My name is Jessica Haller, I am a Leader with the Climate Reality Project and VC of the Board of Hazon, and I’m a candidate for New York City Council in District 11 in the NW Bronx.

I am speaking to you today in support of Intro 1947, which will help us expand LL97 and contribute to our economic recovery from the coronavirus. Intro 1947 works with existing tenant-protection laws and LL97 by expanding the number of buildings that are required to meet reductions in emissions, in whatever ways they can.

This bill will mean new jobs for New Yorkers in hands-on work for designing, constructing, and renovating retro-fitting the affected buildings. It also represents a step toward fighting the climate crisis. In New York City, our buildings are responsible for more than two-thirds of total GHG emissions, adding to the heat-island effect and poor air quality. This air quality in turn contributes to so many of our health problems, asthma, respiratory distress, and heat deaths — especially in low income, high heat vulnerability neighborhoods. As many health authorities have noted, air pollution in many communities hardest hit by coronavirus contributed to complications and the high death toll. In fact, this science dates back to the 1918 flu pandemic, when communities living near coal plants had higher mortality rates from flu due to lower air quality. Intro 1947 will improve the efficiency of buildings and the quality of life of millions of low-income tenants. The inclusion of buildings with 35% or more affordable housing units ensures that tenants will not bear the brunt of the cost. …

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I am so grateful that President Obama was the commencement speaker at my daughter Leila’s High School graduation! Actually, he was there on Zoom for all 2020 graduates who are making tremendous life transitions in the midst of a difficult time. These kids may have to grow up faster than other generations. “Be alive to one another’s struggles” he said.

Leila joined me at my semi-regular volunteer spot at POTS — Part of The Solution, dedicated to feeding and serving the Bronx. As we packed hundreds of lunches, both hot and cold, we talked about the depths of the crisis and ripples of the economic and human devastation through the Bronx. …

Last week I quoted President Obama’s commencement 2020 message: “Be alive to one another’s struggles.” Historically, we have not been, but now is the time to strive to be more alive, more aware. I stand with Black communities and communities of color as an ally, in solidarity. I share the pain as we mourn the lives lost and and fight against police brutality and systemic racism that affects voting rights, access to quality education, and employment and housing opportunity.

I saw two different kinds of images last weekend:

On social media, I saw police charged with our safety, revving up violence. I saw the opening of age old wounds, and the crying out of people in pain. I saw New York on edge. And yet, Sunday afternoon at State Senator Robert Jackson’s Vigil for George Floyd and against police brutality I saw a peaceful, powerful, diverse group with the common goal of change. …


Jessica Haller

Climate activist, tech entrepreneur, and working mom of four, running for NYC Council, District 11 in The Bronx.

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