A Los Angeles-based program—the only one like it for janitors in the country—has helped align janitorial staffs with the sustainability goals of office building owners.
Co-published by Slate
Solar-panel installers workers are riding a “solarcoaster” — joining an industry that has provided jobs and opportunity to tens of thousands of workers — while also raising concerns about how fairly workers in a fast-growing, Wall Street-fueled industry are being treated.
When Californians passed Proposition 39 last year, they voted for more carbon reduction, school improvements and jobs – all through a five-year, $2.5 billion program using revenues from newly closed tax loopholes to pay for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Now state policymakers are making critical decisions as they craft the guidelines for this massive new investment.
School facilities are the primary target of Proposition 39 retrofitting efforts. But if the measure is going to deliver on its promises of carbon reduction, healthier schools and neighborhoods, long-term career opportunities and a timely economic boost for communities that need it the most, the proposition needs to be implemented right.
I’ve been studying the green jobs sector since its early days, and my research and observations suggest some important recommendations.
(Editor’s Note: Living in Los Angeles is a day-to-day experiment requiring patience and improvisational skills. So does governing this sprawling metropolis of 3.8 million people. The city’s next mayor, however, cannot be satisfied with merely coping with issues as they arise, but must be able to look forward and anticipate and define the city’s needs for the next four years. To this end we’ve asked writers to share their thoughts about what lies ahead – and around the corner – for Los Angeles.)
Going green may be all the rage. But get into the weeds and you may lose a few people. Take energy efficiency. Yes, it’ll save you money, create good jobs (if done right) and help us preserve the planet. But walk into a party and start talking about window caulking, attic insulation and compact fluorescent bulbs, and you may soon find yourself alone in a corner.
With the rejection of Mitt Romney’s economic vision, wherein the invisible hand of the free market guides us to prosperity (at least those not in the lazy 47 percent), progressives are now on the spot to offer up a compelling alternative.
Using animation and the vocal talents of Ed Asner, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) jumps into the ring with the short video “It’s in Our Hands.” This is no ten-point plan, but instead a conceptual piece whose primary assertion is that we start to take the idea of democracy much more seriously when it comes to the economic order of things.
What if we could shape the U.S. economy to reflect the values and interests of most Americans? LAANE, which has had some success in doing just that, maintains that we can — and must.