Wednesday, October 19, 2005

CA’s Isn’t That Special Election

Arnold’s 100 million dollar conceit is just around the corner.

If you are for this special election – all propositions, no elective races – you probably believe direct participatory referendums are a pure expression of democracy. The ‘responsible’ Swiss certainly seem very pleased with the process. If you’re against it, you may be wondering just what the legislative body is supposed to be for these days, if not deliberating and representing on our behalf.

Whatever. It’s what we currently do; SO VOTE.

Of the 9 propositions, we have: Arnold’s 6-pack (Nix The 6); 2 competing initiatives for prescription drug discounts for low income households (if you believe corporations are going to sponsor a referendum that is not in their best interest, you seriously need prescription drugs); and… Prop 80.

Prop 80 is the ‘no more Enron-era’ re-regulation of our electrical service providers. Part of my usual (short-cut) way in deciding how to vote on propositions, is to see who is For and Against. UC’s Institute for Governmental Studies (IGS) is helping, by tabulating various organizational endorsements.

But so far, the endorsements on Prop 80 aren't helping very much. The initiative will impact all three of the Big 'E's: Economics, Energy and the Environment. But if you want to vote from an environmentally conscientious position, you are currently left in the dark. The Sierra Club, Green Party, CALPIRG... they are all oddly silent on the issue. At least so far I can't google-up any guidance.

In a new MoveOn survey, they try to simplify the battle lines: For - The Utility Reform Network (consumer group), many Democrats. Against - Independent energy producers, the CA Public Utilities Comission, and Gov. Schwarzenegger.

However, MoveOn’s independent energy producers label (although it sounds icky, like little Enron-wannabees) also happens to include advocates for geo-thermal and solar power.

I certainly don’t think energy deregulation wasn't an unmitigated disaster; but big energy bills and blackouts aren’t the only thing I would like to avoid, this time around. I’d also like to see us move off oil and give the planet a break. So far, I just don’t know how/if Prop 80 addresses that.

If the Sierra Club and the Greens remain silent, I'm going to feel very disappointed. The Repub/Dem split isn't nuanced enough, when it comes to environmental issues, imho.


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