Wednesday, March 30, 2011

UPDATE: CLCV Says Hahn's "Flip-Flop-Flip" on Oil Extraction Tax Factored In Bowen Endorsement

In an interview with the LA Weekly, California League of Conservations Voters SoCal director, David Algood, expanded on his organization's decision to back Debra Bowen over her rival Janice Hahn.
"Debra has a much longer record on the environment," said David Allgood, CLCV's Southern California director. "We know her to be a leader that doesn't knuckle under to pressure from special interests."

Allgood said the League had taken note of Hahn's flip-flop-flip on the L.A. oil severance tax. She proposed the tax last fall, before changing her mind and trying to keep it off the ballot. When it went on the ballot anyway, she then supported it. (It narrowly failed.)

"One of the things we considered was the ability of somebody to put their finger in the wind and change positions that quickly," Allgood said. "For her to have one position one day and the opposite position the next -- that was a big concern."
Back on March 4th, Venice For Change ran a story about Hahn's "flip-flop-flip", on Measure O, the ballot initiative to tax oil taken from within LA City limits she was for before she was against it before she was for it.

Responding to reports in this blog and also at Calitics, Janice Hahn apparently tried 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  reported that Hahn  reversed her position again 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.

Measure O was narrowly defeated in the March 8 special election.


  1. Marta:

    This is Noel Weiss

    I need to understand something. . . . You are being critical of Janice Hahn as not being progressive on the environment because she sponsored Measure O and then decided (rightly as it turned out) that it could not pass?

    Do I have that right? (I mean 'left' - Just Kidding).

    Meanwhile, this fact is touted by the California League of Conservation Voters as a reason to deny Janice Hahn their endorsement and give it to Debra Bowen.

    Did the California League of Conservation Voters back Measure O? Did the LA League of Conservation Voters back Measure O? Answer: No. Are either against the environment? Obviously not.

    Perhaps had they both gone to Janice and said to her that they would vigorously back Janice in her efforts to get this severance tax passed, then Janice would have come to a different conclusion in terms of putting Measure O on the ballot. . . and maybe it would have passed. But neither did. . . and Measure O lost (as Janice perceived it would).

    Marta, it is again both intellectually dishonest and needlessly self-serving for the Bowen supporters to distort the record this way. It does a disservice to Debra Bowen, who for all intents and purposes, looks to be a very progressive Democrat (and we are fortunate to have both of them wanting to represent this District).

    But honestly, let's be fair and objective here. What State environmental legislation did Debra Bowen author and lead which got enacted? I admit to not having researched the issue. . . but I'm assuming that if there was some significant legislation, the website would cite it. The endorsement from the California League of Conservation Voters does not specify or identify legislation passed. . . It has only a vague reference to legislation authored.

    While it is true that Debra Bowen was a co-author of AB 32, that fight was led by its main author, Fran Pavley (who I acknowledge has endorsed Debra), not by Debra Bowen, and the real push in getting it passed came from the negotiating skills of State Senator Darrell Steinberg (who has endorsed neither candidate).

    Now Marta, let's look objectively at Janice Hahn's environmental record. First off, we have multiple endorsements for her from the LA League of Conservation Voters in 2001, 2005, and 2009. Obviously, if Janice was not good for the environment, then she would not have earned those endorsements.

    At the Port of Los Angeles (part of Janice's Council District), we have four significant initiatives that Janice brought about. . . not 'help' bring about. . .not 'co-assisted' in bringing about. . . but the person who was the catalyst for change. . . the transformational leader. . . the transcendent leader. . . . the person with the idea who, because of her top-notch emotional intelligence, her common sense, and her keen political instincts (which did prove accurate on Measure O), she was able to deliver for the people, empower the people, and bend the system to bring us closer to a higher level of environmental and economic justice. - To Be Continued).

  2. (Continued from earlier post by Noel Weiss):

    #1: Janice's effort early in her term to have the freight trucks hauling goods away from the port change their hours so that there was less traffic on the freeways. . . Less traffic meant less pollution from cars backed up. Everyone (and I mean everyone) told Janice that it could not be done. . . She was told it was needlessly disruptive to business. . . This was the way things were done. . . "Can't Happen". . . Janice made it happen. . . All-night cargo moving operations began. . which cut down on air pollution. . . That's a major win. . .The reason: Janice Hahn. . .

    #2: Then there was the issue of ships in Harbor burning diesel fuel and polluting the air. . . . Solution: Janice Hahn pushed for and achieved a solution where the ships could plug into electrical outlets at the dock to run the ship's operations while in port. . . Tangible result: Less Pollution at the Port. . . Janice Hahn was instrumental in making this happen. . .

    #3: Green Truck Program: Another instance where the skeptics questioned the economic viability of an environmental alternative. . .Replace the diesel trucks with new trucks that are more environmentally friendly. . . . The Result: The LA Green Truck Program. . . a battle led by Janice Hahn. . . There was, of course, opposition, both before and after the legislation. . . But that opposition has been overcome and again, pollution at the port is far less. . . . Janice Hahn was an integral part of the effort. . . . Has the State League of Conservation Voters noticed? By the way, that's less pollution for Venice and the South Bay as well.

    #4 The Trapac - China Shipping Settlement - Here's where Janice Hahn was able to integrate a practical, progressive, principled solution and win the support of everyone involved (all parties - from business, to labor, to environmentalists. . . to the 'little guy'). . . a true exercise in enlightened leadership. . . finding the overlap without sacrificing her core beliefs.

    China Shipping wanted to expand its terminal at the Port to accommodate the increased commerce (40+% of all of the goods that are sold in the US enter through the Port of Los Angeles). The problem: The impact on the environment. As a direct result of Janice Hahn's enlightened, creative, and imaginative leadership, the people of San Pedro and Wilmington are now empowered as a result of the creation of a $50 Million Environmental Mitigation Fund over which they will maintain control. The first $5 Million was recently authorized to be spent on installing filters in the local schools.

    These are not minor achievements Marta. . . They represent the skill of a political leader who has delivered for the people on environmental issues (and other social progressive issues as well). . . often against a backdrop of 'status quo' politics where change is resisted and significant challenges needed to be overcome.

    While I respect the California League of Conservation Voters, it is clear that they have not given Jance Hahn's environmental record a fair and thorough vetting. . . particularly where they cite as a criticism the fact of Janice's (correctly as it turned out) having backed away from putting the oil severance tax on the ballot. . .That contention rings hallow when it is not clear that they supported it themselves. . . or that environmental groups were there to back Janice's efforts. . . or that they were prepared to either work with Janice or give her credit for her efforts (particularly since it is not clear that the California League of Conservation Voters has ever given Janice credit for anything).

    (To Be Continued)

  3. (Continued from Prior Two Posts by Noel Weiss)

    In short, Marta, your 'post' is not objective or fair in its critique of Janice Hahn. . . and, for the reasons noted, is intellectually dishonest. . . This campaign is supposed to ferret out the issues and provide the voters with objective information on all the candidates. Reasonable minds will differ on whether to vote for Janice Hahn or Debra Bowen. I strongly endorse Janice Hahn because I've seen her fighting hard in the trenches for the people and succeeding, often beyond anyone's expectations. I admit to not knowing Debra Bowen. Others have had the opposite experience and that's completely understandable. But for you, the California League of Conservation Voters, or anyone else to imply that Janice Hahn is not reliable on the environment when she has done so much and has occupied the cutting edge of progressive change on major environmental challenges is not right.

    Janice Hahn's environmental credentials are impeccable. . . beyond impeccable in fact.

    Janice Hahn will deliver for the people of CD 36. . . There is no question about it.

    Noel Weiss