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The Eve of Victory - A Plan for the GOP in California
Address by State Senator Tom McClintock to the CA Republican Party

2/26/2001

 

             Our party today is the loyal opposition to a ruling party that is taking more from your earnings than it has ever taken in its history.  It is delivering less than it has ever delivered in its history.  If that isn’t a mandate for change, what in the world could it possibly be?

            The reason why minority parties have such a tough, tough job is because they start – well, in the minority.  Maintaining the status quo is easy – but you don’t need a minority party to do that.  That’s what the majority party is for.  To change the status quo, you must be able and willing to maintain your vision and endure in the minority until the necessity for change exceeds the natural resistance of an electorate to change.

            Such a day occurred in this state in November of 1966, because Ronald Reagan understood that.

So what is the necessity for political change today?

For openers, the California ISO estimates that under the best of circumstances California will be 6,000 megawatts short of power this August.  That means during the hottest hours of the hottest days this summer, six million homes at a time could be without power.

            For 27 years, this state has actively discouraged the construction of new power plants, and the day has finally arrived when we have run out of power. 

            Over a year ago, the utilities begged Gov. Davis to intercede with his president of the PUC to allow them to buy long-term power contracts at bargain prices.  He did nothing.

            When the first crisis broke upon us last summer, Assembly Republicans begged the Governor to call a special session while there was still time to begin a crash program for power plant construction.  He did nothing.

            On the day Gray Davis turned the Christmas lights off at the Capitol, we had 2,600 megawatts of power sitting offline solely because the generators had used up their air pollution credits for the year.  He could have waived those regulations.  He did nothing.

            As rolling blackouts threatened California, the Democratic Interior Secretary, Bruce Babbitt, announced he was diverting away from power production enough water from the Trinity River to provide electricity for 350,000 homes to keep the Democrats’ activists happy.  And Davis said nothing.

            Instead, the Democrats have plunged our state into the power business. So far, Gray Davis has lost more than two and a half billion dollars in the last two months day-trading in the electricity market from the corner office.  That’s about $300 you can tack on to your power bill. 

But that’s just the beginning.  The Democrats have voted to borrow $15 billion, with another $10 billion pending.  In principal and interest, that means over $3,000 will be added to the average ratepayers’ bill over the next few years, without adding a single inch to our transmission lines or a single watt to our electricity supply.

            What is the Republican vision?  I can show you in Texas.  Texas is only 2/3 our size.  Yet in the last five years, Texas has added 5,300 megawatts of new power to its grid.  We have added NOTHING.  Texas has 15 plants under construction.  We have 6.  Texas is currently processing applications for 35 more plants, we have only 16, but it is not clear if any of them will actually go forward, now that our Governor has threatened to seize their assets and throw them in jail if they set foot in California. 

            Republicans have proposed a $500 per family tax rebate to help families cope with the immediate price increases.  We have proposed using the Governor’s emergency powers to suspend any regulation standing in the way of new power generators entering California – just like Pete Wilson did to rebuild the Santa Monica Freeway in 66 days.  We have proposed a program to resume the hydro-electric expansion put forward by Governor Reagan in 1974, and then scrapped by Jerry Brown. 

            But we are not the majority party.  All we can do is point the way to a future that can have cheap, reliable, abundant and clean electricity for the next generation, and hope that the public is ready to listen.  After what they’re about to go through, they will be.

            But it only begins there.  For 26 years, the Democrats have waged war against California motorists.  We bear the third heaviest taxes per vehicle in the nation, and yet we’re dead last in our per capita spending for our roads.  In those 26 years, the miles driven by Californians have increased by 116 percent.  Our highway system has increased just 8 percent.

            What is the Democrats’ program?  The Governor’s new CalTrans Director, whose nick-name at CalTrans is “Adrianna Gianturco the Second” has repeatedly and proudly announced that “The era of highway construction in California is over.”  In a state where 95 percent of the people get to work in their cars, less than a fifth of our transportation money will be used for the state highways.

            We have a different vision:  Restore our highway taxes to be used for our highways; eliminate bureaucratic roadblocks to highway expansion on grid locked stretches; end the double taxation of gasoline and the car tax – not a dime of which is spent on our roads.  In short, deliver what motorists are paying for and not getting: a highway renaissance, offering every Californian high speed, doorstep-to-doorstep, 24-hour a day on call service in safety, comfort and convenience.

            At the same time we stopped building power plants and highways, we stopped building dams. We have not added a dam or an aquaduct of any significance in more than a quarter century -- while the population has nearly doubled.  The next drought will be devastating to this state – we now store less than one year’s water consumption in the entire state water system.  Last year, Governor Davis committed to $2 billion in water bonds – without a dime to increase surface water storage or to harness the limitless hydro-electric potential of this state. 

Next page:  What is the Republican vision?

Page 1     Page 2     Page 3

Senator McClintock's Home Page

E-mail Senator McClintock (Tell him who you think the next Governor of California should be)

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