Tom Butt
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  Yosemite Policy Makers Conference
March 19, 2024

The only vestige of elected office I have hung on to is CivicWell, formerly the Local Government Commission. The City of Richmond has been a member since before I was first elected in 1995. Former Mayor Rosemery Corbin urged me to get involved, and it was some of the best advice I ever got.

The Local Government Commission has been meeting in March in Yosemite for over 30 years, having adopted the Ahwahnee Principles for Resource-Efficient Communities in 1991, a guide to what became later known as Smart Growth, a blueprint for sustainable communities. The March meeting of about 100 city council members and county supervisors is now known as the CivicWell Policymakers Conference.

Over the years, I got my best ideas from CivicWell and brought them back to Richmond. It was in Yosemite I first heard the late Marin County Supervisor Charles McGlashen describe California’s first Consumer Choice Aggregation (CCA), Marin Clean Energy (MCE). With City Council support (but not without some serious opposition), we applied and were approved to be the first expansion city for MCE outside Marin County. Now MCE covers four counties, providing clean energy to half a million accounts at a cost of over half a billion dollars. MCE has a better credit rating than PG&E.

From the beginning, I represented Richmond on the board of MCE, ultimately becoming the board chair before terming out of office last year.

I served as a board member of CivicWell for 20 years and chaired the organization for three years. There is a special provision in the bylaws for a former chair who is no longer an elected official to serve for a year as an emeritus member of the CivicWell Board, so I jumped at the chance. That year is now over, but I still consider CivicWell members as “family.”

Yosemite is always a great place to visit, the CivicWell presentations were inspiring, and I got a nice recognition from the CivicWell board.

I was heartened that Mayor Eduardo Martinez and his wife Liz were at the CivicWell Policymakers Conference this year, and Councilmember Soheila Bana serves on the CivicWell board.

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CivicWell Board members, Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb, Monterey County Supervisor Wendy Root Askew, Tom Butt, Board Chair and Humboldt County Supervisor Mike Wilson, Town of Truckee Councilmember Anna Klovstad, and Yolo County Supervisor Lucas Frerichs

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Ahwahnee Hotel in the woods    Description automatically generated

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