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14 August 2010


Russ Steele

Good column George, I think the RIC will have some future utility. Well Done. Thanks for the link to NCMW.

George Rebane

Dear readers, in the event that some of you missed it in the comment thread of the Union’s online version of my column, I am reprinting it here. Steven Frisch, president of the Sierra Business Council, a local government funded NGO, is one of the brightest progressive bulbs hereabouts who constantly illuminates our world from stage left. This comment is a priceless illustration of both his understanding and thought. Enjoy.

"The graph created by George really says it all. The practice of the author of comparing California to the Soviet Union, and by doing so thus imply that anyone who supports policies to reduce greenhouse gasses and control climate change is a card carrying member of the communist party bent on the destruction of the United States, exposes the tactics being used by deniers in this debate. There is little to no room for reasonable people to disagree in the debate as framed by George. You are either with him, or a totalitarian.

This is not the mind set of, nor is it the tradition comfortable to, most Americans. In my country we can disagree about issues of the day and still be patriotic Americans committed to the betterment of our lives without running the risk of being painted pink with the brush of latter day McCarthyism."

Dixon Cruickshank

Just gave me another idea for another comment that apparently won't be posted LOL

Steven Frisch

For those of you who missed it I must clarify that the graph is wrong because California has a higher economic growth rate than the US does in the last 50 years. Consequently California should actually appear higher than the USA on the chart. Consequently the RIC is useless as an analytical tool since the data is, as George is prone to provide, FALSE.

George Rebane

SteveF, of course the historical growth of California has been higher than the national growth, and that even for more than 50 years. The dots on the RIC are placed to show the portent of the current state of affairs should California be made to suffer the full brunt of AB32 in addition to all the regulatory burdens it already has in place. That is why a date was added to the 'USSR' label to indicate its shrinking economy at the time of its collapse.

The RIC is is not offered here as an "analytical" tool, but only as a communicative graphic. And, I fear, it truly is "useless" to the progressive mentality that continually promotes the message that more government regulations induce higher growth rates.

Steve Frisch

In other words the graph is not an accurate abstract representation of anything other than your opinion. In which case why do do need a graph. Especially since the key point, the relative positions of the USA and California vis a vis the USSR is inaccurate.

It is plain and simple, a lie.

George Rebane

SteveF, I believe you're embarrassing yourself more than you know.

Michael Anderson

I have a question that I'm hoping someone reading this blog can answer. That is, in the state of California can the governor unilaterally order a review of all California codes, with the goal being to root out redundant, obsolete, and/or overbearing codes? Or is this the prerogative of the legislature?

Take a look here. That's a steamin' heap o' code! (and I ain't talkin' software): http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

I would like to see an initiative that requires that the California Senate and Assembly can only pass legislation if a like amount of obsolete and redundant legislation is expunged. Has this ever been attempted?

George Rebane

That is a great question Michael. It comes up every few years and people even have written short stories about it (in the sci-fi genre). Wouldn't it be great if a jurisdiction's legal codex could only contain this many characters or bits or ... ? To put something more in, the whole body would have to be reviewed to see what could be taken out.

That problem happens often in technology and has been solved in ingenious ways. (I would cite the Mk130 digital computer, the first on our nuclear submarines in the 1960s; it had a 4K real core memory into which everything had to fit for many years.)

By copy I'm asking Kim Pruett to see if the good offices of Tom McClintock can be brought to bear on this inquiry. It would be interesting to see what, if any, efforts in this direction have been made in Washington over the last two centuries.

Michael Anderson

Thanks George, I look forward to learning the answer (if there is one) for your question to Kim.

This subject reminds me of a personal story from about 18 years ago. My oldest son was in first grade and I had just been elected to the Nevada City Elementary Site Council. We were in a meeting, trying to figure out what to do with some Site Council funds that we had to spend. Most of the meeting was spent with the principal of NCE giving us the categories for which we *couldn't* spend the money. After this went on for a while, I raised my hand.

"What rulebook says we can't spend the money on these things?"

He looked at me kindly, lightly amused by my naivete. "Why, the California Education Code of course!"

Later that afternoon he took me to his office and showed me the entire bookshelf dedicated to that code. I've been code-abhorrent ever since.

Oh, and my youngest kids, who just started kindergarten and fourth grade on Wednesday, now go to Grass Valley Charter. Charter schools are exempt from many of the Sections in the California Education Code. (-;

Steven Frisch

So George the PIC graph is a representation of where you think the future of the California economy is going in relationship to the US and the former Soviet Union? If so, you are now in the business of future economic forecasting? Well, I find that a little hard to believe. Not to mention it does not respond to the point that the graph itself never held such a disclaimer, so it was deceptive to readers to begin with.

Steven Frisch

Two groups I have been working with on the state level support a review and simplification of the California code and the California Constitution, which is about 15 times larger than the US Constitution.

The groups are California Forward and the California Stewardship Project.

As part of the California Forward reform agenda the proposal is to do a review and simplification of California code, establish sunset provisions for new codes, boards, commissions and agencies, establish performance metrics for the same, and review and eliminate them on a regular basis if they are not meeting their mandate.

I would propose that a similar approach to 21st century government could be implemented at the federal level and would save the taxpayers billions every year. I am in complete agree with those that believe that when a law is no longer relevant it should be eliminated.

Michael Anderson


I had not heard of the California Forward or the California Stewardship projects. Very good news indeed. I will look them up to get further information. Thanks for the note.

Michael A.

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