Newsom, a Leader on Climate, Fights a Lyft-Backed Electric Vehicle Measure

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The “no” campaign got a huge boost over the summer from Newsom, who, despite his focus on fighting climate change, has emerged as its highest-profile opponent and appeared in an television advertisement attacking Lyft in September.

“Prop. 30 is being advertised as a climate initiative,” Newsom says in the ad as he strolls across the screen. “But in reality, it was devised by a single corporation, to funnel state income taxes to benefit their company.”

Newsom’s influence could swing the race. Likely voters favored the proposition by 55 percent to 40 percent in a September poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, but a new poll released last week by the institute found just 41 percent of likely voters in support, with 52 percent opposed.

Dan Newman, a spokesman for the governor, said there were other methods for combating climate change. In September, Newsom signed a climate package that includes $10 billion for the transition to electric vehicles.

“There are better, more thoughtful ways that are already underway of hastening that transition, and doing it without raising taxes,” Newman said.

Lyft declined to comment but pointed to a September blog post by Logan Green, a company co-founder and its chief executive, in which he urged voters to support Prop. 30 to help address pollution and climate change. Lyft also sent an email blast to its customers in October advocating for the measure.

Critics argue that Newsom is catering to top-dollar donors and other wealthy individuals by opposing the measure. Among the top contributors to the “no” campaign are Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix; Michael Moritz, a partner at the venture firm Sequoia Capital; John Fisher, the owner of the Oakland A’s; William Oberndorf, who helped fund the recall of Chesa Boudin, the San Francisco district attorney; and Bobby Kotick, the chief executive of Activision Blizzard.

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