Steering Committee

Staff

Jessica Tovar

Jessica Tovar is a staff organizer for the Local Clean Energy Alliance. After growing up in East Los Angeles, Jessica worked for over a decade as an environmental justice organizer in a variety of urban, rural, and indigenous communities throughout California and Arizona. Jessica interned with the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative in 2003, working with organizations across the U.S. on issues of climate justice. More recently she has been an organizer for Communities for a Better Environment in Richmond, California, where she successfully mobilized against expansion of the Chevron oil refinery. Jessica enjoys comedy, art, traveling, and spending time with family.

 

Mari Rose Taruc   

Mari Rose Taruc is the coordinator of the Reclaim Our Power Utility Justice Campaign. For 25 years, she has organized environmental justice (EJ) campaigns for clean air, affordable housing, renewable energy and climate solutions in local, state, national and international arenas. She has coordinated important EJ formations under the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (SNEEJ), Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) and California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), including to ensure that multibillion-dollar California climate and energy programs benefit disadvantaged communities. Setting roots in Oakland for two decades, she co-founded a neighborhood group inspired by Hurricane Katrina to cultivate community resilience, and contributed this practice of community engagement in the development of Oakland's 2012 Energy and Climate Action Plan. Zen flower arranging is her pleasure activism.

 

Shaina Nanavati   

Shaina Nanavati (they/them) is the research organizer for the Reclaim Our Power Utility Justice Campaign. Shaina comes to the campaign with experience as a community organizer and climate justice activist in North Carolina. They also previously worked with North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives and conducted research on expanding clean energy and energy efficiency services available to co-op members. Shaina grew up in San Jose and currently resides in Oakland. They have a Bachelor's in economics and philosophy from UC Davis and a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University. To relax, Shaina enjoys gardening, writing poetry, reading, and painting.

 
 

Welcome to our newest Energy Democracy Organizer Nyah Tisdell

Nyah Tisdell (she/her) is an Energy Democracy Organizer with the Local Clean Energy Alliance. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California and since moving up to the Bay Area has found her passion for environmental and social justice. Nyah received her Bachelor of Science in Society and Environment with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice from the University of California, Berkeley. She was a campaign lead for the UC Berkeley chapter of the Herbicide Free Campus non-profit where she organized outdoor volunteer work weeding days with campus gardeners, environmental justice panel events, and community garden building projects. She interned with Unite Here Local 2850 summer 2021 where she worked on campaigns to build unions with low income workers and communities of color throughout the East Bay. This experience in the labor movement inspired her decision to become a community organizer, as she believes that everyone deserves equitable access to healthy and sustainable resources. Her favorite activities to do in her free time include painting, playing the guitar, watching action movies, and spending time at the beach.

 

Steering Committee

Al Weinrub

Al Weinrub has served as coordinator of the Local Clean Energy Alliance since March 2011. He has organized regular Alliance meetings, planned our annual Clean Power, Healthy Communities conference, recruited new members, and assisted with policy development and campaign implementation efforts. He authored Community Power: Decentralized Renewable Energy in California, has conducted energy policy briefings for a number of organizations. Al serves on the Sierra Club California Energy-Climate Committee and is a past national officer and member the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, AFL-CIO. He lives in Oakland.

Barbara Stebbins

Barbara Stebbins spent nine years in research science before deciding she would rather teach as a middle school science teacher, which she did for fifteen years. She has actively worked for social justice and environmental causes since she was 16 years old. Currently her efforts are focused on promoting local clean energy and other ways of addressing climate change. She feels that clean energy advocacy must be rooted in the understanding that social justice issues and environmental issues are inexorably linked. Barbara has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from University of California at Berkeley.

Crystal Huang

Crystal Huang is a grassroots community-builder and the leader of People Power Solar Cooperative. On her free time that she manages to find, she is also running a startup project called CrossPollinators to foster collaboration between grassroots solutions. She has more than 10 years of experience in climate solutions technology—from resource recovery, to energy management, to solar. After serving as the Chief Operations Officer for a solar startup incubator, Powerhouse, she took on the role of Associate Producer of the climate film, “Time to Choose” (2016). Through CrossPollinators, Crystal produced the Local Clean Energy Alliance’s Clean Power, Healthy Communities 2017 celebration and conference, coordinated the Energy Democracy National Tour 2018 and Strategic Convening on Energy Democracy in 2019. Some people call Crystal a workaholic. She’s simply enjoying life a little too much.

June Brashares

June Brashares is a policy analyst, political strategist, and community organizer with over twenty years of experience working on social justice and environmental issues. A lifelong clean energy enthusiast, June was the first person to receive a tax credit for a zero emission vehicle in San Diego County. She holds a BA in Political Science from UCSD, has served on the boards of a number of non-profit advocacy organizations, and has worked at CalPIRG, the Center for Public Interest Law, and the San Diego Labor Council. More recently, she has worked at Global Exchange first as Speakers Bureau Director and later as Green Energy Director. June is now working independently on a variety of energy and sustainability projects from her home in Sonoma County.

Jim Lutz

Jim Lutz is a researcher employed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where he works primarily on understanding and improving the efficiency of water heaters and hot water distribution systems. He is a registered professional engineer and licensed building contractor in California. His interest in local clean energy was raised even higher after his experience serving on the Oil Independent Oakland city task force in 2007.

 

Larry Chang

Larry Chang received his M. Arch. from Yale University and is a registered architect who has worked across the U.S. on both commercial and residential projects. In 1999, he established SightWorks Architecture, his own practice committed to sustainability, accessibility, and healthy buildings. On the academic side, he has taught design at the Univ. of Louisiana at Lafayette, Savannah College of Art & Design, and City College SF. Currently, he manages the Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Center  at Laney College, where he promotes and helps to develop environmental control technology, building automation, and energy management degree programs nationwide. Prior to joining our Steering Committee, Larry was co-chair of the Oakland Small Business Task Force, helped to co-author the SF Urban Wind Power Task Force Report, and served on Habitat for Humanity-East Bay's Green Building Team.

Mark Hall

Mark Hall is an Oakland native who served as a capital improvement project manager for the City of Oakland for 8 years, where he explored synergies between the emerging green economy and disadvantaged communities. He helped author the Oakland Climate Action and Resilience plan and has managed the Rising Sun Youth Energy Services program. Mark has formed a startup company, Revalue.io, to accelerate the delivery of energy efficiency efforts though landlord-tenant partnerships and through empowering disadvantaged communities to evaluate their own buildings and perform their own energy efficient improvements. He is working to make East Bay Community Energy an important vehicle for those efforts.

 

Steve Ongerth

Steve Ongerth is a long time East Bay Area resident, union member, and environmental activist. He has been a member of one or more unions since 1995 and been an environmental justice activist almost as long. Throughout that time He has worked to bring together both the labor and environmental movements. In 2013, he cofounded the IWW's Environmental Unionism Caucus; he has co-organized campaigns to bring railroad workers and communities fighting crude-by-rail together to seek common ground on issues effecting both the communities and railroad workers; he co-organized the No Coal in Oakland's "Labor Committee" to take a stand against coal exports through a proposed bulk exports terminal in the Port of Oakland; and he helped co-found "Labor for Standing Rock," a loose coalition of union members who stood in solidarity with the indigenous tribes fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. In each of these campaigns, he has sought to build bridges between the local front-line communities, union workers, and environmental movements.

Ceyda Durmaz Dogan

Ceyda Durmaz Dogan is the Operations Manager at People's Solar Energy Fund. She is a local clean equitable energy advocate. She brings her diverse cultural and educational background to provide a unique perspective in solving problems. She has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Middle East Technical University in Turkey. After graduating from college, she got a one-year scholarship to study literature and philosophy at Bard College Berlin. Her exploration of new countries and subjects continued at Bard College in NY, where she got a master’s degree in environmental policy. She worked as a community organizer at New Haven/León Sister City Project in New Haven, CT, where she organized climate action events and engaged with the youth and the international community. She also conducted research about equity concerns around statewide energy efficiency programs in CT while working as a research assistant at Yale University Office of Sustainability. Prior to joining PSEF, she worked as an organizer at the Local Clean Energy Alliance (LCEA) in Oakland, CA for almost three years. At LCEA, she advocated for “clean power to the people by the people” in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as California at large.