Activists with signs line the sidewalk outside of Valero on Mission St. and display their messages to passing motorists. Photo by Isaac Miller.
Bike powered blenders were used to make smoothies for protest attendees on the warm October day. Photo by Isaac Miller.

Opponents of Proposition 23 gathered at the Valero gas station on Mission Street near downtown last Sunday to protest the California initiative funded by major Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro. The initiative would repeal AB32 of 2006: the California Global Warming Solutions Act.

More than a hundred people gathered at 12 p.m. and marched downtown, ending at the Bike Church for a festival with music, art and food, including bicycle-powered smoothies. UCSC Calpirg and Cabrillo Calpirg were the main organizers of the event. People Power and other groups also participated.

People Power director Mike Posner said he participated because preventing the passage of Prop 23 would improve the conditions of society as well as those of the earth’s climate.

“If Prop 23 passes, it will potentially help to wreck the world’s climate as well as roll back people’s right and privilege to have a more civil society and more public space,” Posner said. “It’s no coincidence that the prop was written by large corporations in Texas that care about neither humanity nor the environment.”

Posner hoped that the demonstration would show how California could stand up to outside corporate interests.

Cabrillo Calpirg intern Anoosh Yaraghchian said that out-of-state interests should have no part in California’s politics.

“Texas companies are trying to come over here to tell us what to do, dirty up our energy,” he said. “Who are you to do that?”

The main objective for Yaraghchian and other students with Calpirg is to educate people, especially students, about the proposition. Yaraghchian said he tables every week, reminds people to vote “no,” and wears a gorilla suit around campus to get people’s attention.

“Proposition 23 is a no-brainer,” Yaraghchian said. “It’s an obvious ‘no,’ and more and more people are understanding what the prop is.”

Taylor Cross, a Calpirg campaign coordinator for opposition to Proposition 23 and participant in the rally on Sunday, said that not many people knew about the proposition.

“Our main campaign is to educate people on what Proposition 23 is because a lot of people haven’t been informed yet,” he said.

For Katie Roper, the Cabrillo Calpirg organizer who also oversees the organizer at UCSC Calpirg, this is the most harmful aspect of the proposition.

“The way that it is worded, people who think they are for climate change think they should vote for it, which they shouldn’t,” Roper said.

One of Roper’s responsibilities with Calpirg is calling a list of student voters before the Nov. 2 elections. The list is of students who signed up to be reminded by Calpirg to vote. Roper expects that students will help defeat the proposition.

“What has made California so successful and a world leader on environmental issues is that when our national leaders failed to act on global warming issues, California was able to pass AB32 and similar things,” Roper said.

Roper has hope for the future, she said, and she expects that Californians will pull through to defeat this proposition.