On the one hand you will have those entrenched Sacramento big money interests trying to prop up a collapsing California economy through state mandated development on a scale never seen before. Backed up by the Orwellian notion that by rapidly incorporating dense urban development into areas such as ours, along with vastly expanding mass transit, we will somehow save the world from global warming. However, since dense urban neighborhoods are major greenhouse gas producers, nobody seems to know exactly how this magic will occur.
On the other side you will have those who support and love the suburban California lifestyle, one that involves single family homes, small low density communities, personal transportation, and the freedom to get up and go whenever and wherever you want. An individuality and spirit that has been a part of life here for as long as there has been a California. Something that apparently now has quite a few very active and powerful enemies not only amongst the newly empowered Sacramento central planning elite, but also those ambitious local politicians who dream of becoming one of them. In Sierra Madre we'll see a few of those at work this evening.
Of course, that is not how it will be seen by many of those going to the polls in November. They will see AB 32 just as it is advertised on the label, that it is a "Green" law that will help save the world. Rather than what it really is, which is an undemocratic and authoritarian centralization of power within Sacramento, and at a level unprecedented in the history of any American state. All painted green and with a decorously civil feel good message that rivals the intellectual depth of your average Hallmark greeting card.
As a dedicated reader of just about anything on the topic, I have noticed a distinct rise in the number of articles challenging the AB 32 myth. I've collected what I feel are some of the better passages on the topic I've seen lately, and I'll share a couple here.
The first quote comes from an article that appeared on Salon.com recently called Goodbye, Trains and Windmills. Here political writer Adam Lind describes the ideological origins of those who would happily turn low density towns such as ours into something approximating the worst aspects of the dense new mixed-use condo zones in Pasadena and Glendale:
The answer is the fusion, in the last decade, of two previously distinct post-'60s activist movements on the left: urbanists, who despise suburbs, and Greens, who despise automobiles and airplanes. Many liberals have unthinkingly treated the goals of these single-issue movements as their own. But one can be a liberal in good standing -- by, for example, supporting a living wage, universal social insurance, and government-backed manufacturing policy -- and still reject the infrastructure agendas of urbanists and greens.
Often we have heard the laughably dogmatic John Buchanan talk with dewy-eyed reverence about "Green Jobs" during City Council meetings here. This being, of course, the promised panacea for so many of California's ills currently being peddled by the dysfunctional Sacramento elite. But is this really the case? On a blog called PROPZERO, which is run by NBC News Los Angeles, that notion is treated with some considerable skepticism.
Hey Jerry, Have You Heard About the Green Job Myth? - - Jerry Brown, the Democratic candidate for governor, believes green jobs are the way out of the recession. According to an interesting study by a Spanish economics professor, though, he might be off the mark.
The study found that for every green job created by the Spanish government, 2.2 jobs were destroyed, and that only 1 in 10 jobs were permanent. According to the study, most of the jobs were temporary -- only 10% were permanent jobs in operations and maintenance of renewable power systems.
Apparently the "green economy" in Spain has been something of a disaster. This is a country rapidly approaching the kind of economic denouement faced by Greece and other bankrupt European nations. The Spanish government staked much of its credibility on building an economy based on all things green, and the results have been skyrocketing energy prices, massive job losses, and near economic collapse. Nice to see we now have people calling the shots in Sierra Madre who want to duplicate that level of success here.
The good folks at the California Jobs Initiative have been alerting people to what exactly the California Air Resources Board has in mind for us. CARB (as the acronymically inclined would have it) is apparently moving purposefully into its new enforcer role as Sacramento's "Green" shock troops. Not only will they be the ones to decide what kind of RHNA numbers we'll be SCAG'd with in 2012, they are also active on many other fronts as well. Here are a couple of them:
Taxes on vehicles CARB does not approve of: CARB plans to institute "feebates" (taxes) on vehicles they deem to cause global warming. Trucks, minvans, SUV's, and sports cars are likely to be targeted.
Imprisonment for not inflating your tires: CARB proposed regulations that your car tire pressure be checked to make sure they are at a state-mandated pressure. Before this proposal was withdrawn, CARB's proposed punishment for noncompliance was a $1,000 fine and 6 months imprisonment.
And these are the guys who will be instrumental in establishing our new AB 32 compliant RHNA numbers in 2012. Want to bet that they'll be through the roof? CARB, by the way, has 1,176 employees, with an average salary of over $85,000 a year. And while teachers and other government employees who actually do some true good in the world are being laid off all over the state, CARB is actually adding hundreds of new highly compensated employees this year. All of whom are anxious to start telling you how to live your life.
One last item. In an article on AB 32 that ran yesterday in The Sacramento Bee, Ben Boychuk, managing editor of the Heartland Institute's School Reform News, gave these reasons for why it simply has to go.
California's Global Warming Solutions Act was unsound public policy when the state unemployment rate was 5 percent and a recession was still 18 months off. But at a time of sustained unemployment and sluggish economic growth, AB 32 isn't just unsound; it's practically suicidal.
AB 32 requires the California Air Resources Board to regulate carbon emissions "in a manner that minimizes costs and maximizes benefits for California's economy," "minimize costs and maximize the total benefits to California" and "minimize the administrative burden of implementing and complying with these regulations." In a word: impossible. But, as always, don't take my word for it.
"California's economy at large will likely be adversely affected in the near term by implementing climate-related policies that are not adopted elsewhere," the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office reported in May. "This is in large part because such policies will tend to raise the state's relative prices for energy, such as electricity."
AB 32's adverse effects on California's economy would occur mostly through "economic leakage, as certain economic activity locates or relocates outside of California where regulatory-related costs are lower." The law encourages businesses that cannot bear the burden of higher regulatory fees and costs to drain away to more business-friendly climes.
And to think of it, the fun is only just getting started.