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
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Communications and Outreach Associate Position Opening: www.westernlaw.org/communications-outreach-associate ************************************************* Location: Western U.S., ideally in one of WELC's existing office locations (Santa Fe or Taos, NM, Helena,...
  • FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGNER & PROJECT COORDINATOR (REMOTE)
    High Country News (HCN) is seeking a contract Graphic Designer & Project Coordinator to design promotional, marketing and fund-raising assets and campaigns, and project-manage them...
  • FILM AND DIGITAL MEDIA: ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF INDIGENOUS MEDIA, CULTURAL SOVEREIGNTY AND DECOLONIZATION (INITIAL REVIEW 12.1.21)
    Film and Digital Media: Assistant Professor of Indigenous Media, Cultural Sovereignty and Decolonization (Initial Review 12.1.21) Position overview Position title: Assistant Professor - tenure-track Salary...
  • REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST
    To learn more about this position and to apply please go to the following URL.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • CENTRAL PARK CULTURAL RESOURCE SPECIALIST
    Agency: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Salary Range: $5,203 - $7,996 Position Title: Central Park Cultural Resource Specialist Do you have a background in Archaeology...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    Come live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the world! As our Staff Attorney you will play a key role in...
  • ARIZONA GRAZING CLEARINGHOUSE
    Dedicated to preventing the ecological degradation caused by livestock grazing on Arizona's public lands, and exposing the government subsidies that support it.
  • OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Position Summary: Friends of the Inyo (friendsoftheinyo.org) is seeking a new Operations Manager. The Operations Manager position is a full-time permanent position that reports directly...
  • WATER RIGHTS BUREAU CHIEF
    Water Rights Bureau Chief, State of Montana, DNRC, Water Resources Division, Helena, MT Working to support and implement the Department's mission to help ensure that...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Amargosa Conservancy (AC), a conservation nonprofit dedicated to standing up for water and biodiversity in the Death Valley region, seeks an executive director to...
  • DEVELOPMENT & OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is hiring! Who We Are: The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) is a small grassroots nonprofit based out of Juneau, Alaska,...
  • DESERT LANDS ORGANIZER
    Position Summary: Friends of the Inyo seeks a Desert Lands Organizer to assist with existing campaigns that will defend lands in the California desert, with...
  • IDAHO CONSERVATION LEAGUE
    Want to help preserve Idaho's land, water, and air for future generations? Idaho Conservation League currently has 3 open positions. We are looking for a...
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.
  • EVENTS AND ANNUAL FUND COORDINATOR
    The Events and Annual Fund Coordinator is responsible for managing and coordinating the Henry's Fork Foundation's fundraising events for growing the membership base, renewing and...
  • EDUCATION DIRECTOR
    Position Description: The Education Director is the primary leader of Colorado Canyons Association's (CCA) education programs for students and adults on the land and rivers...
  • 10 ACRES OF NEW MEXICO HIGH DESERT
    10 Acres of undeveloped high desert land in central NM, about 45 minutes from downtown Albuquerque. Mixed cedar and piñon pine cover. Some dirt roadways...
  • WATERSHED RESTORATION DIRECTOR
    $58k-$70k + benefits to oversee watershed restoration projects that fulfill our strategic goals across urban and rural areas within the bi-national Santa Cruz and San...