Students Protest Prop 23 at Local Gas Station


Aisa Villanueva

On October 8, 2010, UCSB students and Santa Barbara community members gathered to protest at the Valero gas station off of Calle Real in Goleta. Coordinated efforts from CALPIRG and CREDO Action’s Crust Prop 23 Campaign were brought together to collectively roar a thunderous “STOP 23!” at the gas station.

Valero and another Texan oil company, Tesoro, are Prop 23’s current proponents. In a nut shell, Prop 23, if endorsed by a majority of voters during the November 2 elections, will suspend AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. AB 32 is California’s ground-breaking clean air charter that has made California the first state to pass a cap on carbon emissions.

A co-organizer of the protest and CALPIRG’s Campus Organizer, Clifford Whitlock, said that the various aforementioned groups drew their resources and man power together to present a united front. They agree that now is the time for Californians to become proactive in shaping their shared future, and, in this case, in laying down the path for California’s environmental sustainability.

UCSB students and various campus organization members, biked en masse into the station with drumbeats and reverberating chants of, “UCSB NO TO 23!” at the front. Students also sported studded neon-green “Clean Up Politics” stickers. Fueled by high spirits, the group stood strong and kept the protest on for around two hard-wearing hours.

Das Williams, an elected Democrat city council member running for State Assembly, was present at the protest and boosted the morale of the group by giving a short speech that tackled his insights on the whole Prop 23 issue.

“I used to buy gas at this same station, but not anymore,” he said.

“I believe that we vote with our dollars, and as consumers we should make more educational choices. Californians now must stand together to protect our future and environment this November and as well-informed voters, vote No on 23.”

Benjamin Davis, a policy associate from a Santa Barbara based non-profit who was present at the event, echoed Williams’ concern.

“We have already created thousands of jobs with our current green economy,” he said.

“We are here to say disallow gas companies’ plans in dismantling our already working system; we can’t go back to an economy dependent on oil. “

Jeff Gang, one of the field organizers, exemplified the fervor and force of the protest as well.

“We want to tell our leaders, across the state and across the world we’re getting to work on climate change; what about you? Today is a call to action for voters,” he said. “We need to protect our global warming law against out-of-state polluters who would try to overturn it.”

Photos By: Steven Wilson