California’s big-government madness, drowning in a sea of laws

February 26, 2013

BearFlag

I ran across an item today in the Los Angeles Times that just floored me. The article was discussing a proposed new tax on sodas to fight the “obesity crisis” (insert eye-roll as needed). See if you can spot what caught my attention:

A proposal to tax sweetened soda in California has renewed debate over the state’s role in preventing obesity among its residents.

State Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) has introduced legislation that would levy a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, including sodas, as part of an effort to fight obesity among young people.

The money paid by beverage distributors under SB 622 would go to a Children’s Health Promotion Fund to pay for a statewide childhood obesity prevention program. “This bill will combat the obesity crisis and ensure that our children– and future generations of Californians– are not doomed to a shorter life expectancy and can instead live longer, healthier lives,” Monning said.

(…)

The Monning bill was one of 2,189 bills introduced by state lawmakers by Friday’s deadline for this year,…

Okay, so maybe I helped you a bit there.

California’s elected legislators oligarchs have proposed two thousand one hundred eighty-nine new laws or amendments to existing laws.

Keep in mind that the legislature has 120 members in total, so, on a per-capita basis, each legislator has introduced more than 18 proposed laws. I have a hard time imagining us needing more than 18 new laws in total, let alone 18 x 120.

This is one of the unintended consequences of passing Proposition 1A in 1966, by which we created a full-time legislature, one that has the longest session of any in the nation, by the way. Legislators feel they have to have something on the resume to show the voters and to justify that $95,000 per year salary, and what better way to do it than write a bunch of laws? That’s what “professional lawmakers” do, isn’t it?

Again, eye-roll. No government anywhere, anytime needs more than 2000 new laws per year.

As far as I’m concerned, Californians back in 1966 made a tremendous mistake for which we’re now paying, as the legislature is controlled by a bunch of progressive full-time nanny-staters whose only solution to any problem –even problems that aren’t their business or may not exist at all– is more government, more laws, more intrusion in our lives. And if we ever hope to restore some sanity here, returning the legislature to part-time status will have to be a big part of the solution.

PS: I’m also strongly reminded of what the Roman historian Tacitus once said:

“The more corrupt the State, the more numerous the laws.”

Wise people, those Romans.

PPS: Oh, and the soda tax is lame, too. Another piece of useless social engineering brought to us by our Coastal Overlords.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Dear California voters: you were played for suckers

November 9, 2012

And it worked:

Cal State to consider new student fees

California State University is seeking to impose a series of new fees next fall designed to encourage students to graduate faster and free up thousands of more classroom seats.

The proposals were unveiled Thursday, only two days after the passage of Proposition 30, a tax measure that allowed the university to rescind a $249 per semester tuition increase that took effect in the fall. Voter approval of the tax measure means the university will avoid an additional $250-million mid-year funding cut.

But officials said the new fees are designed not primarily to generate revenue but to change student behaviors that have clogged the pathway to degrees and delayed new admissions, problems that have only been exacerbated by budget cuts.

Horse manure.

Proposition 30 was sold to the voters as the only way to save our schools and university from crippling budget cuts (1), and so the already over-taxed California voters agreed to “temporary” income and sales tax increases to fend them off. But –and, O! What a shock it is!– Cal State says that won’t be enough and they need to raise fees on students. Just as they threatened to do without a tax increase!

Like I said, the given reasons for the new fees are horse manure. If they have so-called super-seniors hanging around taking way more units than they need to graduate, then enforce the limits on units and automatically graduate them. Congratulations, here’s your diploma, now go away.  Problem solved.

Too many people retaking classes? Ban the practice, or maybe let them do it once if they received a D or lower, and that’s all. In other words, you have rules to control the problem, enforce them. You don’t have the rules? Make them.

But don’t say you’re going to raise fees two days after getting the tax increase you asked for to avoid raising fees.

This is about more than the idiotic, scandal-plagued  administration of California’s Plan B university system. Proposition 30 was the latest in a long line of measures in which the state pretends to be Lucy with the football and asks us to kick it. Only this time we fell for it. More money will be taken from the “evil rich” (those who create jobs), more of whom will now leave the state, and the rest of us will pay higher sales taxes, all to support bloated university administrations (Don’t think University of California isn’t dreaming of something similar) and way-too-generous teacher pension systems.

And education won’t get a penny’s-worth better.

But, hey! The taxes are only temporary! And would you like to buy some beachfront property in the Mojave desert, too? Real cheap!

I guarantee it: When the expiration of these tax increases approaches, the legislature and the universities and the teachers union will go hat in hand to the public to beg for an extension, because any cuts in spending (or decreases in the rate of increase in spending) would be cruel, unbearable, and crippling to California’s future. And commercials will be full of children asking you vote “yes” and playing the “Absolute Moral Authority of Children” card. You don’t hate the children, do you? Besides, they promise this will be only a temporary extension…

Suckers.

Footnote:
(1) Truth is, the “threat” was engineered by the governor and the legislature to blackmail the voter. It’s a trick they pull again and again.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Romney gains on Obama… in California??

October 11, 2012

Closing the gap eight points, post-debate. That sound you hear is panic buttons being hit in Chicago and the White House:

The effects of President Barack Obama’s falter in the first debate with Mitt Romney are not just being felt in battleground states, according to KPIX-TV CBS 5′s latest tracking poll of California which shows Romney slicing eight points off Obama’s lead.

Obama had led by 22 points in the CBS 5 tracking poll released four weeks ago. Obama now leads by only 14 points, an 8-point improvement for Romney. At the same time, the poll found U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s support for her re-election bid remained largely unchanged, month-on-month, suggesting that the erosion in Democratic support is not across-the-board, but contained to Obama. Unclear is whether the Obama erosion is fleeting or long-lasting.

The poll data released Wednesday showed Obama 53%, Romney 39%, in California. Obama carried the Golden State by 24 points in 2008, so the poll found Obama is now running 10 points weaker than he ran 4 years ago. Among Independents, Obama led by 14 in September, but now trails by 9 in October, a 23-point right turn among the most coveted voters. One explanation, based on the poll data: The number of Romney supporters who said they were voting “for Mitt Romney” as opposed to “against Barack Obama” is way up, month over month.

In other words, there’s almost no way Romney wins California –this state will be one of the last pockets of resistance when all else fails for the Democrats– but the trend is most definitely not Obama’s friend. If Romney is showing traction in here in La-La Land, then Team Hopenchange have to be wondering what’s happening in genuine battleground states in the West, such as Nevada  or Colorado. And if Romney surge lasts or, especially, accelerates after the next debates, Obama might find himself having to defend his grip on the Golden State, diverting money and time needed elsewhere.

Good Lord. We might actually be treated as something other than an ATM. I think I need smelling salts…

I’ll note that Survey USA doesn’t provide partisan breakdowns, but anything other than a large D and I factions with a small R component wouldn’t make much sense, which means the swing in the Independent vote explains his gains. What I’d really like to see is The One’s numbers among Democrats: while the core liberal elites and the “47 percenters” in the Bay Area and Los Angeles won’t go Republican, with the state’s miserable unemployment numbers and lousy business environment, there may be a fair number of working-class and small entrepreneur Democrats willing to jump ship for a candidate who knows how jobs are created. Without seeing the breakdowns, however, that’s just a guess.

Other items to note: Sadly, Diane Feinstein’s “Opponent? What opponent?” strategy appears to be working, as Elizabeth Emken is getting almost no traction beyond the Republican base. This is a very expensive state for advertising and, without the free media time a debate would provide Emken, Feinstein can afford to ignore her. In fact, she’s smart to. Why give the opponent any opening? Still, it’s a shame. Feinstein is an aging mediocrity who in no way deserves reelection, while Emken has solid policy ideas.

Regarding California’s ballot propositions, it looks like Prop 34, to eliminate the death penalty, is going down to defeat. Once again, the public is showing it wants the law enforced and for the worst criminals to get what they deserve, but the left-wing elites do all they can to block executions, hoping to hold out until we eventually give in.

Fat chance.

And it looks like momentum is shifting against Prop 37, a loopy, anti-scientific measure to require labeling on some genetically modified foods but not all. Like measures meant to “fight global warming,” this looks like a response to a problem that doesn’t exist; I’ve yet to see any solid evidence that genetically modified foods are harmful. What it will do, though, is increase sales costs, which will of course be passed on to the consumer, as well new income opportunities for trial lawyers.

Ever notice it’s the little guy who gets hit hardest by liberal measures we’re told are meant to help us? Hmmm…

PS: Hey, California! Romney-Ryan 2012.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gerrymandering: the legal way to rig an election

October 31, 2010

Why bother stuffing ballot boxes and getting felons to vote when you can just draw the district boundaries to ensure your guy or gal wins? Via Reason.TV, here’s an interview with Bill Mundell on the dangers of gerrymandering:

It may not be the sexiest political issue of our time, but it is of fundamental importance to the health of our democracy. Allowing legislators to draw their own districts creates a tremendous conflict of interest between creating districts that accurately represent a community of interests and thus fairly represent the people of an area, and the self-serving needs of politicians.

This is a particular problem in California, where “safe seat” (or “incumbency gerrymandering,” as Mundell calls it) boundaries almost guarantee the reelection of a state or federal legislator. The problem is so bad that almost every member of California’s congressional delegation gets reelected in election after election, even though Congress has a miserable approval rating. And the situation with our state legislature isn’t much different.

We took a big step to fix the problem in 2008 by passing Proposition 11, which took the power to draw legislative districts away from the legislators and gave it to a citizen’s commission. This year, we aim to finish the job by passing Proposition 20, which would do the same thing for congressional districts. But, you guessed it, the oligarchy has struck back, getting Proposition 27 on the ballot. If passed, this measure will eliminate the citizen’s commission created by Proposition 11. It is nothing less than a swinish attempt by the legislature and their allies in the House to seize power from the people and preserve their hand-drawn fiefdoms.

And you wonder why I call California’s legislature “arrogant.”

For the sake of genuine representative democracy in California, it is essential that Proposition 20 pass and Proposition 27 fail.

Put an end to gerrymandering. Break the oligarchy.

UPDATE: J.E. Dyer at Hot Air’s Green Room has an excellent post on seven votes that may determine California’s future.

UPDATE 2: Also take a look at an article in the LA Weekly about Props 20 and 27 and why you should give a rip. It includes a map of my entry into the California Hall of Shame for Shameless Gerrymandering, CD 23, which is 200 miles long and, at one point, only 100 yards wide.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


California’s arrogant legislature

July 11, 2010

I’ve often said in recent years that California isn’t a democracy; it’s instead an oligarchy ruled by a corrupt and distant elite in the legislature who only appear before the people when they need our votes for reelection, but otherwise ignore us and treat us as bothersome children at best.

Next November’s election will see a glaring example of that oligarchy at its arrogant best. On the list of ballot propositions sits number 27, which will eliminate the citizen’s commission created to draw legislative district boundaries and give the power to the legislature.

What’s wrong with that, you ask?

Proposition 27 is a ballot initiative that effectively repeals Proposition 11, which the voters passed in 2008 for the express purpose taking the redistricting power away from the legislature. California has long had a problem with “safe seats,” assembly and state senate seats in which the incumbent is almost guaranteed reelection because the district has been gerrymandered to give the legislator a majority of favorable voters. The result was a group of lawmakers who really had no need to listen to the voters and could rule almost as they wished – in other words, as an oligarchy.

Allowing legislators to draw their own districts is like letting corporations create territories in which they agree not to compete with each other: for customers and voters, the lack of genuine competition and choice can only work to their detriment. Proposition 11 was meant to break this corrupt arrangement, and the citizen’s commission being formed now will get its first chance to draw genuinely competitive districts next year.

Yes, that’s right. The oligarchs behind this measure are trying to gut the commission before its been tried even once. So desperate are they to protect their incumbencies (and six-figure salaries, plus hefty perks) that they are going to try to slip this sham through, hoping the public isn’t paying attention. That’s how little they think of us, even as they claim it’s for the good of the state.

And this measure is not only intended to take back for the legislature the power to draw its own districts, but also gut the intent of Proposition 20, a follow-on measure to add the drawing of congressional districts to the duties of the citizen’s commission. Democrats in the California congressional delegation fought earlier combined redistricting reform attempts tooth and nail. But now that Prop 20 looks like it has a good chance to succeed, Pelosi, Berman, and others have joined with their Sacramento colleagues to protect their own safe seats with Proposition 27 serving as a Trojan Horse.

Make no mistake: the arguments in favor of Proposition 27 are bunk. It isn’t about democracy, saving the state money, or making those who draw the districts “accountable to the voters.” (PDF. That last is one of their sick jokes, I’d guess.) It is nothing more than an attempt by the oligarchy to thwart the will of the people and  preserve their legislative fiefdoms. Don’t let them fool you. Vote no on Proposition 27 and yes on Proposition 20.

And tell the oligarchs to go to Hell.

(via FlashReport)


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