Photo via Zimbio
The prospect of a Green New Deal that would simultaneously stimulate our economy and promote alternative energy development is perhaps the only remotely exciting aspect of the recession. And we may soon have the opportunity to see how it might work on the city level: in LA, where the unemployment rate has risen from 8.9 to 9.9 percent in the last year, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is spearheading a plan to expand citywide solar production and create jobs in the process.
Today he attended a training session for solar equipment maintenance and installation along with hundreds of electricians, many who are out of work. The training session is designed to prepare workers for thousands of new green collar jobs that the mayor hopes will be created with his massive solar initiative, Measure B. Could this be a way to kick start a Green New Deal in California?
An LA-sized Green New Deal
Could be the seeds of one, in spirit anyway: (from a press release from the mayor's office)
"Mayor Villaraigosa's plan to require the Department of Water and Power to produce 400 megawatts of solar power in five years, called Measure B . . . is estimated to create thousands of new, good paying jobs in the solar industry."
The measure is up for vote on March 3rd, and it could be a boon to electricians and construction workers, two of the hardest hit groups in that frightening full 1% increase in unemployment rates. According to the mayor, Measure B would be the largest solar program in the US, and would eliminate 400,000 tons of greenhouse gases from LA—a city that could no doubt use some relief from emissions.
We'll have to wait until March 3rd to see whether voters embrace the city-sized mini New Green Deal. If they do, the program might make for a useful microcosm to watch—after all, we're probably going to need a nation-sized New Green Deal after the 7th or 8th stimulus package fails in coming months.