San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo calls for cities to fight for environment despite Trump presidency

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Council member Magdalena Carrasco, and CA Governor Jerry Brown (Source: Magdalena Carrasco Twitter)

SAN JOSE (BCN) — At a conference in Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo called for cities across the country to continue fighting for the environment under a new presidential administration “not likely to be a significant partner in our battle against climate change.”

Liccardo is one of 16 Bay Area mayors in the nation’s capital this week for the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 85th annual winter meeting, where 313 mayors convened Tuesday. The conference wraps up today.

“If there’s any silver lining to the cloud, it’s that cities have been going it alone for many years,” Liccardo said.

Federal resources to cities for environmental initiatives have declined over the last few decades, Liccardo said, so cities have had to innovate from the ground level.

Liccardo talked with other mayors about community choice aggregation, a policy allowing cities and counties throughout California to expand the share of renewable energy sources in their electricity mix.

The mayors also discussed other green initiatives, including retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency and building electric auto infrastructure, Liccardo said.

The mayor also met with federal officials, including California’s new Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday.

In his conversation with Harris, Liccardo advocated for funds from a forthcoming infrastructure bill to assist with the BART extension to San Jose and Santa Clara, as well as to build out the San Jose Diridon station.

“Harris clearly has a view to the future,” Liccardo said, citing her willingness to focus on sustainable ways to address congestion and mobility issues.

Liccardo also met with civil service officials about securing Americorps funding, which he said would be increasingly important in San Jose.

“More than anything, it was just a good excuse to be in D.C., where we need to have a lot of conversations in the federal government,” Liccardo said.

Liccardo was invited to the presidential inauguration, but is opting out of the event and is returning to San Jose today.

“I have a lot of work to do at home,” he said.

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