Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) to Return to Casa at UC Berkeley, Speak to Students 4/21

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

Legislator Lived at Casa as Cal Undergrad

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – On April 21, Assemblymember Luis Alejo, who represents the 28th Assembly district (San Benito County, the Salinas Valley, North Monterey County, South Santa Clara County and the city of Watsonville), will return to UC Berkeley and speak to students at Casa, the multi-ethnic student housing cooperative where he lived as a Cal undergrad in the mid-1990s. He will be welcomed by Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri and be introduced by a Casa student from the 28th district, Silvia Perez of Watsonville. There will be a question-and-answer session following Mr. Alejo’s presentation.

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AT&T/T-Mobile Merger: Voice Your Concerns July 7th

CPUC Hosts Public Hearing on Proposed AT&T/T-Mobile Merger July 7th

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) needs to hear from you at a public hearing on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the CPUC Auditorium located at 505 Van Ness Ave in San Francisco. At the public hearing, you can tell the CPUC that you cannot support the merger unless important questions are answered. To learn more about this and other public hearings and workshops at the CPUC please click here

As you have undoubtedly heard, AT&T has announced a deal to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion. If approved, the new company would have 130 million wireless subscribers, making it the largest wireless carrier in the country. The CPUC is investigating the potential impact of the proposed merger on California’s consumers and communities. For more information about the merger click here

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AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Questioned at Public Forum in Oakland

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

AT&T California President Ken McNeely Fields Questions, But Doubts Remain

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Representatives of community groups raised serious questions about the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile this morning at a public forum in Oakland. AT&T California President Ken McNeely answered questions as part of a panel that included Commissioner Cathy Sandoval of the California Public Utilities Commission and attorneys from The Greenlining Institute and The Utility Reform Network (TURN).
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AT&T/T-Mobile Merger: Is it Good for America?

Greenlining & TURN Co-Host Community Forum on Proposed AT&T Merger

Dear Greenlining Community,

As you have undoubtedly heard, AT&T announced a deal last month to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion. The new entity would have 130 million wireless subscribers, making it the largest wireless carrier in the country.  If approved, the deal will have major implications for California’s consumers and communities. Links to some of the media coverage below.
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August 2015 Newsletter


Policy FellowsHealth Equity FellowsSummer Associates
Thank you to those who came and celebrated the accomplishments of our four Policy Fellowssix Health Equity Fellows, and nine Summer Associates. We were honored to have Ezra Garrett, Executive Director of the PG&E Foundation, and Vice President of Community Relations and Chief Sustainable Officer for Pacific Gas and Electric Co, as our graduation keynote speaker. See more pictures on our Facebook page.

We also want to commend the hard work of our nine Summer Associates on their capstone projects for the 2015 Summer Associate Symposium: Equitable Policy for the New Majority.


Claudia Paredes, Former Academy DirectorOur Academy Director for six years, Claudia Paredes, moved to New York this month to continue her work in developing young leaders as the new Program Director at Coro New York Leadership Center. Thank you Claudia for your leadership, mentorship, and passion for empowering young leaders of color. We are sad to see you go, but once a Greenliner always a Greenliner. Good luck Claudia!

We are happy to announce that Patrick Brown is our new Academy Director! We are excited to see the direction Patrick will take the Academy’s programs in empowering the next generation of this nation’s multiethnic leaders.


Casa Residents 2015-2016UC Berkeley’s 2015-2016 academic year began last week. We welcome our new Casa residents to the community. This year, we have a diverse group of vibrant and engaging students and we are excited to have them.

Casa is home to 36 students per academic year and is conveniently located blocks away from the UC Berkeley campus. Casa has a long tradition of supporting and meeting the needs of first-generation, low-income, UC Berkeley students

Throughout the academic year, Casa residents participate in leadership and skills development workshops, attend weekly community meetings, regularly meet with their academic counselors, and are exposed to valuable on-campus resources. In addition, residents receive mentorship, academic support, exposure to various career and educational trajectories, and have the opportunity to learn about critical public policy issues that impact their communities. To learn more about Casa, click here.


Poll ResultsIn a partnership with California Environmental Justice Alliance,Communities for a Better Environment,Latino Decisions, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles,, we conducted a poll on climate change and pollution for California Latina/o voters. Despite what oil companies say, our results show that California Latina/o voters support action on climate change policies:

1.    87 percent of Latinos agree that we need to increase investment in clean public transportation in our communities
2.    87 percent of Latinos say they would like to see more “Green Jobs” in the Latino community.
3.    89 percent of Latinos agree that if the state invests money to develop new technology for renewable energy and pollution control, we need to make sure those investments go equally into the Latino community.

Click here to learn more about the poll and what we found!


Fact Sheet: Unlocking The Potential of Community BenefitNonprofit hospitals conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment every three years to determine the health concerns of the communities they serve, and develop a Community Benefit Plan. Unfortunately, this process has major gaps.

To read the fact sheet, click here.


The Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion are charged with creating standards on workforce and supplier diversity for nearly 70,000 financial institutions in the private sector. Disappointed with their final standards, published in June 2015, Greenlining submitted a final response detailing how the OMWIs’ can improve these regulations moving forward.

To read the comments, click here.


A coalition partner of The Greenlining Instititute, Time for Change Foundation (TFCF) under the leadership of Kim Carter has been named a 2015 CNN Hero!  The CNN Heroes initiative is a year-long initiative that honors everyday people for their selfless, creative efforts to help others.  The campaign is now in its ninth year.  In the past eight years, CNN Heroes has received more than 50,000 nominations from more than 100 countries.

Time for Change Foundation provides essential resources through their programs and services to families who desire to change the course of their lives by making the transition from homelessness and recidivism to self-sufficiency.

Visit them on the web at

Auto Show Dreams Become Real: CA Puts Electric Cars in Reach of Working Families

New Programs, Incentives Make Clean Transportation Affordable

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

LOS ANGELES – As the Los Angeles International Auto Show prepares to dazzle the media and the public this week with exotic dream machines, California law is gearing up to create new, cleaner transportation choices for working families. SB 1275, known as the Charge Ahead Initiative and signed into law in September by Gov. Jerry Brown, aims to put one million electric cars, trucks and buses onto California roads.

“Talking to our communities, we’ve found that too many people think of electric cars as fancy toys for the rich – Teslas for people in Beverly Hills – but thanks to Charge Ahead, that’s not true anymore,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Fellow Joel Espino. “Once the new incentives kick in, low- and moderate-income Californians in the most polluted areas will be able to buy a used electric car for just a few thousand dollars or a new one for around $20,000. Plus, there will also be new, cleaner, cheaper options for those who choose not to own a car.”

Among other things, the law:

  • Updates the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project that is largely responsible for bringing about 100,000 of the nation’s 240,000 electric cars to California, with rebates of up to $2,500 available to buyers. To focus these rebates on working families and make the program more cost-effective, it directs the Air Resources Board to limit eligibility for such rebates based on income so that the help goes to those who need it.
  • Increases financing options to help families with lower car payments when they purchase electric cars and trucks.
  • Creates pilot car-sharing programs for electric cars and encourages deployment of charging stations in multi-unit residential buildings.
  • Provides incentives for trading in old gas-guzzling clunkers for new or used electric vehicles. These incentives can be worth up to $9,500 for low-income drivers in specific disadvantaged communities.
  • Creates a “mobility option” as an alternative to car ownership by offering vouchers for transit and electric car-sharing in lieu of vouchers for purchasing replacement vehicles for those who scrap older polluting vehicles.

The expanded programs will roll out during the first half of 2015. State officials are now writing the rules that will lay out the operational details.

“Electric cars have always been a good deal once you get one in your garage, thanks to lower fuel costs,” Espino said. “Power for an electric car is like running an ordinary car on one-dollar-a-gallon gas. What’s kept these cleaner cars out of the hands of working families is the up-front cost, and that’s about to change for the better.”


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Available for Interviews: Covered California Enrollment Stats Expected This Week

Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
Carla Saporta, Greenlining Institute Health Policy Director, 503-347-6893 (cell)

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – Greenlining Institute health policy experts will be available for comment when Covered California releases initial enrollment figures, expected this week. Covered California, California’s health benefit exchange created under the federal Affordable Care Act, has generally functioned smoothly and has not had the sorts of serious website problems that afflicted the federal exchange during its first weeks.

Greenlining has been actively advocating to ensure that the new health insurance options created by the ACA are accessible to all of California’s communities, regardless of race, ethnicity, language or income.

“California clearly did the right thing by setting up its own exchange, rather than letting the Feds do it for us,” said Greenlining Institute Health Policy Director Carla Saporta. “We’re looking forward to seeing this first snapshot of enrollment, but everyone should remember that this is just the start of a process that will continue until March 31.” Saporta noted that some elements of the program, including a robust system of in-person, one-on-one assistance, are still ramping up.

In its 2011 report, iHealth: How to Ensure the Health Benefit Exchange Reaches all Californians, Greenlining laid out a series of recommendations for how Covered California could effectively reach all Californians. Covered California adopted most of these recommendations and has made progress toward implementing many of them.


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Bank Regulators’ Proposed Diversity Standards Short on Specifics


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

WASHINGTON – Proposed joint standards just released by six federal agencies for assessing the diversity practices of the financial institutions they regulate contain solid language regarding best practices, but are disappointingly short on specifics, policy experts at The Greenlining Institute said today.

The standards, proposed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Securities and Exchange Commission, National Credit Union Administration and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, were required by section 342 of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act. The law created Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion in 20 financial regulatory agencies and tasked them with “assessing the diversity policies and practices of entities regulated” by the agencies.

“If we learned anything from the financial crisis, it’s that communities of color are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine of the financial system, and we are glad to see regulators beginning to tackle diversity issues,” said Greenlining Institute Economic Equity Director Sasha Werblin. “But while this document contains a lot of positive language, it’s very general, with no real standards or metrics to assess progress.”

The draft standards allow financial institutions to do a self-assessment of diversity practices, but do not require any reporting to the public or to the OMWIs.

Werblin noted that effective models for promoting diversity among regulated businesses, without coercion or quotas, already exist. In California, for example, both the Public Utilities Commission and Department of Insurance have programs under which regulated firms report the degree to which they contract with firms owned by women, minorities or disabled veterans.

“It’s amazing what can be accomplished simply with a bit of sunlight and public reporting of information,” Werblin said. Greenlining will be filing detailed comments with specific suggestions for bolstering these standards, and plans to discuss the proposal with regulators and members of Congress in a series of meetings in Washington in mid-November.

“Voluntary actions have been the status quo for a century, and they’ve gotten us a financial sector that’s overwhelmingly white and male,” commented Greenlining Executive Director Orson Aguilar.


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

Bank Settlement Will Help Californians, Greenlining Institute Says


CA A.G. Harris Helped Strengthen Deal; Follow-Through Will Be Key to Ensuring Help Reaches Struggling Families

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

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – The “robo-signing” settlement announced today represents real help for California homeowners who suffered due to misdeeds by loan servicers and other financial institutions, but more must still be done to help struggling families and stabilize the housing market, policy experts at The Greenlining Institute said today.


“We’re pleased that California homeowners facing foreclosure and those who have lost homes will get meaningful help without the banks getting a complete get-out-of-jail-free card,” said Greenlining Institute Executive Director Orson Aguilar. “Kamala Harris deserves applause for hanging tough to make sure Californians get real relief and that the enforcement mechanisms have teeth.”

California homeowners are expected to get up to $18 billion in relief, of which $12 billion will be in principal reduction, with priority going to hardest-hit regions.

“We applaud the incentives for principal reduction and the relief for struggling homeowners not covered by the administration’s just-announced housing plan,” Aguilar added. “This deal is a first step toward meaningful relief for distressed homeowners, and we look forward to more.

“It will be crucial to make sure this assistance gets to those who need it,” Aguilar said. “There must be an aggressive outreach strategy to ensure that distressed homeowners know about these options, and it needs to include non-traditional outreach through organizations like housing counseling agencies, community development corporations, nonprofits , churches and the ethnic media.”

The agreement between the Department of Justice, state attorneys general and banks stems from disclosure of widespread mishandling of foreclosure processing, revealed in 2010.


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


Banks and Minority-Owned Businesses: New Report to Be Released at 2/24 Event in S.F.

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

SAN FRANCISCO – The Greenlining Institute will release its first annual report on how California’s major banks contract with minority business enterprises at a special event in San Francisco Feb. 24. The presentation will be followed by an expert panel discussion featuring representatives from banking, government, trade associations, and small business, focusing on successful supplier diversity strategies and how to expand opportunities for diverse businesses.

While others have examined broad diversity issues in the banking sector, Greenlining is the first to zero in on the industry’s use of diverse contractors for goods and services, and to focus specifically on banks with a major presence in California.

WHAT:  Banking on Supplier Diversity: Metrics and Methods that Work, a presentation of Greenlining’s first annual report on banking industry supplier diversity

WHO: Speakers will include —

  • Jacqueline Rosa, Managing Director, Global Head of Supplier Diversity, JPMorgan Chase
  • Steve Thomas, Managing Director, CastleOak Securities, L.P.
  • Carlotta Taube, Minority and Women Business Outreach Specialist, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Dennis Huang, Executive Director, Asian Business Association
  • Bernida Reagan, Director of Community and Client Relations, Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services
  • Orson Aguilar, Executive Director, The Greenlining Institute
  • Danielle Beavers, Economic Equity Program Manager, The Greenlining Institute
  • Sasha Werblin, Economic Equity Director, The Greenlining Institute

WHEN: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, 9 a.m. – noon

WHERE:  Public Policy Institute of California, 500 Washington St., San Francisco, CA 94111

Journalists wishing to attend should RSVP to Bruce Mirken,


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute