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Proposition 23, named both the California Job Initiative and the Dirty Energy Bill by each respective side, has caused much conflict, driving volunteers against it to come to Cal Poly to raise awareness about the controversial bill.

According to the California voter information guide, Prop. 23 seeks to suspend the global warming bill, AB 32, “until unemployment (rates) drop to 5.5 percent or less for a full year.”  Supporters of the bill said now is the time to address unemployment, not global warming, but also said they do not want to get rid of AB 32 completely.

Lucy Dunn, the president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council (OCBC), said AB 32 is “causing a great deal of difficulty for businesses” in this economic time.

“It’d be better to kick off the economy and (get) people jobs than (focus on the environment),” Dunn said.

Dunn also said California was a “clean tech leader before AB 32 was passed,” so she said it was better to get the unemployment rate down.

Opponents of Prop. 23, however, claim the proposition is more focused on allowing Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro a way to sidestep California’s environmental progress.

Lindsay Jacobsen, a full-time CALPIRG worker and volunteer against Prop. 23, defined the bill in a far different way than Dunn, calling it the “dirty energy proposition.”

“(Prop. 23 is) definitely going to roll back the global warming law,” Jacobsen said.  “(This) results in more air pollution and stifles the clean energy economy.”

Steven Maviglio, the official spokesman for the “No on 23” campaign, said the oil companies were misrepresenting the issue and they have no interest in California’s economy.

“It’s masquerading as something (it’s not),” Maraviglio said.  “It’s really about two Texas oil companies who do not want to clean up their pollution, and … 98 percent of the money for it comes from the oil industry and almost 90 percent comes from out of state, so I think Texas oil companies care very little for California’s economy.”

Dunn, on the other hand, said the oil companies backing the proposition are beside the issue. Dunn said the opposing side was funded by “Wall Street” types that do not represent the whole California population.

“Green jobs are only 3 percent of all the jobs in the nation,” Dunn said.  “That’s the problem with AB 32: it’s trying to kill (the) 97 percent of jobs for (that 3 percent).”

Bill Day, the executive director of media relations for Valero Energy Corporation, also called AB 32 “costly,” and said Valero really does have an interest in California’s economy.

“With two refineries in California, 1,600 employees, an annual payroll in California of $122 million, 83 company-owned stores and another 800 privately owned stores that we supply with fuel, Valero has an interest in California’s economy being strong,” Day said.  “But right now, California’s economy is in deep trouble.”

Though Dunn said they do not want to abolish AB 32, but rather “suspend” it until unemployment gets better, opponents, according to the “No on 23” website, said California has rarely had an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent for a full year. Maviglio said the oil companies were using fear as a tactic for the proposition.

“They’re preying on fears about the economy, which is just an excuse for them to (pollute),” Maviglio said.

Dunn said focusing on who was backing the proposition instead of the fairness of it was not an excuse to be against it. However, the involvement of the oil companies drive people to volunteer. Maviglio said more than 1,000 people had volunteered to fight the bill.

Tessa Salzman, a volunteer for No on 23, said finding out Texas oil companies funded the bill drove her to volunteer her time.

“When I learned how ridiculous this proposition is and saw how obvious it was that the oil companies are just in it for the money, I got super pumped up about politics for the first time,” Salzman said. “I am passionate about the environment and for all the damage the oil industry is already responsible for, this is too much.”

Still, Dunn said it was time to focus on the youth, who she claimed went to college and then “could not find jobs” and on others that cannot sustain themselves.

“(For) people who can’t pay their rent, can’t feed their family, the environment comes in third place,” Dunn said.

For voters caught in the middle of this battle, they must decide if suspending “costly” AB 32 will help the struggling economy or if the proposition is “preying” on the desperate in order to rise above set environmental standards.

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2 Comments

  1. Green jobs are the fastest growing employment sector, that’s why it makes sense to oppose Prop 23, which will be a green-job-killer.

    China is wasting no time expanding their green job sector and exporting green technology to the U.S. Meanwhile, California business groups like the Orange County Business Council are spending their resources opposing a transition to alternative energy technology development instead of rallying the troops and lobbying government to help create green jobs. For each business venture pushing the boundaries of what is possible, there are 100 whining about mandates, yet in ten years, those 100 will be embracing and profiting from the changes inspired by that one team with vision.

    California is very capable of being an alternative technology leader. Why should we ship our dollars overseas for what we can develop here?

    Don’t listen to the whining, vote NO on Prop 23.

  2. Green jobs are the fastest growing employment sector, that’s why it makes sense to oppose Prop 23, which will be a green-job-killer.

    China is wasting no time expanding their green job sector and exporting green technology to the U.S. Meanwhile, California business groups like the Orange County Business Council are spending their resources opposing a transition to alternative energy technology development instead of rallying the troops and lobbying government to help create green jobs. For each business venture pushing the boundaries of what is possible, there are 100 whining about mandates, yet in ten years, those 100 will be embracing and profiting from the changes inspired by that one team with vision.

    California is very capable of being an alternative technology leader. Why should we ship our dollars overseas for what we can develop here?

    Don’t listen to the whining, vote NO on Prop 23.

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