Sunday, February 25, 2007

Selfhood & Politics

Egos and rhetoric have been influencing politics since the first human was influenced by the second, so no surprise there; but that is how things get worked out, selfhood struggling against institutions.

Editorial: Hot air, egos threaten fight against warming
For landmark law to be effective, legislative leaders, governor must work together
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, February 25, 2007

When California enacted landmark legislation last year to combat global warming, it seemed like a love fest for state leaders who helped pass the bill -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata.

But appearances can be deceptive. Behind the façade of a united front, these three leaders harbored deep differences on how California should reduce its greenhouse emissions, and how quickly. Those differences came to the fore last week, and the result wasn't pretty.

The fireworks started when Perata held a press conference Thursday to unveil a package of eight Senate bills to reduce carbon dioxide, methane and other gases linked to global warming. Perata said these bills would help California move quickly on meeting goals of last year's Assembly Bill 32 -- which calls for a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 -- while also reducing diesel soot and other pollution that is endangering Californians now.

The Senate package includes some strong elements, including a bill to create incentives for smarter regional planning, thus reducing car trips and vehicle emissions. Other bills called for stronger renewable energy standards, further pollution reductions at state ports and new standards for cars and fuels sold in the state.

Perata, however, didn't spend much time consulting with the Schwarzenegger administration or Núñez's office on these ideas. Núñez, whose Assembly members are working on their own bills, was noticeably lukewarm. Schwarzenegger was more fiery, suggesting that Perata was undermining last year's compromise.

"We cannot abandon AB 32 just seven weeks after it became law," the governor said in a statement.