Huron MAAD to Beautify, Educate and Create Joy
July 3, 2018
HURON, CA — Step on up Raza and Ally artists from every corner of Aztlan and beyond! The Mayor of the City of Huron wants to beautify and conscienticize his youth and families with beautiful murals that can educate, inspire, motivate and elevate the moral and hopes for a better brighter future! Mayor Rey León, himself a Chicano artist and lover of the arts, shared, “We have numerous walls in an alley that needs to be beautified. How better to do it with art sharing our cultura, history, struggle, dreams and ascendence.” His vision is a unique one that will cover 620 feet long alley in his agriculturally based community on the west side of Fresno County.
The City of Huron, located near the Interstate 5 and not far from the popular Harris Ranch restaurant and hotel has the highest Latino/Mexican percentage in the country for an incorporated city at 97.9% with over 12 languages spoken, 8 of which are indigenous languages from Mesoamerica. While the city may be the poorest it does not hold the highest unemployment statistic. Rich in culture, hard-working, indigenous and with a strong history of Bracero grandfathers and migrant-farmworkers with interesting stories of struggle and triumph.
“We want to reflect the community story with aesthetic murals to beautify and educate.” stated the Mayor. The Murals will be spread in alley between Rail Road and Tornado Streets, west of SR 269, aka, Lassen Avenue, the cities main street. There are at least a dozen potential walls that property owners have provided permission to the Mayor to paint a mural.
Now, Mayor León is fundraising and recruiting muralists starting from his own region in the San Joaquin Valley but mentions that he would love to get muralists from throughout the southwest and other strong Latino communities such as Denver, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois. Two places where the Mayor has gone and felt right at home with the delicious food and beautiful people, culture and art. The Mayor exclaimed, “A creative community is happier and innovative, an artistic community is more attractive and a united community is safe and resilient!”
Puk’Charapiti is an artist, activist, author and journalist for the Movimiento MEDIA Project.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — California farmworkers have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
A just-released study by the California Institute for Rural Studies shows the effects of rising infection rates and vaccine uncertainties may be putting ag workers lives at risk.
“The long-term substandard working and living conditions of farmworkers combined with the historical disposable that shoulders agricultural production in California has been amplified during the pandemic,” anthropologist Bonnie Bade said.
This 2nd phase study on California farmworkers and COVID-19 shows many of the people who toil in fields are ripe for transmission of the virus.
Those who contributed to the findings are asking lawmakers for change after essential ag workers complained about uneven protections and little enforcement of COVID protocols.
Uncertainties about testing and vaccinations have also fueled fears for those who often lack access to healthcare.
“Having dialog directly with the people that are in positions to shift some of these structural barriers that have made it very difficult for immigrant farmworker communities to get what they need,” said anthropologist Dvera Saxton.
High levels of stress have been part of the daily lives of farmworkers and their families during the pandemic — as working parents fear infection, hospitalization and job loss following the closing of restaurants and other fresh-food industries.
Food scarcity was also reported to be a major concern for many families as distance learning has increased the cost of food as most children stay at home.
Researchers blame state leaders for failing to reach out to this crucial workforce that they say is oftentimes overlooked.
“We must include food and farmworkers in any and all economic assistance and relief programs regardless of their citizenship status,” said community organizer Erica Fernandez Zamora.
May 6, 2018 Updated: May 7, 2018 6:00am
California continues to lead the nation in electric car sales.
But it must drive a long, hard road before it can achieve its goal of getting 5 million emissions-free cars on the road 12 years from now.
That’s the message of a new report, which found that while sales of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles last year rose 29 percent over 2016, the state’s total remains under 400,000 — less than 10 percent of the 2030 goal set by Gov. Jerry Brown this year.
The report by the International Council on Clean Transportation, a nonprofit that helped uncover the Volkswagen diesel emissions-cheating scandal, found that especially outside wealthy areas, demand needs to keep growing quickly for California to meet the goal, which is just 12 years away. The group believes it can be done.
“We’re really at just the early stage,” said Nic Lutsey, a program director for the ICCT. “At some point, there’s liftoff in the market. The vehicles will become mainstream and not just hit at a couple niches.”
The top six cities in the state for electric vehicle sales last year, as a proportion of total car sales, were all in Silicon Valley, according to the report. Palo Alto, home to luxury zero-emissions automaker Tesla, led the pack with nearly 30 percent of vehicle purchases skewing electric. Following were Saratoga, Los Altos, Cupertino, Los Gatos and Menlo Park.
The Bay Area had 26 cities among the 30 with electric vehicle shares of new car sales above 10 percent, according to the report.
The regional energy company, Sonoma Clean Power, has been partnering with local car dealerships to offer rebates of up to $3,500 on new zero-emission vehicles, on top of state and federal incentives.
“It’s a pretty sweet deal,” said Kate Kelly, with the power company.
About 96,000 electric vehicles were sold in California in 2017, according to the report, and California accounted for half of all EV purchases in the U.S.
The ICCT counts electric vehicles as those that run exclusively on batteries like the Nissan Leaf, as well as plug-in hybrid vehicles like the original Chevrolet Volt, which run on battery-powered engines or gasoline. Hybrids that do not plug in are not counted.
California’s push for electric cars is part of the state’s broader effort to reduce smog and fight global warming. The transportation sector is California’s largest source of heat-trapping gases, accounting for 37 percent of emissions.
Lutsey said that the ongoing battle between California and the Trump administration over fuel-economy standards should have little effect on the state’s push for electric vehicles. Last week California sued the Trump administration over its efforts to weaken or abandon the planned tightening of federal standards, which would force automakers to make their fleets more fuel-efficient.
California has its own regulations, separate from the fuel economy standards, that force automakers to ensure that a percentage of the cars they sell produce no greenhouse gases. Brown issued an executive order in January declaring California’s goal to be 5 million zero-emissions vehicles on the road by 2030. Another, earlier executive order requires 1.5 million zero-emissions vehicles on California roads by 2025 — just seven years away. The state’s definition of zero-emissions vehicles includes plug-in hybrids as well as pure battery electrics; fuel-cell vehicles also count.
Big unknowns include how much car batteries will improve, how widespread charging stations become and whether governments will need to — and can afford to — continue offering subsidies as electric vehicle sales grow.
“Yes, it will be challenging for the state,” he said, “but not impossible.”
Electric cars have not been as popular outside the Bay Area and Los Angeles County. In Sacramento, Bakersfield and Riverside, for example, emission-free vehicles sales were about 2.5 percent of total sales, or half the state average, according to the ICCT.
Cost is a factor. With a typical starting price of at least $30,000 and often much more, electric cars are generally more expensive than conventional vehicles. People who drive long distances may balk at the range limitations, though improvements in battery technology continue, and some newer models like the Chevrolet Bolt and various Teslas can go more than 200 miles.
“I think it’s natural that electric vehicles end up in certain pockets early on,” said Lutsey, who noted that awareness of electric cars and the number of offerings at local auto dealerships can also be factors. “But sales will migrate to more rural communities.”
Only a third of electric vehicles were sold in places where median income was below the state average, according to the report.
With the right blend of new technology and government support, Lutsey figures California can increase electric vehicle sales by at least 18 percent a year — enough to reach the 5 million goal.
To do so, the ICCT recommends extending many of the same programs that helped popularize electric cars in the Bay Area and Los Angeles to other parts of the state. These include: adding more charging stations and offering consumers incentives such as income-based rebates on purchases and more high-occupancy-vehicle lane privileges (though this is increasingly controversial — for example, Los Angeles last month decided to stop allowing solo drivers of clean cars to use HOV lanes for free on some freeways).
The state must continue investing in the electric vehicle programs, the ICCT says, with much of the funding expected to come from California’s cap-and-trade policy, which requires industrial companies to pay to pollute. And it will need to continue strict regulation of the auto market.
In Santa Rosa, car demand has risen since the wildfires last fall. Todd Barnes, owner of the Platinum Chevrolet dealership, said that government incentives, improvements to electric cars such as greater range, and the availability of charging stations have helped make the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt his top-selling sedan.
“It’s a major contributor to our overall volume,” he said.
In poor farming communities that dot the county, many individuals and families don’t have cars, or the cars they have are needed to transport somebody to work daily, leaving other family members without transportation.
Rural communities in the Central California farmworker communities have been ride-sharing before it was sexy. Due to lack of resources they have never been able to scale up their services up until recently. The Green Raiteros, a program of The LEAP Institute, aims to do just that. Under the leadership of native Valley leader Rey León, who grew up in Huron, where the service of ‘raiteros’, a volunteer ride-share service, is particularly pronounced, is growing the model with the volunteer drivers and families. “it has been evolving organically and more like a cooperative. We hope we can bolster this model with those true shared community wealth ideals because we see transportation as a utility, not a luxury, but a necessary service that must exist to allow humans to have self determination to advance themselves with ability to maintain their relationships across landscapes to sustain social cohesion, to access opportunities such as education, workforce development, trainings, employment AND CERTAINLY, TO ACCESS QUALITY HEALTH CARE IN A TIMELY FASHION.” Stated Rey Leon, founder and CEO of the Valley-based Latino non-profit, The LEAP Institute as well as Mayor of his hometown, Huron, Ca.
SUSTAINABLE, INCLUSIVE, PROSPEROUS, AND RESILIENT CITIES DEPEND ON TRANSPORTATION THAT FACILITATES THE SAFE, EFFICIENT, AND POLLUTION-FREE FLOW OF PEOPLE AND GOODS, WHILE ALSO PROVIDING AFFORDABLE, HEALTHY, AND INTEGRATED MOBILITY FOR ALL PEOPLE.
The pace of technology-driven innovation from the private sector in shared transportation services, vehicles, and networks is rapid, accelerating, and filled with opportunity. At the same time, city streets are a finite and scarce resource.
These principles, produced by a working group of international NGOs, are designed to guide urban decision-makers and stakeholders toward the best outcomes for all.
1. WE PLAN OUR CITIES AND THEIR MOBILITY TOGETHER.
The way our cities are built determines mobility needs and how they can be met. Development, urban design and public spaces, building and zoning regulations, parking requirements, and other land use policies shall incentivize compact, accessible, livable, and sustainable cities.
2. WE PRIORITIZE PEOPLE OVER VEHICLES.
The mobility of people and not vehicles shall be in the center of transportation planning and decision-making. Cities shall prioritize walking, cycling, public transport and other efficient shared mobility, as well as their interconnectivity. Cities shall discourage the use of cars, single-passenger taxis, and other oversized vehicles transporting one person.
Shared vehicles include all those used for hire to transport people (mass transit, private shuttles, buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws, car and bike-sharing) and urban delivery vehicles.
3. WE SUPPORT THE SHARED AND EFFICIENT USE OF VEHICLES, LANES, CURBS, AND LAND.
Transportation and land use planning and policies should minimize the street and parking space used per person and maximize the use of each vehicle. We discourage overbuilding and oversized vehicles and infrastructure, as well as the oversupply of parking.
4. WE ENGAGE WITH STAKEHOLDERS.
Residents, workers, businesses, and other stakeholders may feel direct impacts on their lives, their investments and their economic livelihoods by the unfolding transition to shared, zero-emission, and ultimately autonomous vehicles. We commit to actively engage these groups in the decision-making process and support them as we move through this transition.
5. WE PROMOTE EQUITY.
Physical, digital, and financial access to shared transport services are valuable public goods and need thoughtful design to ensure use is possible and affordable by all ages, genders, incomes, and abilities.
6. WE LEAD THE TRANSITION TOWARDS A ZERO-EMISSION FUTURE AND RENEWABLE ENERGY.
Public transportation and shared-use fleets will accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles. Electric vehicles shall ultimately be powered by renewable energy to maximize climate and air quality benefits.
7. WE SUPPORT FAIR USER FEES ACROSS ALL MODES.
Every vehicle and mode should pay their fair share for road use, congestion, pollution, and use of curb space. The fair share shall take the operating, maintenance and social costs into account.
The future of mobility in cities is multimodal and integrated. When vehicles are used, they should be right-sized, shared, and zero emission.
8. WE AIM FOR PUBLIC BENEFITS VIA OPEN DATA.
The data infrastructure underpinning shared transport services must enable interoperability, competition and innovation, while ensuring privacy, security, and accountability.
9. WE WORK TOWARDS INTEGRATION AND SEAMLESS CONNECTIVITY.
All transportation services should be integrated and thoughtfully planned across operators, geographies, and complementary modes. Seamless trips should be facilitated via physical connections, interoperable payments, and combined information. Every opportunity should be taken to enhance connectivity of people and vehicles to wireless networks.
10. WE SUPPORT THAT AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES (AVS) IN DENSE URBAN AREAS SHOULD BE OPERATED ONLY IN SHARED FLEETS.
Due to the transformational potential of autonomous vehicle technology, it is critical that all AVs are part of shared fleets, well-regulated, and zero emission. Shared fleets can provide more affordable access to all, maximize public safety and emissions benefits, ensure that maintenance and software upgrades are managed by professionals, and actualize the promise of reductions in vehicles, parking, and congestion, in line with broader policy trends to reduce the use of personal cars in dense urban areas.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2017
New Funds Boost Clean Car Ridesharing in Central Valley
“Green Raiteros” Will Use EVs to Build on Grassroots Transportation Networks
Contact: Rey Leon, (559) 269-9563
HURON, CALIFORNIA – Recently announced funding will allow creation of a unique, pollution-free transportation service that builds on the informal ridesharing networks already used by local residents.
Administered by EVgo and Valley LEAP and funded by a portion of proceeds from a settlement between the California Public Utilities Commission and NRG, Green Raiteros will build on existing grassroots ridesharing networks run by raiteros, retired farmworkers. The project will operate in the corridor from Huron to Fresno and will improve mobility for low-income residents and demonstrate the feasibility of electric vehicle ridesharing in the Valley.
“Local farmworker communities long ago developed informal ridesharing networks to cope with the Valley’s long distances and the cost of operating a car,” said Valley LEAP executive director Rey León. “We can combine these networks with electric cars to improve reliability, affordability, and help clean our air. We think this pilot program will be the start of something much bigger that will provide a vital resource to our poor rural communities.”
Clean ridesharing in Central Valley communities like Huron is a necessity. The Valley is one of the poorest and most polluted regions in the country. Thirty-five percent of Huron residents carpool to work—double the 14.5 percent state average. The new funding will support the Green Raiteros pilot project with $519,400 over the duration of 15 months to develop a business model tailored to the needs of the Central Valley, build capacity among local communities, deploy charging infrastructure that enables EVs for ridesharing, and expand existing outreach, education, and training programs to help demystify EVs for residents who may be unfamiliar with them.
A kickoff date for the program will be announced shortly.