Sunday, September 05, 2010

Out of State Coffers Feed Proposition 23

In the 2008 presidential election, I was distracted and excited about an Obama victory. In the midst of a European trip, I was in Paris on Election Day and the following day. We whooped it up, happy to celebrate the change in administration. I pretty much ignored Proposition 8. I didn’t pay too much attention to Prop 8 because I thought: This is California. We are a progressive state. We frequently lead the nation in social and environmental issues. I voted against Prop 8. What’s the problem?

The problem, as it turns out, is that out-of-state money helped fund blatantly false ads that scared people into thinking that . . . oh, I don’t know what! That gay marriage would not only undermine heterosexual marriage, but that gay marriage would undermine our society as a whole.

Fear is a powerful motivator and spending money to spread fear can help the fear mongers’ cause.

Two years later, we have another proposition on the ballot, another proposition being funded by out-of-state interests, and another proposition whose passage depends on fear mongering. I’m talking about Proposition 23. This ballot measure would suspend California’s Global Warming Law (AB 32) until the state’s unemployment rate drops below 5.5% for four consecutive quarters.

The Global Warming Law’s aim is to cut state’s emission of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 by developing alternative fuels and generating electricity from solar, wind, and other (other than fossil fuel) sources.

The supposed reasoning behind Prop 23 is that AB 32 will cost jobs and we can’t afford to lose jobs right now. So, let’s just temporarily suspend AB 32 until our unemployment drops. It doesn’t sound too unreasonable.

There are a few problems with this logic. One—California’s unemployment hasn’t dropped below 5.5% but three times in the last 30 years. This proposition doesn’t suspend AB 32; it cancels it. Two—the real opposition to AB 32 and the real support for Prop 23 comes from out-of-state big oil. These out-of-state companies don’t really care about California’s unemployment figures. They really care about the profits of their own companies. And, they certainly don’t care about addressing the issues surrounding global warming. In fact, they would like you to believe that global warming doesn’t exist.

Two Texas-based oil companies have mostly financed Prop 23: Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp. Now, according to a September 4 Los Angeles Times article, a subsidiary of Koch Industries recently contributed $1 million to support the passage of Prop 23. Koch Industries owns refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota. It controls about 4,000 miles of oil pipelines.

Here are more facts about the supporters of Prop 23 according to the above article:

So far, the Proposition 23 campaign has raised $8.2 million, of which 97% has come from oil interests and 89% from out of state.

Also, according to the same article, billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch (owners of Koch Industries) have

“helped finance efforts to develop arguments denying that global climate change is a real phenomenon.”

Any job losses that occur as a result of AB 32 will be short-term as we create jobs to fuel an alternative energy-based economy. The fear mongering will say that AB 32 will cost California jobs and that global warming is not real.

Please, follow the money. Don’t let out-of-state big oil scare you into voting for Prop 23.Vote NO on Prop 23.