Schwarzenegger slams Valero, Tesoro and Prop 23

“This is a corruption of the democratic process. Texas oil companies have descended upon California to overturn a California law. There is a struggle playing out right here in California that the world does not know much about. Today, Valero and Tesoro are in a conspiracy. Not in a criminal conspiracy, but a cynical one about self-serving greed. Does anyone think in their black oil company hearts that they want to create jobs?” said California Governor Schwarzenegger.

Wow!

California’s Prop 23 is a genuinely sleazy attempt primarily backed by Texas oil companies to disembowel California landmark climate change bill by pretending it will hurt jobs.

No on 23

No on Prop. 23. The most important political battle of the year

Baldly put, Prop 23 is the epitome of anti-climate reactionary politics in America. An astroturf effort financed by oil companies and driven forward by climate denialist groups, it aims to block California’s landmark climate action law, AB32.

AB32, also known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, mandates that greenhouse gas emissions in California be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020. The bill was spearheaded and pushed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, a Republican.

Prop. 23 would block implementation of AB-32 unless unemployment is less than 5.6% for four quarters, something which rarely happens in California. Thus, it would in effect, kill AB-32. It also makes the bogus argument that working towards GHG reduction would increase unemployment when the opposite is true and is funded by the usual assortment of sleazebags.

Attacking AB32 can only be read as a direct effort by oil companies and other vested interests to roll back the clock on climate action. They, probably accurately, perceive AB32 to be the lynchpin of North American climate action in the absence of national legislation. Block AB32, and they not only keep California’s economy itself dirty, they also send a scare-gram to politicians across the continent (weakening state and local efforts) and further entrench denialism and corruption in the American national political culture.

Join the No on 23 campaign now.

Prop 23, climate change, and California’s broken proposition system

(From my latest article for CAIVN)

Proposition 23, which will be on the California ballot in November, seeks to effectively abolish the landmark AB32 bill. Also known as the Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32 passed in 2006 and was strongly supported by Gov. Schwarzenegger.

“Follow the money” is always good advice in politics. So far, and it’s still early in the campaign, millions of dollars have been raised by the pro- and anti-forces. Prop 23 was sponsored by two oil companies, Tesoro and Valero Energy. They ponied up $3.3 million to get it on the ballot. Much of the money went for paying for signatures.

If the proposition process is supposed to be about citizen democracy, then paying signature gatherers to get people to sign the petition is contrary to the stated goal of grassroots citizen participation. Sometimes they are paid several dollars per signature and have no particular interest in the issue. In my view, the system needs to be amended so that petition gatherers are unpaid.

Deep-pocketed environmental groups are also contributing heavily, with the Natural Resources Defense Council alone giving almost one million. PG&E also opposes it. “I expect this to be the most expensive initiative on the November ballot,” says an expert on initiatives, with many more millions expected to flow in.

Again, how is this about citizen democracy? Two corporations with a vested interest fund a proposition and other corporations, special interest groups, and PACs fund the opposition.

Our growing problem is that the citizen is nowhere to be seen in this process. Clearly, the California proposition process is so gamed and compromised that the original (and noble) goal of giving ordinary citizens a way to directly influence government is long gone and absent. Instead, we have well-funded special interests paying for the version of democracy they want to have implemented.

That’s hardly democracy at all. And the grassroots are nowhere to be seen.

Read the whole article.