Commentary

Christine Kehoe

Sen. Kehoe represents the 39th district.

Guest Commentary

When I moved to California in 1978, I was stunned by the beauty and breadth of opportunity here, the same allure that has drawn millions of Americans and immigrants over the decades to start life anew in the Golden State.

This year we faced a $42 billion state budget deficit, the largest in history. There were no easy choices as we grappled with a budget shortfall of this magnitude. In the end, we adopted a budget that was difficult but prevented California from falling into fiscal collapse.

The timely implementation of AB 32 is important to California's economic and environmental future. AB 32 requires the California Air Resources Board to adopt a plan for the people and the businesses of California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Each year, Earth Day impels us to review how we're treating the planet and ourselves. In the political world, we may ask what laws were passed to clean our air; and in our individual lives, we may ask what we did to conserve water or recycle. Some years may be more successful, like in 2006 when the legislature passed its landmark AB 32 legislation controlling greenhouse-gas emissions. Other years, we may feel that we could have done better in reducing water use at home and work.

With the attention surrounding this year's presidential election and the serious campaign mounted by Sen. Hillary Clinton, it's hard to imagine a time in the United States when women were not allowed to vote and were denied equal protection under the law in employment and education.

In a state with 36 million residents and 23 million licensed drivers, California faces serious challenges to clean up the state's air. It is the world's 12th largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, with more than 40 percent coming from vehicle tailpipes.

In a region where the median priced home exceeds $490,000, owning a home in the San Diego area can often be out of reach for many working families. The situation leaves many employees across the region in a predicament. If they choose to live in the city, it means spending a disproportionate share of their income on housing and leaving little for other needs. If they move to outlying areas in search of more affordable housing, they risk spending hours each day on the region's highways and watch as their quality of life suffers.

History scholar Paul Gagnon once said we learn more through failure than victory. The unsuccessful effort to build a new international airport at MCAS Miramar last year is a perfect example of this philosophy.

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