Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Proposition 23: campaign finance update [UPDATED]

If it's Friday night, it's time for campaign finance numbers. (Really?)

Let's review: Proposition 23 would freeze AB32's provisions – most notably, efforts to create a cap and trade system for certain industries in California – until unemployment drops to 5.5% for 4 consecutive quarters (undefined in state law currently, but they don't mean NBA).

The fact that oil companies from out of state are funding the campaign to pass this proposition isn't news. We've talked about it on KPCC a bunch of times – the last time I did was with Madeleine Brand on the first week of her show.

A new and still cursory look at late and large expenditures shows yet another epic battle over a proposition in California - this one between Texas oil and Silicon Valley. (scroll down for a word from the no on 23 folks on that.)

No on 23 folks sent out a press release tonight to update the yes on 23 campaign's contribution numbers. I'm still in the process of double checking them, but so far they look legit, based on the excel spreadsheet I pulled down from Cal-Access – the California Secretary of State's website – I went to the late expenditure and large ($5000 or higher) contributions list.

Here's an excerpt from the release from the no campaign's political consultants:

Total Contributions to date: $8,910,308.25

Contributions from oil interests: $8,640,268.20 (97%)

Contributions from out of state: $7,965,268.20 (89%)

Valero, Tesoro & Koch Industries: $6,606,273.20 (74%)

(They further break down this number: Valero =  $4,065,636.60; Tesoro = $1,540,636.60

Koch =  $1,000,000.00)

Personally, I would have thrown in LA-based Occidental's $300,000 contribution, and another $498K from the Adam Smith Foundation, if only because the latter is just about 3 years old.

This inspired me. So I pulled down the same report for the no on 23 folks (Californians to stop the dirty energy proposition sponsored by environmental organizations and business for clean energy and jobs).

What I found there was similarly interesting. In the last two weeks, the no campaign has pulled down $6.7 million plus in contributions – mostly from the San Francisco Bay Area, my old stomping grounds – and including 8 contributions of six figures or higher.

To date, this no committee has 14,506,953.22 in its report – and I'm trying to compare apples to apples by pulling the same numbers referred to for the Yes folks.

According to the numbers I'm looking at:

That Silicon Valley money makes the contributions by the Natural Resources Defense Council's action fund – a total of 1.425 million – almost look paltry.

Finally, around $2.1 million has gone to the no on 23 campaign from out of state – though that includes the enviro groups out of New York – chief among them NRDC, which has a strong presence in and history in California.

So what does all this mean? Well, I've got a call into Frank Stoltze, senior correspondent at KPCC, political reporter, criminal justice reporter, several time radio journalist of the year, for thoughts.

What it means to me is simply that it's October, and thus, apparently: GAME ON.

(You'll hear a proposition 23 story from me soon on the radio, too.)

[UPDATE, 10:48 P.M.: Steve Maviglio, spokesman for the No on 23 campaign, sends along this comment: "We're proud that Californians are stepping up to fight off this job-killing attempt by Texas oil companies to kill our state's clean energy and clean air energy standards. While more than 98 percent of the proponents money is from the oil industry and nearly 90 percent is from out-of-state, California's business community and entrepreneurs are rallying to save our solar, wind, and renewable energy industries from attack from those who would have us rely on fossil fuels."]