It may be one of the most dastardly political schemes in recent state history. After the lead and paint industry in California was recently ordered to pay penalties that could run into the hundreds of millions to remedy illegal lead hazards across the state, the industry is now moving toward placing an initiative on the statewide ballot this November.
The lead lobby’s proposed initiative essentially negates the court ruling and transfers their financial liabilities to taxpayers by requiring the state to back a $2 billion bond to aid in the cleanup of lead. In 2000, Alameda County was one of 10 cities and counties in the state that initially sued five leaders in the lead industry.
The proposed campaign, backed by Sherwin-Williams and ConAgra, that calls itself “The Healthy Homes and Schools Act” was the topic of a joint legislative committee last month in which Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk blasted the lead lobby and ended his diatribe with a line that has been repeated often in East Bay circles over the past few weeks. “It take a lot to get me angry,” said Quirk. “You have gotten me angry.”