New Report: Will the Self-Driving Vehicle Revolution Mean Transportation Heaven or Hell?

First of Its Kind Analysis Asks Whether Autonomous, Shared and Electric Vehicles Will Worsen Inequality for Marginalized Groups

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Three simultaneous revolutions—electrification, vehicle sharing, and self-driving, autonomous vehicles—are poised to radically change transportation. A new report from The Greenlining Institute, Autonomous Vehicle Heaven or Hell? Creating a Transportation Revolution that Benefits All is the first in-depth analysis of a wide range of mobility, health, and economic implications of these revolutions for marginalized groups like people of color, the poor, the elderly, and those with disabilities.

“If we let the market make key decisions without regulation, we’re headed toward transportation hell – personal autonomous vehicles just for the rich, congesting our streets and leaving others stuck with more traffic, longer commutes and deteriorating public transit,” said lead author Hana Creger, Greenlining’s Environmental Equity program manager. “To get to a transportation heaven that’s designed for all people – less traffic, safer streets, cleaner air, more livable communities and high-quality, affordable mobility – government at all levels will have to act. Funny as it may sound, the arrival of self-driving cars means we can’t be asleep at the wheel.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • A “heaven” future would center on FAVES – fleets of autonomous vehicles that are electric and shared – improving mobility for all, cutting traffic and pollution while enabling space now wasted on parking to be put to productive use.
  • Even with FAVES, we must still prioritize the healthiest, most sustainable options like walking, biking and carbon-free public transit.
  • Ensuring that marginalized groups aren’t left out will require specific policy interventions to:
    • Disincentivize personal autonomous vehicles and promote clean, shared transportation models – FAVES – via economic carrots and sticks such as equitable road pricing that waives fees for low-income people.
    • Target economic opportunities and community benefits to marginalized populations.
    • Ensure fair labor practices and a Just Transition for truck and bus drivers and other workers who will be displaced by self-driving vehicles.
    • Ensure that autonomous and shared vehicle services are available in low-income communities and priced affordably.
    • Provide equal access to FAVES for all marginalized populations as well as booking and payment models that are workable for those without smartphones or internet access.

“The companies rushing to build and deploy self-driving cars will think only of profits unless we push them to do more,” Creger said. “We can have a true transportation revolution that cleans our air, unclogs our streets, provides high-quality jobs, and makes life better for all, especially those who have the least, but we won’t get there without rules to make the industry move in the right direction.”

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

 

California’s Latino Physician Crisis: Policy Briefing in Oakland Jan. 15

Latinos Are 40% of State’s Population but Grossly Underrepresented among Doctors  

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – While Latinos represent California’s largest ethnic group at nearly 40 percent of the population, they comprise just 11.6 percent of graduating physicians across California’s medical schools. In a state where nearly 44 percent speak a language other than English at home, California remains critically short of physicians prepared to address the needs of patients whose English is limited.

On Jan. 15, The Greenlining Institute will join with the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and UCLA’s Latino Policy & Politics Initiative to host a policy briefing and networking reception focusing on this growing crisis, the reforms necessary to solve it, and potential opportunities in working with California’s new governor and state legislature to find policy solutions to these disparities.

Space is limited, so those wishing to attend should register right away. Media wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to Bruce Mirken at brucem@greenlining.org.

WHAT: Policy briefing and reception, California’s Latino Physician Crisis

WHO: Scheduled speakers include:

  • Orson Aguilar, President, The Greenlining Institute
  • Sonja Diaz, Executive Director,  UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative
  • Dr. Jeffrey Reynoso, Executive Director, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California
  • Dr. Arturo Vargas Bustamante, Associate Professor, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
  • Carmela Castellano-Garcia, President and Chief Executive Officer, California Primary Care Association
  • Berenice Núñez Constant, Vice President, Government Relations, AltaMed Health Services Corporati

WHERE: The Greenlining Institute, 360 14th Street, first floor, Oakland, California

WHEN: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Light refreshments and a no-host bar will be available at the beginning of the event.

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

@Greenlining

New Energy Projects to Bring Clean Indoor Air to Rural CA Homes

11 San Joaquin Valley Communities Dependent on Wood or Propane for Heat Get Urgently Needed Help

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
Valerie Gorospe, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, 661-303-1032, vgorospe@crpe-ej.org

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – Today the California Public Utilities Commission approved a series of pilot projects to bring long-overdue relief to rural communities lacking natural gas service, providing residents with cleaner and healthier alternatives for heating and cooking, as well as home weatherization. The communities affected, among the lowest income in California and whose residents are overwhelmingly people of color, were historically redlined out of natural gas service.

“The Commission is taking an incredible step today by investing in San Joaquin Valley communities that have been unfairly excluded from California’s clean energy innovation,” said Greenlining Institute Energy Equity Legal Counsel Madeline Stano. “We are grateful for Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves’s leadership and commitment to working in partnership with San Joaquin Valley residents.”

A group of San Joaquin Valley based organizations – the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability and Self-Help Enterprises, working closely with The Greenlining Institute – successfully advocated for extensive community-led design of the pilot programs.

Overall, 1,891 households in Allensworth, Alpaugh, Cantua Creek, Ducor, Fairmead, Lanare, Le Grand, La Vina, Seville, California City and West Goshen will receive either new natural gas service or no-cost electric cooking appliances and heating, along with home weatherization and energy efficiency upgrades. In combination, these upgrades will provide cleaner indoor air and lowered energy bills.

“Some of the poorest communities in the state are forced to pay the highest energy cost, and in addition many are facing other challenges like contaminated drinking water and bad air quality,” said Abigail Solis, Senior Community Development specialist for Self-Help Enterprises. “These pilot projects will not only directly benefit these 11 communities, they will also provide the basis for future implementation of affordable and clean energy options for the remaining 170 San Joaquin Valley communities that either partially or completely lack access to natural gas.”

All of the pilot programs include local hiring and job training as well as energy bill financial protections and renter protections for tenants in buildings receiving upgrades. The projects will also support residents in accessing additional state programs to further reduce their energy bills, like the Community Solar Green Tariff and California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) programs.

“Today, the CPUC took a step toward addressing the historic neglect that hinders health and opportunity in disadvantaged communities by increasing access to affordable energy,” said Leslie Martinez, policy advocate with Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, one of the organizations that supported residents in pursuit of these projects. “This victory builds on years of advocacy by community leaders and their determination to contribute to — and share in — the multiple environmental benefits of confronting climate change.”

“Today’s decision sets a roadmap for affordable and clean energy in other disadvantaged communities.  It also addresses decades of inequitable distribution of resources through a process that has been and will continue to be community driven,” said Roger Lin, attorney with the UC Berkeley Environmental Law Clinic. “We thank Commissioner Guzman Aceves and her staff.”

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

CPUC Boosts Clean Energy Research in Disadvantaged Communities

Adopts New Strategy to Help Disadvantaged Communities Participate in Clean Energy Transition  

Contact:
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)
Strela Cervas, California Environmental Justice Alliance Statewide Organizing Director, 213-284-4923

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – Today the California Public Utilities Commission approved a strategy for expanding clean energy research in disadvantaged communities via the Electric Program Investment Charge  program. The CPUC created EPIC, which is funded by ratepayers, in 2011 to support development of clean energy technologies. EPIC research and development projects can also create local benefits like jobs, improved air quality and increased property values.

In today’s decision, the CPUC commits “to make the state’s clean energy programs more equitable by moving the state toward greater clean and renewable energy while increasing the participation of economically and environmentally vulnerable communities in this transition” and adopts specific strategies for doing so. The Greenlining Institute and the California Environmental Justice Alliance jointly advocated for the decision.

“The CPUC just took a big step toward making sure that no one gets left behind as California moves to a clean energy economy,” said Madeline Stano, Greenlining Institute Energy Equity legal counsel. “This vote helps ensure that the communities that breathe the dirtiest air and most need clean energy jobs will get to participate in our clean energy transition.”

“California has made significant progress in expanding renewable energy programs,” said CEJA Executive Director Gladys Limon. “The EPIC program is another critical step forward in funding clean energy projects that will improve air quality in our most overburdened communities while promoting job development across the state. We commend the leadership of the CPUC in working towards maximizing the benefits of our state’s clean energy programs to reach the communities that need it most. With increased training and technical support to identify projects for disadvantaged communities, we hope that the EPIC program can meet all intended goals of greater access and participation of environmental justice communities in California’s growing renewable energy future.”

Today’s decision:

  • Defines the environmental justice communities most burdened with pollution and social vulnerabilities as “disadvantaged communities.”
  • Encourages utilities to design projects located in and benefitting disadvantaged communities and to incorporate disadvantaged community feedback in planning projects.
  • Requires targeted community outreach and workshops in disadvantaged communities on the EPIC program and project development.
  • Requires collaboration with the Disadvantaged Community Advisory Group to improve community outreach and activities in disadvantaged communities.
  • Recognizes the need for technical assistance and education on EPIC for community-based organizations in disadvantaged communities.
  • Commits to developing disadvantaged community-centered research goals for EPIC.
  • Supports the implementation of Assembly Bill 523, which requires funding to be directed to projects located in and benefiting disadvantaged and low-income communities.

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Gov. Brown Signs Bill to Help Disadvantaged Communities Access Climate Funds

First of Its Kind, SB 1072 Levels the Playing Field for Underresourced Communities

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

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – Last night, with climate leaders from around the world, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed first-of-its-kind legislation designed to level the playing field for disadvantaged communities seeking funding for climate change and clean energy projects funded either by California Climate Investments or other sources. Signed along with a group of other climate bills during the Global Climate Action Summit, SB 1072 was authored by Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) and cosponsored by The Greenlining Institute and the Trust for Public Land.

“This bill represents a unique effort to build the capacity of local communities to participate in the clean energy economy,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Manager Emi Wang, who led Greenlining’s efforts in support of the bill. “Low-income communities of color that most urgently need the help often struggle to compete with larger, wealthier communities. SB 1072 levels the playing field.”

Greenlining Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez, who has been attending the Global Climate Action Summit, noted, “Leaders from developing nations asked for both investments and capacity-building at the Summit, just like we’ve been hearing loud and clear in our own backyard. While California has lots of room to improve our fight against climate change, efforts like this can continue our state’s global leadership in fighting climate change while working to ensure fair treatment of underresourced communities.

“We want to thank Sen. Leyva as well as Assembly co-authors Eloise Reyes and Lorena Gonzales-Fletcher along with Gov. Jerry Brown for helping to ensure that no part of California is left behind in our transition to a clean energy future.”

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

@Greenlining

Assembly Passes Bill to Help Disadvantaged Communities Access Climate Funds

SB 1072 Levels the Playing Field for Underresourced Communities

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

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – Today, by a bipartisan 48-9 vote, the California Assembly passed crucial legislation designed to level the playing field for disadvantaged communities seeking funding for climate change and clean energy projects funded either by cap-and-trade dollars or other sources. SB 1072, introduced by Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) and cosponsored by The Greenlining Institute and the Trust for Public Land, previously passed the Senate in slightly different form and faced no organized opposition. It has been endorsed by 100 organizations (partial list here).

“California has made it a priority to direct climate funds to the communities most burdened by poverty and pollution, and that’s absolutely the right thing to do,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Manager Emi Wang. “But the grant process is tough and competitive, and places that most urgently need the help often don’t have the resources to compete with larger, wealthier communities. SB 1072 levels the playing field.”

The measure provides for development of technical assistance guidelines covering areas like greenhouse gas quantification and grant-writing. It also provides further assistance by establishing regional climate cooperatives — local hubs staffed by local experts that will answer questions, convene stakeholders, foster partnerships and help to develop project ideas. Taken together, these programs will provide a crucial boost to rural towns, high-poverty areas and other communities for whom the grant process may be daunting.

The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence.

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

@Greenlining

Groups File Brief in Net Neutrality Lawsuit, Emphasizing Racial Justice Concerns

Advocates urge the court to consider impact of Net Neutrality repeal on people of color, other groups

Contact: Eteng Ettah, eteng@mediajustice.org

Washington, DC —  Members of the nation’s largest racial justice network for media, technology, and cultural change filed an amicus brief today as part of a lawsuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of Net Neutrality. The Center for Media Justice (CMJ), alongside Common Cause and Greenlining Institute, filed the statement with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, detailing the importance of Net Neutrality to communities of color.

The authors of the legal brief are members of the Media Action Grassroots Network, and represent a broad coalition of organizations nationwide that have been arguing for years that access to a free and open Internet is a racial justice issue.

The following statement can be attributed to Center for Media Justice Campaigns Director, Steven Renderos:

“The Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of Net Neutrality was not only potentially illegal, it was also harmful to communities of color. The FCC’s actions took away a platform that helped a hashtag like #BlackLivesMatter turn into a movement for change. It created a community online for many queer, trans and gender non-conforming people who only felt isolation in real life. It gave artists like Issa Rae a platform to create stories that Hollywood ignored. We’re filing a brief today because an Internet protected by Net Neutrality is the platform that people of color deserve and we’re ready to fight to save it from the courts to the streets.”

The following statement can be attributed to Greenlining Interim Telecommunications and Technology Policy Director Paul Goodman:

“The open Internet is a critical tool for communities of color to access economic opportunity and make their voices heard in a society where discrimination remains rampant.  By gutting the rules protecting the open Internet, the FCC directly threatens communities of color. This brief marks a first step in ensuring that we have strong net neutrality rules that protect communities whose voices get suppressed far too often.”

The full list of endorsers to the legal brief include 18 Million Rising, Center for Media Justice, Color of Change, Common Cause, Greenlining Institute, Media Alliance and Media Mobilizing Project.

The full amicus brief can be found here: http://centerformediajustice.org/resources/net-neutrality-amicus-brief/

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Launched in 2009, the Center for Media Justice is a national racial justice center for media and digital rights based in Oakland, California.

The Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) is the largest multi-issue action network for communication rights, access and representation in the United States.

California Regulators OK Historic Electric Vehicle Charging Investment in Underserved Communities

$738 Million in EV Infrastructure to Be Installed by State’s 3 Largest Electric Utilities

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

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – Today the California Public Utilities Commission approved proposals from Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric and San Diego Gas and Electric for a massive investment in charging infrastructure for electric cars, trucks and buses, submitted under provisions of SB 350 (de León). The $738 million to be spent by the three utilities will make EV charging easier and more convenient in much of California, with $236 million of the investment designated for disadvantaged communities to ensure that California’s poorest and most polluted areas benefit.

“Smog from California’s cars and trucks hurts the lungs of low-income people of color the most because they breathe the dirtiest air,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Legal Counsel Joel Espino, who advocated in the proceeding that informed today’s decision. “Today’s historic decision ensures our neediest communities won’t be left behind in the EV revolution.”

Highlights of the approved programs include:

  • San Diego Gas and Electric will install up to 60,000 level 2 chargers at single-family or small, multi-unit residential buildings, with at least 25 percent in disadvantaged communities.
  • Southern California Edison will provide infrastructure for 870 charging facilities for medium- and heavy-duty electric trucks and buses, with 40 percent in disadvantaged communities.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric will provide infrastructure for 52 public fast-charging sites, with 25 percent in disadvantaged communities, as well as infrastructure for 700 charging facilities for medium- and heavy-duty electric trucks and buses, with one quarter in disadvantaged communities.

For additional background on the connections between electric vehicles, California climate efforts, and low-income communities and communities of color, see Greenlining’s “Electric Vehicles for All” online toolkit, authored by Espino. For real-world examples of how the Charge Ahead California Initiative and other California climate policies benefit underserved Californians, visit UpliftCA.org.

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

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Dolores Huerta, Melissa Harris-Perry Headline Greenlining’s 25th Anniversary Economic Summit

Other Speakers Include Alicia Garza, Sen. Kevin de León

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute marks its 25th anniversary with a special edition of its annual Economic Summit on May 24. The stellar lineup of speakers and awardees includes legendary farm worker organizer Dolores Huerta and Melissa Harris-Perry, the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University and former MSNBC host, as well as Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and California state Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).

Last year’s Summit sold out, and this year’s is expected to as well. Journalists wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to Bruce Mirken at brucem@greenlining.org.

Founded in 1993 to fight redlining and bring economic opportunity into communities of color, The Greenlining Institute has expanded its work over the years to include health, energy, environmental policy and other issues critical to a diverse nation. Greenlining’s Economic Summit brings together a diverse array of leaders to connect, brainstorm, celebrate and strategize on important economic issues affecting communities of color, and also features performances by local artists. See Greenlining’s Economic Summit web page for detailed information on the day’s program.

WHAT: The Greenlining Institute’s 25th anniversary Economic Summit
WHO: Speakers and awardees include Dolores Huerta, Melissa Harris-Perry, Alicia Garza, Sen. Kevin de León, Angela Glover Blackwell and Lateefah Simon, among many others.
WHEN: Thursday, May 24, 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. (registration opens at 8)
WHERE: Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607

The Greenlining Institute was officially incorporated on March 8, 1993. Throughout this anniversary season we have been sharing highlights and memories on our blog as well as our social media accounts (using the hashtag #Greenlining25).

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

 

Boards of CA’s Most Influential Corporations Lack Women, People of Color

Top Companies in Tech, Insurance, Other Key Fields Don’t Come Close to Reflecting State’s Diverse Workforce

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Top corporations in the California marketplace have boards of directors that consistently fail to even come close to reflecting the diversity of the state’s workforce, according to a new analysis by The Greenlining Institute: Corporate Board Diversity: Major Players Fail to Reflect California’s Labor Force. Greenlining examined the boards of a total of 59 companies that dominate the California market in leading industries, including tech, health, banking and insurance. Key findings of the report, based on 2017 statistics include:

  • Overall, women and people of color remain severely underrepresented on corporate boards. Women made up roughly one quarter of board members, while Latinos held only six percent of board seats.
  • Seven of 59 companies reviewed — including Facebook, Amazon, Farmers Insurance and two solar companies — had zero people of color on their boards (Facebook added its first nonwhite board member in January). Three had zero women.
  • Of companies reviewed, East West Bank had the most racially diverse board, followed closely by Kaiser Permanente, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Hewlett Packard.

“Corporate boards play a crucial role, from hiring and firing CEOs to setting corporate culture,” said report coauthor Joe Jackson, Greenlining Institute Diversity and Inclusion manager, “Currently these boards don’t come close to reflecting the diversity of California’s labor force. The ‘glass ceiling’ or ‘good old boys’ club’ — however you want to say it — still very much exists for women and people of color. Until these boards reflect California, our communities won’t have a seat on the table and will continue to be on the menu instead.”

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

greenlining.org
@Greenlining