If you're a backer of Jerry Brown's gubernatorial campaign and you read tonight's new statewide poll, you've got to be saying to yourself: can he make this campaign about climate change?
Okay, maybe not a campaign exclusively about the issue. But the poll certainly could be used to make a case that Meg Whitman comes down on the issue -- specifically, the state's landmark law -- somewhere differently than the voters she'll need to win over on November 2.
The gubernatorial campaign of Meg Whitman has a new edition of their much publicized (and probably very expensive) policy booklet ready for the fall election. And while it's being marketed as a more targeted look at her plan to create jobs, what it rewrites -- and leaves out -- from the first edition feels like another sign of a pivot from a partisan primary to a broader general election contest.
Political consultants. Arnold Schwarzenegger. California's congressional Democrats. BP. The forever warring California Legislature.
Consider these some of the key early players worth noting in the ten measures that made it onto the November 2 statewide ballot, each of which received its official number today.
Some of the above players will lose... only one is guaranteed to win. Can you guess which one?
Over the years, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has reserved a unique place in his own political purgatory for groups he calls "special interests." The membership list had remained pretty unchanged since 2003.
That is, until last week. Organized labor, Indian gaming tribes... make room for oil companies.
But unlike the other members of the "special interests" club, Schwarzenegger has a long political relationship with some members of this new category: campaign contributions over the years of almost $3 million.
One of these days, someone will end the debate on whether California has the authority to demand fewer greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. In the meantime, there's another battle that's erupted... and this one is found deep inside a document outlining new national fuel efficiency standards.
The latest fracas over California's landmark tailpipe emissions law is about proposed new regulations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The regulations seek to raise the minimum gas mileage of vehicles that would hit the streets in the next few years.
But deep inside that 417 page document is a finding that California and other states can't regulate tailpipe emissions, because doing so amounts to individual states setting fuel efficiency standards... something that only the feds can do.
If that declaration is allowed to stand, it would strike a big blow to California's landmark global warming law. And that explains why state officials came out today with guns ablaze.
"It's a power grab," said California Air Resources Board chairwoman Mary Nichols in an afternoon news conference at the state Capitol. "[The Bush administration's goal] is to make sure that the U.S. auto companies don't ever have to face any regulatory requirements that might make them do something that would make the cars more efficient."
The new document's apparent attempt to settle the issue certainly seems suspect when you consider that the debate over regulating tailpipe emissions is still making its way through the courts... where, so far, California seems to be holding its own.
And state officials say the argument made by the proposed fuel standards regulation -- that tailpipe emissions and fuel standards are inextricably linked -- is one they've heard before.
Nichols addressed the issue head-on at today's news conference.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein is also vowing to fight the seemingly stealth action. In a letter dated today to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, Feinstein says that the proposed regulation "is contrary to Congressional intent" on the issue of what states can, and cannot, do when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions.