Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The White House Forum on Urban Innovation

AAEA participated in a forum at The White House yesterday that brought people from all over the country to share information about innovations in their respective areas.  The White House Forum on Urban Innovation is a part of a new set of conversations hosted by The White House to spotlight stories of social innovation on the ground.  The White House wanted to learn from pioneers who are driving change in challenging times and to explore new ways federal policymaking can support their endeavors. 

Today, many of our cities are growing at a faster rate than our suburbs, a phenomenon we have not seen since the 1920s.  Within those cities, many neighborhoods have struggled with concentrated poverty and economic immobility for generations.  These innovations exemplify the goals of the Obama administration and the best of Aemrican ingenuity in creating jobs, improving economic resilience, and strengthening urban communities.

AAEA President Norris McDonald was given the opportunity to describe our Stormwater Credit Exchange and Section 3 Water Efficiency Entrepreneur Progrm.

Opening remarks were provided by Racquel Russell, Deputy Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs and Economic Mobility and Jonathan Greenblatt, Director, White House Office of Social Innovation and Civil Participation.

Administration perspectives were given by Valerie Jarrrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President and Cecilia Munoz, Director, White House Domestic Policy Council.

Spotlight on Innovators: Session 1 included Angela Blanchard, Neighborhood Centers, Inc., Mayor Pedro Segarra, City of Hartford, Carol Thompson Cole, Venture Philanthropy Partners, and Jennifer Crozier, IBM Corporate Citizenship.

Spotlight on Innovators: Session 2 included Rachel Haot, City of New York, Yusef Freeman, McCormack Baron Salazar, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, City of Pittsburgh, Jessica Venegas, 100,000 Homes, and Kristine Breese, Jacob Center for Neighborhood Innovation.

Breakout Workshops included Neighborhood Revitalization moderated by Luke Tate, White House Domestic Policy Council, Public Health moderated by Julie Moreno, White House Domestic Policy Council, Education moderated by Jim Shelton, Department of Education and Economic Development moderated by Ari Matusiak, White House Office of Public Engagement.  (The White House)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

42 Annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference

September 19-22, 2012

Sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

THE ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE will take place September 19-22, 2012 at the Walter E.Washington Convention Center located at 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW, Washington, DC, 20001.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO RECEIVE ALL OFFICIAL CONFERENCE MATERIALS, including the Souvenir Conference Journal, registration badge and invitation to the CBCF Chair’s Reception. A conference badge is required to enter all CBCF non-ticketed events, including the National Town Hall Meeting, Jazz Concert, Gospel Extravaganza and Exhibit Hall Showcase. Many of the Sponsor Packages include conference registrations. Once sponsor payment has been received, you will receive instructions for registering your company representatives. Registration and ticket purchases can be made through any of the methods below.

Online [fastest way]
Online registrations will be accepted through September 7 at www.cbcfinc.org or www.ALC11.org. Registration fees will be charged according to the staggered fee schedule. See registration form for details

Phone registrations accepted at (877) 585-6018
Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m.– 5:00 p.m. (EST) May 7 through September 14.

Fax your completed form to (703) 631-1167 by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on September 6, 2012.

Mail your completed registration form to:
CBCF Registration Center
C/O J. Spargo & Associates, Inc.
11208 Waples Mill Rd., Suite 112
Fairfax, VA 22030

To ensure receipt it is strongly encouraged that registration forms are mailed on or before September 6, 2012. Forms postmarked after September 6 but before September 13 will be charged the higher On-Site Registration Fee. Forms post marked after September 13 run the risk of not being received and therefore cannot be processed. (CBCF)

Congressional Fellows Program on Energy

Application Deadline: August 31, 2012

Program Dates: September 10, 2012 - May 23, 2014

Click Here for 2012 Application


The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) Congressional Fellows Program was created in 1976 in order to increase the number of African Americans working as professional staff in the U.S. Congress. The Congressional Fellows Program offers public policy training to young professionals by providing them with an opportunity to work on Capitol Hill.

The Congressional Fellows Program on Energy is a two-year policy training and leadership development program which targets early career-policy professionals who are committed to contributing to energy policy.

Program Description

CBCF Fellows work in congressional member and committee offices, attend leadership development seminars, complete a community service project and produce policy papers. During the first-year office placement, Fellows gain invaluable experience as they assist in the development of legislative and public policy initiatives in CBC Member Offices. Fellows work 40 hours per week on a range of staff assignments, including legislative analysis, responding to constituent mail, drafting talking points and speeches for members, and coordinating logistics and public testimony for Congressional hearings. During the second half of the program, fellows transition to a congressional committee. The committee placement complements their experience in a member’s office and provides the fellows with a full view of the legislative process.

The Fellow will gain extensive exposure to lawmakers and policy professionals dedicated to formulating and implementing energy policy such as Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (CAFÉ) for passenger vehicles, and improving U.S. energy infrastructure, energy conservation and the development of new technologies and alternative fuels.

  • U.S. citizen or permit to work in the U.S. through May 2014
  • Graduate or professional degree completed prior to the start date fellowship program. In some rare instances, extensive and relevant work experience may be substituted for educational requirements
  • Familiarity with the federal legislative process, Congress and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and its members
  • Demonstrated interest in public policy, and commitment to creating and implementing policy to improve the living conditions for underserved and underrepresented individuals
Selection Process

Selection as a CBCF Fellow is based on a combination of the following criteria:
  • A record of academic and professional achievement
  • Familiarity with the federal legislative process, Congress, and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
  • Evidence of leadership skills and the potential for further growth
  • Demonstrated interest in public policy
  • Quality of paper application and interview performance

Additional Information

Participants in the Congressional Fellows Program must reside in or relocate to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Fellows are paid an annual salary of $40,000, with benefits. Fellows are responsible for their own travel, housing and other associated expenses.
Send letters of recommendations and transcripts in one envelope to:

CBCF Congressional Fellows Program
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
1720 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Attn: Leadership Institute Manager


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

AAEA Featured In "Nature Kids" Documentary

Nature Kids is a new, feature-length documentary film from independent filmmaker, Kenny Ballentine. The film focuses on solutions to the kids-and-nature gap. It follows some amazing kids, inspired individuals, and ground-breaking organizations on breathtaking adventures into nature. From backyard gardens to the forest canopy, to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, Nature Kids will ask audiences to look deep into the natural world and deep within themselves. Together we will examine the critical connections between children and nature. We will discover not only why kids need nature, but also why nature needs them.

After two years of hard work, hundreds of hours of footage, and thousands of miles traveled, Indiegoo has finished production on the ducumentary film, "Nature Kids!" Now they are left with the enormous task of finishing the film and delivering it to the world. Indiegogo needs funding to pay off all production debts, pay for an original musical score, color correction and a professional sound mix, establish a publicity and marketing budget, and take the film on tour to schools, organizations, conferences, and film festivals around the world.  Every penny will go directly towards finishing this film.

AAEA President Norris McDonald is featured in the documentary.

This film is all about solutions. The point is to help people from every walk of life get kids outside and connected to nature. Your donation will make a difference. It will help to finish Nature Kids and more importantly, it will help bring it to the kids, parents, educators and policy-makers who need to see it!

In the not-too-distant past an American childhood was defined by unsupervised time outdoors. It was a time when kids could explore woods, play in creeks, build forts, and stay out until the lights came on. Sadly, the days of a free-range childhood seem to be far behind us. Urbanization, technological advances, the loss of green public spaces and fear have given rise to an indoor and plugged-in generation. Today the average American spends 90% of their time indoors and the average American child will spend 7 to 10 hours a day in front of a glowing screen.

Can't give money?

If you are simply unable to give towards this campaign you can still help. Please share this campaign with everyone you know. Use Facebook, Twitter and email. Tell your friends, family, and co-workers that you believe that childhood needs to be brought back outdoors!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

S.L. Sibert Management & Construction v. Chesapeake Energy

Sam Sibert
A 21st Century epic version of David and Goliath appears to be taking place in the Lone Star State. Two successful corporations in the gas industry are preparing to litigate their sides of the story in the great state of Texas. One being an international giant in the gas industry, Chesapeake Energy, and the other a little known 100% minority owned corporation, S.L. Sibert Management and Construction, Inc (SLSMC).

Many are aware of the tremendous growth of Chesapeake Energy, with their herculean drilling for natural gas in the many Shales in regions across the United States, and also their recent major shakeups in their Oklahoma City based corporate headquarters. Not many know the story of S.L. Sibert M & C, and their successful climb to the top in the gas construction industry. This little know African American owned business has been around over 20 years. 

The story began with the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport accepting bids for major drilling , a part of the Barnett Shale natural gas discovery. Many corporations in the gas industry were required to submit bids for this major project. Chesapeake Energy was the successful benefactor of the process and began preparing to drill over 330 wells at DFW Airport.

A part of the agreement with D/FW Airport management was, in order to successfully bid, one must adhere to the M/WBE requirements, which includes minority participation. Chesapeake Energy met those requirements and accepted the terms of the agreement by vetting several minority owned businesses in the D/FW area and offering them an opportunity to participate. Several minority owned businesses submitted their required information, and prepared to begin their part in the drilling construction on the airport grounds after the announcement of Chesapeake’s successful bid. One of those companies was S.L. Sibert Management and Construction, headed by President and C.E.O., Sam L. Sibert.

What followed was the alleged changes that took place after the bid was awarded to Chesapeake Energy….not only was S.L. Sibert M&C, not going to be used in the gas drilling process, but the situation got so bad that communications with project management and upper management began to falter. Prior to the bidding opportunity, S.L. Sibert M & C was promised to do the underground pipeline for drilling support water and electrical with given prices per well by Chesapeake management. Not only did Sibert add additional equipment and prepare for more employees, but a significant amount of financing was necessary to successfully do the work.

After fighting for years to get his share of the agreement, most of the major work had been done, and Sibert suffered a tremendous blow. Now the Dallas County, 160th District Court, is preparing to hear this case, and perhaps David will fell another Goliath in the 21st Century. We’ll be watching.

The S. L. Sibert Company, Inc., formed in 1993, is a top pipeline construction company in the gas and electric industry.  SLSMC is currently a primary contractor for the Texas Utilities and Electric Company (TXU).  In 1996 S. L. Sibert became a prime contractor for TXU installing electrical services to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Sibert widen the field in 1999 by including gas services to its rapidly expanding range of capabilities when they signed an Alliance Contract with TXU-Gas. Under the Alliance Contract Sibert installs new gas services in the Western Regions of Dallas and Fort Worth.  In 2001 Sibert was able to showcase its advanced techniques in Directional Boring by completing a highly profiled water-line replacement job for Colleyville, Texas using a specific Boring method. The Colleyville water-line replacement was the first job of its kind completed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

Sam L. Sibert is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington. Sibert played for Kentucky State University where he helped lead his team to two NAIA national championships. Sibert also played in the National Basketball Association for Kansas City-Omaha King. He is founder and CEO of S.L. Sibert Company and he built one of the largest construction companies in north central Texas with employees operating in several states including Oklahoma.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Residents Sue Over Sparrows Point Pollution

Sparrows Point
Residents around Sparrows Point filed suit Thursday against the owners of the Baltimore County steel mill and a cement plant on the peninsula, claiming that neighbors' health has been put at risk and their property contaminated by pollution from industrial activities there. The suit, filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court, seeks damages from RG Steel and LaFarge North America for exposing surrounding residents to hazardous and cancer-causing air pollutants and noxious odors.
Though only two residents were listed as plaintiffs, the complaint says it's on behalf of about 200 residents of Dundalk, Turner Station, Edgemere and other nearby communities. It also seeks to be treated as a class action for all nearby residents.

The legal action comes days after an industrial liquidation firm won the bidding for the century-old steel-making complex. The mill's current owner, RG Steel, had filed for bankruptcy in May and the court must approve the sale. (The Baltimore Sun, 8/9/2012)

Survey: Calif Minorities Want Action On Global Warming Now

A large majority of California’s adult African Americans and Latinos want the state government to start reducing greenhouse gases and emissions immediately rather than wait for the economy and the jobs picture to improve, a new statewide survey found.  The Public Policy Institute of California on Tuesday released the survey, “Californians and the Environment.” Among ethnic groups surveyed, Latinos and African Americans show the most support for immediate state action against global warming, 74 percent and 55 percent respectively, while non-Latino whites and Asians agreed at a rate of 46 percent and 45 percent respectively.

And despite economic difficulties, minority communities also show overwhelming support for the law requiring the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by the year 2020.
Asians, blacks and Latinos supported the emissions reduction law by 82 percent, 74 percent and 82 percent respectively, while 61 of percent non-Latino whites surveyed said they back the law.

Moreover, 42 percent of California adults believe that efforts to curb global warming will create more jobs for people around the state. Up to 63 percent of blacks and 50 percent of Asians think so.

While nearly half of all adults view air pollution as a serious health threat, ethnic minorities showed the most concern over air pollution and are most aware that the health threat is more serious in lower-income areas than in other areas.

The survey shows that advocates need to better educate their communities on other environmental policy issues. While 56 percent of non-Latino whites have heard of the government’s “cap and trade” policy to set limits on carbon dioxide emissions, awareness of the policy among Asians, Latinos and African Americans is below 40 percent.
Most of California's environmental justice groups opposed the Cap and Trade portion of California's global warming law.  AAEA supports the Cap and Trade regulations. (New America Media, 8/8/2012)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Chevron Refinery Fire in Richmond, California

Smoke from the Chevron refinery
Thousands of East Bay residents were ordered to stay in their homes with the windows and doors closed Monday night after a series of explosions at Chevron's Richmond refinery. The explosions started about 6:15 p.m., and at least two large fires spewed thick, black smoke into the darkening sky.

The fire started at the refinery's No. 4 Crude Unit, Chevron officials said. Just before 6:30 p.m., an inspection crew discovered that there was a diesel leak in a line in the unit - and that the leak was growing. Shortly after the crew evacuated the area, the diesel ignited.

All employees had been accounted for and there were no fatalities, but one refinery worker suffered burns to his wrist and was treated at the on-site clinic.  About five minutes after the explosions, sirens tore through the air, alerting residents to stay indoors to prevent breathing tainted air.

As the smoke stretched out over the El Cerrito hills, Contra Costa County hazardous materials units rolled through the neighborhoods, taking air samples. Som people came to the emergency room Monday night complaining of shortness of breath, but none was seriously ill. (San Fran Chronicle, 8/8/2012)