The Green Edition

18 Apr

On Monday, April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day. It was nearly 43 years ago that Senator Gaylord Nelson called for an “environmental teach-in” in reaction to the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. Inspired by the era’s student anti-war movement, the 1970 teach-in would morph into an annual worldwide demonstration of support for environmental protection. It is with this in mind that we take a moment to look back at the environmental accomplishments we have achieved to date, while staying focused on the challenging issues we have yet to face. This month’s issue hits on our usual range of topics, but we’ve framed each discussion through the lens of sustainability. One of the enduring triumphs of the environmental movement has been its ability to inject elements of sustainability, preservation, and rehabilitation into many of our public policymaking decisions. This month, we look at how environmental sustainability has permeated our economic development strategies, altered the calculus on transportation investments, and dictated the way we approach greenhouse gas emissions reductions. In all of this, we see the recurring trend of big ideas and bigger aspirations. And of course, our constant refrain is: to effect change, you must start with a coherent vision.

Sincerely yours,

Cecilia V. Estolano | Jennifer LeSar | Katherine A. Perez-Estolano

Integrating Sustainability and Economic Development

17 Apr

Promoting environmental sustainability and pursuing economic development strategies have typically been considered two separate and (often) competing goals. But times are changing, and a growing body of evidence supports the notion that sustainability typically delivers more enduring and broad-based economic returns. Cities across the continent are beginning to wed environmental sustainability to economic development, looking at investments in a sustainable economy as one tool to build broad-based prosperity. Continue reading

Living Up to the Potential of Clean Transportation

17 Apr

Transportation accounts for a sizable share of our carbon output. In 2006 almost a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions came from the movement of goods and people. As we continue to tackle the task of curbing emissions from this unwieldy and varied sector of the economy, local governments and policymakers are devising techniques to integrate clean transportation investment into larger sustainability and economic development goals. Everyone seems to agree that we need to invest in improved (and more sustainable) transportation infrastructure, but a coherent transportation investment strategy that serves as a driver for economic development still seems to allude us. Continue reading

Are Climate Action Plans Worthwhile?

17 Apr

Although it’s clear that we need to curb global greenhouse gas emissions, there’s little consensus on how we go about reaching long-term emissions targets. In fact, we don’t even agree on what those targets should be, whether it’s economically feasible to implement broad emissions reduction strategies, or if it’s already too late to take meaningful action. In the absence of a coherent global or national strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the battle to curb emissions in the U.S. is being waged at the local level. Continue reading

LADWP’s Pre-Craft Utility Program

16 Apr
Image from PEO, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives: http://www.flickr.com/photos/acwa/8461634441/sizes/h/in/photostream/

Image from PEO, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives: http://www.flickr.com/photos/acwa/8461634441/sizes/h/in/photostream/

California has long been a national leader in energy efficiency and clean energy, investing upwards of $6 billion a year across both sectors. Many of these investment dollars are held by public and private utility companies. This substantial investment in energy also presents a unique opportunity for utility companies to be drivers of economic development, leveraging their investments to create and transform jobs in the construction and utility sectors. Continue reading

Katherine Perez-Estolano Appointed to the CA High Speed Rail Authority

29 Mar

On Thursday, March 28th Governor Jerry Brown appointed Katherine A. Perez-Estolano to the California High Speed Rail AuthorityContinue reading

Nowhere Near the End of the Line

21 Mar

With news of sequestration and federal budget cuts, municipalities across the country are feeling as though they have reached the end of the line. Reduced federal funding has many states, counties, and cities slashing services and considering tax hikes. Everyone from senior citizens, to students, to airport passengers are feeling the sting of the cuts, yet there is hope. Reports indicate we’re beating the odds,  however it is time we look elsewhere for new and innovative methods for creating lasting economic development.

This month we examine areas other than the federal government for sources of economic opportunity.  We observe the State of California seeking to make legislative changes to its economic enterprise zones in the hopes of creating more jobs and economic growth.  We see non-profit organizations mobilizing change through research, community engagement, and the brightest thought leaders. Finally, we leave the country all together to visit Latin America and their innovative transportation solutions.

As we look towards the coming of spring, we can also look to places other than the federal government for our needs. We are not at the end of the line, just figuring out how to build more track.

Sincerely yours,

Cecilia V. Estolano | Jennifer LeSar | Katherine A. Perez-Estolano

Revitalization Bills Roundup

20 Mar

While California, as a whole, may be on the path to economic recovery, certain regions of the State look to be in for a much longer and difficult road. Take Imperial County, which has the State’s highest unemployment rate [PDF] at 25% and a poverty rate [PDF] of 23%; or the counties of Merced, Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings, and Stanislaus, each of which have unemployment rates higher than the state average and poverty rates between 20-25%.  What new tools can be created at the state level to spur equitable economic development to some of our hardest hit communities? Continue reading

Small Family Foundation with Big Ideas for LA

20 Mar

LA2050 Housing Meetup

What will Los Angeles look like in 2050? While the Los Angeles Times thought 2013 might look like a futuristic Jetsons episode, one small family foundation is also generating big ideas for the future of the City of Angels. Continue reading