Supporters of Prop 23 Suffer From Pinocchio Syndrome

The Pinocchio syndrome is in strong evidence this election season, particularly when it comes to the California ballot initiative Proposition 23. A debate last week at UCLA about Proposition 23 is evidence. The debate involved Dorothy Rothrock, California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) Vice President and Terry Tamminen, CEO of Seventh Generation Advisors.

Listed below are thre examples of growing half truths and fibs coming out of the Prop 23 campaign:

Example #1

Rothrock began the debate by stating that the 5.5 percent unemployment requirement in Proposition 23 is “not that extreme of a requirement,” and said it has been that low about 30 percent of the time since 1988. The state has only had three periods, with each period about 10 quarters long, when the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent of lower for four consecutive quarters. The last period when the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent or lower was in 2007.

The unemployment rate for the first two quarters of this year was above 12 percent. Economists predict that over the next five years California’s unemployment rate will be over eight percent. Proposition 23 will effectively kill California’s climate change law, AB 32.

Example #2

“They are not oil companies,” proclaimed Rothrock about Valero and Tesoro. No, Rothrock was not making a joke. She made the statement while defending the two Texas-based companies who are the biggest financial backers of California’s Proposition 23.

Tesoro is “an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products,” according to its website, and Valero, according to its website, is “North America’s largest independent petroleum refiner and marketer.” Clearly, Rothrock’s nose metaphorically grew a foot after that statement.

Rothrock said that Valero “hadn’t made a profit” in the Golden State since 2007, but the company’s latest quarterly SEC filings prove she is suffering from Pinocchio syndrome.

Example #3

Rothrock claimed that California’s business community has not supported Proposition 23 because the opposition campaign to the ballot initiative is “negative” and “mean-spirited.” The transcripts of two different anti-Proposition 23 ads are listed below. In my opinion, the ads are neither negative or mean-spirited, but simply tell voters the truth about the ballot initiative.

“Prop 23 is one deceptive ballot measure from two Texas oil companies that would have three disastrous consequences…Twenty-three would pollute our air, kill clean energy jobs, and keep us addicted to costly oil. Vote No on 23.”

“California is outlining a clean energy future, a growing workforce of bright Californians who harness wind and solar power to move our state forward…But two Texas oil companies have a deceptive scheme to take us backwards. They are spending millions pushing Prop 23, which would kill clean energy standards, keep us addicted to costly polluting oil, and threaten hundreds of thousands of California jobs. Stop the job-killing dirty energy proposition. Vote No on 23.”

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

7 responses

  1. PROP 26 is just as destructive as PROP 23. Prop 26 is a treacherous, Big Oil rip-off, which “passes the buck” from oil corporation, clean-up fees to the public’s taxes, who will paid the oil recycling fees, the materials hazards fees and other fees. If you do not understand the ambiguities and the intrigues behind Prop 26, then, vote no. Shell, Exxon Mobil and BP are silent partners in Prop 26. Power to the people.

  2. Hmmm, looks like this article suffers from Pinocchio Syndrome.

    1) 5.5% unemployment for 4 consecutive quarters has occurred 7 times since 2005, 14 times since 1999, and 22 times since 1987.

    2)This term is debatable. Tesoro and Valero are refiners, “oil company” typically refers to companies that produce crude oil. Tesoro and Valero have to buy oil on the open market to refine into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other fuel products.

    3)”Prop 23 is one deceptive ballot measure from two Texas oil companies that would have three disastrous consequences…” You don’t call that negative? As for mean spirited, how about the Governator refering to them as Nazis and talking about their “black oil hearts?” Yup, mean spirited…

    Not mentioned is the fact that the ads are misleading. Prop 23 would leave clean air standards where they are at, toughest in the US, and some of the toughest in the world.

    Prop 23 supposedly threatens ALL of the 500,000 “green” jobs expected in the future. That is patently false, especially when you know what a “green job” is.

    Prop 23 would not keep us addicted to “costly oil” First off, oil is cheap energy, cheaper than ANY green energy. Second, Texas has managed to build TRIPLE the wind powered electrical generation that California has, while growing its economy at the same pace as California is shrinking it. Texas did not need a job killer law like AB 32 to do it.

    Also not mentioned are the 2 million people currently unemployed, much of that due to the hostility toward business in California, which AB 32 will only make worse. The million jobs that AB 32 threatens are also not mentioned.

    AB 32 can never hope to repay what it will cost us. Vote Yes on Prop 23. It really is about jobs and the economy.

    1. I think the article is a bit extreme too, but a couple retorts:

      1) Oil is EXTREMELY expensive when you take into consideration the costs to health and the environment and our military. Cheap at the pump does not mean cheap!

      2) According to the Official State Voter Guide the 5.5% rule has only happened THREE times since the 1970s. Look at page 3 of this PDF:

      I can’t find the data you’re talking about on the link you provided.

      3) I agree the name calling is stupid.

  3. Hmmm, I find it interesting that “commenters” call my article extreme when out of state oil companies (a broad term, people), want to halt AB 32. FYI, climate change is real, and will by VERY costly financially to California.

    I find it interesting that people are up in arms when the poor little oil companies are under attack. Oh pity them because they rake in the big bucks.

    Am I passionate about opposing Prop 23? You bet your life, I am. I care about future generations and want to leave them a sustainable world.

    Come to my neck of the woods and breath in the dirty air. The San Joaquin Valley where I live is one of the most polluted air basins in the state. I support anything, AB 32 included, that will help clear it up.

    1. Ok, lets back up a bit. AB 32 does not go after the pollution that you have a problem with. It goes after CO2, which does not hurt people, in fact, it is what people exhale.

      Also, AB 32, and this is according to CARB, the people who wrote it and will enforce it, does NOTHING for climate change, will cost jobs, and will negatively effect the economy.

      You really should dig deeper here and tell the truth about AB 32. Your article is propaganda, pure and simple.

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