OC Daily reported yesterday that Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer had used his campaign committee to hire a Sacramento lobbying firm to amend a language targeting fellow Supervisor Shawn Nelson into Senate Bill 1387 – a Democrat bill aimed at packing the South Coast Air Quality Management District Board of Directors with “environmental justice” activists.
In truth, Spitzer is a late-comer to using SB 1387 as a vehicle for advancing a personal agenda. Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido has been working this angle for months.
Rewind to early November of last year, when a majority of Orange County city representatives voted to replace Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido with Lake Forest Councilman Dwight Robinson as their representative on the SCAQMD Board of Directors. The policy effect was to tilt the board toward the center, and allow the termination of CEO Barry Wallerstein, who had made a career of pushing ever more punishing and economically destructive regulations on job-creators. It was a blow to Pulido in terms of loss of income and a free car, and nearly $40,000 for his brother (who served as his board policy advisor).
Within days, Pulido sought out the lords of the manor – the Democratic leadership of the California Legislature – to enlist their aid in reclaiming his sinecure. Soon thereafter, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon rolled out SB 1387 to double the number of appointees the Governor, Assembly Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem make to the SCAQMD Board — firmly shoving the powerful regulatory agency into the cold and rigid embrace of the environmentalists.
Until last week, the three additional state appointees had to be members of “bona fide environmental justice” organizations – i.e. professional environmental extremists.
On August 19, what might be called the “Pulido Amendment” which changed that requirement enough to give the Santa Ana Mayor and avenue to returning to the SCAQMD Board. The Pulido Amendment states the Board-packing appointees “shall reside in and work directly with communities in the South Coast Air Basin that are disproportionately burdened by and vulnerable to high levels of pollution and issues of environmental justice, including, but not limited to, communities with diverse racial and ethnic populations and communities with low-income populations. In addition to any other applicant who may be considered, the Governor shall accept an application from a member of a city council or county board of supervisors who meets the criteria in this subparagraph and shall give appropriate consideration to appointing that applicant.[Emphases added]
Interesting how such specifically tailored language made it into the bill.
SB 1387 is a radical assault on local control by state government. It establishes a horrible precedent and habituates the powers-that-be and their attendant special interests to simply re-make local governing councils anytime the policy or personnel outcome is not to their liking. Once done, such radical steps are more easily taken again and again.
SB 1387 also has the dubious distinction of being state legislation that targets two specific individuals – one for punishment and one for reward – without ever actually mentioning their names.
Governing at its finest. Banana republic status, here we come.