On Tuesday, something big happened in California. The Santa Rosa City Council voted unanimously to join the Sonoma Clean Power Authority—a move that will promote the use of clean energy, generate lower utility rates and fund local power projects.
Getting to the vote was a long process, but OFA supporters were there at every step— working alongside a local group, the Climate Protection Campaign. In May, volunteers held phone banks to invite local residents to attend a preliminary council meeting and show their support for clean energy. On May 21, supporters packed the council meeting.
The OFA Sonoma County chapter attended a meeting in early June, where public comments were taken, and several volunteers voiced their support for the program.
In the lead-up to the final vote, supporters again held a phone bank to mobilize the local community, and we asked our membership to call and email key council members who had not yet made up their minds.
A coalition of OFA volunteers—along with the Sierra Club and the Citizens Climate Lobby—met with Councilman Wysocki to voice support for this program. We were encouraged by the councilman's willingness to listen and his promise to work toward a compromise.
On Tuesday, July 21, a large group of OFA volunteers were seated front and center as the debate began.
Linda Hemenway, the Sonoma Chapter Leader, presented a petition with hundreds of signatures from community members who support Sonoma Clean Power. We pledged to form a partnership between the SRCC and OFA. By working together to keep the public informed about the issues surrounding this endeavor, we were confident that the roll-out would better serve the community. In the end, the City Council approved the deal.
For many OFA volunteers this was their first experience working on a local issue. We were delighted to have an opportunity to apply President Obama's goals for the reduction of greenhouse gases and increased use of "clean energy" right in own back yards.