Prop 23 requires in-state opposition


I used to spend a fair amount of time mapping alternate routes to class to avoid the phalanx of Greenpeace volunteers that descend on campus every year. It wasn’t because my views don’t fall in line with the organization’s, but because ducking through an alley and darting behind a few trash cans is marginally less embarrassing than showing a volunteer my latest bank statement and pointing to the number next to the negative sign.

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Every year, however, there is invariably at least one day when I realize there simply aren’t enough alleys. Our campus is often host to a variety of environmentally conscious organizations, and this is appropriate.

We are an environmentally conscious student body — or at least we have the potential to be. Walking to class might feel like navigating the upper levels of PacMan, but ultimately we are lucky to be a student body on the cusp of sustainability and change.

The real question, however, doesn’t involve our ideals as much as our stamina.

Sure, we’re green. But how politically active is our campus going to be in an election that doesn’t determine the president?

With such a flurry of activism on campus, it would seem a no-brainer that students will come out in hordes against Proposition 23, a measure that would freeze AB 32 — the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 — until California’s unemployment rate drops below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.

But this summer’s primaries saw five students vote on campus. The cast of Friends could have shown up and had more of an impact. This number was a vertical dive from the more than 300 who cast their ballots in 2008.

USC boasts a squad of environmental groups: Always Living In View of the Environment, Trojans for Environmental Awareness, Conservation and A Healthy Planet, Environment First — the list goes on. But who’s going to decide the fate of Prop 23?

Proponents of Prop 23 take beef with AB 32, the 2006 ballot measure intended to reduce California emissions levels by 2020 to what they were in 1990. A statewide pledge to put a lid on greenhouse gases with a concrete time frame, however, was a victory for those trumpeting California as the bastion of environmentalism. But it did ruffle some feathers with oil companies — the ones that stood to lose.

These companies — Valero Energy and Tesoro Corp. — have poured a combined $5.6 million into the Yes on Prop 23 campaign.

Both are based out of San Antonio, Texas.

Clearly, out of state interest groups play more than just a fringe role in California politics; you’d have to look back no farther than Prop 8’s 2008 campaign, to which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contributed lavishly. Ordinary citizens don’t have the money to back their pet causes — but they can make an effort to turn out to the polls.

Prop 23 plays on a logical fallacy. It aims to put a moratorium on a clean energy bill until California’s unemployment rate drops drastically — an entirely unfeasible goal.

This midterm election is all about jobs; California’s unemployment rate is wavering around 12.4 percent, and both gubernatorial candidates have stressed employment as one of their biggest goals.

The stipulations for reintroducing AB 32 are almost unattainable. California’s employment rate must drop to less than 5.5 percent — something it has done only three times in the last 30 years.

Ultimately, the proposition is a way for oil companies to skirt regulations on the amount of emissions they produce. Jobs are simply the buzz word thrown in to lure voters.

In fact, there’s nothing to prove that AB 32 has a negative impact on the economy — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says that 500,000 green jobs have been created because of its enactment.

Ultimately, passing this proposition could damage California’s place at the helm of environmental reform. The Global Warming Solutions Act doesn’t simply affect our state — reform spurs more reform. As goes California, so goes the nation.

It’s time for California students — who have already proven themselves vested in the interests of a sustainable state — to rally enough support and enthusiasm at the polls this November to overturn this Proposition.

Who’s going to decide the vote — out of state interest groups, or ourselves?

Lucy Mueller is a senior majoring in cinema-television production and a managing editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Everything is Copy,” runs Mondays.

  • Randal Whittle

    I realize some Trojans fit the stereotype born with a silver spoon in their mouths, but for the rest of you, I presume you want to graduate and actually find gainful employment sometime soon. The Job market hasn’t been this bad in a generation, and the economic eco-terrorists with their green propaganda only make it worse. Quite possibly, the group of people the worst off are fresh college grads! If you don’t care to be able to pay back your student loans, then vote “No” on Prop. 23. Otherwise, you deserve what you get–which is nowhere. Remember, you actually have to have been *working* before you can collect an unemployment check.

    This Alum, for one, won’t be hiring any more Trojans for some time to come, due to the drop in revenues we’ve experienced. The leftist Obama voters got the change they deserved–its a shame they had to screw everyone else in the process.

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  • The biggest concern about Prop 23 and oil industry behind it are people in the Renewable Energy industry who stand to lose billions of dollars in future profits if repealed.
    Renewable Energy projects produce electricity. Electricity is not produced from foreign oil and does not reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
    There isn’t a shortage of electricity. The US Energy Information Agency reports electrical demand declined 3.6% last year. Any PERMANENT (non temp construction) RE jobs will be offset by closure of conventional power plants because we don’t need the electricity.
    It is too little and too late to affect Climate change and is a political solution. The original Kyoto Accords were to reduce Green House Gases 5.2% below 1990 levels as a START when the Chinese rode bicycles and not the present goal of 17% below 2005. GHG emissions RATES can be reduced but LEVELS will continue to rise.

    OH DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Christopher Ganiere

    Correction, “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contributed lavishly.” The Church did not contribute money to the Proposition. It paid for travel for employees to visit California (and paid a fine based on a court’s ruling). Individual citizens that happen to be members contributed to the campaign, along with millions of other Californians. The lists of contributors are available online. This has been covered in the press. Please do the research and correct your article.

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  • I would hope that engineering and science students would stand up to this commentary and refute the scientific basis of the anthropogenic CO2 theory that it is the cause of global warming. Climategate has uncovered the myth and many investigations before and since have exonerated CO2 as having any effect on global warming. This was proven many decades ago by H. Lamb in his History of Climate’s studiy of the Medieval warming, when there were no SUVs or coal-fired power plants to generate anthropogenic CO2. That warming was due to natural causes, and that goes as well for the cooler warming of the 20th Century.

    Further consult such sites as Watts up with that, JoAnne Nova, and Climate Realists, and the many links availaable at these sites.

    Beware of green propaganda. Mr. Richard”s comment above has been repeated on hundreds of commentary sections like this. And beware of government propaganda, either from Sacramento or Washington. It is all jive they are propagating to keep their jobs.

    I for one am grateful that the Texas Oil companies are helping Californians fight the criminal AB 32 law which would otherwise destroy not only millions of jobs but put the California economy on the fast train to serfdom imder the tyrannical rule of an unelected agency (CARB). Economist Steven F. Hayward has predicted that the “80 by 50” regulation of AB 32 (80% reduction of CO2 by 2050) would put the country in a tailspin to the pre-Edison days of the cotton gin.

    Trojans, I urge you to support Prop 23. AB 32 will make the job market when you graduate far worse than today.See my website for further information on this.

    • Science

      I hope you are right and that CO2 is not actually the cause of global climate change, but I’m just not convinced you are. “ClimateGate” is a story that is quickly losing its legs–two of the scientists most closely related to that controversy, Phil Jones and Michael Mann, have both been cleared of wrongdoing, and there is more scientific evidence on the side of man-made climate change than refuting it. You call upon engineering and science students and professors to your side, but the information from which I am basing my claims come from those very people.

      Besides your rant against climate change, however, you do nothing to show how AB 32 is harming the market, other than making bombastic claims about pre-Edison days and simply saying that it will harm job growth because it will harm job growth.

      When I want to vote for something, I look at where the money is coming from. Prop 23 is being supported primarily by the oil companies; who do you think this proposition is really crafted to help? The people of California? Or some Texas oil companies? I think the money speaks for itself. I, for one, am voting NO on Prop 23.

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  • Earl Richards

    The California Jobs Initiative (CJI) is an oil corporation farce and fraud. There is no connection, whatsoever, between greenhouse gas emission reduction and the loss of jobs. This notion is an insult to the intelligence of the people of California. In fact, there is job growth in the clean, renewable energy industry. Chevron employs 65,000 worldwide and CJI is not going to change this. The only jobs created by the oil industry are clean-up jobs after oil spills and deep water, blow-outs and pump-handler jobs. CJI will make fantastic profits for the oil industry, increase air pollution, especially in communities around their refineries and there will not be lower gas prices. Koch Industries, Valero and Tesoro are super Enrons. Since when did the oil companies start to show any concern for the unemployed and their families and for small businesses?