Green Jobs or Asthma? San Diego CEOs Organize to Defeat Prop 23

By Yeves Perez, CEO, EcoHub

The fact is that California CEOs are creating jobs everyday and the public should expect nothing less from these business leaders in San Diego to vie for “the Cleantech Capital” title and protect the job growth in our region. So on Monday the 18th, I refused to waste my time pitching to investors, signing deals, and creating revenue, when there are hard working men and women canvassing neighborhoods until November 2nd, fighting to protect my green company’s existence.

Everyday my job is at risk as CEO of EcoHub, a hub for clean tech companies, especially if I do nothing to lead the company to prosperity and resilience. An overwhelming feeling came over me to urge other CEOs to join forces for the only official CEO organized gathering in the State of California. We came together in opposition to Prop 23 not just for ourselves and our bottom-line, but for young eager minds including a sixth-grader named Meghan. A little girl who can’t vote yet, but knows she wants to work in Clean Energy when she grows up!

Soon after a room of CEOs saw this video:

we united and took action. I am so proud to stand side-by-side with other job creators in crafting the following open letter:

As a group of CEOs from across the political spectrum representing varied San Diego businesses, we would like to urge San Diegans to vote No on Proposition 23.

Passage of this proposition would effectively repeal the landmark Clean Energy Law, AB32. In anticipation of AB32 being implemented, the group has seen a boom of clean energy technology businesses that has created more than 500,000 new jobs and $9.1 billion in private equity investments to our state. In fact, clean technology jobs are growing at a rate 10 times the average of other industries.

The group states that support for Proposition 23 is being provided by large oil refining companies and related out-of-state interests who are primarily concerned about the impact of pollution control on their profits. These entities are using misleading scare tactics to try to convince Californians that Proposition 23 would save jobs in California. What they are not telling us is that Proposition 23 would halt the clean energy development and clean-tech job creation that have provided the only recent bright spot in our economy and one of the most promising global growth industries of this century. Killing off California’s fastest growing industry is a recipe for higher, not lower, unemployment.

Political leaders from both parties including the mayors and city councils of San Diego, La Mesa, Del Mar, Imperial Beach, Solana Beach and Chula Vista, along with over 1,000 companies, investors and business leaders across the state are in agreement with us that Prop 23 is bad for California and needs to be defeated (Carlsbad City Council was just added).

As CEOs running businesses during these difficult economic times, the group firmly believes that the passage of this initiative would be harmful at best and devastating at worst for our business community, neighborhoods, and the California economy.

A NO vote on Proposition 23 is a vote for more jobs in California.


Robert Noble, CEO, Envision Solar, Chair, San Diego CEOs
Yeves Perez, CEO, EcoHub, Co-Chair, San Diego CEOs
Ronald L. Pitt, CEO, EcoDog, Organizing Committee Member, San Diego CEOs
Anne Tolch, Organizing Committee Member

San Diego CEOs

Thomas Ackerman, CEO, Spirit Graphics and Printing
Barry Braden, CEO, Pizza Fusion Hillcrest, LLC
Barbara Burton, CEO, The Burton Company
Mike D’Ascanio, CEO,
Jeffrey DiToro, CEO, ArmorGrafix
T. Todd Elvins, CEO, Clean Venture
Jessica Finley, CEO, iJourneyGreen
Dan Gibbs, CEO, Home Town Farms, LLC
Robert Hamm, CEO, ECO Re Box
Steve Harrington, CEO, Flo Metrics
Adam Hiner, CEO, Eco Caters
Tyler Jensen, CEO The Startup Garage
Mario Larach, CEO, Kai BioEnergy
Mark Mandell, CEO, Square One Development
Karim Pirani, CEO
Todd M. Pitcher, CEO, Aspire Clean Tech Communications
Douglas Poffinbarger, CEO, PE Consulting
Robert Reyes, CEO, Startup Circle
David Saltman, CEO, Malama Composites
Tad Simmons, CEO, Green Source
Camille Sobrian, CEO, CONNECT
Quentin Sponselee, CEO, TerraMoto
David Steel, CEO, Green Chamber of San Diego County
Ted Torre-Bueno, CEO, Empowered Energy Solutions
Jim Torti, CEO, Noble Environmental Technologies/ECOR
Courtland Weisleder, CEO, Greener Dawn
Robert Wilder, CEO, WilderShares

Newest additions:
Martin Rockstrom, CEO, LeRockstar Creative Agency
Kathleen M. Connell, M.A., CEO, Connell Whittaker Group LLC
Gregory Goehner, CEO, NewGrass
Lane Sharman, CEO, BWX Incorporated & Solana Energy
Sidnee Chong, CEO, EcoPackStore, LLC
Michael Vargas, CEO, Atlas Project Support
Julie Zizka, CEO, Momentum 1 Products, Inc

My final ask for the readers of this post is that all of you consider pressing the reset button on what you think you know about “what’s really going on”. Megan can’t vote on November 2nd, and to “share” her video is equivalent to a vote NO on 23. As CEO of EcoHub, it is my fiduciary responsibility to send the “right” message to future generations and invest on a more stable, long term economic basis.

Yeves Perez is the CEO and co-founder of EcoHub, San Diego’s first Cleantech/ green business incubator and the co-founder of Eco Investment Club, held by Eco Investment Network International. Starting at age 14, after the loss of his grandmother to asbestos poisoning, he dedicated his career path and family focus to sustainability. He currently serves on the board of the Sustainability Alliance of Southern California, and was named in SDNN’s top 35 under 35 green entrepreneurs.

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