New Report: Utility/Telecom Contracting with Minority- and LGBT-Owned Firms Grows

October 5, 2017

New Report: Utility/Telecom Contracting with Minority- and LGBT-Owned Firms Grows
Total Spending with Diverse Businesses Reaches $9.5 Billion but Comcast Lags; 2016 Was 1st Year for Reporting LGBT Contracting Stats

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Contracting with diverse businesses by California’s major utility, telecommunications and water companies grew again in 2016, according to The Greenlining Institute’s latest Supplier Diversity Report Card. Still, performance varied greatly among companies, with Pacific Gas and Electric emerging as a leader and Comcast lagging. LGBT businesses were added to the California Public Utilities Commission’s supplier diversity program in 2015, and 2016 was the first year that companies had to report figures for their contracting with LGBT firms.

“We’re glad to see steady progress – progress that translates to jobs and opportunities for California’s diverse communities,” said Greenlining Institute Diversity and Inclusion Director Danielle Beavers. “Still, we can’t help but be disappointed that a huge and influential company like Comcast shows so little regard for California businesses owned by minorities, women, disabled veterans and LGBT Californians.”

Highlights of the report include:

  • Many companies increased their contracting with diverse businesses in 2016, spending a total of $6.38 billion with minority-owned businesses, $2.84 billion with women-owned businesses, and $431 million with companies owned by service-disabled veterans.
  • For the first time, figures were reported for LGBT-owned businesses, totaling just over $41 million.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison continued to be leaders, each earning an A grade with over 44 percent of contract dollars going to diverse firms.
  • Communications giant Comcast lagged badly, with its percentage of spending with diverse suppliers dropping by nearly half since 2013, resulting in a grade of D-. African American businesses got just over one half of one percent of Comcast’s contracting dollars, and Comcast spent nothing or nearly nothing with Native American-, disabled veteran- and LGBT-owned businesses.
  • Overall, contracting with Black-owned businesses lagged, with these firms getting just over three percent of total contracts.

Utility, telecommunications and water companies annually report data on contracting with diverse firms to the California Public Utilities Commission under the auspices of CPUC’s General Order 156. This legislatively authorized program seeks to boost California’s economy by encouraging contracting with businesses owned by minorities, women, service-disabled veterans and LGBT persons. Greenlining reviews the data each year and issues an annual report card, including evaluations and suggestions for improvement.


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Greenlining Institute Supports Small Business Data Collection

Greenlining Institute Supports Section 1071 of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform, Consumer Protection Act

Contact: Leonna Spilman, Greenlining Institute Communications Coordinator, 442-999-1505 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – On September 14th, The Greenlining Institute submitted a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, along with 33 nonprofits, Chambers of Commerce, and business associations, strongly urging the CFPB to implement Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

The rule would require financial institutions to compile, maintain, and report critical information about small business lending activity including an applicant’s race, ethnicity, and gender. Section 1071 will be critical in ensuring fair access to capital for small, women- and minority-owned businesses.

Research shows that credit denial rates for entrepreneurs of color – especially for Blacks and Latinos – and women are disproportionately higher than those of their white and male counterparts, even after controlling for variables such as business credit scores, personal wealth, and revenue. Ample research also finds that even when minority entrepreneurs do succeed in securing financing, they receive smaller loans and pay higher interest rates than their white counterparts, again, even after controlling for differences in creditworthiness.

“Small business loan data transparency is critical to ensuring entrepreneurs of color, women entrepreneurs, and small businesses will be empowered to achieve their immense potential when they have access to the capital they need. As a barometer of market conditions in small business finance, Greenlining believes Section 1071 will be instrumental in identifying discrepancies in lending and addressing the unique credit needs of entrepreneurs of color, women entrepreneurs, and small businesses.”


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute


Greenlining Institute Responds to Report of Uber Selling Oakland Building

August 24, 2017

Greenlining Institute Responds to Report of Uber Selling Oakland Building

Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – This evening the San Francisco Business Times reported that Uber has placed its downtown Oakland building on the market. Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar, co-founder of the No Uber Oakland campaign, made the following statement:

“We started No Uber Oakland because we worried Uber could have negative effects on a city already struggling with gentrification, and because we never saw evidence that Uber had any real commitment to Oakland, despite occasional pleasant rhetoric. Clearly, that second part at least was right.

“Still, we never gave up hope that Uber would sit down and work with the Oakland community to create something that would be good both for the company and for Oaklanders. Uber, sadly, never had any interest in a real partnership with Oakland.

“We hope going forward that city leaders will be more wary of large corporations coming into our town, and will push big businesses — including whoever buys this building from Uber – to help build an Oakland that’s diverse and affordable for working families, nonprofits and the arts community.”


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Climate justice group: California must protect vulnerable communities

Poll shows voters of color back climate action

Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute, 510-926- 4022/415-846- 7758
Ernesto Arevalo, Communities for a Better Environment, 510-910- 5123
Veronica Garibay, Leadership Council for Justice and & Accountability, 559-393-3617

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – Fourteen environmental justice, public health
and climate equity organizations are calling on the state of California to make
sure its plan for adapting to climate change addresses the needs of frontline
communities that suffer first and worst. The Climate Justice Working Group
(CJWG), supported by Resources Legacy Fund, released a series of guiding
principles and recommendations for funding and policy decisions, along with
results of a recent survey of California voters of color indicating that these
voters overwhelmingly favor stronger government action to help their
communities prepare for climate change impacts.

AB 398, the cap-and- trade extension recently signed by Gov. Brown,
designates “climate adaptation and resiliency” as a priority that must receive
funding from cap-and- trade revenue. An Assembly Budget Committee
hearing Aug. 23 will begin the process of determining how these funds will be

In “Advancing Climate Justice in California,” CJWG emphasizes that frontline
communities – including people of color, immigrants, people with lower
incomes, those in rural areas and indigenous people – already suffer more
from socioeconomic, health, and environmental injustices and have fewer
resources to prepare for and recover from environmental impacts caused by
climate change. These communities have been largely excluded from policy
and funding decisions and processes.

CJWG recommends that the state do more to include the voices of frontline
communities in its planning, and focus both funding and planning on
protection of essential facilities that provide health care, food and emergency
shelter; bringing economic opportunities into these most vulnerable
communities; and avoiding negative consequences such as displacement.
CJWG points to the need for California to assess the vulnerability of its
regions, looking at the many factors that could come into play, and use these
assessments inform plans to build climate resilience in frontline communities
by 2020. In addition, the state should identify and invest at least $1 billion
by 2020 and $10 billion by 2025 to accomplish this climate resilience.

We need more spaces where frontline communities provide a roadmap for
what is needed to achieve a sustainable, just and prosperous future. AB 398
left out these voices from the conversation, and, even with a well-intended
inclusion of investment, does not assist refinery communities in their ability
to adapt. In fact, AB 398 directly preempts local frontline communities from
carrying out our pollution prevention plans. More genuine interactions are
needed to protect lives, and that is why we are calling on state leaders to
center the voices and needs of frontline communities in their climate
resilience funding and policy decisions,” said Ernesto Arevalo of Communities
for a Better Environment, co-chair of CJWG.

“Environmental justice communities throughout the state bear a
disproportionate share of the harmful impacts of longstanding policy priorities
and investment practices. The result: unhealthy, unsafe environments that
cut short our lives. This is a critical time to confront both challenges and
opportunities posed by climate change in a way that prioritizes the needs of
communities most often left behind,” said Veronica Garibay of Leadership
Counsel for Justice and Accountability, co-chair of CJWG.

The survey of 800 California voters of color conducted by EMC Research for
Resources Legacy Fund found that two thirds believe that the effects of
climate changes have already started, and 85 percent want state and local
officials to adopt stronger policies to help their communities prepare for
these impacts.

  • Climate Justice Working Group members include:
  • Amee Raval, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
  • Sarah de Guia, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
  • Caroline Farrell, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment
  • Lucas Zucker, Central Coast Alliance for a Sustainable Economy
  • Janaki Jagannath, Community Alliance for Agroecology
  • Ernesto Arevalo, Communities for a Better Environment
  • Alvaro Sanchez and Sona Mohnot, Greenlining Institute
  • Eleanor Torres, Incredible Edible Community Garden
  • Veronica Garibay, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability
  • Martha Arguello, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles
  • Chione Flegal and Erika Rincon Whitcomb, PolicyLink
  • Ari Neumann, Rural Community Assistance Corporation
  • Gloria Walton, Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE)
  • Anya Lawler, Western Center on Law &Poverty

Art Exhibit Inspired by Black Panthers’ Legacy Now Open at Greenlining 360 Center, Oakland 

”The Eighth Fire” Channels Afro-Indigenous Art and Thought

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – “The Eighth Fire,” described by as “a prophetic collaborative experience of 3 multimedia artists channeling the roots of Afro Indigenous thought and art” and inspired by the legacy of the Black Panther Party, is now open at the Greenlining 360 Center in downtown Oakland. The exhibit, co-curated by artists Camille Safiya and Tayyibah Hasan, is the latest part of The Greenlining Institute’s effort to make its space a center for activism, collaboration and art.

The exhibit will be open to the public every Tuesday from 3-7 p.m., from now through Sept. 12 at the Greenlining 360 Center at 360 14th Street in downtown Oakland.

“The Eighth Fire” features the work of three artists:

Camille Safiya is a visual/performance artist born in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. She was born to an Afro-Indigenous tribe from the the Caribbean island of Quisqueya, aka the Dominican Republic. Her father’s Afro-Cuban drumming roots raised her around deep Yoruba culture which reflects throughout her work.

Tayyibah Hasan, an Oakland resident originally from Capital Heights, Maryland, works as a painter, curator, & expressive arts therapist in the Bay Area. As an artist and practitioner, Tayyibah honors the roots of a person as the site of creative manifestation.

Xiomara Grace, a Berkeley-born musician & artist who works to serve the people through activism and creative expression in the form of sonic, and visual Afro-surrealism. Her Afro-Latino, & Mexican roots drive her art.

“Art has long played vital role in activism, especially for communities of color,” said Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar. “Given the local reality of nonprofits and artists being displaced due to gentrification and soaring rents, we’re proud to host the work of local diverse artist activists and give them exposure to the broader Oakland public, beyond the hundreds who visit our building every week for events and meetings.”

WHAT: “The Eighth Fire” exhibit

WHERE: The Greenlining 360 Center, 360 14th Street, Oakland

WHEN: Every Tuesday3-7 p.m., now through Sept. 12


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Just-Approved VW Diesel Plan a Step Forward for Disadvantaged Communities, More Needed

Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)
Joel Espino, Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Legal Counsel, 623-330-1995 (cell)

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute today supported the California Air Resources Board’s approval of a clean vehicle investment plan stemming from a settlement to address the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Greenlining has been critical of the plan, as it falls short of prioritizing meaningful investment in the state’s most polluted low-income communities of color, but updates to the plan have eased some of these concerns.

“Because low-income communities of color are most likely to live near busy roads and freeways, the health of these communities took the biggest hit from VW’s emissions cheating,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Legal Counsel Joel Espino. “We’re glad that VW has updated its plan to make clear that it will work toward major investments in electric vehicle infrastructure, access and awareness in the communities that need it most. But we look forward to actions because they speak louder than words.”

Under the Zero Emission Vehicle Investment Plan, to be implemented by its subsidiary Electrify America, VW will invest $800 million over 10 years in clean vehicle access, infrastructure and awareness. With some progress on commitments to underserved communities, Greenlining and a variety of environmental and public health organizations supported the plan.

“While we’re pleased with today’s decision, VW’s breach of trust with Californians requires CARB and community groups to keep a close watch on implementation,” Espino said. “We and others will keep pushing for strong CARB and stakeholder engagement to ensure that Electrify America rolls out its investments in a way that maximizes benefits to California’s poorest and most polluted communities.”

Cap-and-Trade Extension Leaves Crucial Work Ahead

Cap-and-Trade Extension Leaves Crucial Work Ahead
Implementation Must Prioritize Communities in Need, Greenlining Institute Says

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Tonight’s legislative approval of AB 398 (E. Garcia) to extend California’s cap-and-trade program reaffirms the state’s commitment to pricing carbon but leaves great uncertainties for the future of California climate policies and their impact on disadvantaged communities, policy experts at The Greenlining Institute said today.

“While we applaud the legislature for continuing California’s commitment to fighting climate change by putting a price on carbon, this bill leaves legislators and advocates with a huge responsibility to make sure it’s implemented in a way that protects communities hurt first and worst by pollution and climate change,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez.

A number of the measure’s provisions could limit revenues paid by polluters and impede funding for clean energy projects from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. These include extensive use of free carbon allowances and a provision that uses GGRF moneys to backfill the loss of revenue from the cancellation of the Fire Prevention Fee and from extending a tax break for manufacturers and energy producers.

Sanchez also sounded the alarm about a proposed constitutional amendment that would require two-thirds legislative approval for GGRF expenditures, and urged Gov. Brown and legislative champions of strong climate policies to forcefully oppose it.

“Taken together, these provisions leave grave doubts about AB 398’s impact on the low-income communities of color that suffer most from pollution and have the most urgent need for clean energy jobs,” Sanchez said. “Officials must make sure that cap-and-trade revenues go to projects that will quickly help clean the air and create opportunities in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and that they adequately fund implementation of AB 617 to enhance air pollution monitoring and planning, and do so with new revenues, not cap-and-trade proceeds.”

Going forward, Sanchez added, the state must study the impact of the updated cap-and-trade program on California’s most vulnerable communities and act to correct any negative effects.

California Climate Equity Coalition Opposes Proposed Restriction on Cap-and-Trade Funds

California Climate Equity Coalition Opposes Proposed Restriction on Cap-and-Trade Funds
ACA-1 (Mayes) Would Slow Efforts to Clean the Air, Create Jobs

Bill Magavern, Coalition for Clean Air, 916-214-0065
Parin Shah, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, 415-286-7850 (cell),
Laura Muraida, SCOPE,
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute, 510-926-4022415-846-7758 (cell)
Chelsea Tu, Public Advocates, 510-717-9092 (cell)

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – The California Climate Equity Coalition today announced its strong opposition toACA-1, a state constitutional amendment proposed by Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes.

Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez said, “California has made it a centerpiece of our fight against climate change to deliver real benefits to Californians who are most vulnerable to pollution. This effort to bring meaningful help to those hit first and worst by pollution as we cut greenhouse gas emissions is at the core of AB 32 and SB 32. The California Climate Equity Coalition has worked for years to ensure these benefits reach disadvantaged neighborhoods by supporting and implementing laws that guarantee benefits to these communities.” SB 535 (De Leon, 2014) and AB 1550 (Gomez, 2016) guarantee 25 percent of fees paid by polluters must go to projects located in disadvantaged communities and an additional 10 percent must benefit low-income Californians.

ACA-1 (Mayes) would create an unnecessary and burdensome requirement that delays these investments in California’s most impacted communities. SCOPE Research Director Laura Muraida said, “Low-income communities of color feel the impacts of pollution and climate change most severely, and most urgently need action to protect the planet and their communities, and they also urgently need the prosperity the growing clean-energy sector has begun to generate. California must make millions of dollars in investments to promote clean air, jobs, transportation, energy efficiency, and healthy environments and these investments must be targeted to benefit the communities hit first and worst by climate change. We’ve made real progress in that effort, and ACA-1 will just get in the way.”

Coalition for Clean Air Policy Director Bill Magavern said, “The supermajority threshold to approve the use of cap-and-trade funds is an ill-conceived amendment that would only delay critically needed funding that our communities need now to address climate change and improve air quality, and create new, clean energy jobs. We cannot afford such needless delays, and politicians should not play games with the lives of our communities.”

Senate Version of Trumpcare Would Devastate Communities of Color

June 22, 2017

Senate Version of Trumpcare Would Devastate Communities of Color
Supposedly “Milder” Obamacare Replacement Would Take Coverage from Millions

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

WASHINGTON – The draft Senate health care bill that surfaced Thursday would be a disaster for Americans of color, health policy experts at The Greenlining Institute said today.

“African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans all had disproportionately high uninsured rates before the Affordable Care Act, and made huge gains under the current law,” said Greenlining Institute Health Policy Director Anthony Galace. “Drastic cuts to Medicaid and cuts to subsidies that help low and moderate income Americans buy coverage would wipe out those gains, for no reason other than to fund a whopping tax cut for the wealthy.”

While the Senate bill appears to alter some of the mechanics of the House-passed American Health Care Act, it would make substantial cuts to the subsidies that help those of limited means buy coverage. States would be allowed to scrap vital consumer protections. Cuts to Medicaid would be slower but more drastic overall.

“It says something that the worst cuts don’t kick in till after the next reelection campaign for these senators,” Galace said. “They know how bad it is. Under Obamacare, the uninsured rate for Asian Americans dropped by half, for African Americans it fell by 8.4 percentage points and for Latinos it dropped by an amazing 11.3 points. Americans of color know exactly what the Senate leaders are doing, and believe me, we will remember.”


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Kalanick Departure Represents Chance for New Start, No Uber Oakland Campaign Says

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar, who helped organize the No Uber Oakland campaign, made the following statement in reaction to the announcement that Travis Kalanick has resigned as CEO of Uber:

“Travis Kalanick’s departure represents an opportunity that Uber must seize. Uber offers a popular service, but simply can’t survive in the long run as a company that’s disliked and distrusted everywhere you go. Uber can show it’s serious about making a new start by having a real dialogue with the Oakland community about how it will operate as it enters our city. We’ve laid out a 10-point platform that can be a starting point for a productive relationship between Uber and Oakland. If Uber is serious about reforming, it should embrace that platform and start a meaningful dialogue with the community about how to implement it.”


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute