Can you think of a job you can apply for, accept, then not perform the required tasks and get neither fired nor blamed? I can.
I know a line of employment in which applicants can promise to work hard and produce bold, innovative solutions, yet once they get the job proceed to do nothing.
It’s called the California Legislature, and it’s where elected representatives go to avoid doing what they promised to do when they ran for office.
It’s where doing nothing has turned into a job description. It’s where people hired to solve the knotty issues Californians face decline the assignment and refuse to do the work they solemnly swore to do.
How else do we explain the bewildering booklet of ballot propositions citizens are regularly asked to muddle through in order to reach informed, intelligent decisions? Isn’t that the job of Jairhead Huffman? Isn’t that what Big Jim Wood is supposed to be doing?
When did our representatives cease to represent us and instead punt on the toughest issues, leaving bus drivers, roofers, teachers, welfare recipients, journalists, welders and plumbers to do their work?
When did it become our job to figure out tax policies and parole guidelines? When did we agree to sit at a kitchen table on a Thursday night after working eight hours in order to go through pages of paragraphs involving billions of dollars to decide complicated kidney dialysis regulations?
Isn’t it reasonable to expect our elected representatives to discuss these issues amongst themselves, lobbyists and interest groups during the 40 hours per week we pay them? Is it too much to ask that they apply due diligence in sorting out the conflicting, complicated problems the 21st century presents?
But Jim Wood is content to issue an occasional press release describing how he once again took on Big Tobacco. Jairhead roams the Redwood Empire boasting of his vision for community, working together for a better tomorrow, and his dream of a great big Rail Trail pathway from here to the North Pole. Then it’s back to the limousine to resume the hard work of not legislating.
Meanwhile, you sit at that kitchen table reading citizen initiatives on the upcoming ballot. You’re required to translate opaque and crafty language from mischievous lawyers who produce dense paragraphs in which a No vote means you want your taxes tripled, and a Yes vote means you demand highway tax dollars to not be spent on highway construction.
You get voter information via maudlin TV commercials showing puppies being shipped to China to have sex with Wuhan bats, then ground into fast food meat patties unless you vote Yes on a school funding measure. Sad music plays. Jane Fonda narrates.
You need advice. You need information. You need a drink.
Failing all those, you need elected representatives to do their jobs.
Not taking a knee
That rarity of rarities is currently in bloom across Ukiah: American flags suddenly displayed on porches and in windows of local Democrats. No one knows what causes this twice-a-decade eruption of patriotic fever, but like the dogwood trees on Jones Street it is a wondrous thing to behold.
It’s worth a stroll around town, but hurry. Their flags won’t be out on Pearl Harbor Day, July 4th, Flag Day, Veteran’s Day or Sept. 11.
Cuba, workers’ paradise, chapter 78
A young man blistering his way through the 2020 playoffs and known as The Cuban Rocket when he starred for Pinar del Rio, is now with the Tampa Bay Rays. By the time you read this he’ll be deep into the World Series.
In a recent NY Times feature story, hot new outfielder Randy Arozarena told of making $4 (four dollars) per month as a rookie in Cuba, which was more than his mother was earning at the same time. When he became one of that country’s biggest stars, said Arozarena, he was bringing down a lofty $38 per month. He escaped to Mexico, then to the U.S.A.
My calculations suggest Mr. Arozarena is now paid approximately $38 per minute whether playing baseball, eating or sleeping; minimum wage for MLB players is $600,000 per eight month season. Plus benefits. I wonder if mom was thrown in prison to punish her fugitive son.
Let me make clear it’s neither rain nor sleet nor snow causing the near-comical delays in routine mail deliveries around town, but something’s gone haywire.
Delivery is late and unpredictable. If my mail arrives before 3 p.m. I assume it’s yesterday’s. I think I’ll write my congressman:
“Dear Jairhead… “
(Tom Hine understands Huffman is in Congress and Wood is a State Assemblyman. But they both represent Mendocino County or at least are supposed to. TWK watches from the sidelines.)