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Every Republican in the California legislature except two have taken a "Pledge" not to vote for any tax, ever, regardless of need or consequence. Now the anti-government group behind this Pledge is extending it to say that politicians are violating it even if they allow the public to vote on increasing any tax.

From the Sacramento Bee's Capital Alert blog, Grover Norquist group: Putting taxes on ballot violates no-tax pledge,

The national anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform will e-mail and fax letters tomorrow to California legislators who signed its no-tax pledge, warning them the group will consider any vote to put tax extension measures on the ballot a violation of that pledge...

Gleason said asking voters whether they wanted to extend tax increases qualified as an effort to increase taxes.

So, what do you think? I guess it makes sense for an anti-government group to oppose allowing the public to make decisions. After all, that is what government is: the public making decisions for themselves.


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You may be hearing story after story about the flood of corporate money showing up in elections this year.  I recently posted a preliminary look at where the corporate money is going supporting or opposing to our upcoming ballot initiatives.  That was preliminary, before the real flood of last-minute corporate cash showed up. I'll be updating those numbers.


The Sacramento Bee's Capital Alert blog had a post Monday, FPPC: Big money flowing to ballot measure campaigns 

Committees for and against the ballot measures have raised more than $84.25 million in contributions of $100,000 or more since the beginning of the year, according to an analysis released today by the Fair Political Practices Commission.

The most active big-money fundraisers were the campaigns surrounding Proposition 24, which would repeal corporate tax benefits approved by the Legislature, and Proposition 23, which would suspend the state's greenhouse gas reduction law until the unemployment rate drops.

That is a lot of money.  It buys a lot of ads that say a lot of things.  Those things they say are very, very well-crafted by the highest-paid professionals that money can buy, designed to sway people to vote the way the big-money wants them to vote.  The question voters need to ask themselves is, "What do they expect for their money?"

Seriously, does anyone believe that these giant corporations are putting millions and millions (and millions and millions and millions) of dollars into these campaigns because they are in any way interested in helping voters come to conclusions that benefit the public?  But the well-funded campaigns are very good at keeping people from wondering about these questions.  Instead they try to distract us, divert us, throw smoke in our eyes, make us afraid, mane us angry, make us hate someone, make us think the world is about to end ... And the result is that the public is distracted, diverted, blinded, afraid, hateful and thinks the world is about to end.

Follow the money, don't be distracted, and ask yourself, "What do they expect for their money?"


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This is a survey looking at where the corporate money is going in California's 2010 November ballot initiatives.  All figures are from Sept. 17, 2010 and will be updated.  Due to reporting rules many contributions are not yet on the record.


Proposition 19, Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010

There is not a lot of corporate money involved in the marijuana initiative.  The beer and wine distributors have put up $10K to oppose the initiative.

On the supporting side: Credo, formerly Working Assets, campaign filings do not show any amounts as of Sept 17.  (Credo engages in political activity that supports the expressed wishes of their customers.)

Opposition to the measure:  CALIF BEER & BEVERAGE DISTRIBUTORS STATE ISSUES $10,000

 

Proposition 20, Congressional Redistricting

This initiative is largely financed by one individual, Charles T. Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffet's company).  The financing is individual, not from the company.

 

Proposition 21, Vehicle License Fee for Parks

On the opposing side: CALIFORNIANS AGAINST CAR TAXES, NO ON PROPOSITION 21 - none of the contributions are reported yet.

 

Proposition 22, Ban on State Borrowing from Local Governments

Campaign filings do not show any corporate amounts as of Sept 17.

 

Proposition 23, Suspend AB 32, the Global Warming Act of 2006

**There is heavy corporate involvement in favor of this initiative.**

The corporate money, specifically oil company money, is heavily involved in support of this initiative.  In fact, it is fair to say that this initiative is almost entirely financed by oil company money, some of it in ways attempting to mask that involvement.

 

Support

ADAM SMITH FOUNDATION $498,000 (This is a front-group for oil-company donations.)

Valero $1,050,000

HOLLY CORPORATION $25,000

PLACID REFINING COMPANY LLC $9,995

STAN BOYETT & SON INC. DBA BOYETT PETROLEUM $25,000

AMERICAN COALITION FOR CLEAN COAL ELECTRICITY $5000

TESORO COMPANIES, $525,000

OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORP. $300,000

THE TERMO COMPANY $5,000

ROBINSON OIL CORPORATION $25,000

BREITBURN OPERATING LP $20,000

E & B NATURAL RESOURCES MGMT.CORP $5,000

AMERICAN ENERGY OPERATIONS INC $5,000

NATIONAL PETROCHEMICAL & REFINERS ASSOCIATION $100,000

CALIFORNIA TRUCKING ASSOCIATION $50,000

BERRY PETROLEUM COMPANY 25000

NAFTEX OPERATING CO. 5000

CAMINOL MANAGEMENT CO. $25,000

MURRAY ENERGY CORPORATION $30,000

VENOCO, INC. $10,000

WORLD OIL CORP. $100,000

TOWER ENERGY GROUP $100,000

SOUTHERN COUNTIES OIL CO. DBA TOTAL ENERGY PRODUCTS $50,000

LUMBER ASSOCIATION OF CALIFORNIA & NEVADA PAC $5,000

NO NEW TAXES, A PROJECT OF THE HOWARD JARVIS TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION $100,001

JACO OIL CO. $10,000

 

I will do deeper research to try to trace where the money came from for NO NEW TAXES, A PROJECT OF THE HOWARD JARVIS TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION $100,001

CALIFORNIANS FOR PAYCHECK PROTECTION $25,000

PROTECT PROP. 13, A PROJECT OF THE HOWARD JARVIS TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION $49,000

CALIFORNIANS FOR PROPERTY RIGHTS PROTECTION $5,213.91

 

Oppose: Credo

CANNON POWER GROUP AND ITS AFFILIATE BAJA WIND, LLC $25K

I will conduct additional research to try to learn if companies are funding GREEN TECH ACTION FUND $500K and DMB ASSOCIATES, INC. AND AFFILIATES $80K

 

I will also try to trace if corporate donations are involved with CLEAN ECONOMY NETWORK NO ON 23 ACTION FUND, SUPPORTED BY CLEAN TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES, RENEWABLE ENERGY ENTREPRENEURS, AND CONCERNED CITIZENS $75K

 

 

Proposition 24, Repeal of Corporate Tax Breaks

**There is heavy corporate involvement in opposition to this initiative.**

Corporate money opposed:

Johnson & Johnson $750K

CBS Outdoor and Affiliates $1M

PFIZER INC. $100K

GE $1.2M

ALLERGAN, INC $20K

AMGEN $350K

VIACOM $950K

TIME WARNER $1.1M

FOX $725K

Walt Disney $1M

CISCO $1.1M

Qualcomm $100K

Medtronic $25K

Genetech $1.1M

Abbott Labs $100K

HP $100K

Intel $75K

 

 

Proposition 25 Majority Vote for Legislature to Pass the Budget

**There is heavy corporate involvement in opposition to this initiative.**

Big corporate donations opposing.  Multiple donations as indicated.

NEW MAJORITY CALIFORNIA PAC $100K

Chevron $250K $250:

Miller Coors $175K $100K $26K $24K $25K

SMALL BUSINESS ACTION COMMITTEE PAC $500K  $800K

PROTECT PROP 13, A PROJECT OF THE HOWARD JARVIS TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION $79,674

 

WINE INSTITUTE $100K $25K $25K $25K

 

INSURANCE BROKERS AND AGENTS ISSUES PAC (IBAIPAC), SPONSORED BY IBA WEST, INC. $50K

 

CALIFORNIA BEER & BEVERAGE DISTRIBUTORS ISSUES PAC $K

 

CALIFORNIA RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION ISSUES PAC $50K

 

CALIFORNIA BEER & BEVERAGE DISTRIBUTORS ISSUES PAC $50K $25K

 

CALIFORNIA RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION ISSUES PAC $25K

 

CROWN IMPORTS LLC $58K $20K

 

CALIFORNIA AMERICAN COUNCIL OF ENGINEERING COMPANIES ISSUES FUND (CA ACEC ISSUES FUND) $15K

 

WATSON LAND COMPANY $10K

 

CALIFORNIA BUSINESS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE, SPONSORED BY THE CALIFORNIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (AKA CALBUSPAC) $235K $120K $100K $325K $215K $75K $75K $125K $50K $100K

 

SAFEWAY INC. $20K 10K

 

DIAGEO NORTH AMERICA, INC. (Guinness, Smirnoff, Johnie Walker, Jose Cuervo ...) $25K

 

FARMERS INSURANCE GROUP $25K

 

ANHEUSER-BUSCH COMPANIES, INC. $100K  $25K

 

BROWN-FORMAN CORPORATION (Jack Daniels, Fetzer, Korbel, Southern Comfort ...) $35K

DISTILLED SPIRITS COUNCIL $20K

AERA ENERGY LLC $150K

CONOCOPHILLIPS $25K

 

Note - I will be digging into which companies are funding NEW MAJORITY CALIFORNIA PAC, SMALL BUSINESS ACTION COMMITTEE PAC, CALIFORNIA BUSINESS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE, SPONSORED BY THE CALIFORNIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (AKA CALBUSPAC) and front-group others.

 

Proposition 26 Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees (2010)

This initiative is the flip side of proposition 25, and the money in opposition to 25 is in favor of 26.  Additionally:

CALIFORNIA BUSINESS PAC, SPONSORED BY THE CALIFORNIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (CALBUSPAC)  $135K $140K $240K

 

Proposition 27 Eliminate Redistricting Commission

The opposition to this is financed by Charles Munger and his wife.

Charles Munger millions & Munger's wife, millions  -- See Prop 20

Also:

SMALL BUSINESS ACTION COMMITTEE PAC $20K

CA BUSINESS PAC,SPONSORED BY CA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (AKA CALBUSPAC) $10K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Here we go! This is a roundup of the ballot measures. I'm going to provide the official info, the summary and the "What Voting Yes Means" info from the state, and a discussion of the measure. In the coming month Speak Out California will go into detail on these initiatives with a progressive viewpoint, research into the funding and supporters/opponents and their reasons, and our own endorsements. (I can safely say that we will not be endorsing Prop 23.)


Proposition 19, The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.
This proposition changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed.

Summary: Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Fiscal Impact: Depending on federal, state, and local government actions, potential increased tax and fee revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually and potential correctional savings of several tens of millions of dollars annually.

A YES vote on this measure means: Individuals age 21 or older could, under state law, possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana for personal use. In addition, the state and local governments could authorize, regulate, and tax commercial marijuana-related activitites under certain conditions. These activities would remain illegal under federal law.

Discussion: it is hard to find much wrong with this proposal. Some say that more people might drive while stoned, and there needs to be enforcement and education around this. Speak Out California recently ran a post on another interesting possible result from this proposal: Will Passing Prop 19 Help End Mexico's Drug War?


Proposition 20, Congressional Redistricting
Add the task of re-drawing congressional district boundaries to the commission created by Proposition 11.

Summary: Removes elected representatives from process of establishing congressional districts and transfers that authority to recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission comprised of Democrats, Republicans, and respresentatives of neither party. Fiscal Impact: No significant net change in state redistricting costs.

A YES vote on this measure means: The responsibility to determine the boundaries of California's districts in the U.S. House of Representatives would be moved to the Citizens Redistricting Commission, a commission established by Proposition 11 in 2008. (Proposition 27 on this ballot also concerns redistricting issues. If both Proposition 20 and Proposition 27 are approved by voters, the proposition receiving the greater number of "yes" votes would be the only one to go into effect.)

Discussion: This takes the "gerrymandering" out of drawing up the state's Congressional districts. You've probably seen the maps of current districts, where they wander all aroundand make no sense. This is done to include or exclude areas that tend to vote Democratic or Republican, which ensures "safe" seats and manipulates the totals so there are one or three more Democratic members of Congress than there otherwise would be. If this passes districts would not be drawn to cover wide areas and leave out neighborhoods. The problem - to some - is that Texas has drawn its districts to makes sure that they send extra Republicans to the Congress, so changing to this system costs Democrats nationally.


Proposition 21, Vehicle License Fee for Parks
Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs and Grants Free Admission to All State Parks to Surcharged Vehicles.

Summary: Exempts commercial vehicles, trailers and trailer coaches from the surcharge. Fiscal Impact: Annual increase to state revenues of $500 million from surcharge on vehicle registrations. After offsetting some existing funding sources, these revenues would provide at least $250 million more annually for state parks and wildlife conservation.

A YES vote on this measure means: An $18 annual surcharge would be added to the amount paid when a person registers a motor vehicle. The surcharge revenues would be used to provide funding for state park and wildlife conservation programs. Vehicles subject to the surcharge would have free admission and parking at all state parks.

Discussion: This appears to be a good thing, except to those who hate any government or taxes. BUT one of the big problems with reaching a budget each year is these set-asides that are done by ballot initiative, making it difficult to allocate funds as needed. Addressing the state's revenue shortfall would g a lot further. Then again, it is hard to be against a small license fee to help the state's parks.


Proposition 22, Ban on State Borrowing from Local Governments

Summary: Prohibits State, even during severe fiscal hardship, from delaying distribution of tax revenues for these purposes. Fiscal Impact: Decreased state General Fund spending and/or increased state revenues, probably in the range of $1 billion to several billions of dollars annually. Comparable increases in funding for state and local transportation programs and local redevelopment.

A YES vote on this measure means: The state's authority to use or redirect state fuel tax and local property tax revenues would be significantly restricted.

Discussion: This is another measure to try to address a little piece of the state's budget problems. The state grabs money from local governments to help fix its own budget mess, leaving the local governments short and in trouble. Fixing the larger problem of an extremist, obstructionist anti-government minority would go much further.


Proposition 23, Suspend AB 32, the Global Warming Act

Summary:

  • Suspends State law that requires greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020, until California's unemployment drops to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters.

  • Suspends comprehensive greenhouse-gas-reduction program that includes increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emissions reporting and fee requirements for major emissions sources such as power plants and oil refineries.

A YES vote on this measure means: Certain existing and proposed regulations authorized under state law ("Assembly Bill 32") to address global warming would be suspended. These regulations would remain suspended until the state unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or lower for one year.

Discussion: This ugly mess of an out-of-state-funded corporate initiative represents the worst of our politics. It tries to trick voters by conflating fighting global warming and creating a new green economy with the unemployment rate. It has millions and millions of dollars behind it from huge, out-of-state oil giants.


Proposition 24, Repeal of Corporate Tax Breaks

Summary: Prohibits the State, even during a period of severe fiscal hardship, from delaying the distribution of tax revenues for transportation, redevelopment, or local government projects and services.

  • Repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to shift operating losses to prior tax years and that would extend the period permitted to shift operating losses to future tax years.

  • Repeals recent legislation that would allow corporations to share tax credits with affiliated corporations.

  • Repeals recent legislation that would allow multistate businesses to use a sales-based income calculation, rather than a combination property-, payroll-, and sales-based income calculation.

A YES vote on this measure means: Three business tax provisions will return to what they were before 2008 and 2009 law changes. As a result: (1) a business will be less able to deduct losses in one year against income in other years, (2) a multistate business will have its California income determined by a calculation using three factors, and (3) a business will not be able to share tax credits with related businesses.

Discussion: Last year during the worst of the budget crisis Republicans forced the legislature to pass a huge corporate tax cut while cutting everything else including firing teachers, because the state requires a 2/3 supermajority to pass a budget. This initiative reverses that tax cut and a few others.


Proposition 25, Majority Vote for Legislature to Pass the Budget

Summary:

  • Changes the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget and spending bills related to the budget from two-thirds to a simple majority.

  • Provides that if the Legislature fails to pass a budget bill by June 15, all members of the Legislature will permanently forfeit any reimbursement for salary and expenses for every day until the day the Legislature passes a budget bill.

A YES vote on this measure means: The Legislature's vote requirement to send the annual budget bill to the Governor would be lowered from two-thirds to a majority of each house of the Legislature.

Discussion: The discussion for Prop 24 described how tax cuts for large out-of-state corpoariotns were forced on us during last year's budget negotiations. This measure allows a simple majority to pass a budget, preventing this kind of thing. However, because this measure retains the 2/3 requirement to pass any revenue increases there is also a possibility it would increase pressure for cuts-only budgets.


Proposition 26, Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees


Summary:

  • Requires that certain state fees be approved by two-thirds vote of Legislature and certain local fees be approved by two-thirds of voters.

  • Increases legislative vote requirement to two-thirds for certain tax measures, including those that do not result in a net increase in revenue, currently subject to majority vote.

Discussion: This is an attempt by anti-government forces to further restrict the ability of the legislature and public to fund the government.


Proposition 27, Elimination of Citizen Redistricting Commission

Summary:

  • Eliminates 14-member redistricting commission selected from applicant pool picked by government auditors.
  • Consolidates authority for establishing state Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries with elected state representatives responsible for drawing congressional districts.
  • Reduces budget, and imposes limit on amount Legislature may spend, for redistricting.
  • Provides that voters will have the authority to reject district boundary maps approved by the Legislature.
  • Requires populations of all districts for the same office to be exactly the same.

Discussion: This is an attempt to return to political "gerrymandering" of political districts.


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Much is finally being written about the money behind the candidates as well as the initiatives these days. Finally I say because money buys word-smithing and that buys people's hearts and minds. Not that the ideas propelling the candidates and ballot measures couldn't do that on their merits, but it's the money that motivates these self-serving people/corporations. Money pays for the glib sound-bites that become the message and the PR firms that then shape the opinions and alas, the votes of an often unsuspecting electorate.

With all the money being poured into our elections this year, and the misdirection of the voters, it is not hard to understand that the Republicans are poised to recoup most, if not all of their lost gains from the 2008 election that catapulted Barack Obama and the Democrats into power. What IS hard to understand, is how the American people are looking to these very same people, with the very same ideas that put our communities, our state, our nation and even the world on the brink of economic disaster.

I was confounded again today, listening to Mitt Romney, of all people, disparaging the Democrats view of economics; if Romney and his buddies had had their way, the world would have collapsed into depression after the Bush policies of less oversight, greater private enterprise without accountability and all the other disastrous approaches to prosperity and opportunity that accompanied the Gingrich, Bush and Cheney years. One disaster after another:

  • Iraq

  • Wall Street

  • Housing collapse

  • High unemployment

  • Out-sourcing jobs to China and Asia

  • Huge deficits

  • Afghanistan

  • Guantanemo and the loss of civil liberties.
The list truly goes on and on, yet with the incredible chutzpah of arrogant, wealthy, deceitful, expediency-driven people like Mitt and the Koch brothers, we're seeing the resurrection of the failed policies that President Obama so aptly expressed as the "guys who drove the car into the ditch". As he pointed out, now they're asking for the keys back. What the President was slow in realizing (or maybe does now), is that there may be enough Americans willing to do just that!

Back to the Koch Boys ....... these multi-gazillionaires born into extraordinary privilege, with no moral compass, have dumped millions into California for purposes of realizing their libertarian, polluting, anti-worker dispositions to assure that their climate threatening, dirty air creating industries continue to pollute our air and risk the future of our health and our planet. They've found a willing ally, it seems, in Carly Fiorina---who probably wishes she could be them---if only she knew how. (See Fiorina's billionaire backers in today's LA Times.)

While a recent study named Koch Industries one of the top 10 air polluters in the United States, and they have been cited by organizations that monitor employment practices as "m>one of the most ruthless exporters of American manufacturing jobs to foreign countries", Carly earned the distinction of being one of the country's top twenty WORST CEO's of all time. So they do have a lot in common--and are in sync on both opposing our critically important model air-quality legislation which also creates hundreds of thousands of green jobs for Californians (many of which have already begun) and in off-shoring American jobs.

It is important in politics to go beyond the rhetoric to who is funding what and why. Once the fluff and hype is dissected, the real story of a ballot measure or candidate's expected behavior can be identified. With all the polling, focus-groups and testing of "messages", the public tends to be inundated with language designed to bamboozle, not educate. This makes following the money trail all the more important.

In the case of the Koch Brothers, their millions have been funding the "tea party" and major Republican candidates nationwide. They've also put millions into Yes on Prop 23, along with two Texas oil companies that believe they should be able to force us to breathe dirty air.

While truth has never been of concern to the Libertarian, filthy air producing Koch boys (I will not make any comment about any possible racism or bigotry they may have inherited from their father who was one of the original members of the John Birch Society), they have gotten solidly behind Carly and Prop 23. Those facts, alone, should be enough to make sure we say NO to both Fiorina and Prop. 23. While they may have tons of money, once you follow it, you see that it leads straight into a self-serving stew of pollution and greed.

We can do better--- a lot better!


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The huge financial returns from supplying America's demand have fueled the rise of drug gangs across our southern border. Marijuana prohibition keeps the price high and the supply controllable. As a result few have as great a financial interest in continuing to keep marijuana illegal as do these Mexican drug gangs.

In an interesting development, Héctor Aguilar Camín ( a historian, a novelist and the publisher and editor of the Mexican magazine Nexos) and Jorge G. Castañeda (Mexico's foreign minister from 2000 to 2003 and teacher at New York University) penned an op-ed in Sunday's Washington Post, California's Prop 19, on legalizing marijuana, could end Mexico's drug war. Excerpt,

On Nov. 2, Californians will vote on Proposition 19, deciding whether to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana. If the initiative passes, it won't just be momentous for California; it may, at long last, offer Mexico the promise of an exit from our costly war on drugs.


[. . .] A growing number of distinguished Mexicans from all walks of life have recently come out in favor of some form of drug legalization. Former presidents Ernesto Zedillo and Vicente Fox, novelists Carlos Fuentes and Angeles Mastretta, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Mario Molina, and movie star Gael García Bernal have all expressed support for this idea, and polls show that ordinary Mexicans are increasingly willing to contemplate the notion.

A question for readers: is it possible that drug interests south of the border might become involved in efforts to oppose Prop 19? There is a great deal of money at stake depending on which way this ballot initiative goes. There is a history of entrenched moneyed interests getting involved in elections that can alter their interests.


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While California takes the summer off, the wealthy use their extraordinary wealth to undermine the state's future.

While grills all over California are still smoldering under the weight of July 4th hot dogs, burgers and maybe a veggie-burger or two, those with unlimited resources (and who most likely grilled steaks instead), continue their barrage on the senses of Golden State residents.

With all that money, there's no need to respect the notion that these are the "dog days" of summer, when those lucky enough to have jobs try to sneak in a restful vacation or two with their families and friends and those who are out-of-work try to find some, or if not at least find solace in the fact that summer tends to be slow in the work-place anyway. But for E-Meg and the big oil companies, this is no time to let the rest of us relax.

With four major Texas-based oil companies putting in the few millions necessary to qualify Prop. 23 on the ballot, we can expect a summer filled with more lies and misinformation about what AB 32, the law that will move us to develop an alternative energy economy, is going to do to the state. To the oilies, it represents a commitment to move from their dirty, fossil-based fuel driven economy to something more sustainable and protective of the environment (you can include the ocean in that, as we continue to watch in horror as the Gulf of Mexico absorbs millions of gallons of the dirty, toxic and deathly gunk every day).

Of course, what's not to like in that idea? Well, the claim (made without any justification or factual data to support it---but what else is new?) is that it will raise the price of oil and be a drag on our state's already suffering economy. You know, another "job-killer" bill.

For thinking people, this reasoning is pure nonsense. Fortunately, according to a new poll that came out today, most Californians reject this nonsense and realize forcing us to move to renewable energy resources could and would put California right in the middle of a changing, vibrant and profitable new energy economy. For more information on the report, check out Cal Buzz here.

And then there's E-Meg, the multi-billionaire who wants to buy the Governorship on her way to trying to buy the Presidency of the United States. Now, while I'm all for women aspiring and reaching the highest office in the land, (and I am, indeed), E-Meg has no experience and up until fairly recently no interest in government or its workings. But that's the least of it. For those of us who have been in both public service and private enterprise, there is one thing that is clear. One is analog and the other digital. You can't run business like and government and you can't run government like a business. Why? Because the purpose of business is profit. The purpose of government is to provide for the public good.

We saw that up close and personal with Ahnold. He came in as an "outsider" with a great story of financial success (even as a mediocre actor, but that's for another day). No one can argue that Meg has had enormous success as well (even though much of it is integrally linked to her relationship with Goldman Sachs). And no one can argue that she's put together an extraordinary political campaign machine--probably the best that $90 million (and counting every minute) can buy. She's got the sound-bites down, controls her press conferences with impressive precision and has well-choreographed ads up on all the right stations and programs, etc. She has attacked her opponent with great gusto and creativity----unfazed by the fact that most of her criticisms are totally distorted, if not downright lies. We know, however, that she will stop at nothing to make her case---just look at the way she ran to the far-right to beat Steve Poizner in the primary.

It will be interesting to see her race back to the "middle", which she is already trying to do with the Latino community. She's spent a small fortune so far buying time on Spanish-speaking media trying to convince this population that she's supportive, even though the hated former-governor Pete Wilson (Mr. Prop.118) was (and still is?) her campaign chairman.

Her politics aside, the problem is: With all her money and clever advertising and posturing, she doesn't have a clue how to GOVERN. We do know she knows how to bully---as illustrated by a small incident that only cost her a couple hundred-thousand dollars. Just chump change for her. Just wait til she's in Sacramento if she wins. What's she going to do--challenge the legislature to a shoving match? Challenge the cities and counties and public safety groups and public interest groups to a duel?

Governing calls for compromise, for respect for the other branches of government. It calls for thoughtful discussion. This is not a monarchy where the richest get to tell everyone else what to do-and how to think. No sound-bite in the world is going to suddenly move everything in your direction in a democracy. Willing it to be doesn't make it happen. Governing is an intricate, subtle, and wisdom driven calling. If you don't have the skills and experience, you're going to flop. And the last thing this state needs at this point is another inexperienced, arrogant, unprepared rich person who has no idea what they're doing. Just look at the present governor if you have any doubts.


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Bebra Bowen, California Secretary of State, issued a press release today announcing the assigned numbers for the November 2010 ballot initiatives.

The initiatives are:

Proposition 18    Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010.

Proposition 19    Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to be Regulated and Taxed. 

Proposition 20    Redistricting of Congressional Districts.

Proposition 21    Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs and Grants Free Admission to All State Parks to Surcharged Vehicles.

Proposition 22    Prohibits the State from Taking Funds Used for Transportation or Local Government Projects and Services.

Proposition 23    Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions that Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year.

Proposition 24    Repeals Recent Legislation that Would Allow Businesses to Carry Back Losses, Share Tax Credits, and Use a Sales-Based Income Calculation to Lower Taxable Income.

Proposition 25    Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass a Budget from Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority. Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes.

Proposition 26    Increases Legislative Vote Requirement to Two-Thirds for State Levies and Charges. Imposes Additional Requirement for Voters to Approve Local Levies and Charges with Limited Exceptions. 

Proposition 27    Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting with Elected Representatives.

Speak Out California will be analyzing these initiatives, tracing the funding of proponents and opponents, and reporting to you between now and November. 

The entire press release in full is below the fold:


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