The Tom Steyer I Know

Of all the billionaires I know, Tom Steyer is my favorite.

I had dinner and drinks with him and a handful of activists in Hermosa Beach a few years ago and found him to be about as as down to earth, smart and interesting as the guys I like to hang with.

March 11 2016

(photo by Al Muratsuchi)

You may have seen one of Tom Steyer’s video ads on-line or on television calling for the impeachment of President Trump.  Trump noticed them and called Steyer “wacky & totally unhinged.”  Nancy Pelosi criticized Steyer and his calls for impeachment as “not helpful.”

I think Steyer is dead solid perfect right-on and I’m glad somebody has the courage and vision to say the obvious. I’m especially glad it’s him.

Most of us in the environmental movement know who Steyer is, and we’re well aware of his work as a political and climate action activist, but plenty of folks I run into haven’t heard of him yet.

With Steyer seriously considering a run for Diane Feinstein’s US Senate seat and his ongoing impeachment campaign it won’t be long before Steyer’s recognition numbers go beyond the current 25% of voters who say they know enough about him to form an opinion.

I know plenty of elected representatives at all levels, I know my fair share of CEOs and celebrities too, but I don’t personally know a one of them as tough, determined, authentic and genuine as Tom Steyer.

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Men Are The Problem. Women Are The Solution

feministIt should be pretty simple and obvious what the solution to our current “Age Of Stupid,” problem is if we want to change course as drastically as we need to, and if we choose to survive instead of hurtling at record speed into the abyss.

Naomi Klein detailed the blueprint in “This Changes Everything” but she left out one architectural design feature.

Man must step down – or be removed – from all positions of power and replaced by equally competent women (of whom there is no shortage).

Women have earned the exclusive leadership rights until at least the end of the century, and then we can take a look back at how things went and determine if we want to re-up the exclusive deal for the next century.

Any honest and objective evaluation of how we got to where we are leaves you with one undeniable conclusion – men have been in charge of everything and men have screwed up almost everything they’ve been in charge of. It’s in their nature.

Whether it’s health, safety, equity, environment, education, justice, foreign relations, poverty, transportation, homelessness, violence – I could go on and on mansplaining it to you, but half the population understood this whole proposition when they read the headline of this piece. Continue reading

It’s #TimeForUnrest Because My Friend Liz Deserves A Life Outside Her Bedroom

I met 12 year old Liz Burlingame in 1980 back when I was 23 years old and didn’t like kids.

Smart, witty, humble –  a little awkward, but a bright shining light with such a positive and endearing personality I couldn’t help but love Liz and make a rare exception to my “Children Not Invited” rule.

Joe & Liz Sept 18

Me and Liz on my birthday in 1982. She made a “Happy Birthday Mr. Joe” sign for their Newport Beach garage door.

Liz read books and was interested in current events and liked to talk about them – all traits we shared.  Liz was a nerd compared to her bouncy, athletic and popular sister, Lynn – which made her even more winsome to me.

But what sealed the deal for me was that Liz became the first fan of my fledging writing work – long before anything I wrote was worth the attention. Liz was interested in whatever screenplay or sitcom I was writing on spec or just talking about writing.  Liz was rooting for me from the beginning and has never stopped being the supportive kid sister I always wished for.

The one subject I never thought I’d be writing about is the one I’m now sharing here about Liz being sick and mostly bedridden for the past 26 years with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that struck her down like Thor’s hammer.

This is the story of how Liz has had her life from age 23 to 49 (which she is today), robbed from her by a disease that many doctors still deny is real, know almost nothing about and are doing almost nothing about.

In this heartbreaking piece Liz wrote just last month she says,

I live in Atlanta, a city of 5.8 million people, home to the CDC, and noted for its medical facilities, but there are so few doctors here that treat ME/CFS that most patients I know travel to South Carolina to consult a doctor there.

I want to grab disbelieving doctors by the lapels and shout, “A little help, please!” Modern medicine has dismissed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome possibly because the name sounded so negligible. It sounded far more like a complaint than what it really is.

CFS is a disease.

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Urgent: Assemblymember Chris Holden Trying to Kill California’s 100% Renewable Climate Bill, #ChangeTheClimate, #SB100

From our friend George Sarvis posted today on his blog, Stop Climate Crazies

SB100CallAssembly9.14.16b

In this year when the climate crisis has stepped on the gas, throwing more and worse extreme weather events at everyone around the world, including especially Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and the more than 70 wildfires burning up the Northwest, including the iconic Columbia Gorge, the California State Senate, led by President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, has introduced a historic climate change bill designed to turn our climate emissions around by requiring the State move to 100% renewable energy.

SB 100 (De Leon) – California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program

SB 100 accelerates the existing renewable energy targets to 60 percent RPS by 2030, and requires retail energy sellers to plan, model, and invest over the next 28 years to reach the 100% clean, zero carbon, and renewable energy target.

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Just 2 More Weeks Till Sunstock 2017! Are You Ready to Rock L.A.?

If you were with me last summer at Sunstock 2016 held on the Autry Museum field you know what a blast we had from start to finish. The best music. The best audience. The best vibe. Great food and drink. And all of it powered by the sun and the solar PV systems on site.

It was such a hit we’re doing it again, on Saturday Sept 9 with all new bands and a bitching new venue – the legendary and infamous The Magic Box, right in the heart of DTLA and mere steps from the Metro station.

And dig who’s playing the two stages at this year’s Sunstock:

Sunstock_LINEUP_8.16

Let’s all come together and shine our bright lights in unison at this year’s solar festival – I’m ready to party and shake my groove thing to kick off an epic #YearOfJoe and so are all these friends of mine in the video: Continue reading

A Well Earned, Guilt Free #YearOfJoe

Ladies and gentlemen your friendly neighborhood Greenius has hit the wall. I am dog tired.

And I’m cranky – angry even – I’ve got no patience left.

My lips no longer pucker to kiss politicians ass and I find that I can no longer suffer fools gladly.

I need a break, right now, before I snap.

So I’m finally taking one.

A year-long one.

A #YearOfJoe sabbatical.

Starting on my 60th birthday next month.

I’ve been talking about doing this for a long time now – ever since my colleagues at 350.org began taking 3 month long sabbaticals a few years ago and the whole notion of a sabbatical hit my radar screen.  But it seemed pretty impossible once I became The Godfather of Community Choice Power in Los Angeles County – The Big Green Mafia Don as the wing nut fossil fuel lovers dubbed me.

I told everyone, that of course, I wouldn’t take all that time off, and I certainly couldn’t start in September, just because that’s when my birthday was. Especially not right now since we’re in crunch time when cities have to make their decisions, with the County pushing hard and pulling out all the stops to get all our South Bay Clean Power cities to join the County’s program (even though the County’s numbers don’t add up and their plan is the same old consultants’ scam, and dishonest politicians and their cronies are blowing smoke every time they open their mouthes, and who else but me could possibly stop them and make things right?) So, no way was I taking a year off. Maybe one day off every weekend, I decided.

Except my soul and spirit rebelled and I suddenly reached the exact moment where I just stopped giving a shit.

Completely and sweepingly.

About all of it.

The time came when I smelled the coffee and looked at myself and said to myself,

IMG_4804

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A Love Letter To My Other Woman

This is my love letter to Bonnie Raitt – the other woman in my life.

I am here in Santa Barbara with Deb, celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary, having driven up the coast 100 miles from our home in Redondo Beach to see Bonnie play at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Bonnie doesn’t know I’m here. I didn’t let her know I was coming. Didn’t even send her a text or leave a voicemail.

Even if I had it wouldn’t have made any difference. She wouldn’t care, believe me. How could she? Continue reading