Tag Archives: Texas

Conservative Californians: Hope Ya Brought Yer Own Water & Book-Learnin’ With You to Texas

A guest post from our friends at the Burnt Orange Report

by Katherine Haenschen

The Texas Tribune released an interesting nugget from their polling results — it appears that the majority of Californians who flee the Golden State for the Lone Star are actually conservatives, rather than likely Democratic voters who can help turn the state blue.

As Joshua Blank of the Texas Tribune writes of these transplants (emphasis mine):

The plurality of those [California] migrants have moved to Texas, as many as 70,000 in 2011 and 60,000 in 2012. Given this influx of new residents, we are fortunate to have at times asked our respondents whether they have moved to Texas from California, and though the actual number of these people is but a small subsample of our surveys, we have enough respondents to make two broad conclusions. First, these newcomers, on average, tend to be conservative. Pooling data from the May 2012 and February 2013 UT/Tribune surveys, we found that 57 percent of these California transplants consider themselves to be conservative, while only 27 percent consider themselves to be liberal (a fair guess as to the margin of error is somewhere around +/- 7 percentage points). Second, these new Texans aren’t rushing to find homes in the state’s urban centers: 55 percent are heading to the suburbs, the rest evenly dividing themselves between rural and urban locations.

Well then.

Welcome, Californians. Given your conservative tilt, I can only assume y’all have moved here to avoid the scourge of a state income tax that funds government services, public education, and basic civilization. Surely all y’all are aware that much of California’s dysfunction was due to Republicans’ abuse of the 2/3rds rule in the Legislature and endless efforts to obstruct functioning government?

Well if Republicans obstructing functional government is what you’re into, you’ve come to the right state!

Texas ranks 49th in per-student spending and 38th in teacher pay. We have the highest rate of uninsured residents of all time. Don’t care about those touchy-feely issues? Well, you probably like water and electricity. We’re facing a crisis in water that transplants like y’all are only exacerbating. Our power grid is unstable, so prepare for rolling blackouts.

So welcome to Texas, conservative Californians. Those of us who care about health and human services, education, sustainability, and the environment are working pretty hard to turn things around, so pretty soon you might be facing a voter rebellion that results in the kind of progressive government that might send you packing again in search of redder pastures.

But hey, I hear Alabama’s really nice.  

Rick Perry Goes Home Empty

But he did get a nice vacation in the most beautiful state!

by Brian Leubitz

Rick Perry’s swoop through Southern California appears to be over, and he’s leaving without much other than a few parties to show for it:

On a conference call with reporters from Laguna Beach, the Republican said he spent his four days meeting with entrepreneurs and business leaders and held a reception for more than 200 California companies that have expressed interest in moving to Texas. Such relocations can take time, but Perry also offered no details on prospects, much less concrete announcements. …

Perry said on the call that “this isn’t about bashing California; it’s about promoting Texas.” But he went on to offer a few digs. When asked if Texas’ light regulatory rules have contributed to a high number of worksite deaths, the governor said he thought it had more to do with high-risk oil and gas industry jobs prevalent in his state.

“Y’all in California are not very knowledgeable about the energy industry and that is a fairly dangerous workplace,” Perry said, ignoring California’s green-technology initiatives. (Houston Chronicle)

Not sure what to say here, other than California has plenty of dangerous jobs, yet a much lower incidence of injuries. Surely that couldn’t be the work of workplace safety regulations.

Perry’s little stunt with the $14,000 radio ad got some press, but it also got this clever response from the Lone Star Project. (see right)

Now whether Perry chooses to acknowledge it, California has several major advantages that can’t simply be tossed aside. Silicon Valley is a technology cluster like no other, and Hollywood, is, well, Hollywood. Our renewable energy standards mean that we will be in the middle of the green economy, a ship that Texas is letting sail by.

California remains the home of innovation. Surely every state has its peccadilloes, but our resources are vast and our economy is growing. It’s a great time to be in California.

The Rick Perry Self-Aggrandizement Tour

Texas Governor tours California, but proof jobs actually move is slim

by Brian Leubitz

Texas Governor Rick Perry is set to tour California to poach jobs from the state. But this is more about Rick Perry and his situation at home than actually moving jobs. First, a bit about Perry: Texans are sick of him. I grew up in Texas, and was there during the governorships of Ann Richards, G W Bush, and Perry (plus a few more before Richards). Thing is, Texans tend to really like their Governors. Richards, even when she lost to W, had an approval rating in the 60s.

Bush actually did a fair amount of work with the Democrats in the Legislature, and was generally well regarded. Perry was another beast entirely. He came to power as partisanship was getting worse in the state, and exploited it. He didn’t really need Democratic support, and so, he turned to the right. Perry, a former Democrat who worked on Al Gore’s 1988 campaign, has made Texas government a far less friendly place.

It turns out that Texans don’t really appreciate it, and a recent poll shows they don’t really appreciate Perry anymore:

Fifty-four percent of Lone Star State voters said they disapprove of the job Perry is doing as governor, while 41 percent said they approve. A larger majority, 62 percent, said Perry should not seek re-election next year compared with just 31 percent who said he should.  (TPM)

So, here comes Perry hoping that a few good photo ops of him “poaching” jobs from California, our little slice of heaven that seems to be target #1 for conservatives. Why would that be? Oh, right, we are the center of innovation in the country and the world. But can jobs be actually poached, or is this more Perry posturing?

Only a tiny fraction of California companies move or relocate to other states, and the reasons have little to do with what goodies a visiting governor offers them to relocate – even one like Perry, whose state dishes out $19 billion annually in incentives to lure businesses to Texas.

Kolko’s research found that from 1992 to 2006, the net employment change in California as a result of relocation amounted to a loss of about 9,000 jobs a year – only 0.05 percent of California’s 18 million jobs.

In Silicon Valley, which is experiencing dot-com-boom-level economic growth, only a small percentage of all the companies that are closing or moving are leaving the state, said Doug Henton, CEO of Collaborative Economics, a San Mateo research firm that helped prepare the Silicon Valley Index, a study of the region’s job patterns that was released this month.

“Somebody like Gov. Perry can say, ‘Come to Texas,’ but the amount that do is a minuscule amount” of the valley’s job losses, Henton said.(Joe Garofoli-SF Chronicle)

In the end, many of the jobs that Perry does buy aren’t even a good deal for his state. But, they sure do make for a great photo op with some CEO. And a good soundbite about cutting regulations, business environment, and other nonsense. Perry is out for Perry, he’ll do what he has to do to stay in power. But this little PR stunt amounts to a whole lot of hot air from a politician that seems to have no dearth of it.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry: An Opposition Campaign Primer

Ah! Fresh meat!

That’s what’s on the mind of political pundits this week as they come down off the high of the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames. With nothing to report until–well–something unpredictable happens, or until the Iowa caucuses in January, the media and blogosphere will gush with pedantics about this outsider to the GOP fratricide-fest that has been the 2012 presidential nominating process thus far.

Unless something extraordinary happens, Texas Governor Rick Perry will be the GOP and Tea Party presidential nominee in 2012. He’s the darling of the extreme right and can be stomached by party moderates who know Mitt Romney has no chance of winning the top spot on the ticket without flip-flopping on nearly all of his social positions. So, no big deal, we’re looking at Rick Perry.

Here is some friendly advice that an opposing campaign should follow–Republican, Democrat or Independent:

1) Texas Governor Rick Perry shall not be referred to as the “Wal-Mart Candidate,” or “[Insert Fast-Food Chain Here] Candidate.”

Though bulk international realtors like Wal-Mart and unhealthy fast-food companies have crumbled the professional occupational base of this country, they remain wildly popular with folks struggling to get by on an unemployment check or–surprise, surprise–a minimum-wage job from one of the aforementioned. By undermining American business, Wal-Mart and McDonald’s can afford to churn out cheap (both quantitative and qualitative) goods; in tough economic times, folks are almost forced to shop here in order to feed and clothe their families. Many feel they don’t have an option.

Scoffing at Wal-Mart or fast food will almost certainly alienate the working families needed to win this election. The Texas Governor’s opposition will thus have popularly branded him without any effort on his part.

2) Don’t call him “Ricky Perry,” either.

Haven’t you seen Talledega Nights? This moniker will only draw comparisons with Will Ferrell’s character, Ricky Bobby. Yet another popular brand not to bestow on the Tea Party Candidate for President.

3) Refer to him as Texas Governor Rick Perry as much as possible.

Voters remember the last Governor from Texas in the White House–they sent a very resounding message that he messed things up for the country pretty bad with their vote in 2008.

(Disclaimer: Don’t push this point too hard or mention George W. Bush too often. You’ll look petty and juvenile.)

4) Refer to him as the Tea Party Candidate for President whenever possible.

The Tea Party has a very high unfavorability rating among Independents and voters who have not yet made up their mind in this election. And make no mistake: Texas Gov. Rick Perry got into this race because he knows he will have Tea Party support the whole way.

5) Do NOT mock Texas Governor Rick Perry’s faith.

Democrats and Independents who mock the faith of Texas Gov. Perry will absolutely be labeled as anti-Christian, anti-moral, typical liberals. This couldn’t be more untimely, as voters are finally seeing that being a good Christian in America means the Republican Party isn’t the only political congregation available. Progressive Christians put their faith into action every day through actual works of good both within government and without–highlight that heavily instead.

6) Do NOT mention his work for Al Gore…

…Unless you’re using it to highlight his flip-flopping on the issues or you live in a district where Gore is rabidly unpopular. Campaign on his work for the former Democratic Vice President and you’re just asking for voters to infer that he is bipartisan–big mistake. This guy is no Reagan.

7) Talk a lot about secession.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry advocated that policy for Texas for a time–do you really think a man who preached absolute disunion deserves the highest office in the land? Frame the choice as between a candidate of Lincoln and government “of the people, by the people, for the people” versus a candidate of discord and yesterday.

8) Show you have gall and grit when it comes to standing up for your faith; don’t allow it to be used as Texas Governor Perry did.

If he is bringing showmanship-faith into the public debate, good Christians of any political persuasion are entitled to remind the Texas Governor: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” (Matthew 6:5) Don’t cede an inch of ground to the Tea Party Candidate for President on this issue. His brand of Christianity is a sensationalist, boastful brand; highlight the alternative, which is true, humble, oats-and-barley faith.

9) Texas Governor Rick Perry is responsible for the death of 234 Americans.

For what it’s worth. Emphasize that one can be tough on crime without condoning more murder, which is what Texas’ death penalty allows–the most extreme of all fifty states.

10) If all else fails, give him the “$500 Hair Cut” treatment.

Hey, it worked against John Edwards. Sorry men, if you’ve got good hair, expect to have it used against you by the majority of the country bereft of such a privileged feature.

This is by no means an all-inclusive instruction manual on how to defeat Texas Governor Rick Perry, but it should be a starting point. There is no need to campaign negative or maliciously, but an informative opposition drive is necessary to lay bare the Tea Party Candidate.

In politics, like in football, there are no pre-ordained candidates. On any given election day, the campaign that has worked the hardest–and the smartest–with enough heart and drive will win the day. Let that be your mantra for a better American campaign in 2012.

(Cross-posted from The Journeying Progressive)

It’s Not Better in Texas

I just got back from Texas the other day, after spending some time with my family.  And what do you know, I hear that LG Gavin Newsom and a crew of Republicans are heading down there to discover what is creating that awesome economy there that has got the state moving.

The problem with the whole “businesses are fleeing California” thing, is that is just one big myth fabricated out of nothing other than some political dreaming.  As Dave Johnson pointed out a few years ago, California jobs just aren’t fleeing.  And so it is appropriate that California’s leaders finally address this issue head on.

While a fair number of the people on this delegation were right-wing Republicans, Gavin Newsom is what you can fairly call a business friendly Democrat.  Not out to rid the world of all regulations, but certainly not somebody you can really attack for his embrace of those regulations. And frankly he’s not fond of Perry’s “hunting trips:”

“Candidly, the reason I came out here was out of frustration and admiration with some of the work that you’ve been doing,” Newsom said. “I’m sick and tired of Governor Perry coming to California all of the time.


Leading state officials in California have recently begun to ferociously counterattack the notion of the ‘Texas Miracle,’ pointing out with a certain amount of schadenfreude just how bad Texas’ budget problems are. According to a budget analysis done by the Houston Chronicle’s Texas Politics blog Texas’ budget crisis is proportionally as bad as California’s.

California Treasurer Bill Lockyer told Los Angeles Times’ Evan Halper with evident satisfaction that “someone just turned the lights on in the bar, and the sexiest state doesn’t look so pretty anymore.” (SF Gate)

Let’s get one thing out of the way, in terms of the budget of each of the states, California is in no worse of a position than Texas.  Perhaps even better.  The relative numbers are about the same, but the difference is that Texas already has decimated their public systems.  The land grant colleges, principally the University of Texas, are pretty much relying on their (massive) endowment and get little support from the state.  Even if they are going to cut that $25B from their budget, which it looks like they will, it is really unclear how they do that in a way that doesn’t leave them in the hole for years to come.  How do you catch up when you have mortgaged your public education system?  Or do you just give up on those who can’t afford private schooling?

Texas isn’t the new California.  It’s just Texas.  They have their natural resources, which, wisely, were dedicated to the public universities generations ago, and we have ours.  Where we go in the next 6-12 months will go a long way in determing if we avoid going down the road that Texas is treading right now.

Lessons from the Texas Budget

Its never good news to hear a state has a budget deficit. But this recent article in The Economist made me a little happy for a couple of reasons. One, I was really tired of hearing conservatives (like Meg Whitman in 2010) praise Texas as a model for California. So hopefully that won’t happen again. Two, its a vindication that California is not broken just because were lazy or some other variety of insults hurled our way from the other 49.  It shows that regardless of the economic system, the bipartisan consensus was over-reliance on a massive bubble.  

Many, if not all, will argue my view that the left’s model of government-as-charity is unsustainable.  But the the progressive case against the conservative model of government-as-corporation has been proven with the demise of Texas’s “economic miracle.”  So there are a few lessons here, and most demonstrate why Texas and California can’t be compared now or in the future.

1) The Dutch Disease.  California is the third largest oil producer but due to our economy and size we are not an energy exporter. An oil tax exactly modelled on the one in Texas would generate revenue but cannot be a large enough cash stream to support our state.  Texas is still over-reliant on its energy sector. It will receive a windfall with the current mideast crisis of the day. Don’t be surprised if this contributes to a recovery and is used as proof that the Texas Model “works.”  California conversely will suffer economically due to high gas prices. People should be aware that the ups and downs of the energy market don’t demonstrate which system is better only that both systems are not properly buffered for it.

2) Environment. An issue conservatives cringe at in California and abhor in Texas. But the thing is, our mild climate and natural beauty can’t be found or replicated in Texas. As oil is to that state, the environment is a resource to us. Its a strong enough resource in fact that the wealthy will continue to live here regardless of the tax situation (much like they live in France).  

3) Taxes. Our environment opens the door to higher taxes on the wealthy as long as its packaged as the price to live here. But it doesn’t open the door to high taxes on ALL corporations. Companies that are high tech and want to attract people that want to live the California lifestyle can afford those taxes. Companies that require low-cost labor and are face stronger market competition (the non-Apples) cannot.   Texas does grow more low-cost labor jobs and manufacturing. Granted there is not a high margin on that production but high-end producers that California is known for cannot employ all of us. Both no-taxes Texas and higher taxes California are too broad brush. A more nuanced corporate tax code may be needed.

4) Education.  As the article points out, Texas aims to entice intellectual talent with no income taxes and more jobs instead of growing it natively with its education system. Its definetely a cheaper way to go, but is it sustainable? California’s education system currently relies on its upper institutions to draw talent and hopes that its lifestyle and environment will keep them after graduation. I think California is the model to bet on, not (just) because of state pride, but Texas opens itself up to a race to the bottom situation.

5) Jobs.  The Texas Model trumpets no income taxes and uses this to draw talent from across the nation. California, often called (incorrectly) the highest taxed state, uses taxes to provide services that higher educated/higher income people come to expect – well maintained roads, good schools, beautiful parks etc.  The Texas job numbers were high last year but it appears that those were primarily lower-income jobs (some numbers said 2/3rds of all jobs created). Of course those are important jobs but not revenue generators or economic growth contributors like high tech. Bottomline, Texas plans to attract the lowest bidder (those that don’t want to pay taxes). Like Wal-mart shoppers they don’t expect frills or high quality products and services. California is like  (insert expensive store of your choice, I won’t play favorites) it gives you high end stuff and you expect to enjoy the experience not get the deal and rush out.  But unquestionably its expensive, Californians need to decide which “store” do we want to be?

I have some thoughts on the issue but open it to all, what is California to do next?

Texas v. California. This Time With the Lights On

For the last several years, the comparisons have been repeated aplenty.  Texas is beating California, outcompeting, and outgrowing.  And hey, look at California’s budget deficit, it’s huge and they are irresponsible.  

I lived in Texas for most of my life, and I certainly don’t mean to disparage it.  But, as Bill Lockyer says, it’s time for the state to get spotlight for a while.

Texas has a two-year budget cycle, which allowed it to camouflage its red ink last year, thanks in large part to billions of dollars in federal stimulus money. Now, however, “someone just turned the lights on in the bar, and the sexiest state doesn’t look so pretty anymore,” said California Treasurer Bill Lockyer, with evident satisfaction. (LA Times)

That spotlight comes in the form of a $27 billion budget deficit, larger as a percentage of the deficit than our own.  At the same time, you have elected leaders who will apparently put their own career before the best interests of the state, even when you toss in some torture:

“A lot of the things we are doing arguably aren’t priorities for the people of Texas,” he said. “People could stake me and Gov. Perry on the ground and torture us, and we still would not raise taxes.”

Dewhurst provides some examples of bloat, like millions of dollars spent to put sand on beaches for tourists. But the real savings in the legislative budget plan come from slashing Medicaid and cutting per-student spending from more than $9,000 to $7,800 each year. The state’s cap of 22 students per elementary school class is almost certain to be lifted.

Well, maybe if he’s not on the ground? I’ve seen those FauxNews waterboarding videos, those people break pretty quickly.

At any rate, the bigger question is one of approach. For years, California invested in education, and reaped those rewards.  We are still coasting on our past investments, our educated workforce, and all that jazz.  But that can’t sustain us for much longer.  

Meanwhile, Texas went the opposite direction, luring businesses from elsewhere with a race to the bottom technique.  They will provide you the lowest level of services possible.  Sure, the taxes are low, but I hope you enjoy paying for toll roads and private schools.  Oh, you can’t afford them, well, enjoy the back of the bus.  Income inequality ain’t so bad.  Oh, and that “mini-boom” they are building, well, they are hurting now too.

At some level, this is more than repaid Schadenfreude. It’s a basic conversation about the role of government.  Perry and the gang want you to believe that a survival of the fittest environment will make us all into machines ready to fight tomorrow’s battles.  But the facts tell a different story.  Both states are backsliding into mediocrity, and both states are trying to cut their way into the future.

Unfortunately, you can’t “win the future” if you are too busy “slashing the present.”

TX Oil Companies Try to Kill CA Clean Energy Legislation

As if the oil companies from Texas – and their allies in the corridors of power – hadn’t done enough harm to our country already (for more, see the late, great Gulf of Mexico), now they are at it once again.  This time, it’s Valero and Tesoro, pouring money into a campaign this election season to undo California’s landmark, clean energy and climate law, AB 32.  On Tuesday, the oil companies’ proposition was certified for the November ballot. The fight, as they say, is on!

Why should you care?  Let us count the ways.

First  and foremost, whether you’re a Californian or not, this campaign should concern you because if the oil companies succeed here, they will try this everywhere – in other states and at the federal level. Mark our words, that’s exactly what they’re up to here.

Second, let’s be absolutely clear about what this proposition says.  As the Stop Dirty Energy website explains, “The Texas oil companies want you to believe it’s simply a “temporary” suspension. However, their deceptive proposition would repeal AB 32 until unemployment reached 5.5% for a full year – a market condition that has only occurred three times in the last 30 years.”  Which means that this proposition is nothing less than “an effective repeal of [California’s] clean energy and clean air laws.”  In sum, they want to kill this landmark law. Period. Don’t let their propaganda fool you into believing anything else.

Third, let’s also be clear who these people are and how utterly deceptive they’re willing to be.  According to the Stop Dirty Energy Facebook page, oil companies including Valero and Tesoro recently “released yet another study bought, sold, and paid for by polluters on the impacts of AB 32.”  The study, for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) by the California Lutheran University's right-wing economics chief,” is nothing more than “junk economics paid for by polluters that defies the reality that clean tech is the fastest-growing segment of the California economy.”  It gets even worse, with the author of a previous, fallacious study by CMTA attacking AB 32 affiliated with the global-warming-denying Heartland Institute, which receives heavy funding from our friends at Exxon Mobil.  This institute also enjoys holding conferences to downplay and deny climate science.  That’s who we’re dealing with here. That’s who we’re fighting.

Fourth, it’s important to emphasize what’s at stake here. Other than minor matters (ha) like the environment, public health and national security, this is about J-O-B-S.  Specifically, the only sector of job growth in California has been in the clean energy technology development sector.  For more, watch this video and hear how AB 32=Jobs (and, on the flip side, how killing AB 32 will kill those jobs).

Fifth, this proposition will not just hurt California jobs, it will also hurt Californians’ health and ability to breathe clean air.  As the Stop Dirty Energy website points out, this proposition “would create more air pollution in California and threaten public health.” Currently, “California’s air pollution crisis contributes to 19,000 premature deaths, 9,400 hospitalizations, and more than 300,000 respiratory illnesses for California families.”  Just imagine how much worse it will be if the Texas oil companies get their way and gut California’s clean air laws!

Finally, as NRDC wrote in a blog post entitled, “California Crossroads, “The oil companies have chosen California as their battleground to crush the progress the State’s made in moving away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy.”   NRDC reported from a media event (see photo above) at “Pier 7 on the city’s embarcadero, overlooking the bay that is the largest and most biologically productive estuary on the West Coast” (and also where “the tanker Cosco Buscan ran aground in 2007, spilling more than 53,000 gallons of heavy bunker oil, killing wildlife and providing a harbinger of the great environmental tragedy now unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico”).  As the NRDC blog post puts it, “We can’t let Texas oil destroy California’s future simply for the purpose of stuffing more cash into their already bulging coffers.”

That’s why we need everyone – not just Californians, but every American who cares about clean energy and our planet’s environment – to join our efforts at stopping this heinous, Texas oil company-funded Dirty Energy Proposition.   Please click here for more information and to join the campaign. Sign up for Stop Dirty Energy Twitter feed, Facebook page, and YouTube channel.  Also, check out the NRDC Action Fund Facebook page, as we will be heavily involved in this campaign.  

Why does a national organization like NRDC care about a “California issue?”  Other than the fact that California is an enormous – and enormously important –state, we care because, clearly, the Texas oil companies are attempting to set a national precedent in California against clean energy and climate action, and we can’t let them do that.  

We are convinced that stopping them here, exposing their lies, and deterring others from trying this in the future, is crucial to tackling our largest environmental challenges moving forward.  It’s also crucial, we might add, to fight against these well-funded, powerful, corporate polluters attempting to buy our politicians and our Democracy.  

Thank you for your help.

NRDC Action Fund

Texas Oil Companies Invade California

( – promoted by Robert Cruickshank)

It is not a headline we would expect to see, but that is exactly what is happening in our state as we speak.

In 2006, the California Legislature passed AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. The Governor then signed this law to make our state the leader in fighting greenhouse gas pollution.  I hope you will consider joining me in working to ensure that Big Oil does not get its way in California by eviscerating our landmark climate change legislation.  

California’s Attorney General is uniquely positioned to stand up for strong, effective enforcement of our state’s environmental laws. That is why I am calling on each and every candidate for California Attorney General — Democratic and Republican — to denounce this effort by Big Oil to slash through our state’s environmental protections for their own corporate gain.

There’s more, and also cross-posted on Daily Kos.

Texas oil companies want to stop California before we can really implement AB 32, our landmark climate change legislation. Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp., both based in Texas, are almost single-handedly financing a measure that would eviscerate AB 32.   The two companies have pledged $2 million to help get the initiative on the ballot, and even tried to sneak their contributions past any observers.

We cannot afford to turn around now. Today, I want to make my support for this vital piece of environmental legislation crystal clear. I applaud Governor Schwarzenegger for his commitment to AB 32, and call on others to join the fight to protect AB 32.

I urge you to join me in supporting California’s landmark greenhouse gas pollution law by signing my petition for climate change solutions.

I am committed to protecting the environment, and that is why I am proud to be the endorsed candidate of the California League of Conservation Voters.  If you’d like to help my campaign to defend our precious natural resources, please consider donating to our campaign.

Economic studies show that we can fight climate change and can create jobs at the same time. We cannot let Texas oil companies muddy the waters so that they can continue to practice business as usual while the environment pays the price. California has always been a leader in protecting our environment, and together we can ensure that we never abdicate this role.

Kamala Harris is the District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco, and is a candidate for Attorney General of the State of California.

Hey California, Don’t Get Fooled Again.

Down in the Lone Star State, they like to say that everything is bigger in Texas. I am not sure they were talking about the lies Texas companies like to try and sell the good people of California, but they should have been. In fact, with April 1st just around the corner, it seems that Texas Oil Companies bankrolling the initiative to suspend AB 32 are counting on Californians to be willing to be fooled again (remember what Enron did to Golden State anyone?)

Anti-AB 32 groups first relied on the now completely debunked “Varshney Study” to “prove” that passing this legislation would be the ultimate job killer and lead to skyrocketing consumer costs. But now that the Legislative Analyst's Office has torn the research to shreds, calling it “unreliable” and “essentially useless”, the anti-AB32 force is focusing on some new junk science to stand in as a replacement.

The California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) is using an oil industry-funded study conducted by the Pacific Research Institute to support its argument of the negative impacts of clean energy legislation. And it's no surprise that CMTA is the voice promoting this study, since the group has already announced its support for “AB 32 Suspension” in a recent press release as well as shelling out big bucks as one of the main sources funding the “AB 32 Implementation Group” (which contrary to the title, is code for the force working to suspend AB 32).

But like we saw with the Varshney Study, just because you paid a scientist to create it doesn't make it true. So before you buy into the “facts”, make sure you are aware of the variables that are manipulating the data behind the scenes:

  • The oil industry: Valero is a leading member of CMTA, contributing over $500,000 to help suspend AB32. Also, Valero lobbyist Michael Carpenter happens to be one of the board members of the Pacific Research Institute, which has funded the study.
  • The author of the study Thomas Tanton: consultant to the oil and gas industry and Senior Research Fellow with the Pacific Research institute where a Valero lobbyist sits on his board. He is also a former VP at the Institute for Energy Research (IER), an organization funded by oil and gas interests, which has received over $200,000 of funding from ExxonMobil.
  • CMTA's VP of Government Relations, Dorothy Rothrock: was an industry energy consultant for years before joining CMTA. From the moment AB 32 was signed into law Rothrock criticized it – even though unemployment was 4.8% at the time – which makes her support for enacting the initiative when unemployment levels reach that low again very doubtful.

Now that this report is in the same trashcan as the Varshney Study, we're sure that another one is on the way. Wouldn't it be better if the oil companies just stood up and said, look, we don't want progress on clean energy because we will lose in billions in dollars in profits? Wouldn't that be more honest? We doubt that will happen but in the meantime, don't be a fool this April.

AB 32 is a proven job creator and will continue to drive innovation and success for California. It's bad news for big oil companies, and we don't need to create a fake study to know that.