Amy Silverstein

Amy Silverstein Amy Silverstein has lived in Southern California her whole life. She received her Bachelor's degree from UC Santa Barbara in 2009. While there, she wrote entertainment and opinion stories for her school paper, The Daily Nexus.

She became more interested in hard news, however, after she spent a summer covering the Jesse James Hollywood trial for the Santa Barbara Independent. A few months after the trial ended, she began graduate school at USC.

Amy is currently a staff reporter for Neon Tommy, and has also had articles published in the Los Angeles Times and Jezebel. In her free time she enjoys seeing live music, running and going to the beach.

Recent stories by Amy Silverstein

Nuclear Energy Is Safe (Say Industry-Backed Legislators)

(Credit: John O Dyer/ Flickr)Despite the recent disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, the nuclear industry still enjoys plenty of support back home, with legislators in both houses of Congress insisting that U.S. power plants are safe.

But how much of that support is based on hard facts and how much on financial influence?

The nuclear industry as a whole has spent over $46 million on lobbying from 1998 through 2010, according to the Sunlight Foundation. Roughly $18 million of that has come from the industry's leading trade group, the Nuclear Energy Institute, which, in addition to lobbying the people who write the laws on energy, has given them money, employed their former and future staffers, and honored them with leadership awards.

"Because the [nuclear] industry has been so stagnant for so long...that creates a limited amount of knowledge in this particular field," said Allison Fisher of Public Citizen, a non-profit that opposes nuclear energy. "It's dwindling, and it creates even more opportunity for revolving door issues."

Support for Proposed Oil Tax Limited To Green, Faux Slate Mailers

Employees at a West L.A. Oil Field (Amy Silverstein)A committee supporting a proposed oil-extraction tax for Los Angeles has spent almost all of its money so far on an unlikely pair of slate mailers, one of which was the subject of some controversy.

"The Committee To Support Measures O and P" has so far received $11,500 in contributions and spent $8,000 of that on slate mailers, according to campaign disclosure statements.

One of the mailer groups that the committee paid for an advertising spot is "Californians Vote Green," which would seem to make sense for a measure targeting the oil industry. But the other, Newport Beach slate mailer "Continuing The Republican Revolution," not so much.

Proposed City Tax's Big Opponent: Small Oil?

Janice Hahn proposed Measure O, but then voted against it, saying the oil companies would put up an expensive fight.  (OFA California/Flickr)
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who has declared that she will run for the Congressional seat being vacated by Jane Harman, originally came up with the idea to place a new tax on Los Angeles oil. She ultimately voted against putting her own proposed tax on the March 2011 ballot. Her reason? She said big oil would pour money into the anti-tax campaign and crush the measure.


The proposed tax made the ballot anyway, however, thanks to support from the rest of the City Council. If passed by voters in March, the tax, called Measure O, would levy $1.44 on every barrel of oil extracted within city limits.

Contrary to Hahn's prediction, it has actually been small oil companies, not the major corporations, that have banded together to fight the measure.