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THE OAKS PROJECT
Our Recent Victories
The Oaks' Campaign to Stop the Energy Rip-Off
With the absence of consumer protections in the energy market, Californians saw the nightmare of deregulation come back to haunt ratepayers and the utilities. The Oaks Project's volunteers fought (and continue to oppose) the rate increases and utility bailouts that will cost every Californian thousands of dollars each year.
The Oaks educated voters throughout the summer of 2001 and generated more than 11,000 postcards and letters to California legislators advocating ratepayer and taxpayer protections throughout the state's manufactured energy crisis.
The Blackout Brigade: Blackouts left a lot of people in the dark -- and very angry. The Oaks converted that anger into action, turning up the heat on politicians and demonstrating that public power can solve the energy crisis. We formed "Blackout Brigades" in neighborhoods throughout California. Modeled on the "Committees of Correspondence" formed during the American Revolution, the Blackout Brigade works on citizen solutions to the energy crisis.
Last fall, Blackout Brigade members joined Oaks volunteers to inaugurate the "War Room" in a Sacramento hotel home base for dozens of volunteers during the last few weeks of the legislative session. The "Bailout Watchdogs", named for their role in fighting a bailout of Southern California Edison, lobbied and scrutinized the moves of every legislator in the Capitol. They thwarted a multi-million dollar energy and utility lobby, halting a legislative bailout of SoCal Edison and scoring a decisive victory for California ratepayers and taxpayers. To read more about the Blackout Brigade, or to join, click here.
Cleaning Up California Politics
Oaks Project volunteers are leaders in the battle to clean up politics. In the past year we won fights at the ballot box in cities across California to institute the strongest conflict of interest provisions in the nation.
While the money that pours into politicians' war chests during an election campaign is well-documented, little attention is paid to the vast amounts which fill the coffers while a politician is in office. The Oaks Project initiatives limit the corruptive influence of political kickbacks by prohibiting public officials from accepting campaign cash, gifts or employment from those who have benefited as a result of their official actions.
Voters in five California cities - San Francisco, Santa Monica, Claremont, Pasadena and Vista - passed the Taxpayer Protection Act. Equally groundbreaking: the Oaks' all-volunteer signature gathering force gathered all 67,000 signatures necessary to put these initiatives on the ballot. This grassroots effort is unprecedented in a state where $2-3 million can buy anyone's way onto the ballot and into the law books. The Oaks have introduced a new political model - the Volunteer Qualified Initiative, or VQI - to serve as a citizen-backed standard for the initiative process. Read more about VQI.
Incredibly, several cities have refused to implement the law and have gone out of their way to thwart the will of the voters - and are using taxpayer funds to do it! Learn more about the Oaks' court victories to uphold and implement these popularly approved laws.
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