Ryan Chartrand

In the heat of the upcoming midterm election, it appears political propaganda is omnipresent. The left and right have become so polarized and inundated with taxes, the war and sex scandals that many important issues such as environmental policy are frequently overlooked. With growing concerns of global warming, pollution and rising energy demand it is imperative that you know where the politicians stand and what the propositions say come Nov. 7.

As Californians we live in a state which leads the nation in environmental stewardship while maintaining one of the largest economies in the world. For this reason, Californian politicians must base their campaigns on a balance between fiscal and environmental concerns. This year, California’s main gubernatorial candidates are incumbent Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic challenger Phil Angelides. Both candidates have extensive environmental plans for California.

Gov. Schwarzenegger has practiced anything but traditional Republican environmental policy since taking office three years ago. He has led many environmental initiatives including the construction of the first phase of a California “Hydrogen Highway.” Schwarzenegger hopes that by 2010, 50 to 100 operational hydrogen refueling stations will dot California’s roadways. Schwarzenegger helped create the “Million Solar Roofs” plan, aimed at installing 3000 megawatts of solar power in one million homes and businesses by 2018. Schwarzenegger also pioneered the “Green Building Initiative” which requires all public buildings to be 20% more energy efficient by 2015. In September, Governor Schwarzenegger announced plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Most recently, in a letter to President Bush, Arnold criticized the “lack of a coherent federal policy” to stop global warming. Arnold is not afraid to cross party lines and maintains a stringent environmental agenda while refusing to raise taxes.

Referred to as one of the “greenest” candidates in years, Angelides also has a comprehensive environmental plan. As state treasurer, Angelides launched the “Green Wave Investment Initiative,” calling on the state’s pension funds to invest $1.5 billion in clean technology, alternative energy and energy efficiency. The Democratic challenger also has a plan to “curb sprawl through smart growth.” This plan intends to identify and protect farmland, open space, reduce vehicle miles traveled and develop walkable mixed-use neighborhoods. In this plan, incentives are provided to communities who meet their targets in the form of priority for transportation and infrastructure grants. Phil Angelides has endorsed Proposition 87, a plan to impose a severance tax on Californian oil production. If the proposition passes, he has pledged to use the expected $4 billion dollar tax revenue to fight global warming and create incentives for alternative energy research. Through this backing of alternative energy technology, Angelides intends ultimately to reduce petroleum consumption by 25 percent. With endorsements from the Sierra Club, Bill Clinton and Al Gore, Phil Angelides hopes to muscle the governator out of Sacramento.

On Nov. 7, the citizens of California will decide who is to lead the state for the next two years. It is your right and duty to educate yourself on where these candidates stand on education, healthcare, transportation, the environment and other topics. Schwarzenegger and Angelides are both well qualified candidates with a vision for a cleaner, greener California; the choice is yours.

For more non-partisan information on California’s candidates and propositions visit www.votecircle.com.

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