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Johnson, SMUD official protest Prop. 23

Mayor Kevin Johnson and representatives from public agencies and small businesses said Thursday that ballot measure Proposition 23 would harm the environment, green businesses and air quality.

The November ballot measure would overturn the state’s climate change law, AB 32, until the state reaches an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent or lower for four consecutive quarters. AB 32, which the California Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger passed in 2006, aims to cut California’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Backers of Prop. 23, officially called the “California Jobs Initiative,” argue that AB 32 hurts businesses that must pay the expense of making mandatory changes to comply. The Sacramento City Council, which includes Johnson, unanimously opposed Prop. 23 in a symbolic vote in August. 

Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro are high-profile financial contributors to Prop. 23. 

“We don’t want to be addicted to oil,” Johnson said at a press conference on Thursday.

Josh Daniels, who owns an environmentally friendly home materials business called Green Sacramento, also spoke with Johnson. “We’ve definitely benefited a lot in (the green building) industry from AB 32,” Daniels said. 

In her comments, Genevieve Shiroma, president of the board of directors for the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District, said the utility helps to advance economic development and create jobs through its environmental programs.

Larry Greene, executive director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, said that passage of Prop. 23 would be the “wrong thing to do for air quality and public health.”

Meanwhile, the Yes on Prop. 23 campaign contends that an overturn of AB 32 would maintain jobs. The campaign’s website says the measure focuses on “protecting jobs, preserving environmental protections, and holding the line on costs for California’s struggling families.” 

Photo by Kathleen Haley.

Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. 

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