In the latest column, read news about a Stanford doctoral student who won state Sen. Josh Becker's "Ought to Be a Law" contest and plans to honor late labor and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez in East Palo Alto.
BRINGING IN THE ENERGY ... State Sen. Josh Becker announced Stanford University doctoral student Jill Grey Ferguson as the winner of his inaugural "Ought to Be a Law" contest, the senator's office announced this week.
What was Ferguson's idea for a bill? To create a one-stop online energy portal for Californians to apply for incentives through the California Energy Commission (CEC). Her idea will be carried into Senate Bill 755, titled "California's Layered Energy Application for Residents." The portal would require the CEC to streamline the application process for energy incentives, increasing access for low-income residents in particular.
"I'm so thrilled to announce Jill's idea as the winner of our Ought to Be a Law competition," Becker, D-San Mateo, said in a March 20 press release. "Applying for energy incentives is simply too challenging right now and this one-stop application will make the process substantially easier."
Ferguson is a doctoral student in environment and resources at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, which debuted during the fall of 2022. She is also a Shultz energy fellow at the California Public Utilities Commission.
"The implementation of funding programs have been steeped with inequities," Ferguson said in the press release, "but an online platform aimed at improving the distributional equity of state and federal funding would be a welcome addition to the field."
HIS LEGACY LIVES ON ... Late labor activist Cesar Chavez's impact has a rich history in East Palo Alto, most notably through the middle school on Ralmar Avenue that includes his name.
To honor the famed civil rights activist, two local leaders are looking for the community to join them in planning an annual "Week of Service to Humanity," which is slated for 2024. East Palo Alto City Council member Ruben Abrica and the Rev. Lawrence Goode, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church, are spearheading the conversation, which is scheduled for Monday, March 27, from noon to 2 p.m. at the church hall, 1425 Bay Road.
Students and the surrounding community of Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School are expected to be involved in next year's inaugural weeklong event. "We are also connecting with Farmworker communities in the Pajaro and Salinas Valley and the Half Moon Bay area to be of help from the East Palo Alto area," Abrica said in a statement.
Ahead of this year's Cesar Chavez Day, which falls on Friday, March 31, the local middle school is set to welcome Gabriel Medina, Chavez's grandnephew, on Wednesday, March 29. Medina, a middle school teacher, interacted with students last year over Zoom, Abrica said. Also on Wednesday, the middle school students will participate in community service and cultural activities, according to the council member.
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