“Green Tech on the Go,” a panel discussion about the Green Tech industry, urban planning and sustainable communities, at Unitek College in Fremont was hosted by Rishi Chopra, a public policy researcher for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and San Jose State University and the political awareness chair of the network of Indian Professionals (NetIP), on September 26th . The panel comprised of Anu Natarajan, Fremont City Council Member, Anne Smart, Associate Director of Energy and Environmental Policy at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Jessica Garcia-Kohl, Director of Development and Public Affairs for the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County and Leslie, former Director of State and Local Government Affairs for Solyndra.

The panelists articulated the need for a vision of communities across the Bay Area which combine residential and retail space effectively and connect residents to efficient public transportation. This calls for a shift away from large single family homes to more moderately sized dwellings that are environmentally sustainable. Various government initiatives were discussed such as California’s renewable portfolio standard, which is one of the most aggressive in the country, State Green Banks, which invest revenue from cap & trade in green technologies, SB 375, which focuses on lowering greenhouse emissions and supporting public transportation infrastructure. The panelists also advocated for collaboration between cities such as Fremont, San Jose and San Francisco to advance the goals of such initiatives. With a projected growth of 220K residents in Santa Clara County over the next decade, a critical need for more affordable housing was also emphasized. Such housing is available for individuals earning less than $107K per year as per the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County.

Guests formed interactive groups to discuss how “sustainable communities” impact their daily lives. San Jose City Council Member Ash Kalra, California State Assembly Candidate, Dr. Jennifer Ong, and Fremont Planning Commissioner Yogi Chugh were in attendance and assisted in moderating these interactive groups. A plethora of creative ideas came from the guests, who desire cities where they can live, work and play in an environmentally friendly, safe and collaborative fashion.

This event was part of the Political Awareness Pillar of the Network of Indian Professionals, San Francisco Bay Area (NetIP SFBA). Please stay tuned for upcoming events. Email: rishichopra1@sbcglobal.net or political@netipbayarea.org. Website: www.netipbayarea.org