Thank you for your support of Berkeley Measure HH, which would have created the Climate Equity Action Fund.
Like me, you were probably shocked that HH didn’t pass. 2020 was a tough year to run a ballot measure like HH — with COVID preventing canvassing, many students out of town, and high unemployment making many voters insecure about new tax measures.
While those factors contributed, another big problem was that the Climate Equity Action Fund was a new idea, and many voters just weren’t sure what it would do. What would it pay for, who would benefit?
To remedy that problem, we are asking the City Council to create a pilot version of the Fund. The Fund would provide incentives to cut carbon emissions and lower energy costs for low-income households, such as by funding transportation alternatives (like transit, biking, and electric mobility) and cutting natural gas use in buildings (like energy efficiency, solar power, and electric appliances).
By creating a pilot version of the Fund, we can set up the management and the rules, solicit ideas, and make a round of grants. Then we can go back to voters and give them a clear idea of what they would be supporting.
Councilmember Kate Harrison, Mayor Jesse Arreguin, CM Rigel Robinson, and CM Terry Taplin have developed a budget referral, asking to set aside $500,000 for the Fund (plus $100,000 in staff time) in the current City budget to try the Pilot project. While the Fund has strong support on the Council, there are many needs competing for limited resources.
We think the timing is good — we can help disadvantaged members of our community recover from the COVID-19 pandemic while at the same time fighting climate change. As President Biden says, we can “build back better.”
We need your help — contact the City Council today and let them know that they should support the Climate Equity Action Fund. (The link has a pre-filled email message to the whole Council; feel free to change it if you wish.)
The Council is in the middle of their mid-year budgeting process, so don’t delay, write today.
Background: Berkeley has been following a voter-approved Climate Action Plan since 2009. In 2018, the City Council declared a Climate Emergency and set a goal of becoming Fossil Fuel Free by 2030. But we have never put our money where our hearts are, and are falling short of our goals. As wildfires, heat, drought, and storms intensify, and the Trump Administration does everything it can to help polluters, we must take action locally.
The Climate Equity Action Fund: The Fund would help Berkeley residents and businesses take action, such as by providing rebates for electric bikes, cars, and scooters; insulating homes; and subsidizing transit passes. It would put a priority on equity, lowering costs for low-income residents, creating jobs and opportunities for disadvantaged communities, and restoring environmental justice.
To volunteer for the campaign, get in touch!