I was in Carson California last month at their City Council meeting to speak on behalf of the resolution I asked them to pass to approve participating in a feasibility study on community choice aggregation (CCA).
Carson was the sixth city to have our resolution on their agenda, the five others having already passed it. Like in each of the other cities, someone in Carson, this time the City Manager, had the same question for me,
“I understand all the CCA program stuff you’re telling us about Joe, but what I don’t get is what’s in it for YOU?”
That’s what someone always asks when I pitch them our South Bay Clean Power initiative, especially when they find out I’m doing this work full time. They want to know who is paying me.
When you work pro bono, turn down all job and consulting offers on the issue, and say “no,” to $18,000 a month gigs offered you by people in this growing field, people get real suspicious and uneasy.
I gave the Carson City Manager what has now become my standard reply.
They tell me to stop wishing he was somebody else and that I’m dreaming if I think he’s ever going to change into the dynamo that I fantasize about.
Yet still… I couldn’t stop thinking about it Wednesday night at St. Rocke’s in Hermosa Beach where I had gone to get away from it all and rock out to Jimmy Vaughan and his band. Luckily that totally did the trick as I downed one quadruple The Reverend after another, locking into the groove.
That night I slept like Rip Van Winkle himself, dead to the world and dreaming the vivid-as-life dreams that The Reverend, and the music, and the moment made possible.
And it all suddenly became clear to me. Suddenly we were at The Crossroads as Ted Lieu runs for Henry Waxman’s seat in the United States Congress. Waxman has been our heroic climate champion for many years now and is retiring. New, fresh, young, energetic blood is needed from a new champion at this special spot on the climate timeline – and Ted Lieu has now seized his moment and become that champion.
Everything he’s done in life has led to this unique time and place. And I could see Ted, bigger than life, looking strong, and determined and unstoppable. He was downright dynamic.
And the issue that Ted grabbed and commanded and was using to transform himself into a climate legend was Community Choice Aggregation. It was a natural for Ted and he knew it.
And right before my eyes Ted was making it his own and becoming positively evangelical about it.
This political primary season just keeps getting weirder and weirder.
Imagine my surprise on Friday afternoon when my cell phone rang and it was Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi on the line calling to tell me he had made a big mistake and that he was sorry.
He wanted me to know that he really regretted his YES vote two days earlier for AB 2145, the CAA Killer bill, which – Surprise! – was written by the big utilities to try and kill Community Choice Aggregation.
Al said he had been lied to about what the bill really says and does and that he didn’t really know anything about CCAs until a few weeks ago. He again said he was sorry, that he had dropped the ball on this one and that he was now going to lobby State Senator Ted Lieu to make sure the State Senate didn’t make the same mistake. What could I say? Al sounded sincere and remorseful…