September 27th, 2006


Alabama dreaming? Not the last time I checked

Okay, I haven't made a politically-oriented post in a while (okay, well, this week). I have to say, I've been remarkably proud of my state as of late. Today, our governor signed one of the strongest pieces of legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the nation. It kind of makes you wish he'd take stands like this in nonelection years too.

About a week ago, our attorney general sued auto manufacturers for the environmental damage their vehicles have caused. Although I'm a little conflicted on that one, as, on its face, it just seems silly. There is a part of me, however, that can help grinning at the fact Lockyer had the kahunas to take on the auto industry. While I'm sure it's mostly an election–year stunt since he's running for State Treasurer, it's nice to see the U.S. auto industry being forced to go on the defensive for once.

California energy use v. U.S. averageAs I said, although, I'm a little conflicted. On principle, I'm kind of bothered by it. On the other hand, let's be honest: the auto industry fights dirty, and has for a long time. Recently, we enacted legislation mandating reduced emissions from vehicles. The auto industry of course is pulling out all the stops to stop it from being enacted—all because we have the audacity to say that WE don't want gross polluting vehicles in OUR state (how dare we?!). Turnabout is fair play, I guess, so Lockyer sued on our behalf. Stunt or not, I think he just secured my vote for State Treasurer.

For years, air quality in L.A. had been improving—dramatically. That trend has reversed in recent years, however, and our air quality is now getting worse. Even if you want to be stubborn and think greenhouse gas emissions have no impact on the environment (or believe we didn't land on the Moon for that matter), knock yourself out. You can't argue, however, with the fact that pollution is bad for our health—very bad, and it's not as if I can decide not to breathe "if I don't like it." The asthma rate here is through the roof, and I have to live with a brown sky many days of the year. Pollution is a problem here, and we have every right to regulate it and decide what we will allow on our roadways.

If car manufacturers had any sense of social responsibility, legislation wouldn't be required. However, when the federal government passed stricter CAFE standards to help reduce emissions, instead of complying with the spirit of the law, the auto industry's response was to find loopholes and build larger vehicles that are in a different classification not subject to the stricter standards. It's not surprising that an effort to fill those loopholes would be met with resistance. I kind of admire Lockyer's "in your face" approach: if you won't do it willingly, or listen to the will of the people of our state, then maybe a multi-million dollar lawsuit will change your mind. Honestly, what could be more American than that?

I know that conservative "news" sources have repeatedly made fun of the "left coast," and I'm sure Rush Limbaugh and his ilk have had a field day with our latest efforts to improve the quality of life here that flies smack in the face of the George W. Bush agenda of making his oil buddies richer. But you know what? I don't care. Our taking leadership, despite the overwhelming opposition from those red states to our right, has repeatedly benefited the entire country. "California emissions" are installed across several car models sold throughout the nation (it's often cheaper for manufacturers to include Cali emissions in all cars rather than make some for California residents and others that only meet federal standards). So once again, everyone across the nation may benefit from the state's granola–loving ways.

People likewise across the fruited plains thought it was nuts to ban smoking in restaurants and then bars. Now those pieces of legislation are models being followed by other cities and states. Was it crazy or ahead of the curve? So if being progressive is nuts, so be it. Last time I checked, people want to live here, and if my commute is any indication, they're still moving here in droves. So all the neocons can call California crazy, but they might want to ask themselves why so many people leave their states every year to come here.

Anyway, I guess I got my fill of news articles today that seemed filled with comments from neocons and people shit talking on my state because of the recent legislation. I may talk smack about her from time to time, but it's like someone talking about your mom or your sister. You can talk about her yourself, but if anyone else does it....

cut a bitch