Michael Rubio of Shafter was positioned to have a lot of influence in Sacramento this year as chairman of the Senate Environmental Committee, which will be key in reviewing proposals on how and whether to modify the landmark California Environmental Quality Act.
Rubio was an advocate of CEQA reform, especially for urban infill projects, and his position as a moderate Democrat suggested he was the ideal person to push for changes that would not gut the law but would reduce the ways it could be used to unfairly stall or kill good projects.
CEQA reform supporters and Democrats must be feeling a bit like Juliet in a Shakespeare tragedy, ever since Sen. Michael Rubio announced he was leaving the Senate to become a lobbyist at Chevron.
Setting aside questions of propriety, Chevron was shrewd to hire state Sen. Michael Rubio to head its governmental relations operation.
Rubio’s decision to quit midterm makes sense, too. I don’t doubt his stated reason for giving up a promising political career: that he and his wife have a daughter who has Down syndrome and he felt a need to put his family first.
By stepping through the revolving door, the first-term Democratic senator will probably more than double his legislative salary, heady stuff for a guy who grew up without much in the Kern County oil patch. He’s accepting a cushy position.
Last Wednesday, then state Sen. Michael Rubio of Shafter told The Bee’s editorial board that he soon would introduce legislation to reform the landmark California Environmental Quality Act.
Rubio, citing a bout with the flu, spoke via telephone instead of appearing in person with other CEQA reform supporters.
The first-term Democrat told of CEQA abuses that had stymied urban revitalization and green energy projects. He also defended his proposal to exempt projects from environmental review if they met standards established by other laws.