The Texas golfer plot against California

Supporters of Proposition 23 have more in common than their hatred of climate legislation

Topics: Proposition 23, How the World Works, California, Global Warming, Golf, Texas,

The Texas golfer plot against CaliforniaGolf course. Instructor is putting ball into hole.(Credit: Matjaz Boncina)

If you were watching a movie, and you saw a scene in which a group of oil company executives assembled on a Texas golf course and, in between making off-color jokes about Tiger Woods and shanking their drives, conspired together on how best to screw over California, you might well dismiss the plot twist as ludicrously heavy-handed. Enough with the stereotypes! Even the TV show “Dallas” was cleverer than that!

But reality is often far more stupid than fiction can ever hope to be. CaliforniaWatch environmental reporter Susanne Rust tells us today about a heretofore unsuspected link between the out-of-state funders of the Prop 23 campaign to gut California’s climate legislation: They all play golf together.

California Watch has found that of the 10 out-of-state companies contributing to the “Yes on 23″ campaign since mid-May, nine attended and contributed to Valero’s 2009 charity annual golf tournament in San Antonio, Texas.

Valero would not release the 2010 roster to California Watch. However, since Valero began hosting the event in 2003, most of the same sponsors have returned every year, said Bill Day, Valero’s spokesman.

OK, let’s concede that Day has a point when he notes that it shouldn’t be all that big a surprise that a bunch of energy companies would all be concerned about Californian laws that threaten to cut into their profits by forcing them to clean up their petrochemical polluting act. But it’s still kind of funny. According to Rust, this year’s tournament “ran from May 10 through May 16. Contributions from out-of-state companies started coming in on May 14.” These guys were practically writing checks while walking down the fairway!

The good news, for Californians who want to keep the state’s tremendous clean energy investment boom rolling along, is that lately, the No on Prop 23 campaign has been raising ridiculously more cash than the Yes on 23 folks.

Todd Woody reports:

As it turns out, the No on 23 campaign is outspending the Texans. Big time. Case in point: Over the past few days, the No forces have collected $5 million from venture capitalists, New York financiers, renewable energy companies, and other deep-pocketed backers, according to California Secretary of State records.

The Yes campaign, meanwhile, has received only a single $10,000 donation over the past week, from a Houston company that provides services to the oil and petrochemical industries. The last big contribution to the Yes coffers was a $100,000 donation made on Sept. 13.

(I can only assume that No on 23 strategy sessions were conducted while playing Ultimate Frisbee and grinding up hills on grueling century rides.)

An illuminating illustration of the geographical distribution of Prop 23 campaign finance contributions can be found here.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>