Campbell (R-Irvine) is a California State Senator representing
the 35th District
in Orange County. He represents the cities of Newport
Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach
and Cypress. He can be reached through his Senate website
and through the website
for his California Senate campaign. [go to Campbell index]
to Make You Mad
The song in Sacramento remains the same...
[John Campbell] 6/1/05
As we come
back from a weekend of BBQs, car races and remembrance, here
are a few tidbits from the state
Capitol that are likely to make your blood as hot as your burning
charcoal. But, as we honor those who have served, we should keep
in mind that this stuff is all part of the tapestry that is our
democracy. To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, our system of
government is the worst there is, except for every other form
of government that has been tried throughout history.
Military and the Environment: Senator Roy Ashburn (R- Bakersfield)
recently had two bills in a committee on which I serve. One (SB
977) would exempt the military in California from a state law
requiring them to report the exact location of perchlorate on
a base. This seemed a very reasonable proposal since perchlorate
is widely used in military munitions, and reporting it would
create public (and therefore terrorist) disclosure of exactly
where and in what amounts munitions were stored. The second bill
(SB976) would allow the military to replace old equipment with
new less-polluting equipment but grant them a waiver from emissions
requirements to use that equipment. Both bills failed passage
Now as you
all know, I am an environmentally sensitive kind of guy. I
am carrying bills this year for clean
solar and hydrogen
energy. The military’s role is inherently un-environmental.
But it is the actions of our military that defend our freedom
to have environmental laws in the first place. The military’s
mission must come first or there will be no environmental mission.
I don’t think Kim Jong-Il or the Syrians are very concerned
about urban runoff pollution.
These bills were very reasonable. Not letting them pass is
nuts. Now the Army and the Air Force can pack up and leave
California and still accomplish their mission somewhere else.
But the Navy and Marines and Coast Guard kind of need an ocean.
And the Navy specifically needs deep water ports. They can’t
go anywhere. And restrictions like this may make some feel
very environmental. But they will be damaging the security
of us all.
CALPERS: Some months ago, the state health plan dropped 38 hospitals
around the state including Hoag Hospital
in Newport Beach and
Sutter Health in Sacramento. The stated reason was that these
hospitals costs were too high. A state auditor found that “savings” from
eliminating these hospitals was “questionable” and
they could not find any credible basis upon which to justify
the savings estimate. So what was this all about? Could it be
coincidence that all 38 of the hospitals eliminated were non-union
or renegotiating contracts with the Nurse’s Association?
Could it be unrelated that there were union-organizing efforts
going on in some of these hospitals and that the CALPERS Board
is headed by union bosses? I think that this was all about punishing
non-union hospitals. And the facts increasingly are proving it.
Interests: I carried a bill (SB 333) this year which was a technical bill
intended to relieve people
over the age
of 55 from an unfair property tax reassessment when they purchase
a life estate as their personal residence. The purpose here was
to help seniors get value out of their homes for their retirement
years while still living in the home. I say “was” because
the bill was killed in committee on a party line vote. I expect
that the bill was killed because it “lowered” taxes,
and Democrats rarely vote to do that, even if the taxes are fundamentally
unfair. But I was amazed when a member of that committee, Senator
Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) asked me why I had no organizations
in support of the bill (County Tax Assessors were opposed). The
clear implication of her line of questioning was that we must
have organized groups in favor of a bill to garner her support.
I explained that I thought it was merely good policy and I didn’t
know that we had to have the support of some special interest
or another to prove worth. Many of these organizations are fronts
for unions or trial lawyers and they claim to represent “consumers” or “seniors” or “ratepayers,” but
they really only represent themselves and whoever funds them.
But they have a firm grip on many of the votes here in Sacramento,
as this story indicates.
Church: Here is a bizarre confluence of interests. St. Brigid
Catholic Church in San Francisco was
1900 but has been shut down by the Archdiocese and out of use
for over 10 years. The Archdiocese now wants to sell the structure.
The County of San Francisco wants to preserve the structure as
a historic building. They are currently negotiating with the
church for purchase. The law does not allow a local government
to force this sale or declare a building historic if it is owned
by a religious organization. The Senator who represents San Francisco,
Carole Migden (D), introduced a bill (SB 169) to create an exemption
from that law for this building and essentially give the church
little option but to sell to the County. I am a big fan of historic
preservation, but this seems wrong to me on many levels. This
creates an exemption for one case and it interferes with the
market value and property rights of the owner. But even more
egregious is the line it crosses of the state telling a church
what to do and not do. Of further interest, what will the County
of San Francisco do with the church? I doubt that they will have
it used for religious services. How do you preserve a church
if it’s not going to be a church anymore? Will it become
the ACLU’s meeting place to be emblematic of the victories
of state over church? CRO