All posts by adrielhampton

A Progressive Approach to Energy Independence

Energy independence and a transition to renewable energy are pressing issues impacting our national, environmental, and financial security.  Our current economic crisis also presents an unprecedented opportunity to make long-needed changes in our nation’s energy policy. We need intelligent, progressive legislation that provides incentives, training, and investment opportunities for a transition to a softer energy path and a more peaceful and productive world.

Fossil fuels kill the economy, the environment, and international security: Nonrenewable energy is bad for the economy, the environment, and international security.  Nonrenewable and foreign sources of energy exacerbate our current economic crisis, impacting tens of millions of families, making it harder to get to work, more costly to move goods and operate services, and more expensive to heat and cool our homes and workplaces. Fossil fuel consumption is destroying our environment, contributing to global climate change, soil erosion, barren mountaintops, deforestation, and health-threatening particulate materials in our air and water. Dependence on foreign sources of energy virtually guarantees continued international tensions, tempting policymakers into foreign military interventions that threaten the lives of Americans and others, contributing to international instability and violent extremism.

From a convergence of problems to a comprehensive solution: The downturn in the automobile industry threatens the livelihood of millions of workers, but a smart set of policies, incentives, and public-private partnerships can move these workers into jobs in clean technology and alternative energy.  We need to build the new energy sector. Utilities, green building sectors, and clean technology companies are all experiencing a shortage of qualified workers at a time when the national unemployment rate is nearly 10 percent. Policies which build on existing state and local workforce development systems, and innovative postsecondary education programs, can lead the way to a new sustainable energy workforce.  

Innovative Californians are already leading the way in this transition. Laney College, in Oakland, has incorporated green building into its curriculum, and has partnered with the Oakland Green Jobs Corps to offer training in green construction to low-income residents. Programs such as these can serve as national models. Robert Pollin, James Heintz, and Heidi Garrett-Peltier of the Center for American Progress conclude that California alone would increase its investment revenue by $18.5 billion, and hundreds of thousands of new jobs, through further investment in renewable energy. These include jobs for sheet metal workers, machinists, truck drivers, roofers, civil engineers, electricians and dispatchers.  A 2007 study by the University of California at Berkley demonstrated that the clean energy and technology industry (from alternative energy generation to wastewater treatment to more resource-efficient industrial processes) “generates more jobs per megawatt of power installed, per unit of energy produced, and per dollar of investment than the fossil-fuel-based energy sector.” Every $100 million invested in the renewable sector creates 2,700 new jobs.iv  The United Nations Industrial Development Organization recently concluded that 2.3 million new jobs in renewable energy have already been created worldwide, suggesting that further investment in such jobs would be a huge boost to the U.S. and global economy.v Safe, clean wind energy, as East Bay Rep. Jerry McNerney points out, is actually cost-competitive with fossil fuels.

State-to-state patchwork threatens a comprehensive solution: Unfortunately, the current effort at a transition to renewables is hindered by the patchwork approach taken by individual states, who lack resources and coordination. States with the most potential for job creation and energy production lack the capacity to quickly make the transition to renewables. Many current power plants cannot handle the addition of renewable energy. Some states are complaining that they cannot meet current federal mandates.

Intelligent, progressive legislation: In order to maximize such opportunities, we need intelligent, progressive legislation. Tax credits for a shift to renewable energy, currently extended to businesses and consumers, should be expanded. We need to monitor the direction of the economic stimulus money so that it continues to be directed towards renewable energy production. Congress should pass, and the President should sign into law, the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act of 2009, which will provide $30 billion for factories to adjust their operations to meet the growing demand for clean technology products, including hybrid and electric cars. This bill facilitates the development of domestic clean energy manufacturing and production.

Congress should also pass the Smart Grid Advancement Act, designed to incorporate smart grid capability into the existing electricity grid, so that when it is forced to switch electricity sources, it does so efficiently. Such grid reform will save consumers millions of dollars and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, we must pass the Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation Act, or the GREEN Act, which will provide competitive grants for the development of career and technical training programs in the field of renewable energy.

Other steps are important, but we need committed, conscientious policymakers in Washington to ensure their effective implementation.  For example, we must support CAFE standards and a cap-and-trade system, but should work to mitigate the serious concerns that these policies will hurt consumers and working-class families. Similarly, in considering biofuel production, we must distinguish between “good” biofuels, which allow us to recycle parts of plant matter we currently throw away, and “bad” biofuel production, which spikes up worldwide food prices and hurts, rather than helps, the environment.

Rational, educated people should be leading the discussion about a transition to renewable energy.  Unfortunately, our energy policies are currently made by corporate lobbyists, ex-CEOs and the politicians who eat out of their hands. Our national security agenda should not be set by companies who continue the practices of the Halliburtons and Enrons of the corporate world.  Rather, we need public and private forces devoted to an ambitious, smooth transition to renewable energy: a more peaceful, decentralized, and community-friendly energy.

Adriel Hampton is a journalist, Gov 2.0 and new media strategist, public servant, and licensed private investigator. He is running for U.S. Congress in the 2009 special election for California’s 10th District. He has pledged to vote against funding for expansion of the Iraq and Afghan wars.

In SF and the East Bay, Honoring the Fallen

San Francisco’s Presidio will host a tribute to fallen soldiers, Monday, with a parade beginning 10:30 a.m. at the Main Parade Ground, Sheridan Ave. and Montgomery St., followed by an 11 a.m. program with special tributes to Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and to the Buffalo Soldiers. That night, I’ll join Sen. Mark DeSaulnier at the vigil at the Lafayette Crosses.

Guests for the Presidio memorial include Congresswoman Jackie Speier, State Sen. Leland Yee, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Daly City Councilman David Canepa and Buffalo Soldiers Museum and Library Director Ulysses Moore. Raymond Wong will perform the duties of master of ceremonies, coordinated by San Francisco Veteran Affairs Commission President Wallace Levin. Following the program, the Presidio Main Post Chapel will host a 1 p.m. interfaith service, 130 Fisher Loop at Sheridan Ave.

In the evening, Monday, the East Bay will gather at the Lafayette Crosses, Deerhill Rd. across from the Lafayette BART station, for a vigil honoring the nearly 5,000 servicemen and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The program will focus on ending the nation’s dependence on oil and support for alternative energy. Guest speakers include Sen. DeSaulnier and me.

I hope you will join the San Francisco program, coordinated by my friend and colleague Wally Levin, for an impressive tribute to the African American horsemen who patrolled the west following the Civil War, 450 of whom rest in the Presidio.

In the evening, we will again honor the dedicated soldiers who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. I earnestly pray for the day when we are able to honor their sacrifice with shovels in the ground, as more Americans willingly put their lives at risk to rebuild our war-torn world.

Adriel Hampton is a journalist, Gov 2.0 and new media strategist, public servant, and licensed private investigator. He is running for U.S. Congress in the 2009 special election for California’s 10th District.

Meeting the Diablo Valley Dems

First, kudos to Brian Leubitz, out tonight talking blogs to a more traditional crowd who hopefully will take opportunity to get more involved in self-publishing. It’s so easy to preach to the choir when it comes to social media, and Brian is expanding the base for the progressive blogosphere. You can check out some of my live tweets from Brian’s discussion with the Diablo Valley Democratic Club over at @adriel4congress.

A bit disappointing tonight in that we expected to have a brief candidates forum, but it was called off due to the apolitical library venue. Chris Buchanan was again subbing for his mother, Joan, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi was a no-show. I got some good advice on weaknesses in my first forum from a local delegate.

This looks to be a real fight, no quarter asked, none given.

CA-10 Candidates Forum at the Tri-Valley Democratic Club

Just wanted to drop a note about the great candidate’s forum in Dublin tonight. It was my first time seeing Anthony Woods speak and I join in the assessment that he’s got a great future in political leadership. Sean Mykael McMullen of Bear Flag Blue and the DeSaulnier campaign did some great live tweeting, and my friend Kaushal Khalla took a bunch of photos (OK, most of them are of me) and posted to Facebook.….

CA-32: Cedillo Slimes Women to Stomp Newcomer

When I was with the East Bay Young Dems on Thursday night talking about my campaign and its potential to inspire more young working class folks to run for Congress in the 2010 mid-terms, one name came up a few times: Emanuel Pleitez.

The 26-year-old activist CA-32 candidate has been in the news this week as well, after coming under blistering attack from State Sen. Gil Cedillo. And what for? Because Pleitez has Facebook pictures that show him dancing, and with women. Calitics has done some great coverage on this hit mailer, which seems to be designed to destroy Pleitez in the Latino community as Cedillo faces a tough fight with Judy Chu.

I join Calitics in an unusual endorsement in this race: Any Democrat but Gil Cedillo.

Any Democrat but Gil Cedillo.

In my generation of digital natives, this is just the sort of smarmy, ridiculous and ugly kind of behavior we fear, and I will not take it. Any Democrat but Gil Cedillo.

Worst of this is that the mailer suggests in the crudest manner that there is something wrong with Pleitez posting photos of himself with female peers. It is sickening and wrong.

Said the Pleitez campaign: “Cedillo is not only smearing the name of Emanuel, but defaming dozens of women who have no involvement with the campaign.”

Any Democrat but Gil Cedillo.

Adriel Hampton is a journalist, Gov 2.0 and new media strategist, public servant, and licensed private investigator. He is running for U.S. Congress in the 2009 special election for California’s 10th District.

Winning Means Issue-Based Coalitions

At Netroots Nation’s New Media Summit last night, my staff and I ran into a couple of folks who seemed to have formed impressions of my platform based on my discussion of the April 15 tea party events. These erroneous assumptions about my platform and my campaign highlight a problem in the modern progressive movement – especially online – that I believe has stopped us from succeeding on issues such as the Patriot Act, FISA and big bank bailouts. To succeed, the progressive movement must be willing to coalition build and to act magnanimously in power.

I am a well-known government reform advocate (under the auspices of Government 2.0 – a move to increase transparency and collaboration between officials and the governed) and a far-left progressive with a track record of advocating for neighborhood-focused politics and progressive candidates. My platform is public, my cell phone number is public, my home phone number is public, my blog is public, my radio show is public, my tax returns are public.

I know how to coalition build to make positive change in our communities and in the federal government. When people are angry about taxes, bailouts and a government disconnected with the lives of everyday folks, you don’t mock them with sexual innuendo and other name-calling. You reach out to them and convince them that your ideas and policies are better. You work with them if your interests align, and you make clear just where you stand on issues you don’t agree on. That’s what I’m doing every day in my run for Congress, advocating progressive economic reform, equal rights for all citizens, an end to the drug war, and a responsive and responsible government.  

If you’d like to help, or if you’ve got a question about something I’m doing or that’s been written about me, just give me a call. The cell is 925-895-3744.

Thanks. To change.