FLEISCHMAN: After Criticizing SB 32 To GOP Crowd Assembly GOP Leader Chad Mayes Votes To Praise It

Chad Mayes and Jerry Brown (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Yesterday the California legislature reconvened after a weeks-long recess. After their floor session in a closed-door meeting, Assembly Republicans refused to toss embattled Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes (R – Yucca Valley) out on the spot but did decide to hold an open election for Leader a week from today.

But it didn’t take Mayes long to log another entry into his “I am going to be disingenuous and disrespectful to the grassroots activists in my party” log book.

With nothing else more pressing to do the State Assembly brought up a resolution on climate change, authored by liberal Democrat Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego), and co-authored (by among others) Mayes.

You can read the entire resolution here, but let me pull a few excerpts from it for you that are especially relevant for my commentary that continues below:

WHEREAS, California has been a leader on climate change for more than a decade through the enactment of landmark legislation, such as the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Division 25.5 (commencing with Section 38500) of the Health and Safety Code), also known as AB 32, and the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (Chapter 547 of the Statutes of 2015), also known as SB 350, and through policies and practices that allow for California residents to be innovators and early adapters for new technologies, like those related to renewable energy and clean fuels; and

WHEREAS, California is currently taking action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030; and

Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature declares that California will continue to lead in its efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and fight global climate change and encourages other state legislatures and cities in the nation to continue to support and follow the Paris Agreement; and be it further

Resolved, That the Legislature requests that as the United Nations processes the request of the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the United Nations create a category for the recognition and participation of subnational jurisdictions whose parent countries are not part of or have withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement; and…

Rewind to last Thursday night to the monthly meeting of the Riverside County Republican Central Committee – attended by around 400 people.  The main attraction of the evening was a pair of back to back speeches from GOP Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez and Assembly GOP Leader Mayes.

[Courtesy of the Republican Party of San Diego County you can see a hi-res video of the entire meeting here.  SD GOP Chairman Tony Krvaric drove up to the meeting to deliver a petition signed by hundreds of activists asking Mayes to step down as leader.]

After Assemblywoman Melendez gave an impassioned speech about why he opposed the Cap and Trade tax bill – Mayes came up and delivered a rather subdued speech explaining the legislation and why he supported it.  Mayes prefaced his talk on the Cap and Trade tax bill with two points he wanted to make to the audience.  The first he explained that some legislators get study bill and become “subject matter experts” and some do not – clearly a dig at Melendez.  But his second point was the relevant one for this column – Mayes laid out that the culprit for the raising of gas prices and other costs wasn’t the Cap and Trade tax bill for which he and six other GOP Assemblymembers voted – but it was SB 32 which he clearly stated that he (and Melendez and ever GOP Assemblymember save one) opposed.  He clearly implied that SB 32 was bad public policy by emphasizing that he voted against it, before voting for AB 398 – the Cap and Trade tax bill (he even says in his remarks that when he voted no on it – he didn’t even realize how bad it was.)  He mentioned that while a City Council member before being elected to the legislature he opposed the original AB 32 legislation as well.  You can watch these comments by starting the video at the 27-minute mark.

The crowd didn’t buy what Mayes was selling — the GOP Central Committee passed motions calling on Mayes to resign and endorsing Melendez to succeed him – before he would have had time to get to his car.

But it turns out that what Mayes was selling was disingenuous, to say the least, and probably dishonest.  Because apparently at some point between voting against SB 32, and yesterday, Mayes become a convert – championing the aforementioned resolution sticking it to President Trump for pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement – and containing a clause heralding AB 32 and an additional clause bragging up the draconian emissions targets in SB 32 – declaring that California will continue to “lead” with such legislation.

So let’s be clear what is going on here – Mayes, the leader of Assembly Republicans (along with three other GOPers – Assemblymembers Baker (R-Walnut Creek), Chavez (R-Oceanside) and Maienschein (R-San Diego) who also voted for the Gonzalez-Fletcher resolution), is all-in on the extreme environmental agenda of the left – complete with unrealistic and punitive levels of regulations, heaping tens of billions of dollars of regulatory costs and de facto taxes on the people of California. But he didn’t want to be honest about his feelings when in front of GOP volunteers.

It makes sense now why Mayes, who after the passage of Cap and Trade should have logically been melancholy about passing such a burdensome bill, even while he was feeling it was better than what could have passed – instead was absolutely giddy to be standing with Governor Brown and Democratic leaders – heralding the passage of the bill.

We’ll see if “Captain Disingenuous” keeps his position a week from today – further fanning the flames of an irate party base – or whether new leadership emerges to lead the caucus, and begin a healing process…


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