Tag Archives: enron

Career Politician Teams Up With Enron Billionaire to Gut Californians’ Retirement

by Steve Smith, California Labor Federation

It’s official. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a career politician with backing from a Texas billionaire and former Enron trader, has filed a ballot measure to strip away retirement security from current teachers, firefighters, sanitation workers and other public servants.

According to the Sacramento Bee:

“The Pension Reform Act of 2014” would alter California’s constitution to allow state and local government employers to cut pensions for current workers.

Essentially, this means politicians would have the power to unilaterally slash the retirement of current workers, breaking a promise made to those workers when they were hired. Many of those public workers affected don’t receive Social Security. They have a modest pension that averages around $26,000 per year. They’re not responsible for the financial mess created by the Wall St. collapse, yet politicians like Reed are all too quick to scapegoat them — and out-of-state billionaires like former Enron executive John Arnold are all too happy to exploit them for profit.

This initiative isn’t about giving cities “flexibility,” as Reed and his cronies contend. It’s about blaming the teachers who inspire and motivate our children for a mess that politicians and Wall Street hedge fund managers created. Reed’s flawed initiative won’t bring fiscal stability to troubled cities, but it would drive a lot of talented, dedicated people away from serving our communities. And it unfairly breaks a promise to current workers who often have no other source of retirement.

Reed’s ploy, though, is likely to wither when held up to the light of public scrutiny. Californians don’t like out-of-state special interests like Arnold setting policy for us, nor do we appreciate career politicians with their own agendas pushing flawed proposals.

Californians for Retirement Security Chair Dave Low:

Californians have constantly shown their distaste for measures put on the ballot by Texas interests and secret out-of-state contributors, and we expect this flawed proposal to be no different.

This attack on workers must be beaten back. We simply can’t allow opportunists like Reed and billionaires like Arnold to gut the retirement of California workers. Stay tuned to our blog, www.LaborsEdge.com, for more developments and ways to get involved.

Refueling California


$5-a-gallon gas is a wake-up call. Let’s change the way oil companies operate here.

How can a power outage at a refinery spark $5-a-gallon gasoline at some L.A. stations? Why would the fact that California had to switch to the winter-blend fuel at the end of October – a fact known all year – raise gasoline prices to record levels?

This price surge is not a freak phenomenon or the result of a convergence of refinery problems, as the oil industry has argued. It’s happened before (only the $5 level is new) and will happen again and again because California oil companies can make more money by making less gasoline.

California’s under-regulated gasoline market resembles our briefly deregulated electricity grid during 2000-01, when energy pirates such as Enron manipulated prices. Why? The market is geared to shortages and scarcity. So when an inevitable problem occurs to shock the system, such as a refinery outage or pipeline problem, gasoline prices and company profits go through the roof in tandem.

The state’s gasoline, the lifeblood of our economy, is priced by an under-regulated commodities market largely controlled by a handful of companies. Over the last decade, Californians have consistently paid prices that are 10 to 20 cents a gallon higher than the rest of the nation, and we have lower inventories. The rest of the continental U.S. has about 24 days of gasoline on hand; California’s average is 10 to 13 days. Not surprisingly, over the last 10 years, refineries on the West Coast consistently have been among the most profitable in the continental U.S.

Memos from West Coast oil refiners from the 1990s and released years ago by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) suggest that this is a deliberate business strategy. An internal Chevron memo, for example, stated: “A senior energy analyst at the recent API [American Petroleum Institute] convention warned that if the U.S. petroleum industry doesn’t reduce its refining capacity, it will never see any substantial increase in refinery margins.” It then discussed how major refiners were closing down refineries. Oil company profit reports show each dramatic gasoline price spike over the last decade has been mirrored by a corresponding corporate profit spike.

This situation is well known to policymakers in California. About a decade ago, after some sharp, unexpected price hikes, then-Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer formed a gas pricing task force that included industry experts and me. We viewed industry documents and cross-examined industry representatives. Among the conclusions: “Supply disruptions that contributed to major price spikes of 1999 are likely to continue … because (1) California refiners have little spare capacity to cover outages; (2) California refiners maintain relatively low inventory levels.” The report also noted: “Refiners have significant market control.”

The task force recommended a series of measures, including building a strategic gasoline reserve that could flood the market when supply is most scarce. But the Legislature didn’t listen. And now we are near 5 bucks a gallon.

There’s a simple policy fix to the gasoline woes in California: more regulation and less consolidation.

If the state doesn’t have the wherewithal to build a strategic gasoline reserve, a simple requirement that refiners keep at least three weeks of inventory on hand will do.

Rapid oil company consolidation has also been a driver of high gas prices. A handful of refiners control 14 state refineries. It had gotten so ludicrous that in 2005, my consumer group teamed up with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Lockyer and succeeded in getting Shell Oil to reverse its decision to bulldoze its Bakersfield refinery, and to instead sell it. Internal documents showed that the refinery was making among the highest profits of all Shell refineries. That indicated the company wanted to make supplies even tighter, driving prices artificially higher.

The greatest challenge for competition may be ahead. Tesoro is seeking to buy the low-cost Arco brand and its California assets from BP. More than 800 stations carry the Arco brand. If state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and federal regulators approve the merger, two refiners – Chevron and Tesoro – will control 51% of the refining capacity in the state. That would be like writing a blank check from California drivers to the oil industry.

Let’s hope that $5-a-gallon gasoline is a wake-up call that came in time to head off greater refinery consolidation and higher prices. Fourteen refineries now power the world’s ninth-largest economy. It’s time Sacramento stepped in to keep them running at full speed, producing enough inventory to fuel the state, and from falling into even fewer corporate hands.

Jamie Court is the president of Consumer Watchdog and author of “The Progressive’s Guide to Raising Hell: How to Win Grassroots Campaigns, Pass Ballot Box Laws and Get the Change We Voted For.”

First printed in the October 12, 2012 edition of the Los Angeles Times

Senator, Energy Investigators Slam Refinery Price Manipulation


The energy investigators who nailed Enron for energy price manipulation that nearly bankrupted California just took aim at oil refining giants including Chevron and BP. May the refiners’ gasoline-price schemes now come crashing down in an Enron-style heap.

We’ve known for years that California and West Coast refiners find endless ways to shut down some of their gasoline production, cutting supplies and jacking up  pump prices.  They actually make more money from making and selling less gasoline. It explains why West Coast drivers are stuck paying $4-plus a gallon while pump prices take a dive in the rest of the country. Now a credible study and a U.S. Senator have reached the same conclusion-and trying to put some muscle on the oil industry.

Washington State Sen. Maria Cantwell is probably the best-informed on the petroleum industry of all federal legislators, at least among those not joined at the hip with Exxon. She is calling on the  the Federal Trade Commission to investigate six major refiners-Alon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Tesoro and BP.  It’s a smart move, because the oil lobby has a stranglehold on Congress and most state legislatures. President Obama has tried at least twice to reduce the industry’s billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, and gotten nowhere.

Here’s the gist of the story by McClatchy news service’s Kevin Hall:

In a letter being sent to regulators on Thursday and obtained by McClatchy, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., calls on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate refinery operators Alon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Tesoro and BP following the shutdown of BP’s Cherry Point refinery in Washington State.

Citing a report by Portland energy consultant McCullough Research – a group whose work helped topple energy-trading giant Enron Corp. – Cantwell questioned why May gasoline prices in her state soared recently to within cents of the local record of $4.35 a gallon set in July 2008. Meantime, gasoline prices nationwide in May fell 17 cents a gallon and oil tumbled more than $14 a barrel.

The McCullough Research report questioned whether the historically low gasoline inventories on the West Coast were really a result of a fire on Feb. 17 that idled the BP plant for about three months.

Gasoline prices on the West Coast had tracked closely with the price of West Texas intermediate crude delivered at Cushing, Okla., but in May veered widely from historical norms, according to the report. Had prices followed supply costs, said the report’s author, Robert McCullough, retail gasoline prices on the West Coast would have dropped to about $3.65 a gallon. Instead, prices have been about 68 cents higher.

The report estimates “a windfall profit of $43 million a day” for refiners on the West Coast as the supply manipulation continues.

The investigators who nailed Enron ought to be able to get the attention of the FTC, and Sen. Cantwell may be able to get the oil CEOs into a hearing room for some sworn testimony.

Here’s the full report from McCullough Research, and the news release from Sen. Cantwell’s office, with her letter to the FTC attached. She requests the FTC to:

…utilize its regulatory authority and responsibility granted by Congress to ensure that Washington state consumers are not subject to “any manipulative or deceptive device or contrivance” that could be resulting in unjustifiably high gasoline prices.  In particular, I am asking the Commission, pursuant to the Prohibition on Market Manipulation Rule, to investigate whether or not recent and inexplicable gas price spikes in Washington state are the result of deliberat[e] efforts by West Coast refiners to keep gasoline inventories artificially low.

This is a fight that’s been going on for a long time and California is even more affected by what the refineries are doing. Cantwell would no doubt welcome some company in her effort from Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.


Posted by Judy Dugan, research director for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing an effective voice for taxpayers and consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter.


Posted by Judy Dugan, research director for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing an effective voice for taxpayers and consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

Debra Bowen’s Enron Connections and CA-36

Debra Bowen’s Enron Connections and CA’s $40 Billion+ losses due to Energy Deregulation.

Debra Bowen’s Enron connections & various Energy Company Investments matter to me, to my family, to Venice, to CD36 (Jane Harman’s old seat) and to California.  Why? Debra Bowen voted in 1996 to de-regulate the CA energy industry, passing on the costs of the dangerous Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant to the ratepayer.  During the energy crisis, when Bowen chaired the Senate Energy Committee, she took money from Enron and refused to support re-regulating the energy industry. She also has invested in and is currently invested in energy company shares (e.g., General Electric & Provident Energy (see below)).

Enron’s donations to Debra Bowen matter because Enron was able to take advantage of Debra Bowen’s SB335 vote and her deregulation and because its entire fortune was built on economic withholding and inflated price bidding in California’s spot markets.  Bowen actually has invested in energy cmpanies in the past.  She is currently invested in General Electric and Provident Energy (source: Bowen’s Feb. 28, 2011 Form 700 California filing).   I’ve been informed by sources that she invested in Enron previously via Mutual Funds but haven’t been able to acertain the truth of this.  Still, as a former Energy Chair (while she was a state senator) I don’t think she should be investing in two energy companies (G.E. and Provident Energy)

Further, Bowen has definitely taken donations from Enron, a company that created a phony regional and statewide energy crisis by taking power plants off-line during peak demand.  Why is this important?  Conflicts of interests due to corporate non-arms length investments.  That’s why.  During the energy crisis, when Enron manipulated supply, causing rolling black-outs, Bowen told the LA Business Journal (1/2001) she feared re-regulation would negatively impact energy companies.  Finally, in 2003, when the state legislature amended a bill to re-regulate the energy industry, Bowen was one of two legislators listed as abstaining or absent.

Bowen’s Enron connections together with her various Senate votes for energy deregulation legislation allowed Enron market traders to sell power 20 times its normal price in scams dubbed “Black Widow” and “Death Star”.  Her conflicts of interest helped create the Enron fiasco which cost Californians over $40 Billion dollars. …Please follow below to read more about Bowen’s Enron connections.

Debra Bowen : A former Republican and Enron’s Best Friend in Sacramento.

The result for Californians?  $40 to $45 Billion was lost due — at least in part — to Debra Bowen’s deregulation votes & her Senate Energy Chairship’s kowtowing to CA Corporations and to Enron.  Debra Bowen’s siding with Enron (and her investments thereto) cost California between $40 and $45 billion (Source:  Christopher Weare, // The California Electricity Crisis: Causes and Policy Options. San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California — 2003).  Bowen is a candidate — like Hahn — who is leaving her job before her recently elected term is up and now — like Jane Harman (who she implicitly endorsed) now may trigger elections costing millions of dollars.

Excerpt from the below linked San Jose Mercury News Article (deals w/ Bowen & other Sacramento legislators’ complicity in the $40 billion to $45 billion that CA lost due to Enron):

Excerpt: “…In February, the Senate’s Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee met to discuss the state’s energy prospects.

Bowen, who replaced Peace as chairwoman in late 1998, acknowledged at the hearing that the state’s electricity reserves “are tighter than we would like.” But no comprehensive remedy came out of that session.

Bowen declined to be interviewed, but her chief of staff, Evan Goldberg, said Bowen never raised major concerns about the energy problem with Davis, assuming the state’s regulatory agencies would alert the governor if an emergency developed. Looking back, he said, Bowen believes her failure and that of other lawmakers to act dramatically, and sooner, resulted from “a lack of foresight...”

Marcy Winograd is running for the same Congressional seat that Bowen is.  Winograd is the polar opposite of Debra Bowen when it comes to Corporate Fraud and Donations.  She has taken no donations from corporations and is an authentic progressive who cannot be brought the way Bowen was.

Debra Bowen rejected SB 335 (3 strikes law equivalent for Corporate felonies) and was one of two Democrats who joined the Republicans in defeating it in 2003.

I believe she did so — at least in part — because Debra Bowen was protecting Enron, a company which eonated and invested in her.  Enron invested in Debra Bowen by making campaign donations — on several occasions — to Bowen’s campaign fundraising efforts.  Debra Bowen helped them out when they lobbied for deregulation and by voiding SB335 and comparable senate legislation (i.e. by crossing party lines and joining with California’s Republican leaders).  Quid pro quo.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where Debra Bowen’s deeper allegiances, values & loyalties lie.

If you want a corporate tool (a former Republican in Democratic clothing), vote for Debra Bowen.  If you want someone who will not allow Corporations to control their vote — vote for Marcy Winograd.

From 1998 through 2000, Bowen reported receiving $4,000 from Enron Corporation.  Of the $4,000 Bowen received, $3,000 was given to her before the 2000 election.  The following table details Bowen’s contributions from Enron:


Enron Corp  Energy & Natural Resources  N/A  1998  $1,000

Enron Corp  Energy & Natural Resources  3/20/2000  2000  $2,000

Enron Corp  Energy & Natural Resources  9/7/2000  2000  $1,000


From 1998 through 2010, Bowen reported receiving $36,750 in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies.  The election year that Bowen received the most money from oil and gas companies was 1998, when she reported receiving $12,500.  


The following table details Bowen’s contributions from oil and gas companies:


Atlantic Richfield/Arco  Oil & Gas  1998  $1,000

Atlantic Richfield/Arco  Oil & Gas  1998  $500

Atlantic Richfield/Arco  Oil & Gas  1998  $1,000

California Independent Oil Marketers Pac Oil & Gas  1998  $500

Chevron Corp  Oil & Gas  1998  $1,000

De Menno-Kerdoon  Oil & Gas  1998  $1,000

De Menno-Kerdoon  Oil & Gas  1998  $5,000

Pacific Enterprises  Oil & Gas  1998  $1,000

Regent International  Oil & Gas  1998  $500

Tosco Corp  Oil & Gas  1998  $1,000

Williams Companies  Oil & Gas  2000  $1,000

Tosco Corp  Oil & Gas  2000  $2,000

Atlantic Richfield  Oil & Gas  2000  $1,000

California Independent Oil Marketers  Pac Oil & Gas  2000  $750

California Service Station & Automotive Repair Association Oil & Gas  2000  $500

Independent Energy Producers  Association Independent oil & gas producers 2002  $1,000

California Independent Oil Marketers  Oil & gas  2002  $500

Tosco Corp  Petroleum refining & marketing 2002  $1,000

Vind, Richard B  Oil & gas  2002  $1,000

7-Eleven  Gasoline service stations 2002  $500

Independent Energy Producers Association Independent oil & gas producers  2002  $2,000

California Independent Oil Marketers  Oil & gas  2002  $750

California Independent Oil Marketers Association Petroleum refining & marketing 2004  $700

Morabito, Paul  Oil & gas; President of Baruk Petroleum 2004  $5,300

Morabito, Paul  Oil & gas; President of Baruk Petroleum 2006  $5,300

California Independent Oil Marketers Association Petroleum refining &  marketing 2006  $700

ConocoPhillips  Oil & Gas  2010  $250


Poor Decisions, Lack of Action Precipitate California’s Power Crisis



San Jose Mercury News – California

Key California lawmakers, including governors Pete Wilson and Gray Davis, did little to head off the state’s electricity crisis despite repeated warnings dating back to 1998 that trouble was coming.

Ominous flaws in the system became evident almost immediately after California began its grand experiment to open up the sale of electricity to competition nearly three years ago.

Power reserves were dangerously low. Wholesale prices shot up amid charges that suppliers were manipulating the market. Retail competition was floundering. Major high-voltage lines were plagued with problems and numerous power plants were prone to breakdown. Little attention was paid to conservation.

It was all spelled out in a series of reports and public pronouncements by government experts and others in and out of California. Yet as a group, the people who should have been watching out for the public good were reluctant to take responsibility and slow to respond.

Many experts believe the magnitude of the debacle — which could cost taxpayers at least $2 billion and has left the state’s two largest utilities near bankruptcy — could have been significantly minimized had lawmakers, the governors and their appointees acted sooner.

Just 11 months into the experiment, a key architect of the state’s energy deregulation law — state Sen. Steve Peace, D-La Mesa — complained about price gouging at a legislative hearing and said he feared reliability could be in peril. While remaining a deregulation supporter until well into last year, Peace said he couldn’t understand at the time why others weren’t “screaming bloody murder” about its shortcomings.

Other experts agree, saying elected officials dawdled far too long or didn’t do enough.

High on that list were governors Wilson and Davis, and Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte of Rancho Cucamonga, who had championed deregulation when he was in the Assembly.

Also included were the heads of the Legislature’s energy committees: Peace and his successor, Debra Bowen, D-Redondo Beach, in the Senate, and Diane Martinez Mandaville, D-Alhambra, followed by Roderick Wright, D-Los Angeles, in the Assembly.

As the energy situation grew into a crisis, Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, and Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, D-San Francisco, also played major roles.

Much of what lawmakers are doing now or proposing — from speeding power plant construction, pushing for substantial conservation, giving the state a stronger oversight role and locking in lower prices through long-term contracts — could have been done more than a year ago. Many of those ideas were discussed at legislative hearings in February 1999 but not acted upon.

Why not? A number of factors were involved:

California was entering uncharted waters by opening up its electricity markets to competition and the way those markets operated was exceedingly complex.

Deregulation created a fragmented system of oversight with no one person or agency in charge.

Some officials who oversaw the initial stages of deregulation left Sacramento after the 1998 election.

Many officials placed too much faith in the assumption that whatever problems emerged

early on in this radically restructured market would work themselves out or that the federal government would fix things.

“Despite the events that were popping up on the radar screen, people went to extraordinary lengths to explain away any problem as an anomaly,” said Loretta Lynch, who joined the Public Utilities Commission in January 2000 and was named president by Davis two months later.

Almost immediately after California’s bold venture into electricity deregulation began March 31, 1998, evidence emerged that the system was beset by severe and potentially catastrophic weaknesses:

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) found power plant construction lagging.

The Power Exchange reported wholesale prices spiking and raised concern about price gouging.

The ISO reported the power grid had major shortcomings.

Then-Gov. Wilson and other lawmakers had assumed that, once power sales were competitive, businesses would flock to California to build more generators and sell electricity. This, in turn, would boost power supplies and lower energy bills. But that didn’t happen.

Some firms were eager to buy the utilities’ plants and were planning to build others. But many of the new generators wouldn’t come on line for years, largely because their operators were uncertain about this new market and proceeding slowly.

As a result, it was clear early on to some experts that electricity supplies would be

severely crimped for several years. This was a problem that had not occurred — at least not in the same way — under the regulated system, because the utilities and the Public Utilities Commission had been responsible for making sure electricity supplies were sufficient and ordering new plants built to meet escalating demand.

Now no one had the responsibility to act.

Based on its analysis of a worst-case scenario, the ISO, which oversees most of the power grid, reported July 14, 1998, that power demand could outstrip supply within a year. That fear was reinforced by a federal study the same year predicting severe shortages throughout the Pacific Northwest, which California relies on for much of its electricity.

The ISO report also found deficiencies in some crucial high-voltage lines — particularly in the Bay Area — and worried about a possible shortage of natural gas, which many plants use for fuel.

The advanced age of many plants was another issue. The report, which was widely distributed in Sacramento, predicted a “significant vulnerability to the system” if some generators stopped working.

As demand for power continued to rise, so did electricity costs.

Under the terms of a temporary rate freeze imposed at the beginning of deregulation, occasional spikes in wholesale power prices were absorbed by the utilities and not passed on to customers. For that reason, most people — including many lawmakers — weren’t aware of what was happening to the market early on. But by mid-1998, it was already overheating.

The trend was detailed in two reports published in August that year by the ISO and the Power Exchange, which auctions wholesale electricity.

They worried that the average wholesale price was nearly twice what it had been in April, when it was $23 per megawatt-hour, and that some electricity was going for as much as $9,999 per megawatt-hour. They also found evidence of price manipulation by suppliers.

It’s unclear which lawmakers saw those reports. But a state official said such studies were usually sent to the Legislature.

With all this evidence in hand, California’s elected officials could have taken steps then to ensure more power was available and prices were kept low.

Experts say those actions could have included speeding up the permit process for new power plants and making provisions to install “peaker” plants, which are small generators that switch on during emergencies. They also could have required the utilities to buy more power in long-term contracts, instead of on the spot market, where wholesale prices were especially high.

All of these ideas are being actively pursued today. Yet in 1998, most people — including members of the media — seemed unconcerned about electricity.

In a recent interview, Wilson said he knew four years ago that the deregulation law he signed “was not a perfect free-market mechanism” and that “course corrections” probably would be needed. But while criticizing his successor for not acting sooner to boost electricity production, among other steps, Wilson acknowledged that he never sponsored legislation to expedite new power plants.

California’s leaders were blase, in part, because of their faith in competition and the belief that whatever glitches appeared in the system would be momentary. They also were preoccupied with the statewide election in 1998, in which the main topics in the governor’s race were public education and health care reform.

Besides, energy was arcane.

“People didn’t pay attention to it because it was too complex,” said Martinez Mandaville, who chaired the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee in 1998. “The whole thing was smoke and mirrors.”

Two major factors conspired in 1999 to further divert California’s attention from its looming energy debacle: relatively benign weather that kept electricity demand low and the changing of the guard in Sacramento after the election. Although few people seemed to be listening, alarms continued to sound:

Testimony before the Senate energy committee highlighted insufficient conservation and warned that state oversight was fractured.

A San Diego consumer group predicted residential bills would rise.

The California Energy Commission advised that hot weather could strain system.

In February 1999, a month after Davis took office, the Senate’s energy committee heard from experts who repeated concerns about the state’s aging stock of power plants and unreliable high-voltage lines and bemoaned ineffective conservation efforts. They also complained of turf battles among regulatory agencies with no one clearly in charge.

Some people — including Peace — were particularly worried. Unless the state could ensure a more reliable supply of electricity, “This whole system will last no more than six months” and will need to be re-regulated, he said. “We’ll seize every power plant and turn them over to S. David Freeman,” the chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, who had just testified.

The room burst into laughter at the comment, but it was oddly prophetic. Almost two years later to the day, Davis picked Freeman to negotiate long-term power contracts with suppliers as the state began re-regulating its electricity system and lawmakers debated taking over power plants.

Several legislators, including Peace and Bowen, introduced bills in 1999 to promote conservation, streamline the power plant building process and restructure some energy agencies. But much of the legislation was watered down or delayed. For example, one ambitious bill sought to boost conservation through special meters that would encourage customers to use less power when it was in short supply. But as the legislation progressed, it was reduced to a small pilot program.

Most elected leaders still had no clue what was coming.

One reason was that so many key players lacked experience. The membership of the Legislature’s energy committees changed significantly after the election, and Davis had to pick his own people to replace Wilson’s in key energy agencies. Many of these new officials needed time to become familiar with the complicated issues.

Wright, who took over the Assembly’s energy committee in 1999, said it wasn’t the Legislature’s job to worry about details. “We don’t do the day-to-day management of electricity,” he said.

One agency set up by the Legislature to monitor California’s energy needs was the Electricity Oversight Board. But the board went through four chairmen from 1998 through the end of 2000, its role was vague, and its primary function was issuing reports.

Although some might argue the board could have been more vocal about the electricity concerns being raised, its chairman, Michael Kahn, a Davis appointee, disagreed. “We don’t regret anything we did, and there is nothing more we could have done.”

Cooler temperatures in 1999 also tended to camouflage the growing peril. Without much need to run air conditioners, energy consumption leveled off. As a result, authorities that year were forced to declare only one Stage 2 electrical emergency, which happens after available power reserves dip below 5 percent. Because five Stage 2 alerts had been issued the year before, that seemed to suggest the situation was improving.

But all was not well.

Concerned about additional evidence of suppliers driving up prices, the Power Exchange concluded on March 9, 1999, that the trend could cause “more severe episodes of high prices in the future.”

Then, in July 1999, the California Energy Commission warned that an unseasonably hot summer could push power reserves to their limits.

One group that was growing nervous was the Utility Consumers’ Action Network, a consumer organization in San Diego, where the retail electricity rate freeze already had been lifted for customers of San Diego Gas & Electric Co.

In August, it issued a study warning that the area’s growing demand for power — coupled with California’s tightly constrained high-voltage and natural gas lines — “will lead to higher, not lower, electric costs for San Diego.”

In response, the California Public Utilities Commission held a hearing a few months later in San Diego. Yet little came of it.

“As I recall those meetings, it was pretty clear . . . there were going to be problems,” said Richard Bilas, the commission’s president for most of 1998 and 1999. But, he said, no one acted on the predictions because “It was a matter of let’s wait and see what really is going to happen.”

In retrospect, Bilas wonders whether he might have done more. “Perhaps I was a little remiss in not taking the bull by the horns.”

Even in 2000, the state’s elected leaders still had a chance to act. More warnings were issued:

The California Energy Commission urged conservation.

Experts called longer-term power contracts essential.

PG&E and Southern California Edison claimed they were headed for bankruptcy.

Federal officials offered limited help.

In February, the Senate’s Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee met to discuss the state’s energy prospects.

Bowen, who replaced Peace as chairwoman in late 1998, acknowledged at the hearing that the state’s electricity reserves “are tighter than we would like.” But no comprehensive remedy came out of that session.

Bowen declined to be interviewed, but her chief of staff, Evan Goldberg, said Bowen never raised major concerns about the energy problem with Davis, assuming the state’s regulatory agencies would alert the governor if an emergency developed. Looking back, he said, Bowen believes her failure and that of other lawmakers to act dramatically, and sooner, resulted from “a lack of foresight.”

When the committee’s hearing continued into March, William Keese, chairman of the California Energy Commission, urged the state to take precautions against possible power shortages. Among other action, he proposed an ad campaign to promote conservation.

Keese said he saw little urgency among the legislators and they didn’t pursue the ad campaign.

“There wasn’t the interest,” Keese said. “If I have any regret, it’s that I just didn’t yell loud enough at the time.”

Senate Republican Leader Brulte insisted that lawmakers were paying attention. “There was clearly a growing concern in the Legislature early last year that there were problems,” he said.

But when asked why significant remedies weren’t addressed earlier, Brulte declined to “get into the blame game” because “there will not be a banquet table large enough for everyone who has to sit down.”

By summer in San Diego, with the rate freeze lifted, retail bills for residents and businesses tripled. Nothing like that happened in the Bay Area, where the freeze remained in place. Still, this area was about to have problems of its own.

On June 14, 2000, record temperatures and high-voltage line constraints resulted in rolling blackouts to nearly 100,000 homes and businesses.

That finally caught Davis’ attention. He ordered Lynch of the Public Utilities Commission and Kahn of the Electricity Oversight Board to investigate. Meanwhile, another problem was developing: The effect all this was having on PG&E and Edison.

Those companies were beginning to absorb huge losses because they couldn’t pass on soaring wholesale power costs to their customers. Both utilities have been criticized for failing to acknowledge their own plight sooner. And the state apparently didn’t monitor it closely.

Although the Public Utilities Commission is supposed to keep an eye on the finances of utilities, officials with that agency recently told lawmakers that under deregulation, its audit staff was trimmed so much it couldn’t properly keep tabs on the firms.

To help cut their costs, PG&E and Edison asked the commission on July 22 for permission to buy power from suppliers in long-term contracts instead of the increasingly expensive spot market. The agency agreed in August and the utilities signed some contracts in October. Why they didn’t sign more is in dispute. PG&E claims the commission didn’t set clear rules for the contracts, but others say that shouldn’t have stopped the utilities.

Most experts now say the failure to lock up power in long-term contracts was a mistake, especially since some suppliers sounded willing to enter into such deals then.

On July 31, Duke Energy wrote Davis offering to sell 2,000 megawatts of electricity at 5 cents per kilowatt-hour for the next five years. But Duke officials say they never heard back from the governor and the offer expired. Davis’ spokesman, Steve Maviglio, recently explained that the governor considered the price too high at the time.

Six months later, Davis’ plan to rescue California hinges largely on having the state buy power through just those types of long-term contracts. Only now, the state will be lucky to get 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.

After receiving an August report from Kahn and Lynch which declared the state’s “electrical system in trouble,” Davis and the Legislature approved some modest measures to speed up power-plant licensing and conserve energy. And they passed a rate freeze for San Diego residents.

However, Davis declined a request by Republicans to call a special legislative session on energy issues, saying he wanted the fall to consider his options. Eager to keep the issue out of election-year politics, legislators passed a resolution declaring that high electricity costs “are threatening the economic well-being of California consumers and businesses” — and then went home until January.

Davis and other state officials focused on trying to get the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to impose wholesale price caps across the West and to obtain refunds from power suppliers, whom the governor and others accused of price gouging.

It was a futile effort. The federal agency repeatedly refused. Yet, the state kept asking while conditions steadily worsened.

In September, natural gas prices more than doubled. Also that month, the utilities began complaining that their wholesale power bills were leaving them billions of dollars in debt.

At the same time, predictions of power shortages throughout the Pacific Northwest began coming true. Because of low water levels in dams, much of the hydroelectric power that California depended on wasn’t available.

On Dec. 16, Davis announced a special legislative session to combat the crisis. By then, events had spiraled out of control.

“Believe me, if I wanted to raise rates I could have solved this problem in 20 minutes,” Davis said Friday afternoon. “But I am not going to ask the ratepayers to accept a disproportionate burden. So we’ve had to take the route we’re taking.”

California League of Conservation Voters Endorses Debra Bowen for Congress

When people think “California League of Conservation Voters” they focus on the words “California” and “conservation.” And rightfully so. First and foremost, CLCV is the political arm of the environment. For nearly four decades, we have worked tirelessly to seek out and endorse environmental champions and then fund and support their campaigns to help them get into office. This has always been a primary part of our mission.

But every now and again we find a candidate who is not only an environmental champion but also demonstrates leadership in another critical piece of our mission: aiding voters. For the special election in Congressional District 36, we’re lucky to have found such a candidate, and it’s none other than Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

Secretary Bowen has a long track record of expertise and leadership on the environment. During her fourteen years serving in both houses of the Legislature, Bowen authored bills to protect our coast and restrict offshore oil drilling. She also co-authored four landmark environmental laws including the first bills in California to ever address global warming, environmental justice, and create a renewable portfolio standard. She also aided Senator Alan Lowenthal with his critical legislation to clean-up pollution in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

At a time when Congress is not only lacking environmental leadership but when the majority has become downright hostile towards any attempt to protect open spaces, improve public health, and protect clean air and water, Bowen will be a needed breath of fresh air in Washington.

In fact, if protecting the environment alone was the only reason to send Secretary Bowen to Washington, it would be enough. But electing her to Congress would also add an incredibly important leader in the field of fair elections and open government. While her environmental work has been notable, Secretary Bowen’s single most important piece of legislation was arguably AB 1462, the landmark law that made all of California’s bill information available on the Internet. A voter can easily find out how his or her legislator voted on any piece of legislation because of this bill, so if you’re following any piece of legislation online as it works its way through the California Legislature at the Senate and Assembly websites, you have Debra Bowen to thank for it.

Secretary Bowen also has a record of holding corporations accountable. Bowen was chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee during the height of the infamous Enron scandal. She was one of the lawmakers leading the charge against Kenneth Lay and Enron and investigating their manipulation of the energy market. Only too recently, Massey Energy and BP ignored safety violations that caused unparalleled environmental disasters and cost lives. We need a legislator who is smart, full of integrity, and has a track record of standing up against corrupt and powerful polluters and hold them accountable. We have such a leader in Debra Bowen.

This is why CLCV is thrilled to endorse Debra Bowen for Congress, and why we will do everything we can to make sure Debra Bowen goes to Washington. Join us by committing to support Debra Bowen for Congress here.

5 Earth Day Actions You Can Take In 10 Minutes Flat

It's Earth Day and in addition to all of the other lists advising you to turn off the lights, get green power, and pay attention to what you are buying (all of which are very important) there are five more concrete things you need to do today, that can have a huge impact on the health of the planet. Best of all, they will take you about 10 minutes.

Let's begin.

1. Call Senator Harry Reid at 202-224-3542.

Senator Reid gets it. He said that clean energy and climate legislation 'may be the most important policy we ever pass.' He is going to be facing a TON of pressure to compromise, and accept half-measures. He needs to know that you have his back on passing a comprehensive bill to bolster clean energy and address climate change.

2. Join the Campaign to Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition.

California passed a bill back in 2006 that would bring its greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020. It is easily the most aggressive climate law in the country, and it could pave the way for other states and other nations to follow suit – BUT Valero, Tesoro, and other big oil interests are trying to pull an Enron and dupe the people of California into passing a proposition that would stop the whole thing.

Whether you are in California or not, sign up and lend a hand.

3. Join the Campaign to Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition on Facebook.

Yep, join them on Facebook too. I can't emphasize how critical this will be for the country. If California, the 8th largest economy in the world can get a handle on its emissions (not to mention reap the HUGE benefits that will come with the 2 million jobs and billion in investments that are already starting to show up there), it will show the rest of the world, that it can be done, and that doing it will make us all better-off.

4. Join the boycott of big oil companies who meddle in state politics.

Write Valero, an email, and let them know you will be boycotting them until they keep their dirty money out of state politics.

5. Share this blog on your Facebook and Twitter.

Lets face it, this stuff only works if we are aggressive about increasing the numbers of people who take actions like these. If you want to get credit yourself, I hereby give you permission to post this blog under your name.

Let's get serious about doing all we can for our planet now. Thanks for reading and thanks for getting in action!

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.

CA-04 Shale

Recently, on Aug 10, Tom McClintock(R, Thousand Oaks) trying to carpetbag his way up into federal level congressional office by using our Northern CA district, released his version of an “energy” policy.  http://blog.tommcclintock.com/…   I looked at it, and I thought, this is seriously so bad, somebody must have been smoking crack when they composed it.  

That bad.  The entire thing, start to finish, is riddled with factual errors. This is what happens when Republicans running around here want something. They just make stuff up.

When you make stuff up, and then base your decisions on fantasy or deceit, the outcome is not good.  If you try to do this in engineering, the results are failure.  Let’s learn about shale.

(ARC note:  When I was doing the final editing on this diary which I first posted very late Sunday evening on dailykos, I didn’t know that McClintock was about to finally do what I predicted:  disappear the evidence of his ineptitude, and scrub the policy off his site.  When I rechecked my links after posting, I of course got an “error not found page for his website, but the original is all over the internet thanks to his blobber, er, blathering it.  When I then checked the Auburn Journal, they had an updated story about the scrub.  This is it:   http://auburnjournal.com/detai…          )

The original is below.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sunday, Aug 17, 2008~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Crazy Tom McClintock has since gotten some public feedback pointing out some of the errors in his “plan.”   A rational person would then apologize for insulting the public with such drivel, since it’s government money he would be using on it if he were elected, but oh, no, not Crazy Tom McDooduck.  He’s now given yet another public speech repeating the exact same things.

Here’s another link to crazy Tom’s “energy” policy: (it is also on his website, as I did in the intro, but  I’m also linking to a newspaper which is slightly less likely to mysteriously disappear or be altered :


A Summary of Tom McClintock’s “energy” policy:

He doubles the known domestic oil reserves and claims nobody is allowed to drill them

He  fantasizes that all the oil shale in the western states can be turned into enough barrels of oil to last us another century. He ignores the part about digging up half of 4 states to get to it.

He claims it’s illegal to look for oil on 93% of our land. Only 7% of our landmass is not BLM ? People can’t look on private property?  Remember illegal immigration ? Now we have faith based persecution of illegal geology exploration.  Apparently the man cannot tell the difference between LOOKING at something, formally exploring it using geologists, and LEASING it and DRILLING it.  

He claims The Chinese Government is drilling all of Florida’s offshore oil reserves, by using Cuban water bases, at the behest of Nancy Pelosi.

Since Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it’s going to be the Next Big Thing. ( Oh, no, not the Doolittle Hindenburg Theory again. )  Crazy Tom says if only Pelosi wasn’t conspiring to keep electrical prices high so we could start processing all the ocean water to get hydrogen.

He then claims electricity costs 6 times less per kilowatt hour than it does currently. This is to bolster his previous claim that the dead Auburn Dam project should be built.  If electricity was that cheap, then building a dam for hydoelectric over 4 earthquake faults would make sense in Tom’s world.  If you then ignored the cost of the dam, the infrastructure, the transmission lines, the redesign, and the financing.

–  end of the summary.

Did I mention the Foresthill bridge over the nearby American River needs a 43 million dollar seismic retrofit ?  I can’t wait to see what an Auburn Dam designed to withstand the same potential earthquake potential would cost, as the last time the thing was designed was about 30 years ago, and the 2006 Bureau of Reclamation/Army Corp of Engineers study that Doolittle commissioned and then tried to delay, which said the proposed dam project would be a very expensive way to hold back water already being used downstream in an existing dam, Folsom, used those old 1970’s numbers.

The contention that hydropower would give us nearly free electricity was particularly mindboggling.  It ignores the cost of designing and building the physical plant producing it, and ignores the fact that the transmission lines and other hardware and generation/maintenance costs are creating the bulk of what the home consumer pays for it.  Because these things need to be financed.  Even if they are done through the sale of bonds or by a private investor, they have to be paid for. The private investor would still pass the costs on to the consumer buying the final product.  Alright, let’s ignore this for a second.  Let’s look at a current electric bill from PG&E.  Even if you took all those hardware costs out of it, you would still be paying 8 cents a kilowatt hour, not a cent and a half.

So Tom McClintock is already lying about what is on your electric bill. You’d think he’d know better, after 2003.  This is just one example. The amount of water the damn could save, and the number of people it could serve, is another.    

I wasn’t sure where to start with this turkey, it was so bad. It was like a John Doolittle (R,Chevron, Not Yet Indicted)   plan on steroids.  Except with Doolittle, he had been too far gone for so long that nobody ever expected much.  In Tom’s world, he was feeling the need to assuage his supporters that he could outwhack Doolittle on the reality scale.

Since Congress voting to subsidize development of the Green River Valley Formation shale oil fields in Wyoming, VP Dick Cheney’s territory, seems to be really what they’re after, I’ll go with that in the most detail.  

This oil shale extraction mining was attempted before in Parachute, Colorado. The company, Exxon, couldn’t do it from both a financial, technical, and practicality standpoint (Federal rules say no developing worse  EROEI petrofuel mining systems than what we already have) and the $5 billion dollar project turned turtle in 1982. May the 2nd of that year became known as “Black Sunday.”   Link to Newsweek article from this July 14, 2008  “America’s Untapped Reserves”


The Republicans claim decades later that developing this oil shale formation will cause prices to drop at the pump, but this is absurd. One, you can’t use this stuff at the pump, unless you’re driving a diesel, and secondly, it would take years to develop the fields, third, and most important, to be economically feasible the price of oil HAS TO STAY HIGH for this to be competitive.

One ton, or 2000 lbs, of oil shale yields 150 liters or 40 gallons or about 320 liquid lbs of shale “oil.”   That’s about 50 lbs of rocks that have to be accessed and treated to make 1 gallon of liquid “shale oil”.  That has to be further refined, and you still don’t get gasoline.

There is also a way to make liquid fuel out of coal.  By contrast, one ton, or 2000 lbs of coal can make 170 gallons of oil, or over 4 times as much.

So already I’ve shown that this oil shale is worse than coal.

One ton shale rock = maybe 40 gals that needs to be refined further to get anything useful as a fuel

One ton coal = 170 gals that need to be refined further

That, in a nutshell, is why Congress kiboshed federally leasing this land out in the past for development for this purpose.

You can stop reading now if you need the short version.  You now know more than the Republicans. This isn’t being a “Luddite,” as Crazy Tom McClintock says. It’s call “Geological Engineering.”

But there’s more.  There’s this concept in mining called Energy Returned On Energy Invested, or EROEI .  It’s exactly what it sounds like, it’s a way to measure how much energy you put in a project vs. how much energy you get back out.

When the Energy Returned is less than what you started with, which is less than “1”,  it’s called an “energy sink.”  This means you’re losing energy doing the project.

Domestic oil shale has, as you guessed, a low EROEI.  Numbers vary, from .7 to maybe 3,  but it’s lower than coal and regular oil, which is about 5.

The more you do to shale rock to try to turn it into something resembling diesel, the more energy you have to burn trying to do it.  

One could say that the entire Bush Adminstration, start to finish, has set the record for low EROEI.  

Okay, Estonia uses oil shale as a coal substitute to burn in power plants for electrical generation, but do we really aspire to be just like Estonia ?  Crazy Tom McDooDuck does !  I’m not even getting into the problems with the smoke plume from burning it for fuel, which would be spreading things like sulfer and uranium around.  To get the massive amounts of fuel needed to process oil shale, they would have to be using oil shale itself, because it would be the only thing close by.

___ Now we’ll explore the topic of how much oil the country uses:

links we’re going to use:


United States Oil Consumption (2004/2005 estimate)Early Bush 2nd Term  

Oil production      8.3 million barrels/day

Oil exports             1 million barrels/day.  yes, we export oil.        

Oil consumption  20.8 million barrels/day

Oil imports           13.2 million barrels/day

20.8 million barrels day x 365 days/yr =  7,592 million,

or 7.6 billion barrels used per year total, estimated

use 20.8  million barrels,  have 7.3 = needed 13.5 million barrels a day

= 4927.5  million barrels/year or

~ 4.9 billion barrels/year need to be imported  

proven US oil reserves Jan 2006  21.76 billion barrels.  not much, ~ 3 years

if we kept up the current consumption rate in the US of 7.6 billion barrels of oil per year, x 100 years per century, it would = 760 billion barrels

There are 42 gallons of oil in a barrel and 55 gallons in a standard drum.

There are 158.9 liters per barrel. About 19 to 23 gallons of gasoline can be made from one barrel of oil, the rest is made into other products.  

__What about those Fabulously Oil Soaked Middle Eastern Countries?

proven Saudi oil reserves Jan 2006  267billion barrels (produced 10 mil/d

proven Iraq oil reserves Jan 2006    115 billion barrels (produced 2mil/day)

proven Iran oil reserves Jan 2006     113 billion barrels (produced 4mil/day)




Oil Reserves:  The amount of oil in a subsurface resevoir is called oil in place, OIP.  Only a fraction of this oil can be recovered from a reservoir, and this is the portion that is considered to be proven reserves.

At the current rate of production, the United States is generally thought as having about 11 years left.

That’s right.  11 years.

_____ Enter the Politicians….   notice how our side isn’t pushing this


Obama says would consider limited offshore drilling 8/1/08  

“My interest is in making sure we’ve got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices,” Obama said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post during a tour of Florida.

“If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage — I don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t get something done,” Obama told the newspaper.

In a statement, Obama said he remained skeptical of the value of expanded offshore drilling in fighting rising gas prices. He has said he prefers oil companies to use the land already available.  

The offshore drilling areas proposed would be in the Gulf of Mexico, the North and South Carolinas, US Georgia, and Virginia if those states gave permission and it would still have to be 50 miles from the shore.  He also said

“I do welcome the establishment of a process that will allow us to make future drilling decisions based on science and fact.”

Science and fact. That ought to frighten the Republicans.

So that’s an awful lot of “ifs.”  There’s not that much proven oil reserves offshore of the US, compared to what the United States consumes on a yearly basis.   I wonder if those states are looking forward to becoming another version of Louisiana under a Republican McCain administration. Notice how they left out California for now.

While as a political negotiating point I really didn’t like this, from a reality point, Obama knows that the oil companies are trying to hype the speculation to attract investors,  and one must be careful where to put an oil rig.  Because new rigs will be very expensive.

The reason for drilling in the Gulf or off the East Coast is slightly safer than the West, is that they don’t have a big tectonic plate butting up against their coastline plates, with a lot of sudden earthquakes, caused when something gives and shifts, like the west coast does. See how the east cost brown area extends far out into the ocean, past Greenland.

Pic here of world’s tectonic plates:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P…

On the west coast we have a lot more seismic activity. This current map is unusually quiet as it it showing only 398 earthquakes when I pulled it it. This means that pressure has either been released and we’re in a lull, or all hell is going to break loose.

Pic here of earthquake monitoring map of CA:


This area here, off the Northern Coast near Ft. Bragg/ Eureka, is one of the most interesting, because it has huge earthquakes all the time, mostly between 4 and 6 magnitude, but they occur off the coastline out in the Pacific, so they don’t make the news very often.  Offshore earthquakes can cause tsunamis, which are giant tidal waves.  


Eureka, CA, has had huge earthquakes in 1922, 1980, 1991, 1992, 1994,1995, 1997… 2007….  you get the idea.

Here’s one that happened in 1954, 2 years before Tom McClintock was born. http://www3.gendisasters.com/c…


Because the Republican candidate for Congress does not understand this, and keeps referring to geologists as “Luddites,” if you see him, be sure to tell him not to try to site an offshore oil rig up by “Petrolia, CA.”

What the East and Gulf Coast does have as a danger to oil rigs is threat from Hurricane damage. A hurricane is very serious, long lasting traveling ocean thunderstorm with extremely high winds. (I’m writing this for Republicans. There is one approaching Florida right now. Evacuate if you’re in the Keys. Now back to our regular diary.) During the 2005 Hurricane season, there were more hurricanes than any other time in the past century. 27 named storms, 15 hurricanes, 7 major hurricanes, and 4 hurricanes which reached category 5.

A category 5 strength hurricane will cause catastrophic property damage.

Another way of looking at this is to measure and add up how strong the storms are and how long they last.  When looked at that way, the year 2005 is still up in the top 3, behind 1950 and 1995.  Since 1995, there have been more and stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic because of warmer conditions in the Atlantic ocean, which affect water and wind currents.


Here is a great government link about the most famous Hurricane of the 2005 season. It hit the Gulf Coast on August 27th. (many satelite pics, loads slowly)


Some people like to argue about what causes these in an attempt to do nothing about the consequences.

Here is a map of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita’s winds superimposed over the location of oil pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico:


Here is a picture of post- Hurricane Katrina oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico, based on government satellite pictures:


So coastline drilling would have to be done in a way that the new kind of hurricanes didn’t tear it apart and dump all the oil into the ocean every year or two. Democrats would not be trying to sabotage the tighter engineering and enviromental standards that the Republicans keep trying to ignore.  

I’m still not a fan of offshore drilling. I want to force Congress to make them stop bleeding oils into the oceans carelessly and killing all the coastal tidal nurseries that provide baby fish food.  

___ On to the Republicans, or, where did Crazy Tom get this “shale”  idea from?_______

This is an alleged AP article from a Louisiana Republican Senator candidate’s campaign website.  Unfortunately it does not have a date on it, but it’s from this year.  It’s not unusual for a campaign person to submit a press release to the local media and the media to run it uncut as a news article, which could possibly explain why this Republican, who is most unfortunately named John Kennedy, is able to run it on his site without the AP killing it. (the original AP link was gone and this is where I traced the article to )  


Republican candidate John Kennedy said unlocking the energy source from oil shale – as much as 800 billion barrels of oil locked in underground rock in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah – could shrink the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and could help ease prices at the pump.

Kennedy, the state treasurer, said his Democratic opponent, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, has helped block the oil shale development. Kennedy’s campaign is highlighting the energy issue, hoping to undercut Landrieu’s image – and campaign pitch – as a senator who has crossed party lines to push for more oil and gas drilling and exploration.

Earlier this year, Landrieu cast the deciding vote in committee against lifting a moratorium on commercial oil shale leases, a vote she said she made at the request of U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo. Congress must agree to remove the ban before oil shale development can begin.

“You can’t just turn your back on a billion plus barrels of oil for politics,” Kennedy said.

Yes you can.

I don’t think Ken Salazar wanted to host the Democratic National Convention this year in his home state of Colorado with the potential backlash from opening up his state to massive strip mining for shale rock.

Link has map showing potential mining areas: http://www.coloradoconfidentia…

Nearly 2 and a half million acres could be set aside for mining in a tri state area. Notice how Utah and Wyoming also are involved. Will this map impact the potential Republican Vice Presidental selection?  Yes.  

The Republicans have been happily inflating the amount of oil shale reserves and the amount of actual oil that could be extracted from the reserves in this country.  This is from August 12, 2008 Investor’s Business Daily:


Shell Oil is going to survey and develop one forth (25%) of the surface area of the nation of Jordan for oil shale production.  The Brazillion oil company Petrobras, Jordan Energy and Mining (JEML, a British- Jordanian duo), and a Saudi company are also wanting to survey other blocks. If a small middle eastern country is doing it….

Meanwhile, we sit on enough oil to make OPEC look like a mom-and-pop operation. In the West we may have what could be called a Persia on the Plains. A Rand Corp. study says the Green River Formation, which covers parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, has the largest known oil shale deposits in the world.

“The United States has 2 trillion barrels of oil shale,” according to the Institute for Energy Research. “This is more than seven times the amount of crude oil reserves found in Saudi Arabia and is enough to meet current U.S. demand for over 250 years.”

A report from the Energy Department’s Argonne National Laboratory states that “even a moderate estimate of 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from oil shale in the Green River Formation is three times greater than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.”  

Before you get all vastly excited about that, remember how little oil the Saudi Arabians actually export to us.  In 2007, according to our DOE, it was only 14.5% of what the US imported from 46 different countries.  In June of this year, it was 1.47 million barrels, a slight decrease from last year.  http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil…  

There is some level of controversy over just how much the Saudis really have left in “proven” reserves, anyway.  This is because of energy speculators and the competition. Nobody likes to tip their hand during a winning run.                                                

This is also like saying your dog is really big because the other guy’s dog is a chihuahua.

It’s also assuming that the oil shale reserves are a certain size, and that the oil shale processing could somehow magically transform rock into petroleum without burning more fuel in the process. Notice also how they are using referring to the amounts of shale in barrels. Rocks do not come in barrels in nature. They come in formations. They’re rocks. Solids. Not liquids.  This is entirely speculation. Estimates.  What exists now is trapped in rock, which may or may not be able to be mined.  In mining, there is no such thing as a “proven” reserve until the mining process actually starts to produce the mineral, because only a small amount of the total mineral, even in oil drilling, is recoverable.  In other words, they are estimating how many tons of rock might be oil shale, assuming they can physically access all of it, and calling it “proven.” This is incorrect.  But to a person with no knowledge of geology or mining practices, it might make the idea sound feasible.

____OIL SHALE & GAS SHALE, in more detail  ___

So just what is oil shale, anyway?  From the American Association of Petroleum Geologists


Most oil shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks containing relatively large amounts of organic matter from which significant amounts of shale oil and combustible gas can be extracted by destructive distillation.  Included in most definitions of “oil shale”, either stated or implied, is the potential for the profitable extraction of shale oil and combustible gas or for burning as a fuel.  Oil shale differs from coal whereby the organic matter in coal has a lower atomic H:C ratio and the OM:MM ratio of coal is usually greater than 4.75:5.

Oil shales were deposited in a wide variety of environments including freshwater to saline ponds and lakes, epicontinental marine basins and related subtidal shelves.  They were also deposited in shallow ponds or lakes associated with coal-forming peat in limnic and coastal swamp depositional environments. It is not surprising, therefore, that oil shales exhibit a wide range in organic and mineral composition. Most oil shales contain organic matter derived from varied types of marine and lacustrine algae, with some debris of land plants, depending upon the depositional environment and sediment sources.

Uh, say what?

Oil Shale is a kind of rock that is like soft coal but much lower in quality.

There are 3 kinds of rocks. Igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary.

Igneous rocks are made of cooled magma (like hot lava, like comes out of volcanos.) Think “ignite.” Granite is a igneous rock.

Metamorphic rock is made up of other rocks that were put under great heat and pressure, which caused them to change form. Think “mashed rock.” Marble is a metamorphic rock.

Sedimentary rock is made up of the “other kinds” of rocks. Igneous and metamorphic parent rocks weather, erode, and break off into very fine particles, which then get washed or blown away and are deposited elsewhere. They may be carried down a stream, to a river, to an estuary at the ocean, and then washed out onto the continental shelf. They form layers. There, they may combine with the organic (once living) remains of other plants or animals, and by the pressure applied by the top and side layers, they slowly turn into rocks again. Think “sediment.” Sandstone is a sedimentary rock.


The sedimentary rock cover of the continents of the Earth’s crust is extensive, but the total contribution of sedimentary rocks is estimated to be only 5% of the total. As such, the sedimentary sequences we see represent only a thin veneer over a crust consisting mainly of igneous and metamorphic rocks.

In addition, sedimentary rocks often form porous and permeable reservoirs in sedimentary basins in which petroleum and other hydrocarbons can be found (see Bituminous rocks).  

Remember that last line I bolded. That’s important. “Porous.”  “Resevoirs.” Water cachements underground.  Bituminous rocks contain burnable carbon such as tar or petroleum.  Bituminous is also a type of medium hard coal when used as a coal adjective. But they aren’t the same thing.

Okay, but how does this sedimentary rock show up in places like the California Sierra mountains, or the Midwestern United States?

The Earth is constantly changing. At times in the past, what we see now as dry land was underwater in an inland sea in the middle of the country.  This also has happened on the California coastline, as the ocean tectonic plate shoves into the land plate and the result is the mountains slowly rising up out of old ocean floor.  

How is Oil Shale different from regular shale ?

It’s burnable. The old organic, carbon based (formerly alive, now deceased) plants and animals in it have been slowly turned into something like…. flammable rock compost. Oil shale is full of fossils.

Remember what plants do.  They suck carbon out of the air as a part of photosynthesizing (taking energy from the sun to grow) . Oil shale products are hydrocarbon fuels.

Oil shale has been used on a small scale basis for centuries in Europe, in the same way coal is used.

Electrical Power Plants in this country run on Coal, Natural Gas, or Nuclear fuel, a little bit of hydropower or “other,” btw.  

I’ve been reading these Republican blog descriptions of what “oil shale” is and does and they have managed to make it sound like alchemy.

pyrolysis can convert the kerogen in oil shale into synthetic crude oil.  

uh, Say what?

Heating up oil shale to really hot can make part of the stuff liquefy and/or turn into shale gas, with solid residue leftovers.

In the past centuries, this has been done above ground. They mined it like coal, and then broke it up into little pieces, heated it, and used it to make oil or kerosene fuels or just burnt it au naturel like coal.

  In the recent past, there have been small scale experiments with doing this oil shale processing “in situ.” (on site, in the ground) This means that instead of tunnel, open pit, or strip mining the stuff, they try drilling into it while it’s still underground, heating it to extraordinary temperatures (842ºF to 932ºF ) with no oxygen, which is called retorting, FOR A PERIOD OF THREE YEARS,  and the oils and gases are drawn off.  Then those oils have to be further refined.   http://www.newsweek.com/id/146…

If you heated it up that hot with oxygen, it would burn. Here comes the fun part:

from wikipedia, again:

Shale oil does not contain the full range of hydrocarbons used in modern gasoline production, and could only be used to produce middle-distillates such as kerosene, jet fuel, and diesel fuel.[4] Worldwide demand for these middle distillates, however, has increased rapidly.

 While it is true that the continental United States has a lot of oil shale deposits, there is a reason that they haven’t used the stuff on any sort of large scale basis.  

It contains less energy than coal.  It requires much MORE processing to get the usable part of the burnable carbon out of it.

Remember that “porous” part above I emphasized ?  Oh, yeah, frequently  oil shale is found near fresh water aquifers.  read this:  http://oilshalegas.com/greenri…

….. back in 2006, the BLM in CO issued 5 shale leases for research projects.  They grant rights to develop oil shale on 160 acre plots for 10 years.  ….. there is estimated to have been over 3000 wells drilled already.  Shell Oil Company is working on an experiment called the FREEZE WALL which creates a barrier around the drilling area under ground so nothing would be contaminated.  This freeze project started in 2007 and will end around 2010 – 2012.  A system will also pump out the water from the drilling area of the Shell Oil Freeze Wall. The freeze zone is about the size of a football field and is located in Rio Blanco County CO.  Shell is not allowed to develop the property, it is only for testing purposes.

…. there is an aquifer, halfway down. When you get down to the Shale Oil there is water that provides drinking water in Western Colorado.  Shell is working above the aquifer, what they do is pump out the water from below where they are working, and they freeze, create a freeze wall so that water cannot get in.  The water, if any oil drips down, the water is not polluted with it.  Once they remove the heat from the rock and extract the oil and things cool down, they unfreeze the water and it goes back…..  

So, this is a pretty complex operation they are trying to do underground, or “in situ.”  You are superheating rock for years in some areas to nearly 900 degrees, sucking all the oxygen out, and supercooling rock below freezing in other areas trying to keep the oil from leaking into the aquifers.  ALL of this takes additional energy, and puts the drinking water in aquifers at risk of contamination.  Also, water is necessary to add hydrogen back to the mined shale oil afterwards before it can be shipped to a refinery. So large scale mining of oil shale would require large quantities of …. water.  The Green River Basin area does not have a lot of rainfall.

Click here for pic of an experimental in- situ (underground)  oil shale processing site done by Shell near Rangeley, Colorado. I can see about 6 little cricket pumps in this, it is a very tiny oilfield.


Here is an operating in- situ oil shale site near Gladstone, Australia.


Searching the web for functional oil shale plants brings up only a few pictures and stories about Estonia and also Australia and Germany, which have small electrical plants that use oil shale.  But it’s a dirty fuel.


This is the type of place I suspect Republican Tom McClintock is getting his energy information from:


August 15th, 2008

U.S. oil production has been spiraling downward for the last 40 years.

But there’s one area that’s just starting to heat up…

Locals call it “The Bakken.” It’s a behometh oil reserve stretching across North Dakota, Montana and southeastern Saskatchewan… a basin so massive it contains 10 times more barrels of oil than Alaska’s North Slope.

The U.S. Geological Survey has reported the Bakken Formation could hold more than 400 billion barrels of recoverable oil!

Until recent years, the technology simply wasn’t available to economically extract the oil from the Bakken shales. But with breakthrough techniques such as horizontal drilling, the full potential of the Bakken play can now be developed.

And unlike Northern Canada’s oil sands, the Bakken’s oil can be extracted relatively cheap, without the use of energy intensive processes.

The next oil boom is already upon us.

And, considering that oil prices are likely to remain above $100 a barrel, the time for shock is over. Investors are now faced with an unprecedented opportunity to play the U.S. and Canada’s new hottest oil stocks… several of which are poised to make 300% gains during 2008.

And McClintock probably sees this type of “come on” as justified:


The world consumes 85 million barrels of oil every day. And right now we’re facing the world’s worst fuel shortage…

But every crisis equals an opportunity for investors…

In the frigid tars sands of Alberta, Canada, just north of Fort McMurray, lay billions of barrels of oil, trapped beneath the earth’s surface.

In your free oil sands investing report, you’ll learn about an oil sands company that has a huge pile of natural resource assets – billions of barrels of recoverable oil and gas reserves in Western Canada, the North Sea and off the coast of West Africa.

Its biggest project is the world’s fifth-largest oil recovery project.

And this company’s oil sands “project” should be producing light, sweet synthetic crude oil by the second half of 2008.

All the details are in your FREE Oil Sands Investing Report.

Simply enter your email address and you’ll start receiving Whiskey and Gunpowder by email each day.

W&G also serves as “an outlet for that segment of macro-economic and geopolitical writings that don’t steer directly toward portfolio recommendations…you know, the type of open analysis often only posted on out-of-the-way blogs…”    

Any given shot of Whiskey & Gunpowder might speak about economic trends, personal liberties, big-picture history, Peak Oil, commodities investments, gold exploration and production, banking and the real estate bubble, or institutional-level analysis of individual companies


“Water’s worth fighting for, but whiskey’s for drinking”

Old Western Proverb

___ The Conclusion, or PTL and pass the whiskey

Tom McClintock ran in the CA governor’s recall race in 2003 and came in 3rd.  The recall of Gov Gray Davis and his replacement by a Republican governor Schwarzenegger was instigated by ENRON manipulating the electrical market in CA so there was both spiking electrical rates and rolling blackouts, which Gov. Davis got the blame for. The reason ENRON was able to manipulate the energy market was that the Republicans had convinced the CA state legislature to deregulate the electrical energy generating business, using the guise that the “free market” would let consumers pick which electric company they wanted to do business with, as if electricity was just like any other thing one buys at a store, and the competition would force companies to offer cheaper rates.

Well, we here in California saw how that turned out.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E…   The Enron Scandal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E…   California’s Deregulation and Enron

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C… California electricity crisis of 2000- 01

In October 2000, Daniel Scotto, the top ranked utility analyst on Wall Street, suspended his ratings on all energy companies conducting business in California due to the unlikely probability that the companies would receive full and adequate compensation for the deferred energy accounts used as the cornerstone for the California Deregulation Plan enacted in the late 1990s. Five months later, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) was forced into bankruptcy. Senator Phil Gramm, the second largest recipient of campaign contributions from Enron, succeeded in legislating California’s energy commodity trading deregulation. Despite warnings from prominent consumer groups which stated that this law would give energy traders too much influence over energy commodity prices, the legislation was passed in December 2000.

As Public Citizen reported, “Because of Enron’s new, unregulated power auction, the company’s ‘Wholesale Services’ revenues quadrupled-from $12 billion in the first quarter of 2000 to $48.4 billion in the first quarter of 2001.”[7]

Before passage of the deregulation law, there had been only one Stage 3 rolling blackout declared. Following passage, California had a total of 38 blackouts defined as Stage 3 rolling blackouts, until federal regulators intervened in June 2001. These blackouts occurred mainly as a result of a poorly designed system that was manipulated by traders and marketers. Enron traders were revealed as intentionally encouraging the removal of power from the market during California’s energy crisis by encouraging suppliers to shut down plants to perform unnecessary maintenance, as documented in recordings made at the time.[8] These acts contributed to the need for rolling blackouts, which adversely affected many businesses dependent upon a reliable supply of electricity, and inconvenienced a large number of retail consumers.


Senator Phil Gramm has been Republican Candidate John McCain’s economic advisor during the present Presidential campaign. What a delightful coincidence !

It’s not a coincidence that once again Republican Tom McClintock is attempting to vault himself into another higher political office based on voter dissatisfaction with higher fuel prices and the myth that he cares anything about it.

So here is the man once again huckstering more phony ideas.

We in the Reality Based Community Now Know Better. Remember:

Shale oil cannot be made into the regular gasoline we use now because it lacks the same hydrocarbon structure.

Shale oil is much more inefficient to make and use that coal oil, because shale rock is a much lower grade of raw material than coal.

Shale oil only approaches price parity with other hydrocarbon petrofuels if the other petrofuels are already extremely expensive.

Shale oil is a hydocarbon fuel, dirtier than coal, and using it will release more CO2 into the atmosphere. It will contribute to smog.

Shale oil mining requires water the west doesn’t have to spare, and risks polluting vital aquifers.

Shale oil takes 3 years of baking underground at temps 3 times hotter than it takes to make cupcakes before you even get any raw oil out !

So even if the private companies start mining it, there is no financial incentive to let the stuff become too cheap, or they lose money on it because it is an unusually long term investment and mining process. But right now, there is a real feeding frenzy trying to drive up prices for speculators. And some companies certainly would be trying to get government research subsidies or sweet deals on leases on federal lands.  Including some very good friends of VP Dick Cheney.  And some politicians would certainly be trying to get more oil company campaign contributions. Like Tom McClintock.

So much for that “relieving the price at the pump theory”.  Republican blackmail again, anybody ?  Didn’t we already do this in 2003 ?

Time for CA to Invest in Renewable Energy Infrastructure

As the LA Times reports today, we may be looking at blackouts in So Cal this summer as energy demand outstrips the power capacity of the grid. And as anyone who was around for the great west coast blackout in the summer of ’96, what starts cascading in So Cal doesn’t necessarily stay there, especially on those hot July/August scorchers that cook us all the way up the Valley. The state’s grid manager put it in terms of lacking adequate production:

The state will have 489 megawatts of new generation in time for peak demand in July or August, some of that replacing a 122-megawatt plant that’s being retired. Southern California will need to rely on imports from Arizona, Nevada and Mexico, as well as conservation, to avoid blackouts.

Demand probably will increase by 1,000 megawatts this year over last year, Cal-ISO Chief Executive Yakout Mansour said during a conference call. Power demand peaked at 48,615 megawatts in 2007.

And yet this only looks at one side of energy load problems, that of supply. While it’s not reasonable to ask people to turn off their AC in a real heat wave – although the degree to which one cools is definitely somewhere that people can make up some slack – energy efficiency elsewhere in the state can squeeze enough energy to keep things from tipping over into blackout. In fact, when we were at a similar point of crisis last year, because some of the So Cal wildfires were burning up transmission lines, voluntary energy reduction was what kept things running. Ditto for the Enron-masterminded 2001 energy shortages. Conservation is a big part of any solution.

But over the long term, how do we get the Golden State out of this trap of summer grid overload without going to more fossil fuel-powered peak load generators that pump more carbon into the atmosphere (making our summer heat waves that much worse in the years to come)?

Wind, solar, passive solar building design, urban trees and especially thermal solar.

As North American natural gas starts to hit its peak production, wind and solar have gotten progressively more economically viable for private investors. But the predictable annual crisis of the CA heat wave really cries out for public funding. Every brownout or blackout brings economic activity to a grinding halt, and the spot prices hit a lot of businesses pretty hard as the tipping point is reached. It would make a good deal of sense not to just wait for PG&E to build the power plants of the future, but rather to get the state involved in funding a bunch of capacity right now. European wind design has far outstripped the wind technolology that California pioneered in the 70s, all we need to do is start putting wind farms up, along the Delta and offshore.

Likewise, given the correlation between summer heat waves and an overstressed grid, building thermal solar down the valley and in inland So Cal, the very places where the peak usage occurs, would seem to be a complete no-brainer. As the mercury rises, so would the production of electricity. Combine this with a statewide and urban subsidy for solar panels on roofs (and perhaps grants for the construction of solar panels covering parking lots, would help to decentralize the production of electricity and reduce net demand, and in so doing take some of the stress off the transmission lines.

If the free market was going to provide this critical infrastructure in time to avoid crisis, we wouldn’t have this problem. But they haven’t, so we do. It is time for the state and local governments to step up and nudge things in the right direction. In the long run, we ought to think about trying to reduce our total consumption by pushing for planting more urban tree cover, and more efficient housing and appliance design (and yes, personal changes in wasteful behavior), but if we want to avoid blackouts in the short run, it’s going to take more seed money from the state.

Of course, in the really long run, shifting our energy production away from carbon-producing fossil fuels will be the only way that we can avoid devastating heat waves and resulting blackouts. That the short term solution also works for the long run should be a reminder that both virtuous and vicious cycles tend to feed upon themselves. And it should be noted that just as with building the High Speed Rail line, sponsoring the construction of a bunch of thermal solar power plants down the valley, and wind in the Delta and along the coast would provide sorely needed jobs to communities already mired in endemic underemployment that are reeling from the collapse of the housing bubble.

And how to pay for it all? Well, a royalty tax on oil pumped in California, as is done everywhere else in the country, would seem a rather elegant solution.

originally at surf putah

CA-Gov: Why Phil Angelides will destroy Arnold in November

(originally wrote for dkos and mydd)
Let me set something straight here folks, here in California we will have a new Governor in November and his name will be Phil Angelides. Arnold Schwarzenegger will go back to making bad movies and California will be delivered from Wilson-ian nefariousness.

However, I am now going to use this post to both tell you why this will happen, and take a few well deserved potshots at naysayers, people still fighting the primary and a few other folks (including Arnold)…

Let’s start off positive, Phil Angelides is the best candidate we’ve had for Governor in years. Why do I say this?

We’ll start with his announcement to run in early 2005, when Arnold’s poll numbers were ridiculously high. Lockyer passed, Feinstein passed, Newsom wasn’t interested, nobody wanted anything to do with being a sacrificial lamb. Yet Phil Angelides, a lifelong mostly backbencher party building democrat stepped up to the plate and said:
“Me, I will do it, because it needs to be done.”

He said this knowing full well that it was going to be an uphill battle, both ways. He said this knowing that to be pragmatic he would need to do some pretty unpopular things like raising taxes (blasphemy!), to pay down the preposterous debt the rolling blackouts and Enron have caused, and the ridiculous bond borrowing Arnold has championed.

Phil Angelides has NEVER been afraid to be a Democrat, not just a Democrat, but a Pragmatic Progressive Democrat.

To get Feinstein AND Boxer to both endorse? That’s a beautiful thing, and it shows the unity between the progressive wing of the party and the establishment. WE AGREE! For once… we finally agree on something, let’s now blow it.

Also he’s friends with Al Franken (college chums I believe) and Matt Groening (the Simpsons/Futurama), major cool points there.

ok so let’s talk issues:


in May in Santa Monica, Angelides announced his support for Vinod Khosla’s Clean Alternative Energy Initiative which, if enacted, would assess oil company profits by $4,000,000,000 over the next ten years and use the proceeds to invest into research for alternative energy such as ethanol. The measure has language explicitly preventing oil producers from passing the costs on to consumers. It also would reduce California’s oil dependency by 25% over the next ten years, and would increase the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

pretty good right?
All of those bunk attacks about his enviornmental record are ridiculous

Westly’s ads in that matter were later criticized by the executive directors of Vote the Coast, Sierra Club, California League of Conservation Voters, and California Coastal Protection Network in a letter saying “All of the environmental organizations who do endorsements believe Phil has the vision to be the greenest governor California has ever had. Don’t let Steve Westly’s attacks prevail over the environmental movement’s best judgement in this election.”


ok, how about this:

On May 23, 2006 Angelides wrote Barbara Boxer, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, urging her to support net neutrality.

she did, and is one of it’s biggest advocate now.
Also pretty good.

Just the other day Angelides expressed his support for equal  rights, and pledged to legalize same-sex marriage if elected governor, stating

“I would sign the marriage equality bill because I believe if we can get behind people to build a lasting relationship, that is a good thing.”

that’s huge!

Look, I could sit here and quote issues all day, or you can look for yourself

Ok, for those who are still sore that Westly didn’t win, i’m going to say three words for you:

Hey i’m sorry, your candidate didn’t win, it happens, every time you trash talk the nomineee you make it that much easier for Arnold to continue on his merry way pretending to be some kind of moderate while he destroys everything good about California.

Is that what you want?
Is Steve Westly that important to you?
Would you rather burn the village to save the village?

If you have nothing nice to say, please don’t say anything at all, that is my request of you. If you feel you must say something bad, please keep it from being vicious, this *IS* our next governor we’re talking about, and he and Steve have already buried the hatchet.

As for those, who only apparantly started paying attention to this race a few weeks before the primary. I’m sorry if you think that both candidates stink and it was relentlessly negative. Both candidates were actually good, but it was relentless negative, that much I will concede. I’m mad that Westly’s words are being used to attack Phil, but i’m not surprised.

A lot of that blame can go to Garry South, a famous negative campaigner, who was Gray Davis’ axe man.

You guys remember good ol’ Gray right? Nobody liked him, but he was a ruthless campaigner… yeah, there you go.

The compaint everybody had about the campaign was how negative it was, the message was given, hopefully we will learn from this and move on and be better for it.

Now as for Arnold?
Oh man, that’s a whole extra post, but let’s look at it this way (especially for those outside of California), he’s never had to win in a regular election.

The recall election was a fiasco whose special series of events will (hopefully) never happen again. Democrats were divided completely about what to even do, and Arnold snuck in by having the star power.

He has never had to debate before, not in a real debate anyway… the recall debates were a joke in the worst way.

Also, he’s tied in to Enron and the rolling blackmail in the worst way.

Palast’s archives have much more on that.

(you’ll want to read that article)

Anyway Arnold’s faux moderate push may be gaining him numbers in the short term, but there are a lot of people that remember how he treated the nurses and firefighters and policemen…

hell there are a lot of people who won’t think it’ll be as “funny” to vote for him this time either.

Either way, Phil Angelides is the best gubernatorial candidate we’ve had in years, and he will be the best Governor as well, but only with your help.