Jerry Brown proved again that he has the grit and good judgment to be governor of the Golden State.
On Thursday, he unveiled a measured, yet necessary pension reform proposal for California public employees.
This plan constitutes an essential and politically courageous step forward in our collective effort to put our state on firm financial footing, provide needed services, aggressively support job growth, and honor our commitments to our public sector workers. The 12 step proposal includes a provision to raise the retirement age to collect benefits from 50 to 67, with the exception of public safety officers. It would also put new state employees on a hybrid benefit track which would include defined benefits, social security and a 401k program. In addition the plan would require 3 year final compensation to stop spiking for new employees.
Shortly after releasing his 12 point pension reform plan Governor Brown was immediately assailed from the polarizing forces on both the left and right which reinforces that his plan falls right into the sensible center.
Solyndra’s demise has reignited efforts to sabotage success in the renewable energy industry- an industry that is growing jobs. Let’s focus on the facts. The United States is a net exporter of solar-energy products, and solar jobs have doubled in the U.S. — to 100,000 since 2009. Last year alone, U.S. solar-energy installations created a combined $6 billion in direct value, $4.4 billion of which we accrued.
We need not look far to see an example of a solar company creating manufacturing jobs in Silicon Valley. SunPower, headquartered in Silicon Valley has a manufacturing facility in Milpitas. The company’s customer, NRG Energy, received a $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy specifically for the project that will create 350 construction jobs, power approximately 100,000 homes and inject $315 million in to the San Luis Obispo, Calif. economy.
The answer is clear, supporting the renewable energy industry is the right thing to do for our state and nation.
This past week, my wife and I had a rare fight right before I left for work. Rather than a heated exchange, we left each other to start our day in stony silence.
That same day, three workers at Lehigh Cement in Cupertino left their homes for what I am sure they believed would be a typical work-day – only to never return to their homes; irrationally gunned down by a crazed co-worker.
Later the same afternoon, Steve Jobs would lose his seven-year struggle with pancreatic cancer. Steve Jobs was an iconic figure that fueled the creativity of the world’s innovation economy. Yet he was also a father, a husband and a friend to many people here in Silicon Valley and throughout the planet. He will be forever treasured and never forgotten.
The employees at Lehigh Cement will long be mourned; their memories cherished by their friends, families and co-workers.
Each day, as we leave our homes for work, for school, for errands, let’s not forget that today is all we have. We have little control over how it will end, but we can control how it begins. Cherish the day you have – and those you love.