Gov. Brown to Sign Landmark Climate Legislation Today

Gov. Brown to Sign Landmark Climate Legislation Today
Advocates Call Measures to Aid Underserved Communities “Greatest Story No One Knows”

Sidney Fang, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, 510-703-1311
Laura Muraida, SCOPE, 323-789-7920,
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
Chelsea Tu, Public Advocates, 510 717-9092 (cell)
Bill Magavern, Coalition for Clean Air, 916-214-0065

FRESNO, CALIFORNIA – In what advocates for underserved communities are calling “the greatest story no one knows,” California Gov. Jerry Brown will sign legislation today dramatically expanding California’s commitment to use climate change policy to attack pollution and poverty together. In a Fresno ceremony at 11:30 this morning, Brown will sign AB 1550 (Gomez), which guarantees that going forward, at least 35 percent of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund proceeds will benefit underserved communities and low-income Californians.

At the same time, the governor will sign legislation allocating $900 million collected from polluters in the state’s carbon auctions to projects such as urban forestry, clean transportation, home weatherization and solar power for low-income families. Some of that money will fund another bill to be signed today, AB 2722 (Burke), which establishes the Transformative Climate Communities program, a unique effort to tie together multiple climate and clean energy efforts such affordable housing near transit, energy saving and clean transportation into an integrated community-wide approach.

“AB 1550 invests real dollars in projects that both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and allow the neediest families to save on electricity, transportation, and other household costs — underscoring the fact that California can reach its climate goals while also tackling the crisis of extreme inequality,” said Chelsea Tu, staff attorney at Public Advocates.

“This may be the biggest story that almost no one’s noticed,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez. “California decided to fight poverty with the same program that fights climate change and pollution, bringing jobs, investment and consumer benefits to disadvantaged communities. We’ve created a model for the nation to follow.”

“While some legislators dance to the tune of Big Oil, others are mainly interested in bringing their districts tangible benefits, like the clean transportation and energy investments being made today,” said Coalition for Clean Air Policy Director Bill Magavern. “And it was those Assemblymembers who provided the votes to give SB 32 the majority that it had lacked last year.”

“Now, our families will benefit from solutions that reduce fossil fuel pollution, improve the air our children breathe, and secure critical investments for our neighborhoods most deeply impacted by the climate and economic crisis,” said Miya Yoshitani of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “We applaud the legislature and the governor for lifting up community-led solutions that bring shared prosperity and a healthier climate.”

“The passage of this year’s historic climate legislation package means that by 2030, California communities will be less polluted and more resilient,” said SCOPE Research Director Laura Muraida. “AB 1550 and AB 2722 are critical to ensuring that disadvantaged communities — largely low-income communities of color — are at the center of this transformation.”

Last year, The Greenlining Institute collected 10 case studies that illustrate the impact of California’s climate investments on underserved communities. Stories of real Californians impacted by these clean energy policies, as well as background on the laws themselves, can be found at (English) and (Spanish).

New Report Card: Contracting with Minority Businesses Grows but Some Companies Flunk

New Report Card: Contracting with Minority Businesses Grows but Some Companies Flunk
California Utility/Telecom Contracting with Minority Firms Reaches $5.7 Billion

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

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – California’s utility and telecommunications companies spent $5.7 billion on contracts with minority-owned businesses in 2015, but this generally strong performance was distinctly uneven, The Greenlining Institute reports in its latest SupplierDiversity Report Card. Comcast, for example, did less than 10 percent of its contracting with minority-owned businesses, earning a D- for minority contracting.

The Supplier Diversity Report Card will be released publicly Sept. 14. Journalists can preview it now at the link above. The report card assigns letter grades to individual companies for their performance in multiple contracting categories, and includes analysis and recommendations aimed at increasing contracting opportunities.

“Driven by smart California policies that promote contracting with diverse businesses, many of these companies do as much as 30 percent of their contracting with firms owned by African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Pacific Islanders – leading the nation in diverse contracting,” said Greenlining Institute Energy and Telecommunications Policy Director Stephanie Chen. “This creates jobs and opportunities in communities that too often get left behind, but the uneven performance between companies shows there’s still work to do. Given the growing role that tech and green tech are now playing in the utility sector, it’s clearly time for those companies to step up to the plate.”

Key findings include:

  • The top spender in dollars spent with minority business enterprises was Pacific Gas & Electric, spending $1.6 billion in 2015 with MBEs, or 28.36 percent of its total 2015 procurement. Sprint had the largest percentage of MBE procurement at 30.82 percent ($406 million).
  • California’s supplier diversity leaders remain best-in-class, but momentum seems to be leveling off.
  • Generally speaking, procurement with African American, Native American, Asian Pacific Islander and women of color-owned businesses leaves ample room for improvement.
  • The most successful companies employ several common best practices, such as including supplier diversity in procurement decisions from the very start and providing focused capacity-building, technical assistance, and mentorship support that help suppliers get better at what they do best.

Legislature Sends Climate Justice Bills to Gov. Brown

August 31, 2016

Legislature Sends Climate Justice Bills to Gov. Brown
AB 1550, GGRF Allocations Will Aid Underserved Communities

Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
Isabel Alegría, Public Advocates, 510-541-5428 (cell),
Bill Magavern, Coalition for Clean Air, 916-214-0065
Parin Shah, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, 415-286-7850 (cell),
Laura Muraida, SCOPE, 323-789-7920,

SACRAMENTO – A series of measures to extend and strengthen California’s fight against climate change while enhancing benefits for communities battling poverty and pollution drew applause today from the climate justice advocates of the SB 535 Coalition.

Following passage of SB 32 and AB 197, which extend the state’s effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, legislators today took two more crucial steps to expand the benefits of these efforts in underserved communities. First, they passed legislation allocating $900 million already collected in the state’s carbon auctions to projects such as clean transportation, urban forestry, home weatherization and solar power that will benefit underserved California communities.

Additionally, the Legislature passed AB 1550 (Gomez), which will guarantee that going forward, at least 35 percent of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund proceeds will benefit underserved communities and low-income Californians.

“We applaud the Senate and Assembly leadership for improving the quality of life of all Californians by investing in the neighborhoods who are enduring the most severe poverty and neighborhoods most impacted by pollution,” said Parin Shah of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “These communities, like the families we organize near the Richmond Chevron Refinery, will benefit most from improvements in renewable energy, affordable housing and public transit.”

“The passage of this year’s climate legislation signifies a commitment to communities and families on the frontlines of climate change,” said SCOPE Research Director Laura Muraida. “AB 1550 raises the bar for implementing equitable climate policy at the local level.”

Projects to be funded under the budget proposal include home energy saving and solar power for low-income families, tree planting in urban neighborhoods, and vouchers to help owners of older, gas-guzzling vehicles to replace their “clunker” with a clean electric or plug-in hybrid car. Advocates applauded the allocation of $140 million to Transformative Climate Communities, an innovative proposal to “connect the dots” and fund coordinated efforts in a variety of program areas (such as energy efficiency, transportation and affordable housing) that will work together to bring real benefits to communities in need.

“As California continues to reduce planet-warming emissions, these newly passed bills will bring needed relief to our communities that have suffered the worst effects of pollution, injustice and disinvestment,” said Bill Magavern, Policy Director for Coalition for Clean Air. “All Californians will breathe easier because of this year’s productive package of climate legislation.”

“In the midst of a crucial debate about the future of California climate policy, the Legislature is taking a big step to fight both pollution and poverty using money paid by polluters,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez. “This proposal means real help to low-income families and their neighborhoods — $900 million worth.”

Under AB 32 (Nuñez/Pavley), money raised by charging polluters for carbon permits under the state’s cap-and-trade system goes to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to pay for projects that further cut carbon emissions. A second law, SB 535 (De León) directs at least one quarter of these funds to projects benefitting highly polluted, economically disadvantaged communities, with at least 10 percent going to projects located directly within these communities. AB 1550 expands on these earlier requirements.

“We are excited for the passage of AB 1550 because it will, for the first time, mandate that clean air and energy projects benefit low income people across California,” said Chelsea Tu, Staff Attorney for Public Advocates.

Last year, The Greenlining Institute collected 10 case studies that illustrate the impact of California’s climate investments. Stories of real Californians impacted by these clean energy policies, as well as background on the laws themselves, can be found at (English) and (Spanish).


Oakland Community Leaders Tell Uber: Work with Us to Stop Displacement

Oakland Community Leaders Tell Uber: Work with Us to Stop Displacement
Open Letter to Be Published in Oakland Post this Afternoon

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Today 20 Oakland community leaders are sending an open letter to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick calling on him to work with them to ensure that Uber’s move to Oakland doesn’t worsen displacement and lack of opportunity for poor and working class residents. The open letter will be both delivered to Mr. Kalanick and published in this week’s Oakland Post, available in print this afternoon and online Friday morning.

The group is especially concerned by the rapid displacement of nonprofits and low income individuals that accelerated after Uber announced its plan to move to Oakland. Noting that two of Uber’s senior advisors — David Plouffe and Eric Holder — are former Obama administration officials who played key roles in advocating and defending diversity and equality for all, the Oakland leaders believe that UBER has the ability to work with the community to develop a path of shared prosperity and minimize displacement of individuals and community organizations.

The full text of the letter and signatories follows:

Open Letter to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

Dear Mr. Kalanick,

When President Obama delivered his State of the Union address on Jan. 12, he said, “Today, technology doesn’t just replace jobs on the assembly line, but any job where work can be automated. As a result, workers have less leverage for a raise. Companies have less loyalty to their communities. And more and more wealth and income is concentrated at the very top.”

The president’s words must come to no surprise to you since his former senior adviser David Plouffe and his former Attorney General Eric Holder are now senior advisers to you.

Both of these gentlemen have distinguished themselves as advocates and defenders of diversity and equal opportunity for all.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, a technology-driven economy has squeezed workers and disrupted affordable living conditions, even while the overall economy is flourishing.

Here in Oakland this economic disruption has made it harder for a family to pull itself out of poverty, harder for people to remain in the middle class and tougher for workers to live close to their jobs.

The benefits of this technological surge have been very uneven and have led to the biggest wealth gap we have ever seen.  Your unwillingness to release your diversity data worries us about your commitment to Oakland’s diverse residents, especially since your advisers have a history seeking diversity through openness and transparency.

The evidence is clear that a tech-driven economy is accompanied by some serious challenges, including the displacement of the working poor.  That said, we reject the idea that we are powerless to shape the impacts of technology on diverse cities, especially given Oakland’s history of fighting back against policies and actions to disrupt and displace our neighborhoods.

We believe that there’s a great deal we can do to improve prospects for Oakland’s future and its current residents.  We propose a three-pronged effort.

First, we recommend a set of basic agreements in the areas of jobs, education, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, housing, community engagement and research. There’s a strong consensus on several areas that can bring prosperity to Oakland’s current and future residents and there is no need to completely “reinvent the wheel.”

Second, we call on Uber to work alongside us to develop new organizational models and approaches that not only enhance productivity and generate wealth for Uber, but also create broad-based opportunity for working-class residents.

The goal should be inclusive prosperity in Oakland, and not just prosperity for Uber’s full-time workers. Your statement on your website saying that “we strengthen local economies” gives us hope.

Third, we request a meeting with you and a small group of us to reach an understanding. And, given that the digital revolution can get you this letter at half the speed of light, we expect to hear from you within three working days.

As you may agree, we believe that technology is delivering an unprecedented set of tools for bolstering growth and productivity that is currently unharnessed.

Together we can create a city of shared prosperity if we learn about each other, find ways to meaningfully collaborate, and together address the challenges brought by a growing tech workforce in Oakland.

If one simple idea can lead to a $65 billion valuation and perhaps the biggest IPO the world has ever seen, then it’s possible for us to co-disrupt and co-develop a road of shared prosperity in Oakland.


Paul Cobb, Post News Group
Orson Aguilar, The Greenlining Institute
Chris Iglesias, The Unity Council
Anne Price, Insight Center
Sondra Alexander, OCCUR
Rev. Michael McBride, Pico National Network
Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Jr., Allen Temple Baptist Church
Junious Williams
John Gamboa, California Community Builders
Joe Brooks, PolicyLink
Gay Plair Cobb, Oakland Private Industry Council
Rev. Dr. Gerald Agee, Pastor/Friendship Christian Center
Jae Maldonado, Street Level Health Project
Jane Garcia, La Clinica De La Raza
Zachary Norris, Ella Baker Center
Guillermo Mayer, Public Advocates
Joshua Simon, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation
(organizations listed for identification purposes only)


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Electric Vehicles for All: New Toolkit Shows How to Make It Happen

Electric Vehicles for All: New Toolkit Shows How to Make It Happen
Guide Shows Advocates, Government and Corporate Officials How to Bring EV Benefits to Underserved Communities

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

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – Widespread adoption of electric cars and trucks can help clean the air and stem climate change, but the up-front cost of passenger EVs along with limited charging infrastructure and awareness have restricted the adoption of these vehicles in the communities that need them most. A new online toolkit from The Greenlining Institute shows advocates and officials how to design and advocate for policies – many first pioneered in California – that can help right that imbalance.

“Low-income communities and communities of color often breathe the dirtiest air and are most vulnerable to climate change,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Legal Counsel Joel Espino, who led the creation of the toolkit. “EVs can help clean the air and even save low-income drivers money on gas and repairs. We know how to design policies that make clean cars a real option for underserved communities, and we hope officials and advocates nationwide will take these ideas and run with them.”

“Electric Vehicles for All: An Equity Toolkit” is divided into sections, including “Making EVs Affordable,” “Increasing EV Awareness,” “The Curious Case of Selling EVs,” and “Diversify the EV Market,” with information about specific tools and helpful resources that can expand EV benefits. Each chapter also includes tips for success and an equity guide that will help users ensure that policies effectively promote access to EVs for underserved communities.

Among other options, the toolkit explores purchase incentives, financing assistance, EV carsharing, and charging infrastructure. It also shares examples of how California has helped low-income Californians get into EVs via the Charge Ahead California Initiative (Senate Bill 1275, De León).


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

State Efficiency Standards for Computers and Monitors Set Stage for Energy Innovation in Electronics  

July 28, 2016   

Contact: Sage Welch, 415-453-4530

State efficiency standards for computers and monitors set stage for energy innovation in electronics  
 Broad coalition urges the CEC to adopt a strong, effective standard to deliver consumer savings

Sacramento, Calif. – A diverse collection of business associations, school districts, consumer voices, environmental and equity advocates, community leaders and other stakeholders are urging the California Energy Commission (CEC) to keep consumers in mind as they move to finalize first-in-the-nation energy efficiency standards for computers and monitors.

Supporters and partners of the California Delivers campaign representing communities with a stake in energy innovation have united to voice concern over decades of unchecked energy waste from inefficient electronics. Advocates are calling on the CEC to deliver a strong standard that will stand the test of time in the rapidly advancing computing sector. For the full range of benefits to flow to consumers, stakeholders urge the CEC to set strong standards, including emerging technologies that may have a low market share today, but will be mainstream by the time the standards take effect.

Statements from California Delivers supporters: 

Kirsten James, Senior Manager, California Policy and Partnerships, Ceres
“Businesses across the state of California and the U.S. are committed to becoming more sustainable, but they can only do so much on their own. The electronics and computing industries are among the most innovative in the world, and with the right policies they can turn that innovation towards meeting robust energy efficiency standards and creating products that save consumers money.  We look forward to a strong standard from the CEC that helps improve the sustainability of companies small and large.”

Stephanie Chen, Energy & Telecommunications Policy Director, The Greenlining Institute
“Access to cost-effective computing technology is a great equalizer. The Greenlining Institute urges the CEC to consider the needs of low-income households as they move forward with this standard. Low-income households often spend a higher proportion of their income on electricity costs and are more likely to own older, inefficient models of desktop computers. Low-income families deserve efficient technologies in the future, and we hope that’s exactly what this standard will deliver.”

Steve Frisch, President, Sierra Business Council
“Of the 4,000 network members of the Sierra Business Council, 80 percent are small businesses that are constantly searching for ways to improve the energy efficiency of their offices. Small businesses want to save energy, sure, but they need to save money. That’s why our members are watching closely for energy efficiency standards that will contribute to their bottom line, no matter what model they choose.”

Joe Ridout, California Legislative Coordinator, Consumer Action 
“It’s time for computer manufacturers to address the issue of unnecessary energy consumption, and we applaud the state’s move to apply standards. Urgency on this issue keeps growing, as the energy consumption of personal electronic devices continues to proliferate. After extensive negotiations, we look forward to the state implementing a standard that raises the bar on energy efficiency and saves consumers money.”

Pierre Delforge, Director of High-Tech Sector Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Defense Council 
“Millions of computers are sold in California every year – in homes, schools, universities, and hospitals. Unfortunately, they devour far more energy than necessary, most of it wasted when no one is actively using them. Cutting computer energy use by just 30 percent, which the California Energy Commission proposed earlier this year, could avoid 800,000 metric tons of pollution in the state every year and, if embraced at the national level, would slash the nation’s electric bill by $3 billion.”

Statements from other partners and allies:
Mark Cooper, Director of Research, Consumer Federation of America
“Consumer Federation of America research has shown that the rapid spread of digital devices is increasing household energy consumption every year, and consumers simply cannot afford to continue to foot the bill for inefficient computers and monitors. After years of consideration, we look forward to a standard that accounts for shifting technology and maintains the $400 million per year in consumer savings that the CEC has estimated. Consumer Federation of America analysis of the proposed standard shows that the benefits of computer energy efficiency far outweigh the costs.”

Anna Ferrera, Executive Director & Legislative Advocate, School Energy Coalition
“As bulk purchasers of desktop computers for California’s students, school districts are a primary stakeholder on issues surrounding computer energy efficiency.  K-12 schools seek to provide technological learning opportunities for our state’s future workforce so long as the state provides the means to do so affordably.  We support a CEC standard that assists schools in addressing on-going funding challenges and spends taxpayer dollars wisely through the use of more energy efficient computers for years to come.”

For more information, see NRDC’s new report “Slashing Energy Use in Computers and Monitors While Protecting Our Wallets, Health, and Planet” here.

Community Forum Aug. 2: Greenlining the Hood: Reclaim and Rebuild Our City

July 28, 2016

Community Forum Aug. 2:
Greenlining the Hood: Reclaim and Rebuild Our City

Harnessing CA Climate Investments, Hospital Community Benefit Funds to Make Stockton Healthier, Safer, Greener

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

STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA – In a city that continues to cope with high rates of pollution and poverty, Fathers & Families of San Joaquin and The Greenlining Institute have joined forces to engage Stockton advocates and residents in an open dialogue around two potential resources that can bring new investments into the city’s neighborhoods: California climate investments and not-for-profit hospital community benefits. At a community forum Aug. 2, advocates and officials will discuss how funding focused on resident-identified priorities can bring real benefits to communities. Advocates believe these two sources of funds can work together to improve health, safety and the environment for Stockton residents

Spanish translation and lunch will be provided. Child care will be available.

WHAT: Community Forum: Greenlining the Hood: Reclaim and Rebuild Our City

WHO: Participating organizations and speakers include:

  • Fathers & Families of San Joaquin — Samuel Nuńez, Executive Director; Irene Calimlim, Health Justice Program Coordinator
  • The Greenlining Institute — Anthony Galace, Health Equity Director; Alvaro Sanchez, Environmental Equity Director; Emi Wang, Environmental Equity Manager
  • Little Manila Foundation — Dillon Delvo, Executive Director
  • California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation — Noe Paramo, Director Sustainable Rural Communities Project
  • Kaiser Permanente Central Valley — Marie Sanchez, Community Benefits Manager
  • Kaiser Permanente Northern California — Sherry Novick, Community Benefits Program Managing Director
  • California ReLeaf — Chuck Mills, Director of Public Policy & Grants
  • Strategic Growth Council — Stacy Farfan, Sustainable Communities Policy Analyst
  • Department of Community Services & Development — Glen Baird, Low-Income Weatherization Program Project Manager
  • Air Resources Board — Ambreen Afshan, Disadvantaged Communities Liaison for Low-Carbon Transportation

WHERE: Masonic Temple, 340 E Market Street, Stockton, California 95202

WHEN: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Nurses Call on Attorney General to Deny Bid by St. Agnes Hospital, Fresno to Reduce its Charity Care

California Nurses Association Press Release, 7/7/16

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United today called on California Attorney General Kamala Harris to reject a request by St. Agnes Medical Center (SAMC) in Fresno to reduce the amount of its charity care and community benefit.

St. Agnes is seeking to slash its requirement to meet the level of charity care services and community benefit programs set by the Attorney General’s office as part of the 2013 approval of a consolidation agreement of Trinity Health, St. Agnes’ corporate parent, with Catholic Health East.

The hospital is basing its request on what CNA views as an absurd claim that there is less need to provide charity care today as a result of the Affordable Care Act which results in a “change in conditions” that “could not have reasonably been forseen at the time of the Attorney General’s action” – despite the fact that the 2013 ruling came three years after passage of the ACA.

In a letter today to Harris and Deputy Attorney General Wendy Horwitz, CNA strongly objected to the request, and voiced its concern over a “trend represented in recent Attorney General decisions” involving hospital mergers, notably the recent “uncritical acceptance” of an “unnecessary merger” of two other large Catholic hospital systems, St. Joseph Health and Providence Health and Services.

There are still millions of individuals not covered by the ACA or eligible for Medical/Medicare. There are also millions of individuals who are covered either by Medical/Medicare or private insurance plans who also have unreasonably high co-pays and/or deductibles, as well as, doctors and/or procedures covered by such plans or Medical/Medicare,There are still millions of individuals not covered by the ACA or eligible for Medical/Medicare. There are also millions of individuals who are covered either by Medical/Medicare or private insurance plans who also have unreasonably high co-pays and/or deductibles, as well as, doctors and/or procedures covered by such plans or Medical/Medicare,” wrote CNA legislative director Don Nielsen.

“Charity care and community benefit represent a vital opportunity to address health disparities, particularly in disadvantaged regions across the San Joaquin Valley,” said Nielsen.

A March analysis by the Greenlining Institute of 11 not-for-profit hospitals in the San Joaquin Valley, including St. Agnes, Nielsen noted, found “serious inconsistency and lack of transparency, particularly in SAMC’s reporting of its community benefit programs, including its charity care spending.”

“The Attorney General must not allow SAMC easily to shirk it responsibilities in this area,” the letter concludes.

“Charity care is a gift taxpayers provide not-for-profit hospitals who reap an enormous revenue windfall as a result of their tax-exempt status,” said CNA Co-president Malinda Markowitz, RN.

“Yet we have seen widespread abuse by hospitals across California, many of which provide only bare bones levels of charity care and community benefit services while patients and families endure inflated medical bills that put their health and economic security in danger,” Markowitz said. “The effort by St. Agnes to further reduce its level of charity care would severely punish Central Valley residents who are in such great need of health care services.”

An extensive 2012 CNA study found California hospitals harvest more than $1.8 billion in government subsidies and benefits from their tax-exempt status beyond what they provide in charity care. Public subsidies include exemptions from federal and state income taxes, property and sales taxes, tax benefits from charitable donations, and tax exempt bond status.

CNA has in recent years sponsored legislation to crack down on the widespread abuse of the charity care/community benefit system with strengthened obligations but the bills have failed to pass the state legislature due to massive lobbying by the multi-billion dollar hospital industry.

“With the failure of the legislature to act, it becomes even more important for the Attorney General to stand up for patients and hold these hospital corporations accountable for meeting even the current minimal level of charity care services,” said Markowitz.

Federal Bank Regulators Lack Diversity in Top Management, Report Finds

Federal Bank Regulators Lack Diversity in Top Management, Report Finds
Some Agencies Lack Systems to Measure Progress on Diversity

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

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – Despite a congressional mandate to pay more attention to diversity within federal financial regulatory agencies, a new report from The Greenlining Institute finds that these agencies generally lack diversity at executive and upper management levels and often lack the systems needed to track progress.

The report, Government That Looks Like America: Diversity in the Financial Regulatory Agencies, is set for public release July 6. Journalists can preview it now at the link above.

“During the bubble that led to the 2008 crash, financial regulators simply missed what was going on in communities of color,” said report co-author Danielle Beavers, Greenlining’s director of diversity and inclusion. “If the people at decision-making levels look like America, they will do better at making sure this critical industry works for all Americans.”

After the financial crisis devastated communities of color, and recognizing that these communities constitute the proverbial “canary in the coal mine,” Congress ordered placement of Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion in major financial regulatory agencies, with the goal of promoting diversity in both the financial industry and within the regulatory agencies themselves. Greenlining examined 2014 data from eight agencies that oversee banking and financial businesses. Key findings include:

  • On average, the eight agencies that submitted data employed 33.52 percent people of color, consistent with the U.S. civilian and financial sector labor forces. Some agencies improved their overall diversity since Greenlining’s last analysis in 2011.
  • Upper level management in the agencies, however, showed much less diversity, with people of color making up only 17.76 of executive management.
  • People of color were also severely underrepresented in jobs deemed “mission critical,” such as attorneys and economists. Latinos were most severely underrepresented, making up just 3.49 percent of the mission critical workforce.
  • Contracting with minority-owned vendors by the agencies varied dramatically from agency to agency, from just 2.6 percent of total contracts up to 36 percent, with an average of 17.61 percent.
  • To make progress, the agencies need to focus consciously on diversity with strategic plans, analysis of barriers to diverse hiring, and better data – particularly on the diversity of contractors.

“In a country where people of color will soon be the majority, we’ve seen what happens when financial regulators live in a bubble,” said Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar. “We applaud these agencies for sharing their data with us, and now we need them to use this information to make real change.”


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Bill to Bring More Climate Investments to Disadvantaged Communities Passes 1st Senate Hurdle

Bill to Bring More Climate Investments to Disadvantaged Communities Passes 1st Senate Hurdle

Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
Isabel Alegría, Public Advocates, 510-541-5428 (cell),
Bill Magavern, Coalition for Clean Air, 916-214-0065
Parin Shah, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, 415-286-7850 (cell),
Laura Muraida, SCOPE, 323-789-7920,

SACRAMENTO – Today the Senate Environmental Quality Committee passed AB 1550 (Gomez), designed to ensure that the benefits of California’s climate change policies reach the communities and households needing them most. The measure would require a minimum of 25 percent of proceeds from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to be invested in projects located directly within disadvantaged communities, while an additional 20 percent would go to projects that benefit low income households regardless of their location within California.

Advocates for clean air and underserved communities hailed the bill’s steady progress, noting that under AB 1550, climate investments in disadvantaged communities will match the percentage of the state’s population living in those communities, while making sure benefits also reach low-income Californians throughout the state.

Public Advocates Staff Attorney Chelsea Tu said, “With the passage of AB 1550 out of this committee, California has taken another step toward delivering on its promise to bring health and economic benefits to low-income and disadvantaged families and communities from the state’s cap-and-trade revenues.”

SCOPE Research Director Laura Muraida commented, “Today marks a significant step forward as we continue working to shape equitable climate policy that benefits the communities hardest hit by pollution, poverty and disinvestment.”

“Assemblymember Gomez’s bill will help California communities that have been disproportionately impacted by air pollution, poverty and climate change,” said Fabiola Lao, Deputy Policy Director for the Coalition for Clean Air. “It will help bring clean energy and clean transportation services, such as electric buses, to these communities.”

“We applaud Assemblymember Gomez’s leadership and commitment to ameliorating the disproportionate amount of pollution and poverty that communities across the state have faced for decades,” said Miya Yoshitani, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “AB 1550 expands opportunities for sorely needed investment and reaffirms the strength and value of CalEnviroScreen, a tool created by environmental justice communities, as the state’s tool for addressing historic disparities.”

“California’s climate policies have already brought real benefits to neighborhoods hit by the worst effects of pollution and poverty, but we can and must do better,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez. “AB 1550 takes us a major step in the right direction.”