When asked if she was concerned about the adverse impact her committees recommendations would have on jobs in the state, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols responded that ‘if I had to worry about running for election I would, but I don’t.’ SWEET!
If 66th Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries has anything to say about it, Ms. Nichols might soon be trying to figure out how to get a job of her own. Jeffries has authored AB 1672 in an effort to reign in the powerful, yet completely unaccountable California Air Resources Board changing it from an appointed board to an elected body. Jeffries believe this would increase voter oversight and accountability and allow greater participation from taxpayers on the rules they write.
The CARB has been under fire recently for some of the ludicrous proposals they have made to enforce compliance with AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. I recently wrote on one such proposal (Jail Time For Under-Inflated Tires) which sought to fine and/or imprison people driving around with under-inflated tires. The CARB would like to enforce routine checks every time you get an auto service (and there’s some debate about whether just stopping for gas might qualify), you would be required, at some undetermined cost, to let the servicer check your tires with an approved tire gauge. If you are under-inflated by as little as one (!) pound per square inch (PSI) under the manufacturers recommendation, they will have to insist that you immediately inflate them to the proper poundage or, if you promise to get it done, you can do it yourself within seven (7) days but then you have to get certified that your tires have been brought into compliance or you face the possibility of fines and/or incarceration.
This followed on the heels of an earlier AB32 compliance ruling that would have mandated all diesel trucks operating on state highways retrofit their trucks with as yet un-invented anti-pollution technology, or install new engines. This effectively would have put long-haul trucking into California out of business – good for truckers & good for the state no doubt. This particular proposal was based on a flawed study by an ARB ‘engineer’ who got a PhD from an on-line diploma mill. When it was discovered, Nichols claimed the study was still valid and the ‘engineer’ still works for the ARB. The diesel proposal is on the back burner for now.
Bottom line – these people are part of what’s driving our state to the poorhouse right now. Look at the backgrounds of the people who serve on these boards and committees. They are either career politicians, including many former legislators, who have found comfy new jobs paying top dollar for little work, or political hacks with agendas like Nichols. Nichols is an environmental attorney who first chaired the CARB under Jerry Brown over 30 years ago. In the interim she has not held a single private sector position, working instead in academia and for ‘think tanks’ to advance her self-admittedly left-of-mainstream agenda on environmental causes.
It’s way past time these people were put on notice. If we in the private sector did things that were bad for our employer, if we falsified data and based recommendations on provably flawed information, if we advocated extreme measures to resolve minor issues and got an attitude when confronted, and if we consistently ignored the will of the people who gave us the job – we’d be out of a job in no time at all. It’s time the Mary Nichols’ of the world were held to the same standards of any other employee.
Kevin’s bill will probably never see the light of day, much like his ACA 8 – the sunshine bill which would shined a light on backroom deals. That bill has been held up in a backroom for 2 years now but hope springs eternal. One day the citizens will wake up and smell the coffee. Here’s hoping that day doesn’t come too late.
Of course that’s just my opinion – I could be wrong.