Saturday, August 19, 2006

On the Campaign Trail

Yesterday, a couple was so excited to be “discovered” by me off the beaten track, that they wanted to register to vote, and vote for me just because they were impressed that I bothered to walk back there -- “rather than just standing on the road waving a sign.” It surprises and amazes me when one will have these life-affirming encounters -- when one least expects them.

The positive to negative runs about 20-2 -- which I guess must be pretty good. The trick is not to be the weakness, or the limitation in the encounter.

This past week, and for the reminder of the month, the candidates forum of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, plays for the last half an hour of the 3.5 hour meeting-- and I get to follow Councilmember Djou, in that sequence. I used to give a lot of public talks -- but haven’t in the last few years, so it’s kind of interesting to see myself on tape again. People note that I have a very distinctive speaking style -- which may be the most dynamic they will see on public access.

Additionally, all the candidates got a chance for a 5 minute "exclusive" taping at Olelo these past two weeks as part of their Vote 2006 presentations, after which the lineup for the elections will be running virtually nonstop during the election season. I think I gave a good account of myself, Governor Lingle, and the Republican Party. The producer was impressed that I kept getting better with each “take.” After the third take, they didn’t ask me if I wanted to try to improve on it further -- or even look at it to decide which was best. So I figure I nailed it.

While at Olelo, I resubmitted my classic hourlong video on Understanding Conditioning, which twelve years later, is still ahead of its time but becoming more the mainstream view of exercise and conditioning, with the Baby Boom generation and beyond realizing that it is the only way that makes sense. That’s just the reality of the situation/observation -- which no amount of wishful thinking can deny.

It’s good training for government -- in which many have difficulty distinguishing between wishful thinking and reality, and so many of our laws don’t eliminate problems but become the perpetual source of them -- ensuring job security for highly paid government experts. That is probably the greatest danger of our times -- that government is run for the benefit of the government experts, rather than the citizens at large. And that is also the source of inflation -- that we pay more and more, for less and less -- until finally, most of the budget goes to pay for those who we don’t know what they are doing.

They are just “administrators” -- or some fancy-sounding title while lobbying, blogging and emailing for their favorite candidates and causes. So we really need more people in government who are willing to tell us what is really going on in government. It’s happening in all the fields -- even exercise, when formerly, one did what the P.E. teacher told us to do, and if we didn’t, had to do twice as much.

2 Comments:

At August 20, 2006 9:31 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Do they think up these bad ideas all by themselves?

http://www.dailynews.com/theiropinion/ci_4207353

New laws suffocate California
JILL STEWART, Guest Columnist

IN 1966, California voters created a full-time Legislature after Speaker Jesse Unruh promised a dazzlingly “professional” Legislature instead of part-timers earning $6,000 yearly. By 2007, legislators will earn $145,097 in wages and per diem, costing roughly $200 million annually, yet taxpayers get a dubious “product” in return: mountains of pointless laws.

We are drowning in 47,000 new laws enacted since 1966, covering everything from the size of typeface on official notices on employee bulletin boards to the arcane timing dictating when you must use your windshield wipers.

You couldn't know this, but it's illegal to throw away your cell phone. Lawbreaker!

What a contrast to the early 20th century, when Big Laws addressed, often for the first time, everything from redevelopment to fair employment practices. After that, we got mired in pocket laws, obscurities and nitpickery. Ronald Reagan, Jerry Brown and George Deukmejian added roughly 1,500 new laws yearly; Pete Wilson and Gray Davis about 1,000 annually.

Scary.

But in 2004, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made news. He vetoed 311 bills. His vetoes caused legislators momentary pause. They sent him “only” 961 laws in 2005. Arnold let 729 become law — a “record low” in our times.

He has vetoed bills to strip independence from charter schools, to tell schools what sort of sprinklers to install, to protect grape pickers from eating unwashed grapes. He vetoed Assembly Bill 13 to prohibit “Redskins” as a school mascot, and AB 723 to require “tolerance training” of our kids — by our racially divided teachers. He vetoed AB 391 to pay “unemployment” to locked-out workers seeking raises (noting that “unemployment” checks are for people who lose jobs due to actions not their own — not for clever workers in the midst of negotiations). And many more.

Now, the Legislature is frenetically considering up to 1,700 extra laws before its Aug. 31 deadline — an embarrassing brew of self-serving special-interest claptrap that's intrusive, abusive, regressive or downright offensive.

Assembly Bill 2641 by Democrat Joe Coto of San Jose, with scads of bipartisan coauthors, is the Legislature's greedy bid to lure campaign riches from multimillionaire tribes who back the bill. It lets the “Native American Heritage Commission” delay any ground-disturbing activity in California — think of the possibilities! — that unearths remotely arguable “burial” items. It lets this commission, promoting tribal interests, decide what's a “burial ground” and halt projects.

In this bad dream, landowners must negotiate with designated “descendants” of bones. This “commission” should have no more power over your land than the chamber of commerce. With huge Assembly support, 42-2, it heads to the Senate floor.

Senate Bill 1523, by the bombastically business-hating Democrat Richard Alarcón of Sun Valley, seeks to punish Wal-Mart. It would require any city or county, before allowing a store bigger than 100,000 square feet (Wal-Mart), to order an “economic impact” report. The purpose is to create a costly barrier to a store that's wildly popular with working folks. With a lopsided Senate Democratic vote of 24-12, it heads to the Assembly floor.

Another odious “Thank God we're not poor” bill is SB 1578 by Democrat Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach, making it “a crime” to tether a dog to a stationary object longer than three hours. If you've spent time in South Central, Richmond or Compton, you know that families tether dogs at home to ward off gangs and dealers. California laws already ban inhumane treatment. This bill springs from spoiled brats earning $145,097. It even exempts the upwardly mobile: In recreation settings, dogs can be tethered all day. (Let the poor eat cake; the rest of us are rafting.) It passed the Senate 21-14, and heads to the Assembly floor.

And there's AB 2360 from Democrat Ted Lieu of El Segundo, who snapped to it when Tom Cruise enthused over using an ultrasound device to watch his unborn child. This silly bill bans the sale of ultrasound machines to all but professionals. No word yet on preventing parental purchase of tall chairs, boom boxes and furniture with sharp corners. With big bipartisan Assembly support of 63-10, it heads to the Senate floor.

And many hundreds more. If you let them, politicians suffocate you with rules. I'm praying the governor gives us a new record low for California laws in 2006.

Jill Stewart is a print, radio and television commentator on California politics. Contact her via her Web site, www.jillstewart.net.

 
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