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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/11/09

Newsom for a Nuclear California

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What do California Governor Arnold SchwarzeneggerSan Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, and the Pacific Gas'n Electric  Corporation (PG&E) have in common?

All three are large, very large, and all three favor large, very large, corporate power, including PG&E and nuclear power.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. OlympiaPumping Iron champion, Terminator, and now, Governor, stands 6'2" tall, and, during his body-building heyday, seems to have weighed in at 260 pounds off season, 235 pounds on.

Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco Mayor, who aspires to move into the California Governor's mansion upon Schwarzenegger's departure in 2011, stands even taller than the Governor, at 6'3", though his undisclosed weight is most likely lower, whatever the season.

The Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation (PG&E) reported its net worth for 2008 as $40,537,000,000.  Forty billion, five hundred thirty-seven million dollars. 

So, no one should have been surprised when, last year, in the fall of 2008, PG&E defeated San Francisco's Proposition H public power proposal with $10 million, and both Governor Schwarzenegger and Mayor Newsom's endorsements of their "No on H" campaign, even though San Francisco environmental activists had hoped that Prop H might ride Barack Obama's hope'n change coat tails to victory.

PG&E CEO Peter Darbee stated, in 2007, in San Luis Obispo, home of PG&E's Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, that "the U.S. future is nuclear," and, he continues to sing its praises as a solution to global warming.

Likewise, Governor Schwarzenegger said, at the close of the Wall Street Journal's ECO.nomics conference in 2008: “I think nuclear power has a great future, and we should look at it again.”

Despite his famous allegiance to the PG&E Corporation, Mayor Newsom has been slightly more reticent, knowing no doubt that nuclear power continues to meet considerable resistance in California, where the 1 ban on new nuclear power plant construction still stands despite repeated efforts to overturn it, at the ballot box or in the legislature, and despite PG&E and the rest of the nuclear industry's attempt to cash in on global warming anguish with the absurd argument that nuclear power is a clean green solution to global warming.

However, Newsom invited countercultural legend turned nuclear enthusiast Stewart Brand onto his Green 960AM radio show, to make his best argument for the nuclear solution, and, in 2007, attended the World Economic Forum, which came out, overwhelmingly, for the "nuclear solution."

To be fair, it's also true that Schwarzenegger and Newsom have both supported solar, wind, wave, tidal, and, even hydroelectric power, so long as its very large, grid-tied corporate power, whose development is supported by taxpayers who will then pay corporations for the power it generates.

Recently, speaking in Fresno, as part of his campaign to succeed Schwarzenegger, Gavin Newsom even joined Schwarzenegger in support of large hydroelectric dams, inspiring the Fresno Bee editorial: "Newsom the environmentalist says he'd consider building dams to solve the water problem."

However, though Schwarzenegger and Newsom have come out for big renewables, along with every other sort of big corporate power, renewables just aren't enough for really big guys. To be a really big guy, a really big nation, or a really big national and international power, you've gotta have nuclear power.  And nuclear weapons, the invention that gave rise to nuclear power, and nuclear power politics.

Schwarzenegger and Newsom both know it, and both support it.

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Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached (more...)

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