Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Win $2,500 from the Federal Government for Making a Video On Why Rulemaking Matters!

You know how it works, right? Our elected officials, whether they be
Congressmen, Senators, State Assemblymen or State Senators, get to make the laws. But once our legislators have taken mighty truths and crafted them into the law of the land, their work is then passed on to the bureaucracy for application and finishing. And if you think people are flat out disgusted with our national and state representatives, it is even worse for the poor woebegone slobs that have to take the fruits of those mighty labors and turn them into annoying rules and regulations. The kinds of things mere citizens such as ourselves have to deal with constantly in our daily lives.

Apparently the long suffering souls who toil daily in our bureaucracies are not happy with the lowly status they enjoy with those they serve. And at least some of them have decided that they're finally going to do something about it. The Environmental Protection Agency, which functions kind of like the California Air Resources Board (CARB) does here locally (wait'll you get a load of the RHNA numbers they're going to hit us with in a couple of years!), has now initiated a contest in hopes of changing those negative perceptions. One where you can win $2,500 in taxpayer dollars for making a video helping them to convince people about the importance of rules and regulations. And they've even made a video introduction for this contest to help you along. It is called Rulemaking Matters! Video Contest Introduction. This video being, of course, an explanation of the rules of the contest. Because rules matter. Click here for further instruction.

Of course, not everyone will follow the simple instructions to make a short and creative video that highlights the importance of government regulations. But wouldn't the world be just so much better a place if people took the time to understood these kinds of things? And then find it in their hearts to comply, rather than cracking wise about it? Here is an example of the kind of inappropriate and uncivil video that won't win you a single penny of the EPA's $2,500.

Now having evolved (or devolved depending on your viewpoint) into a kind of a political agnostic, particularly on the topic of something so inane as party politics as practiced in the State of California, does have its advantages. And one of them is that I can now enjoy reading any old news site I like no matter what their overarching political philosophy. For me it has all become an ala carte political world. I get to take the good and leave the bad behind. You should try it sometime, it is very liberating.

One site I've recently come to enjoy is entitled The Freeman - Ideas On Liberty. Very Libertarian. And as a very nice segue from the video contest detailed above, here is a brief summary of their Fifteen Things to Despise About Government Regulation article, which was posted there on May 11.

1. Laws and regulations may institutionalize bad choices. Example: Farmers in California, enjoying subsidized water prices, grow water-intensive crops such as rice and cotton in desert areas despite endemic water shortages.
2. Special interests lobby the government to get their products or services mandated by regulation. Regulation becomes part of an overall business strategy, and winning advantages a full time job for thousands.
3. Regulations can create (or destroy) entire industries overnight. Corporations, aware of the power of government regulation, lobby Congress for both protection and advantages. Which they often get, and at our expense.
4. Regulations are often the result of compromise, but what is often politically possible may be neither practical nor environmentally friendly.
5. Lobbyists may support regulations to hurt their competition. Influence becomes more important than the public good as market forces become less important than winning regulatory advantages.
6. Regulations can eliminate or alter feedback, which makes the necessary evolution of the peoples' business more difficult.
7. "Hard cases make bad law." All too often regulations are hastily written in response to the public demand that government "do something." Panic legislation can give a kind of permanence to the unfortunate conditions that created it in the first place.
8. Regulations have unintended bad side effects. New laws or regulations may change the incentives people face and encourage them to act in ways lawmakers had not foreseen.
9. Regulators don't bear the costs of their regulations and so have little incentive to ensure benefits outweigh those costs.
10. Public officials are self-interested, and their self-interest may not always be in the public interest. Careers can be advanced by emphasizing the needs of the involved industries over the needs of the taxpayers.
11. Once in place, regulations are very difficult to eliminate.
12. Industries exert enormous influence over the government agencies created to regulate them. Which only serves to solidify the positions of those companies that already dominate the regulated business.
13. Laws and regulations stifle innovation, and reward the same old things.
14. National regulations can create nationwide problems, no matter what the more local needs may be.
15. The existence of regulations and regulatory bodies give people a false sense of security.

I suspect that once the current regime here is Sierra Madre transforms us from being an independent city to one firmly folded into the Sacramento controlled regional planning bureaucracies they are so enamored of, the resulting flurry of outside regulations and rules will make most folks positively dizzy. That is all part of having the responsibilities of local government removed, you know. What used to be done by local people will now be carried out by the regional government and its aligned contractors. With our priorities more often than not coming in a distant second.


  1. A great article!Thank you for "spreading the Word".I found your reference to the RHNA numbers chilling;reminding us, that under the present "Regime" our recent reprieve is only temporary!

  2. Hey! The contest ended yesterday! I wanted to do a video about how making rules has become the leading industry in America today. People who say our country doesn't produce anything any more are just wrong.

  3. I sure agree, 7:48.
    The people of Sierra Madre will find out soon enough what our current "regime" has in store for us.

    Anyone MISS MAYOR MacGillivray, Zimmerman and Watts YET? If not, you will.

  4. The current council wants to make money for their friends. There are all sorts of state programs designed to make that possible.

  5. Gotta love it - the campaign to improve the image of government, a PR reachout as it were.
    Reminds me of a similar effort made for realtors not too long after the housing bubble exploded. Realtors "build communities" "nourish neighbors"or some such garbage.
    Wonder who got paid to come up with the marketing idea.

  6. Everybody likes to present themselves as being good for the world. Everyone is green, positive, helpful to those who need to assistance, and caring about whatever is appropriate at the moment. A steady stream of nonsense that never ends.

  7. I disagree 9:29. I think the problem is worse than that. The current council majority actually sees itself as promoting preservation through development. And if they're capable of such a mind twist as that, who knows what kind of contortions their perspectives can do?
    Scary stuff in local 'leaders'

  8. fellow political agnosticMay 18, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    More harm is done in the name of good than bad.....

  9. Watching this City Council is going to be like witnessing a slow motion car wreck. You know it is going to happen, and there is no way the car will make it through without some major damage. But there you are. There isn't much you can do except watch.

  10. There are ways to stop these projects (Howies, Skilled Nursing, Dr.Sami's old 2006 Cup 7000 sq ft not enough parking etc) because they were not submitted correctly if they are contested at the council meetings. This group was stopped before with a 3 to 2 council and it can be done again so don't give up.

  11. Ironic considering today's article, but there are rules that any project has to abide by, even pre-Measure V. 10:54 is right, and nobody has a slam dunk.
    Worst case scenario, court.
    Legal fund anyone?

  12. Right on BT. We need more lawyers on the slow growth side and it's not fair to ask them to work pro bono

  13. Rules are made to be broken:

    Definitions (2)1. Authoritative statement of what to do or not to do in a specific situation, issued by an appropriate person or body. It clarifies, demarcates, or interprets a law or policy.

    2. Statement that establishes a principle or standard, and serves as a norm for guiding or mandating action or conduct. Rules may be divided into four general categories: (1) Folklore: Unpublished rules that are conveyed by behavior and are implicitly understood. (2) Guidelines: Commonly published and recommended practices that allow some discretion with their interpretation and use. (3) Mandates: Published commands that may not be ignored in any circumstance and whose violation is punished. (4) Policies: Published rules that imply a predicted behavior and whose violation may be permitted or tolerated under certain circumstances

  14. BT
    We have more than one legal expert that reads this board, in fact, there are at least 6 that I know of, personally. Three of them are dirts, and very low calibrating dirts, Mosca, Buchanan and Doyle.
    The other three all brilliant and on the slow growth side. Two of them were very instrumental in the success of Measure V.
    I'm sure there are more, I just don't know them.

    We are watching you, dirts.

  15. That's good news 1:23, but still, we can't ask for too much from each other. Being a political activist in this town is like dancing with a succubus. So back to a legal fund. That way we could build up the money to give to a slow growth lawyer and not burn them out.
    Just in case

  16. Rules are necessary, and so are mechanisms to enforce them
    Ask the people who live around Stonehouse/Stonegate and Alverno Party Palace if they want rules to be enforced.
    For a moment imagine what Sierra Madre would look like if there were no rules/limits on development.

  17. That is it 2:01.Civic fatigue.Developers wait for it.Exhaust the opposition.Tire 'em out against the ropes.They move away or give up.

  18. The dirts definitely unleashed the crazies this go around.

  19. Civic fatigue is no joke, especially when you live in a small town where the majority of the people are to complacent to make the effort to distinguish between the liars and the truthful people.

  20. Ah it's a balancing act - some rules, not too many rules, smart rules, get rid of stupid rules.

  21. Dont worry till you see the whites of the code officers eyes and hear their blantent liesMay 18, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    Your legal fund, should be used to aid each individual property owner as they are threatened against eminent domain. The cities get them one at a time, the legal fees are tremendous. The cities have tax payer dollars, the individual bubkus. For instance my partition case has not gone to trial, and I have had to pay over 52 thousand dollars, and instead of the 25 to 35 thousand dollar figure I waas quoted, I recently found out it will be closer to 122,000.00 to get justice and my case is good. Justice costs, at 400.00 an hour my attorney gets 87.50 to open an email or any phone call is billed at a quarter hour. Attorneys are the bane of the world, you want a cause? Get attorneys to work for 100.00 an hour. So god bless the slow growth development attorney that will waive part of his hourly fees and do it for costs. Is there one that reads this blog? Please let yourself be known by an email to the editor.

  22. There was a big drop off in community participation after the loss of the Carter fight. That bad decision from the council of 2004 had more negative impacts than losing the hillsides.

  23. We have had an awesome victory led by MaryAnn MacGillivray against the use of Eminent Domain in Sierra Madre, . It was the best thing that happened in our last election. It was actually the only good thing that happened in our last election. I don't know where you fall on the political spectrum 2:24, you might be friend or foe of Fox, but a national broadcaster has been very helpful to people in eminent domain struggles. Greta van Susteran. Contact her.

  24. I hope MaryAnn contacts John and Ken when the time comes to fight any shenanigans with eminent domain here in Sierra Madre.
    Bart Doyle is a STRONG SUPPORTER of eminent domain, amoung other evil agendas.

  25. Wait, Wait! Didn't the NO Eminent Domain pass? That was the 'go figure' momment when the Fast Growth-Over-development bunch nabbed the three council seats.

  26. I hate the "the Sacramento controlled regional planning bureaucracies."
    Orwell's predictions are coming too close.

  27. There is a very good case to be made for the inversions in Orwell's Newspeak being with us. Somebody posted those slogans not too long ago, and while things aren't really that bald or bad yet, those contradictions in the same breath sure are a drag.

  28. Yeah, it passed, but Buchanan and Mosca both said Sacramento would overturn it. They would not have had it on the ballot, but couldn't very well say they were against the people voting on it. Sort of like saying they would be in favor of drowning puppies. I'll be neither of those two third rate "attorney/lobbyist" two, voted actually voted against having eminent domain.

  29. not-so-loco localMay 18, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    Yes 4:36, it passed, and it was indeed the go figure moment. Here's what I figured: the lying developer pleasing sneaky Dirts & Downtown Investment Club members suckered the foolish in, but couldn't sucker them about eminent domain.
    Pretend sincerity works far too well in SM.

  30. irritatingly optimisticMay 18, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    At least the taxpayers money being used as the carrot is only $2500. Remember, SCAG is offering 2 million, our money.

  31. Tattler, an a la carte political world sounds like the best approach in these funky times.

  32. 4:36, the poster about eminent domain sounds like a friend from one of our neighboring cities. That cannot happen in Sierra Madre, thank Mrs. MacGillivray.

  33. Remember, SCAG is not only giving away our tax money, it is also giving away borrowed money. And isn't that how govt works in this country now? Bribing nitwits like our city council with debt?

  34. Sierra Madre, Monrovia, Arcadia= Sierracadia Madrerovia?May 18, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    Hello, has anyone seen the story in the LA times about Pasadena, Glendale, and Burbank consolidating resources? Someone made a joke about the new police force as being named Pasabankdale, and the word regional was uttered.