Prop 10 and T. Boone Pickens Raid on California Coffers
I was wondering if everyone was aware of California’s Prop 10 - a deceptively named initiative on the November ballot that seeks to authorize “$5 billion in bonds ($9.8 billion with interest), much of which would provide rebates to buyers of natural gas run vehicles. First off, environmental groups including the California League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club oppose Prop 10.
And for the purposes of full disclosure, I work for a non-profit consumer rights organization called the Consumer Federation of California. We started doing some research on Prop 10 and couldn’t believe what we found.
Most know about Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens through his “Pickens Plan” ads. Many don’t know that he was a primary funder of the false and slanderous attack ads against John Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans of Truth in 2004, has an egregious legacy on the environment, and a long track record of conning communities and local governments into deals that benefit Pickens at the expense of the public. Well, he’s set his sights on the natural gas market…and he’s using Prop 10 - a $10 billion Texas Boondoggle – to do it.
In fact, its T. Boone Pickens natural gas corporation that spent millions to get Prop 10 on the ballot and now is spending millions more to make sure it wins in November.
What’s amazing about this Proposition however, is how obvious an attempt it is to greenwash Californians in order to enrich the natural gas industry (and therefore Pickens). Prop 10 doesn’t require any clean air improvement, yet asks taxpayers to shell out $2.5 billion in subsidies to trucking companies to purchase so-called “clean” vehicles that can pollute every bit as much as diesel and gasoline powered trucks. Hybrids are not even considered “clean” under Prop 10.
The tax giveaways favor vehicles that fill up at his corporation’s fossil fuel stations and shortchange other cleaner technologies. Meanwhile, interstate trucking companies can collect California handouts of $50,000 per “clean” truck, and re-locate the trucks out of state. Prop 10’s California price tag: $10 billion.
The Bad News:
The non-profit coalition that opposes Prop 10 has almost no real campaign money, so we’re being outspent millions to one. T. Boone Pickens has received a free ride from the corporate media, and many voters believe it is “green” because of the slick ads promoting it..
So we’re asking that everyone check out our No on 10 website www.noonproposition10.org and share it with as many people as you can and hyperlink it to your blogs or websites if possible.
The Good News:
On top of the opposition from leading environmental organizations, all four of the state's four major consumer right groups - TURN, UCAN, CFC, and Consumer Watchdog – are also opposed.
EVERY NEWSPAPER editorial board to date has blasted Prop 10 out of the water...with the Los Angeles Times calling it a "reprehensible scam". Even the three major taxpayer rights groups - California Taxpayers Association, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and the California Tax Reform Association - are opposed to Prop 10.
Hell, groups as diverse as the California Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters, the California Federation of Teachers and the California Nurses Association even agree this is a sham.
The fact of the matter is Prop 10 is a corporate greenwash of the highest order...the question is will the truth beat out all their fossil fuel money?
See for yourself at www.noonproposition10.org