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Economics

State Could Create 1 Million New Jobs in Transition to Clean Economy

As California transitions to a greener economy, new jobs can be created while other jobs will be lost.

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Headshot of Robert Pollin

As California’s economy reopens, numerous labor union representatives at a news conference on June 10 demanded a safe and equitable transition to the green economy for workers.

Union members made their demands virtually at the conference, also sharing their thoughts on a new related report on California jobs by researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The research, led by economics professor Robert Pollin, says California can create 1 million new jobs a year through 2030 by investing in energy efficiency, clean renewable energy,  manufacturing/infrastructure, and land restoration/agriculture.

“Our study shows how to get there,” Pollin said.

As California transitions to a greener economy, new jobs can be created while other jobs will be lost.

The report says $76 billion is needed to create 416,000 jobs in energy efficiency and clean renewable energy while $62 billion is needed to create 626,000 jobs in manufacturing/infrastructure and land restoration/agriculture.

Pollin said about 112,000 workers are employed in California’s fossil fuel and bioenergy industries and about 58,000 are expected to lose their jobs by 2030 as those two industries contract and coal use ends.

The damage may be most severe in Kern, Contra Costa, and Los Angeles counties, where 50% of all fossil fuel job losses will occur when the state’s fossil fuel industry contracts, according to the study.

But about 350,000 a year can be created with the investments that Pollin’s team suggests.

About 320,000 of those will be created in Los Angeles County.

Some of the money from the $138 billion to be invested would go toward helping those out of work train and relocate, if needed, to new jobs, according to the report.

About half or $70 billion of the total investment would come from public coffers while the other half would come from private investors.

If President Joseph Biden gets the American Jobs Plan passed, it could provide $40 billion a year for clean energy and infrastructure investments in California, covering about 60% of the $70 billion that may need to come from public funding.

“The Congressional THRIVE Agenda would provide about $100 billion per year for the clean energy, infrastructure/manufacturing and land restoration/agriculture programs we describe,” the researchers said.
Also, the state can borrow to supplement federal funding.

Union members who spoke at the news conference were excited about the prospect for 1 million new jobs, but they want them to be good-paying, union jobs.

Some union members were sober about the prospect of the fossil fuel industry coming to an end.
Norman Rogers, vice president of the United Steelworkers Local 675 said working at a refinery it’s hard not to see the writing on the wall with cars like the Prius and Teslas on the road.

“Now is the time for an equitable transition,” he said.

He wants to make sure workers nearing retirement, those at the mid-career level and newcomers are taken care of.

Dave Campbell, secretary-treasurer for Local 675, said they are prepared to take Pollin’s work to Gov. Gavin Newsom to discuss “securing the funding for this disaster relief and recovery package for fossil fuel workers, in this budget cycle.”

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Black History

Former Slave Bridget “Biddy” Mason, Los Angeles Real Estate Mogul

After 10 years of freedom, working hard and saving her money, Bridget “Biddy” Mason (1818–1891), in 1866, purchased two lots on the outskirts of Los Angeles, which was a small pueblo at the time. She paid $250 for the Spring Street property; the first piece of land Mason owned. This is said to have been a “remarkable feat for a woman having spent the first 37 years of her life enslaved.” But she wouldn’t settle for it being the last. She would become a savvy businesswoman.

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Bridget ‘Biddy’ Mason had made her living as a nurse and midwife. Public domain photo.
Bridget ‘Biddy’ Mason had made her living as a nurse and midwife. Public domain photo.

By Tamara Shiloh

The state of California joined the Union in 1850 as a free state. But after spending five years enslaved there, Bridget “Biddy” Mason (1818–1891) challenged her owner, Robert Smith, for her freedom.

In 1856, a Los Angeles district judge approved Mason’s petition, a ruling that freed Mason and 13 members of her family. She then made Los Angeles her home.

Not much is known about Mason’s earlier life. She was born into slavery, likely in Georgia. She was owned by slaveholders in Georgia and South Carolina before being returned to Mississippi where, as a young adult, she was enslaved in the Smith home. She cared for Smith’s sickly wife and the couple’s children, becoming a nurse and midwife, work she continued throughout most of her life.

After becoming free, Mason met John Griffin, a white Southern doctor who was impressed with her midwife and nursing skills. She began working for him, delivering hundreds of babies in Los Angeles. In her medicine bag, she carried the tools of her trade and the papers the judge had given her affirming that she was free.

After 10 years of freedom, working hard and saving her money, Mason, in 1866, purchased two lots on the outskirts of Los Angeles, which was a small pueblo at the time. She paid $250 for the Spring Street property; the first piece of land Mason owned. This is said to have been a “remarkable feat for a woman having spent the first 37 years of her life enslaved.” But she wouldn’t settle for it being the last. She would become a savvy businesswoman.

In 1884, Mason sold the north half of her first property for $1,500. On the other half, she built a two-story brick building for rentals. That same year she sold another lot for $2,800. She also helped her family buy properties around the city. In 1885, she deeded a portion of the Spring Street property to her grandsons. She signed the deed with an X because she had never learned to read or write.

Mason organized what is now the oldest African American church in Los Angeles: First A.M.E. Church. She used her wealth to give back to and support the entire community, donating to numerous charities, feeding and sheltering the poor, visiting prisoners, and was instrumental in founding an elementary school for Black children.

At the time of her death in 1891, Mason had amassed a fortune of $300,000 (approximately $6 million today), making her the “richest colored woman west of the Mississippi.” She was buried in an unmarked grave in Evergreen Cemetery.

In 1988, the mayor of Los Angeles and members of the church she founded held a ceremony, during which time her grave was marked with a tombstone. More importantly, Mason left a legacy of perseverance, compassion, and triumph.

Encourage young readers to learn more about this real-life champion for civil rights who was born into slavery in Arisa White, Laura Atkins and Laura Freeman’s “Biddy Mason Speaks Up.”

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Bay Area

De La Fuente Runs for Mayor

De La Fuente said he “will not tolerate homeless encampments where violence and drug abuse are rampant.” These encroachers are disrespecting our neighborhoods, our schools, our businesses, our residents, taking over our parks and defacing our city. He said the residents and businesses in our low-income flatland neighborhoods have been disproportionately affected by these encampments, and they deserve better. In collaboration with the county, we will serve our homeless residents who need it most, but not at the expense of other residents and businesses in our city.”

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Photo Caption: Ignacio De La Fuente

By Paul Cobb and news services

Ignacio De La Fuente, the former President of the Oakland City Council for 11 years, says he will run for mayor to rescue the city from its deep troubles.

He said he is returning to political leadership after a 10-year absence. Claiming that he is “sick and tired of what’s happening to our city,” and he can’t just stand by and witness “the city that I love become a place where people are afraid to walk the streets, to take their children to parks, to go out to dinner with their families or to park their cars on the street. I cannot let our city continue [to] be a place where seniors are assaulted and robbed in broad daylight, a place where illegal side-shows are constant throughout the city and a place where children are being shot and killed! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Oakland is not a dumping ground, and it is time to take action!”

He, along with the support of his former council colleague Nate Miley, who is now serving as an Alameda County Supervisor, and who is sponsoring a fundraiser for De La Fuente, has boldly declared that he will “do whatever it takes to increase the number of police officers, but I will give them the resources that they need to help them do their job, but above all, I will provide them the back up and political support that they need and deserve to perform their job for our residents and for our businesses.”

He said he “will not tolerate homeless encampments where violence and drug abuse are rampant.” These encroachers are disrespecting our neighborhoods, our schools, our businesses, our residents, taking over our parks and defacing our city. De La Fuente said the residents and businesses in our low-income flatland neighborhoods have been disproportionately affected by these encampments, and they deserve better. In collaboration with the county, we will serve our homeless residents who need it most, but not at the expense of other residents and businesses in our city.”

He wants to change the focus and emphasis of how the city spends its infrastructure money on what is truly needed by “repairing potholes, taking back and beautifying our parks, fixing our sewers and providing robust programming for our recreation centers and libraries to enrich the lives of our kids and seniors.”

In a characteristic fearless, colorful style that he achieved a no-nonsense reputation De La Fuente announced “The job of mayor is not for the faint of heart! Oakland is a great city that needs a mayor with the political backbone and experience to make the tough decisions to get this city back on track!

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California Black Media

Six Questions for State Controller Candidate Ron Galperin

As Controller of California’s largest city since 2013, Galperin has led audits that uncovered billions of spending that he deemed ineffective and launched a website that tracks city spending. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has endorsed Galperin. So have six of the city’s councilmembers, 16 current state legislators and nine members of California’s delegation to the U.S. Congress.

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Ron Galperin. Facebook photo.
Ron Galperin. Facebook photo.

By Tanu Henry, California Black Media

Attorney, businessman and Controller of Los Angeles Ron Galperin (RG) is a Democrat running for California State Controller.

The son of immigrants — and a Holocaust survivor — Galperin is also the first LGBTQ+ person elected to citywide office in Los Angeles.

As Controller of California’s largest city since 2013, Galperin has led audits that uncovered billions of spending that he deemed ineffective and launched a website that tracks city spending.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has endorsed Galperin. So have six of the city’s councilmembers, 16 current state legislators and nine members of California’s delegation to the U.S. Congress.

Galperin recently told California Black Media (CBM) about how his experience prepares him to be Controller and his priorities would be if he is elected to the job.

CBM: From your perspective, what is the State Controller’s main function?

RG: The Controller is the chief fiscal officer of the fifth-largest economy in the world. In addition to serving as the state’s finance watchdog, the Controller is responsible for responsibly disbursing the state’s financial resources, independently auditing government agencies that spend state funds, issuing financial reports, and administering the payroll system of state employees.

The Controller also serves on more than six dozen boards and commissions, including the California Health Facilities Financing Authority, State Lands Commission, California State Teachers’ Retirement System, California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Board of Equalization, Franchise Tax Board, and more.

CBM: Why are you running for Controller?

As the Chief Financial Officer and elected watchdog of the nation’s second-biggest city, I have been on the forefront of bringing unprecedented transparency, innovation and accountability to how public dollars are spent – putting every city expenditure and salary online – and I have a proven track record of government reform and challenging the status quo.

I’ve transformed the role of the Controller in Los Angeles, launching independent, hard-hitting audits – rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse; exposing misspent funds to address homelessness.

My reports have called for reforms on infrastructure, housing, homeless spending, climate change policy and more. And, my office and I have been recognized internationally for introducing open data, dashboards, metrics, mapping and other tools to make government more accountable.

With the fifth-largest economy in the world and an annual budget of more than $250 billion, California needs a Controller with the experience and credibility to safeguard the people’s dollars – and to strengthen the financial health of all Californians.

CBM: Do you feel being a Democrat is an advantage or disadvantage?

RG: I’ve been a Democrat ever since I started voting at age 18. I’m proud to serve on the Democratic National Committee and as an executive officer of Democratic Municipal Officials. I’m also proud of our party’s commitment to equity, diversity, justice. I am grateful we live in the state of California with a strong base of Democratic voters who believe that diversity and equity are our strength.

CBM: What experience do you bring to this position?

I have the record and experience doing the job of Controller – unlike any other candidate.

Voters want someone for a job like Controller in whom they can have confidence to oversee the finances of our vast state. They also want someone who has stood with our friends in labor, who has taken on corruption at City Hall, and who has fought to improve the livability of our communities. I am the only candidate with the experience to do this job on day one.

CBM: If you win, what will be your first priority?

RG: I have multiple priorities, but my top three would be:

  • Transparency and Accountability: As City Controller, I have served as the watchdog for Los Angeles, making sure public dollars are spent efficiently and effectively. I will do the same for all of California.
  • Addressing Homelessness and Housing: The issues of housing and homelessness are interconnected, and there are no issues more pressing or more daunting. We cannot accept more of the status quo. When it comes to both issues, audits and reports from my office have shown that Los Angeles is spending billions of dollars directly and indirectly to solve these issues, and we’re getting inadequate results.
  • Promoting Equity and Opportunity: We have a long way to go to ensure economic and racial justice for people of color in California. As City Controller, I produced the LA Equity Index, a first-of-its-kind online mapping tool to illustrate the level of equity and opportunity in each neighborhood of Los Angeles so that city leaders and all residents have a data-driven understanding of community needs throughout Los Angeles.

I’ve also examined inequities that exist in City government. As City Controller, I found that people of color and women were being paid significantly less than their white/male counterparts. My maps, data stories and reports have been adopted by policy makers and communities throughout L.A.

CBM: A lot of Black and Brown people work for state government. What is your view on unfunded pension liabilities?

RG: One of the more crucial roles of the State Controller is as an ex-officio member of the CalPERS and CALSTRS boards. It is crucial that we both keep our commitments to our retirees and government workers, and that the pension systems be solvent and properly funded. We need to be both realistic about assumed rates of return and to invest strategically and safely to yield the best returns.

CBM: How would you describe your leadership style? And how does that match with the demands of being the State Controller?

RG: I like to lead by example, with an unwavering commitment to championing transparency, innovation, and diversity.

Too often, government gets labeled as slow and inefficient. It can be true at times, but I want to show people that government innovation is not only possible, but necessary to create a better organization and a better society.

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Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson
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