Assembly Health Committee Passes Bill to Boost Diverse Small Businesses

AB 962 Would Track Major Hospitals’ Contracting with Businesses Owned by Women, People of Color, Veterans and LGBTs  

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

SACRAMENTO — Today the Assembly Health Committee approved AB 962, introduced by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) and coauthored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). The bill uses reporting and transparency to encourage California’s $230 billion hospital industry to boost its contracting with businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans and LGBT people.

“I am very excited that AB 962 passed out of health committee today,” Asm. Burke said. “It is crucial that we continue to encourage increased diversity in our state across all levels. Promoting economic opportunity for our diverse businesses has benefits that extend well past the hospital-supplier relationship because when our diverse businesses benefit, we all benefit.”

“Hospitals are uniquely positioned to build relationships with the communities they serve by partnering and contracting with diverse businesses,” said Greenlining Institute Health Equity Director Anthony Galace. “The data provided by AB 962 will enable California to leverage the expansion of the state’s health sector to benefit small businesses that employ people of color, women, LGBT people and veterans.”

The measure, sponsored by The Greenlining Institute, is modeled on a successful program overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission, which over three decades has sparked massive increases in contracting with Minority Business Enterprises by California’s regulated utilities, as well as a similarly successful program that was administered by the Department of Insurance.

AB 962 now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. For further background on the bill, see Anthony Galace’s recent blog post.

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

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Bill to Boost Diverse Small Businesses Has 1st Hearing Tuesday

AB 962 Would Track Major Hospitals’ Contracting with Businesses Owned by Women, People of Color, Veterans and LGBTs

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

SACRAMENTO — On Tuesday, April 2 the Assembly Health Committee will consider AB 962, introduced by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) and coauthored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). The measure would use reporting and transparency to encourage California hospitals – a $230 billion industry in the state – to boost their contracting with businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans and LGBT people. The measure, sponsored by The Greenlining Institute, is modeled on a successful program overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission, which over three decades has sparked massive increases in contracting with Minority Business Enterprises by California’s regulated utilities, as well as a similarly successful program that was administered by the Department of Insurance.

WHAT: Assembly Health Committee hearing on AB 962

WHO: Assemblymember Autumn Burke, Greenlining Institute Health Equity Director Anthony Galace, members of the committee

WHERE: State Capitol, Room 4202

WHEN: Tuesday, April 2, 1:30 p.m.

For further background on the bill, see Anthony Galace’s recent blog post.

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

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Rep. Barbara Lee, Boots Riley Headline Greenlining Economic Summit Apr. 26

26th Annual Event Marks Official Farewell for Longtime Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar  

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute’s 26th annual Economic Summit, “Reclaiming Our Time,” will feature a stellar lineup, including U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, acclaimed rapper, activist, producer, screenwriter and film director Boots Riley, She the People founder Aimee Alison, and many others exploring how to move America toward true justice and equity.

Each year Greenlining brings together powerful voices for change—grassroots community leaders, nationally known advocates, artists, elected officials and more—for a unique event that focuses like a laser on how to build a more equitable, just society. More than a conference, it’s a one-of-a-kind event where innovation, art and activism align. With a theme inspired by Rep. Maxine Waters’ iconic 2017 “reclaiming my time” moment, this year’s Economic Summit will highlight the leaders — especially here in California — who refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice.

Founded in 1993, The Greenlining Institute envisions a nation where communities of color thrive and race is never a barrier to economic opportunity. See Greenlining’s Economic Summit web page for detailed information on the day’s program.

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.

WHAT: The Greenlining Institute’s 26th annual Economic Summit

WHO: Speakers and awardees include rapper/filmmaker Boots Riley, Rep. Barbara Lee, Dream Corps President Vien Truong, She the People founder Aimee Alison and more.

WHEN: Friday, April 26, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (registration opens at 8)

WHERE: Oakland Marriott, Oakland City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland, California, 94607

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

@Greenlining

Orson Aguilar to Transition Out of Role as Greenlining Institute’s President at the End of April

Aguilar Spent 20 Years with Greenlining; Organization Begins National Search for New Leader

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute’s Board of Directors announces that after nearly two decades with the organization, the last eleven years as its President, Orson Aguilar will transition out of this role at the end of April.

“Watching Orson emerge from Greenlining’s Leadership Academy as a young man two decades ago and go on to take a variety of roles and eventually become Greenlining’s leader has been remarkable,” said Board Co-Chair George Dean.

Under Aguilar’s leadership, Greenlining has grown significantly in size and impact. Greenlining has helped draft and pass critical legislation bringing new resources into communities of color, graduated over 150 Leadership Academy participants, established the Greenlining 360 Center as a hub for community organizing in Oakland, and seen its annual budget grow from $3.5 million to $7.3 million.

“Orson’s leadership has helped Greenlining become a powerful and influential organization, successfully mainstreaming racial equity,” said Ortensia Lopez, the Board’s other Co-Chair.

With Aguilar at the helm, Greenlining’s team of advocates have played a lead role in framing key economic decisions with a racial equity framework.

“Today, people look to Greenlining for bold, race-forward ideas and action to address economic inequality. I am so proud of the organization we have advanced together, and of our collective work to build a nation where communities of color thrive and race is never a barrier to economic opportunity,” Aguilar said.

During Aguilar’s tenure as President, Greenlining:

  • Worked in coalition with key allies to pass vital legislation bringing resources into underserved communities, including CA Senate Bill 535 (De Leon) and CA Assembly Bill 1550 (Gomez), which direct cap-and-trade funds to underserved communities; CA Assembly Bill 53 (Solorio), which created a system of reporting and transparency designed to encourage major California insurers to contract with diverse small businesses; and CA Senate Bill 1275 (De Leon), jumpstarting California’s effort to make the benefits of electric vehicles available to low- and moderate-income Californians.
  • Launched the Greenlining 360 Center in downtown Oakland as a hub for community gathering. Over half the building is leased as long-term affordable office space for community nonprofit tenants or provided as affordable community meeting space. In less than two years the building has provided free or low-cost meeting and event space for some 250 events put on by over 100 different organizations.
  • Graduated 43 Fellows and 114 Summer Associates from its Leadership Academy, and has seen Academy graduates rack up achievements including an appointment to the California Supreme Court, winning local government seats, running nonprofit organizations, and securing influential positions in all sectors.
  • Negotiated community benefit agreements with banks such as City National, Cathay Bank, Union Bank and Flagstar Bank to bring tens of millions of dollars in investment into communities of color.
  • Worked with the California Public Utilities Commission and regulated utilities to protect low-income consumers from power shut-offs, provide PG&E billing in Spanish and Chinese, and create electric vehicle charging infrastructure in disadvantaged communities.
  • Challenged multiple corporate mergers that could harm communities of color, including playing an instrumental role in arguing against the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile Merger in 2011.

Aguilar has also been asked to serve on numerous advisory boards to institutions such as Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, BBVA Compass, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Aguilar has not yet decided what will come after Greenlining. For now, he looks forward to spending time with his wife and three children before deciding on a next step in his career. “Although I am transitioning from Greenlining, my mission and Greenlining’s mission remain the same,” Aguilar said. “I am committed to fighting injustice and inequality throughout my career.”  The community will celebrate Aguilar at Greenlining’s 26th Annual Economic Summit, happening April 26, 2019 in Oakland.

The Greenlining Board of Directors has begun a nationwide search for Greenlining’s next president and is committed to finding a successor who will continue the organization’s mission to build a nation where communities of color thrive and race is never a barrier to opportunity.

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

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