Fish Sauce by Anhthao Bui

Fish Sauce by Anhthao Bui
Fish Sauce is realistic fiction, and Anhthao’s second anthology collection.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Meeting with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: Proposition AB 32 versus Proposition 23

By Anhthao Bui with editing by Dan Lambert

I am not Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s fan nor am I interested in the global warming subject, but I wanted to attend the governor's speech about proposition AB 32 at the Santa Clara Convention Center because of my curiosity. I wanted to see the Governor in person. Perhaps meeting outstanding politicians is one of my weaknesses to satisfy my vulnerable self-esteem. However, I persuaded myself that I wanted to learn new things; like the Vietnamese proverb says, “Đi một ngày đàng, học một sàng khôn,” ("Travelling broadens one's horizons.”) I agree!

I came to the Convention Center early; I did not need to pass through the security checkpoint. The security officers only checked the audience’s belongings: bags and purses. I entered the theatre and noticed that not many people attended the event. On the stage, the Bear Flag and the American Flag comforted me and made me feel secure; a small coffee table with two mugs on it sat between the two overstuffed chairs. I wondered if the Governor with speak with the audience standing near that table, like President Lincoln does at Disneyland's Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. I have never seen a speaker deliver a speech near a coffee table like that.

Students with their green uniforms came in and filled up the reserved seats on the right side. I remembered chaperoning Bachdrot students to the San Jose Convention Center to see President Bill Clinton in 2000. I had to be held outside the Center more than one hour for security checks. I stood during the event and waited too long for President Clinton’s appearance. Growing up in an Asian country where male makeup was not accepted, President Clinton’s makeup gave me an initial negative impression of him. Moreover, at that time, my English skill was limited; I could not understand President Clinton and Congressman Mike Honda’s words. I only knew that they came to San Jose to support Al Gore’s presidential campaign.

A lady in a white dress approached the podium to the left of the stage; she talked about the upcoming event and introduced the event’s agenda. We clapped our hands to welcome the speaker, Governor Schwarzenegger. The Governor appeared; there was no music or standing to greet the leader of California; this brought a friendly, cozy atmosphere to the proceedings, and created a close connection between the attendees and the speaker. The heart of the event was green energy and dangers to the environment, as the Governor educated the audience about the danger of climate change, and encouraged us to support the environmental group called Climate One.

The Governor said, “Two thirds of Californians approve our state's landmark law to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. Do you know who the two most prominent opponents of the law are? Valero and Tesoro, also two of the state’s top polluters. They are behind an initiative on the November ballot called Proposition 23, which would suspend our law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But in reality, because of the fine print, when it comes to unemployment, they really don’t want to suspend it. They want to kill the initiative. They want to kill our laws. And when they are not creating a shell company, they are creating a shell argument that it is about saving jobs….It is about their ability to pollute and thus protect their profits. Those who seek to overturn the carbon reduction law say that the green-tech future is too costly.”

I have learned the reasoning behind Propositions AB 32 and 23. AB 32, the Global Warming Act of 2006, required reducing greenhouse emissions in California; by contrast, Proposition 23 is against the reduction of greenhouse gasses because it is too expensive. However, in response to the Governor’s points, the cost of diseases and infections from pollution, as well as the cost of rising oil prices because of exports from other countries, are much higher than the budget for saving energy. He proved that if more consumers would use solar energy for transportation, heating, and other necessities, the cost would be reduced (like the reductions in the cost of internet service and cell phones). Governor Schwarzenegger stated that clean energy creates more jobs for Californians.

Global warming and clean energy projects are Governor Schwarzenegger’s passion. He is determined to protect AB 32 and fight against Proposition 23 during his term in office, and he will continue to fight when he leaves office, because of his love for California. He calls on all California voters to vote "No" on Proposition 23. Good luck, Governor!

Santa Clara Convention Center: September 28, 2010

October 2, 2010