The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

November 1, 2008
T. Boone Pickens - the P.T. Barnum of ballot props - moves to victory
It looks increasingly likely that Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens will fool California voters into approving $5 billion in taxpayer financed bonds for Proposition 10 on Tuesday.

The latest Field Poll shows Prop. 10 up 49-39 amid a blitz of television ads paid for by Pickens' Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which has poured roughly $20 million into passing the measure.

The Prop. 10 campaign is also trying to con voters into thinking their initiative has something to do with Barack Obama's energy plan. See this email from Prop. 10's campaign team.  Yes on 10 Obama email.pdf

Its hard to remember another proposition in which voters have been so fooled into lining the pockets of a billionaire. Among other things, Proposition 10 would give consumers rebates for purchasing vehicles powered by natural gas. That would benefit Pickens' company, which markets natural gas fueling stations.

Would there be some environmental benefit from Prop. 10? Sure. It would subsidize purchases of fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles. But consumers are already moving to hybrids, partly because of tax incentives. There's little argument for a new subsidy, especially one that would add hundreds of million of dollars to California's yearly debt payments, taking money from schools and other programs.

Are California voters so easily manipulated they'd approve this proposition, based a few feel-good television ads? Sadly, it looks that way. We'll find out Tuesday.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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