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California Proposition 10 (2008): Wikis


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California Proposition 10, also known as the California Alternative Fuels Initiative, was an initiated state statute that appeared on the November 2008 ballot in California.

Proposition 10 was one of two ballot initiatives focusing on alternative fuels that appeared on the November 4, 2008 ballot in California. Both propositions were rejected by voters that day.

Proponents believe the proposal would have:

  • Helped consumers and others purchase certain high fuel economy or alternative fuel vehicles, including natural gas vehicles, and to fund research into alternative fuel technology.
  • Provided funding for research, development and production of renewable energy technology, primarily solar energy with additional funding for other forms of renewable energy; incentives for purchasing solar and renewable energy technology.
  • Provided grants to cities for renewable energy projects and to colleges for training in renewable and energy efficiency technologies.


Provisions of the initiative

The initiative authorizes $5 billion in bonds paid from state’s General Fund, allocated approximately as follows:

  • 58% in cash payments of between $2,000 and $50,000 to purchasers of certain high fuel economy and alternative fuel vehicles;
  • 20% in incentives for research, development and production of renewable energy technology;
  • 11% in incentives for research and development of alternative fuel vehicle technology;
  • 5% in incentives for purchase of renewable energy technology;
  • 4% in grants to eight cities for education about these technologies; and
  • 3% in grants to colleges to train students in these technologies.

Estimate of fiscal impact

According to the government's fiscal analysis office, the initiative would entail:

  • State costs of about $9.8 billion over 30 years to pay both the principal ($5 billion) and interest ($4.8 billion) costs on the bond.
  • Payments of about $325 million per year.
  • Increase in state sales tax revenues of an unknown amount, potentially totaling in the tens of millions of dollars, over the period from 2009 to beyond 2018.
  • Increase in local sales tax and VLF revenues of an unknown amount, potentially totaling in the tens of millions of dollars, over the period from 2009 to about 2018-19.
  • Potential state costs of up to about $10 million annually, through about 2018 -19, for state agency administrative costs not funded by the measure.


  • American Cancer Society, California Division
  • South Coast Air Quality Management District
  • T. Boone Pickens
  • Allison Hart, Mitzi Dudley and Thomas Daly filed the initial ballot language.

Funding and Boone Pickens

As of September 24, there are three major listed donors to the initiative:

  • The Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (CEFC), which has donated $3,747,250.
  • Aubrey McClendon, $500,000. McClendon lives in Oklahoma and is the co-founder of Chesapeake Energy.[1]
  • Westport Fuel Systems, $250,000.

On August 11, it was disclosed that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is an investor in CEFC.[2],[3]

Todd Campbell, Clean Energy's public policy director, in response to criticisms about CLNE sponsoring Prop. 10 because of potential benefits to the company told an 'Associated Press reporter, "I don’t think it’s a given that Clean Energy is going to cash in. I wish it were that simple."[4]

Arguments in favor of Prop. 10

The main arguments offered in favor of Prop. 10 are:

  • The funding it provides will allow the generation of electricity from renewable sources, and provide consumer rebates for the purchase or lease of "clean alternative fuel vehicles".
  • The funding will allow the replacement of older polluting diesel trucks with clean alternative fuel trucks and provide for research into alternative fuels.
  • Will reduce dependence on foreign fuel and stop US dollars from going to hostile foreign governments.
  • The diesel trucks that would be replaced produce dangerous pollution.
  • Significant improvement in California Air quality, reduction of Air Pollution.
  • Alternatives to high-priced gasoline are important.[5]

Path to the ballot

Prop. 10 was qualified for the ballot through a petition drive conducted by Progressive Campaigns, Inc., at a cost of $2,418,178 and Forde and Mollrich, which was paid $660,084 for signatures. The total signature cost was $3,078,263.[6]


Opposed by

  • An officially filed opposition group called "No on Proposition 10", registered with the California Secretary of State. The organization raised approximately 120K from various interested parties.[7]
  • OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries)

Arguments against Prop. 10

  • Would require taking $10 billion out of the state's general fund over a 30 year period.
  • There are relatively few mechanics who know how to fix natural-gas engines and few filling stations offer natural gas.

Newspaper endorsements

Opposed to Prop. 10

The Los Angeles Times editorialized against Prop. 10 on September 19, saying, "Spending bond money on something as intangible as privately owned vehicles is a terrible idea"[8] The Santa Monica Mirror said, "Self-serving Prop. 10 sounds good, should lose".[9]

The San Francisco Chronicle is opposed, writing, "The chief backer and bill payer for the measure is T. Boone Pickens, the folksy Texas oilman and apostle for energy independence who founded a firm that just happens to supply natural gas for cars and trucks".[10]


Electoral votes by county.
Proposition 10[11]
Yes or no Votes Percentage
X mark.svg No 7,464,154 59.41%
Yes 5,098,666 40.59%
Valid votes 12,562,820 91.41%
Invalid or blank votes 1,180,357 8.59%
Total votes 13,743,177 100.00%
Voter turnout 79.42%


  1. ^ List of $5,000 + donors to Proposition 10
  2. ^ Pelosi #dontgo Bombshell: Money, August 11, 2008
  3. ^ Nancy Pelosi's financial disclosure statement for 2007
  4. ^ New York Times Green Inc. blog, "The Pickens Plan and Proposition 10", September 25, 2008
  5. ^ California voter guide, arguments for and against Prop. 10
  6. ^ Expenditure detail
  7. ^ Campaign filing for No on Proposition 10; Californians against the $10 Billion Lemon
  8. ^ Los Angeles Times, "Reject Proposition 10", September 19, 2008
  9. ^ Santa Monica Mirror, Self-Serving Prop. 10 Sounds Good, Should Lose", September 18, 2008
  10. ^ San Francisco Chronicle, "Why Proposition 10 is a boondoogle", September 25, 2008
  11. ^ "Statement of Vote: 2008 General Election" (PDF). California Secretary of State. 2008-12-13.  

Additional reading

External links


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