THE WAY I SEE IT by Don Polson Red Bluff Daily News 6/26/2012
Heroic sheriffs, greedy unions, pols, PG&E
As you may know by now, the Support Rural America Constitutional Sheriffs event was a huge success. The next one will be in Crescent City on July 14 at the fairgrounds (hint: good time for a trip to the coast); further information is at SupportRuralAmerica.com. Reported statements in nearby newspapers, including elsewhere in today’s Daily News, accurately convey the determination of these heroic advocates for the rights, property, recreation and resources of their citizens and constituents. They face government bureaucracies and policies determined to impose outside agendas on rural areas and ways of life.
Decades of spotted owl-inspired and wrong-headed anti-logging policies have wrought economic devastation and raised the fuel loads (tree overgrowth) to levels endangering mountain towns with death by conflagration. Thinly veiled dam removal plots, and arbitrary, exorbitant water fee hikes clearly designed to drive people to financial exodus, create the equivalent of a virtual war on rural America. It is an existential struggle for survival that will require determined opposition from “we, the people,” our representatives and law enforcement. It will require new leadership at the top in Washington by someone in the White House willing to reverse the anti-rural and anti-resource agenda now dominating the Forest Service, BLM, Fish and Game and water agencies.
I owe anyone who attended the Sheriffs event an explanation of the sound and microphone difficulties that aggravated and irritated several of us at the beginning. The wireless mics would cut out after a few words, suggesting dead batteries. However, new batteries were installed the day before, and tested to assure they worked. The singer’s microphone worked fine for most of an hour; however, we kicked off the program and both mics failed us.
Out of exasperation, I removed digital recording devices, with their own small microphones, which were attached to each wireless mic, designed to provide a seamless digital record of the audio. Great plan in theory but, in fact, the voice activated feature and whatever else about the recording pods interfered with the radio signal from the mics to the antennae/amplifier, allowing a couple of words before seemingly dying. Thankfully, with devices removed, we had one fully functioning microphone for the sheriffs to use for the program. Whew! Technology’s just grand, when it works.
And now, some things that just get to me. In “Twilight of the Unions” by John Fund, searchable by title and posted at my blog, “Polecat News and Views” (donpolson.blogspot.com), we have an incisive analysis of the near-death spiral of public sector union power. San Diego and San Jose voters passed initiatives to curb public employee union benefits, universally more generous than those available to comparable privately employed workers.
Then there’s the devastating (to union bosses) Supreme Court ruling striking down the practice of unilaterally jacking up union dues for political campaign spending. Yes, those forced to join unions can be assessed reasonable fees for services provided, depending on state laws, but no more piggy banks for hard left union hacks to fund their candidates, which are coincidentally always Democrats. With the drastic decline in public employee union membership in Wisconsin after the ultimately successful measures by Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans, we may perhaps return to the standard that FDR and union leader George Meany held: public employees cannot unionize as they are negotiating against the taxpayers by proxy, through elected officials who often accept union contributions.
Note two items, showing the irritating pattern of Sacramento politicians misappropriating our money, in the May 30 Daily News, “Calif. 9/11 fund raided for deficits” and June 21, “Supes warn governor on OHV funding.” I have had a 9/11 special plate, “We Will Never Forget,” on my van since they were first offered. Like many others, including those with relatives lost to those terrorist attacks, I considered that the money raised over and above the normal license fee was for a “California Memorial Scholarship Program.” Instead, both Brown and Schwarzenegger raided the money for deficit reduction, including “Millions [that] have been spent on budget items with little relation to direct threats of terrorism …” Tar and feathers, anyone?
Similarly, politicians on the Resource and Transportation Subcommittee are trying to steal funds that come from the state gas tax, to spend keeping state parks open, even though the “Off Highway Vehicle Trust Fund” money is dedicated to managing “27 million acres of public land for OHV use.” Tell prison guards and other public employees to cough up some concessions to keep our parks open, not the taxpaying drivers and off-road enthusiasts.
In the June 23rd Daily News, I read that PG&E is offering how you can “Save money with the special utility plan.” Really? By signing up for the SmartRate pricing plan, you can rearrange your life, sweat a little more and still get to pay 60 cents per kilowatt-hour instead of 13 to 35+ cents. Sounds “smart” to me. Not! Especially considering that the cost of our electricity has gone up about 10 percent per year for 3 years. Oh, and they lowered your baseline by 4 percent (bumps your kwh usage up to higher tier rates) and increased, as of January, the two lowest rates by 5 percent. Warm fuzzies toward PG&E, anyone?