Chris provides emergency disaster relief for the EPA. He mediates oil spills, fires, and floods throughout the West, but also throughout American jurisdictions across the Pacific. He just returned from Saipan after assisting the cleanup from Typhoon Soudelor.
Lea is one of three female partners in Groundworks, a political consulting group on a mission to move the country in a progressive direction. Groundwork’s expertise is direct voter contact, in face or by telephone, rather than by media. Groundworks mobilizes hundreds of field workers to talk with thousands of people. “People don’t vote in their best interests; we vote viscerally.” Voters respond to a direct conversation; a sizable field organization can swing an election by an eight-point spread. Groundworks is a niche firm that only takes clients whose message aligns with those of the principals. Lea’s firm was instrumental in defeating Proposition 32 in 2012, a measure to weaken labor unions, and elect Dr. Richard Pan to the California legislature in 2010. Dr. Pan defeated Anthony Pugno, author of California’s anti-gay marriage proposition; the only California district in that election to pass from Republican to Democratic hands.
When Chris isn’t providing fresh water and temporary shelter, and Lea isn’t organizing battalions of campaigners, they live in a quaint bungalow on a quiet street in Berkeley, with two bright high school age sons. Like every conscientious Californian, they’ve adopted a new relationship to water. They recently installed a grey water system to tap the washing machine rinse to irrigate fruit trees they planted in their yard. Goodbye lawn. Welcome pears.
How will we live tomorrow?
“The thing that comes to mind is the water diverter we installed in the laundry to water the new fruit trees we planted in our yard.” – Chris
“We are all going to face challenges. The Central Valley is facing them first. Will the challenges bring us together or tear us apart?” – Lea
“We are good at the quick disaster – fire and flood. But we are not good at the slow moving disasters – drought and climate change. I believe humans will survive this change, in some ways, some of us. Our ancestors survived mass extinctions before. But we haven’t experienced the kind of extinctions we are facing now in thousands of years.” – Chris
“There is this phrase in Spanish, ‘We will live better with the Union.’ We will live better if we have solidarity and contracts. Within two years we won’t have unions. Unions and limousine liberals are the only two groups that confront capital. I’m apocalyptic. Then, I think it is human nature to come together. That gives me hope. But its sobering.” – Lea