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Political endorsements

State Special Election, November 8


Vote NO on Prop 73


The Sierra Club opposes Proposition 73, a constitutional amendment on the November 8 special election. Proposition 73 is an attempt to undermine a woman's right to choose. The Sierra Club is pro-choice because we believe in a woman's right to choose and in the right to have family planning readily available to those who want and need it.

Proposition 73 would amend the state constitution to require health care providers to notify the parents of women under the age of 18 before providing abortion services. Once a parent has been notified, a mandatory waiting period of 48 hours would be required before the doctor could provide an abortion. Only teens faced with a medical emergency or those who obtain a "judicial bypass" would be exempt from the parental notification requirement.

Proposition 73 would be a blatant intrusion by the government into personal family matters. It would place our most vulnerable teens-those in abusive homes or those who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest-in jeopardy of severe health consequences such as delaying medical attention or seeking dangerous amateur abortions without appropriate medical supervision. Expecting teens in abusive homes to navigate a complicated and overtaxed legal system in order to get access to safe abortion services is unrealistic.

The Sierra Club supports voluntary family planning as an important part of our work to protect public health and defend the earth's wild places. The Sierra Club believes that a woman's right to choose is a vital part of family planning policy. If Proposition 73 passes, the proponents will likely use their success to systematically attempt to tear down the principles established in Roe v. Wade, which is their larger agenda.

Vote NO on Prop 73.


Vote NO on Prop 75, the "Paycheck Deception Act"


by Bill Magavern, Senior Representative, Sierra Club California

Conservative ideologues and large corporations have placed on the November 8 ballot an initiative to prohibit public employee unions from making expenditures on political activities (which include electoral activities, issue advocacy and any other political or legislative cause) unless they have obtained the express written consent of each union member whose dues will be used.

In 1998 an initiative along similar lines, but applying to all labor unions, failed to pass. Sierra Club California opposed that measure, and the Conservation, Executive and Legislative Committees have all voted to oppose this year's Prop 75.

Sierra Club urges a no vote on Prop 75 for the following reasons:

1. We support the ability of membership organizations to use members' dues and contributions for public advocacy purposes, particularly for state and local ballot measures. Although the news reports about Proposition 75 focus on contributions by state employee unions to state candidates, the initiative also applies to campaigns for state and local ballot measures. (It also applies to all "public employee labor organizations," and not just to state employee unions.) We oppose attempts to make it more difficult for membership organizations to engage in these campaigns.

2. Prop 75 would skew the political landscape against the environmental cause. The measure is a blatantly unfair attempt to take away one of the biggest sources of campaign funding for Democrats and moderate Republicans. Prop 75 would not require corporate polluters to gain the permission of their shareholders before lobbying against the environment or contributing to candidates.

Drying up funding from public employee unions would drive even more politicians into the arms of corporate contributors when they are seeking big bucks to fund their campaigns. In addition, many of the elected officials with the best environmental records receive significant funding from public employee unions and would face difficulty raising money without this support. Since environmental groups like Sierra Club give very little money to candidates (and public campaign financing is not yet a reality in California), pro-environment politicians need to seek funding from other sources. Public worker unions are among their biggest funders.

3. The unions targeted by Prop 75 are often allies of the environmental movement.

Public employee unions in California have come to the aid of the environment many times. For example: California Nurses Association, one-quarter of whose members are public employees, has supported many of our top priorities such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents a huge number of public employees, is our partner in offering solar energy to our members. The California Association of Professional Scientists, which represents many staffers at the Departments of Fish and Game and Toxic Substances Control, has worked with us on protecting the budgets of environmental agencies. Public employee unions in 2000 helped the environmental community defeat the Polluter Protection Act (Prop 37) which would have reclassified environmental mitigation fees as taxes requiring 2/3 votes. Were Prop 75 to pass, these allies would have fewer resources to support environmental causes.


Monterey County Ballot


Vote YES on Measure W

The Sierra Club believes that water is a public resource, not a commodity. Monterey Peninsula voters will decide on November 8 whether or not to fund a study of the public acquisition of Cal Am's water distribution system.

The Sierra Club urges a YES vote on Measure W.

Also urging a yes vote under the umbrella of the Monterey FLOW (Friends of Locally Owned Water) Coalition are Monterey Peninsula business and professional leaders, residents, environmentalists and social justice advocates who have come together to ensure that water remains affordable for all.

Sierra Club believes that municipal water systems are essential public services and should not be privatized. This summer, nearby Felton in Santa Cruz County approved a bond measure to purchase its water system from Cal Am. North of Half Moon Bay, the community of Montara, has been successfully running its water system since purchasing it from Cal Am in 2002.

Cal Am is a subsidiary of RWE, the world's third largest water utility, based in Germany. Three European multinational corporations are buying water systems from small communities and large cities worldwide and view water as the oil of the 21st century.

The independently-produced film documentary, Thirst, chronicles the world water crisis and how community groups are challenging multinational corporations. The film documents the increase in water rates and exploitation of the poor. The Sierra Club has produced a study guide to the video.

Sierra Club was one of 225 public interest organizations from around the world that released the following declaration in Kyoto at the 3rd World Water Forum setting forth principles for global water policy:

"Water, as a public trust and an inalienable human right, must be controlled by the peoples and communities that rely on it for their lives and livelihoods. The management of water services must not only remain in public hands, but must be revitalized and strengthened to make community and worker participation central in order to democratize decision-making processes and ensure transparency and accountability."

Vote YES on Measure W.

Measure W will be on the ballot for voters who reside in the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District which includes residents of Seaside, Sand City, Del Rey Oaks, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Carmel, Carmel Valley, and Carmel Highlands, as well as some adjacent unincorporated areas.

For more information and updates check out www.montereyflow.com.


Judi Lehman

Monterey Peninsula Water Management District


Your Ventana Chapter has endorsed incumbent environmentalist Judi Lehman for the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District for Division 2. This includes the communities of Monterey, Sand City, Del Rey Oaks, and Seaside. Lehman is being challenged by a developer-backed candidate who works in the construction industry and supported the dam.

"Unfortunately, the dam is not dead," says Lehman. "There is still a faction on the Peninsula who would love to revive the dam, even though voters soundly rejected it in 1995." While a dam is not likely to be approved under current laws protecting endangered species, there are efforts to roll back those laws. Dam proponents are holding out hope for changes to remove those obstacles.

Cal-Am Water is mandated to find a replacement source of water for approximately 8,000 of the 11,000 acre feet it pumps annually from the Carmel River. Cal-Am currently pumps that water illegally, because it does not have the necessary water rights.

"I strongly support the right of the public to vote on a water project," asserts Lehman. "We need to restore the Carmel River and cease the overpumping. To proceed without the residents' approval is unfair and unwise. The solution to our water situation must not overburden the environment."

Lehman has been a staunch advocate of maintaining full funding for the river restoration projects, which faced a threat in 2004 when new Board member (and former Cal-Am General Manager) Larry Foy said that the District should not be running these programs. Lehman supports Measure W which would authorize a study of the process and cost of a public takeover of Cal-Am's private water distribution system. Lehman points out that support for public ownership of the system has grown in response to Cal-Am's ongoing behavior: failure to bring down its high rate of water loss; causing environmental harm; spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on public relations campaigns; and failure to maintain the aging infrastructure.

For more information on Judi visit www.smartvoter.org and www.judi-lehman.com.


Vote NO on Measure C

Don't be confused by County's shenanigans

The November 8 election will contain a yes or no vote on changes to the Monterey County General Plan allowing the Rancho San Juan development. Vote NO. A public vote on this environmentally destructive development is the culmination of the petition drive which collected over 16,000 signatures during the holiday season last year.

To confuse voters, Monterey County Planning staff released a downsized version of the massive development on September 20 and will hold hearings just before the election. Don't be fooled. Although the project appears to be downsized, it is only the beginning. According to Julie Engell, Chair of the Rancho San Juan Opposition Coalition, "This supposed scaled-down version isn't where the County plans to stop with Rancho San Juan; it's where they plan to start."

It is now apparent that the County is taking a piecemeal approach to Rancho San Juan by proceeding with Butterfly Village, phase one of the development proposed by Mo Nobari of Marin County before the outcome of Measure C is decided by the voters. Two more development applications within the Rancho San Juan project are in the pipeline and are being processed by the County.

In the process, the County is spending another $325,000 of the public's money on the biggest project in County history. Rancho San Juan would pump an additional 700 acre-feet of water from an over-drafted aquifer, more than double the traffic on Hwy. 101, urbanize 1,750 acres of farmland, and contain 4,000 houses and a golf course resort.

In anticipation of launching their piecemeal strategy, the Supervisors tried to pull the referendum from the Ballot at the last minute. Caught between outraged voters and the out-of-county developer, only one supervisor, Dave Potter, spoke forcefully against the piecemeal approach and what he called, "the County's unholy alliance with the developer." Two supervisors, Smith and Calcagno, reluctantly voted to allow voters a voice. This created the 3-2 majority that kept Measure C on the ballot.

Watching the vote, Engell observed, "Even a board that shows little support for the public interest will acquiesce when the public insists loudly enough. It's more important than ever for the public to send a loud, clear political message to the Board by voting NO on Measure C; NO on Rancho San Juan."

Hearings on phase one of the piecemeal plan are scheduled for mid-October, during the final month of the referendum campaign.

For more information and to volunteer to help stop Rancho San Juan, go to www.stopranchosanjuan.org.