Saturday, April 22, 2006

Why I Hate California

I guess two words say it best: Orange County.

Nothing but good feelings towards the rest of the state. San Francisco and L.A. have deeply troubled municipal codes but I'm overall positive about them, the general people of California, and the state as a whole.

Californian city officials and politicians do stink. Sure, they stink all over but California gave Nixon, Bob Dornan, and Reagan. I'm sure some of the city officials are perfectly nice people but the ones I dealt with were complete idiots (which is fairly common) but they were proud of being idiots. Here's a few examples of what I had to deal with:

9.12.545. Amerige Park Carnivals prohibited.

No person shall use Amerige Park for any carnival, circus, tent show, fair, rodeo, horse show, elephant race or similar activity, or for any ferris wheel, merry go round, or other mechanical device for amusement rides. (Ord. 1440, § 1, 1965).

(Fullerton, CA--included in the Index as "elephant races")

Ordinance 2001-05, § 4, 3-27-2001

D. Location of Drive-Thru Window. The drive-thru window shall be located on the same side as the driver's side of the car.

(Monrovia, California)

There's more. Lots and lots more. I don't think you have to be considered an economic conservative to think that maybe Adam Smith's invisible hand would clear up any problems with elephant races and passenger side drive-thru windows. In most states, including North Carolina (but not Indiana), a municipality upon reviewing obviously outdated provisions would agree to rescind them or at least not include them in a basic municipal code, saving taxpayers a bundle.

Californian city officials wanted everything. Yes, Massachusetts does the same thing but in Massachusetts, most of the outdated stuff has a real history. California keeps spewing this out nonstop.

In California's defense, it's home to over a tenth of the U.S. population, is geographically a huge state, is diverse in population and industry, has a constant influx of out-of-towners moving in, and has changed national governments a number of times. This is true of Florida and Texas but the cities I dealt with were quick to point out, "Dang, we're stupid." Just admitting the problems eased things with me. And for the record, the Bush boys are not Texans or Floridians--they're Connecticut millionaires who set up shop in states without an income tax.

Carmel, Indiana, was worse than all California and the rest of the country combined (with the exception of Monroe, North Carolina, the home town of Jesse Helms). These were the two worst municipalities in the nation and, right or wrong, prejudiced me towards their states. Actually Rising Sun and Lawrenceburg (both with casinos) were good to work with but my limited experience with the rest of Indiana and North Carolina wasn't good. No state, not even Texas, willfully ignores the Constitution like Indiana.

Unlike Nathan, I will defend Ohio on one level--they paid really well. Bowling Green, Ohio, still has Section 139.02

(A) No person, without privilege to do so, shall purposely deface, damage, pollute, or otherwise physically mistreat any of the following:

(1) The flag of the United States or of this state;

(2) Any public monument;

(3) Any historical or commemorative marker, or any structure, Indian mound or earthwork, cemetery, thing, or site of great historical or archaeological interest;

(4) A place of worship, its furnishings, or religious artifacts or sacred texts within the place of worship or within the grounds upon which the place of worship is located;

(5) A work of art or museum piece;

(6) Any other object of reverence or sacred devotion.

Notice, it's illegal to mistreat the flag of Ohio. Ask the next ten people from Ohio what shape the state flag is and see how many get it right (hint: it's not rectangular).

Kentucky and Illinois were my two favorite states. Kentucky didn't pay very well but they realized that despite being near to larger states, there's no reason to over-regulate themselves at tax-payers expense. (This is on paper--in real life, the state government is incredibly corrupt.)

Same is true of Illinois but once I screwed over the people of a small town in Illinois and have felt bad about it ever since.

I noticed that two ordinances from the town--a utility rate increase and something else--had the same number and passage date so I called the town clerk to see what was the matter. Unlike a clerk in Indiana, she didn't blame me for the problem but was incredibly apologetic and shortly found out what had happened. During a meeting, the council passed the rate increase but somehow forgot about it and passed another unrelated ordinance and used the same number, effectively erasing the rate increase from their records. When I pointed out the problem, they put the increase in action and possibly, I never found out, made the citizens pay for the months it should have been issued.

Somewhere in Illinois, some poor bastard has a huge utility bill and I'm to blame. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I wish it had happened to Carmel.

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