Joy WilliamsOne recent workday when I had to drive to work instead of taking the bus, I found myself, not surprisingly, stuck in traffic. However, I had some great news to think over as I inched along - EHC's statewide game-changing victory at the PUC. This victory will create more energy efficiency education in more homes and help produce more green jobs for San Diego and California

Just before I turned off the engine of my Prius, I looked at the thermometer – winter is coming and the evenings are getting cooler. But I knew that once I got in the house it would be nice and warm. Nice and warm not from heating the house all day, but from all the energy upgrades we have done over the past two years. We put in new windows, and the white glove guys at ASI tested our house and figured how to make our house energy efficient. We got a new furnace and new heating ducts, and we got new insulation to keep our indoor temperature moderate.

We also got a nice check from SDG&E to help cover our costs. (Thanks to the ratepayers for that! You and I are funding SDG&E's rebate program – the funds don’t come out of their profits or the goodness of their hearts. They are required to spend money to help people reduce energy use).

I walked to the front door thinking about our $37 SDGE bill that I had just opened—all smiles. And there, right in front of the door, was a box. I saw that SDG&E sent it. My first thought was to write "return to sender" on it and send it back, but curiosity got the better of me.

Inside were “eco friendly” gifts and a note thanking us for our energy upgrades. We got a ball cap and a t-shirt with the SDG&E logo and the statement that we are energy efficient. I like to wear hats and T-shirts, but I don’t like to wear black hats or black shirts.

Rule number one in being energy efficient: black clothes absorb heat and make you hotter; light colored clothes reflect heat and make you cooler.

I looked at the tags and found out that the shirt was made in the Dominican Republic.

Rule number two: to reduce fuel consumption, don’t buy clothes shipped long distances to reach you.

But there was more: plastic herb garden containers, a plastic lunch bag, and a plastic water bottle.

Rule number three in being energy efficient, don’t buy things you don’t need as it takes energy to make the product, energy to bring the product to you, and energy to bring the product to the landfill.

Memo to SDG&E:

We don’t want more “stuff.” Stuff creates greenhouse gases. Moving it around creates more. We also don’t want three more fossil fueled power plants in our region. What we DO WANT from SDG&E is for them to move quickly toward a sane energy future, with policies and resources that put local, renewable energy sources ahead of fossil fuels. EHC's victory at the PUC in early November established groundwork for those improvements. No, we didn't suggest that t-shirts be a different color, or that they give out lunch-boxes instead of lunch-bags. We said that low-income families benefit more from one-on-one education vs. radio commercials to help save energy. We said that more middle-income families like mine need access to energy upgrade rebates. We said to expand green job training and get people back to work.

Beyond our recent victory, I'd like SDG&E to get out of the way of progress and let localities form their own nonprofit electric cooperatives that offer choices to residents about what kinds of energy solutions they want.

That would be the perfect gift to thank me for energy conservation.

low-income-communities-san-diego-need-solar-tooI live in a condo in La Jolla and see solar installations sprinkled around my neighborhood. That's a good thing.

What would be better? If I looked around and saw solar on every rooftop in La Jolla— including my own— and in every neighborhood. That vision is both possible and feasible.

But despite the fact that costs are going down exponentially every year, new data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that San Diego County is using less than 3% of the solar potential SDG&E estimates is possible.

What's worse is that on my bike ride down the coast to work, I see less and less solar as I glide through Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and Downtown. And by the time I get to Barrio Logan and then my office in National City, I don't see any solar.

The NREL data shows that my eyes are not deceiving me and the green divide is very much a real thing. Low-income, highly polluted neighborhoods like Barrio Logan, Sherman Heights, and National City have very little solar compared to wealthier neighborhoods like La Jolla and Rancho Bernardo.  In fact, La Jolla has nearly 4 times as many solar installations and over 2 times the solar kilowatts as Barrio Logan, National City, and Sherman Heights COMBINED. Rancho Bernardo has nearly 7 times as many installations and 2.4 times the kW capacity as Barrio Logan, National City, and Sherman Heights combined.

Don't believe me? See for yourself by exploring The Open PV Project website.

We don't need to let our clean air, climate, health, and economy be threatened any longer by existing or new expensive dirty power plants like the ones recently proposed near University City and Mission Trails—which were supported by our own, purportedly "smart" utility, SDG&E.

There is huge untapped potential in San Diego's low-income neighborhoods, especially on commercial rooftops, and there's even still potential for more solar in La Jolla and Rancho Bernardo. We have the technical potential to meet the County's peak energy demand using just rooftop solar, according to study co-authored by SDG&E.

So what are we waiting for, San Diego? It's time for energy independence.

-Kayla Race

IMAGE CAPTION: A visual display of the solar divide: The region's highest-income areas like La Jolla, Rancho Bernardo, and Scripps Ranch, and the City of Del Mar pop out in dark red, indicating the highest numbers of solar installations per capita. Lower-income neighborhoods in the City of San Diego, like Barrio Logan, Sherman Heights, and City Heights, are left in the dust with light yellow indicating their dismal number of solar installation. Click on the image to get a full-sized image.

We’ve said time and time again, and I’m sure you’ve heard from everyone else, that this election is one of the most important elections in many years. Sure, we can all make the statement, but where are the facts?

We’ve got them right here.

SD Neighborhoods 30to50 POCSD Neighbhorhoods Legend3

EHC’s map shows the influence of our communities of color. A majority of communities south of I-8 have a majority of voters of color.

For instance, in the City of San Diego, 63% of voters of color live south of I-8, while in National City, 68% of all voters are voters of color.

These facts and our map show that if voters in our communities get out and vote on Election Day, we can be the margin of victory to pass propositions and elect a mayor that foster healthy communities. 

With that in mind, we ask you to please get out and vote and use our EHC Voter Guide to ensure your vote protects the health of your family and community. We only support state propositions that support healthy communities, clean air and environmental quality.

Our EHC staff and community members put together a message for voters out there, young and old, to encourage everyone to participate in this election. Watch, vote and tell us you voted on our Facebook Page. Show our region that the communities of color south of I-8 are the margin of victory and should be considered as some of the most powerful communities in San Diego.

 

 

pollingplace-sign596Election day is Tuesday, November 6. EHC is out working hard to get our communities out to vote. When you do get ready to head to the polls, here are a few tips to make your day successful:

1. Read up on propositions and candidates. EHC has a voter guide, listing the state propositions we support to help continue our mission to keep our communities and environment healthy.

2. Know your polling location. If you don’t know your polling location, visit the San Diego County Registrar of Voters to find out where you vote. Also remember that the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Plan accordingly to make sure you have time to get out and vote.

3. Lock in a babysitter or work with other parents to trade times where you can vote and help watch your friends kids.

4. Know your voting rights. Each voter has a set of rights available to him or her. For instance, if you are not on the list of registered voters or someone asks for your ID to vote, there are options. Before you go, read the rights every voter has in California.

5. You can take a sample ballot of even the list of candidates printed in the paper with you into the polling locations. You can even bring in an endorsement list, just as long as that item you have does not contain any campaign advertisements.

6. If you need help voting, you are allowed to have a family member, a friend or caregiver in the booth with you to assist you.

7. If you are unsure about something on your ballot, ask for assistance from an election official. Do not be embarrassed to ask for help.

8. Don’t feel rushed. Take your time when you enter the voting booth.

9. Be prepared to stand in line. There is a good chance you will be standing in line at some polling locations in order to vote.

Remember, you can always contact EHC if you have any questions by calling (619) 474-0220 or email Franco at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. Make sure you get out to vote and encourage your neighbors to do the same.

solargrovewebAfter digging into recent statewide polling from the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV), EHC found that more San Diego Latino voters support environmental initiatives including renewable energy and protecting the environment to create jobs than the rest of California.

Our Latino population in San Diego County is growing. That also means we have a growing number of environmentally conscious voters that can make big impacts in the upcoming election.

The statewide data show this about San Diego Latino voters:

  • 94% agree that we can protect the environment and create jobs
  • 82% consider themselves “conservationists”
  • Over 90% support energy conservation and renewable energy
  • Over 80% feel that pollution is threatening their family’s health

These results show that our communities will have an overwhelming voice in how the environment is considered at the polls this election.

We already knew this. Our Voter Empowerment team and our Community Action Teams meet and talk with community members on a regular basis. We’ve been doing this work for over 30 years. Here’s what else we know - no matter where you live, how much you make or what color your skin is, we should all care about clean air, water and energy in our neighborhoods – especially at the ballot box.

Because we know our communities care about the health of their neighborhoods and environment, every person at EHC is working around the clock to educate voters and get them out to vote. We’re making sure “environmentally friendly” is the magic word voters think about when they’re making choices on November 6.

Please make sure you get out to vote on November 6 and check out the EHC Voter Guide for info on propositions we support. Your Vote. Your Voice.