Anti-fracking advocates repeatedly interrupted Gov. Jerry Brown’s speech at the California Democratic Convention in Los Angeles on Saturday, chanting and waving signs as he gave his first major speech since declaring his intention to run for reelection.
Chanting “No fracking!” and waving signs that said “Another Democrat Against Fracking,” scores of protesters repeatedly drowned out Brown as he tried to deliver a speech arguing that California has prospered while politicians in Washington, D.C., have fiddled.
“All you guys like to make noise,” he said at one point, trying to quiet the protestors. “Just listen a moment.”
The flap was a distraction from what should have been a milestone moment for Brown as he seeks an unprecedented fourth term as governor. An energetic Brown began his remarks at the L.A. Convention Center by outlining the accomplishments of his administration.
“We see in Washington deadlock. We see in California consensus and commitment. People were saying this was a failed state — that was only a couple years ago,” Brown said, recalling that some pundits likened the state’s economy to that of Greece. “The fact is, California is back. We got a million new jobs and this is still a beacon for the whole world!”
As protesters grew more vocal, he turned to climate change, saying California was making significant moves to help stop climate change, from reaping more energy from renewable sources to capping greenhouse gas emissions. And he argued that more needed to be done, from more electric cars to new land use rules that encourage people to live closer to their jobs.
“You can be sure everything that needs to be done to fight climate change that we can accomplish, we’ll do it,” Brown said. “I ask all of you, every one of you in this room, to join in a crusade to protect our climate.”
The protesters were unconvinced, saying that Brown’s failure to stop fracking was an inexplicable stain on Brown’s otherwise positive environmental record.
“Fracking is going to destroy our state,” said heckler Dorothy Reik, president of Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains. “It poisons our water. It poisons our air. It causes earthquakes.”
They also lamented the clout of the oil and gas industry among Democratic leaders in the state capital.
“This is an easy climate decision,” said Russell Greene, who leads the San Fernando Valley chapter of Progressive Democrats of America. “It’s not clear to us why he isn’t coming out against fracking.”