Will Whitman’s Opposition to Prop 23 Help Get Her Elected?

Sure, seeing former Secretary of State George Shultz come out against Proposition 23, the November ballot measure that would stop California’s landmark emissions-reduction law (AB32) in its tracks, might have raised some eyebrows. But Shultz has been actively pushing for energy independence and the increased use of renewable energy, so really, his support of AB32 is no surprise.  But Meg Whitman? Yes, the Republican nominee for Governor, has also come out in opposition of Prop 23.

Why? Because the ballot measure is “too simple.”

Come again?

Whitman had been mum on Prop 23, but her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown has been pushing her to take a stand. She did just that today, listing her opposition to the ballot measure. She has long called AB32 a “job killer” and mentioned her plans on enacting at least a year-long moratorium on the law’s implementation, if she is elected. In a statement to expand on her opposition to the measure, she said:

While Proposition 23 does address the job killing aspects of AB 32, it does not offer a sensible balance between our vital need for good jobs and the desire of all Californians to protect our precious environment. It is too simple of a solution for a complex problem. I believe that my plan to fix AB 32 strikes the right balance for California. I will vote ‘no’ on Proposition 23.

Her plan would still be to initiate a moratorium on the law that AB32 set in motion, while she’d work to “develop the sensible improvements the law badly needs to protect the jobs of hard working Californians while improving our environment.” A call to her press office, to ask just what kind of sensible improvements she’d make to the law, was not returned at press time.

So, then, what does her opposition to Prop 23 really say about her election and, more importantly, the fate of AB32?

“From the perspective of the ballot measure, [her opposition] is an enormous boost to our campaign,” Steve Maviglio, spokesperson for the No on 23 campaign that is fighting the ballot measure, told me.

But it’s hardly a boost to the effort to implement AB32, given her stated intention to forestall the law in her own way. “Well, she’d have to get elected first,” noted Maviglio.

And how likely is that? “I’m sure her people read the polls, and can see that many independent voters and many women–a group she is focused on–oppose Prop 23,” he said. “I’m sure they looked at the numbers to decide her position.”

What do you think? Will Whitman’s stance garner her significant support among people who think Prop 23 doesn’t go far enough? And, when looking at the big picture, could Whitman’s stance do more–or as much–to slow California’s efforts to reduce emissions while also generating jobs linked to the new energy economy? Sound off.

Freelance writer Mary Catherine O'Connor finds that a growing number of companies are proving the ways that they can make good financially, socially and environmentally (as the triple bottom line theory suggests).With that in mind, she contributes to Triple Pundit, as well as to Earth2Tech and other pubs focused on sustainability. She also writes The Good Route, an Outside Magazine blog that addresses the intersection of sustainability and the active/outdoor life.To find out more, or to reach her, go to www.mcoconnor.com.