An “environmentalist’s” voting recommendations

Charles McGlashan serves as the President of the Marin County Board of Supervisors, and is running for re-election to the board. On his website he notes that “has worked throughout his career to promote sustainability, energy efficiency and renewable power.” These are certainly worthy goals. Yet, this politician makes an error that really undermines the sustainability he seeks. Just look at his recommendations for the November ballot. He recommends many people who simply are not fiscally responsible. Office holders and seekers who know — as Jim Judd puts it — that one dollar in revenue is one dollar that can be spent are the ones we want. Those who refuse to live within their means (at any level of government) cannot continue as elected officials. This is vital because we already have a mountain of debt at the local, state, and federal levels. We cannot continue to stack on even more debt. Yet, these people whom Supervisor McGlashan endorses have records of spending without care. Barbara Boxer and Lynn Woolsey top that list of fiscally irresponsible career politicians.

Check Charles McGlashan’s own endorsements. Along with SEIU and NOW (among others), he has been endorsed by the Sierra Club. This organization has a marked tendency to endorse left-wing candidates who want “progressive” environmental action. On Supervisor McGlashan’s list of issues, the environment gets top billing. Scrolling down the page, there isn’t a section about JOBS or about reducing government interference in our lives. The section on “Vital Economy” is mainly a litany of restrictions related to supposed environmental concerns.

Again, there is nothing wrong with a responsible attitude and action toward protecting our environment. But we are not living in a museum here in District 6. We are living breathing human beings who need to be employed in permanent, meaningful jobs. And we need governments at all levels to stop spending money on everything under the sun. Each level of government should provide certain key services to the populace, but government is not our Mommy. It cannot provide everything for everybody. It must know its proper limits and stay within them. People have to be able to make decisions, set up businesses, spend their money as they decide is best, and be accorded a realm of freedom and independence. Environmentalists, like those running the Sierra Club (here is a September interview with Executive Director Michael Brune), lost sight of the needs of human beings in their zeal to protect our planet. And they lose sight of the hard economic and fiscal facts. They think money grows on trees like oranges or plums. They will insert bike paths in county budgets that are already in deficit. They don’t seem to comprehend that any country must have a solid fiscal system in order to carry out plans and programs. If our cities, counties, states, or country defaults, the Sierra Club and its agenda will fall off the radar screen. In order to ensure ongoing progress in strengthening our environment and conserving our resources, we have to have a stable, sensible government in place that understands and implements solid fiscal principles.

Perusing Supervisor McGlashon’s recommendations on the propositions doesn’t instill confidence in his judgment. His descriptions are skewed to his own bias. 

For instance, he is opposed to continuing with citizen redistricting commissions (Prop. 20) and supports Prop. 27 which would eliminate that citizen commission. As I wrote previously, Lynn Woolsey gave $5000 to Prop. 27. She and Charles McGlashon want the state legislature to again take on this duty. The problem is the legislature’s gerrymandering which results in ridiculously shaped districts to assist the majority party (currently the Democrats, of course) in keeping many “safe” districts.

 His view on Prop. 23, which would suspend AB 32, the Global Warming Act of 2006, is no surprise. This proposition requires serious thought. Its supporters boil it down to, ” ‘The primary issue here is jobs. We need to concentrate on creating jobs and economic prosperity now.’ ” The opponents reply, ” ‘While some companies in California have said they’re worried about the cost of the planned greenhouse gas limits, the new regulations will boost the state’s economy by creating ‘clean-tech jobs.’ ” How many jobs either way? That is a point of great and largely unverified contention. The supervisor has harsh words for the Prop. 23: “Another stupid self-serving gambit by myopic corporations, similar to Prop 16 in June. Sadly we’re watching the ruination of the proposition method for governance in California.” But voters should be cautious about this kind of condemnation. The scope of global warming (or whatever it is called these days) and its causes (natural, man-made or some of both) are, quite frankly, not at all certain. Although we have to enable future generation to enjoy at least the same kind of environmental quality that we have enjoyed, we must be careful not to engage policies that unnecessarily harm us. This is not a cut-and-dried issue because there is no reliable scientific agreement on whether the stringent air pollution restrictions in AB 32 are necessary. Charles McGlashon and others who call themselves environmentalists may be erring on the side of far too much regulation at a time when it is more harmful to us than not. I suggest everyone study this issue for themselves and that they not rely on one side or the other’s spin.

Basically, Supervisor McGlashon illustrates the unfortunate connection between the left and environmental organizations and agendas. This is unfortunate because many of us who are not on the left side of the political spectrum believe many environmental/conservationist causes and plans are constructive and important for our general welfare as clean, healthful communities. The main problem is that the left has co-opted the environmentalist movement, convincing their leaders that only “progressive” (ultra-liberal) politicians should be supported because they will go to any lengths and spend any amount of money to enact the expansive, collectivist plans that these environmental leaders propose. In effect, the leaders of the major environmentalist groups such as the Sierra Club, are so focused on their own aims that they no longer recognize the need for more balance, more reliable information and empirical research, and for fiscal responsibility. And the political leaders on th left are only too happy to encourage and enable this myopia for their own ends of broadening government control over all aspects of our lives.

Environmentalists need to reassess how invested they are in the leftist agenda (which Lynn Woolsey completely supports in word and deed). They should recognize that more conservative political candidates may not be willing to rubber stamp their every wish but will certainly be open to working closely with them in a reasoned, thoughtful way for the betterment of our local area, our state, and our nation. We all want quality air, water, land, etc. It is time for everyone, including those who are professional environmentalists, to see reality. The reality is that we cannot go on spending money as we have, and that means that everyone has to reassess what is possible and how to get there.

UPDATE: After first posting this, I saw this article from The Telegraph about the resignation from the American Physical Society of Hal Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara. Prof. Lewis had been involved in global warming studies and now wants to dissassociate himself from the global warming scientific community. He writes:

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

Please read the entire letter. We really do have to be very careful about how we proceed regarding global warming issues. Environmentalists have to see beyond their ingrained attitudes and accepted ideas too and recognize that a reformulation of this whole issue should be undertaken.

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About district6voter

A concerned Northern California citizen who believes Representative Lynn Woolsey ought to be replaced in November, 2010.
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