Green New Deal News

Green New Deal backers seek Brownley's support

Two-dozen climate-change activists gathered outside the Thousand Oaks office of U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley Aug. 8 to ask for her support of the Green New Deal, an ambitious—and controversial—legislative plan to address the crisis of a warming planet as well as societal problems such as economic inequality and racial injustice. The group held two follow-up demonstrations, but so far has been unsuccessful in securing the congresswoman’s support.

House Resolution 109, sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) and dubbed the Green New Deal, is an economic stimulus plan that pays tribute to President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the far-reaching government program in 1933 that brought about the Social Security Administration and a host of other reforms that came in response to the Great Depression.

Supporters rallying outside Brownley’s 223 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. office on Aug. 8 delivered three demands to the five-term representative, event organizer RL Miller of Oak Park said.

“No. 1, we want her to sign on to the AOC resolution. No. 2, we want her to sign the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge; and No. 3, we want her to hold a town hall on climate change,” said Miller, a self-proclaimed climate “hawk” who chairs the California Democratic Environmental Caucus.

Members of the community have signed petitions asking Brownley to co-sponsor the Green New Deal legislation, and they’ve met with her individually and in groups, but to no avail, Miller said.

Brownley represents much of Ventura County in the House of Representatives, including the cities of Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, and Camarillo and the community of Oak Park.

Though she supports components of the legislation, Brownley told The Acorn she is hesitant to offer her full backing until she explores the options available to her as a member of the newly formed U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

According to a resolution that created the committee, its function is to “investigate, study, make findings and develop recommendations on policies, strategies and innovations to achieve substantial and permanent reductions in pollution and other activities that contribute to the climate crisis, which will honor our responsibility to be good stewards of the planet for future generations.”

The House authorized the committee in January with the expectation that it will publish a set of public recommendations by March 31, 2020.

“We are working really hard and have had lots of hearings and will continue to have lots of hearings, and our charge by the speaker is to make a recommendation for bold climate control,” Brownley said. “I just feel like moving forward . . . it’s better for me to not marry myself to a particular solution.”

The Brownley comments didn’t sit well with Miller and her colleagues from 350 Conejo/San Fernando Valley, a group that is pushing to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.

“The Green New Deal resolution is not a bill, so we fully expect it will be supplanted,” Miller said. “She can commit to upholding the principals. It’s her responsibility (as a member of the committee) to write a bill that would be different and we expect it to be different.”

Though hesitant about signing the green deal, Brownley said, it doesn’t mean she isn’t in favor of finding solutions.

“I firmly, firmly believe we must act and we must act now,” Brownley said. “If we can’t get healthcare right, we can fix it . . . but with the climate, if we don’t act now, we’ll never be able to repair it.”

The second demand of the protesters is that Brownley agrees to accept no more than $200 from individual PACs, lobbyists and executives of fossil-fuel companies. The one-sentence pledge is an initiative of Miller’s Climate Hawks Vote organization, a political action committee that supports candidates who favor action to curb climate change.

“In all fairness, I haven’t asked Julia to sign it yet, but I know she doesn’t take much money from (people) trying to drown our democracy in a dark tidal wave of oily money,” Miller said.

Asked if her group would support a challenger to Brownley in the 2020 election should she not meet their demands, Miller said no. “Under no circumstance should this activity be interpreted as a desire to . . . vote for anybody other than Julia,” she said.

“We like Julia. We just want her to be more vocal and recognize Ventura County is ground zero for climate change.”