Prop 87 Aftermath

4:40 PM -- Along with this week's defeat of Proposition 87, California's proposed oil tax, came all kinds of artillery fire against legendary VC Vinod Khosla, pointing out he's been funding the same green-tech companies that (maybe) would have benefitted from Prop 87's research grants.

Here's a quote from an L.A. Times Nov. 3 story (registration required):

"You have these very wealthy individuals creating pots of public money that they then play a huge role in doling out," said Ned Wiggelsworth, a policy advocate for Common Cause, an organization that lobbies for campaign finance reform. "I'm skeptical their motives are pure when they stand to profit ... financially."

VC mistrust didn't play much of a role in Prop 87's demise, maybe because no one wants to listen to a guy named Wiggelsworth. But it's the second time in recent years that a major ballot initiative came with potential VC conflicts of interest (I'm thinking of Prop 71, the 2004 stem-cell research bill). You have to wonder if it will be much longer before VCs get used as the boogeymen in someone's "No On Whatever" campaign.

Chalk it up as another lesson in the gradual, decades-long process of getting Silicon Valley accepted in the political process. Given the vitriol in some circles against alternative fuels, it wasn't hard to turn tech into the bad guy this time.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Be the first to post a comment regarding this story.
Sign In