Are Legislators Fiddling While Rome Burns?

While Governor Jerry Brown is deciding if he should put a tax extension measure on a special election ballot, legislators, who should be working on ways to solve the state’s budget woes, are busy composing and introducing new bills. Yup, folks, 2,023 new bills were introduced in Sacramento in February alone!

Legislators know that most of the bills have no chance of passage but are merely grandstanding to appease political or special interest groups. Ironically, according to the Legislative Analyst, each bill introduced by a legislator costs about $30,000. Multiplying 2,023 by $30,000 equals nearly $60.7M which makes it apparent to me that our legislators are hypocrites who are not only avoiding their fiduciary responsibility but are adding to the deficit. 

One bill that caught my attention and approval, however, was AB333 which would stop the State Air Resources Board from imposing emission reduction requirements mandated by AB32 in counties with unemployment of 7% or higher. (SB375 was the bill compelling local government to make planning choices that reduced vehicle miles traveled to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets and AB32 was the implementation bill by which the state set land use emissions targets for each region.) In my opinion, what the state really needs to do is to ditch all prior “smart growth” legislation and stop telling us where to live, how we should commute, what light bulbs we should use and what we should eat.

I was amused when I recently ran across a 2008 article about the backlash in Washington D.C. when former Speaker (now House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi made the House campus more “socially progressive” by changing the menus in the House of Representatives deli counter, grills and salad bars e.g. processed cheese was replaced with brie, meatloaf with mahi mahi. French (freedom) fries were banished and baguettes replaced buns. The new more expensive menu choices included cumin-scented leg of lamb with almond couscous, Chesapeake rockfish with sweet potato fennel has and yellow pepper relish, bok choy, arugula, jicama and baked goods like biscotti, focaccia and frittati.

She also replaced regular trash bins with recycling stations and nearly everything became biodegradable which didn’t work out as intended since the biodegradable utensils and straws allegedly disintegrated when placed in hot liquids!

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