Even Many GOP Voters Oppose Prop. 23

NOV. 1, 2010
By WAYNE LUSVARDI

The California Field Poll, reportedly one of the most accurate public opinion polls in the U.S., indicates that about one third or more of Republicans are tending to vote in favor of Green Power and Green jobs (or against Prop 23, which would put a halt to the state’s Green Power Law until unemployment improved).

Seventy eight percent  of registered Democrats are voting for Green Power and green jobs while remarkably 38 percent of even Republicans are in favor of it.  Even 31 percent of Tea Party-affiliated Republicans are in favor of not stopping California’s Green Power law.  California’s Green Power law is a regressive tax that would raise electricity rates by as much as 40 percent or more and would increase water rates significantly due to the fact that the largest part of water bills are for electricity to pump water.  Water-related energy use consumes about 19 percent of the state’s electricity.

Environmentalism, as reflected in a NO Vote on Prop 23, still tends to be more favored by affluent voters while more moderate-income Vietnamese and Latinos are 50-50 split on the proposition.  However, African-Americans are voting for Green Power and green jobs about as evenly as white voters, probably due to the promise of jobs.

The only apparent wild card in the early polling data is that independent and unaffiliated voters conceivably could swing Prop 23, but it would nearly take all of them to do so, an unlikely possibility.

2010 is a year where angry voters may be voting no across the board on all the propositions, perhaps not realizing that a NO vote on Prop 23 is a YES vote for Green Power. When voters are confused about complicated ballot initiatives they typically vote no on them.

The ballot argument for Green Power (against Prop 23) in the state voter pamphlet includes wording that “Texas oil companies” are opposed to Green Power and jobs in California.

But the voter pamphlet failed to fairly report that a CalPERS hedge fund manager heavily invested in dirty coal, nukes, and oil and gas companies in Texas donated $5 million in support of the Green Power Law and jobs (and against Prop 23).  Also not included in the ballot argument is that the major donor in support of Green Power and jobs (against Prop 23) is invested in stocks in a Chinese solar panel company that will outsource manufacturing jobs to China, not California. California may not be getting as many Green jobs as advertised.  Read here.

Conversely, the ballot argument in favor of Prop 23 (and against Green Power) failed to educate voters that it is likely that jobs in the conventional peak power segment of the energy industry are likely to be lost once Green Power can trump conventional power in the spot energy market and peak time submarket.  Green Power typically costs about four times the price of conventional energy (coal, oil, gas, hydro) and thus it can only compete in the higher-priced peak time power segment of the market.  Many cities, water districts, and private companies own and operate peaker plants that may be adversely affected by California’s Green Power Law, including loss of jobs.

The ballots arguments in favor of Prop. 23 (and against Green Power) also failed to educate the voters that California Green Power law protects oil and gas companies from having to compete any longer with the cheapest sources of energy which are coal and hydropower.  So oil and gas companies and stocks should reap a windfall if Prop. 23 fails to pass (and California’s Green Power law is not stopped).  Without coal and hydropower to keep energy prices down the price of oil and gas will likely spike sometime after 2012 when the Green Power law goes into effect.  Markets are quirky and we will see what happens with electricity rates once the cheapest sources of energy, coal and hydropower, are embargoed by California’s Green Power law sometime after 2012.

Another oddity is that the state voter pamphlet did not explain that California’s Green Power law contains a “cap and trade” provision which means that there will be no net reduction in air pollution from Green Power.  This is because energy companies can reduce pollution but trade credits to other energy providers to continue to pollute, especially in highly populated urban air basins which trap smog and pollution.

The last time California did something like this was in late 2001 when it mothballed old polluting oil-powered plants generating cheap electricity along the California coastline in order to meet EPA clean air mandates and shifted to cleaner, but higher cost, natural gas power plants.  This was called “the California Energy Crisis.”

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  1. NewportMac
    NewportMac 1 November, 2010, 14:11

    Exactly, AB32 is Not a pollution control Act its a flawed Global Warming Act.

    AB32 needs to eliminate the Cap and Trade provisions that promote pollution, eliminate the unnecessary oversight Fees, eliminate the reliance on flawed Green House Gas assumptions, correct the vague language that will introduce Environmental Red Tape that will do more damage than good, ensure AB32 doesn’t undermine The Rule of Law, and make non-governmental agencies like CARB accountable to the taxpayer for their mistakes.

    If the Rule of Law is allowed to become Rule by Bureaucrats using loosely defined AB32 legislation, we are all doomed.

    Vote YES on Prop 23, it makes the most sense until AB32 is fixed and we can afford it.

    Reply this comment
  2. stevefromsacto
    stevefromsacto 1 November, 2010, 16:22

    Just like the many Republicans who will oppose Meg Whitman at the polls tomorrow. It’s good to see that the John and Ken zealots haven’t succeeded in brainwashing all their Republican colleagues.

    Reply this comment
  3. John Seiler
    John Seiler 1 November, 2010, 19:39

    Steve: John and Ken aren’t Republicans. They’re endorsing the libertarian, Dale Ogden, and strongly opposed Whitman, Maldonado and Villines, the Republican candidates.

    By the way, Steve, given that Meg opposed Prop. 23, I presume that you supported her.

    Reply this comment
  4. Earl Richards
    Earl Richards 2 November, 2010, 00:28

    PROP 26 is just as destructive as PROP 23. Prop 26 is a treacherous, Big Oil rip-off, which “passes the buck” from oil corporation, clean-up fees to the taxpayer, which will pay the oil recycling fees, the materials hazards fees and other fees. If you do not understand the ambiguities and the intrigues behind Prop 26, then, vote no. Power to the people. Shell, BP and Exxon Mobil are silent partners behind prop 26.

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  5. EastBayLarry
    EastBayLarry 2 November, 2010, 05:47

    All of which goes to show that Republican =/= Conservative
    “Progressive” republicans are mostly what we get here in California and the condition of the state reflects that reality.

    Reply this comment
  6. stevefromsacto
    stevefromsacto 2 November, 2010, 09:04

    John and Ken are radical right-wingers, whatever their party label. It’s a shame they’ve hijacked the libertarian label for their head-on-a-stick rantings.

    As to Meg and Prop. 23, you know the old expression: “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.”

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