[This post is written by NRDC Action Fund's Annie Notoff, who is leading our campaign against proposition 23]
California voters, no strangers to complicated statewide ballots, face critical economic and environmental questions in the November 2nd election. Absentee voting began during the first week of October, with nearly 40 percent of all votes expected to be cast before election day. That's one reason why this month has been solid of political advertising, making this election cycle the most expensive in the country, breaking all spending records already with another ten days to go, with high stakes for the future of California.
Will we continue California's proud tradition of cutting edge clean technology and environmental leadership or slip backward toward greater reliance on dirty energy? Will we stand as an example to the nation and the world by fully implementing California's landmark clean energy law or allow Texas oil companies to call the shots on our future?
Our votes will determine the economic security and environmental integrity of California. That's why the NRDC Action Fund has been working so hard to defeat Proposition 23, the Dirty Energy Proposition sponsored by Big Oil that would halt implementation of AB 32. Because California establishes economic and social trends for the nation, this election will tell the world whether the US is ready to lead the clean global economy of the 21st Century.
Most elections are characterized by heated sloganeering, but this time the high emotional pitch accurately reflects the stakes. There are nine statewide propositions on the November ballot and NRDC Action Fund has recommendations on four of them including Prop 23:
NO on Proposition 26: Proposition 26 is a dangerous initiative that eliminates the ability of state agencies and the legislature to hold polluters accountable for harm caused by their activities.
Prop 26 would redefine environmental and health fees as "taxes" and requiring them to pass by a two-thirds supermajority. The measure takes away essential tools used to clean up pollution and blows a $1 billion hole in the annual state budget. Prop 26 also negatively affects local funding for transportation, hazardous waste clean-up, traffic mitigation and public safety by requiring local governments to hold elections and gain 2/3 majority support every time they need to enact a fee. It is an ill-conceived and sweeping measure that would have disastrous consequences for California's environment, health and communities. Proposition 26 offers a chain saw when a scalpel is required -- vote no.
YES on Proposition 21: When it comes to state park protection, NRDC Action Fund supports Proposition 21, a measure that will help keep our state parks open and accessible to all. Parks have suffered from maintenance backlogs and reduced funding for several years; there have even been threats to close them all because of the state's dismal fiscal condition. But state parks are a vital resource for Californians seeking affordable respite and natural resource preservation. In addition, our 278 state parks are economic engines for their surrounding communities and the state as a whole.
YES on Proposition 25: We support Proposition 25, which would help end budget gridlock by removing the two-third vote requirement to pass the state budget, making it a simple majority vote. Budget gridlock and the supermajority budget vote requirement threaten the very foundation of state government. And in recent years, a handful of legislators have been able to hold the entire state budget hostage as they push to weaken or repeal critical environmental policies.
Again, the importance of this election cannot be overemphasized. Never has climate policy been in front of voters in the polling booth. NRDC Action Fund urges you to vote to support California's public health, environment and future.
Follow Heather Taylor-Miesle on Twitter: www.twitter.com/heathertayl