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Hayashi: Stimulus can buy greener state buildings

Even as Oakland author/activist Van Jones heads to Washington to become President Barack Obama’s “green jobs czar,” the Assembly is looking at ways to use federal economic-stimulus money to create some green jobs by renovating state government buildings.

The Assembly Business and Professions Committee, chaired by Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, heard from Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor and Deputy State Architect Roy McBrayer today. “This comes at a critical time-with 1.9 million Californians out of work; we can invest in green jobs and put people back to work,” Hayashi said in a statement issued afterward.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, had directed Hayashi to hold the hearing. “The energy efficiency improvements the President’s stimulus package is helping California make to its state buildings will not only help us lead the fight against global warming, they will lead to greater energy independence,” she said.

According to Taylor, California could get up to $239 million in State Energy Program funding and $22 million from Energy Efficiency and Conservation block grants designed to create jobs that support clean energy and improve the state’s infrastructure. State buildings now consume more than $500 million worth of electricity per year, and California has set a goal to reduce grid-based energy purchases for its state-owned buildings at least 20 percent by 2015.

“If you’re looking for a poster child for how to spend one-time federal funds, this is as good as it gets,” Taylor said.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.