It's highly contagious

If you're like me, you're of the opinion that the City of Portland's "clean energy fund" is a scam whereby certain well-connected nonprofit organizations, fly-by-night or otherwise, get free handouts for anything they want that uses power or can somehow be related to energy, no matter how tenuous the connection. New heat pumps? Check. New windows? Sure, re-do the whole office. Electric cars? No problem. How about classes to train your friends on the skills they need for "clean energy" jobs? Sure, money is no object, don't ask what it even means. In fact, we'll pay for you to build a brand new office building, so long as it's "green"-certified.

I see they've quietly changed the name of the thing, too. Now it's the "Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund." The "community benefits" part must be code for admitting that they're simply enriching the politicians' pals. [City commissioner Carmen] Rubio, who's been hacking around in local government for decades, has learned the game pretty well.

Anyway, her latest proposals take a bad system and make it much worse. They're such spectacularly misguided ideas that they're virtually guaranteed to be approved by the City Council. The three guys sitting next to her should know better, but at least one of them won't risk bucking the almighty "nonprofits."

Well, guess what? Today I learned that the same thing is now happening at the state level. Yes, the Oregon DEQ has something called the "community climate investment program" going, and it sure sounds like the Portland scheme spread out statewide. And before the money gets dished out to the local nonprofits who will pay their "executive directors'" mortgages with it, an umbrella nonprofit will take a cut for their "officers," too.

Seeding Justice, a Portland-based nonprofit that deals in social, racial and environmental justice, was selected by DEQ to lead the agency’s Community Climate Investment program... 

If fossil fuel companies choose to buy carbon credits rather than reduce actual emissions, the money goes toward Community Climate Investment projects, which could include creating more renewable energy, retrofitting and weatherizing buildings, and decarbonizing the transportation sector.

The intention for the investment program is to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions in underserved communities, which research has shown carry more burden from climate change, but it also aims to reduce air pollution, improve public health and help communities transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy.

According to Seeding Justice executive director Se-ah-dom Edmo, the organization estimates the fund would generate $150 million each year for climate action across the state.

“I’m fairly confident that $150 million per year is an accurate estimate and I do believe that it’s conservative,” she said.

So I Googled "Seeding Justice," and I didn't have to click around too long before landing on this page, which tells me all I need to know. It's from a while back, when the outfit had a different name:


I wish that I were making all of this up, or that I weren't paying attention. There must be a nice state somewhere where people aren't crazy. But Oregon isn't it.

Comments

  1. Been organizing my finances and things that have roots in the Portland area. The idea being to avoid as many losses as possible if I actually move out of the tri-county area. Didn’t give a thought to moving out of state. Until now

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  2. Another example of our local media just regurgitating press releases. God forbid these entities do any real research or ask informed questions.

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  3. Thank you, Bojack, for shining a (much needed) light on the endless scam-artist "non-profits" feeding off the public trough in the name of "green energy," diversity, "criminal justice reform," equity, "community development," inclusion, "harm reduction," climate change, "restorative justice," and other vague trendy buzzwords used by sleazy idealogues to enrich themselves while destroying our communities and quality of life. I wish The Oregonian, Willamette Week, and other Oregon media had similar perspicacity and interest in exposing this expensive and damaging corruption. Sadly, they do not... and we all suffer for it.

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    1. Not all nonprofits are scams. But the officials who are supposed to be watching over them (the IRS and state attorney general) are not doing their jobs. That being the case, it's not a good time to be routing hundreds of millions of dollars of public money through these organizations, especially when the award-making processes are so loosey-goosey. But that is what our state and local governments are hell-bent on doing. The "clean energy fund" and this DEQ thing, both of which are ultimately paid for by consumers, are egregious examples, but there are many others, including the Metro "homeless" tax.

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    2. Can’t find much fault with the mission of the non- profits that existed 20 years ago. I think they were funded by private money.

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  4. Some of these organizations do good things very efficiently. Others employ the modern equivalent of the bygone elevator operators and gas station attendants, who held makework jobs that provide social welfare to the lucky recipients of the largess, but at a much larger cost to the taxpayer.

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  5. Looking through Seeding Justice’s staff directory, I see they have a Chief Astrology Officer. Someone is actually getting paid a salary for that. I suppose this state contract will help pay that. Totally nuts.

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  6. You forgot to mention the Energy Trust of Oregon, which for decades has been funded by a charge on everyone's electricity and natural gas bills. If you look over Energy Trust's annual reports, you'll see that they've run out of cost-effective projects. Now most of the projects are just a waste of money. If these guys can't find decent projects to fund, you know Portland and DEQ are going to blow it.

    Wheeler, Gonzalez, and Mapps should put their three votes together and sweep all the PCEF money into the general fund. All of a sudden Mapps' PBOT budget shortfall will go away. Heck, if you throw a bunch of PCEF money at Parks, you might even get Rubio's vote.

    BTW: It was also called the "Clean Energy Benefits Fund." But it's such a mouthful, people just call it PCEF.

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  7. "There must be a nice state where people aren't crazy." I keep saying, "New Mexico!"

    On the other hand, the affordable housing industrial complex is nationwide due to a federal law that says that non-profit organizations have to play a principal role in at least 10 percent of federally supported affordable housing complexes. So in that sense, everywhere is crazy (and Canada is no better).

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  8. If I wrote this brochure I'd probably not use the term 'Ignite' perhaps 'Inspire'?

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  9. It's a shakedown operation. They know you can't get to carbon zero because life itself would not exist. So they will force energy producers to pay them money. Elon Musk has been in that racket for years- selling "carbon offsets" to other companies because he makes extremely carbon intensive electric cars. CRAZY.

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