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Global warming, environmental funds, parks featured on California ballot

November 2, 2010 |  1:48 pm

Ballot Voters in the Golden State headed to the polls Tuesday and faced the usual cluttered politi-prose of ballot initiatives.

They can be forgiven if they're tempted to vote "no" across the board, and for environmentalists, that's two-thirds right.

Here are the propositions that the green vote cares about:

Prop. 23: This measure would suspend -- some say, effectively end -- California's landmark climate change legislation, known as AB 32, until the state experiences unemployment of 5.5% for a full year. Rates such as that have occurred only briefly in the past four decades.

The money on both sides of this issue has been huge, and it became the most-watched environmental cause in the midterm elections nationwide. It is backed predominantly by Texas-based refiners such as Valero, who stand to be dunned for their carbon emissions when AB 32's regulations take effect in January. Green-economy moguls, celebrities, environmental groups and the state's Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, have weighed in against it.

The green vote: No.

Prop. 26: In a downturned economy, the prospect of curbing politicians' ability to levy fees is enticing. This measure would require a super-majority of two-thirds to enact such fees, rather than the simple majority required now.

But environmentalists note that these are the source of many of the state's environmental activities, including oil-spill cleanup. For that reason, it has been intimately tied with Prop. 23, including sharing contributors -- oil and tobacco companies for it; green-tech movers and shakers against it. Environmental activists have dubbed Prop. 23 and Prop 26. "the dirty duo."

Thus, the green vote: No

Prop. 21 would create a separate revenue stream for state parks through an $18 auto registration fee (commercial vehicles and trailers exempted). It would provide about $500 million annually for upkeep and conservation programs. Those who pay would be exempted from day use and parking fees at the parks.

The green vote: Yes.

-- Geoff Mohan