Sunday, December 25, 2011

How the "Grinch" stole the holidays in the San Francisco Bay Area

Chestnut roasting in the open fire, the most comforting aspect of the holidays is one can take the chance to relax after hectic schedule of work and shopping. A Yule log brings blessing to holiday enjoyment.

However the "Grinch" otherwise known as the bay area air quality management district disagrees with this practice and eventually there powers had grown so much these years they have succeeded to becoming the air nazi of the nine county Bay Area to declare Spare the air days in order to be able to fine households who done what they had always done.

Since the advent of the mandatory of the once voluntary program(The one which brought the now ended free transit program) there had been one on Thanksgiving and two on Christmas. The burn ban tends to be on the days fires are needed the most this includes the coldest days of the year as well as holidays.

In California counties ordinances generally cannot apply rules to incorporated municipalities however this air district claims they can control everything even within cities this is a rarity in the state.

The ordinance is quite flawed in many ways actually. They rely on using electronic means of communication or newspapers which not everyone subscribes to. Those who don't watch the news closely nor have access to the internet will not get any information of spare the air days. If they do things property they should communicate via the US mail as throughout the ages the US mail should be used for any official documents or it would be declared null and void.

In practice an ordinance like this would be like many other less known ordinances piled in the books such as bicycle licensing, cat licensing, etc which make little to no difference to change the general population's habits just as with unapproved fireworks on Fourth of July as well as skateboarding bans as revelers would still celebrate using whatever they like and skateboarder would play no matter what the signs say though it would cause people to feel guilty just as with many other bans that make people feel like criminals for everything they do as it is pretty much unavoidable to violate some obscene legislation. The banning of legal fireworks actually increases use of dangerous explosive fireworks with no safety regulation. I wonder what is next? Ban fry cooking on such days as it had been studied kitchen smoke is actually more toxic than even tobacco smoke. Why not ban cars or impose a odd and even license plate restriction on those days? Why not ban BBQs or gas two stroke motor gardening tools in the summer Spare the air days as those create heavy pollution as well?

In conclusion if they are smarter and want to make a difference they should instead encourage credits on clean burning stoves and fireplaces. Many fireplaces are not efficient in producing heat for the house though that can be corrected with more heat energy and much less emissions with today's technologies. It is best to let the people decide by public hearings which great publicity is given to people via all forms of communication including the US mail. The best solution to the issue is to first educate the public of the dangers of sooty smoke to health then try to give rebate incentives to upgrade the equipment to minimize or eliminate emissions then after a number of years than start talking about cracking down on units that produce excessive smoke and encouraging the pubic to speak up. This is a much smarter and effective solution than a one size fit all ban which is like a Ostrich head in sand situation that only seem to benefit the natural gas company and not reward those who make an effort to install catalyic converters or other air cleaning technologies other than natural gas on stoves and fireplaces.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

California the great "Nanny" state

How California is one big "Nanny" State,

This is not to say that there are no revels though both other states and other countries and individual jurisdictions within.

The definition of a "Nanny State" is governmental policies of over-protectionism, economic interventionism, or heavy regulation of economic, social or other nature.
The subjective term nanny state is typically used pejoratively, expressing an anxiety that these policies are being institutionalized as common practice. Opponents of such policies use the term in their advocacy against what they consider to be uninvited and damaging state intervention. Large amounts of jobs might be at risk causing a greater burden on public funding.

Controversial and highly debated, Nanny Laws are laws that are designed to protect us from ourselves. Some are welcomed while others are frown upon. Selective and unequal enforcement is an quite an issue. Some of these are little know vague and often neglected in general population. Sometimes a local authority may use it as an excuse for profiling distracting them from real duties that actually benefit the public. Also as states complain of deficits and funding problems it would look into these to be revenue generators by initiating a ticketing blitz instead of correcting its own problems first.

One would wonder why California facing a $26 billion deficit much higher than any state in the union as well as heaps of problems with its legislative systems are sweating the small stuff.

Frivolous legislation is not without its consequences. Dealing with excessively vague letters of these frivolous laws would also cause distractions in the court system making it harder to enforce existing legislations and hinders investigations in courts.  Also greedy lawyers may also use it as a opportunity for lawsuit abuse. Also it would detract officers from doing their real jobs or used to harass citizens to meet a quota when funding is low allowing dangerous criminals to run lose.

Take California for example
Seatbelt enforcement becomes primary in 1994
Bicycle helmets mandatory for all youth 18 and under
Expanded to include other wheeled recreational items  such as Scooters and skateboards in 2000. 
Helmets for snowboarding or skiing or other snow sports where proposed.
In car smoking ban if youth up to eighteen is involved. Even in ones own property and not technically in public.
Three strikes law in 1995 among the toughest in the nation consequentially resulting in overcrowded prisons and releasing dangerous criminals onto street.
The use of Tanning beds banned for those under 18 in 2012
Handheld cell phone driving ban 2008
Starting 2005 windshild wipers cannot be operated in continuous mode with headlights off
In 2007 Carbon monoxide detectors required in newly built homes.
Rushes to including ban all electronic device use by youth a few months later
Texting ban when driving 2009
2011 Carbon Monoxide detectors required even in existing homes not just newly built/renovated homes
2011 tightened child safety seat law to eight years old.
2011 Shark fin soap ban

Failed bills

SB105 Helmets for snow sports
AB1998 statewide plastic bag ban (This is really not the proper environmental approach for many reasons) While it is argued that the California Grocers Association supports the measure the only reason  is that grocery chains are complaining the patchwork of city to city difference in plastic ordinances is too confusing and difficult for their franchise to operate so they would like one uniform rule for all grocery stores in the state thereby eliminating the confusion.

Possible Bills to come
SB432 ban flat sheets in hotels
AB889 would require parents who hire non parent Babysitter, nannys, housekeepers, and caregivers to a long list of red tape and special rules regarding compensation and vacation pay time. Hard to believe many workers have little compensations and vacation time yet the state turns a blind eye on them yet focuses on babysitters, nannies, and house caregivers first.

These are just the bills issued by the state adminstration. There are plenty more even more invasive local ordinances all across the state. Ordinances on use of fireplaces, plastic bags, styrofoam, and even circumcision as the case in San Francisco and much much more are coming to cities and counties all over the state.

In conclusion politicians should really use common sense and and listen to the people to and explain properly the details to make people understand what the bills are about and negotiate with the population to work something out. This means they should listen to all of the public inputs not solely listen to the big corporations or insurance companies. In fact they should protect to common people from being abused from corporations such as big oil and banks especially with what happened with the mortgage crisis. Otherwise California and other so called republics would just be fascist and no better than former East Germany Soviet Union, North Korea, or many other failed states.