Kern County petroleum industry workers are concerned that Gov. Newsom and Steyer will seize on the opportunity of the crisis to permanently put them out of work
A Partisan Task Force of 80 Elites
On Friday April 17, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, appointed green energy hedge fund manager Tom Steyer as co-chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery along with Ann O’Leary, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Governor. The Task Force is composed of 80 members that reads like a who’s who of the California Democrat Party. Members include:
- Symbolic honorary members are four former California governors
- The leaders of the Democrat and Republican parties in the state legislature
- High profile billionaire CEO’s of Apple, Facebook, Disney, Goldman Sachs, LA Times, etc.
- Heads of government labor unions and Indian tribes
- CEO’s of public utilities, California Teachers and Farm Labor Associations
- Prominent real estate developers, construction and grocer associations
- CEO’s of upscale fashion companies, chefs and sports teams (Patagonia, LA Clippers)
A potential public perception of partisanship is that heads of green energy and consulting companies perhaps looking for bailouts were included on the Task Force. Included was the failed business and rumored bankruptcy candidate Bloom Energy, which was on Steyer’s delegation to the Paris Climate negotiations in 2015).
A day before Steyer’s appointment he wrote an article posted on GreenTechMedia.com stating: “A pandemic is no time to pander to the fossil fuel industry.”
Democrats will be politically and ethically tested for how fast they can get people back to work when, in a presidential election year, they have no incentive to do so
Kern County petroleum industry workers are concerned that Gov. Newsom and Steyer will seize on the opportunity of the crisis to permanently put them out of work. Steyer contradicted himself when he was quoted in The Hollywood Reporter: “We believe very confidently these are not permanent moments,” referring to the skyrocketing unemployment rate in the state.
Steyer again contradicted himself when he stated in a press release reported on the website CalMatters.org, that he was going to develop “recommendations for a recovery plan that works for all Californians, with an emphasis on those communities hardest hit by the pandemic.”
Steyer has made contradictory promises of non-partisanship but also vowed that “a pandemic is no time to pander to the fossil fuel industry,” despite a world-wide gas price war, less demand for gasoline due to government shutdowns of businesses and home confinements of residents, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs lost in oil producing Kern County alone in just March, 2020.
Republicans and Business Locked Out of Recovery Task Force
Conspicuously absent on the Recovery Task Force was representation from the California Independent Petroleum Industry, the Bay Area Petroleum Industry, California Black Business Association, California Black Chamber of Commerce, California Small Business Association, Apartment Owners Association, California Association of Realtors, Minority Apartment Owner’s Association, California Farm Bureau, California Hotel and Lodging Association or other more Republican-leaning voluntary business organizations.
Religious services and schools also need to be restored but neither the Southern California Archdiocese of the Catholic Church nor the Salvation Army Golden State Headquarters were invited. But somehow San Francisco owner and chef of the Slanted Door Restaurant, Charles Phan, made it on the list.
Neither did the governor or Steyer articulate any consideration of a regulatory moratorium as called for by many affected industries.
Call for Nonpartisanship
Assemblyman Kevin Riley (R) of Sacramento issued a call for non-partisanship on Twitter:
“We need a nonpartisan figure to lead our economic recovery. By anointing California’s largest political donor, billionaire Tom Steyer, it’s hard to imagine @GavinNewcom more wildly missing the mark.”
Someone of the stature of Republican and former gubernatorial candidate and CEO of Ebay, Meg Whitman, who is presently CEO of Quibi, an internet streaming service, would have been a potential candidate that could have provided balance to the Task Force that both parties could have united around.
Steyer Was Proponent of Prop 39 in 2012
Steyer was the lead proponent and designer of Proposition 39 in California in 2012. Prop 39 was a $1 billion per year special tax assessed on out-of-state businesses doing business in California. Half of the taxes collected were designated for installation of solar energy panels on public schools in California from which Steyer’s green power investments could have benefitted. The liberal San Francisco Chronicle newspaper opposed the initiative because it corrupted a good idea of green energy with a bad idea of ballot box budgeting. Prop. 39 passed with 61 percent of the vote.
At the time Steyer funded the Prop. 39 effort, he was a relatively unknown figure. The first expose´ that Steyer was both a green power advocate and, at that time, an investor in “dirty coal power” was my article “Prop 39 Backer Has Millions Invested in Dirty Coal, Big Oil, Nuclear and Hydraulic Fracking” (the original article has been removed from the internet).
On February 28, 2020, Steyer dropped out of the Democrat presidential primary after spending $13 million in ads and handing out free bacon and grits breakfasts for voters in South Carolina in a losing effort. The lingering question with Steyer as co-chair of the California C-Virus economic recovery task force will be: Will he be interested in divvying out only partisan political pork or in impartially getting people back to work in a timely manner?
Democrats will be politically and ethically tested for how fast they can get people back to work when, in a presidential election year, they have no incentive to do so, even though business shutdowns were the result of Democrat policy to not triage the virus outbreak.
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