California mayors push for green movement

February 10, 2009 11:43:17 PM PST
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed took a red-eye flight Tuesday night to Washington D.C. to ask for a share of the stimulus package. He wants to talk about money for clean tech. The mayors of Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Diego are also headed to D.C.

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The mayors are trying to get top law makers to pay attention to one of the strongest economies in the country. They want to make sure California's needs are heard.

"This trip is about trying to get the stimulus bill molded into a way it'll be most helpful to California," says Chuck Reed.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is ready for his meetings in Washington. He and the mayors of San Diego, Sacramento, and Los Angeles will urge law makers to focus on job creation, construction project funding, and expanding clean technology in California.

"One of the things I'm most concerned about is clean technology and the funding for clean technology and especially renewable energy. If they decide to siphon-off some of that money and put it into nuclear energy or coal, that would not be a good thing for us," says Mayor Reed.

Both the House and the Senate offer $4.3 billion in tax credits to homeowners who make their homes more energy efficient and $11 billion to modernize the country's electricity grid. However, the Senate reduced funding to make all federal buildings green, by $1.5 billion. Still, it should all create construction jobs across the country.

"It's all construction, whether it's clean tech or roads or bridges, it all employs people in the building trade so we win either way," says Neil Struthers, from the Building and Construction Trades Council.

While the unemployment rate for members of Santa Clara County's building and construction trade council is at 30 percent, business at Kal Design and Construction in Santa Clara is down 50 percent. The green developer says the clean movement needs to be a priority in Washington.

"It's going to help us not be dependent on foreign oil, it creates jobs and it helps economy," says Oskar Kalbali, from Kal Design and Construction.

Reed will speak with the transportation secretary, House Speaker Pelosi, and Senators Feinstein and Boxer on Wednesday.

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