SF Chamber of Commerce Opposes Prop 23

According to a current article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian (“Big Oil’s false choice“), the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce opposes Proposition 23 because they believe if it passes, it will scare off venture capitalists:

Small business owners and conscience-driven activists aren’t the only ones touting this theory of a new energy economy. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, a fiscally conservative business association that is often at odds with environmentalists and progressives, is actively campaigning against Prop. 23 — and it’s not out of any sense of moral duty.

If Prop. 23 succeeds, explained Chamber spokesperson Rob Black, it will scare off the venture capitalists. “For them, water’s like money,” he explained. “It will flow to the easiest place to invest.” Regulation like AB32 guarantees a return on investment for climate-friendly technology, he added. But if that regulatory structure is thrown into question, investors may flee overseas because investing would be too risky. “If we walk away from clean tech, the next Microsoft will be a Chinese company,” Black said.

With the strong political divisions in our community, I’m guessing that it’s unlikely our local Chamber will publicly take a position on Prop 23.

In the meantime, though, it is sponsoring a debate on the issue at a breakfast meeting on October 28 at the Union building on Mill Street:

Steve Frisch of the Sierra Business Council will speak in opposition to Prop 23, John Kabateck, Executive Director of NFIB/California (National Federation of Independent Business) will speak in support, and Chuck Whitten of KNCO will moderate.

Call the Chamber at 273-4667 for more details.

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