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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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.
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
"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
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.