Brentin Mock

Brentin Mock is lead reporter for Voting Rights Watch, a partnership between and The Nation magazine. Over the past year, he covered the voter-ID law controversy, felony disenfranchisement, voter intimidation and challenges to the Voting Rights Act.

Recent Articles

Fighting for Green Justice

In the race for green jobs, environmental-justice advocates don't want urban communities to get left behind.

Since the 1980s, the environmental-justice movement has linked the pursuit of a greener economy with the needs of urban minority communities that have suffered more than their share of environmental assaults. Though the best publicized new jobs in the clean-energy economy are ones building wind turbines or solar-energy technology, environmental-justice leaders insist that green jobs are also about cleaning up brownfield sites, abating inner-city lead levels, monitoring urban air and water quality, developing urban gardens, and mitigating asbestos.


The Environmental Protection Agency released a report today examining whether there has been a fundamental shift away from suburban residential construction to urban residential. Through studying residential building permits in the 50 largest metropolitan areas, the EPA found that there have been significant shifts from the 'burbs back to the city in over half of them. The center-city core saw its share of residential construction double in 15 metro regions, and this trend has increased dramatically over the past five years. While a large share of home construction still takes place in the "urban fringe," the foreclosure crisis seems to be effectively pushing more people out of the suburbs.


No sooner than the minute I filed my story on Van Jones' new appointment to the White House as advisor on green jobs did I get an e-mail from Van Jones about this very topic. It wasn't a personal e-mail from Jones but rather an e-mail from the Green for All listserv announcing his new position. Here, he disspells a number of rumors that had been circulating since word got out about his "Green Jobs Czar"-ship.

Will Van Jones Work in the White House?

Van Jones has been agitating for a green agenda as a lifeline for the dying ghettos of America. Will he be effective making policy on Capitol Hill?

Image from Flickr used under a Creative Commons license.

It took less than five years for Van Jones to rise from Oakland community-based activist with a plan for bringing green jobs to the hood to national leader of a broad-based "green-growth alliance" movement. While Jones is often cited as originating the idea, green jobs -- even "for the ghetto" -- are not new.


New York governor David Paterson may flake on a regional cap-and-trade deal by granting the state's energy industry an increase in free emissions permits, which allow companies to release a capped amount of carbon into the air. The energy industry has already been granted free allowances for 1.5 million tons of emissions per year. Now, Paterson may up the number to 6.5 million tons.