Supes protect green jobs, block initiative
November 1, 2010 6:41 PM
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution Sept. 28 to oppose Proposition 23 in order to save the approximately 500,000 clean-energy jobs that could be lost as a result of its passage.
Proposition 23, if passed, would suspend the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, Assembly Bill 32, until the unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent for one year.
According to the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board, AB 32 is set to reduce greenhouse gases by regulations, market mechanisms and other actions.
Passing Proposition 23 "would be a real blow to green jobs that help our lower income people," said Gwynn Mackellen, 30, an intern for Supervisor John Avalos.
The SF State political science major worked on Avalos' campaign in 2008 and said "(Proposition 23) would hurt the people he cares about the most."
Employment is the main focus for supporters of the measure.
Also known as the California Jobs Initiative, Yes on 23's campaign highlights the benefits of saving jobs that would suffer from green energy compliance.
It would also keep in mind the potential tax increases that could occur to obtain alternative energy.
"Proposition 23 will save over a million jobs in California and save family and small businesses (costs)," said Anita Mangels, spokeswoman for Yes on 23.
Mangels said Proposition 23 would help low-income families and blue-collar employees.
According to a study by UC Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education, an estimated three million of these jobs could be at risk compared to the 500,000 people employed by green jobs.
"The sheer numbers in this group would dwarf the numbers of green jobs," she said. "The last thing we need is for another million jobs to be at risk."
Mangels said there would be no increase in the release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
"Suspending the regulation would not have any impact on the existing environmental acts," Mangels said.
No on 23 spokesman Steven Maviglio said Proposition 23 would "kill" solar and wind energy, increase pollution and California clean technology companies and employees would suffer.
According to a Sept. 17 news release from the California Employment Development Department, the unemployment rate in San Francisco is 9.7 percent and California's unemployment rate is at 12.4 percent.
Maviglio said the No on 23 campaign has volunteers at more than 50 college campuses.
Environment California member Stephanie Dorste-Packham, 22, has been campaigning at the Cesar Chavez Student Center to rally support against the proposition.
Environment California, a statewide environmental advocacy organization, is working with California Public Interest Research Group to set up information tables at 40 different campuses across the state.
Their goal is to get 160,000 students to pledge to vote no on Proposition 23.
"On SF State's campus, we're looking to get 9,000 pledges from students. So far we have 1,800 pledges," Dorste-Packham said.
"Most students are interested in the environmental issues that we're talking about. Proposition 23 in particular."
Currently, there are 25 interns from SF State who are helping out with the Environment California campaign.
Their responsibilities include giving class presentations and tabling.
"We're working to educate students," she said.
"Students are against Proposition 23, students are for clean energy. Students see what is in our future and we want it to keep going in this direction of clean energy."
Getting students engaged in voting against Proposition 23 is a primary focus of the Environment California campaign.
A protest is scheduled on Oct. 9 at Valero gas stations across the state.
"(The protest) is going to be in conjunction with the other campuses across the state," Dorste-Packham said.
"If hundreds of students from each campus go to one of these protests, we can get national recognition."
The campaigning will round out Oct. 22-24 with a conference in Berkeley, Calif., where volunteers for the No on 23 campaign will talk about the work they've done on their campuses and educate the community about the proposition.
"This is not your usual tree huggers versus big business fight," Maviglio said.
"It's a David versus Goliath (battle with) big oil companies with deep pockets."
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