Things That Matter

Julián Castro Is Rolling Out A $10 Trillion Plan To Fight Climate Change

Ahead of CNN’s Climate Crisis Town Hall on Wednesday in New York, Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro released his own version of the Green New Deal called the “People and Planet First Plan.” The former San Antonio Mayor is planning to “direct $10 trillion in federal, state, local, and private investments” over the next decade that his campaign estimates will create 10 million jobs over the next 10 years. 

“People do not live their lives in silos and so our plan is intersectional,” Castro said in his proposal. “We will build a 100 percent clean energy economy that both combats the climate crisis and tackles structural inequality.”

Here is what you need to know about Castro’s ambitious environmental policy plan.  

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

At the core of Castro’s environmental policy is combating and reducing greenhouse gas emissions until the U.S. achieves net-zero emissions by 2045 at the latest. Castro also says that his first executive action if elected will be to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement that President Trump withdrew from in 2017. Over the course of the next decade, Castro is also calling for the reduction of carbon emissions by moving from fossil fuels to clean energy.

“Right now, the climate crisis is already devastating our communities, our homes, and our families,” Castro said in his policy proposal. “Severe storms, deadly hurricanes, massive floods, extreme droughts, and wildfires are now a normal occurrence, destroying homes and businesses, and shrinking our economy.”

Castro is billing his plan as “ambitious and achievable” while the cost of it puts him in the middle of other democratic candidates when it comes to money put forth. Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke rank towards the lower end with environmental proposals that cost close to $2 trillion and $5 trillion, respectively. Bernie Sanders is near the top as he has called for a $16.3 trillion investment. 

For Castro, it’s not about the cost of these investments but what is at stake if no action is taken.  

A key part of Castro’s proposal is putting an end to “environmental racism” which predominately affects communities of color. 

Credit: @lcvoters / Twitter

If elected president, Castro says said he would propose legislation to combat environmental racism, a form of discrimination where various communities of color are forced to live near environmentally dangerous areas like hazardous waste sites. Castro said he’d do this by bringing forth new civil rights bills such as requiring all federal actions to be reviewed for environmental and health impacts on these low-income and marginalized communities.

“In my administration, we will invest in environmental justice and climate resilience with an emphasis on frontline communities,” Castro writes. “People who are at the forefront of combating climate change, and families who have borne the unequal burden of pollution.”

Castro’s proposed bill would also further strengthen the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to go after polluters who do such harm. It would also give communities and individuals more power to file legal action against companies who have caused pollution and have had a heavy impact on communities of color.

Here is some of what Castro had to say during the CNN Town Hall. 

Credit: @novelloamanda / Twitter

Castro was the first Democratic presidential candidate at the CNN climate town hall which meant he had to set the tone of the evening early. He made an effort to point out many themes in his climate change proposal by emphasizing and calling climate change “an existential threat”. 

Castro drew applause from members of the audience when he mentioned the rejoining of the Paris Climate Agreement. He says beyond just the rejoining the agreement again, “it’s actually what comes next that is most important.” There would be an imposed fee on carbon pollution and an executive order banning fossil fuel exploration and development on public lands, Castro said. 

Another moment of applause came when Castro discussed some of his prior work as the nation’s housing chief. He reminded people of his past commitment working side by side with low-income communities and helping protect them from environmental dangers and natural disasters. 

Castro also faced some criticism when it came to his prior support of fracking. 

There was also a tough moment for Castro when asked about his prior support of fracking. Sila Inanoglu, an activist from the Sunrise Movement, a liberal environmental group, asked Castro why he should be trusted to move the country away from fossil fuels when he supported fracking.

“She’s right. When I was mayor of San Antonio, I did believe that there were opportunities to be had with fracking that was going on in South Texas.” Castro responded. “The thing is back then almost a decade ago natural gas was described as a “bridge fuel, we’re coming to the end of the bridge.”

While Castro said he isn’t calling for an immediate ban on fracking in the U.S., he supports the communities and people who are willing to put an end to the practice to move to cleaner sources. He also said he supports a plan for climate education be taught in schools at a young age. In an attempt to fight deforestation, Castro also hopes to plant 30 billion trees by 2050, or roughly 1 billion trees a year.

READ: Trump’s Plan To End Birthright Citizenship Could Mean More Bureaucracy And More Taxes For All Americans

Pete Buttigieg Supporter Wields Cane At Latino Black Lives Matter Protester During Event

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Pete Buttigieg Supporter Wields Cane At Latino Black Lives Matter Protester During Event

@MaxLewisTV / Twitter

After a Black Lives Matter (BLM) Latino activist disrupted a Pete Buttigieg event led by South Bend’s black leaders, an elderly woman attempted to end the interruption with her cane. Reporter Max Lewis captured BLM activist Igor Rodríguez interrupting councilwoman Sharon McBride to demand, “Who are these black leaders?” Democratic hopeful and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is polling at 0% with black South Carolina Democrats, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week. Buttigieg has received just six endorsements from current or former black or Latino elected officials compared to Biden’s 154 endorsements, according to a The New York Times report last month. Buttigieg has come under fire for his response to the death of Eric Logan, a black man, by white police officer Ryan O’Neill, and for the racial makeup of his police force.

With a crowd of protesters holding up BLM signs in the back of a room full of black Buttigieg supporters, Rodríguez stole the microphone from McBride and started to chant, “This is a farce. This is a farce.”

Soon after Black Lives Matter activist Igor Rodríguez started to question the political machination of the present leadership, an elderly woman stood up to hit him with her cane.

CREDIT: @MAXLEWISTV / TWITTER

“Who organized this?” Rodríguez shouted while McBride stood at the podium. “Let her talk!” shouted one audience member repeatedly. “These black leaders are here to talk about Pete Buttigieg when people are having a crisis because of police violence,” Rodríguez continued on. Then, an elderly woman suddenly stood up in an attempt to attack Rodríguez with her cane. Several people crowded around her to block her advances, granting Rodríguez an opportunity to swiftly grab the microphone off McBride’s podium. Without missing a beat, he went on to demand into the microphone, “Who chose these people as the black leaders? Who organized this? We have a police crisis in this town. Why are we talking about Pete Buttigieg?”

“What kind of nonsense is this? What kind of nonsense is this?,” Rodríguez repeats, going on to begin a chant that would be echoed by the BLM protesters in the back of the room. “This is a farce! This is a farce!”

Black voters have spoken out against Buttigieg for his response to the fatal police shooting of Eric Logan, 54.

CREDIT: @JOSHUASHORTWNDU / TWITTER

Officials say that South Bend Police Department Sgt. Ryan O’Neill was responding to reports of a car break-in on June 16 when he encountered Logan. O’Neill maintains that Logan approached him with a knife and refused to drop it, prompting O’Neill to shoot Logan, but there is no video surveillance of the incident. O’Neill did not turn on his siren lights, which are connected to body cam footage. O’Neill told the dispatcher that the “guy threw a knife at me,” but Logan’s family is suspect to believe that Logan would ever attack a police officer with a knife. The family also wants to know why Logan was taken to the hospital, with a bullet to the abdomen, in a police cruiser instead of an ambulance. O’Neill resigned after weeks of protest.

Buttigieg left the campaign trail to discuss race and public safety in the days following Logan’s death. He met with BLM activists and took calls with them, but the activists didn’t leave the conversation feeling heard. “I remember he felt very rushed as if he wanted to check it off a box as something that he did,” Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of the BLM Los Angeles chapter told NBC.

Rodríguez’s comments have sparked mixed reactions.

CREDIT: @MAXLEWISTV / TWITTER

The interaction between Rodríguez and the cane-wielding woman has been cited as “the perfect encapsulation of white liberals who try and tell black people how they should think,” according to one Twitter user. “A white man stealing a mic from a black woman and telling her what to think? I don’t know how BLM thinks that was a good publicity for them,” tweeted one black woman. “He’s Latino… and was standing proudly with and for his black brothers and sisters who were also there making their voices heard. Don’t discount them… Pete already does not.” Rodríguez considers himself a “Bernie bro”, according to his social media. 

Though people are universally united in support of #GrandmaWithCane.

CREDIT: @MAXLEWISTV / TWITTER

I don’t care who you are and what you represent, but don’t be out here disrespecting our elders. They should of let grandma swing that cane just once,” tweeted @__Tiffany__84. “But #GrandmaWithCane is bringing me Joy tonight! Warms my heart!  #Respect!” replied @mcfetsch. “The cane wielder is 100% tired grandparent energy,” another commenter announced. Others are flocking to #GrandmaWithCane as representative of “every fed-up voter.”

READ: Pete Buttigieg Faces Backlash After 2011 Video Claiming Minority Children Don’t Know Anyone Who ‘Values Education’ Resurfaces

Pete Buttigieg Has Risen Onto The National Scene, But So Far He’s Failed To Connect With Latino Voters

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Pete Buttigieg Has Risen Onto The National Scene, But So Far He’s Failed To Connect With Latino Voters

pete.buttigieg / Instagram

Pete Buttigieg has a major problem on his hands. The relatively unknown mayor of South Bend, Indiana has made a splash on the national political scene in recent weeks but that has come at the cost of alienating one major demographic group: Latinos. 

While it’s been well documented about his struggles to connect with voters of color, specifically Black voters, Latino outreach from his campaign has largely been non-existent. Buttigieg is polling well when it comes to white voters, 42 percent, but things drop off drastically when it comes to Latinos as he has drawn a meager 5 percent in a recent Morning Consult poll.

This is important to note considering Latinos are on track to be the second-largest voting demographic in the 2020 election, 32 million are expected to be eligible to vote. So how does Buttigieg expect to connect with other voters that aren’t white? This should be the big question that his campaign team should be discussing if there is any chance of winning primaries in Nevada and in California, two largely Latino states. 

Buttigieg struggling to connect with Latino voters is an issue that should be receiving attention if he expects to win the Democratic nomination. 

Buttigieg’s struggles with Latino voters can be rooted back to some problematic instances. Recently, a 2011 TV interview clip with Buttigieg, then a candidate for the South Bend mayor, resurfaced on social media. In the video, Buttigieg says “a lot of kids” from “low income, minority neighborhoods” did not personally know a role model “who testifies to the value of education.” 

The clip ignited a firestorm of criticism on social media including having “Pete Buttigieg is a Lying MF” to trend on Twitter. Estuardo Rodriguez, a co-founder of The Raben Group public affairs firm, told Newsweek that this mishap is a perfect example of that disconnect that the mayor has with minority communities. 

 “This video goes to the root of why there may be a lack of interest in Mayor Pete from Black and Latino voters. His remarks in the video oversimplify the challenges some communities face,” Rodriguez said. 

Back in June, Buttigieg found himself is another heated moment when he visited an immigrant detention facility for children. He was met with protesters who shouted at him because he didn’t bother to climb ladders erected by the facility’s fence in order to see the children detained on the other side. Buttigieg was notably the only Democratic candidate that day that visited the facility who didn’t climb the ladder. 

When it comes to outreach, Buttigieg has also missed the mark with Latinos. He spent the majority of his time during his California campaign stop back in May at fundraisers rather than talking with Latino activists at the state’s Democratic Party’s convention.

“I could tell you some things that I know about him, but I don’t know what he’s saying he’ll do as president,” Miguel Cordova, who was at the California convention, told Buzzfeed. “It’s so easy for some people to jump in the race and all the sudden be considered a top contender, while someone like [Julian] Castro has been doing stuff and it’s like he’s not even polling as well [as Buttigieg].”

Buttigieg’s campaign is banking on winning primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire and use that energy to carry him forward. However, it may not be that easy, especially if he wants to win the Latino vote along the way. 

Josh Ulibarri, a Democratic pollster who has focused primarily on Latino voters, says that the reason there is a certain “disconnect “when it comes to Latinos and Buttigieg is simply a lack of familiarity. Compared to other candidates who are polling well with Latinos, like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, Ulibarri says that Buttigieg hasn’t connected with them mainly due to being unaware of what he stands for policy-wise.

“Him being stuck in the single digits is the big evidence here and for Latinos so far, it’s been all mostly Bernie and Biden,” Ulibarri said. “They have a lot of name recognition as they’ve known both candidates for years now. Pete is new and is a relative unknown to many Latinos when it comes to issues and familiarity. That matters.”

Buttigieg has acknowledged where he’s fallen short when it comes to outreach with communities of color and has vowed to improve on that. But the question of when and how is what concerns some voters that have seen Democratic candidates bank on Latino and Black votes later in the election cycle, instead of from the start. This is an issue that Julian Castro raised last month when discussing why some of the first primary elections are held in mostly white states like Iowa and New Hampshire. 

“It’s frustrating that this party has banked on the Latino vote instead on working for it all year,” Ulibarri said. “Voters say if he’s gonna come to our people, he’s coming too late in the election cycle once again.”

Adding insult to injury to Latino voters, Buttigieg recently accepted a donation to his campaign from McKinsey and Company.

Credit: @DJJudd / Twitter

McKinsey and Company, a management organization that does business with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), recently announced a plan to cut funding for food and supervision. The decision on the funding is putting detainees at risk and Buttigieg has received $55,000 in donations from McKinsey and Company alums. When asked if he would return the donations, which some have called for, Buttigieg avoided the question leaving some thinking he is okay with the support of the organization he once worked for.

While there has been some outreach, Mayor Pete has a long way to go to make himself a serious contender for Latinos in the 2020 election cycle.

Buttigieg isn’t going to win Latino voters over with his centrist policies or his young fresh voice in the Democratic party, it’s going to have to be through getting to know him. Whether he gets that opportunity is still unknown but he understands the tall task ahead.  

“We’ve got to reach out in communities that haven’t had a chance to get to know me,” Buttigieg during an MSNBC town hall forum back in June. “If you are neither already famous with a long track record in national politics, nor yourself from a community of color, then, of course, it’s going to take longer for people to come to know and trust you.”

His campaign manager, Mike Schmuhl, told Politico that the campaign needs to “level up and expand” its outreach when it comes to Latinos.  He expects that the campaign will air bilingual ads in Nevada, the first primary after Iowa and New Hampshire, in “the very near future”. That will be followed by a “holistic” policy proposal that will be centered on Latinos in the next month.

“We will continue to ramp up our investments — that’s in paid media, in people on the ground, in Pete’s time in the states,” Schmuhl said. “It’s go time, right now.”

Whether it’s name recognition, policy and a questionable track record with minorities, Buttigieg has his work cut out for him, there’s no doubt about it. The question now is if it’s too late. 

“It’s a late start and he if doesn’t have any backing it may not work,” Ulibarri said. “Biden and Sanders have been active from the start and he’ll have some groundwork to make up. Pete hasn’t been here for too long and quite frankly, it shows.”

READ: Pete Buttigieg Faces Backlash After 2011 Video Claiming Minority Children Don’t Know Anyone Who ‘Values Education’ Resurfaces