Prop. 23 opponents rally at ‘green’ Bob Hope Airport hangar

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a no-show at a Bob Hope Airport political event Thursday, but the “No on Proposition 23” show went on without him.

The event was called to criticize Proposition 23, one of nine statewide measures on the Nov. 2 ballot. It would suspend a landmark California law that sets sustainability benchmarks until one year after the unemployment rate returns to pre-recession averages of 5.5% or less. The unemployment rate in California was 12.4% in August.

Burbank City Councilmen Dave Golonski and Jess Talamantes, sporting green hard hats, stood on a stage in a new, energy-efficient airplane hangar next to developers, business owners and two dozen members of Carpenters Union Local 1506. Speakers criticized Proposition 23 and the Texas-based oil companies that support it. They also praised the sweeping green measure the governor signed in 2006, Assembly Bill 32.

Schwarzenegger spoke via telephone over loudspeakers set up in the new energy-efficient hangar off North Clybourn Avenue. But his speech was unintelligible as the volume faded in and out and his voice echoed off the high ceilings of the hangar.

Danny Curtin, director California Conference of Carpenters, said Proposition 23 would stifle California’s burgeoning green energy business, which includes overhauling older buildings by adding energy-efficient lighting and heating features.

“Retrofitting existing structures, that is going to put a lot of carpenters to work,” Curtin said in an interview.

Avjet Corp., a jet management and consulting firm based at the Bob Hope Airport, runs the new hangar. Completed last year, the building generates 10% more energy than it uses, according to Ben Wahab, chief operating officer of builder Shangri-La Construction.

Features include rooftop solar panels, steel beams made of partially recycled materials, “plyboo” —bamboo-based wall materials — landscaping with artificial turf and drought-tolerant plants. The hanger also includes huge, slow-moving fans that efficiently stir a large volume of air.

Other speakers at the event included Mary Leslie of the Los Angeles Business Council, Ruben Guerra of the Latin Business Assn. and Greg Lippe on behalf of the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn.

Representatives of the “Yes on Proposition 23” campaign could not be reached. But proponents say that if implemented today, regulations in AB 32 will drive up energy costs, cost cities needed tax revenue and spur a loss of jobs.