While California Dreams- Weekly Update Vol.1 No. 19

A weekly update on the goings-on in Sacramento
For the week ending October 13, 2007

Key bills and issues we’ve been following during the
Past week and beyond
This week we have a special commentary by Rosemary Shahan of Consumers Auto Reliability and Safety, while next week Speak Out California will provide you with a comprehensive and updated list of important legislation. Please be sure to read the next Weekly Update, as it will be critical in understanding the issues of our state!
We here at Speak Out California hope to be able to keep you up-to-date on all of this and any signings or vetoes by the Governor in the weeks and months ahead, so
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And now, for the week’s goings-on:

California to Al Gore: We will make you even prouder
Amid all the well-deserved homage being paid to Nobel prize winner and former Vice President Al Gore, is a message unique to Californians.
Washington is too beholden to the gas, oil, and auto industries to seriously address global warming. The Bush administration is hell-bent on denial and delay. Bush, Cheney, and their rapacious cronies in the dinosaur energy biz are preoccupied with devising ways to block California’s landmark global warming law, AB 32 (Pavley).
In Congress, the Senate voted to raise fuel economy standards for automobiles, only to have the popular mandate stymied in the House by powerful and profoundly destructive Rep. John Dingell of Detroit, married to a GM executive and notorious for blocking desperately needed progress in automotive technology on everything from seat belts and air bags to stronger bumpers and improved fuel economy.
Until we have a new Presidential administration that is pro-environment, and Rep. Dingell leaves Congress, the only way we will make progress on auto fuel economy- the leading way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions- is for the states to lead. By default, California is on the front lines of the battle to curb the climate-changing gases that are destroying our planet.
What we as Californians do in our personal lives, and in our policies, will ultimately determine whether we make progress now, or years from now, when it may be too late.
In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now, the single most vital piece of legislation you can get behind is AB 493, the Clean Car Rebate Bill. AB 493 will provide up to $2500 in rebates to purchasers of higher-efficiency SUVs, pickups, vans, and sedans, totally funded by an added surcharge on gas guzzlers.
AB 493, authored by Assemblymember Ira Ruskin, is supported by a long list of environmental groups, consumer organizations, scientists with expertise in curbing global warming, faith-based organizations, and forward-thinking, socially responsible businesses.
Click here for Ruskin’s news release about AB 493.
Here’s a fact sheet about AB 493, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, the leading sponsors of the legislation.
Car dealers, who prefer to have customers spend their dollars on high-profit, but virtually worthless items like “theft etch” and unusable service contracts, rather than less-profitable improved fuel systems, are out to kill the bill. GM, Ford, and Chrysler, whose market share continues to dwindle, while their rivals can’t keep up with demand for Toyota Priuses and Honda Fits, is also aggressively opposing AB 493.
How can you help gain passage of AB 493?
Call the following crucial “swing” vote lawmakers, and let them know you are counting on them to stand up to the auto industry Neanderthals and pass AB 493. (Note: they are all Democrats. All but a handful of Democratic lawmakers in Sacramento already support AB 493. But no Republican will vote for it- they are way too beholden to auto and oil interests to take a stand for the environment, and they fear being replaced in their next primary elections if they do the right thing.) The next vote is crucial, and is scheduled for January, 2008.
Here are the lawmakers who still haven’t heard from enough of us to get the message yet:
CA Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (Los Angeles, Huntington Park), phone: 916-319-2046
Assemblymember Mike Davis (Los Angeles), phone: 916-319-2048
Assemblymember Hector De La Torre (Bell, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, Downey, Linwood, South Gate), phone: 916-319-2050
Assemblymember Mervin Dymally (Compton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Paramount), phone: 916-319-2052
Assemblymember Ed Hernandez (Azusa, Baldwin Park, Covina, Industry, Irwindale, La Puente, Valinda, West Covina), phone: 916-319-2057
Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes (North Hollywood, Pacoima, Panorama City, San Fernando, Sun Valley, Sylmar), phone: 916-319-2039
Assemblymember Tony Mendoza (Artesia, Buena Park, Cerritos, Hawiian Gardens, Lakewood, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, Whittier), phone: 916-319-2056
Please call your legislators and tell them to support AB 493!
The Rest of the Story
Our blogging offerings for the week:
National Healthcare Policy State-by-State?- by Stuart Kasdan, UCSB Graduate Student in Political Science
“Paper or Plastic?”- by Assemblymember Lloyd Levine
Things Change When We Realize we are the Government- by Dave Johnson

To read and comment on these and other entries just go to: www.speakoutca.org/weblog/
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As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions and hope you send this newsletter to your friends and other like-minded progressives. Urge them to sign up to Speak Out California, and keep the progressive voice alive and growing.
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Until next week,
Rosemary Shahan and the Speak Out California Team