As Skip said at Carnegie Freedom day; “We have to vote those so and so’s out of office”. We live in a free society and it is more important than ever to exercise our right to vote. But which so and so’s do we need to vote out of office? This is why we need to educate ourselves about where particular candidates stand pertaining to issues that affect us. The Internet is an invaluable tool to find out about candidate voting records and which candidates are introducing legislation that diminish our riding opportunities. Beyond just doing basic Internet research there is help on the way. In Dirt Rider’s latest issue there is an article entitled “You Lose! Don’t Make Dirt Bikes Extinct” by Jimmy Lewis.
This article contains some really useful information about voting. Check out all three pages especially the section on how to obtain information about candidates and issues. According to this article there is a 2010 AMA member voter guide (you need to login). The AMA doesn’t tell you how to vote but tries to help AMA members understand where candidates stand on issues important to the future of motorcycling. Although most of the candidates did not return the AMA questionnaire, and this tool is limited, do take a look here if you are an AMA member.
Over the next couple of weeks we have to find out about the candidates and the issues. As Jimmy Lewis says: “Shortly, if things continue the way they are going, you will not have dirt bikes to ride or places to ride them.” Read the article and take action. It was never more important than it is today to exercise your right to vote. Know the candidates and the propositions before you enter the voting booth.
Getting ready for elections and making sure we understand the issues is very important. I have been voting since I was eighteen years old and take my duty as a citizen of this great country very seriously. Sometimes a particular issue is not as cut and dry as it initially seems.
I recently had a discussion about Proposition 23 with a friend. As I understood it, Proposition 23 would suspend AB-32 (a greenhouse gas reduction program) until California’s unemployment drops to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters (not very likely any time soon). I originally assumed that Proposition 23 was not a good thing.
After listening to his arguments I researched the issues and this is what I learned.
According to the literature AB-32 is a comprehensive greenhouse-gas-reduction program that includes increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emissions reporting and fee requirements for major emittors such as power plants and oil refineries.
It sounds like AB-32 will reduce green house gases. Isn’t that a good thing? Aren’t green house emissions responsible for global warming? We all have our own answers to this question. I believe they do. There are scientists who believe that they do and others who believe that they don’t. Beyond this question, other issues germane to this proposition are more complicated than I thought.
Some newspaper articles blame out-of-state oil companies for sponsoring and funding Proposition 23. Yet according to a site called Ballotpedia, Proposition 23 supporters include Dan Logue, US Congressman Tom McClintock (see my previous post about Tom McClintock), Steve Poizner, The California Republican Party, Jim Kellog, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and Americans for the prosperity of California.
Then there is the issue of who will be responsible for implementing and making regulations pursuant to AB-32. According to the language of the statute, The California Air Resources Board (CARB), under the California Environmental Protection Agency, is to prepare plans to achieve the objectives stated in the Act.
We all know these groups. The day before yesterday there was a newspaper article about CARB, the state agency charged with researching and adopting air quality standards. CARB grossly miscalculated pollution levels for diesel-fueled off-road vehicles used in construction and other industries. Its scientific analysis was off by 340 percent.
“The setbacks in the air board’s research – and the proposed softening of a landmark regulation raise questions about the performance of the agency as it is in the midst of implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or AB-32 as it is commonly called, one of the state’s and the nation’s most ambitious environmental policies to date.”
So the question also becomes – do we really trust the California Air Resources Board to implement this law in an unbiased manner? Among other things, my friend said that the CARB used junk science with the OHV Red Sticker/Green sticker issue and based current emissions on tests from a mid 1970s 2- stroke.
According to a comment to the Chronicle article alluded to above there are also other questions pertaining to this agency which include among other things poisoning California wells by forcing refineries to add MTBE to gasoline and forcing independent truck drivers to sell their rigs when they issued draconian standards based on phony science. The author of the comment said that its director, Mary Nichols, has arrogantly joked, “I can do anything I want–I don’t have to stand for election”.
Need I say more? Voting is not easy and I cannot tell you how to vote. As Wooster says in P.G. Wodehouse’s popular novel, “there are circles within circles”. Nothing is easy or even cut and dried. I don’t want to tell you how I will vote. Everybody has different values and beliefs, but it has never been more important than it is today to exercise our right to vote and educate ourselves about the issues.
As I said before, the Dirt Rider article has some very good ideas. It is an invaluable resource to look at before you step into the voting booth. Also talk to friends and look at websites for organizations that represent our interests like Blue Ribbon Coalition, CORVA, AMA, District 36, and others to find out what the issues are and where the candidates stand.