Low voter turnout did not stand in the way of victory for Sierra Club’s causes and candidates in California’s June 3 primary election.
For the second time in three years, environmental groups joined with our allies to defeat a radical property-owners’ measure that would have harmed our air, water and wildlands, sending Proposition 98 down to defeat. At the same time, voters approved Proposition 99, a sensible measure to protect homes from abuses of government’s eminent domain power.
In legislative primaries up and down the state, candidates with compelling environmental records and platforms triumphed. Sierra Club endorsed nine candidates for state Senate, and all nine won. We endorsed in 31 state Assembly races, and our candidate prevailed in 30 of those.
These victories mean the 2009-10 session of the State Legislature will feature numerous environmental champions. California’s legislative districts are almost all safe for one party or the other, so the primary elections have already determined the next holders of most of these seats.
Former Assemblymember Fran Pavley, author of the two most important global warming laws ever passed in the United States, will return to the Capitol as a senator from the coastal Los Angeles area. Three San Francisco Bay Area Assemblymembers with excellent records – Mark Leno, Mark DeSaulnier and Loni Hancock – will also move to the Senate.
The Assembly freshman class also stars a galaxy of green champions. Winning their primaries with Sierra Club’s endorsement were Waste Board member and former senator Wes Chesbro, Air Resources Board member and San Mateo County Supervisor Jerry Hill (if his current lead holds up), Berkeley environmentalist Nancy Skinner, San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano, Silicon Valley educator Paul Fong, Monterey lawyer Bill Monning, former Congressional staffer Bob Blumenfield in the San Fernando Valley, labor leader John Perez in East Los Angeles, and Long Beach City Councilmember Bonnie Lowenthal.