Proposition 7 Backers
Arizona Billionare, Sacramento Lobbyist Take Spotlight
Publicly disclosed financing for California Proposition 7 has come from two sources: $4.8 million from Peter Sperling, a billionare native of Arizona, and $100,000 from Gonzalez & Associates, LLC, a Sacramento-based lobbying firm. 1
Peter Sperling, son of University of Arizona founder and Apollo Group founder John Sperling has a history of involvement in California politics, supporting education, health care, medical marijuana, and sentencing reform. The elder Sperling also has a history of supporting progressive causes.
Opponents of the Proposition have opined that it is the misguided product of good intentions, noting John and Peter Sterling's history of supporting liberal causes.
“It could slam the brakes on renewable energy development in the state,” asserts a letter signed by the California Solar Energy Industries Assn., the American Wind Energy Assn., labor unions and environmentalists.
“John Sperling is genuinely well-intentioned and wants to do something about global warming,” said Ralph Cavanagh, a Natural Resources Defense Council expert who met with the 87-year-old billionaire. “But the initiative was put together by people who didn’t know what they were doing.”2
Jim Gonzalez, President of Gonzalez & Associates, has served as Proposition 7's chief strategist. 3 Although frequently described only as a "former San Francisco County Supervisor" -- a role to which he was appointed by Dianne Feinstein -- Gonzalez has, since the mid-1990s, been a lobbyist for various clients, including Feinstein.
Supporters: [The Enemy of Your Enemy is Your Friend]
Telephone canvassing messages supporting the resolution -- some not identifying Proposition 7 by name -- have highlighting the opposition of the large private utilities to the measure, while vilianizing those companies. The utilities make an easy target, given their history of receiving ratepayer and taxpayer bailouts and their role in authoring deregulation legislation, which set the stage for the Electricity Crisis of 2000 and 2001. PG&E is particularly notorious because it delivered blackouts to Northern California in 2001 and regularly dumps millions of dollars into political campaigns.
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2. Measure on energy draws fire, latimes.com,
3. California ballot: Betting on Big Solar, NewsReview.com, 07/03/08