The greening of the state

JULY 21, 2010


Sacramento’s Mayor Kevin Johnson hopes that the controversial former “Green Czar” Van Jones can bring a different sort of green with him to the Sacramento region.

As part of a statewide push on climate change, global warming and alternative energy creation, Johnson hosted another in his monthly series of “Greenwise” meetings on Tuesday, with the controversial Jones as the featured speaker.

Assembly Speaker John Perez was also supposed to speak about  AB 2670, a bill he authored creating the State Capitol Sustainability Task Force to bring the state Capitol, legislative offices and Capitol park grounds up to strict environmental standards. But Johnson said Perez was too busy to attend, as he was “trying to get the budget squared away.”

This being Day 21 with no state budget.

In any case, Perez’s bill is a retread of former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass’s AB 1327, which attempted to create the exact same task force in 2009. Bass’ bill died in committee after taking too long to get to the Governor. According to the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee analysis, Perez’s bill, depending on the number of projects, “may entail costs in the hundreds of millions of dollars” to the general fund because of the need to retrofit heating, ventilation, air conditioning, windows, insulation, plumbing, solar systems and on-site renewable energy generation systems within the state Capitol and legislative offices.

Jones carried the eco-banner to green-up California as he spoke out harshly against Proposition 23, calling it a “ludicrous move” that would stop implementation of AB 32, California’s global warming act. Jones called the proposition a “dastardly scheme to destroy California and the competitive environment in the state.”

Mayor Kevin Johnson and Van Jones

Mayor Johnson and former "Green Czar" Van Jones

“A sledgehammer that’s being designed to destroy your job-creating machine,” is what Jones called the anti-AB 32-ballot initiative. “Massachusetts and China will be laughing hysterically at us if we pass the initiative.”

“Greenwise” is the yearlong project Johnson has taken on to try to turn Sacramento “into the greenest city in the country.” Johnson said it’s the way to improve the employment opportunities in Sacramento, as well as the region and state.

Johnson said he’s been meeting with business owners, educators and government officials “trying to get everybody to buy into the vision” of transforming the entire Sacramento region into the “Emerald Valley.”

“Sacramento has been over-reliant on government and public sector jobs,” he said. “Why can’t Sacramento be the green movement leader of the country?”

Jones also talked of depressed inner-city neighborhoods and suggested that drug dealers “put down that handgun and pick up a caulking gun” to help improve grandma’s home and “lower her energy bill.” Jones said he was offering low-income youth a “whole pathway out of poverty,” including the California University education system and job training to replace gangs with the creation of green technology in the state.

But Jones was also careful to appeal to conservatives as well as progressives. He insisted that his green movement is not a demand for welfare or more entitlements. Instead, he said, they want more enterprises. “Create new wealth for progressives and conservatives,” he said, “and include everybody.”

Of course, not everyone present was as high on the greening of the Sacramento region. Though a fewbprominent regional businesses were honored for their involvement in Johnson’s “Greenwise” plan, several smaller business owners who requested anonymity because they were already working with city or state government said that they were there out of curiosity. One asked rhetorically, “What is the city or state prepared to do for me” to get their businesses going green?

Two business owners volunteered that they thought the green jobs plan was a “scam” and that environmental headway already made has been under the veil of union contracts and Democratic Party control.

President Barack Obama appointed Jones  in March 2009 to the newly created White House “Green Czar” position, in which he acted as a special adviser for green jobs. Jones resigned just six months later after news surfaced about his past activism, including controversial statements about government involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Mayor Johnson required his staff to read Jones’ book, The Green Collar Economy. In a chapter titled, “The Green New Deal,” Jones urges the creation of  “a new coalition to take down the military-petroleum complex.” Jones proposes we scrap the idea of money and instead adopt a “triple bottom line” of people, planet and profits. Going against Johnson’s campaign promise of economic development, Jones writes, “the very notion of economic growth itself… is something that human society will someday be forced to abandon.”


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  1. TheTruthSquad
    TheTruthSquad 21 July, 2010, 13:29

    “Going green” is conservative — maximum efficiency of resources. Which explains the record amounts of venture capital and job creation in the state thanks to AB 32. And he’s right about Prop 23, the Texas oil company bankrolled ballot measure. It’s a job killer and increases pollution.

    Reply this comment
  2. EastBayLarry
    EastBayLarry 22 July, 2010, 05:09

    The whole premise of carbon being a ‘pollutant’ is nonsense. This ‘movement’ is all about people control. How much easier is it to control people when those people cannot afford to drive a car? How much easier when most people are on the public dole because of a collapsed economy?

    Reply this comment
  3. Tom Tanton
    Tom Tanton 22 July, 2010, 08:12

    Emerald Valley, LOL…wasn’t the wizard in charge of the Emerald City just a con artist? Implementation of AB32 actually increases pollutants that harm health.

    Reply this comment
  4. Joe Sullivan
    Joe Sullivan 22 July, 2010, 12:43

    I am one of over 31,000 scientists, a Geological Engineer for over half a century, who consider fear of CO2 global warming a scam by those who would benefit financially from the billions of dollars planned for CO2 reduction.

    In the Ice Age 20,000 years ago glaciers began to melt and global warming began. Changes in the earth’s temperature since has been sporadic. In the middle-ages a 300-year warming period occurred, and in the 1600s, the Little Ice Age slowed it down for centuries. Mountain glaciers increased in Alaska, New Zealand and Patagonia prior to the 20th century. These changes occurred before the first internal combustion engine was made. Accusations are that carbon dioxide (CO2) increase creates global warming. CO2 is increasing, yet NASA announced 2008 global surface temperatures were cooler than 2007, the coolest since 2000. U.S. temperatures cooled in five of the last seven decades while CO2 levels increased steadily. The U.S. National Climate Data Center stated 2008 temperatures in the USA were below the 115-year average for most of the country. NOAA stated October 2009 temperatures were the third coldest in 115 years. To think that mankind can control the climate is a farce.

    Reply this comment
  5. Donna S
    Donna S 22 July, 2010, 16:23

    A geological engineer knows about the ground (and how to exploit if for resources)… but it doesn’t make you a meteorologist or an expert on all things related to our earth. . Cleaning up the air makes common sense. Why do you think so many kids have asthma now?

    As for global warming being a “scam”. Tell that to to polar bears. Tell it to the farmers in South America who will no longer have fresh water to farm with because the glaciers are melting so fast.

    The bottom line is we only have so many resources and it makes COMMON sense to think about best ways to take care of them. What is more appealing a gross dirty sick earth or one that is taken care of?

    You can afford to think it is a scam because you are old. But shame on you for not caring about future generations.

    Reply this comment
  6. Joe Sullivan
    Joe Sullivan 23 July, 2010, 11:25

    Donna – My credentials include climatology. In 1977 I was Chief of the Special Programs Unit at McClellan AFB, CA involved in Missile and Space Programs, and Satellite Communications Systems. We modified ground receiver stations for polar earth orbiting observation satellites. Weather information and other classified information were provided to Department of Defense command elements. We also worked to develop the new generation of satellites, and the modification of all receiving stations.

    My argument is restricted to spending billions to reduce carbon dioxide. That’s where the scam is. If a program involves cleaning our air of contaminants, I’m right with you.

    Global warming began 20,000 years ago, as I explained in my comment. But I repeat, to think that mankind can control the climate is a farce.

    And yes I am old. I’ll be 85 in December. But Kay and I have 5 daughters and a son, 7 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren, one of whom just graduated from high school and intends to be a pharmacist, and another that will graduate next year and intends to be a Marine. So Kay and I worry about the future of the family, and I worry about the future of the earth.

    Reply this comment
  7. tttt9erfan
    tttt9erfan 24 July, 2010, 07:16

    WAKE UP FOLKS!! Van Jones is a self-admitted Marxist! He himself has said that the “Green” movement is about the re-distribution of wealth. Just look at Spain and other so called Greenies. Read about Climategate. The last thing CA needs is Van Jones, who by the way thinks 911 was an inside job, bringing his Marxist policies and suggestions to a state that is circling the drain! Of course CA is the perfect place to spew his agenda. People are broke, desperate, reliant on gov’t for too many things, and looking for a way out. Enter Van Jones! CA provides the perfect storm to enact some crazy sweeping legislation that will further kill small business and start the process of wealth re-distribution. Socialism, to mimic what the Obama admin. has already started on a national level. Wake up and smell the coffee people. And you better do it before you find out that tucked in the 2700 pages of Obamacare is a provision that doesn’t allow anyone to drink coffee before 10 am!

    Reply this comment
  8. Tylerle13
    Tylerle13 29 July, 2010, 11:49

    Wow, now the green kool-aid drinkers are exposing their hidden hatred of old people. Thank you donna for showing the world just how uninformed you are, how you only believe scientists who manufacture data that is convenient for you, and how you hate old people. Im sure your grandparents are going to be withholding that $10 birthday check after they find out about this.

    p.s. Since you can speak to polar bears, maybe you should tell them not to swim out to floating ice chunks, then maybe they wouldnt get stranded. Since you are so well versed in “common sense” you can head up north and teach it to all of those poor bears.

    Reply this comment

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