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My readers know by now that my true passion is in analysis and not in partisan bickering. At the end of the day what counts more than anything is the impact your ideas have made on the real world. Internal bickering over members or the like tends to detract from that. The struggles of late within the LP have been keeping me away, for example, from taking a closer look at the budget battles going on in Sacto, for example. This is highly annoying to me.
But there are times when the world of legislative analysis and the world of partisanship collide with a sickening thud. Tbis is such a time.
The latest system being proposed to sort out candidates between the primary and November is called the “top-two” system. Basically you get to vote for anyone you want to in the primary, from any party, and the top two people get the slots for November.
Sounds like a nice way to save paper, right?
What we’re learning is that all it really does is two things. It just about totally prevents a minor-party candidate, even a relatively strong one, from having any chance at all. Since ballot access in many states is tied to electoral totals in November, it would effectively bar minor parties from competing for the foreseeable future. The other thing it would do is that in some areas and in some races, it would feature either 2 Dems or 2 GOP candidates. This could prevent a late challenger like Bill Hedrick from effectively challenging someone like Calvert. Hedrick didn’t succeed but he came very close. It could solidify power in areas that tend to be convincingly one way or the other.
We happen to know these are facts because unfortunately all of this passed up in Washington State and is currently in the litigation stage. Unfortunately the Demopublicans are seeing this as a new weapon to add to ballot access law to shut the third parties out of the national debate. They don’t want to lose their power plays and so this is their latest weapon.
Top-two is trying to spread. A Democrat named Peace down here had a ballot petition taken out but later rescinded it, For now, CA does not have a top-two proposal in the works. However Ahnold has indicated that he might be in favor of such a system so it probably won’t be long before we see something in the works.
And that’s just two states.
So here comes my plea. While we’ve been spending vast amounts of LNC time debating the actual threat of The Keaton, top-two proponents are threatening to shut down our Party’s effectiveness for good. While BTP people have been focused on a variety of internal problems, top-two could completely prevent their Party from even getting off the groumd. While I don’t know the internal threats of, say, the Peace and Freedom, the Greens, or the CP, I am sure there are struggles there.
We need to start forming a team of people interested in legislative matters nationwide. There is no longer any time to waste. Good lobbying efforts got a similar measure defeated in Oregon. This can be a good thing for Party building too because when you spend time looking at and speaking out on real life legislation, your reputation grows. Argue well, and you gain respect. I know this happened in Colorado, to the point where the Colorado LP has a standing executive spot for their Legislative Director.
Start talking. Talk to your friends. Let’s assemble a team to defeat top-two and other laws that threaten our very political existence, and work to defeat evil laws of all stripes.
Well the election is over. For that, I am grateful.
That’s about all I CAN be grateful for.
By first thing this morning it was abundantly clear to me that too many people wanted a piece of my thoughts for me to be able to respond individually so I am going to write this out and link it to everyone. Sorry, it’s just a lot quicker that way.
Obviously, liberals in America are riding a wave of optimism that Change– I mean, Obama– has been elected. Therein lies a problem. I don’t think people were paying all that much attention to the details. They heard “hope” and “change” and they fell down before Obama like he was their Messiah. Well, I’m a libertarian. I don’t get much into messiah-worship. I will say this as positives for the Obama administration. That was pretty much a mandate. That wasn’t some wussy vote total. That was a lot of Americans turning out with a message. This is good. Second, the racial barrier finally fell. This is potentially good all over America. Minorities can really dream, and it may help to motivate them. That would be fantastic! Thirdly, since economics is in part a game of psychology, there may be some short-term benefit. Or at least long enough for us to sell and get the (bleep) out of the Cuckoo Coast (previously known as the left coast).
I wonder when the honeymoon will be over for Obama? I wonder when hope and optimism will be replaced by desperation and deep suffering? He’s not a small-government kind of guy. He is saying the T word like it’s not a cuss word. I don’t hear a lot of “I want to cut xxx out of government” Of course not, he’s a Democrat. This bodes badly in a poor economy such as this. I worry that the next four years will be substantially worse, becoming a depression or worse. I don’t think that we would weaken to the point of a full coup within a year, but a financial coup from China isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Then there is the foreign policy situation which frankly isn’t looking too good either. I will give Obama this much. His experiences in Indonesia will give him an edge in Middle Eastern relations. He knows the customs of the Islamic world (I’m not saying he is. I’m saying he had excellent exposure to the culture) and won’t create a gaffe by his presence. He is also regarded a bit like a “prodigal brother” rather than a “satanic outsider” which is worth a great deal.
I had a dream a few weeks ago that I was standing up seeking the nomination for the LP nod in 2012. (I am NOT declaring, this was ONLY a dream… or possibly nightmare) So anyways I start out my speech by verbally telling Obama that he’s not up to snuff agriculturally. I guess that dream plays into my personal fear that Fusarium blight could be another X factor in the next four years, one that I worry could bring much suffering. I won’t elaborate here except to say that it’s been a fear of mine for some time. I bring this up to mention one of my other fears, that Obama will listen so much to advisors that he will be handled rather than actively lead. He doesn’t know much about agriculture, so he will listen to advisors, who are unfortunately in bed with the very interests who could be (accidentally, and I don’t think they know this) fostering the conditions for a Fusarium breakout. (the reasoning here is long and tortured but suffice it to say that it could easily happen).
Enough about the Presidency.
Out here on the Cuckoo Coast we had one good and one really bad Congressional result. The good news is that Tom McClintock appears to be winning up north. He’s a fine economic conservative and will be a help to Dr. Ron Paul. So this is good. Locally however, Calvert used his OC muscle to wrestle past Bill Hedrick. Calvert is as crooked as they come so this is not good.
Perhaps more interesting– in a Lackeyan sort of sense to that word– were the initiavites/questions/measures/propistions put to the People.
I’ll start with Massachusetts. Question 1 would have eliminated certain taxes in the Governor’swealth of Taxachusetts. Question 1 would have provided an economic stimulus and would have been good for the people. So of course it got soundly defeated. Grrrr. Question 2 will decriminalize marijuana possession back there. I know the people I write on this have widely varying opinions on MJ, but I tend to see it as being less evil than some other stuff out there (no one can tell me that caffeine isn’t a dangerous mind altering chemical, or MSG for that matter) with some positive sides (I know someone who has survived adrenal cancer due to MJ, so it has its uses). I also see decriminalizing its use as freeing up police resources to fight real crime, like the gang problem in Springfield. Question 3 is perhaps the saddest of all. The people got barraged with the old AR line that “Greyhound racing is cruel” and voted to ban it. I have to say, this is a bum deal. There is an economic impact to racing, and there will be a lot of jobs and a lot of tax revenue lost. Racing in itself is not per se cruel, and as for the confinement issues, they are confined a lot less than you think they are, and besides the fact they like to sleep more than most dogs. The conditions at a well-run kennel are not cruel and I have seen that with my own eyes. Plus over the next year or so bunchloads– maybe 1500-2000?– dogs will need placement into the adoption system. The system is already overloaded with track closures due to economic conditions and this might burden it to the point of breaking. I do know that there is a strong GUR system back there but this is going to take professonal haulers and other measures. I hope the tracks don’t do this all at the last second. If they are smart, they will close off the schooling and not allow new placements into the track. Any dog that gets injured needs to be automatically off the roster. That will cut down the dogs to a more manageable level and then maybe we will only have to place 500 or so at once. Much easier if still a huge strain. The other problems are– by 2010 I expect more tracks to close so that the vast majority of the remaining tracks will be in the South. Any serious closure issues between now and then and we could rise to crisis level. The second issue is that once this big chunk of placements is done– it may actually become difficult to get an adoptive Greyhound down the road. I know this plays into the AR rulebook– they’d rather not see pets. A lot of AR types don’t like dogs. Seriously. But those of us whose hearts have been permanently hollowed into with a pack of needlenoses curled up contentedly within– well, I see the writing on the wall. What’s going to happen when we are down to 10 tracks and the number coming off the tracks is 1/2 of the replacement rate or less? Am I the only person seeing this? People in the GH world need to plan, now, for this eventuality. We’re not always going to me M&Ging in desperate hopes of increasing our adopter pool, gang. The day is fast approaching when the replacement rate and the grade off rate are going to be about equal, and then only if Southern tracks regularly Haul to the rest of the country and Canada.
Okay so I get passionate about Greyhounds. On to other subjects.
In Arkansas there was a measure to ban cohabitating unmarried people from adopting kids. It passed by a wide margin. Those poor kids.
In Colorado voters actually still appear to have occasional functioning brain cells. They voted, among other things, to preserve TABOR and voted down some other taxation stuff. They resoundingly told the theocrats of ElPasoco to go screw themselves on a spire of the GoG and voted to keep the status quo on personhood intact. The only glitch appears that a civil rights amendment is too close to call.
On the Cuckoo Coast things were very different. titles are not official.
!A– Spend yet more nonexistent money on a bullet train pipe dream– passed. Argh!
2–ARista intrusion into the private affairs of farm life, forced non-ranching in CA– passed, resoundingly
3–spend yet more nonexistent money on children and hospitals– passed.
4– force even abused kids to seek parental permission for an abortion– thankfully failed.
5– Ease up on Drug offenses but create a giant bureaucracy to deal with it– failed.
6–“criminal justice” and yet more bureaucracy– failed, resoundingly, didn’t carry a single county.
7–Forced socialism concerning renewable energy– failed.
8– Ban loving GLBT couples from being able to take the plunge, tie the knot, and in general be married– PASSED, you darned IDIOTS!! (sorry, I feel strongly on this one. Similar bans exist now in AZ and FL. It’s sad)
9– Victim’s rights bureaucracy– passed.
10– Alternative fuels socialism– failed.
11– the “R and D’s plan to gerrymander the state while looking fair” plan– headed for recount land I hope
12– more nonexistent money for veterans– passed.
Measure K- SF– decriminalize prostitution– failed.
Two trends in here I find particularly disturbing
First– The people on the left who voted for Obama undoubtedly had something to do with the strength of the passage of Prop 2 and probably also helped pass Question 3. This is frustrating for those of us who work hard to counter the animal rights extremists. I warn those of you who are inclined in their direction. They DON’T like animals. They DON’T see any joy in a puppy curled up against its Alpha (owner) or in the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Hey, clue here– dogs are not people, nor are pigs or chickens. My dogs relish their collars as the symbol of their bond to us, their Alphas. I do not do well on a vegetarian diet, and I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of people need *some* animal products in their diet. The AR agenda wants to force us towards the path to veganism. This is deeply disturbing to me. Oh yeah, and I’m still somewhat undecided as to what may happen with AR extremism and Obama– certainly this may spell enhancement, enforcement and more trouble with NAIS.
Second– What IS it with people and their hatred of the GLBT community?!? Hey, clue here. A GLBT marriage does not threaten traditional marriage– it enhances and complements those of us who are happily traditionally married. I think everyone who is likely to read this already knows, but just to reiterate. I’m basically straight. I’ve been happily married for 11 years. My hubby and I have spent plenty of time with lesbian and gay activists, with several bisexual individuals, and even a transgendered individual while he was becoming a she. They DON’T harm us!! We’ve known some of these people for some time now and frankly, if anything they’ve strengthened our marriage in several cases. They are NOT abominations– they are really nice people who see love from a different angle.
Darn it, get a clue already. All they are asking for is the same chance that you got. The same hopes and dreams that marriage to someone you truly love can bring. The same responsibilities, the occasional squabbles over home life, even the heartbreak of losing a partner. That’s ALL they are asking for– a chance. And the voters couldn’t even do that.
It’s amazing how the simple things can get blown up to ridiculous proportions.
Take milk, for example.
Milk used to go straight from the cow to the bottling plant to the consumer within hours. I know, my grandfather actually had a milk truck back in the 40’s. Back then it was pretty much as the cow made it– raw, unpasteurized, unhomogenized, with a thick cream layer at the top that could be made into butter, if the housewife wanted to.
To be fair, sometimes people got sick from pathogens in the milk, particularly when the cows were sick or the teats were not correctly cleaned. Yes, people did get very sick and even die from “milk fever”. Our technology was not good enough to be able to test the cows.
When pasteurization became widespread, it was hailed as the end to milk fever. Farmers hailed it as a timesaver too since now they need not even concern themselves with washing teats or with dumping milk from a cow who was sick– the pasteurization took care of all the germs.
Nowadays, milk is a processed product, and lasts for weeks on the shelf. Not everyone, however, is happy with this state of affairs. Some people, for instance, feel that pasteurization kills the beneficial microbes as well as the pathogens– throwing the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. Others feel that the proteins in milk are changed during the processing, and indeed there are people who are allergic to processed milk but not nearly so allergic to raw milk. For these people, raw milk is a valuable source of protein and calcium that is otherwise unavailable to them.
Enter Sacto, stage left.
Sacto is obsessive about the possibility of food contamination, perhaps justifiably since the spinach scandal. But they also seem to have a “kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out” mentality which is not always the best thing. When it was discovered that there were microbes (oh, horror! microbes!) in raw milk sold in this state, they quickly passed AB 1735.
“Wait, not so fast!” cried some. “Not all of those microbes are harmful, some may actually be helpful for the gut, and you’re treating all of them like criminals! Besides, nowadays we can test for the harmful pathogens such as brucellosis!” That last part is completely true, I’m told there is a 10-minute “snap” test for brucellosis among others. It’s actually possible to determine the microbe content of a particular batch of milk, and to know if those microbes are good, bad, or plain nasty.
Even Sacto saw a need for compromise and crafted SB201, which while not perfect would have at least allowed the two raw dairies in this state to continue operations. Unfortunately our Actor-Governor has now vetoed this bill.
**shakes head sadly** I’m speechless.
It’s no secret that California has a traffic problem too. Let’s face it, the L.A. traffic reporters even have their own terms (“running a break”, “sigalert” etc.) to describe the unholy mess because it is that much worse than in other parts of the country. It’s also worth noting, of course, that we have a lot more people packed into a lot more space which probably has quite a lot to do with all that.
Traffic problem, meet stupid mandate, id est SB 375.
The oh-so-(un)wise heads in Sacto have decided that a Mandate is necessary to cut carbon emissions (don’t get me started on the science of that statement!) and traffic congestion. They want all the cities involved as metropolitan planning districts to come up with plans to reduce traffic (supposedly therefore reducing CO2 emissions) by targeted dates. They basically are requiring that cities come up with high-density housing near transit corridors and other plans to move the people around in the most efficient manner possible.
Pardon me.. Buahahahahaha. Oh, that felt good.
You see, my husband is an extreme commuter (okay so most of you know this already but hey, one never knows, I might pick up a new reader) and he commutes from Riverside to the beach Cities 4 days a week. Aside from the long days and other disruptions this causes it then becomes a case of seeing traffic congestion at close view. You actually learn quite a lot doing this over time, and boy, does hubby have stories to tell.
First of all, a word to any random readers from Sacramento– have you EVER tried to use mass transit to get somewhere especially with an alternative work schedule? Try setting up a mass transit schedule that would enable my husband to get on the train at downtown Riverside and get to work, work ten hours, and come home again. It’s literally not possible. Even if he only works eight hours it’s rather dependent on the trains being perfectly on schedule so he can catch a shuttle between the metro-line and the metrolink near Santa Fe Springs. If you’ve ever lived in Rivco you know that just ain’t the case. I live near the tracks that the trains use, I hear it all the time. I know. Long story short. Don’t ever assume that mass transit will meet everyone’s transportation needs.
Mass transit also works against alternative scheduling, which is the better answer anyhow. When you define a rush hour(s) you guarantee congestion. When your mass transit runs only between certain hours, you guarantee that employers will have to take that into account in work scheduling. It feeds on itself and you can’t break free,
The thing is, mandating high-density housing, mass transit and other “wonders of efficiency” just doesn’t work unless you’re a Cliff Swallow. And they only use their homes for 60 days a year. The reality is, when you bunch people up tightly to “reduce sprawl” and make transportation less gas-dependent, mostly what you do is increase crime rates, which is not at all desirable. Some people really need to have space around them to feel healthy. I don’t care HOW close together the homes are, it doesn’t change the fact that Mike’s position is 60 miles away, and there just aren’t any good aerospace openings closer than that. All those companies are within a few miles of each other over in the Beaches.
The real solution, as I said, is to encourage more alternate schedules. My husband’s employer does this and boy does it help. We try and jump the back end of the morning rush and because he works 10 hours, by the time he heads home it cuts the commute significantly. If he gets caught in the morning rush his commute is 2 hours long. By contrast his evening commute can be as little as 70 minutes. There are still plenty of cars out and about at that hour, but there aren’t enough to create large-scale congestion. If most companies (and I recognize that there are exceptions) had people flexing their work hours around a core set of hours (say 10 AM to 2 PM) then you could have workers working from 6 AM to 2:30 PM or from 10 AM to 6:30 PM or from 9 AM to 7 PM or whatever. If you spread out the congestion, there will be a better chance that the cars will be able to move near speed. That WILL cut carbon emissions and gas usage. I know. Our statistics over 5 years prove it.
Bunching up people like a mess of Cliff Swallows won’t do a thing.
SB 375 is currently at Ahnold’s desk.
It’s no secret that foreclosures are as common as traffic jams in California right now. During the bubble, piggyback mortgages were about the only way the average person could afford a house and now those interest-free periods are up and people can’t pay the piper. I was asked to enter one of these and flat outright refused, much to my current relief. I could see the train wreck from several years’ distance. I just wish I’d had the foresight of a friend of mine who sold her house in 30 days flat in 2005 for some outlandish sum and is now living debt-free in Georgia. (no, she’s not LP)
The Legislature also knows exactly what is going on, probably because it affected their budget so they actually had to notice. (I’ve been holding off on posting about the budget because frankly I’m not sure I can keep my temper) Thus was born AB 2594.
AB 2594 is designed to allow Redevelopment Agencies to become a sort of loan company. Now if you’ve been living under a rock, redevelopment agencies are government agencies that can declare blight on neighborhoods and plan new highways, malls, or whatever in the place of the old neighborhood. They don’t have the best reputation in many places, and this alone makes me highly nervous to give them any sort of additional power, especially over distraught home owners with subprime loans.
There could be some unintended consequences with less-than-bad effects, however. First, if the agencies are all tied up with individual homeowners, they won’t have the money to go after the “blight” of whole neighborhoods to put in the new super revenue mall or whatever. This actually could be good news for more modest parts of town, and could conceivably help the housing market if those places aren’t just going under the wrecking ball. In my mind, protecting the modest parts of town is good for affordable housing. The other possibility exists if the agencies take on a whole lot of bad debt. If they end up getting saddled with a lot of properties they can’t unload, they might just go bankrupt. That might be the best protection for California, in a really weird way.
Why do I sometimes feel like the legislators outsmart themselves?
Of course something like this could only happen in San Franscisco where the politics begin on the left and go left from there. There is some state owned property right on the edge of town called The Cow Palace. They sometimes hold gun shows there among plenty of other events. Now having been a veteran of numerous gun shows I can tell you that they are usually no more dangerous than your average Tupperware party, unless the mere sight of weaponry gives you a panic attack. I assure you, there is plenty to see but little action. If you see someone aiming a gun, it’s always an unloaded weapon, and that is usually to check for ease of usage. No different than checking how tight the lid is on a new piece of Tupperware.
Earlier this year the legislature tried to ban gun shows at the Cow Palace. Like a large number of bills that go through the Legislature, this bill dealt with a very specific circumstance in one specific part of the state. I know this one dealt with state-owned property but others don’t always have that much of a state-level connection. The Libertarian in me says that more local control of legislative processes would be one way to improve efficiency when government actions are necessary. Then again, it might free up more time for them to pat each other on the back and to debate the usefulness of including a lecture on the Filipino veterans of WWII in CA schools so well, maybe not. (I’m NOT making that up) However, this could also be controlled by imposing a greater limit on when sessions occur, and by requiring that floor sessions be held at separate times from committee sessions. (HT to McClintock)
Unfortunately it was very close. There was a serious chance that bill could have made it to Ahnold’s desk. The good news is that it failed and the gun shows are safe for a little while longer. The bad news is that the State is still trying to sell the land (more legislation!) in this fiscal climate. While I normally applaud the gov’t selling off spoils of victories over taxpayers, it just doesn’t make sense right now. Three years ago would have been a different story, but now?
If you;re up north– go support the second Amendment and attend a Cow Palace Gun Show, while you still can!
Now we move onto another bill at the Governor-Actor’s desk, AB 2270 which ought to be called the Evil Water Softener Act.
“Ummm, Gaura, water softeners aren’t evil”.
Well that’s true but apparently the Legislature thinks otherwise.
To summarize. The state is freaking out about the drought. Well, duh, 30 bazillion lawns take up a lot of water. Prohibiting ordinances that require lawns would be more helpful… a person could choose to have a lawn, but if they would rather have a garden (which can be drip irrigated) or a xeriscape then they could. Presently there are a lot of ordinances that prohibit even xeriscape– that’s dumb!!
Instead the State is trying a different tack– recycling water. Well that’s all fine and good. Grey water is great for non-edible landscaping and I don’t have a problem with its voluntary use for landscaping. Recycling water is somewhat different– waste water– yes, that means toilet water too– is “purified” and then sent back to the tap.
If that fact doesn’t send you to the porcelain throne I don’t know what will.
One of the problems inherent in recycled water is salinity. Now most salinity is natural, particularly in a state with a big coastline bordering the largest ocean in the world. Got news for ya, Sacto– salt can travel a certain extent inland. It’s actually estimated that 90 percent of the salinity of CA water is natural. (The people near the Salton Sea can tell you all about that)
Feeling impotent in the face of Mother Nature, or because they are unable to resist regulation, the legislature turns to a minority reason for salinity. Water softeners. If you own one, you know that they do require salt. No argument. However when the alternate choice is the ability to muck up a dishwasher so completely that it may never work right again, that seems like a small price to pay. Seriously hard water is no joke.
Anyways this bill would seem to empower municipalities that recycle water (and all will be required to) to regulate or prohibit water softeners. Okay, you want to mandate messed up dishwashers and the use of vast amounts of vinegar to have even a chance at clean dishes? Are they freaking serious? Unfortunately they are.
The balloon ban (SB 1499, see previous posts) appears headed for passage. I believe it is at Ahnold’s desk.
This is not as bad as it first appears.
I really need to give some background. This bill started out as something regulating grease haulers. Somewhere along the way it turned into the infamous mylar balloon ban. (nanny state bills both but at least the first one had a little more of a problem attached to it.
The first versions after the G&A were like something out of a nightmare. It would have effectively banned the use, sale, donation or distribution of mylar balloons. The industry council came out in droves to oppose as did the Jon and Ken show (KFI radio) and some others.
I’ll give Scott some credit here. Maybe it was because he termed out and didn’t want to leave on too sour of a note. I don’t know. But he managed to compromise and turn this bill into someting tolerable if not exactly wonderful. Basically it got amended so that the weights on the balloons would be non-removable and some signs have to be placed at the POS warning of the potential dangers to power lines.
Yes, Scott is termed out– he’s headed I think to the university system. He’s like 75 years old and about as liberal as they come in this state which is saying something considering this is CA. Unfortunately his district is considered Dem-safe so his replacement may be just as bad, or worse.
I’d like to add that the :Legislature seems to think that if they put just enough pressure on business to get business to do their will and then work on the compromise, then that’s good legislation. I heard all the time “we need legislative oversight” and “the opposition has removed its objections” in the same bill. In other words they almost seem to want business in this state to cave in to a police state mentality. In other words, like willing slaves. It’s insane of course but it’s how it seems to be. “We need legislative oversight” basically translates to “in a police state situation we can’t trust you so pffllbbtt!”
I’m afraid the news gets worse from here. I’ll leave this until tomorrow sometime. You might want to have some drinks/mugwort/whatever before you read tomorrow’s and this weekend’s postings.
I’ll start off with a piece of good news, although unfortunately it has to be well cushioned with several cautionary tales.
The California State Senate voted 5-27 on AB 1634, which effectively killed its momentum, garnering even more “no” votes than even the most optimistic projections. A week later the bill was placed on the inactive file “with the permission of the author and Senator Dutton’s dog” (my Senator, who owns an intact show dog) This basically means the bill is dead. Levine gave up. The dogs and cats of California have a little less to fear.
That’s the good news.
Here’s the bad news.
1. This bill particularly highlighted the use of gut and amend as a legislative tool. I am calling upon you, my readers, to help do something about this. As we saw with AB 1634, when a bill is put through G&A it doesn’t go through the entire legislative process. Only a bill number goes through the whole process so G&A short-circuits things. While such a bill always faces concurrence, as we all know concurrence is usually all but a rubber stamping. When Levine threatened to G&A 1634 onto 2270, it was a wake-up call to all the opposition that had started to waver. Such a G&A would have effectively bypassed practically the entire process. This isn’t fair.
2. This bill also highlighted the power of moving the call, something else that needs to change. If a vote isn’t going well the legislator may “move the call” which means that the vote comes up later that day (when the appropriate arm-twisting has been administered in caucus). If moving the call were not allowed, then AB 1634 would have died a long time ago in the Assembly. Such a move would have saved Sacto a large amount of money from fax machines that would not have burned out and from the countless hours spent by staffers in recording the opposition to AB 1634.
3. But here is more good news. Organized grass-roots action CAN work IF the people know the procedure and know how to beat them at their own game. I was on a list that dealt with this bill and I am grateful that the group has learned so much in the past 18 months. We now have people who can write in legislative-speak who would have been panicked just a year prior. The list can dispassionately discuss “Oh AB 1634 was item 96 and Padilla said “do pass”” without anyone having to ask what that all meant.
It CAN work. To Diane Amble, Stormy Hope, Brat Zinsmaster, Geraldine Clarke, George Bell, Bill Henby, and dozens of others, congrats.
The battle is won, the war is not over. All over the country animal rights extremists are chipping away at Americans and their love of animal companionship. Please do not hesitate to contact me for help if such a bill shows up in your city, county, or state. Protect property rights and privacy rights, oppose the extremist agenda, protect your dog or cat!
I decided to resurrect an essay from last year. If we don’t figh this bill this is what some extremists in the Animal Rights movement would actually want to see. Do you?
The Last Dog
By Lidia Seebeck
The report came in slowly from Muddy Gap, Wyoming.
Someone had spotted a dog sniffing around his house in the bitter cold of a
Wyoming winter. The person was quite sure that this was a dog, not a wolf.
No, of course he didnt secretly own the dog. That had been banned long
ago, of course. This dog seemed to appear out of the blizzard itself one
cold night, scaring his daughter silly.
Of course the animal was transferred to the authorities. It was determined
that yes, indeed, this person really had found a dog,
and only its somewhat feral behavior kept the land-dweller from being
prosecuted for animal slavery. This dog had clearly been in the wild for
some time. Everyone knew that for the last five years only the police, search
and rescue, and a few charitable hospices and the like were allowed dogs,
and the last one, a Yorkshire Terrier, had died last year. There was a
funeral and everything, and many experts from the animal rights movement
hailed the end of canine slavery.
It hadn’t always been that way, of course. Long ago,
around the millennium, people often owned and bred dogs, and sometimes they
ended up in shelters.
Unfortunately the dogs that ended up in shelters were
Well, some people didnt like this. So they began to
change the laws. First they banned dogs that were considered dangerous like
Bull Terriers and Dobermans. Unfortunately sometimes docile breeds got
mixed up into this, like the Greyhound, who was eventually maligned due to
the muzzle it once wore while racing around a track. Predictably, the
whole practice of racing the dogs was banned as being too cruel and the dogs
were executed wholesale, being unadoptable due to the laws. Greyhound lovers,
or Greyters, were broken hearted and tried to tell the authorities that
the Greyhounds were good dogs, gentle with kids and loving even to
strangers. But they were soon locked up, having been prosecuted for animal slavery.
Another one of the milestones had to have been the passage of Californias
Healthy Pets Law, which mandated spaying and neutering
for nearly all dogs except the most pampered of show animals. People were
outraged but the law passed anyways, in an effort to reduce the shelter
population. Many Californians were aghast that people were doing
backyard breeding, and others were just mad that animals were still getting
killed. Eventually this became the American Spay and Neuter Law, which
mandated spaying and neutering for all animals not involved in police or
search and rescue. The next ten years or so saw the canine population growing
old, and more breeds being executed wholesale as they were deemed
dangerous. Too late, people realized that very docile breeds were getting
declared, and they began to question the wisdom of breed-specific legislation. By
then even the young dogs were eight or so, and many were rapidly dying of
old age, at least in the larger breeds,
The dog in Muddy Gap had been transferred to a facility in Laramie where a
police dog academy still stood, unused. The dog was soon deluged with
donations from around the country of old kibble and soft blankets that had
cushioned their canine seniors. Animal lovers came in from around the
country to the chance to see and cuddle with the dog.
Lucky soon responded to the attention, which everyone insisted on.
This dog was clearly quite old, having a very gray muzzle and face.
Surprisingly, this dog was also clearly part Mastiff,
which was one of the breeds to be Declared rather early on. Some dogs had
been preserved as police dogs, however, so this dog was probably the
offspring of one of those dogs. It had numerous abrasions and bite marks, and it
was theorized that the dog had probably had to fight and hunt a lot to
stay alive. No one really knew of course.
As the War on Dogs continued, canine slavery became quite the hot topic, and
there were two distinct camps of dog owners and former
owners. The first was that dogs were nice to have around, but utterly
miserable and it was good that they had mostly been euthanized. The other camp
believed something quite different, They honestly believed that dogs were
pack animals and honestly didn’t mind the direction of a dog owner,
rather relishing the leadership the owner provided and basking in the love
the owner gave. As such they felt that canine ownership (and they were
very unhappy with the term “slavery”) was an ethical thing, and well worth
the trouble of pursuing. Unfortunately this viewpoint was rapidly
becoming illegal, and there were numerous people in prison for canine
slavery. There were also a number of people who lived in the back of beyond who
were breeding dogs beyond the reach of authorities. In the days when
breeding was more common, these people such as coyote-dog breeders, were
relatively few and far between. The shift in laws had increased their
numbers, and now even responsible breeders were hiding out, hoping to save
the last of their lines until the political storm broke. While some of these
people persisted for a few years, it was rather easy to find a kennel full of
barking dogs when all the other registered dogs were gone. Soon even these
people fell to the insatiable sweep of the War on Dogs.
The number of dogs in America had been rapidly dropping and was now at
5,673. Mostly these were police and rescue dogs, with
a precious 10 or 15 dogs who served as roving servants, transported from
hospice to nursing home to hospital to comfort the ailing. Still, the
occasional dog would show up and be pressed into one of the allowed professions, or
else euthanized. (For some reason, euthanasia was now viewed as the greatest
gift ever, when it was euthanasia which had started the legal avalanche
in the first place)
Lucky was not doing well in captivity. He had suddenly developed a fever,
and there was no legal veterinarian anymore, since
they had all been out of practice for years. Former vets clustered around him
and tried to remember what to do. They gave him all manner of potions and
antibiotics but these only gave Lucky a really nasty attitude and equally
nasty gastric disturbances. With every hour it was clear the poor
old fella was dying.
The nation turned in their televisions to watch, hourly updates, and the
debate on dog keeping began to be opened once again.
People reminisced about their dogs when they were young, and remembered good
times at the dog beach or at the dog park. The talk of allowing dogs once
again raged just as badly as poor Luckys fever. His health declined quickly, and
within a few days he was on the brink of death. Some news stations had
completely stopped reporting on anything other than Lucky and the dog
debate.. As his last sputtering breaths were captured live and transmitted
around the world, people started to call their Legislators, asking to
please, please not let Lucky be the last American dog. Unfortunately, things
had gone too far, this was too little and too late.
Lucky truly became the last American dog..