3rd Most Dangerous Californian Makes Bid for #1

Now-retired San Francisco financier Tom Steyer’s flashy entry into Progressive campaign financing earned him Crazifornia’s designation as the third most dangerous Californian. Here’s what we wrote then:

steyer2Steyer, a ridiculously wealthy San Francisco wealth manager, first entered our consciousness when he pumped $30 million of his own money to pass Prop 39. That’s the 2012 ballot initiative that increased taxes on out-of-state corporations and sprinkled the largess on alternative energy companies like those his company, Farallon Capital Management, owns pieces of. This year, he was the Big Spender that got Terry McCaullife, a politician so slimy he taught Bill and Hillary dirty tricks, elected governor of Virginia. If your money is in OneCalifornia Bank, move it, because Steyer owns it.

According to a New York Times report, Steyer’s gunning for #1 in this year’s ranking of most dangerous Californians.

A billionaire retired investor is forging plans to spend as much as $100 million during the 2014 election, seeking to pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers. …

In early February, Mr. Steyer gathered two dozen of the country’s leading liberal donors and environmental philanthropists to his 1,800-acre ranch in Pescadero, Calif. — which raises prime grass-fed beef — to ask them to join his efforts. People involved in the discussions say Mr. Steyer is seeking to raise $50 million from other donors to match $50 million of his own.

That’s some big money – and Steyer told the NY Times it might be a low-ball estimate compared to what he would spend to influence climate policy. By comparison, the long-established League of Conservation Voters spent about $15 million on campaigns in 2012.

Steyer’s San Francisco-based Next Gen Climate Action political machine is said to be targeting campaigns for Florida governor (GOP incumbent Rick Scott is … gasp! … a climate change skeptic) and Iowa’s Senate race because “a win for the Democratic candidate, Representative Bruce Braley, an outspoken proponent of measures to limit climate change, could help shape the 2016 presidential nominating contests.”

No word on what Steyer plans to spend in California. But since the state is already certifiably climate-crazed, he just might spend all his money elsewhere.

Not Blowing In The Wind

There was a bill in the California Assembly that would push California’s the percentage of renewable energy utilities are forced to use from its current 30% to 50%. It’s not going anywhere … yet … but it stands as testimony to environmental blindness.

California’s electric utilities are having a difficult and terribly expensive time trying to reach the 30% renewable energy goal. Trying to get that much expensive wind and solar power into their portfolios is already making electricity more expensive and less reliable – and there’s no evidence its doing a thing to save the planet from climate change. Nevertheless Adam Gray, a Central Valley Democrat, wants to up the state’s game to even more unreasonable levels.

He and his allies might want to read this:

14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines in the USA

wind farm ruinThe US has had wind farms since 1981, what the left and the green movement don’t want to talk about regarding windmills is (as usual) the truth. The truth is: windmills, like solar panels, break down. And like solar panels, windmills produce less energy before they break down than the energy it took to make them. That’s the part liberals forget: making windmills and solar panels takes energy, energy from coal, oil, and diesel, energy that extracts and refines raw materials, energy that transports those materials to where they will be re-shaped into finished goods, energy to manufacture those goods. More energy than those finished windmills and solar panels will ever produce.

There are many hidden truths about the world of wind turbines from the pollution and environmental damage caused in China by manufacturing bird choppers, the blight on people’s lives of noise and the flicker factor and the countless numbers of birds that are killed each year by these blots on the landscape. The symbol of Green renewable energy, our saviour from the non existent problem of Global Warming, abandoned wind farms are starting to litter the planet as globally governments cut the subsidies taxes that consumers pay for the privilege of having a very expensive power source that does not work every day for various reasons like it’s too cold or the wind speed is too high.

The US experience with wind farms has left over 14,000 wind turbines abandoned and slowly decaying, in most instances the turbines are just left as symbols of a dying Climate Religion, nowhere have the Green Environmentalists appeared to clear up their mess or even complain about the abandoned wind farms. …

The problem with wind farms when they are abandoned is getting the turbines removed, as usual there are no Green environmentalists to be seen. The City of Palm Springs was forced to enact an ordinance requiring their removal from San Gorgonio. But California’s Kern County, encompassing the Tehachapi area, has no such law. Imagine the outraged Green chorus if those turbines were abandoned oil drilling rigs.

The truth is: wind energy is just a tax scam. Ben Lieberman, a senior policy analyst focusing on energy and environmental issues for the Heritage Foundation, is not surprised. He asks:

“If wind power made sense, why would it need a government subsidy in the first place? It’s a bubble which bursts as soon as the government subsidies end.”

Remember: Liberal politicians are very good at not letting mere facts get in the way of their efforts to reshape California.

Anti-Carbon Crusaders Strike Again

Apple USALast December, Apple announced its next manufacturing facility – one that would build Macs – would be built in the U.S., not overseas. Many hoped a company facility in Elk Grove CA  would be the selected site. But that’s not to be, and California’s anti-carbon crusaders are to blame.

Apple announced last week that it will invest $100 million in a new facility – in Texas. The new plant will assemble Macs from components manufactured just about everywhere in the U.S. but California – Illinois, Florida, Kentucky and Michigan.

Why not California? Top among the many probable answers is energy costs, because it takes a lot of juice to build a Mac. Thanks to AB32, the ridiculously named Global Warming Solutions Act – energy costs in California are soaring as mandated increased reliance on expensive alternative energy sources are driving up power costs.

The smart-thinking editorial writers at the San Diego Union Tribune had this to say about Apple and AB32:

[Apple's decision] is primarily a result of AB 32, the landmark 2006 state law forcing a shift to cleaner but costlier forms of energy. After the law was passed, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and many green lawmakers and leaders predicted it would prompt the rest of the world to copy California, as had happened with many previous pioneering environmental policies.

That never came to pass. Instead, the big news on the energy front has been the revolution in fossil fuels, thanks to hydraulic fracturing and other improved energy-exploration tools. This has produced huge new supplies of natural gas in a half-dozen states, sending its price tumbling and prompting major European firms like BASF and Royal Dutch Shell to move manufacturing to the U.S. — something that would have seemed unthinkable a few years ago.

But such European firms have no interest in manufacturing in California. It is simply not cost-competitive with many other areas in the U.S. — a fact the Apple decision underscores.

So, as another $100 million leaves California and a raft of new jobs ends up in Texas, what do Californians think of all this? Chances are, they’re just fine with it because they’ve been well indoctrinated to be scared of global warming.

A just published Public Policy Institute survey (see page 20, here) tells us this:

A majority of Californians (57%) say global warming will pose a serious threat either to them or to their way of life in their lifetime; 39 percent say it will not. A decade ago, the perceived personal threat was much lower (45% yes, 50% no, July 2003). Adults nationwide are far less concerned: in a March Gallup poll, most said global warming will not pose a serious threat to their way of life (34% yes, 64% no).

frightened-woman-1960sHere’s how that majority of frightened Californians breaks down: 68% of Democrats are afraid global warming will pose a serious threat in their lifetime, but only 29% of Republicans are. Angelenos (66%) and San Franciscans (61%) are the most frightened, but majorities in the Inland Empire (52%) and Orange County (51%) are convinced warming will harm them. Only in the Central Valley do the frightened drop below 50%, at 49%.

This shows how effective the PEER Axis – Progressives, Environmentalists, Educators and Reporters – have been in establishing global warming as a threat in California. One can only hope people will wake up and call for change as they see their energy bills soar thanks to AB32′s green energy mandates, while realizing all that green energy hasn’t slowed down the PEER’s efforts to stir up greater global warming fears one iota.

Jerry Brownout

SONGSI was at a presentation this morning on the now year-long shut down of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). One of its two reactors was shut down last Feb. 1 because of pinhole leaks in some water pipes – a serious issue – and the other closed Jan. 31 for routine maintenance, but is now under the same regulatory hold as the other one.

The Southern California Edison representative said we got through last summer with SONGS off-line only because of the lucky alignment of four factors: (1) New transmission lines went on-line so more power could be brought in from elsewhere, (2) Different places in the service area had hot spells at different times, (3) Edison was able to buy power from the AES natural gas-fired power plant in Huntington Beach and (4) people conserved.

This year, only #4 remains certain. No new transmission lines will go on-line this year. Who knows what the weather will bring? Whatever it is, it’s unlikely to be as flukey as last-years migrating hot spots. And that AES plant? Oh, we can’t get even a single kilowatt of power from it this year.

carbon-emmissions-global-warmingWhy not? It’s sitting there. The natural gas line is still connected. Well, it turns out AES sold the plant’s carbon credits at this year’s California carbon credits auction.

My friend Brian Probolsky asked SCE’s guy, “Do you mean a make-believe slip of paper could be the difference between brownouts and getting through the summer without problems?”

The SCE guy didn’t understand the question. It’s this: Just because AES sold its carbon credits on the plant this year in California’s costly, harebrained and doomed to accomplish nothing carbon cap and tax auction, does that REALLY mean that come an emergency, the plant will just sit there?

The answer, unfortunately but not at all unexpectedly – this is California, after all – is yes. The sick and frail, deprived of air conditioning and medical equipment, could be dropping like Europeans in a summer  heatwave, and Jerry Brown’s carbon auction would trump their very lives.

Do you think for a moment the earth would notice whether or not the plant fired up again? Of course not. But environmentalist hand-wringers, including our governor, a super-majority of our legislature and eco-crats would, so it’s not going to happen.

Should electricity brown-outs and black-outs return to California this summer, remember this: It wasn’t problems at San Onofre that caused them. Problems in the thinking of California’s leadership did.

Bureaucrats Censoring Sea Level Rise

In Crazifornia, I make the point that the state is no longer a democracy, having been converted – without the people’s consent – into a technocracy.  Here’s a bit of that from the manuscript:

Perhaps most to blame for the demise of California is the legislature’s determination to dodge accountability for its Progressive actions.  To do this, it has turned California into a technocracy, transferring the real power from the people and the electeds to technical experts – well, supposedly expert – in the state’s many large and powerful regulatory agencies, commissions and boards. 

It is these technocrats who go about imposing the will of the Legislature through obtrusive and costly regulations and fines that were never approved by any elected body.  It is they who have the power and authority to force California to meet the lofty, idealistic goals of AB 32, the state’s quixotic cure-all for global warming.  Not wanting to be blamed for all the dirty work that necessarily would follow passage of such an unrealistic and idealist bill, the legislature simply followed tradition and assigned the task to unelected technocrats further down the state government hierarchy, resulting in, among other things, California’s recent imposition of the nation’s first state-run carbon cap and trade system, without so much as a motion and second out of the legislature. 

Of course, technocrats live pretty much unaccountable lives, so they’re free to choose whatever “techno” suits their fancy. And in California, that means we’re run by technicians in global warming orthodoxy, radical environmentalism and engineered social change.  If facts get in the way, they can censor them – as they do with anything that runs counter to the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming and all the AB 32 protocols that it spawns.

Case in point:  SLR.  No, silly, not a single-lens reflex camera – it’s sea level rise.  If the sea isn’t rising, then the planet isn’t warming, so of course the sea level has to be rising.  So state agencies endlessly document sea level rise and project it to go up and up and up – which means they can exert more and more control over the coast.  (By “coast,” we really mean “California,” because that’s where you’ll find most of the state’s people, power and money.)

Here’s an example, courtesy of the California Ocean Protection Council (which is lambasted in Crazifornia) purportedly showing what sea level rise will be in Crescent City:

As you can see, the Ocean Protection Council wants you to believe the sea level on California’s north coast is surging up, and will be as much as two feet higher by the end of the century.  The trouble is, it won’t be.  It will be lower.

It’s got nothing to do with global warming and everything to do with plate techtonics.  The plate Crescent City sits on is rising, so effective sea level is dropping.  This is no secret, as the feds let us know in this counterpoint provided by the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration:

 

Yup.  Sea level is definitely dropping in Crescent City.  But that doesn’t follow the AB 32 dogma and undercuts the technocrats’ grip on power, so in Crazifornia, Crescent City isn’t rising, the ocean is, and the facts are censored so the people can remain blissfully ignorant as the technocrats seize more power and authority.

It’s all just more Progressivism because, you know, the elite technocrats are so much smarter than us and so much better qualified to run our lives, and our government, than we are.  Welcome to Crazifornia.

A tip of the Crazifornia hat to Neil Jordan, who provided the charts.

Crazifornia Scores Big at Daily Caller

My recent op/ed on California’s passage of the nation’s first state-run cap-and-tax program proved very popular with readers at The Daily Caller – to date, 76 readers have recommended it, 41 have tweeted it, 5 have shared it on Linked In and 44 have posted comments.  As expected with the Daily Caller’s audience, most of the comments are favorable, informed and even witty, like this one that starts with a quote pulled from the op/ed:

“AB 32, the state’s crusade to save the planet from the scourge of greenhouse gases”

Should read: “The scourge of unicorns and leprechauns” as there’s as much science behind it.

Here are the lead paragraphs from the piece:

Mary Nichols, one of the most dangerous women in America, looked out into the packed California Air Resources Board (CARB) hearing room late Thursday after an eight-hour hearing and declared, “We’ve done something important.”

Nichols is the chair of CARB and therefore the person most responsible for implementing the California Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32, the state’s crusade to save the planet from the scourge of greenhouse gases. A former assistant administrator of EPA under President Clinton, Nichols now controls multiple programs designed to penalize conventional energy sources to the benefit of not-yet-competitive alternative sources. She has already forced the toughest diesel engine standards in the country onto California — standards that will cost the state’s battered trucking industry $12 billion — and Thursday she trumped that by ushering in the biggest playing field-leveler yet, the nation’s first state-run carbon cap-and-trade program.

California, in going where no other state or the federal government has dared to tread, certainly has done something important, but just what “important” means is a question for the historians.

Read the rest of the piece here.

CalWatchdog: Jerry & His AG Want to Run Your Life

CalWatchdog editor Steven Greenhut paid me a nice complement yesterday:  “I’m always glad to run your pieces.”  And run one he did:

 

NEW: Brown, Harris Attack Suburban Growth

MARCH 21, 2011

By LAER PEARCE

The Santa Clarita Valley, a pleasant enough suburb of 250,000 in northern Los Angeles County, has the dubious distinction of the place most often targeted by terrorists over the eight seasons of the television show “24” – including the detonation of a nuclear bomb there during the premier of the 2007 season. Last Thursday, the Brown administration dropped its own nuke on the valley, trying to undo 10 years of regional planning in the name of saving the planet.

Hat-tip to The Deep Friar

Kamala Harris, the former San Francisco DA who never saw a criminal trial she couldn’t lose (which apparently is enough to get one elected California attorney general nowadays), sent a letter last week to the Los Angeles County planning department saying the Santa Clarita Valley Area Plan violates state law. She attacked the plan, which has been in development since 2001 as a blueprint for the Santa Clarita Valley’s future growth, because it doesn’t do enough to stop global warming by reducing the valley’s miniscule sliver of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Harris didn’t just send the letter – she publicized it through a news release and made sure it was posted on the Internet for all to see. “I think it’s kind of unprofessional to address the issues with the press rather than directly with the office you’ve been working with,” sniffed Los Angeles’ principal deputy county counsel, Elaine Lemke. [Continue reading]

Please click through. There’s more good stuff, and CalWatchdog wants to know you like reading about Crazifornia.