California: Dope, eBay, pollution and moonbeams

  • Jimmy Margulies, politicalcartoons.com
 

California's ballot is sizzling hot. Top of the list is Proposition 23, which would emasculate or kill California's pace-setting 2006 climate change law, Assembly Bill 32. That law takes a multi-pronged approach, including statewide cap-and-trade and more rooftop solar, to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Prop. 23 would put the law on hold until unemployment drops from the current 12-plus percent to 5.5 percent or lower.

Oil companies are backing Prop. 23, using the poor economy as an excuse not only to attack California's law, but also to discourage copycat laws from popping up in other states. Tea Party benefactors David and Charles Koch and other oilmen have poured millions into the effort. Environmental groups trying to keep the climate-change law alive are getting a boost from venture capitalists and executives in the high-tech industry. Since California's energy policies affect power-generation decisions everywhere it buys electricity, this vote's impacts will extend to the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest.

Best flashback Back in the 1970s, Democrat Jerry Brown was governor and voters had the chance to legalize marijuana in California. Now they have another chance to legalize marijuana and return Brown to the governor's mansion. Brown, who's currently the state's attorney general, is facing off with Republican billionaire Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, who's pumped a record-breaking $119 million of her own money into her campaign. Whitman had to swing rightward, especially on immigration, to pull off a primary win against Tea Party candidates, and she's mired in an ironic scandal over employing an undocumented immigrant as her longtime nanny. Brown projects a liberal image -- his old nickname is "Gov. Moonbeam" -- but he's not ideologically constrained; he studied in a Jesuit seminary, earned a Yale law degree, ran for president three times and served as Oakland's mayor, among other things. This race is a toss-up.

The 1972 attempt to legalize pot went down in flames. This time, polls indicate that Proposition 19, which decriminalizes the growing, selling and possession of small amounts of reefer, is backed by a slim majority of voters. The proponents sound sober enough, citing economic rationales: Decriminalization would cut the cost of the war on drugs while providing legitimate jobs to growers and sellers. And it would allow state and local governments to collect various taxes on pot and pot-based jobs.

In another flashback, former Rep. Richard Pombo, the scandal-plagued Republican foe of the Endangered Species Act, moved from his former district to a more conservative one to try to tiptoe back into politics. It didn't work. He got creamed in the primary for the 19th Congressional District, placing a dismal third and vowing to get out of politics for good. Meanwhile, Jerry McNerney, who booted Pombo out of his 11th District seat in 2006 with big-time environmentalist support, is in a tight contest with Republican David Harmer, a lawyer with ties to libertarian think tanks and complaints about federal "socialism."

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, another green champion, faces another formidable Republican, Carly Fiorina. Fiorina became the most powerful businesswoman in America when she was named CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 1999, but after instituting massive layoffs and bringing in lower-than-expected profits, she was canned. Now she's trying her luck as a Tea Party politician, taking a hard-line social and fiscal stance -- pro-gun, anti-abortion, against the Endangered Species Act and in favor of repealing health-care reform. With the help of an endorsement from Sarah Palin, Fiorina beat moderate Tom Campbell in the primary. Polls favor Boxer, but this will also be a close one.

High Country News Classifieds
  • PUBLIC LANDS PROGRAM MANAGER
    Conserve Southwest Utah is seeking a candidate with excellent communication skills and a commitment to environmental conservation for the position of Public Lands Program Manager....
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Western Slope Conservation Center in Paonia, CO, seeks a dynamic leader who is mission-driven, hardworking, and a creative problem-solver. WSCC is committed to creating...
  • PLANNED GIVING OFFICER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks a Planned Giving Officer. Do you find energy in...
  • NORTHERN NEW MEXICO PROJECT MANAGER
    Seeking qualified Northern New Mexico Project Manager to provide expertise, leadership and support to the organization by planning, cultivating, implementing and managing land conservation activities,...
  • REGIONAL TRAIL STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Are you passionate about connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with trail maintenance and volunteer engagement...
  • TRAIL CREW MEMBER
    Position Title: Trail Crew Member Position Type: 6 month seasonal position, April 17-October 15, 2023 Location: Field-based; The RFOV office is in Carbondale, CO, and...
  • CEO BUFFALO NATIONS GRASSLANDS ALLIANCE
    Chief Executive Officer, Remote Exempt position for Buffalo Nations Grasslands Alliance is responsible for the planning and organization of BNGA's day-to-day operations
  • IDAHO DIRECTOR - WESTERN WATERSHEDS PROJECT
    Western Watersheds Project seeks an Idaho Director to continue and expand upon WWP's campaign to protect and restore public lands and wildlife in Idaho, with...
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, NA'AH ILLAHEE FUND
    Na'ah Illahee Fund (NIF) is seeking a highly qualified Development Director to join our team in supporting and furthering our mission. This position will create...
  • DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, NA'AH ILLAHEE FUND
    Na'ah Illahee Fund (NIF) is seeking a highly qualified Operations Director to join our team. This position will provide critical organizational and systems support to...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) is seeking a leader to join our dynamic team in the long-term protection of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM). We...
  • GRASSLAND RESEARCH COORDINATOR
    The Grassland Research Coordinator is a cooperative position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that performs and participates in and coordinates data collection for...
  • HYDROELECTRIC PLANT
    1.3 MW FERC licensed hydroelectric station near Taylorsville CA. Property is 184 deeded acres surrounded by National Forrest.
  • "PROFILES IN COURAGE: STANDING AGAINST THE WYOMING WIND"
    13 stories of extraordinary courage including HCN founder Tom Bell, PRBRC director Lynn Dickey, Liz Cheney, People of Heart Mountain, the Wind River Indian Reservation...
  • GRANT WRITER
    JOB DESCRIPTION: This Work involves the responsibility of conducting research in the procurement of Federal, State, County, and private grant funding. Additional responsibilities include identifying...
  • ASPIRE COLORADO SUSTAINABLE BODY AND HOME CARE PRODUCTS
    Go Bulk! Go Natural! Our products are better for you and better for the environment. Say no to single-use plastic. Made in U.S.A., by a...
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Field seminars for adults in the natural and human history of the Colorado Plateau, with lodge and base camp options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • ATTORNEY AD
    Criminal Defense, Code Enforcement, Water Rights, Mental Health Defense, Resentencing.
  • LUNATEC HYDRATION SPRAY BOTTLE
    A must for campers and outdoor enthusiasts. Cools, cleans and hydrates with mist, stream and shower patterns. Hundreds of uses.
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.