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Five books to help you stay motivated in the age of Trump.

Watching Donald Trump take over Washington has been very tough for so many who were heavily opposed to him.  While we focus on holding Washington accountable, we must also take a deep breath, stay strong, and gear up for what comes next.  So, in no particular order, here are five books I’ve read that have helped me stay motivated and inspired to stay involved in the process.  I’m planning to read each of these again in the weeks ahead. (more…)

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A car that emits only water vapor.

My family is excited to get the new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell electric car in the coming month (especially my four-year old son, as you clearly can see from the picture). This amazing car gets 366 miles of range, takes only 5 minutes to fuel up, and emits nothing but water vapor.  Honda is offering aggressive pricing with free fuel, among other incentives. Like all Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs), the Clarity runs on hydrogen, which can come from a variety of sources, including renewable solar, wind and biogas. Along with breakthrough vehicles like the Toyota Mirai, the Clarity will help bring a new generation of zero-emission transportation to the mainstream. Hydrogen and fuel cells provide an intriguing solution to our clean energy future. Much of the innovation being done in this area is in my home turf of Orange County and San Diego. UC Irvine's National Fuel Cell Research Center is among the leading think tanks on the hydrogen economy, and UC San Diego has the largest renewable fuel cell project in the country. Both campuses are leading the nation in clean energy innovation. (more…)

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A Christmas gift for my Congressman.

Yesterday, I mailed the below letter to my Congressman, Darrell Issa, along with a 144-page book called Climate Change for Beginners.  It outlines the basic science of climate change and some responsible steps we should all take to reduce our own emissions footprint, and can be read in less than two hours. If you want your very own copy or would like to send one to your crazy uncle (or your representative), click here. I sincerely hope the Congressman reads the book and passes it along to Donald Trump, who hopefully will appreciate the cartoon illustrations!


December 15, 2016 The Honorable Darrell E. Issa U.S. House of Representatives 2269 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Dear Congressman Issa: I write as your concerned constituent and a clean energy advocate.  My business and legal experience has been focused on accelerating the transition towards more sustainable and efficient power generation and transportation options.  I sit on the board of the Center for Sustainable Energy, based in San Diego, and co-founded Sustain OC, an Orange County association focused on sustainability and clean technology. I am hopeful that you and President-elect Donald Trump will recognize the positive economic impact of strong federal clean energy policy.  Our district is filled with established companies and startups that would embrace the opportunity to provide the region with clean, reliable, affordable electricity and related services, if only given a better chance to compete. (more…)

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Common sense immigration reform in the age of Trump.

This is a picture of my grandpa, Henry Bringas, from the June 9, 1951 edition of Billboard.  Grandpa's story could only happen in America.  But I wonder if it even would be possible today. While you wouldn't know it from my last name, on my mom’s side, I am the grandson of Mexican immigrants.  In 1904, my grandpa was born in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico.  At age 14, he legally crossed the border, eventually making his way to Los Angeles.  Several years later, he married my grandma, who had been born in Durango before coming to America at age two. Grandpa taught himself English and worked as a traveling salesman.  In the late 1930’s, after a chance meeting with a representative for Wurlitzer, he began a long career distributing jukeboxes and vending machines.  Through the hard work of grandpa and his two brothers, Bringas Brothers Music Company was a success.  Grandpa used the profits from his small business to buy commercial property in Downtown Los Angeles.  Having not graduated high school himself, he sent all five of his daughters to college and bought a dream home for my grandma, which she lived in for several decades. At age 50, grandpa became an American citizen.  It was the proudest day of his life.  He loved the Los Angeles Dodgers and was a committed Democrat, with a picture of JFK hanging in his office. Grandpa is no longer with us, but I’m quite sure he would be disappointed by Donald Trump's rhetoric. (more…)

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Clean energy in the age of Trump.

For the last decade, I’ve been involved in the Southern California clean energy industry as an attorney, entrepreneur, advocate, and non-profit founder.  I’ve written about the local impact of clean energy policy (see here, here, here, and here).  I thought I knew a thing or two about where the industry was headed.  But since Donald Trump’s election, my expectations have been turned upside down, particularly regarding federal policies that will drive innovation and economic growth in the sector.  I don’t know whether Donald Trump really believes that climate change was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive, or whether he just says outrageous things to create controversy and dominate media coverage. I am optimistic that Trump is, above all, an opportunist.  As such, he should support clean energy policy.  As Jigar Shah said in his excellent book, Creating Climate Wealth, clean energy provides the "greatest wealth creation opportunity of our time."  And as Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder said in a recent open letter to Trump, "The loss of American manufacturing jobs was a big focus of [Trump's] campaign; clean-energy technologies ... are helping bring them back." On the other side of Trump's potential opportunism are powerful figures like the Koch Brothers.  As the LA Times noted, Trump just named Thomas Pyle, a former Koch Industries lobbyist and head of the pro-fossil fuel Institute for Energy Research, as head of the transition at the Department of Energy. (more…)

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Thinking about what comes next.

It's been a few weeks but the feelings are still raw.  Election Night 2016 was agonizing.  Standing a handful of rows from the podium at the Javits Center, I waited eagerly and confidently for a victory speech that never came.  I fought hard for Hillary, and while the outcome was an obvious disappointment, I'm proud of the work we did. After some reflection, I've decided to start this blog.  I hope to add my voice to those wanting to hold Donald Trump and Washington accountable. We've got to move on, but we've also got to keep our eyes open.  This was an unprecedented election with potentially unprecedented consequences.  Our federal government will be in the hands of the wealthiest President in history.  Trump has talked about being for the working class but indications suggest his policies primarily will benefit a powerful, wealthy elite.  He ran on “Make America Great Again” but I worry that we're losing what made our country great in the first place. (more…)