Take Action: Kicking Gas in 2020: Support for Strong, All-Electric Reach Codes in San Carlos

San Carlos City Council will consider the most significant climate actions the city can take: adopting “Reach Code” green building standards that would make all-electric, zero carbon homes and buildings the mainstream choice for new construction and major residential reconstruction projects.

Add your voice by sending an email before Monday, October 26th asking the City Council to move forward quickly to adopt a strong, all-electric reach code to avoid expanded use of fossil fuels such as natural gas.  

Send your message to: CityClerk@cityofsancarlos.org.


Honorable Mayor Collins and City Council Members,
I am writing to thank you for considering adoption of all-electric reach codes. I urge you to move forward quickly to adopt a reach code requiring new and reconstructed homes and buildings to be all-electric. Preventing the use of fossil fuels, including natural gas, in new and reconstructed buildings will create more affordable, cleaner, healthier, and more resilient housing and buildings for the San Carlos community.
Adopting reach codes is the single most significant climate action that the city can take this year. Reach codes promote all-electric heating and appliances that make our homes and buildings safer, healthier, and more affordable, as well as help us meet our climate action plan goals. They also future-proof our city against expensive and uncertain supplies of natural gas.

Following the lead of San Mateo County and 16 area cities, including Mountain View, Redwood City, and San Mateo, that have recently adopted all-electric reach codes would maximize the benefits for our city, including:

  • Saving money – All-electric homes save an average $10,000 in construction costs.
  • Improving health and safety by avoiding indoor pollution and highly flammable combustion sources inside homes & buildings.
  • Making a highly visible and practical step forward to address the climate crisis, by breaking the cycle of fossil fuel dependency in buildings. Each new electric home avoids up to 4 tons of carbon emissions per year.

The reach code would be a strong market signal to spur development of more carbon free, electric solutions for existing homes. I hope you will adopt a strong reach code with all-electric requirements that prevent the expansion of natural gas infrastructure in San Carlos. This is an urgently needed climate action to phase out fossil gas fuel use in our homes and buildings! Let’s work together towards a fossil-free and climate-stable future.
[Your name]

Sister District & Swing Left: Top 10 State Legislative Targets

Sister District and Swing Left are focusing on the 10 most critical and winnable state legislative races in the country.

Donate to this fund and your donation will be split evenly between the candidates. In a census year (redistricting!), these races are especially critical to win.

Swing Left and Sister District have teamed up to bring you our top targets for this final critical stretch. This is our last chance in a decade to fight back against gerrymandering.

These are candidates who will redraw district lines in 2021, and who need our help the most right now.

LD-20 (S) Doug Ervin
LD-20 (S) Felicia French
LD-6 (H) Judy Schwiebert
LD-6 (H) Coral Evans
SD-49 Julie Slomski
HD-160 Anton Andrew
HD-45 Frances Jackson
HD-63 Ricky Hurtado
HD-126 Natali Hurtado
HD-138 Akilah Bacy
Student-Run PAC Fights for Progressives in Congress

Student-Run PAC Fights for Progressives in Congress

We need to win the House and the Senate and we need to win BIG! PPAG is excited to partner with Campaign for Blue, a student run PAC fighting to get progressives elected to Congress.

We caught up with JT Eden, President of Campaign for Blue to learn more about their strategy, the candidates they support, and their upcoming fundraiser with Rep Anna Eshoo

JT Eden
President, Campaign for Blue

Why did you decide to start Campaign for Blue?

JTE: 2020 is critical to the future of our democracy. We need two houses of Congress that will hold the Executive Branch accountable and pass bold, progressive policies to lift Americans out of the many crises we face today.

Young people are frustrated with what they are seeing from their government and are looking for ways to create change. As a result, we were inspired to start Campaign for Blue for the purpose of organizing young people to elect progressive candidates in close Congressional races. 

Who are you supporting? How did you choose those candidates?

Jaime Harrison
Senate, South Carolina

JTE: Jaime Harrison: Jaime Harrison is running against Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. Graham is one of the President’s biggest enablers in the Senate. Jaime Harrison will bring an experienced and progressive voice to the US Senate. 

Katie Porter: Rep. Porter’s tough questioning of Trump Administration officials and business executives made her a standout member of the 2018 freshmen class and we are excited to support her re-election.

Hiral Tipirneni
House AZ-6

Hiral Tipirneni: Dr. Tipirneni is running against one of the most corrupt Republicans in the US House. Her perspective as a practicing physician will be invaluable to the Congress, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis.

TJ Cox: TJ Cox is an incumbent from California who has done great work fighting for Central Valley workers in Congress. 

Our organization created specific criteria to base our candidate selections on. Our members carefully researched which House and Senate candidates upheld these principles and were in tight races that could be swayed by grassroots support. We feel these candidates represent some of the best of what we have in Congress right now, as well as the best of what Congress could be. 

Why is it important to engage young people?

The United States currently has a low voter turnout rate, and a large part of changing that is encouraging our currently young and future voters to vote. By showing them how important it is to vote now, hopefully we can instill a habit into our young people that they will maintain into adulthood. 

We have been engaging our peers around phone banking, text banking, and fundraising. Due to the current pandemic, all campaigns have moved to an online platform, which has allowed us to join in and support them digitally. 

How can people get involved with Campaign for Blue?

A great way to get involved with Campaign for Blue would be to come to our fundraiser event with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and the Peninsula Progressive Action Group. It will be an engaging and informative opportunity to learn more about our goals and actions. You can also join our group by going to campaignforblue.org/support-us, and follow our social media accounts to keep up to date with what Campaign for Blue is currently doing. Feel free to reach us at campaignforblue@gmail.com.

We Took a Breath

The caged bird sings  
with a fearful trill  
of things unknown  
but longed for still  
and his tune is heard  
on the distant hill  
for the caged bird  
sings of freedom.

We took to an impromptu stage. We took to a Zoom screen. We took to Burton Park and in a unified (but socially distant) voice our community spoke out against racism and spoke in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

The Breathe Vigil was led by Cindy Chen, Milad Shafaie, Rachel Amir Chatman and Liane Brown; Carlmont High School graduates embarking on their own adventures next academic year and who are among the strong voices for our community today and tomorrow.

Everyone has the responsibility to educate themselves on African American history of and of the ongoing struggle of all black and brown people for equality and justice. If you’re going to show up to a vigil or a protest, show up educated.

Education and political change take time and commitment, Rachel Amir Chatman reminded us that the Birmingham campaign lasted a month, the Greensboro sit-ins lasted six months, the Freedom Riders lasted seven months and the Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted 382 days. “The fight doesn’t end here,” Chatman added. “This is just the beginning.

And while the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are the catalysts for the current wave of Black Lives Matter protests, Liane Brown read the names of the many others over the years who have been the victims of police and white vigilante brutality.

Honoring the memories of the dead, while important, isn’t enough. Brown challenged members of the crowd, “Did you care about George Floyd, before he died? Do you care about black people in general, before we die?”

Milad Shafaie also touched on this theme and asked if non-black allies doing enough to support the black and brown communities. “We have the privilege to live relativity blissful lives, ignorant to the various forms of oppression African Americans still face.” If non-black allies live in this ignorance, aren’t they then playing a role in perpetuating systemic racism?

But looking to the future, Chatman, Brown and Shafaie all had ideas on what everyone in the community can do to educate themselves and stamp out racism. These ideas included:

  • Read books and watch documentaries on African American history
  • Engage in Black culture that is outside of the mainstream media
  • Seek out Black owned businesses
  • Campaign and vote for candidates who speak out against racism
  • Be a catalyst for honest dialog about racism

There were several hundred people spread out across Burton Park to listen to these words and over 70 people tuning in remotely over Zoom. Keeping the proceedings going was done in no small part by JT Eden who made sure the live mics and the Zoom meeting were all running smoothly.

Cindy Chen kicked off the proceedings by selecting and reading the poem Caged Bird by Maya Angelou. The poem tells of a bird singing to be free and Chen brought the words of the poem to life for the audience:

Caged Bird by Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind  
and floats downstream  
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and  
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings  
with a fearful trill  
of things unknown  
but longed for still  
and his tune is heard  
on the distant hill  
for the caged bird  
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams  
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream  
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied  
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings  
with a fearful trill  
of things unknown  
but longed for still  
and his tune is heard  
on the distant hill  
for the caged bird  
sings of freedom.
San Carlos Breath Vigil

Virtual Vigil

Remember we have a virtual for the Breathe Vigil this Sunday. If you want to attend virtually, register here and we’ll send you a Zoom link on Sunday morning.

We tested out our webcast kit today at Burton Park and it worked beautifully. Virtual or in-person, let’s raise our voices in support of Black Lives Matter and to honor those lost in the fight against racism.

In the fight against racism, our weapons are the megaphone and the webinar. Regardless of our physical location, we can join together and support Black Lives Matter.

San Carlos Breathe Vigil

Join us for a peaceful vigil promoting racial justice and allyship in America.

  • Sunday, June 14t 
  • 5-6 pm

Online event: Register here to attend the online event. A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants the day of the event.

Live event: Burton Park Field

If you attend the live event, please wear a mask and keep a 6’ distance.

The Accidental Vigil

Last Sunday, those of us were involved in organizing a George Floyd vigil went to Burton Park to update people who hadn’t heard that it had been cancelled.

Personally, I was expecting to talk to a few stragglers and then head home. I was expecting to stay at Burton Park for about 15 minutes and then head home.

What happened next, I wasn’t expecting. None of us were.

About 100 people showed up at Burton Park with masks and signs and a desire to show solidarity for our community, our neighbors of color, our neighbors from marginalized communities.

When they all arrived, we got up on some steps and asked how many people knew the event was cancelled. Almost everyone raised their hands.

Almost everyone knew our version of the vigil was cancelled. They showed up anyway on their own.

And it wasn’t just one group. It was dozens of groups and families who all separately made the decision to show up to an event that they knew was cancelled.

From the unexpected came a realization, one that is now plainly obvious in hindsight. What PPAG says or does about a vigil or what the Council says or does about a vigil, doesn’t really matter. What does matter, and what is now apparent, is that the desire for the San Carlos community to make a statement against the scourge of racism exists.

We can organize events or not. We can show bravery or show fear. We can exist in the small town myth or we can realize again what COVID has already shown us; that the anxieties of the world are upon us and are as present in Burton Park as they are in Central Park, as present on Laurel St as they are on the streets of Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles.

San Carlos and all the other small cities in the countless counties across the United States are as much a center of racial tension as any large metropolis. We’ve begun the process of organizing another vigil and we’ll provide updates

The movement and the desire for change is greater than any of us, but we are not powerless. We can make our voices heard in a manner that is both strong and appropriate for San Carlos.

In the meantime, here are some actions you can take:

Call To Action

Vigil postponed for safety concerns

We got a lot of input from community members and community leaders that the timing isn’t right for an event in San Carlos.

There are right-wing extremists groups that are using events, particularly evening events, as an excuse to instigate violence and cause damage.

It is for this reason we are cancelling the vigil tomorrow with the intention of scheduling a new one soon.

We agonized over this decision. We don’t want to be silenced by the worst parts of American society; but we also don’t want to be an unwilling magnet for violence.

PPAG is committed to being a participant and an ally to the Black Lives Matter movement. We will hold our vigil soon when the overall situation is less unpredictable.

In the meantime, here are some actions you can immediately take to support Black Lives Matter

Call To Action

Many of you may be upset with the decision to cancel. Frankly, we’re upset with the decision as well. But given what we understood the risks to be, it was the decision we had to make.

We will announce a new date and time for the vigil as soon as we can.