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Politics and Issues

Sierra Club Supports Proposition 15: The California Fair Elections Act

April 2010

Cleaning up our political system is crucial to cleaning up our air and water, curbing global warming pollution, and preserving our coast, parks, forests and deserts. Presently, wealthy developers, oil companies, utilities and other special interests hold too much influence over our elected officials, so Californians do not get the environmental policies that we want.

The Fair Elections Act on the June 2010 ballot would create a pilot project to make voluntary public financing available to Secretary of State candidates in 2014 and 2018.

Public financing is a way to get politicians out of the fundraising game and back to solving California’s problems. Replacing special-interest money with clean money would ensure elected officials are accountable to voters, not donors, and open up the political process so the best candidates, not just the wealthiest candidates, can pursue elected office.

Go to for more information and to volunteer or contribute to the campaign.

Vote YES on Prop. 15.

Vote NO on Prop 16

Sierra Club Defends Green Power and Consumer Choice, Opposes Proposition 16

Sierra Club California has joined a growing coalition of consumer, environmental and economic justice groups in opposing the ballot initiative on the June ballot that would lock in high utility rates by locking out local community choice. Current law allows communities seeking clean, green and affordable energy to vote on alternatives to their utility. PG&E is spending tens of millions of dollars to pass Proposition 16 and stop local communities from exercising that right. Don't be fooled by the solar panels and flowers on their glitzy brochures.

The targets of this measure are municipal utilities and an innovative program that most Californians have never heard about: Community Choice. Community Choice is a right, under state law, that allows local governments to contract for electric power and make this service available to all local utility customers. Some California communities are already using this choice to bring far more renewable energy into their grids than PG&E has done.

The initiative, if passed, would amend the California constitution to require a 2/3 vote before communities could break away from their utility. This anti-democratic obstacle would further unbalance an already unequal playing field; PG&E has been able to vastly outspend public power advocates in every local election. It would also set a dangerous precedent by allowing a private corporation, in an outrageous perversion of the initiative process, to use the constitution to restrict competition from public entities and give its own high rates extraordinary protection.

We believe that the law should protect renewable energy and consumer choice, not obstruct them. PG&E wants to purchase a constitutional amendment that will stop local efforts to choose clean, green, and affordable energy.

PG&E currently gets only about 14% of its electricity from renewable energy and will fail to reach the state mandated minimum of 20% by the end of 2010. Instead PG&E is investing mostly in dirty fossil fuel plants and damming wild rivers in British Columbia for hydropower to export to California.

Vote NO on Prop 16.

Don’t sign oil company ballot petition

Big oil companies are collecting signatures for a November ballot initiative that would halt California’s clean energy future. Don’t be fooled. Don’t sign the petition.

You may be asked to sign a petition which would suspend California’s landmark anti-global warming law, AB 32, unless unemployment dropped below 5.5% for four consecutive quarters, something that has happened only three times in the past 30 years.

The campaign is financed by Big Oil. The main funders, Valero and Tesoro are the seventh and eighth largest polluters in California. Valero and Tesoro combined are responsible for 16.7% of reported emissions in California.

These Texas oil companies have pledged $2 million to pay signature gatherers, in an outrageous perversion of our initiative process. We urge Californians to NOT sign any petitions supporting this deceptive ballot initiative. Doing so would increase our dependence on oil, cost us more money at the gas pump, guarantee that our children continue to suffer from asthma and other harmful side effects caused by dirty air, and hold California back from creating jobs through advancements in clean technology.

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