Sunday, September 7, 2014

Clean Energy wins big with failure of SDG&E-backed AB2145

 

Death of bill paves way for consumer utility independence and clean energy jobs



Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 – Clean-energy advocates throughout the state rejoiced at the much-deserved defeat of Assembly Bill 2145 as the 2013-14 legislative session came to a close on Friday, Aug. 29.



The bill, backed by multiple California monopoly utilities, including SDG&E, would hinder the ability of communities and municipalities to create Community Choice Energy programs (CCEs). These programs allow residents to consolidate their buying power and lower their rates by independently purchasing clean energy. This provides a vital, community-empowering alternative to the monopoly utility companies that give consumers no say on where their energy comes from, have consistently met only the minimum clean energy requirements. AB2145 was a revived 2010 measure, Proposition 16, that was soundly defeated by California voters, in which Pacific Gas & Electric spent over $46 million to prevent Community Choice in California.



The bill was opposed by many cities, counties, organizations and businesses statewide, including a strong local coalition opposing the measure, including the cities of Chula Vista and San Diego, San Diego County Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Dave Roberts, the SanDiego350, and local businesses and unions.



The move poises San Diego to explore implementation of its own CCE, which SanDiego350 strongly advocates. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has included funding for a CCE feasibility study in the city’s recently approved budget. San Diegans are urging city officials to give residents the ability to collectively purchase clean energy, which would reduce carbon emissions and benefit the local economy by creating jobs. Jobs at SDG&E would not be reduced as the utility would continue to maintain and operate the transmission lines.



Establishing a CCE in San Diego is a tenet of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) draft released in February 2014 by Interim Mayor Todd Gloria. The revised draft CAP is expected to be released in late September, and business, environmental, and consumer advocates expect CCE to be preserved in the CAP, as a key means to reduce San Diego’s greenhouse gas emissions, promote local renewable energy jobs, and offer San Diegans more choice and competition in making their energy choices.


SanDiego350.org, an all-volunteer organization, is concerned about climate change and its very real effects on our livelihoods, well-being, and the future for our children. We work to increase awareness of climate change and advocate for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are loosely affiliated with 350.org, the international climate organization, whose work inspires us.

Visit peoplesclimatesd.org for information on the upcoming People’s Climate March on Sept. 21, when SanDiego350 and a broad coalition of environmental, health, labor and civic organizations will join allies throughout the nation to demand what we know is within reach: a world with an economy that for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Peters Endorsed by Climate Hawks Vote, Citing “Political Courage” and “Strong Climate Leadership”



San Diego -- Rep. Scott Peters was endorsed today by Climate Hawks Vote, an environmental advocacy organization formed to elect leaders who prioritize and speak out on the climate need to address climate change.  Peters was recognized for his unwavering commitment to protecting our environment and for providing real leadership in Congress on climate.  The group cited Rep. Peters’ proven ability to work well with members of both parties, furthering their goal of making climate change solutions a bipartisan priority.

“Climate Hawks Vote is delighted to endorse Scott Peters…for his strong climate leadership and for taking first place in our August 2014 survey. And his approach just may break partisan gridlock in Congress,” Climate Hawks Vote said in its statement regarding the endorsement of Rep. Peters.

The environmental group said Rep. Peters “could have ducked the thorny climate issue. Instead, he stepped up to the plate in a big way once in office, taking on a leadership role in the House Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition, authoring bills, and speaking out in the national and local press. That took political courage.”

Peters thanked Climate Hawks Vote and vowed to continue his working with members of both parties to address the climate crisis.

“As a coastal city, San Diego lives on the front line of climate change,” said Rep. Peters.  “Our economy, our quality of life, and the future of our children all depend upon our willingness to put science ahead of politics and deal with the climate crisis immediately.”

Rep. Peters’ leadership on climate change began as a member of the San Diego City Council, when he approved the City’s Sustainable Community Program and the Climate Protection Action Plan, which is the City’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The City’s new General Plan, adopted in 2008, won national awards for the standards it set for sustainability and responsible energy usage.

As chairman of the San Diego Unified Port District, Rep. Peters led the effort to pass a climate action plan to deal with the effects of sea level rise on port businesses and tenants.  He also chaired the climate initiative at the San Diego Foundation, a philanthropic civic engagement effort designed to support good local decision-making around climate change.

As a first-term Congressman, Rep. Peters chairs the Climate Task Force for the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition, advancing policies that address climate change and protect clean air, water, and open spaces; foster clean energy innovation; and develop renewable energy sources.  Amongst other legislation, he cosponsored the Coastal State Climate Change Planning Act, which would create a climate change mitigation grant program under the Coastal Zone Management Act to help coastal states plan for the impacts of climate change.  He also introduced the bipartisan Strengthening The Resiliency of Our Nation on the Ground (STRONG) Act, which gives state and local actors the tools they need to prepare, plan for, and more quickly recover from extreme weather events.





Thursday, September 4, 2014

Peters Campaign: U.S. Chamber Endorsement "Speaks Volumes"






San Diego -- Rep. Scott Peters announced a blockbuster endorsement today from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business group. The U.S. Chamber, which rarely endorses Democrats, praised Peters for his work to “return the U.S. to its full growth potential.”

 
“We believe that your re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives will help produce sustained economic growth, help create jobs, and get our country back on track,”
the Chamber said in its endorsement letter to Rep. Peters.

Peters thanked the Chamber and vowed to continue his efforts to help improve the economy by working with members of all political parties.

“When it comes to improving the economy, creating good jobs and helping businesses grow, we need bipartisan cooperation in Congress, not gridlock and flame-throwing,” Peters said. “The U.S. Chamber endorsement shows how hard I’ve been working to help move our country forward in these areas.”

In his first Congressional term, Peters has made job-creation his top priority. His efforts have included advocating for sensible tax policies; promoting San Diego’s innovation economy by investing in our military and scientific research; reducing the federal debt through a bipartisan approach; and fiercely advocating for returning veterans who need jobs.

As the Chamber noted in a statement today, DeMaio also “actively” sought their endorsement. In recent election cycles, the U.S. Chamber has made a point of opposing extremist, Tea Party candidates and supporting consensus-builders who make sensible decisions.

“The U.S. Chamber endorsement speaks volumes,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Scott Peters for Congress campaign. “This is a group that seldom endorses Democrats but clearly recognizes that Scott Peters gets results. And he does it not by grandstanding or creating gridlock but by collaborating with anybody who has a good idea, regardless of political party.”


Educators, veterans, business leaders, students urge approval of community college four-year degree bill


SAN DIEGO – Business leaders, veterans, educators and students gathered today to urge Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval of legislation by Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego) allowing California’s community colleges to offer four-year degrees.

Block, who authored SB 850, described his measure as a jobs bill. “This is landmark legislation that is a game changer for California’s higher education system and our workforce preparedness,” Block said. “SB 850 boosts the focus of our community colleges on job training now when California faces a major skills gap in our workforce.”

Currently only the University of California and the California State University systems may offer public four-year degrees. Block noted that by 2025 our state will need one million more adults with four-year degrees. “We need to use all of California’s resources – including our community colleges – to close that gap.” He added that more than 20 states since 1970 already allow community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees.

“Community colleges are the workforce engines for California's economy,” said San Diego Community Chancellor Constance Carroll, Ph.D. “It is imperative for them to upgrade their programs to prepare students for new job requirements especially in fields where public universities do not offer the degree programs that are necessary.”

For high school students, SB 850 presents additional opportunities and options. “San Diego Unified supports SB 850 and believes this pilot program merits serious consideration,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “On April 8, our Board of Education passed and adopted a resolution to support this important new direction in California higher education to expand college opportunities for students in select fields.”

Block’s proposal is a pilot program that would allow 15 campuses from 15 different districts to offer one baccalaureate degree each starting Jan.1, 2015 and ending in July 1, 2023.

Baccalaureate degrees offered at the chosen campuses could not be duplicative of degrees offered by the University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) campuses. “It will be value added, not duplicative,” Block said. The state’s community college Board of Governors and Chancellor in consultation with the UC and CSU systems would select the participating districts and campuses.

“SB 850 is a long-overdue remedy to the shortage of trained workers and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce strongly urges Governor Jerry Brown’s support of SB 850, an important piece of legislation that would allow California community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees,” said Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “SB 850 gives community colleges an opportunity to partner with local workforce investment boards and local businesses to strategically address critical employer demands across our state which will significantly benefit community college completion rates and meet future workforce demands in California, helping to keep our state competitive.”

Veterans groups are also supporting SB 850. Larry Blumberg, Executive Director of the San Diego Military Advisory Council, said an estimated 15,000 young men and women transition from military service to civilian life in the San Diego region. “That’s why SDMAC is excited about the opportunity that SB 850 brings to San Diego’s veterans’ community,” Blumberg said.

Brown received SB 850 on Aug. 28 and has 30 days to approve or veto the bill. Block introduced SB 850 in January, and it is the third time he has introduced similar legislation.

“We’re in a different time now,” Block said to explain why he believes his third attempt will succeed. “California is in a better position now to invest in closing our skills gap. We are in a fast-paced race that we can’t afford to lose. Community colleges can help us meet the challenge. It’s wishful thinking to believe we can meet the challenge of producing another 60,000 bachelor degrees a year without using community colleges, and the longer we delay in using them, the further behind we will fall.”

SB 850 supporters include AMVETS, American Legion, the California State Commanders Veterans Council, the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers and 24 community college districts including those in San Diego, Los Angeles, Napa, and Imperial Counties. Business supporters include CalChamber, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the San Jose Silicon Valley and Oceanside Chambers of Commerce, the Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition and the California Workforce Association. Also supporting SB 850 are the California Community College Chancellor’s Office and the California State University system.

Block’s measure received bipartisan support in the Senate and no “NO” votes in any committees.

Block is chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee #1 which deals with education financing and is a member of the Senate Education Committee. Prior to Block’s election to the Legislature, he served as president of the Board of Trustees of the San Diego Community College District and as a professor and administrator at San Diego State University.




State of California Now On Record Urging President Obama to Suspend Further Deportations of Legalization-Eligible Immigrants

 

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s AJR 49 Calls for Executive Action to keep California families intact



SACRAMENTO – (Wednesday, September 3, 2014) – The California State Legislature has sent to President Obama a joint resolution by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) which calls on the Obama Administration to expand temporary protective status to all legalization-eligible immigrants through an executive action. This would initiate a ‘deferred action’ legalization process and cease the deportation of all eligible immigrants and families who have no serious criminal history, until Congress adopts humane and inclusive comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

“The financial and social cost to California due to family separations and the loss of children is enormous and inhumane,” Gonzalez said. “California is now clearly on record calling for an end to the deportation of legalization-eligible immigrants and backing a more humanitarian immigration policy that keeps families together.”

Under President Obama, deportations have risen to an average of 400,000 a year since 2009. According to the National Immigration Law Center, more than 1,000 immigrants are separated from their families and communities each day producing devastating effects to our nation.

The joint resolution was supported by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), California Immigrant Policy Center, Protect Our Families – Save the Children Campaign, Hermandad Mexicana Humanitarian Foundation, Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), and California-Mexico Studies Center, Inc. It does not have any formal opposition.

AJR 49 was approved by the Senate on a 26-3 vote Friday evening after it passed the Assembly on a 55-18 vote August 21. The Chief Clerk of the Assembly will now transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States.

For more information on AJR 49, or to interview Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Evan McLaughlin at (916) 319-2080 or (619) 850-2790.


Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit http://asmdc.org/members/a80/.




Saturday, August 30, 2014

They Said What Again?



Sometimes there are comments that make you wonder what people were they thinking or even if they were thinking at all.  This week we had several good ones, but below are the best:

Minimum Wage - Chris Gluck of Wine Vault & Bistro should stick to his business and stay out politics, because I don’t know if he actual has a successful business, but his comment this week about the minimum wage was a good one.  Chris was asked questions about the ordinance and he said, “We have a tip pool system here that encourages wait staff to pitch in and help other wait staff,” thus meaning he knows he pays low wages to some of his staff, but he should not increase it, because he has his other staff do it for him. Though, the gem was when Chris said, “Maybe Todd [Gloria] needs to open up a restaurant,” which only could mean he would like Todd to see what it is like to pay these higher wages and run a business.  Um, maybe Chris should live on his low wage salary he offers his own employees and see what it is like for them?

Minimum Wage – I understand this was from a week ago, but these comments were to good not to add to this post.  During the debate amongst the city council members the sage of the city council shared his words of wisdom.  Scott Sherman told us he has to work two jobs now as a councilmember that is paid $75,386 a year to survive.  I guess he thinks those making minimum wage working 40-hours a week that work all 52-weeks make $18,720 don't need to survive.  Scott commented at 1:25 on the city broadcast of his speech saying, "1.50 an hour more will not raise people out of poverty” admitting minimum wage is poverty and the increase is not even enough to live on.  Though, he then capped off his glorious speech saying something along the lines that if the minimum wage is increased, then businesses will let people go and those released will have to go on public assistance.  Does Scott not know that people earning minimum wage are on public assistance now and the government is subsidizing these low wage businesses?  As a person that does not like when government taxes anything, then he should want businesses not to shift their cost onto us, the taxpayers.

Paid Sick Days - This weekend did not come soon enough for this next double take victim.  Eric Lund is the general manager of the East County Chamber of Commerce.  It seems he didn’t want to take a back seat to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce over the state soon passage of paid sick day legislation.  Eric stepped up and provided us with a classic to end the week.  Eric said to the UT San Diego, “It’s just bad for business. It’s bad for employees,” because Eric thinks being paid to stay home sick is not a good for an employee, but coming in sick or staying home unpaid is so much better.  Does Eric have paid sick time?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Karl Rove Hypocrisy Alert: He Supports Same Budget Approach As Peters

 

San Diego -- Turns out Karl Rove is a big fan of the Simpson-Bowles approach to deficit reduction, which wouldn’t be all that newsworthy were Rove not spending $705,000 in attack ads lambasting Rep. Scott Peters for supporting the exact same approach.




Today comes news about Rove’s effusive praise of Simpson-Bowles. At one point Rove called the bipartisan proposal for balancing the federal budget “the blueprint for righting the nation’s finances.” Rove also has been “repeatedly attacking President Obama for not enacting its recommendations,” Media Matters for America reports.



The news comes roughly a week after Rove’s political-action committee began airing $705,000 worth of attack ads in San Diego. The ads attack Peters for his support of the exact same Simpson-Bowles approach, saying: “Peters’ approach doesn’t make sense.”



“Karl Rove’s hypocrisy is so mind-boggling that you have to wonder if he even watched these ads before they started airing on TV,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Scott Peters for Congress Campaign.  “Rove should probably stick to his area of expertise – predicting elections.”

VIDEO: DeMaio Says He'll Change Congress By Being Like Tea Party Sen. Ted Cruz

 

San Diego -- Today the Scott Peters for Congress campaign released more evidence proving that Carl DeMaio’s record and philosophy are pure Tea Party extremism, regardless of his transparent attempts to rebrand himself.


In this video from last year, notably recorded on the day the Tea Party shut down the federal government, Carl DeMaio was asked at a public appearance how a freshman legislator could make a difference in Congress.

His answer: He cited Ted Cruz, the Texas Tea Party senator and the man who led the charge to shut down the federal government.

“Take a look at what Ted Cruz is doing,” DeMaio told his audience. “He’s a freshman senator. He’s certainly creating a lot of stir. So I do believe one individual can make a difference. And it’s a question of whether you’re willing to stand your ground.”

So on the same day Ted Cruz succeeded in his wild-eyed mission to shut down the government, Carl DeMaio chose to give Cruz a shout-out.

“Every day brings more evidence that Carl DeMaio is fundamentally aligned with the Tea Party,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Scott Peters for Congress Campaign. “On the very first day of the government shutdown created by Ted Cruz and his allies, Carl DeMaio publicly cites Cruz as a guy making a difference in our nation’s capital. Who but a fan of the Tea Party would ever make such a reference?”

For raw video of DeMaio’s speech, click here and here.




Monday, August 25, 2014

Even By DeMaio's Standards, His Latest Ad is Utterly Deceptive


 

San Diego -- Even by Carl DeMaio’s standards, his latest ad is so deceptive that it demands a response to set the record straight:

The ad claims:

1. That Peters “opposed pension reforms.”

Sadly for DeMaio, there’s video that makes this statement downright laughable. Specifically, the video shows a 2008 press conference in which DeMaio stands next to City Council President Peters and praises the council’s work on pension reform, calling those reforms “the first step towards sustainable pension benefits for the city of San Diego.”  As DeMaio well knows, the pension reforms championed by Scott Peters – and announced at that very press conference -- will save the city an estimated $22 million a year. And Mayor Jerry Sanders called Scott Peters a valuable partner in meaningful pension reform.

2. That Peters “voted to increase his own pension.”

This statement is about as misleading as it gets. First, as DeMaio knows, Scott Peters has donated every penny of his city pension to San Diego’s city libraries. Second, the ad apparently refers to Peters’ vote to raise City Council pay from $71,522 to $75,386 – a raise he didn’t accept for himself. Not only did Peters’ own salary remain at $71,522, he took home only $30,000 of that salary in 2008 and used the rest towards providing better constituent service from his council office.

 “This ad reveals Carl DeMaio’s basic campaign strategy, which is to try to bamboozle the voters at every turn between now and Election Day,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Scott Peters for Congress campaign. “But the voters are too smart for that. They won’t fall for this deceptive ad campaign.”



Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s Bill To Protect All Peace Officers Injured in the Line of Duty Passes Full Legislature, Sent to Governor Brown

AB 2052 closes gaps in safety net for injured police, expanding coverage to all law enforcement officers


SACRAMENTO – (Monday, August 25, 2014) – The State Assembly voted today to send to Gov. Brown for his signature a bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to ensure that all classifications of peace officers receive the workers' compensation health protection they deserve if they are injured in the line of duty.

“We can all agree that California has a moral responsibility to ensure every peace officer receives basic workers' compensation protections if they're injured in the line of duty,” Gonzalez said. “With AB 2052, the officers who protect students in our schools and universities, passengers in our airports and our transit systems, and many others whose protection we rely upon will be cared for.”

When the workers’ compensation section of the Labor Code was written in the 1970’s, the intent was to include all peace officers that performed the duties of active law enforcement as having a rebuttable presumption that certain injuries were related to their occupation. Assembly Bill 2052 will expand the existing workers' compensation protections or work-related injuries to new classifications of peace officers which didn't exist at that time, such as school police, transit police and airport police.

The bill was supported by twenty five public safety organizations including the Peace Officers Research Association of California, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, Association of Probation Supervisors, California Correctional Peace Officers Association, California School Employees Association, California State Firefighters’ Association, and State Coalition of Probation Organizations.

AB 2052 was approved by the Assembly on a 51-10 vote Monday after it passed the State Senate with 27-8 bipartisan vote last Thursday. Gov. Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the bill.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hazmat-suit Wearing San Diego Protesters to Urge California Coastal Commission to Halt Offshore Fracking 





Highlight dangers of dumping fracking chemicals into the ocean


SAN DIEGO, California— As the California Coastal Commission meets in San Diego, hazmat suit-wearing protesters with SanDiego350 and the Center for Biological Diversity will urge commissioners to halt fracking to protect the state’s precious oceans, wildlife, and beaches.



Protesters want the Coastal Commission to stop oil companies from fracking offshore wells and dumping dangerous fracking chemicals directly into California’s ocean. Offshore fracking involves blasting water and industrial chemicals into the sea-floor at pressures high enough to crack geologic formations and release oil and gas.



"Every offshore frack job increases the toxic threat to California's fragile ocean ecosystems," said Miyoko Sakashita, the Center for Biological Diversity's Oceans Program Director.



“Our beaches and coastal cities are some of the gems of San Diego tourism,” said Peg Mitchell, Fracking Campaign Leader for SanDiego350. “We can’t afford any risks to our local economy, nor can the marine life sustain any further damage to their waters”.



What:            
Protest against offshore fracking outside California Coastal Commission meeting



When:           
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 10 a.m.
           


Where:          
Catamaran Resort, 3999 Mission Blvd., San Diego



Oil companies have fracked hundreds of wells off California’s coast, and about half the oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel discharge wastewater into the sea. The oil industry has federal permission to annually dump more than 9 billion gallons of wastewater, including toxic fracking fluid, directly into the ocean off California’s coast.



A recent Center for Biological Diversity analysis of 12 frack jobs in California waters found that at least one-third of chemicals used in these fracking operations are suspected ecological hazards. Drawing on data disclosed by oil companies, the Center also found that more than a third of these chemicals are suspected of affecting human developmental and nervous systems.



Because of the dangerously high pressures involved, fracking also increases the risk of a catastrophic accident like the 1969 oil spill that contaminated hundreds of miles of shoreline from Santa Barbara to the Silver Strand here in San Diego. 

SanDiego350.org, an all-volunteer organization, is concerned about climate change and its very real effects on our livelihoods, well-being, and the future for our children. We work to increase awareness of climate change and advocate for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are loosely affiliated with 350.org, the international climate organization, whose work inspires us.




Coastkeeper Releases New Animated Map Showing Correlation Between Region’s Water Supply Sources and Drought

Map illustrates severity of and growing risk in current water supply sources


SAN DIEGO, August 12, 2014 – How does the severe drought in California and the Southwest impact San Diego’s imported water supply? Today, San Diego Coastkeeper, which protects drinkable waters in San Diego County, published an animated map that overlays drought conditions and an outline of watersheds from where the region imports water. The map shows the increasing severity of the drought through the last year as it relates to the watersheds from where San Diego imports water.

“It’s devastating to see this illustrated visually,” said Travis Pritchard, San Diego Coastkeeper program manager. “The watersheds from where San Diego draws its water are nearly 100 percent impacted by drought.”

The map’s color-coded portion depicts the severity of drought throughout California with data from the US Drought Monitor, a joint venture between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

To see the drought’s impact on our water supply sources, Coastkeeper overlaid the outlines of the Colorado River Basin and the Sacramento River Basin combined with the San Joaquin River Basin, which flow into the Bay Delta. The maps show the past year, using one map a month. For consistency, the drought maps are captured on the last Thursday of each month.

For more information on San Diego Coastkeeper, please visit www.sdcoastkeeper.org.
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SAN DIEGO COASTKEEPER: Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects and restores fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County. Visit us online at http://www.sdcoastkeeper.org.