Bainbridge council agrees to support Green New Deal

Bainbridge Island City Council members have decided to throw their political clout behind the Green New Deal.

The Green New Deal — based on resolutions introduced in Congress by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey — is a proposed stimulus program to combat climate change while also addressing economic security issues such as health care, affordable housing and living wage jobs.

At last week’s council meeting, a resolution supporting the Green New Deal — proposed by Councilman Matthew Tirman — was enthusiastically endorsed by the council.

“I do think these symbolic acts are important,” said Councilwoman Leslie Schneider. “They help to guide us; people can sort of hold our feet to the fire on them.”

Tirman noted the political hurdles facing the Green New Deal in Congress, but said the public could play a critical role in advancing the idea. He said he wanted to share the Bainbridge resolution with other Kitsap elected officials.

“It has to start at the local level,” Tirman said.

“Good things happen when we pass progressive legislation here, in resolutions on Bainbridge,” he said, and noted that a measure recently passed in Tacoma was identical to the gender-neutral bathroom regulations adopted earlier by Bainbridge.

“Let’s keep up this great work,” Tirman said.

The resolution notes that the city supports “Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Markey’s resolution to recognize the responsibility of the federal government to create a Green New Deal and to recognize that local environmental and social organizations such as Climate Action Bainbridge and Indivisible Bainbridge urge its passage.”

The resolution also notes the assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report from October 2018, and the National Climate Assessment from November 2018, that warned “climate change is causing extreme weather events that threaten lives and infrastructure; climate change at or above 2 degrees Celsius will cause trillions of dollars in economic losses from wildfire, severe storm and sea level rise, and damage to national infrastructure; and that climate change will lead to mass migrations and threaten our national security.”

The Bainbridge resolution also notes “stagnating wages and severe income inequality cannot be overcome because of increasingly expensive education, housing, and transportation,” and recalls New Deal policies adopted during the Great Depression that successfully invested taxpayer dollars to turn the economy around.

The Bainbridge council, in the resolution, asks the federal government “to take immediate action to prevent the worst effects of climate change by adopting a 10-year mobilization effort” that would encourage investment in renewable energy sources, improve public transportation infrastructure to encourage sustainable transportation efforts, and create sustainable and living wage jobs with family and medical leave, universal health care, paid time off, and retirement security.

The council resolution also endorses the idea to make monthly per-person dividend payments to all American households from the collection of carbon fees, as proposed in HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

Additionally, the resolution urges all voters on Bainbridge Island and throughout the state to encourage their elected officials in Washington, D.C. to support the Green New Deal and the U.S. House legislation on carbon fees.

The idea for the resolution was introduced by Tirman in March.

The resolution has been forwarded for approval to the council’s April 9 consent agenda.

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