309 stickers — mostly in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, where many carpool lanes don’t meet the federal standard of moving traffic at 45 mph 90% of the time.

The bill’s author, former state Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, argued that new stickers issued as a result of the law would be offset by other stickers expiring. Yet, if the state is to meet its policy objective of putting more electric vehicles on the road, more will wind up in the carpool lanes.

“These lanes need to function,” said Randy Rentschler, legislative director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which opposed Lara’s bill. Rentschler noted that the purpose of carpool lanes is to move high-occupancy vehicles, not to “incentivize whatever do-gooder behavior we want to incentivize.”

At least one bus rider agreed.

“If you’re riding the bus on Interstate 80 on a weekday, it’s just regular traffic,” said Aswun James, who stepped off an AC Transit 76 bus on a recent Thursday morning. James often takes buses from his home in Richmond to visit friends in Pinole.

Fans of the stickers push back, saying California urgently needs to convert more drivers to electric cars and hybrids. Former Gov. Jerry Brown set a target of 5 million by 2030, a steep climb from 600,000 registered today.

“We know that if we don’t start moving from dirty cars to clean cars, we won’t get there,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, Democrat from San Francisco and owner of an electric Chevy Bolt.

When these vehicles hit the secondary market, lawmakers saw an opportunity to reach a more diverse pool of drivers.

“We want to offer low-income folks the same benefit that was given to people who could afford the technology when it was first introduced,” said Alvaro Sanchez, environmental equity director at The Greenlining Institute. The Oakland-based nonprofit was among several groups that supported Lara’s bill.

Historically, the state and federal government dangled tax breaks and rebates to induce people to buy electric cars. Most of these rewards went to well-heeled consumers who could afford to try the technology in its infancy, and whose income was high enough to benefit from a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Now, with Teslas and BMW hybrids filling the driveways of California’s most prosperous suburbs, the state’s goals have shifted. Policymakers want to broaden electric car ownership to teachers, house cleaners and janitors. And they want to cap subsidies for the wealthy.

To that end, California set income restrictions for rebates: single taxpayers who earn $150,000 or more gross income are no longer eligible, though they still qualify for carpool lane decals. At the same time, air districts throughout the state began offering scrap-and-replace programs, which enable poor people to swap their old, gas-fueled beater cars for a grant to purchase an electric car or hybrid.

Starting next year, working-class drivers can score the most coveted prize of all: entry to the diamond lanes.

“This is great,” said Randi Lewis, a Vallejo resident who would qualify for the new sticker program. Lewis squeaks by on disability payments and previously drove an old, fuel-belching clunker. In June she received a grant from Bay Area Air Quality Management District to buy a 2013 Ford C-Max hybrid, metallic gray with leather seats. The car had a white spot on its bumper where someone had peeled off the old carpool lane decal.

Besides serving as a social equalizer, the new law could also boost sales of used electric cars. Thus, it drew support from an unlikely ally: the automobile industry. Manufacturers and dealers favor the law because it helps salvage the value of used plug-ins that would be hard to sell without the carpool lane stickers.

In the Bay Area, access to fast-moving carpool lanes is the main allure of an electric vehicle, said Leo Beas, operations manager at Rose Motorcars in Castro Valley. For customers with long commutes, the ability to coast along a freeway outweighs other incentives, like saving money on fuel and repairs.

More than half the customers who walk into Rose Motorcars seek a carpool lane decal, Beas said.

He can empathize.

“When I drive to our sister location in Modesto, it can take two or three hours if I leave anytime after 1 p.m.,” he said. “When you’re stuck on Interstate 580 during that commute, and you look over to see cars flying by in the carpool lane — it can be tempting.”

Many people succumb to temptation. Roughly a quarter of carpool lane drivers are actually single motorists in gas-powered cars who are cheating the system, according to studies by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Such figures rankle the electric-car evangelists, who argue that clean-air vehicles are unfairly blamed for crowding the lanes.

Still, state officials want to thin out traffic any way they can. They’ve given clean-air stickers rolling expiration dates to limit the number of people taking advantage of them. The red decals that were doled out in 2018 will become worthless in 2022, while the purple decals released in 2019 will lose their value in 2023. Green and white decals issued before 2017 are already defunct, making those vehicles suitable for resale to a low-income buyer.

For those who participate, the advantages could multiply, Beas said.

“When you’re driving a plug-in, there’s no oil change, no spark plugs, no fuel pumps to worry about — you’re spending a lot less money on maintenance, and then you can drive for Uber or Lyft on the side,” he said. “This is going to be a game-changer.”

Greenlining Institute Announces New Board Co-Chairs, Executive Committee

Founding Co-Chairs Ortensia Lopez and George Dean Step Down After 27 Years  

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute is pleased to announce the election of new co-chairs and a new Executive Committee, as founding Co-Chairs Ortensia Lopez and George Dean step down after 27 years of service.

The new executive committee consists of:
Co-Chairs: Robert Apodaca and Tunua Thrash-Ntuk
Treasurer: Tate Hill III
Secretary: Noemi Gallardo
Member at large: Ortensia Lopez

“It has been an honor and a privilege to be a co-founding member of The Greenlining Institute and board co-chair for the past 27 years,” said Ortensia Lopez. “Having been in the nonprofit sector for over 45 years, co-founded organizations and served on many boards, I know that Greenlining has always been a respected icon that ensures that our communities thrive. Greenlining’s Leadership Academy continues to inspire as it trains and develops leaders who continue to work with, for and in our communities.”

This has been a year of momentous change for Greenlining. As co-chairs, Ortensia Lopez and George Dean entrusted Tunua Thrash-Ntuk and Robert Apodaca to head the Transition Committee that culminated in the selection of our new President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann.

“We are incredibly thankful and owe a debt of gratitude to our founding co-chairs George Dean and Ortensia Lopez, who have guided and supported the growth of this organization for the past 27 years,” said Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann. “Their tireless commitment and investment in the organization and its staff cannot be underestimated. I look forward to working with the new Executive Committee as we continue to expand economic opportunities for communities of color.”

On behalf of Greenlining’s entire staff, Gore-Mann saluted Lopez and Dean for shepherding the organization to where it is today and building the leadership needed to further advance racial equity. “They built the organization and consistently invested in the next generation of leaders – who will now carry our mission forward,” she said.

More about Greenlining’s new co-chairs:

Tunua Thrash-Ntuk: Tunua Thrash-Ntuk is the Executive Director of Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation. She is a seasoned community and economic development practitioner with nearly two decades of experience in both nonprofit and private sectors. Her strengths range from community advocacy to asset and real estate development around neighborhood revitalization. She has already led a number of important urban initiatives throughout Los Angeles County focused on affordable housing, economic and commercial development, as well as transit-oriented projects. Tunua holds a B.A. from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree from MIT.

Robert Apodaca: Robert J. Apodaca, Founder of ZeZeN Advisors, Inc., has a 45-year professional and civic career that spans both private and public sectors and several industries.  Following his service as Chairman and Trustee of Alameda County Retirement Board (pension fund), he joined the investment industry as a Senior Vice President & Partner of Kennedy Associates, an institutional investor for pension funds. New and retained accounts credited to his leadership included CalPERS, Chicago Transit Authority, San Diego County Retirement Board, Dallas Police & Fire, Kansas City Public Schools, NYC Fire Fighters and International Glass Molders. Apodaca has consistently devoted much time and energy to community service and serves on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations.

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute and the board, visit www.greenlining.org.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Trump Administration Proposes Weakening Vital Anti-Redlining Law

Community Reinvestment Act Has Played Critical Role, Greenlining Institute Says

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Today the Trump administration’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation released a proposal for updating the Community Reinvestment Act, a landmark anti-redlining law first enacted in 1977. The Greenlining Institute urged a stronger, more specific focus on modern forms of redlining that continue to keep communities of color largely locked out of homeownership.

“The CRA has been a strong, and important tool to curb redlining and assure fair access to credit for all, but it needs to be modernized and strengthened,” said Greenlining Institute Senior Economic Equity Program Manager Rawan Elhalaby. “It appears that the Trump administration wants to move in the wrong direction and seeks to weaken this vital law. This would be a serious blow to communities of color, and especially women of color, who are already on the wrong side of the homeownership gap.”

Extensive research has found that the CRA did much to curb redlining, the now-banned practice of denying loans and investment in communities of color. But the Great Recession sent the homeownership gap between Blacks, Whites and nonwhite Hispanics back to pre-CRA levels. Reporting by the investigative news outlet Reveal has shown that lending discrimination, effectively a modern-day form of redlining, persists.

As stated in comments to the OCC last year, The Greenlining Institute and 54-member Greenlining Coalition believe that CRA needs an update, but changes should modernize and maintain the spirit of the law, reflecting persisting needs in low and moderate-income neighborhoods and communities of color as well as changes in our financial systems. Changes should not weaken the law by making it easier for banks to fulfill their CRA obligations. This appears to be the intent of Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, who in the past has expressed hostility to the law.

Advocates and organizations representing communities that have been victims of financially discrimination are urged to contact The Greenlining Institute at rawane@greenlining.org to learn more about the fight for financial fairness.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Greenlining Institute Urges Tougher CA Clean Truck Standards

Urges CARB to Take Steps to End “Diesel Death Zones”  

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – As the California Air Resources Board prepares for a public hearing on its proposed Advanced Clean Trucks Regulation, The Greenlining Institute is urging CARB to greatly strengthen its proposed rule.

“Too many California communities of color live in ‘diesel death zones,’ areas where pollution from heavy-duty trucks leads to high rates of cancer, asthma and heart disease,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Program manager Leslie Aguayo, who will be testifying at the hearing. “Zero-emissions trucks exist today for a variety of uses, and we need a faster transition in order to protect lives and health.”

In comments filed with the board, Greenlining calls CARB’s proposal to have four percent of California’s trucks be zero-emission by 2030 “insufficient,” and urges that the mandate be increased to 15 percent. Longer-term, Greenlining asks CARB to set a target date for when all trucks should be zero-emission, with specific dates for each class of trucks.

Greenlining also urges CARB to accelerate both the inclusion of Class 2b pickup trucks (trucks with a GVWR of 8,501 to 10,000 pounds) and the adoption of fleet purchase requirements.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Comments: California Air Resources Board Must Adopt a Stronger Advanced Clean Truck Rule

The California Air Resources Board Must Adopt a Stronger Advanced Clean Truck Rule

Greenlining supports a stronger Advanced Clean Truck rule standard. As it stands, the ACT proposal would result in zero-emission trucks comprising four percent of California’s trucks by 2030; this is an insufficient standard and will fail to address the imminent, severe climate and public health consequences our state faces. We urge the California Air Resources Board to strengthen its proposal through the following mandates:

  1. Increasing the overall mandates to ensure that by 2030 no less than 15 percent of medium and heavy-duty trucks on the road are zero-emitting.
  2. Including Class 2b pickup trucks in the mandates beginning in 2024.
  3. Outlining CARB's longer-term objectives for achieving 100 percent zero-emission trucks in various categories, and explaining how this phase of the rule is consistent with those objectives in attaining federal and state air quality and greenhouse gas objectives.
  4. Committing to adopt corresponding fleet purchase requirements in 2021.