President Bill Clinton was in San Francisco last night, continuing his campaign for California’s Proposition 87. But audience members hoping to catch a glimpse of Big Bill got more than they bargained for. Two hours after they arrived — following performances and appearances by Third Eye Blind’s Stephan Jenkins, Bonnie Raitt, Eva Longoria, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom — the former president finally took the stage, getting down to the business of continuing his campaign for the ballot measure. Proposition 87 proposes a higher extraction fee on oil companies (which historically have been lower in California than in most other states in the country), taxes that will generate a fund to be used for the research and development of alternative energy solutions — solutions that are long overdue. As with most voter initiatives, dollars and debate have ruled the campaign. Oil companies have spent nearly $100 million against Proposition 87, with numerous commercials claiming that gasoline prices will fly through the roof and that revenue for civil service and education will decrease. Check out one example here.
But many don’t buy this persuasive tactic. Vinod Khosla, the entrepreneur with all the answers, gives us a rundown on why oil companies are quite full of it, for lack of a better phrase, and why the global price of oil will not change with the increased extraction fee on oil companies in California and therefore why the price you pay at the pump will not be affected by this tax.
Yet Prop. 87 has even some left-leaning environmentally-conscious consumers a bit skeptical. If the tax is going to be used for the increased production of ethanol which is created using a huge amount of petroleum, where does that leave the environmental voter?
Last night in front of hundreds of San Francisco residents, some wondering this very thing, President Clinton addressed this issue, admitting that Prop 87 is not perfect and that:
“The perfect is the enemy of the good — we never thought we were perfect. All we are trying to do is be better, to do better… We don’t have to be perfect to do that, we just have to be better than we are today and that is really easy.”