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Editorial: A Train-Load of Trouble Rolls Toward Oakland

first_imgEditorial: A Train-Load of Trouble Rolls Toward Oakland FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the San Francisco Chronicle:The plan to ship 9 million tons of coal annually through West Oakland must be stopped. It’s bad enough that it’s environmentally threatening, fiscally dubious, and the product of duplicity and political chicanery.Even worse is the fact that a significant amount of public money is being invested in this ill-advised scheme.“This is a very bad idea on many, many levels,” said state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, author of legislation attempting to stop the coal-export facility at the former Oakland Army Base.“It undermines everything we’ve been doing for the past decade now to try to contain climate change,” Hancock added. “No. 1, it makes us look hypocritical.”And more than a little foolish — if not craven.Remember, Gov. Jerry Brown was at the international climate talks in Paris last December to extol the state’s innovation in reducing carbon emissions — and to implore the rest of the world to follow suit.A coal plant in China — where much of the coal going through the new Oakland depot would presumably be headed — would have the same impact on global warming as one in the Golden State.We invoke the governor’s own words of wisdom from last year:“It doesn’t make sense to be shutting down coal plants and then export it for somebody else to burn in a more dirty way,” he said. “But what we need is a national plan to reduce all fossil fuels. Certainly, coal would be at the top.”The climate impact alone should be enough to give anyone pause about a plan to ship coal on railroad lines from Utah to be loaded at the new Oakland shipping facility. But then there is the concern about local pollution, which is one of the reasons Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland City Council members and the Port of Oakland oppose the project.“Stop it immediately,” Schaaf wrote in a May 2015 email to the project’s well-connected developer, Phil Tagami, adding, “If you don’t do that soon we will all have to spend time and energy in a public battle that no one needs and will distract us from the important work at hand.”The battle has only escalated since then.It’s important to note that Tagami for years had vigorously denied rumors that coal shipments would be part of this $800 million cargo facility. In a December 2013 newsletter, he accused critics of spreading misinformation because his real estate firm had “no interest or involvement in the pursuit of coal-related operations at the former Oakland Army Base.”It’s now abundantly clear that coal is a key element of at least the near-term plans for the rail-to-ship transfer facility. In a March 14 Open Forum piece, a partner in Tagami’s company suggested that the “political threats to block coal” amount to “a taking of vested rights.”“Today it’s coal; tomorrow it’ll be wood pellets; and next week it will be genetically modified grain,” wrote Mark McClure of California Capital and Investment Group.Yes, today it is coal — one commodity the developer had specifically promised to exclude, in response to concerns about of its local and global environmental impacts.The questionable policies go well beyond Oakland. The Utah Legislature, looking to help get its state’s coal to foreign markets, just voted to commit $53 million in state money to help build that deep-water port in Oakland.Here’s where that deal really smells:The money is coming out of a fund from federal mining royalties that is supposed to be go to local projects in rural communities for roads, parks, public buildings, water and sewer systems. To get around that legal requirement, Utah legislators approved a scheme to dip into sales-tax revenue earmarked for transportation for the $53 million, put it in a newly created account — and then immediately reimburse it from the royalty fund.Utah’s Senate Democratic leader, Gene Davis, was quoted in the Salt Lake City Tribune as calling it “a shell game.”From a fiscal standpoint, considering the world’s shift away from coal — even in China — perhaps the best question of all was posed by Rep. Joel Briscoe, a Salt Lake City Democrat: “If this is such a great financial investment … where are the banks stepping up to fund this program?”California’s leaders need to intensify the pressure to keep coal shipments out of Oakland, whether it takes legislation, lawsuits or the project overseers simply recognizing the need to keep a promise.A trainload of trouble rolls toward Oaklandlast_img read more

Can I join your credit union? The burning question of potential members

first_img 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Sam Brownell Sam has worked in the credit union industry for over ten years. He thinks every American should be a member of a credit union. In 2014, he founded CUCollaborate with … Web: https://www.cucollaborate.com Details There are a few different options that are currently on the market for finding the perfect credit union match. If you search “find a credit union” in Google, the first relevant searches bring up the NCUA’s Credit Union Finder and a handful of others, but it only shows consumers local branches based on geography, and as we all know, many credit unions’ fields of membership don’t work that way. The next steps suggested by the NCUA’s website is to read a credit union’s field of membership rules and to search for them on the credit union’s website. As an industry we are asking the consumer to do far more work than necessary; they will follow the path of least resistance, which is likely a bank. We must make it as simple as possible.None of these options address a member’s eligibility based on a credit union’s field of membership rules until now. CUCollaborate has developed a tool called CreditUnionMatch available to credit unions to help with the hurdle of eligibility. Our tool helps capture basic information from the potential member, analyzes every possible credit union’s field of membership rules and sends it to the credit union for which they’re eligible. Not only can you market to potential leads based on the information we have gathered for you, but you can also understand how that member qualifies for your credit union.The cooperative credit union community should focus on more people being able join any credit union, not just their own – although that of course would be sweet! To be able to do this, we need to have the ability to capture anyone that is eligible to join any credit union and collaboratively raise the awareness, esteem and membership in credit unions.The main point is that the credit union industry as a whole would do well to designate one system used across the board for membership eligibility. We shouldn’t be competing with each other to have the best tool; we should be collaborating to ensure that the field of membership confusion is not a barrier to consumers discovering credit unions’ not-for-profit, mission-driven services. Credit unions are the best consumer financial solution, and CUCollaborate wants more to know it and join! This question often plagues consumers’ decisions whether to choose your credit union as their financial institution. According to CUNA’s research, 40% of consumers believe they cannot join a single credit union. Over the last few years, a digital campaign launched to help credit unions clear up this mystery for consumers. This effort is a significant first step for educating potential members about the benefits of a credit union, but what happens after that? With so many different charter types and specific field of membership rules, consumers just need to learn whether they can join a particular credit union. Credit unions’ 10% market share demonstrates their failure to gain traction with American consumers.The credit union difference resonates with consumers. CUNA Awareness Initiative research demonstrated very strong positive responses from consumers on basic credit union characteristics:87% responded favorably to the idea that credit unions return earnings to their members.83% provided a favorable response to the fact that their boards are elected members82% responded that credit unions’ not-for-profit status was favorable.FOMs are the chief culprit. Two major problems stem from credit unions’ fields of membership, which will only worsen if credit unions and their business partners do not take action.Until now it has been nearly impossible to determine all of the credit unions a consumer is eligible to join. As a result, consumers usually don’t even find credit union offers when they shop for financial products online using sites like LendingTree, Credit Karma, Bankrate.com, and NerdWallet. Those sites cannot determine consumers’ eligibility, so they don’t bother to include credit unions. Millions of consumers who are using these sites—and millions more—are missing out on great money-saving opportunities from their credit unions, and your credit union is missing out on solid, tech-savvy members!A mere 10% successfully obtain membership from credit unions through online applications, reinforcing the notion that credit unions are not easy to use. In addition, 30% of the consumers on average who do complete applications are denied membership based on their credit. The result: 89% of consumers who start online applications with credit unions fail to get the product they wanted.last_img read more