Madam Chair Marina Dimitrijevic plans to introduce a resolution tomorrow to establish a “Memorandum of Understanding” with Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC), a nonprofit organization that will help the county promote environmentally sound “Green” programming. The resolution notes that this agreement with the ECC is not legally binding; but it’s a mutual agreement toward the goal of building an energy cognizant county.

What is Emerald Cities Collaborative? Their goal, according to their website’s mission statement, is “greening” metropolitan areas to advance equal opportunity, shared wealth, and democracy.

What do they mean by shared wealth? According to their policies section, their funding mechanisms require putting “a surcharge on utility bills or excise tax on electricity consumption in order to fund energy efficiency improvements for all customers.”

That clears up the shared wealth part. To them, taxing people for energy consumption is an effective way to raise revenue for green projects that share the wealth with all customers. Who is the brain trust of Emerald Cities Collaborative?

The ECC’s Chairman is Gerry Hudson, the executive vice president of SEIU. Other board members include Chris Haslinger, a training specialist for United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters; Jack Hayn, a liaison to the AFL-CIO; Jack Heyer, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Art Lujan, Building and Trades Department of the AFL-CIO; and Kevin Reilly is a home performance coordinator for the Laborers International Union of North America.

According to the ECC website, one of their goals is to “increase labor and community partnerships” for policies, regulation, and legislation. Another ECC goal is to “generate high-quality green jobs and contracts through the requirement of labor standards.”

The ECC also offers a building trades curriculum that includes a “historical, foundational basis for the labor-community alliance.”

The County Board should take some time to vet Emerald Cities Collaborative and learn more about what they do.  Passing a resolution that creates an unclear agreement with the ECC could be a risky decision.

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