Jennifer Hernandez is a San Francisco-based partner at Holland & Knight, and a lead attorney for The 200, a coalition of California’s Latino leaders who are suing the state over its energy and housing policies. Robert talked with Hernandez about the litigation, California’s housing crisis, the importance of homeownership, and what she calls the “fundamentally racist” policies that are exacerbating poverty and inequality in her home state.
Robert Bryce 0:04
Hi, and welcome to the power hungry podcast. I’m Robert Bryce. on this show, we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And we’re going to be talking a lot about politics, energy and power and power, both electrical power and political power. With my guest, Jennifer Hernandez, a lawyer for the 200. Jennifer, welcome to the power hungry podcast.
Jennifer Hernandez 0:24
Thank you so much. It’s great to be here again.
Robert Bryce 0:27
So I, my custom is, and I didn’t warn you about this ahead of time is that I like to have my guests introduce themselves. I know you have a distinguished legal career. But if you don’t mind, can you get 30 or 45 seconds? Imagine you’ve just arrived at a dinner party, you don’t know anyone. And you’re asked to introduce yourself go?
Unknown Speaker 0:45
Well, the thing I think that folks should know is I grew up in Pittsburgh, California, which is a decidedly working class factory town of US Steel and Dow Chemical, and pg&e and Union Carbide and john Manville and fibreboard, American brand names in California, on the shores of the Delta. And I grew up in a polluted factory town, and I’m pretty passionate about pollution. And I was zoomed out, like on a magic carpet ride in high school, having never been east of Lake Tahoe and Nevada, to Harvard, where I received a full frade scholarship, which was astonishing and included even winter clothes. And then came back to Stanford Law School with a similarly generous financial aid package. So Hernandez is my name. And, and I’m pretty passionate about protecting working class, hard working class, hard working people in California, who seemed to slip behind every single day under the current policies were implementing. So that’s me.
Robert Bryce 1:56
Well, that’s, that’s a great introduction and a perfect setup, because I was going to ask you about your hometown. But let’s jump to why I wanted to have you on the show. And by the way, I should mention earlier this year, you were recognized by daily journal as one of the top 100 lawyers in California. And you’re also a partner at Holland and Knight, which is a large law firm, based in San Francisco or is based in LA.
Unknown Speaker 2:20
It’s actually all over the country. It was founded in Florida, founded in four Okay.
Robert Bryce 2:25
All right. So the reason I wanted to have you on is the litigation that now you have pending against the state of California. As I recall, you have three different lawsuits, but all are in one way or another aimed at California’s energy and climate policies. Can you run us through quickly those lawsuits? And why have you filed them? The first one was filed April of 2018. I believe. That’s right. And then you’ve since filed two more, what are those lawsuits? And why do they matter now?
Unknown Speaker 2:54
Sure. So California and generally are extremely fond of our environment. It’s one of the reasons that California is great, we have a lovely climate a lovely natural setting, we’re pretty great about fighting pollution and making inroads into technology innovations that, for example, have allowed cars to be about 98% cleaner over the last 40 years than they were in 1969. So you know, I’m pretty passionate about the environment for sure. But the twin California that folks don’t like to talk about as much, especially in environmental circles, is the our poverty problem and, and it’s not just the homeless, the homeless are the tip of the spear, the only the most visible sign of people struggling. In fact, California has the highest poverty rate in the country, when you take housing into account. And taking housing into account is really taking the combined policies of Californians over the last 30 or 40 years, which have resulted this in this massive housing shortage. And the housing shortage again, if you just look at the kind of the tip of the spear, we see some incredible, you know, billionaire estate type things. But what’s completely disappeared is attainable homeownership for median income families. And that’s not
Robert Bryce 4:19
enough if I can interrupt the housing shortage. The latest numbers I’d seen is that estimates are now even today, a shortage of roughly two or 3 million units in this right in the state today.
Unknown Speaker 4:30
That’s right. We have Yeah, we have fewer housing units per household, fewer than any state in the country except for Utah, which has larger family sizes by a good margin. So we are
Robert Bryce 4:45
if I don’t mind me interrupting. I saw one other point that you are one of the graphics in. I think it’s your lawsuit against the Governor’s Office of Planning and research that among Latino families that younger Latinos 18 to 34 very high percentage of them are still living at home, something like 30 or 40%, which isn’t a very high number just it seems on the surface.
Unknown Speaker 5:09
You’re exactly right. And of course, things have only gotten worse from COVID. And, and the further truth is, when housing is a problem, a lot of other things quickly become problems. So again, taking the COVID example, overcrowded housing, multi generational housing with essential workers, has been a hotbed of viral transmission within families, because how do you isolate when you have two bedrooms and one bath for six people. So housing is a big problem. And it’s problem I happen to know a lot about professionally. Because what I do is is combination of environmental and land use law, because California alone in the country has made it this, this environmental battle to even build a single family home even on an existing lot or even frankly, remodel a single family home to actually build 200 apartments, or even a duplex. If there’s anybody at all, who wants to stop you. There are myriad ways of interfering with that project, many of which involve laws that I do in my day job when I’m working with clients. So I know a lot about housing law. And I know a lot about environmental law. And I know a lot about the fact that housing right now is the number one target our bar sort of most notorious, although should be grand environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act. And that allows Sequa allows anonymous lawsuits to be filed. And to stop projects two or three years without much effort at all, and with virtually no cost. So we have systematically under produced housing sequence, one of the big reasons for it, there are others. But it has reached a true crisis level. And so the California Air Resources Board, under then Governor Jerry Brown was intent on being a leader on climate change on the global stage. And there were indeed lots and lots of international conferences and stuff that everybody loved to go flying off to. And every few years, the California Air Resources Board is supposed to come up with a blueprint that it calls a scoping plan on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that occur in California. And that’s a sort of weird metric that I’ll get into in a second. And in October of 2017, lining up for a December of 2017, approval date, the California Air Resources Board, jumped into housing, and not just you know, cleaning up the grid by endorsing more renewables or battery, technology, you know, r&d or whatever, all the stuff that everybody knew carb was doing, they were doing, but then they also decided to jump in and deal with housing. And they did this in a couple of really, really, really irresponsible ways. The most irresponsible thing they did, which showed just a stunning lack of understanding of the housing market, is decreed that most Californians should live in high density elevator buildings on bus routes, so that we no longer had to drive and could use transit. And we’d live in smaller apartments and so consume less energy and not sprawl. They’re big, sort of five letter word out into undeveloped lands, where undeveloped lands can be used for better climate purposes. There’s this whole dogma around this idea. And I have to say, it’s pretty neat if your lifestyle and job and family situation allow you to live in that kind of housing and terrific. Housing is one of those things where we need all of it all of the above. But we literally cannot have a more expensive form of housing to build than high density, infill elevator building housing, it costs five to seven times more to build an eight storey or above a park apartment or condo structure, as it does to build, you know, a one or two story would do classic, single family home whatever it is ranch style home.
Robert Bryce 9:42
But if I can interrupt here just for a moment, because I think it’s just important to make make the context here. So your litigation, the first suit you filed was against the California Air Resources Board. That’s right. And that was focused on the issue, the nexus of housing and climate and that that being And just to be clear, too, as well, the 200 is a coalition of Latino leaders. And one of their main rallying cries if I can use that that phrase is about homeownership. And this matters among Latinos, because as I recall the the average in California that the something like 60 some odd percent of whites own their homes, but among Latinos, it’s about 44%. So this The, the, I’m just trying to abbreviate or underscore point here is that this matters for the Latino community in California matters for people all over the all over the country, but homeownership is is a key way of building wealth. And that was one of the in your in your 100 page lawsuit. This is underscores the entirety of of your your your claims is that the car but if I can just summarize it, carbs, actions and their regulations, which are never approved by the assembly, are in fact prohibiting or limiting homeownership among Latinos Is that Is that a fair summary
Unknown Speaker 10:59
of Latinos plus blacks and Asians,
Robert Bryce 11:03
low income Californians,
Unknown Speaker 11:05
and, and frankly, young people, I mean, you can have a pretty solid middle class job union job teacher, you know, firemen, whatever, and still not afford a home. And that’s because we’ve driven up home prices just too darn high. And carb selection of this particular housing typology. high density in an urbanized area that has frequent bus service is is literally the most expensive form of housing anyone could have invented. Those units typically cost in excess of $4,000 a month to rent. And they typically cost in excess of a million dollars as a purchase price to the extent there are condo. So here’s carb saying everybody should live to the extent we possibly can. Everybody should like rushed into this kind of housing, and it’s completely unattainable. What then happened, of course, is Sequa, that the tool of choice for people who want to stop change and stop housing was weaponized, further bicarb in its scoping plan, when carp said not only should we live in this completely unaffordable form of housing, which destroys homeownership opportunities for any median income family, which are now majority minority in California. But for new housing, we should really impose a quote, net zero GHG greenhouse gas emission threshold of significance, which under Sequa means you mitigate by reducing greenhouse gas in the same amount that your new housing unit would create greenhouse gas. Now, what does that mean? Well, there are some greenhouse gas produced when you construct a home from construction equipment. There’s modest, very, very little greenhouse gas now produced when you occupy a home because we have such terrific energy efficiency standards and appliances, and everything else very little from occupancy. But then as you occupy the home and use a car to get to work, just like your neighbor, that car has greenhouse gas emissions. And if you think about a house being occupied for 30 or 40 years, what netzero at the front end of housing really means is that we need to calculate all greenhouse gas from construction to occupancy to use, including from car trips of occupants, and visitors and vendors and everything else. And load up the cost of housing, the price point of housing with a mitigation regime that would reduce somewhere greenhouse gas emissions by the amount that the housing product would result in as though by the way
Robert Bryce 14:02
and this takes us to the vehicle miles traveled issue.
Jennifer Hernandez 14:05
That’s exactly right.
Robert Bryce 14:08
Which which as I as I see it, and you know, I’m not a lawyer, I don’t play one on television but your your your both of your lawsuits, talk about these issues in in parallel and the transportation being a key part of the affordability of homeownership and there was a I think it’s in your second lawsuit, you have a remarkable graphic that shows it’s called the percent for sale housing with monthly payments affordable to median income households. And essentially you just graphed the price of that the purchase price and the rental prices of, of housing going from Santa Santa Monica to Los Angeles to Ontario to San Bernardino. And in San Bernardino. The price is what uh, gosh, less than almost a 10th or burn a Yeah, about an eighth of what it is in Santa Monica. So you just made a fairly complex housing story. Simple in a graphic by showing the closer you are in California to the water to the ocean, that expensive your house. And so is it fair to summarize your argument in the litigation that that because of the way the California Air Resources Board and the other state regulators have implemented climate, climate and energy policy, they are making housing so expensive that even people that live far from the coast can afford it is that is that a fair summary?
Unknown Speaker 15:30
It’s, it’s pretty darn close. It’s, the fact is where people can afford to live. So it’s kind of a little bit the inverse, where people can afford to live and especially where they can afford to buy a house is farther away from Job Centers, which means they have to drive more. And that means the next penalty that Carmen posed, which was this notion of penalizing vehicle miles traveled by requiring that we collectively reduce vehicle miles traveled through this high density, transit oriented form of development means that we will not think in the world of car continued to be building homeownership products on east of the coast. And that’s true for the bay area as well as La. So you know, the whole point of this is to really just massively change how it is that Californians are supposed to live. And in particular, as you mentioned, homeownership, which has been the absolute most successful route to middle class of any experiment any civilization has tried in history to our knowledge, homeownership had a number of systematically racist government programs in place that prevented mortgage insured mortgages, or redlining and did this other stuff when we think about oh, that’s the old days. But actually, we’re more segregated by race today than we were before. 1960, according to, for example, UC Berkeley study, and that segregation has to do with price with housing crisis. Okay, so now we have not just more expensive housing in Santa Monica, but a much wider population in Santa Monica, as you go east. The ethnicity of those locations that are lower cost tilts much more toward Latino and, and black families. And let’s
Robert Bryce 17:33
see in the graphic that you that exactly in your in your lawsuit. And by the way, if you’re interested, people are listening, go to the 200 dot org, you can find the letter, a copy of the lawsuit against carb there, that’s the 200 spelled out all in, in letters, the 200 dot org, but you even in demographic, you show the Latino and African American populations increasing again, the further the housing stock is away from saltwater, essentially or the ocean.
Unknown Speaker 18:04
That’s, that’s that’s pretty much right. That’s exactly right. So then,
Robert Bryce 18:09
all the things and if I can interrupt just so so you had I’m trying to get to the punchline here. You had to sue, in order in order to get relief. I mean, let’s let’s get to that. What’s your
Unknown Speaker 18:20
Yeah, yeah. So
Robert Bryce 18:22
we’ve outlined the problem pretty well. Right. Right. All right. time ago, a lawyer said, well, when you’re looking at these, these lawsuits, look at what’s the prayer for relief, what are they asking for? So what’s your what’s, what’s the, what’s the solution here amidst this scaner relations that are being implemented? What do you want,
Unknown Speaker 18:38
what we want, we want to get out of the housing sighting business where houses should, should go, we want them to get out of the anti homeownership business, which is part of actually sort of an anti capitalist kind of thing. homeowners have the recent data at eight times more wealth than renters. We don’t recall anybody in the legislature voting that California should end homeownership, attainable homeownership, and yet, that’s what carf has done. So we want them to focus on other ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are not exactly hard to find. And in fact, homes and California homes, new homes in particular are so energy efficient, or making our vehicle fleet so much more energy efficient. The idea that we go after the two most foundational issues to the health of a family and a community, housing and transportation, and we put a great spotlight on attainable homeownership and affordable locations and say we have to stop that. We have to stop that for sure. That to me is simply dogma, not policy, certainly not policy justified on a global greenhouse gas emissions scale. So we’ve asked Are those measures
Robert Bryce 19:58
you’re asking So you’re asking for carb to rescind them or you’re asking for an injunction you also sought an injunction?
Unknown Speaker 20:05
Yeah. That’s the third lawsuit. Yeah, let me quickly go through each lawsuit so that I spent all the time on the carb lawsuit because it’s really the foundational piece we want carb to focus on. Other than then transportation and, and housing in, in reducing Californians access to upward mobility, especially communities of color. The other two lawsuits are easier. The second one, we had to file a lawsuit under the Public Records Act, because several of the other agencies that worked with carb, chose to conceal documents that were public. I’m pleased to report that we won that lawsuit, which is great. We are getting those documents, and we’ll see what they say, when I’m when was that decision I’ve
Robert Bryce 20:51
got It’s been a while since we’ve
Unknown Speaker 20:54
just September. And then we had a bunch of you know, yeah, we had a whole bunch of COVID related delays. Then there was a third lawsuit, because one of the agencies involved use the carb scoping plan, and specifically the carb edict, in that plan that we should reduce vehicle miles traveled, and they rolled it directly into Sequa. The California Environmental Quality Act in regulations adopted in the closing hours of the brown administration in 2018. One of those sequal regulations, calls for an assessment of vehicle miles traveled in new housing among other places, and says unless you can be 15% lower than an area average, either a city average or if you’re in a county, a county plus all the incorporated cities average, unless you’re 15%. Below that, you have a significant VMT impact that has to be mitigated. The mitigation for BMT is reducing somebody else’s driving somewhere. And nobody knows quite how to make that happen. Although certainly there are transportation agencies that are looking to assess fees on new housing, to help subsidize transit operations, which in an age of COVID is pretty far fetched to begin with. So what we saw there is that BMT regulation was slated to go into effect 18 months after the regs so would have gone into effect in July of this year. We all I think support the notion that people who want to live in denser locations that aren’t really set up for transit, a sorry for cars, to not have to continue to build more roads and stuff for cars, if you choose in a location to make a more walkable community or focus more on transit, like downtown Sacramento, for example, then the last thing you want to do is tear down a bunch of stuff and make more roads. So VMT metric in transit serve neighborhoods, which is what the legislature actually called for is fine. But most of California has no transit service. Even though those areas that do have transit service, we had more people working from home during COVID. Or sorry, before COVID, then use public transit in the whole Southern California area. Our transit system was never designed for our kind of dispersed employment and and housing circumstances. So people use cars they have to, and in fact, car use has increased. Every time there’s been a population increase and an economic increase. There’s been an increase in the amount of miles driven even as emissions have fallen, because we have cleaner cars.
Robert Bryce 23:51
So that Oh, that third, that third lawsuit is the one that’s This is the 200 versus the Governor’s Office of Planning and research. If I’m if memory serves.
Jennifer Hernandez 23:59
That’s exactly right. And you were
Robert Bryce 24:01
and you are seeking an injunction on the implementation of the VMT rules that took we’re supposed to take effect in July of 2020.
Unknown Speaker 24:10
That’s right. And we got we got caught in COVID. We were filing in February COVID hit, we got stuck in a variety of judicial delays, venue was switched to Sacramento from San Bernardino. So by the time our injunction petition was heard, the regulation was already in effect. And the judge I think rightly decided that taking a regulation away is different than just preserving the status quo. So a preliminary injunction kind of preserves the status quo. And we have lost that window because of COVID. What was interesting, though, during that summer, this past summer of COVID, is there were two competing letters issued by groups of legislators. There was a bipartisan group a very diverse ethnic group. I’m pleading with Governor Newsome to delay implementation of this VMT regime. Because the housing crisis just got worse during COVID. Our housing prices continued to escalate, there was a rent moratorium. But the fact is, we still are in a complete crisis. And now people have less money and a lot fewer jobs. So there was a letter from this bipartisan group all inland, none of the districts of the signers of this letter touch saltwater, saying, Please, not now none of us are ready for what do we do here? rural counties can’t figure out what to do generally. And even urbanized areas have no ability to deal with this. And I’ll give you a quick example in a minute. And then there were was a competing letter signed by almost entirely white, much wealthier, all democrat and coastal legislators saying no, we have to do this right away, we have to do this right away this, this notion of increasing housing costs to mitigate for VMT for driving the exact same number of miles is your next door neighbor. I want to just make this quick point. So under this VMT regime, if you put a new three homes next to an existing three homes, you think, Okay, well, maybe we can think about trying to get those new three homes to drive 15% less than the existing three homes, not clear how we would do it. But that’s not the test. Say those three homes are in unincorporated San Diego County. Well, those three homes that are new, have to drive about 15% less than the county plus the city. And the city, of course, has transit. So actually, that new home would have to drive about 40% less than their next door neighbor. Now, you just don’t make transportation decisions at a lot by lot basis. You use transportation options that are available in the area, you can’t manufacture a transit line for three new homes. Sure. And in fact, you can’t manufacture a transit line even for the existing homes, or they would have had one. So it’s really a huge impediment. And depending on how you calculate mitigation, it’s between 40 and $400,000 per unit per housing unit, if you actually apply this regime as it’s written.
Robert Bryce 27:43
And this is the part that in reading over your lawsuit and then talking with some of your colleagues, including john Gamboa, who’s based in Oakland and has been a Latino activist for many years, Robert Apodaca, who I’ve had on the power hungry podcast, both talked about this issue and about the time when and this is the part now I live in Texas, I’m raised in Oklahoma, but where it goes full, crazy town and I think okay, California deserves all of it, you know, they deserve all of the, the derision from other states, when you’re allowing the implementation of a new regulation that increases dramatically increases the cost of housing at a time when your housing crisis is already legendary. That’s the part that to me, stands out amidst all of this that it is,
Unknown Speaker 28:30
well, it is one more but it Go ahead,
Robert Bryce 28:33
Fire Fire away.
Unknown Speaker 28:34
It’s really harsh to say it, but this is such a fundamentally racist policy. Why? Well, we all know even the carb website has this cool thing called the calculator. That wealth equates to carbon, a family with three homes and a private jet is going to have a much higher carbon footprint than a family barely making mortgage payments and working three jobs and having two cars. We know that there are plenty of things we can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but targeting the most regressive of those things, basic shelter, housing, upward mobility through homeownership, basic transportation, cleanest cars in the country. These have a totally racist cast, because they hit working families the hardest. There’s no progressivism built into this. If we were being progressive about it. We would take drafty uninsulated Beverly Hills mansions, and say, make those greenhouse gas efficient. Our first priority is to take our existing housing stock and squeeze another X amount of greenhouse gas out of that, that would dwarf By the way, any reasonable person Like that would dwarf the kinds of reductions we’re seeing from the housing policy, because what’s happening to the housing policy? We’re just not building much housing. I mean, all we’re doing is depopulating. And that’s the last thing I want. And it’s
Robert Bryce 30:13
been it’s been further constrained by these new regulations that are yet higher costs right. To starter homes, many of them be starter homes for for low income young families, etc.
Unknown Speaker 30:26
Yeah, and and I guess that’s another piece is, you know, when we talk to Mary Nichols,
Robert Bryce 30:32
the chairwoman of carb, exactly one chairwoman of carb,
Unknown Speaker 30:36
outgoing chairwoman of carb, and by the way, passed over head of US EPA, based on objections to her record on on environmental justice, but in particular civil rights and race. She was, you know, she, she looked at these my clients, civil rights activist to a core to us to a person and said, No, we care about your communities, we’re going to provide, you know, affordable housing and help help fund affordable housing. And they said, Well, you know, that’s, that’s rental housing, Mary. You know, it’s not like we don’t appreciate the money. But you’re talking about building more projects. And we spent our entire careers trying to get out of projects and into home ownership. And she had no response to that. And, and, you know, the media likes to think about low income, so affordable housing. But affordable rental housing is not the solution for working families, who in every other state can still buy a home, we need to restore that attainable homeownership goal, as an express policy of California. And people who are pursuing other goals, including greenhouse gas reduction, can squeeze other sectors. But let’s let’s be frank about what happens and how this whole regime is set up in terms of metrics. California only measures greenhouse gas, in our world in our California boundaries. So when a family moves to Texas, where per capita GHG emissions are more than double where they are in California, we count that in California as a greenhouse gas reduction. Go ahead, leave, take your job, take your family, and a fair amount
Robert Bryce 32:23
of that a fair amount of Californians are leaving and they’re coming to Austin.
Unknown Speaker 32:26
Well, that’s exactly right. And, and, and yet, from a global greenhouse gas perspective, we should instead be saying, stay your greenhouse gas profile. And if you stay in California is lower than it would be in Texas, we’re gonna encourage you to stay. But no, that’s another part of the dogma is, you know, with smallest beautiful Buddhist economics, and the whole
Robert Bryce 32:51
Buddhist Buddhist economics, I’ve not heard that phrase before. What
Unknown Speaker 32:54
is Oh, there’s a there’s a really seminal book called smallest beautiful. Oh, sure.
Robert Bryce 33:00
Yeah. republished in 1971. Or
Unknown Speaker 33:03
Exactly. Well, Bill, Bill McKibben, climate activists did the intro to the new version. But one of the chapters is called Buddhist economics. And it’s this notion of economic well being redefined through a sort of individual wellness lens. And so I think that the happiness
Robert Bryce 33:25
quotient or something,
Unknown Speaker 33:27
yeah, so I see, I see the smirk. I understand the smirk. But you need to know that that movement has never died. And in fact, it’s now very much part of the, of the climate movement, because there’s a whole part of the climate movement that just says, we can’t have prosperity anymore. We can’t have 24, seven electricity, we all need to work with less, and rebalance the planet. And, you know, if you’re happy and you have enough food, and you have a place to stay, when it’s, you know, rainy, then you should be happy that should be shouldn’t enough should and you shouldn’t want any more.
Robert Bryce 34:04
That’s right. And I want to reach back to what you said earlier, which it’s stuck with me because there’s something here and and we’ve we’ve spoken on the phone a few times before in the last few months, but you earlier said we that we collectively reduce and there is it foot a foot in California some I have to say exactly what is a kind of a socialist collectivist agenda now with you live in Berkeley, Berkeley was the first city in the country to ban the use of natural gas well, so I like cooking with gas in my kitchen. Right. But now the move is afoot to collectively say no, you may not and that there is that seems to underpin a lot of this. And you even mentioned it before there’s it You said that there there is an anti capitalism underpinning and some of this, can you talk about that Because you, you also said, I’m looking back at my notes from some of an interview we said, we had a while back, he said, this is a climate first agenda. It’s not a people first agenda. It’s not equity. First, it’s not safety. First, it’s not health first, it’s climate first and only, which which smacks of this collectivist know, you’re going to be happy with what you have. And we’re not going to let you have the house because that’s not good for you or us. But that there’s some smacks a little bit, frankly, of some kind of totalitarian kind of regime. I mean, how do you how do you respond to that?
Unknown Speaker 35:34
Well, I respond, like, depending on you know, what the stats, you’re seeing 70 80% of the country think the far left and the far right, should both go to like New Zealand and fight it out for a few years and leave the rest of the phone. But there is, without question a far left, that, you know, cruelly does have a variety of, of values that are quite different than what I’ll call sort of fundamental or traditional America and even California values having a kid, right? Do you have a kid or do you not have a kid, there’s support groups for people who don’t have kids, because of climate. And that’s a pretty amazing life decision to make. Because of climate. We also have, of course, now, much healthier environmental conditions, we certainly are nowhere near perfect, but our air is better waters better. Our health is better our longevity, by and large. When we’re not, you know, driving people to depths of despair is better. But all of that betterness leaves those who need to have a crisis to wake up in the morning without a crisis. And so it seems like climate is in many ways, fairly abstract. It’s either, you know, 20 years away, everything’s gonna fall apart, or 50 years away, or 200 years away. But it’s not like the hurricane yesterday, which is more urgent. And so climate gives people a sense of working toward this long term goal with this urgency, urgency and righteousness that exactly says, You need to get past the idea that, you know, you should be able to choose a gas stove, or that you should have reliable and, and backup power sources, not just one power source,
Robert Bryce 37:37
or have a car that you like, or buy a pickup. Yeah. Right. You can’t have an F 150. You have to have an Eevee of some kind because oh,
Unknown Speaker 37:46
that’s exactly right. So So then, so then we we put in place and this of course, after the lawsuits are, are in play, but COVID. So what happens with COVID? Well, people flee elevator buildings, people, flee transit, people start working from home. So interestingly, guess what, if you work from home, you’re not driving to work every day. Now, that only works for a segment, obviously, of the workforce to have that remote work option. But
Robert Bryce 38:17
the keyboard class wasn’t that
Unknown Speaker 38:19
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, the keyboard economy. So but but working from home is a really solid way of reducing peak hour commutes, which is the worst, right? That’s when people are stuck for hours and emissions go up, just because trips have to be so much longer, because we haven’t built any capacity. But it turns out, that working from home is detested, detested by this climate dogma, because it allows people to move further out and still be in single family homes with private backyards. And it turns out that that’s what people have gravitated toward, during the pandemic, whether they stay in California, but leave it
Robert Bryce 39:05
like that. And it seems like that trend will, you know, once it started now will only continue people will I don’t have to do that. And so there’s a whole shift going on in terms of I think some of the thinking about real estate. But let me let me back up for a moment, Jennifer. And again, my guest is Jennifer Hernandez. She is a lawyer for the 200. And the lead litigator on several lawsuits now two lawsuits that are still ongoing against the state of California over their energy and climate policies. So you’re running straight at the climate orthodoxy and in arguably one of the furthest left states in America, the biggest economy of any state in the country. And but you’re also taking on and I have to ask this question because of the that we talked about the natural gas bans, those are being promoted avidly by the Sierra Club. And, and you are fighting against effectively the dogma that’s being promoted by two of the most powerful environmental groups in the state of California. The natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club. So when you think about those groups, what do you mean? How do you perceive them now, because you’re effectively not just doing battle with the state and the state regulators, but these powerful environmental groups that have a lot of sway over regulations that are occurring now at both the state and the city level one, I’m speaking specifically about the gas bands. How do you feel about those groups and the people that are leading them?
Unknown Speaker 40:24
Well, so that’s another part of my biography that I did not share. But I spent 23 years as a board member of the California League of Conservation Voters, which inside California has the stature of the Sierra Club and NRDC in terms of its political profile. And we endorsed candidates and and wanted to make sure that the environment was high on everyone’s radar screen. And actually, that public health, and specific, specifically public health for disadvantaged communities, was also considered an environmental issue that happened on my watch, I was the longest serving member, minority member of that board in its history. And many of the people who are part of the other organizations, either we’re members of the clcp, board or part of that circle, so I know these people, and unfortunately, I watched the drift from the mid 80s, when I first got active, where there was still a fair amount of bipartisan support for improving the environment, right, that nobody wanted to live in a bad environment, then it sort of got a little more partisan, especially as we sort of had to deal with kind of rust belt transition issues, and what’s the role of regulation and driving manufacturing out of the US. So things are a little trickier. But really, over time, and up to the end of my tenure, what I perceived is the, the, the ethic of the environmental movement. Kind of, unfortunately, in full bloom. With this kind of we have too many people, we have just over our holding capacity, we have we have done fatal harm to mother Gaia, the earth. And, and we need to prioritize saving the planet over saving the people. And this VMT regime, for example, was first introduced by Hector de latorre, I want to say maybe 15 years ago, as a really nifty idea to charge people for how long they drive to penalize them for driving too far. And, and too far, of course, was being defined by this kind of urban ethic of a keyboard economy and work in the coffee shop or whatever. And the idea that you would have to drive 180 miles to get to your job was just anathema. They didn’t like it, they certainly weren’t going to allow housing in their own neighborhoods, God forbid, but they didn’t want people driving 180 miles today, either. And so I had another member of the board, the two Latinas on the board, we have no African Americans at the time. We’re like, What are you talking about? You’re you’re putting a target on those least able to pay, you think people are driving 180 miles, because they want to know, it’s where they can afford to live, and especially where they can afford to buy a home, find another mechanism. And to a person everybody was like, No, you know, we have to stop these these evil drivers. And it’s like, well, those evil drivers are Latino and black workers. What are you doing? There are young people What are you doing? And the answer was, unfortunately, you know, environmentalism has a really large strain of its own racism. And this past summer, every environmental organization in the country did a kind of race, Mia culpa. The philanthropy which tracks philanthropic organizations, generally, you know, has said that Environmental Leadership in at the board and leadership level is is is very white and getting wider. And so the trend line is opposite. Of course, the environmental movement also had a lot in common through its founders with sort of anti Native American anti, there’s no clear affinity other than this marriage of convenience in the Democratic Party, which I’m a member of, between environmentalists and civil rights activists. Of course, there should be an affinity but this is like mutually assured destruction.
Robert Bryce 44:44
This is mutually assured destruction. I’m sorry, follow up. What do you mean by that, that
Unknown Speaker 44:49
environmentalists disproportionately targeting those who have the least ability to pay for a climate transition is His his destruction of part of their democratic party constituency is taking on the working people.
Robert Bryce 45:10
And then yeah, and yet whenever and I see this when in fact, when I think the Seattle Seattle was the first city, well, I guess Brookline Massachusetts also an implemented a natural gas ban was overwritten by the state legislature. But invariably, when I read it, whether I think it was the mayor of San Jose and Oakland when they pass their natural gas bans, the there’s this reflexive seems, move to mention black and brown communities that are disadvantaged communities that we’re doing this because they suffer from pollution and therefore getting rid of natural gas will be good for them. Is that is that by accident? Is this part of the calculus in terms of the co op Co Op effort to co op those communities? Yeah, so there’s that rhetoric.
Unknown Speaker 45:53
So there’s this generalized rhetoric around poor people being hurt the most by frankly, almost anything, right? If you have a more fragile
Robert Bryce 46:06
about climate change, right, but That’s right. That’s right. Much of the rhetoric around, oh, well, we have to do this, because, you know, the poor folks are gonna get hurt by climate change the most therefore. Right.
Unknown Speaker 46:17
Right. And so the, there are many problems with that overall frame. Although, you know, from a global population perspective, no question that we have hugely poor countries that are more at risk from climate change, then less work. So I mean, I get it. And then there’s also sort of, you know, look, people without means are the ones who live in the flood prone areas, because they can’t afford to get out. So who knows, to fix climate change, avoid floods helped us talk about indirect, though, and, and much more direct, is to use a gas heater for your home or your apartment, during the winter in California, which gets cold, by the way, especially England, it’s called using gas is a fraction of the cost of using electricity. And we already had the highest electric rates in the lower 48. And those rates are just going up. And we already have, frankly, supply challenges. And we already use natural gas, by the way to meet those supply challenges. Because
Robert Bryce 47:30
electricity supplies, now you’re talking
Unknown Speaker 47:31
on electricity supply basis. So it’s much more efficient to use a gas stove or a gas heater at the consumer level and spend frankly, pennies to do what it would take dollars to do with electricity. Instead of using, quote, electricity at night, which is just natural gas delivered through the grid, as opposed to a natural gas heater. So it’s a very convoluted attack. But it’s an attack that is really premised on needing to just end fossil fuels. And you know, I don’t know about you, Robert, but at this point in my life, anybody who says you have to do something urgently, and it’s like this on switch off switch? It’s invariably wrong, right? I mean, exactly. Should you migrate towards cleaner technology? Of course, should you migrate toward more efficient technology? Of course, should you stop wasteful? And, of course, those are areas of agreement. But right now, we can’t find areas of agreement. We just want to be, I think, shouting at each other. It’s like the Joan Didion real politic, you know, it’s more important to shout than it is to actually attain a goal. And that certainly is true for a goal like equity, which is just not on the agenda.
Robert Bryce 48:53
Well, so let me ask you this. So you’ve talked about the cure the prayer for relief, your prayer for relief with the carb lawsuit is the suspension of carbs rules on on housing, and in the litigation, you won the litigation on the open records, but now you still have the other case pending against the Office of Planning
Unknown Speaker 49:13
and research. Both cases are still pending.
Robert Bryce 49:16
Yeah, both cases are still pending. What are your chances? And you know, I’m going to ask a lawyer, what are your chances of success at the courthouse? But But you you I mean, you’ve made broad constitutional claims here as well, including under equal share how and and fair housing? Well, are the Federal Housing Act? How does equal protection apply in this case? I’m not I’m not a lawyer don’t even don’t pretend to be one. And how does equal protection apply here? And why wouldn’t you file you filed in state in state court not in federal court? Why Why would you go Why would not go to federal court with your constitutional claims and and explain why equal protection matters here?
Unknown Speaker 49:54
Well, so we have a variety of both state law claims and federal law claims and the state courts can take action missing some federal constitutional claims. If we get an adverse ruling in state court, we can also take it to federal court. You know, I did a lot of reading on civil rights litigation. And it’s very, very challenging. You know, there were many, many decades of courts upholding separate but equal school systems, saying that’s just fine, or that’s just political. And ultimately, of course, a court decision, Brown versus Board of Education shut that down. But that result happened over a course of decades. And it happened alongside civil rights, protests, but also alongside political awakening and political awareness of this, you know, well, I thought this was what you know, were the good guys, we thought this would be better for kids schooling, you know, it would keep the peace between the races or whatever. And all kinds of people defended that status quo. until suddenly, it seemed ridiculous, and a pourraient and shameful. And that’s what I think is here.
Robert Bryce 51:06
So if I can interrupt so you’re saying the equal protection, you’re, you’re making a parallel between equal access to housing as equal access to what the two schools right Thurgood Marshall, that case Didn’t he was later?
Unknown Speaker 51:20
Yeah, and and what was really I think one of the most disheartening moments of my entire career, and I’ve been at this now 2035 years, is the California Attorney General, actually tried to dismiss that civil rights claim in our first lawsuit against carb, saying it was absolutely constitutional for carb to engage in racially discriminatory housing measures, because housing was not a protected class, which was both a total misread of the law. But beyond that, an absolutely stunning thing for a California Attorney General, under Javier viscera, my classmate at Stanford, to put that in writing not once but twice, to argue in court in front of Judge Cardoza that it’s okay for carb to engage in racially exclusionary housing measures, that those words should not have come off of anyone’s fingers or lips in California, two years ago, but they sure did. And that’s how blind we have become morally, to looking at a mirror in our climate policymaking. And asking the question, is this really fair? Is it really effective? by denying people the right to actually own a home like they can in the rest of the country and inducing people to leave to Texas? Is that really good for the environment? Is it good for the global climate change circumstance? The answer to those questions is no. This is a powerful dogma, really powerful. And it’s kind of sexy, too. We got the Hollywood stars and everybody excited about climate change and stuff. And they go, you know, to international climate conferences, pre COVID on private jets, and you know, don’t wear shoes to show their solidarity with the people. I mean, there’s a bunch of nonsense that happens around this stuff. But the truth is, we are doing with climate, what too often the ruling class if I could make such a bold statement does by reflex and that is coming up with incredibly hurtful and racially discriminatory measures, instead of focusing on alternatives where all ships could rise with the tide, or at least everybody who works hard, can buy a place and actually have that that first rung in the middle class, just like we have in the rest of the country.
Robert Bryce 53:51
Well, you know, you we keep mentioning the homeownership part. And we have a mutual friend Joel kotkin and he has a great new book out on the coming with the rise of Neo, Neo feudalism, Neo feudalism, thank you. But he talked about homeownership in a way that I thought was really compelling. He said, You’ve got it, people need a stake, they need a stake in the society and you get that with a home. Right that if they’re all renters, then everybody’s kind of disconnected. They don’t, you know, their, their their attachment to the local park or the local highway or, you know, garbage pickup. It’s not as strong as having an ownership stake.
Unknown Speaker 54:29
You know, I there are places where I’m sure that’s not as accurate and there are a lot of long term renters who choose to be
Robert Bryce 54:39
Unknown Speaker 54:41
But as a, you’re exactly right as a path for working families to try to create economic and housing security for themselves and for their children. There is nothing like it. I mean, my dad lost his steel worker job at age 56 having never work anywhere except you a steel. And the fact that they own their home. My parents owned their home, it was $21,000. home. It’s not a, you know, great home and 900 square feet or something. But that kept them from falling into poverty. The same with my two grandmother’s who each very steelworkers as well. And they both had 20 year widow ships. It was homeownership that allowed them dignity and frankly, economic support as they got older. It’s just such a core value, and it’s the one value that is attainable truly attainable, to those who can work hard and save with a fair amount of discipline, even if they don’t have you know, a degree in coding. It’s it’s a path into a stake for their family, not just the community but for their family. And people will go 180 miles from their job to create that steak for their family. We owe them I think, better than this, this really misbegotten and, and frankly, racist climate policy that California environmentalists have cooked up. It’s nonsense.
Robert Bryce 56:20
So this is personal for you.
Unknown Speaker 56:22
It is very personal. Yeah, I don’t donate time, I charge a lot for my time. Except causes that are extraordinary. And privilege is working for civil rights leaders in this environmental space. I’ve had that privilege for 20 some years
Robert Bryce 56:37
now. And you volunteer your time and hope that you win. And if you win, you get the lawyer fees. That’s right. But otherwise, this is all all a donation for you.
Unknown Speaker 56:48
Well, it would certainly be nice if there were donations to the 200 the 200 dot org for anyone hearing this. And feeling like this is a good thing because we do have costs in addition to court on fees. Sure.
Robert Bryce 57:03
So do you have co counsel on this? I just I’m looking at the pleadings. I see your name. I don’t see any other so you’re the one that’s carrying the legal, the legal battle to the state regulators on behalf of the 200 which Joe Coto john john Gamboa, Robert Apodaca,
Unknown Speaker 57:19
Herman guy Aygo says a long long list of pretty terrific people, including Don prata, Sonny McPeak former cabinet members, for members of the legislature, because remember, none of this was voted on. Right?
Robert Bryce 57:36
Because that was the part that to me, again, was in talking with both Mr. Apodaca and and in our previous conversations that these rules on vehicle miles traveled, which to me, I mean, of all the things that you’re you’re litigating here. This is the one that you know, if I were British, I would say that’s gobsmacking. Right. A minute. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Before head smacking that you’re essentially taxing mobility. That’s right. And to me, quick side story. I knew a guy in the in the railroad business a long time ago, he said, without transportation, there’s no commerce. And then I made the corollary will oil, the transportation depends on oil. And so without oil, there’s no commerce, but the what? Without transportation, there’s no commerce, which means if you don’t have effective transportation, you can’t work. You can’t trade. You can’t. Yes, that’s right. There’s no way to make that happen. So that the vehicle miles traveled thing to me is it seems especially pernicious. And the point getting back to the point here, that five hours later that the legislature the California assembly never voted on this that
Unknown Speaker 58:34
well, not not only is
Robert Bryce 58:36
it such a draconian regulation.
Unknown Speaker 58:38
Yeah, so so you’re wrong. Let the legislature which is a Senate and the Assembly repeatedly voted down regulating PMT. They refused to regulate PMT impose. So and and every year someone proposes or we got to reduce VMT mandate reductions in VMT. Use Sequa mandate reductions and BMP, use climate law, SB 375 to mandate reductions and VMT. Every single time that’s come up to the legislature for a real political debate. The answer has been well, that’s absurd. We can clean up cars, we can support transit, we can do things now to you know, enhance broadband and maybe facilitate more remote work take miles off the road out. But we’re not going to be able to mandate reductions in BMP. We just can’t, you know, look at the state look at the different circumstances of the state. So the political decision makers have said no, but Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsome,
Robert Bryce 59:41
the administrative state said
Unknown Speaker 59:44
Yes, right. That’s right.
Robert Bryce 59:46
And that seems again, particularly pernicious here. And that is not on a vote of the elected. It’s a move by the unelected to impose this kind of regulation. So we’re at about an hour and a half. I’d like to keep my my interviews at about an hour because I’m not Joe Rogan. But a couple of quick things you How long do you think it will take to resolve these lawsuits? I mean, these are complex, you make many claims in them. You’ve had the delays because of COVID. How long do you think it might take to resolve this? Because you you’re really are fighting, as I’m not telling you anything, you’re fighting a very difficult battle against a lot of people with a lot of money. And a lot of lawyers. How long might this take?
Unknown Speaker 1:00:31
Well, we have, of course, ever hopeful that new decision makers, and we have, for example, a new head of carb, we’ll take a look at this and say, I get it, Okay, I get it, I understand. And we’re gonna not have those provisions in our next scoping plan, which is doing another year and a half. The state has been doing Roberto, they’ve been filing motions, they’ve been delaying production of documents. they’ve they’ve done what they can do to drag these out. And, and that’s the nature of litigation. So we’ll fight them, as long as you know, there’s there’s fighting me will continue to fight them. And if you know, if others would like to help, we’d certainly you know, love getting some help. In kind, whatever we can get, we would love to get some more help. But it’s too important. It’s too important to just say to these agency people who are not elected. Yeah, go ahead and eliminate mobility. Eliminate homeownership. Go ahead, it doesn’t matter because you guys are older and wider, and you have yours. And so what we do to the kids in the name of climate, that’s just
Robert Bryce 1:01:45
you live near the coast.
Unknown Speaker 1:01:47
Exactly, exactly. Yeah. You know, and I live in Berkeley, you know, heating and air conditioning is a matter of really of opening and closing windows. I mean, it’s really not that challenging most of the time. So if your entire worldview is based on cities like Berkeley, then you know, it’s not just the country you’re not in tune with your name in tune with the state. Drive 50 miles. And I’m guessing most of these folks have not driven 50 miles. They may fly by 1000 miles, but they’re not. They’re not going to be you know, visiting Riverside.
Robert Bryce 1:02:25
Visit rural San Bernardino County, your Yeah, or Bakersfield, but they will but they will vacation in Bali. Last time you were back to your hometown in Pittsburg, California.
Unknown Speaker 1:02:35
Oh, just a couple of weeks ago, actually. We still have family there. My my parents met when they were in junior high. And so we’re we’re longtime residents, Mexican and Italian.
Robert Bryce 1:02:49
and have your first think about the lawsuit that you’ve you’ve told them you’ve briefed a brief to your phone. Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 1:02:54
we lost my we lost my dad, unfortunately, my mother fret. She’s always spread it. You know, are you sure you’re up for this battle? And I’m like, well, Mom, it’s in and she’s like, yeah, it’s what you’ve always done.
Robert Bryce 1:03:09
And I have a pretty good day job, mom. So
Unknown Speaker 1:03:11
yeah, yeah, exactly. But I have to say you don’t break out of Pittsburgh with a full ride scholarship to Harvard, because you say yes. And thank you. You there other. Other forces have to be at work to find that path. I didn’t quite know what I was doing then. Hopefully I do now.
Robert Bryce 1:03:30
So who do you admire? You’ve been in the legal business. Any lawyers you admire who your heroes?
Unknown Speaker 1:03:38
Well, I mean, john Gamboa is is one for sure. And Herman and Joe and Robert.
Robert Bryce 1:03:45
Has his organization, his community builders is that?
Unknown Speaker 1:03:48
Yeah, California Community builders was a was an experiment that he and Robert did to see if they could build affordable housing. And they learn by doing just all of the unbelievable hurdles we put in the way of that activity. from a regulatory perspective, which is why they started then the 200.
Robert Bryce 1:04:09
And community builders has done an excellent video. I remember watching and it’s on Yeah, on Sequa. And the problems with the California Environmental Quality Act and how it stands in the way of more affordable housing. And so
Unknown Speaker 1:04:21
Unknown Speaker 1:04:23
Yeah, thanks so much. Appreciate it. But they’re definitely heroes. You know, my, my view of heroism is a little more mundane. I think, you know, my dad, for example, who weathered a whole bunch of setbacks and just held it together. And was always and he and my mom always had our backs, which is a pretty amazing thing for parents to give to kids, I think, for all of those parents, especially in this incredibly challenging year, with kids at home and stuff. You know, those are my So the people I would like to, to go down helping so
Robert Bryce 1:05:08
so what are you reading? good books? Oh
Unknown Speaker 1:05:10
Robert Bryce 1:05:11
your book reader newspaper reader what’s what’s on the?
Unknown Speaker 1:05:14
Robert Bryce 1:05:14
a standard. What do you read?
Unknown Speaker 1:05:17
Yeah, I’m a pretty voracious media meter. So, you know, a lot of that is, is happening. You know,
Robert Bryce 1:05:27
I use news and magazines.
Unknown Speaker 1:05:29
Yeah, about four years ago now I read color of law, which is a book about the residential development, racism, redlining practices over the years, and Richard Rothstein has become a friend. And that has set me off in a whole bunch of other kind of civil rights history reading. And it’s, it’s, it’s shocking to me how pernicious This movement is, although this movement that is to just be blindly, but seriously, and constantly racially discriminatory is a pretty is a pretty tough pill to swallow, even as all these organizations, you know, now we’re all looking for the perfect, you know, black veterans, with the Latina wife and and, you know, to create some color diversity on their boards or leadership ranks, the truth is they’re not open to policy. self examination
Robert Bryce 1:06:36
is this is this john gamble, I think use this term is we’ve talked about and again, my guest is Jennifer Hernandez, a lawyer for the 200. He used the term climate redlining that all these policies regarding vehicle miles traveled regarding home ownership and energy and climate policies are in California, or he he has been very involved in in redlining. And the issue of not the refusal of banks and other lenders to give money to blacks and Latinos want to buy and White House white neighborhoods or Anglo neighborhoods. Is all of this in, in some climate redlining?
Unknown Speaker 1:07:11
Yeah, it is. It’s a continuum.
Robert Bryce 1:07:14
I like that term. Is that the best phrase?
Unknown Speaker 1:07:17
I think it’s pretty good one, I think you’ve just find it. Your john. Yeah, there’s been some even, you know, the climate apartheid was used by another person. And that apartheid concept includes that spatial divide, you know, where we’re in
Robert Bryce 1:07:40
Unknown Speaker 1:07:42
Yeah. sundown towns, right. There’s there’s no more workers left in town at sundown, because they just don’t, or they’re not allowed to live there. And, and we have that all over coastal California.
Robert Bryce 1:07:57
Last question, what gives you hope?
Unknown Speaker 1:07:59
Oh, you know what the truth is, I think people are more sensible than politicians give them credit for. I don’t, you know, I couldn’t be farther away from Trump the personality, but anyone who ignored the concerns of people who voted for him, and the concerns about far left policies, you know, does so at their at their peril. Same thing on the other side is books on the religious right, that we don’t talk about much anymore, to want it to be effectively legislating what happens in my bedroom, that was not acceptable either. So I think we’re on a far left swing of the pendulum and, and Biden is not exactly a far left candidate. So he’s got his hands full. But I am hoping that we can begin to speak about this stuff. Because the coverage of climate policymaking is pretty laudatory and unquestioning by by most mainstream media, and I think it came as a huge shock that Mary Nichols wasn’t, you know, the carb leader, wasn’t the hero to, you know, minority Californians communities of color, that she was largely perceived to be by, you know, white environmentalists and the media who write about them. So
Robert Bryce 1:09:32
you gave a great, great, great summary about, you know, what gives you hope, but I did, I did want to ask that one other part of it, because this is the, you know, I’ve been in journalism, I’ve been in journalism about as long as you’ve been doing legal business, never had never had a real job. But the coverage of climate issues in general, and the way the coverage has skewed toward favoring anything having to do with renewables, favoring anything having to do with the environmental groups that are pushing them and post to the hydrocarbon sector opposed to any discussion about whether it’s existential crisis and all the rest of it is remarkable. And I see it particularly in the Los Angeles Times this kind of unquestioned kind of Oh, well, you know, any anyone who might speak out against this and even Robert Apodaca is held up for not even ridicule would be too strong a word but very circumspect. Very questioning of the motives and so on. That Yeah. I don’t want to keep you all day. But This to me is a really important question is from Why is the media so skewed against even the coverage of your litigation? Yeah, I’m not patting myself on the back. But I’m one of the few who’s covered it in a Yeah, it’s, it’s remarkable. Why is that?
Unknown Speaker 1:10:46
I think we have lost a lot of media. Over the over the past few years, right, whereas the world has consolidated and daily newspaper staffs have obviously shrunk to nothing. I think there’s a there’s a little entropy there, you know, if if minority coverage is affordable deed restricted rental housing or crime? And those are the two things that you know, you cover when you cover people who are black or brown. And somebody has to step out and say, Well, what else? Right, and then we don’t have so much of the What else? Probably, to me, one of the more discouraging features of the media is, as the MB movement, yes, in my backyard, a pro housing group of largely white millennials, kind of took hold, then that became kind of a media darling, too, because so many of the reporters shared those same demographics. But it’s it’s this notion of this unconscious bias, right? That, you know, most people have. And in this era of Black Lives Matter and racial awakening, it doesn’t seem like there’s been too much of an appetite to say, it’s not just a question of the color of the people around the table, but it’s, what are we doing at the table that has that transition has not happened? And I wish it would. But, but it’s now as you say, wrapped around anti capitalism, a whole sort of, you know, we just need to be more dictatorial about what we tell people they can and can’t do. And by the way, that’s new people who are already here, because we don’t have the gumption to tell people already here what they can do or not do. To the extent they’re wealthier donors or homeowners. So it’s a it’s a pretty the media coverage situation is pretty discouraging. And I’m grateful for folks like you and, and others who, you know, pick up the baton, and talk about it energy in particular, is hard to get covered. Well, the whole idea of you know, Where exactly are we getting enough electricity to power? You know, the transportation sector? Are you serious, we can’t even power our current sector. We can’t keep manufacturers because we charge too much for energy. It’s just cheaper to be somewhere else. So
Robert Bryce 1:13:27
Well, those are some reasons as I say an expensive energy is the enemy of the poor. And yeah, and yet, this is the
Unknown Speaker 1:13:34
Sierra Club. The Sierra Club agreed with you for quite a few years. There’s a very noteworthy quote that said, you know, environmental protectionism depends on clean, cheap energy. And, and that’s true was the sierra club president speaking in favor of nuclear energy at the time since then disappeared in favor of the sort of slow growth smallest, beautiful,
Unknown Speaker 1:13:54
Unknown Speaker 1:13:57
there was once a time when environmental values were not taken to such extremes that they create division instead of collaboration. And I’d like to get back to that.
Robert Bryce 1:14:12
Well, it’s been a great conversation, Jennifer, my guest, Jennifer Hernandez, she’s a partner at Holland and Knight, very large law firm. She’s also the lead lawyer for the 200 coalition of Latino groups who are involved in some very important litigate some very important litigation in California that’s ongoing and will likely will be for I’m going to guess a couple years at least, before you get it resolved. But it’s been a pleasure to have you if you want to follow up on Jennifer’s work, go to the 200 dot org. That’s all spelled out. No, let no numerals there, the 200 dot org. Jennifer, any other thoughts? You want to just throw in here the last moment?
Unknown Speaker 1:14:48
Thank you. Thank you for the work you do. Thanks for your audience for putting up with this long interview and have a great 2021
Robert Bryce 1:14:57
All right, great. Thanks, very many thanks to you, Jennifer. Thanks to all of you in podcast land if you like this one, give us a positive rating on your favorite podcast outlet and I will see you next time on the power hungry podcast.