2011 has been quite a year. We have made some very good strides towards building an effective policy organization. Some highlights:
We are proud to see our first two sponsored bills, AB930 Gordon [Redwood City] –California Building Standards Commission Sustainability) and SB128, (Lowenthal [Long Beach] – School facilities funding: high-performance schools) signed into law by Governor Brown. In addition, the large majority of bills we supported received signatures as well, including SBX1 2, SB361, 310, 454, 512, 555, ABX1 14, and AB849.
Our annual Sacramento Advocacy Day successfully put the USGBC in front of mind with many legislators and staff, with over thirty advocates making over forty office visits. We were then able to immediately put words into action by tapping Capital Branch members to testify in support of legislation before the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.
We actively monitored, testified and made comment at Building Standards Commission proceedings. We are building relationships with new Executive Director Jim McGowan and his staff and are currently suggesting a number of qualified Commissioner candidates to the Governor.
The California multi-chapter operational model was featured in a recent national advocacy webinar. Our efforts have also been recognized nationally in the form of an Advocacy Grant as well as an Innovation Grant award for the CAC’s Project Vox Populi initiative. The CAC is currently at work on its strategic planning process to identify specific goals, strategies and actions aimed at deepening our impact and influence. Project Vox Populi seeks to utilize the combined intellectual capacity of USGBC subject matter experts (the subject of the ongoing Council of Experts) and match them with appropriate collaborative, presentational and social media technologies (white papers, websites, webinars, success stories, case studies, reports, press releases, op-eds, tweets) to present a continued, consistent public voice advocating regenerative jobs, buildings and communities. We plan to feature LEED for Neighborhood Development as a planning framework for smarter communities, and especially in revitalizing blighted, underserved and “underwater” areas like the recently certified Hope Sunnydale SF project.
The first flowering of Project Vox Populi occurred early in December with a very popular LEED ND Brown Bag Presentation given by Ellie Casson and Aaron Welch from the NCC Sustainable Neighborhoods Committee. Over 25 legislative staffs were represented, as well as staff from the Governor’s office, the Speaker Pro Tem’s office, the Building Standards Commission and analysts from two Senate Committees.
Throughout this year, we integrated advocacy efforts with traditional allied organizations and developed new working relationships built on associations from 2010’s No on Prop 23 campaign with organizations such as the California Business Climate Network, Californians for Clean Energy & Jobs, and the Clean Coalition.
2012 will commence with our organization streamlining from our acronym-challenged USGBC CAC towards the more user-friendly and memorable “USGBC California,” although we’ll continue to refer to “CAC” (or “the CAC” by some) internally.
The bright LED spotlight of Greenbuild 2012 will shine upon San Francisco and California in the months ahead. With a high-profile “Path to Greenbuild” Sacramento Policy Event is in the planning stages with National Advocacy, we hope to leverage the attention by permanently raising the USGBC advocacy profile across the state.
2012 should be another very interesting year.
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