Friday, March 4, 2011

Rewriting History, Janice Hahn Now Says She Supports Ballot Initiative To Tax Big Oil

When it comes to Measure O, the ballot initiative to tax oil taken from within LA City limits, Janice Hahn was for it before she was against it before she was for it.

Responding to reports in this blog and also at Calitics, Janice Hahn is apparently trying to rewrite history in regards to Measure O, the oil severance tax she opposed putting before voters for the March 8th special election.

The City Maven wesbsite is reporting tonight that Hahn is once more reversing her position on Measure O, releasing a statement in support.

“I’ve always supported an oil extraction tax, and I continue to support it. In fact, during my recent campaign for lieutenant governor, I proposed a statewide oil extraction fee to help fund higher education,” Hahn said. “I support Measure O. I proposed Measure O. I will vote for Measure O. I hope Measure O passes.”

Quibbling with the past, Hahn went on to say that her no vote was out of an abundance of concern regarding voter turnout.

“I supported placing Measure O on a regular election ballot where turnout and participation is higher and it would have a greater likelihood of passing. I opposed placing it on the March ballot because turnout is substantially lower and less representative of the electorate as a whole,” Hahn said.

According to City Maven, a review of of the November 17th council meeting shows there was no mention of voter turnout in regards to the oil tax. At the time, Hahn was quoted as saying,

“I’ve reconsidered this and I have heard from various business groups who do feel like this might be the wrong climate to put this on the ballot. We know the oil companies are probably going to mount a massive campaign to defeat this and at the end of the day, the way we’ve structured it, really would only generate around $2 million to the city of Los Angeles. So, at this time, it is my recommendation that we don’t put this forward on the ballot.”

KCET reports that the measure is opposed by the California Independent Petroleum Association, , which has lobbied extensively to expand offshore drilling off the coast of California and in ANWAR, opposes Cap and Trade, and any limits to hydraulic fracturing (aka "fracking"), a controversial and dangerous means of natural gas extraction made famous by the HBO movie, "Gasland" 

According the KCET, CIPA has given more than $400,000 to California candidates from 2001 to 2010. Sixty-two percent of those candidates were Republicans.

Some of Measure O's opponents have gone on to endorse Janice Hahn in her bid to win the Congressional seat vacated by Jane Harman.


  1. This line of attack against Hahn feels very Fox News-ish. You're better than that. She supports the tax and sounds like it was her idea. She wanted to make sure it passed when more Dems vote--unlike a 12% March turnout. That wasn't pro-Oil companies, that was just smart. Now the damn thing's going to lose because the Council didn't listen to Hahn to put it on the 2012 ballot.

  2. I'd be more inclined to accept your premise if Hahn hadn't apparently come up with this rationale just today.

    It's far more likely Hahn simply bowed to intense pressure from the gas and oil lobby in her district. This ought to raise questions with voters, since the energy lobby in DC is worse by orders of magnitude. How will we know she'll be a dependable environmental vote on Capitol Hill?

  3. It's quite obvious that Hahn has always been supportive of Measure O based on her statement--which appears to be in response to this suggestion that she opposed the measure. It's not like she's just now changing her position, she's merely clarifying and responding to the false accusation. I think that's appropriate here given that someone (likely Bowen's camp) is attempting to rewrite history for their own political advantage. Though I understand politically why they will want to, It's going to be very difficult for any of the Democrats in this race to characterize the other as conservative, war mongering, union busting, wall street loving, polluting Republicans.

    Those that try will likely lose my vote because it is fundamentally insulting to well-informed progressive Democrats.

  4. Anonymous. I would love for you to point out where anyone was suggesting Hahn was a conservative, war mongering, union busting, wall street loving, polluting Republican. You're making a strawman argument, just as anyone who claims their candidate is the "real" progressive. If I had a dime for every time supporters made that argument, I'd be rich.

    While I have no doubt Hahn supports the idea of an oil extraction tax in theory, I do question wether she has it in her to withstand the intense pressure of special interest groups and vote the courage of her convictions.

    The fact that she went back and forth then back again and apparently felt she needed to make up a reason out of whole cloth about why she opposed Measure O to begin with ought to raise a red flag with voters and prompt LOTS of questions.