Pachinko Serves the Public Good

Tomorrow is another election.  I don’t know for what, even though I always vote.  I know that one of the items is Measure L, asking whether we should keep the libraries open.  And for the record, yes, we want the libraries to stay open.  Seven days a week.  All day, maybe knock off at noon on Sunday.  And we want water at our houses, and electricity, and weekly trash pickup.  So don’t put those on another initiative or we’re going to know for sure that your number needs to be retired. 

Really, all this legislating in Sacramento must be exhausting.  It’s so much work, it’s enough to make a governor just up and quit halfway through a term.  Wait—one already did, because being president of the U.S. is a lot easier, and you get to go to neat new places, get a bigger office, and have everybody’s attention. 

But in Sacramento, there’s so much flitting up and down halls, shaking hands, getting your picture taken, forgetting your favorite lobbyist’s wife’s name, not knowing which coalition you’re in or which motel you decided on for lunch.   No wonder there’s so little bi-partisanship.  These days, you just have to know your party and you know how to vote.  “R” is for “Right.” “D” is for “Don’t even.”  “I” is the Roman numeral for how may terms (or votes) you can expect.  How anything gets done with all this remembering is beyond me.  So if you can remember that nothing gets done, you’ve still got a leg up on the taxpayers.   And if there’s anything California politicians know best, it’s how to lift their leg on the taxpayers. 

Today, the L.A. Times carried the headline, A Capitol Logjam: 2,323 Bills; Brown and others say that’s too many as the state grapples with fiscal crisis.  What to do, what to do…  Well, Pachinko wants to help.  Let me take some of the bills the times posted as being stalled and help decide them, thus freeing up the state legislators to decide upon which powerless groups of citizens to drop the hammer. 

Here we go:

“Assembly Bill 46: Dissolve Vernon’s cityhood.”  Yes.  Who knows where Vernon is anyway?  Attach it to the next unknown city and change the name to something catchier than “Vernon.”  Like Peet’s.  Or Abercrombie.  Done.  2,322 to go.

“Senate Bill 30: Increase state tobacco tax by $1.50 per pack.”  Come on, how trivial is this, and how transparent.  Let’s boost the “revenue” by making cigarettes a flat $4.00 apiece.  Kill two birds with one stone and make marijuana cigarettes $10.00 apiece, professionally rolled.  No sales to anyone under 30.  Done.  Two bills in one swoop.  How easy is this?

“SB 818: Revise definition of olive oil.”  Here you go:  Olive oil (n.) oil made from the fruit of the olive tree.  Next?

“SB 417: Bar welfare recipients from using state-issued debit cards to buy alcohol or tobacco.”  Yes.  Everyone on welfare should be issued a carton of American Spirit cigarettes and a half-gallon of generic gin on the first of the month.  Cultivate a black market.  Use the debit card for necessities, like food, shelter, utilities, child support, strip clubs and guns, like it was intended.

Okay, that’s four bills resolved in ten minutes.  What else…

“AB 26: Bring Arizona’s controversial anti-illegal-immigration law to California.”  No way.  Let Arizona bring it here themselves.  Why should we go get it?  Saves over $175.00 on gas reimbursement, $375 if they’re driving a state-owned Buick.  And it allows state politicians to keep their gardeners, drivers, and nannies.

“SB 40: Legalize poker on the Internet.”  Are you crazy?  Texas Hold’em and cigars is the last domain of guys whose wives are gone on Thursday nights.  Dilute that and it’s a civil rights issue.   Let’s give every taxpayer a $300.00 opening stake.  Tie it in with SB 417, and you’ve got a deal.

“AB 1279: Change animal ‘pound’ to ‘animal shelter’ in state code.”  Absolutely.  But only if you change “Los Angeles County Foster Care System” to “pound.”  Let’s be accurate and consistent.

“AB 582: Require cities to give public notice twice before awarding raises to city managers, consultants, and other top employees.”  No.  Break down the total amount of the raises, divide it by the number of constituents, and require said “top employees, managers, and consultants” to personally phone and ask each family for a check.  Now you’re talking.

“SCR 14: Create “Parks Make Life Better” month.”  Needs more heft.  Call it “Parks Make Life Better for the Unemployed” month and distribute free tents and Sterno.  Bingo.

“AB 400: Require employers to provide paid sick leave for personal illness, to care for a sick family member or to recover from domestic violence or sexual assault.”  No way.  We’re already giving them cigarettes, alcohol, and poker.  This will break the system.  And a lot of that money is already going to change signs from “pound” to “shelter.”  Skip it.  Wait till the economy’s rolling again, then we’ll talk.  And exempt elected officials from the bill.

“SB 366: Require a review of 28,000 pages of state regulations and recommendations for reducing red tape.”  Tie this in with SCR 14, and burn the paperwork for fuel and heating.  Done.

“SB 39: Ban caffeinated beer.”  Yes.  Nothing worse than a wide-awake drunk.  Ban pickled eggs and Slim-Jims in bars instead.  That stuff’ll kill you.

There you have it.  Twelve bills out of the way, and it only took me 45 minutes.  And I’m not charging the state a nickel. 

Now, one new bill I’d like to propose, and that’s for the state to establish a citizens’ “Common Sense Committee” to review every bill before it goes to a vote.  I’m volunteering as chair.  Bring your own cigars.


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