California Proposition 23 Election Results: Big Green Defeats Big Oil in Contentious Showdown Over What's Best for California's Economy

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Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 11:49 PM

click to enlarge "No on 23" campaign poster
  • "No on 23" campaign poster
Update, 11:46 p.m.: With 39 percent of California precincts reporting, Prop. 23 is heading for a major loss -- 59 percent of voters oppose the ballot measure while 41 percent support it.

Opponents of Proposition 23 won a major victory tonight, shooting down the ballot measure that would have suspended California's strict greenhouse-emissions law, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The contest was something of a showdown between clean tech firms and wealthy oil companies, with each side claiming that California's economic future was at stake. Big Oil said Proposition 23 would save over a million jobs, while Big Green argued the ballot measure would kill 500,000 jobs and a burgeoning "green economy" that would produce many more jobs.

Voters apparently believed the Big Green argument was stronger.

Many California college students were also involved in the "No on 23" fight, worried that the ballot measure would stall a clean technology economy and hurt their chances of landing a "green job" once they graduated from school.

In a L.A. Weekly cover story, Gabe Elsner, a 23-year-old environmental activist, organized college students up and down California to defeat Prop. 23. Elsner wanted the youth vote to turn out in force and stop the ballot measure.

According to the "No on 23" campaign, early exit polling showed that liberal and moderate Republicans opposed Prop. 23.

With the win, many experts predict that a green economy is poised to take off in California, possibly becoming a key component of an economic rebound in the Golden State.

During her victory speech, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer referred to the Proposition 23 battle, saying, "We beat the Texas polluters tonight!"

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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