Sep. 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

Mood: thankful
Listening to: Head Automatica - Please Please Please (Young Hollywood)
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eviltickles on September 28th, 2006 - 06:05 am
the lobbying from automobile makers created LA as the crowded city it is today. they got rid of all hope of an efficient public transportation system ala New York and resulted in the gridlock that is downtown. i think that the new legilation ROCKS.

that being said, i think that suing car makes is bullshit since it's the dumbass consumer that is buying those H2s to compensate for other short comings while polluting our air.
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The People's Exhibit Adavidology on September 28th, 2006 - 07:40 am
yeah, and I think that's part of what makes me uncomfortable, or at least disagree somewhat in principle. I mean, in the ideal world, the consumer would make the right choices, and we could let unfettered capitalism reign supreme. Realistically, however, if that were the case probably only luxury cars would have airbags as I think a large number of consumers would short-sightedly rather save a couple hundred bucks (and car manufacturers most assuredly would). So I think we have a responsibility step in, particularly when collectively those effects harm many others (like pollution)--particularly considering how effective marketing has become.

The lawsuit bothers me of course because technically the car manufacturers were in compliance, but then again, it seems as if their marketing and pushing the larger vehicles after CAFE standards were changed was kind of a bad faith way of circumventing the intent of the law. So despite my misgivings, they deserve whatever they get, which I guess is me formulating an opinion out of spite, but I'm kind of pissed they're trying to tell us what we can and cannot do in our own state to curb the problems we have.
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hUcKiE: Carshuckie on September 28th, 2006 - 08:08 pm
You have to understand and look at the whole picture. On the surface, the lawsuit they filed is really out there, but the reason for doing it, besides election year publicitiy, was as a countersuit to a wild lawsuit filed by the automakers against the state of California in federal court. California has always had higher emissions standards than the rest of the country, and because of this, most automakers had to stop selling diesels in CA. Since the feds have been really laxed on environmental issues these past 6 years, CA has also been contemplating instituting something like California CAFE standards, higher than those of the federal government.

Automakers don't like this at all. It costs them money to make different versions of emissions for the same cars and it's cheaper to make cars without California emissions. Given the current legal climate under Bush (more federal lack of regulation and less ability for states to regulate anything), the automakers saw a chance to try to head this all off, and get the federal courts to rule that the federal government's regulations on emissions and gas mileage supercede those instituted by a state, such as California. If this succeeds, we'll have an increase in polution coming from cars.

So in a way, the new lawsuit is akin to a poker move, we raised the stakes on their longshot with our own longshot bluff, in the hopes that the automakers will back down from their lawsuit. And even if it's quietly dropped later or fails, it makes for great press right before an election.
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The People's Exhibit Adavidology on September 28th, 2006 - 10:15 pm
I think these are the reasons why, on the whole, I'm okay with it and kinda like it.

Now, if we can just get that secession movement going!
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