California is on the cusp of a dramatic jump in deploying cost-saving, climate-solving technology in the form of customer-sited energy storage, but the industry needs help cutting red tape that keeps the cost of the technology unnecessarily high for customers.
Energy storage helps electricity customers and the electric grid in many ways: It reduces monthly bills; delivers grid services such as peak reduction, emergency backup and smoothing out the increasing share of renewable energy production; and it enables California to keep the lights on while reaching our clean energy goals.
During the first six months of the Trump administration, we have seen more attacks on our civil rights than in decades. The White House has attempted to implement policies that target our nation’s Latino, Muslim, African-American, LGBT and immigrant communities. As Californians, we have brought the protest to our streets, but we also need to bring new laws forward to protect our diverse communities.
Since Nov. 8, I’ve received numerous calls, letters, and worried emails from San Franciscans of all walks of life asking, “What’s next?” As we as Californians prepare for an unpredictable and inconsistent Trump administration that we overwhelmingly rejected, one thing is clear: We must work together to protect our hard-fought values and rights.
Since Nov. 8, there’s one question I’ve been asked the most — by Latino schoolchildren, Muslim attorneys, Filipino activists, Chinese grandparents and so many other San Franciscans: “How do we fight Trump on immigration?”
As we continue to endure a year of nonstop, anti-immigrant rhetoric in national politics, a California bill on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk—Assembly Bill 2532—offers our state the chance to further demonstrate that we are a place of inclusion, rather than exclusion. And there is reason to be optimistic. California is a different state, politically and in its policies, than it was 20 years ago.
This November, we will be asked to choose between two historic candidates for president. One candidate is a former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, who would be the first woman to hold the position. The other candidate is the most anti-immigrant bigot nominated by a major political party in recent American history.
California has the unfortunate distinction of having the largest homeless population of any state in our country. On any given night, 20 percent of our nation’s homeless are on California’s streets or in our shelters. Anyone who strolls down our city’s streets can witness San Francisco’s homelessness crisis. Despite years of effort and billions of dollars, we have nearly 7,000 homeless residents in our city, which should not be the case for one of our nation’s most progressive, innovative and wealthy cities.
Participation in the democratic process is plummeting. Last November, a meager half of California’s registered voters cast ballots. With the November 2016 race looming, every vote will count if we want to elect candidates who reflect our values. At a time when presidential candidates are attacking our communities, democracy is only representative when we let it represent us.
Immigrating to another country is all too often fraught with tremendous challenges and sacrifice. Many immigrants undertake the journey to escape from war and violence, poverty and oppression. Often, they are forced to flee without the necessary documentation for our country’s byzantine and arbitrary immigration system.
From the fields of California’s agricultural heartland to the skyscrapers of our greatest cities, immigrants are helping to drive our state forward. Despite their profound contributions to our economy and culture, too many immigrants face steep obstacles to fully participating in California’s economic and civic life.
As this year’s budget process moves forward, we have the opportunity to make a small investment in the inclusion and integration of immigrants – one that promises to yield big returns.