Legislative rock-heads

July 11, 2010

Not only is California’s legislature an oligarchy, but the oligarchs themselves are dimwits who waste the people’s money. First there was Fiona Ma and her blueberry commission. Now we have State Senator Gloria Romero (D), who has focused with laser-like precision on the most crucial issue facing California today. Is the the state’s debt? California’s high unemployment? The legislature’s inability to produce a balanced budget? The flight of businesses from the once-Golden State? Our crumbling infrastructure and lousy public schools?

Hah! Don’t bother the senator with your niggling concerns, puling citizen! No, Senator Romero has introduced legislation to fight the greatest threat to California and its children, today: the threat posed by our state rock.

Until recently, most people probably didn’t know that there was a state rock — far less that Romero wants to get rid of it.

Senate Bill 624, which has been passed by the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources but still has a long way to go in the Legislature, would strip serpentine of its state-rock title, held since 1965. Why? Because the rock “contains the deadly mineral chrysotile asbestos, a known carcinogen, exposure to which increases the risk of the cancer mesothelioma” and because “California should not designate a rock known to be toxic to the health of its residents as the state’s official rock.”


So, how concerned should Californians be about their potentially carcinogenic state rock?

Not very, says John Rosenfeld, emeritus professor of geology at UCLA. According to Rosenfeld, SB 624 “is a bunch of bull.” (This newspaper’s editorial page also doesn’t think much of this bid to change California’s state rock, though it notes that some people with mesothelioma have taken up the cause.)

Of course, Rosenfeld said in an interview, people working with asbestos should wear masks and protect themselves from the mineral dust. But he goes on to explain that there are different types of asbestos, some of which are harmful, and others not. The green asbestos, chrysotile, is the least dangerous type, he says — and, fortunately, the most common type of asbestos found in California serpentine.

“Serpentine is a very beautiful rock. Holding the rock is not a problem and it’s nothing you should be concerned about,” he said. “It’s part of the history of California, noticed by the early settlers of this state. It’s a beautiful stone and shouldn’t be removed.”

Just because something isn’t a threat doesn’t mean we should stand by and do nothing about the threat… or something. Just ask the global-warming alarmists.  Silly

Meanwhile, bear in mind that Senator Romero makes around $100,000 per year for stuff like this, and that’s not counting her perks and per diems. I’m sure the voters of Senate District 24 will be glad to know they’re getting their money’s worth, and that Gloria Romero is dealing with those matters of greatest importance to them.

Maybe she should use some of that salary to buy a basic text on Mineralogy, too.