An outfit calling itself “Californians for Population Stabilization” is buying San Diego television commercials as part of what it says is an Earth Day–linked campaign against “mass immigration.”
The spots begin with a child asking viewers, "If Californians are having fewer children, why is it so crowded? If Californians are having fewer children, why are there so many cars? If Californians are having fewer children, why isn't there enough water? If Californians are having fewer children, where are all the people coming from?"
An announcer answers: "Virtually all of California's population growth is from immigration. Let's slow immigration and save some California for tomorrow."
"The link between population growth and environmental degradation has been made in countless scientific studies," says an April 16 news release from the nonprofit about its current commercial run. "More people means more cars, trucks and buses on our roads and more air pollution.
"More parking lots and high rise condominiums mean less green spaces. More chemicals, trash and runoff cascading down super sewers into our streams, lakes and oceans means more damage to California’s biodiversity hot spots; and more people means more pressure on declining water supplies.
"Part of the solution to reversing California’s environmental decline, while not politically correct or convenient, is certainly simple,” says the statement, attributed to Jo Wideman, the group's executive director. “If we slow mass immigration, we can slow population growth and save some California for tomorrow.”
According to records filed with the Federal Communications Commission, the flight of 30-second spots that went up on San Diego's KFMB on April 15 — with a gross cost of $5500 — will end April 22.
The nonprofit has been putting pressure on California members of Congress talking compromise on immigration-policy change.
Last fall, Californians for Population Stabilization’s national media director, Joe Guzzardi, told the New York Times that Bakersfield Republican Kevin McCarthy has "shown that he is flexible on immigration and has said we need to be more open to foreign workers, but the great irony is that he's in a district with high unemployment."
Advocates on the other side of the issue, including Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice, have pushed back, saying, "California became one of the bluest states in the country because the Republican Party followed Pete Wilson off the anti-immigration cliff."
Source of funding for the anti-immigration ads does not have to be disclosed under federal law governing nonprofits.
A prominent member of the group's board of directors is Kim Fletcher, a Pete Wilson backer and ex-board chairman of San Diego's now-defunct HomeFed Bank not noted for holding pro-environmental views. He was forced out in July 1992 when federal regulators seized the institution in what was at the time the largest savings-and-loan failure in American history.
A month before the takeover and costly taxpayer bailout, the bank held its last shareholders meeting, at which Fletcher, whose father was company founder, apologized, reported the Los Angeles Times.
"I'm very sorry for what has happened," Fletcher was quoted as saying. "This is certainly not the way we planned it."