By Andy Caldwell
One of the sure indications we live in a banana republic has to do with the fact that the rules do not apply to the rule makers! Two recent stories and another classic Ross Mayfield cartoon (see below) illustrate this point.
Our legislators in Sacramento are world-famous hypocrites. A couple of years back, one of the most fiercest gun control advocates, Leland Yee, a member of the state Senate, was busted for selling weapons to guerillas! If that didn’t take the cake, this year, one of the most obnoxious virtue signalers in the Assembly, Cristina Garcia, fell off of her #metoo movement high horse when she herself was accused of sexual harassment by way of her penchant for serial groping! How did she beat the rap? Well, if you think that mixed martial arts are brutal, get a load of mixed marital arts! As reported by investigative journalist Katy Grimes, Garcia threatened to name five other legislators she had slept with if the prosecution wouldn’t rest their case! Naturally, the members of the state assembly dropped their inquiry faster than they typically drop their pants!
Then there is the case of the most famous hugger in all of Sacramento, Senator Bob Hertzberg, who, according to at least one of his victims, likes to occasionally grind while he hugs. He got off easy- with a no-more-hugs for you warning! Three other legislators were forced to resign for their sexual misconduct, robbing the dems of their super majority in Sacramento for the time being. Don’t worry for these lover boys gone wrong, the state, read that taxpayers, will pick up the tab for their sexcapades! I guess all clouds have their silver lining, right?
Another example of the rules not applying to the rule makers comes in the form of the California Environmental Quality Act, better known as CEQA. CEQA is the death knell of innovation, entrepreneurship, and efficiency when it comes to building things and getting things done. It is the reason routine projects are subject to years of overwrought machinations and scrutiny by way of environmental impact reports and endless litigation. Of course, absolutely nothing in this state has had a more detrimental impact on the environment as has CEQA! CEQA is one reason why much of Montecito was buried by debris and why it took us 30 years to widen an existing freeway. Clearing brush, or even moving a rock, can trigger CEQA, even when the purpose is to avoid environmental damages that will certainly ensue. Consider CEQA, therefore, as the epitome of the paralysis of analysis.
Well, anyway, the brain trust in Sacramento will on occasion suspend or modify CEQA for “special projects” that they want built without the risk of terminal delays. Think football stadiums and basketball arenas. The excuse? A bill sponsor stated, “We can’t allow these projects to be delayed indefinitely. We need some certainty.” Tell that to the little people trying to build homes and create jobs in this state, not to mention other things we need, like wider freeways and deeper flood control basins!
The latest project deemed worthy of a CEQA exemption to avoid the state’s black hole of environmental review? A proposal to rebuild the state legislature’s capital offices! I wonder if the new office layouts will come complete with a boudoir? After all, most of these legislators do work nights, ahem, and the office additions could eventually cost less than a room in the busiest no-tell-motel in the west.
Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and the host of The Andy Caldwell Radio Show weekdays from 3-5 pm on News Press Radio AM1290 and AM1440 KUHL.