Politely Heated Prop. 23 Debate

SEPT. 16, 2010


It was the rich oil guys against the rich hedge fund manager today at the Proposition 23 debate sponsored by the Sacramento Press Club. At least that’s the way the two sides characterize the campaign spokesmen.

A guy in a chicken suit protested with numerous other sign-carrying demonstrators outside of the 9th Street building where the Sacramento Press Club debate was held Wednesday. Several of the protestors joined the audience once the debate started.

Assemblyman Dan Logue, described as the driving force behind the YES on Prop 23 campaign, and Thomas Steyer, wealthy hedge fund manager, and co-chair of the NO on Prop 23, squared off – very politely.

Proposition 23 would suspend AB32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, also known as cap and trade legislation.

Proponents say implementation of AB32 is growing the green technology industry in California, but critics say that it is heavily subsidized and cannot self-sustain.

Steyer, reported to have given $2.5 million of a $5 million pledge to the NO on Prop 23 campaign said, “Oil companies are trying to write their own legislation.” Steyer said the big oil “polluters” are trying to get out of cleaning up their industry. “It is not appropriate for industry to write its own legislation. Legislators are supposed to do this, and companies are supposed to obey those rules,” Steyer said.

“Hundreds of thousands of jobs are being created by the green industry,” said Steyer, “and California gets 60 percent of the green jobs in the country.”

Steyer said that he wants to protect California’s opportunity to continue to lead the green tech and green jobs push through defeat of Prop 23. “California will lead that revolution,” Steyer said.

“Both of us are in business,” said Logue. “He is big business, and I am small business.”

Logue explained that Prop 23 is supported by small business, regardless of the campaign contributors. “California is 51st in the nation to do business in, according to CEO magazine,” Logue said, and attributed this to “regulations, taxes and energy costs, which are just too high.”

“We just can’t compete in California, said Logue. “Texas and Nevada will be getting more of California’s businesses if AB32 continues.” Logue said that California energy costs are already 35 percent higher that the rest of the nation, and he produced a list of energy businesses that “can’t wait to get out of California, because they cannot afford to stay here.”

Logue insisted that Prop 23 will not do anything more than suspend AB32 until unemployment in the state drops again, to below 5.5 percent as it was in 2006. “We can’t increase the green economy until our real economy improves,” said Logue.

A representative from the San Francisco Chronicle asked Logue about the “statistical evidence that global warming is real.” Logue called that the “trillion dollar question,” and offered “a list of 31,000 scientists who say that global warming is not man made.”

“Last year 3 million people died from starvation and malaria. I don’t know of anyone who died from global warming,” Logue said, stating a need to refocus on priorities in the state.

“Whether or not there is global warming, is not a real question,” Steyer said.

“Lowering the unemployment in California is good for everyone’s health,” said Logue. “Put people back to work, and they can afford health care.” Press Club president  and debate moderator Rich Ehisen, asked Logue, “Did you just say that lowering unemployment is good for people’s health?” Logue answered, “Yes, you can afford health care if you are working. People decide not to go to the doctor when they are not working.”

An audience member asked Logue to explain why the YES on Prop 23 campaign received money from the Koch brothers in New York. The wealthy oil company brothers Charles and David Koch, contributed $1 million to the YES on Prop 23 campaign recently, and have been actively involved in challenging climate change in the country. Logue said that all contributors have an interest in California regulations and in the cost of doing business in the state.

But Steyer was critical of the big oil company contributions. “Energy costs will go down if we become more efficient,” said Steyer. “I am not against the oil and gas industry, but every industry should be regulated,” Steyer said, to a few angry “boo’s” from the back of the room.

Logue said that oil companies have thousands of employees in California as well, and have a great financial interest in the state.

“As long as the green economy is subsidized, OPEC will keep prices below $75 a barrel. The real economy will continue to collapse as it is in Europe,” said Logue. “America has enough oil reserves for 500 years – we won’t have to use OPEC,” said Logue, if we stop over-regulating it.

“Tom has made money in the oil industry, and they create jobs,” said Logue, “… Seven to 10 times cheaper than the green industry.”

As an aside, Logue added, “Since 2008, Texas created 70 percent of the jobs in the U.S.”

A representative from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association asked Steyer, “Who truly profits with AB32’s implementation?” She also asked him about his “$100 million of gas and oil holdings,” and if profiting off of AB 32 was a conflict of interest.

Ducking the question, Steyer answered, “We make investments through a number of private industries, but I do believe that Proposition 23 is a disaster for the state.”

A Sierra Club representative asked Logue about a $500,000 contribution from the Adam Smith Foundation. Logue said, “I don’t know anything about the Adam Smith organization. I know they complied with the laws of California.”

“Ask the NO campaign to give a list of contributors – and of those, who will profit off of AB32?” said Logue.

As the debate wrapped up, Logue said, “87 businesses left California in the last 16 months, and 25 percent of those were green jobs. Why is it China has 50 percent of all of the green industry manufacturing in the world?” asked Logue. “20 percent of the pollution in the Los Angeles basin comes from China – making solar panels!” he added.

Steyer said, “I disagree that China is the economic model we want to emulate – or Texas – or Nevada. The last thing we want to do is be someone we are not.”


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  1. Tylerle13
    Tylerle13 16 September, 2010, 09:16

    Steyer sounds just like Maviglio. Both of them are scumbags who are just pushing spewing this BS because they are making money on the coat tails of AB32 and they dont want to see their gravy train come to a stop.

    Its hilarious how they will point fingers at “Big Businesses” who are supporting PROP 23, then they try to hide the fact that the funding of their clown campaign comes from Big Business as well, they just try to hide it by funneling it through 5 levels of fake non-profit groups & PACs.

    They are corrupt beyond belief. These people makeing these laws are the ones profiting from it and they dont want us peasants ruining their scam. All of this is government sponsored insider trading.

    I love how Steyer ends by saying:

    “I disagree that China is the economic model we want to emulate – or Texas – or Nevada. The last thing we want to do is be someone we are not.”

    Yet him and Maviglio are hell bent on fundamentally changing the make up of California. When it is financially beneficial for for them they want to turn California into something we are not, but when statistics are used to defeat their argument they try to dismiss the facts by saying “…we dont want to be something we are not.”

    Your correct Steyer, we dont want to be a State with a balanced budget, we dont want to run a surplus instead of a deficit, we dont want to embrace the businesses & jobs that we already have in this state, we dont want to make California an ideal destination for all companies, we dont want to have a top ranked educational system, we dont want to have quality roads & buildings, We dont want our Police & Fire Fighters to be sufficiently staffed, we dont want to give up the title of “The Land of Fruit & Nuts”, we dont want the rest of the Country to stop laughing at our state & using us as a model of what NOT to do.

    In your perfect little utopian world, you and Maviglio dont want any of that, but the one thing you do want is to use Radical Environmentalists & Moronic laws as your personal pawns to kill off all of the companies that might compete with the companies that you and your other Hedge Fund buddies are heavily invested in. You just want some appointed government hack to kill off the competition for you so your companies can continue to collect government subsidies & raise prices to unheard of levels once all of your competition has been killed of by CARB, AB32, and scumbags like Maviglio.

    I hope that Everyone wakes up to your corruption & manipulation and VOTES YES ON PROP 23, then you can go back to the drawing board and try to figure out some other way to exploit the working class of California for your Own financial benefit. You can keep your “Green”, the rest of us just want to keep our jobs.

    Reply this comment
  2. Joe Sullivan
    Joe Sullivan 17 September, 2010, 13:41

    I support Prop 23.The Governor, in ignorance of what constitutes Global Climatic change, signed AB32, requiring California to develop regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, principally Carbon Dioxide(CO2).These regulations may bankrupt California without affecting climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Vice Chair Yurri Izael in 2007 wrote, “the panic over global warming is totally unjustified;” “there is no serious threat to the climate.” The latest folly on global warming contentions occurred in 2009 when computer hackers broke into the computers of the British Hadley Institute, honored for its research of global warming, and discovered the Institute manipulated data to cover up evidence that went against their beliefs in man-made global warming. The earth is cooling.

    I have graphs showing the start of the cooling trend. From 1850 to 1950 CO2 levels increased significantly, but the temperature rose only 0.1 degree Celsius. The earth has been cooling and is likely to do so for the next couple of decades. Understand that CO2 makes up only 3.4 one-hundredth of one percent of the earth’s total gases in the atmosphere.

    Credentials that permit me to comment are that I have been a Geological Engineer for over a half century, one of 31,478 scientists registered in the Global Warming Petition Project, who oppose politician’s idiotic plans to spend billions trying to reduce carbon dioxide. In 1977 I was Chief of the Special Programs Unit at McClellan AFB, CA involved in tasks supporting Missile and Space Programs, and Satellite Communications and Weather Systems.

    Global warming has happened many times. The Earth was an icehouse 18,000 years ago, and a hothouse 100 million years ago, without a speck of permanent ice anywhere. What affects climate? During Earth’s formation it was impacted at a low angle by Theia, a planitodail mass a little smaller than Mars. The impact knocked off part of the earth’s forming mantle, which later formed part of the moon. Theia’s impact is responsible for the earth’s 23.5-degree axial tilt, which created the Earth’s seasons. After the impact the remaining mantle fractured, and parts drifting on the earth’s semi-molten surface formed tectonic plates. The plates collided with each other many times and the present set, making up our continents, are still in motion. The earth’s tilt; changes in the way it orbits the sun; variation of the sun’s radiation as it burns up; volcanic eruptions; changes in oceans flows; and melting snow and ice control the earth’s climate. Large numbers of earthquakes occur every year, a reminder that earth is a cracked dynamic sphere, whose parts are constantly in motion, and are all involved in climatic conditions. To believe we can control the earth’s climate is a farce.

    Reply this comment
  3. John Seiler
    John Seiler 17 September, 2010, 17:59

    If Prop. 23 loses, unemployment soon will be the highest in the nation. And a new proposition doing the same thing will be on the ballot in 2012.

    Reply this comment
  4. Luke
    Luke 30 September, 2010, 23:45

    The idea that there is some relationship between AB32 and unemployment in California is just astonishing. It is just unbelievable to me that anyone would fall for such drivel. Look, no one likes to see high unemployment, but the insinuation that AB32 is to blame for our economic woes is just absurd.

    But when your top four campaign donors (totalling more than 75 percent of the campaign’s funding) are from out of state, I suppose you get what you pay for.

    Reply this comment

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