2 Responses to Defeat Proposition 23 to improve the lives of low income and minority Californians
Some have said [California’s climate and clean energy] law will have a negative impact on minorities and low-income families, who have already been hit hard by the recession. As two female business leaders of color, we know better. And so do two out of three Californians who support the law, according to a just-released Public Policy Institute of California poll.
That’s from a terrific opinion piece in the San Jose Mercury News, by Teresa Alvarado and Shellye Archambeau. Alvarado, a civil & environmental engineer, is former executive director of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. Archambeau is CEO of software company MetricStream and a Silicon Valley Leadership Group board member.
The whole thing is worth reading:
This November, California voters have a clear choice: Accept our continued dependence on foreign oil or embrace the opportunity to lead the worldwide clean-energy revolution.
Texas oil companies have taken advantage of our initiative system to place Proposition 23 on the ballot in an attempt to undo California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The companies bankrolling Proposition 23, Tesoro and Valero, are two of the largest polluters in our state, and their intent is to kill California’s job-creating clean-air and -energy standards and cripple clean-energy competition.
The campaign deceptively frames Proposition 23 as a “jobs” initiative and uses the word “suspend” rather than repeal. But the trigger for resumption of the law would be when unemployment falls below 5.5 percent for an entire year “” something that has happened only three times in 30 years.
Some have said the law will have a negative impact on minorities and low-income families, who have already been hit hard by the recession. As two female business leaders of color, we know better. And so do two out of three Californians
who support the law, according to a just-released Public Policy Institute of California poll.
If the law moves forward, an independent analysis by the University of California predicts that the state’s gross domestic product will increase by $20 billion, and California will benefit from 112,000 new jobs, including positions in manufacturing, construction and engineering.
The dirty-energy Proposition 23 would make electricity 33 percent more expensive by the end of this decade and will disproportionately affect low-income households, which spend a greater percentage of their incomes on energy. It would cost the state $80 billion in gross domestic product and threaten half a million jobs by 2020.
The oil companies bankrolling Proposition 23 are blaming the law, which does not even go into effect until 2011, for job losses that were caused by the recession. In fact, since it was enacted, the law has spurred more than $3 billion in investment in clean energy, helping spawn 12,000 clean-energy businesses and thousands of new patents.
Further, the clean-energy sector is the one bright spot in our economy: Clean-energy jobs have grown 10 times faster than the statewide average since 2005, to more than 125,000 today. The economic impact is one reason the Silicon Valley Leadership Group strongly opposes Proposition 23.
While the Texas oil companies say their dirty energy initiative is good for our economy, it really is just good for them. Proposition 23 would put California back on the path of dependence on foreign oil and let polluters off the hook.
According to the American Lung Association, 95 percent of Californians live in areas with unhealthy air, contributing to 19,000 premature deaths, hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks and trips to the hospital. The Global Warming Solutions Act works to lower emissions of both greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants. And since California’s major sources of pollution are most likely to be located in low-income neighborhoods and near communities of color, Proposition 23 would disproportionately affect those least able to cope.
Passing Proposition 23 would create regulatory chaos for businesses that have already invested in a clean-energy future and would drive investment and jobs out of the state. This is one reason well-respected businesses such as Google, eBay, Applied Materials, PG&E, SunPower and others publicly oppose Proposition 23.
Defeating Proposition 23 in November will be a victory for California’s economy “” while also sending a message to out-of-state polluters that Californians can’t be bought.
This is part of a series on the fossil fuel-funded Proposition 23 effort to repeal California’s clean energy and climate laws. Read previous posts on Prop 23’s economic impact, national repercussions, and funding from Texas oil companies.