CEQA reform supporters and Democrats must be feeling a bit like Juliet in a Shakespeare tragedy, ever since Sen. Michael Rubio announced he was leaving the Senate to become a lobbyist at Chevron.
The move leaves Senate Democrats without a supermajority and leaves CEQA reformers without a moderate Democrat capable of bridging both extremes in the debate over modifying (or "updating" or "modernizing" or "gutting") the California Environmental Quality Act.
You can imagine his suitors alone on the balcony, speaking into the night:
O Rubio, Rubio, wherefore art thou, Rubio?
Deny thy father Chevron and refuse thy name;
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, etc., etc.
Too late. Rubio has made his decision, as mysterious as it may be. Yet the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle can't quite figure out what to make of it in a Monday editorial.
A legislator leaving office certainly has a right to earn a living, though there is something unseemly about a politician instantly joining a company that was so closely affected by his public work.
Unseemly, yes, especially if Chevron uses Rubio to elect a Republican in his old seat. That would make it harder for Democrats to retain the supermajority in the Senate in 2014, depending on what happens in other races. That would give the company a boost in its agenda, which includes changes to the low carbon fuel standard, delay in AB 32 implementation, loose fracking rules, etc.
Meanwhile, Democrats continue to pine for Rubio:
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet;
So Rubio would, were he not Rubio call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Rubio, doff thy name,
and for thy name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
Yep. We could sell tickets to this little drama.
This post was updated from the original to clarify that Rubio's departure is unlikely to have a permanent impact on the Democrats' supermajority until 2014.