Recently CA State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher was absent from a vote on a crucial measure with major potential negative impacts on charter cities throughout the state. The Democrat-controlled legislature wants to make it practically impossible for any California city to ban Project Labor Agreements (PLA's).
Such a government-imposed PLA all but guarantees that only unionized firms get to bid on a city government construction project. This dramatically reduces the number of competitive bids, driving up the cost of city construction by AT LEAST 15%.
In addition, this "groundbreaking" law – if found constitutional, which it is not – will open the door to the state legislature running all cities in the California – primarily to block fiscal reforms that might imperil the elevated status and prosperity of city workers.
No sane fiscal conservative supports such central planning legislation. All insane Big Government advocates DO support such madness.
Apologists for Fletcher's "absent" vote note that he didn't HAVE to vote because it would have passed anyway -- and by not voting he was effectively voting "no" on the bill. Hence Fletcher’s decision to campaign for mayor rather than fulfill his Sacramento duties supposedly was a sensible choice
This admittedly lame but technically correct rationale raises an interesting point. It has caused me to bring forward a modest reform proposal.
Since fiscal conservative votes seldom count in the Democrat-dominated CA state legislature, why not elect a chimpanzee in Fletcher's district and pay him with bananas instead of a six figure income?
The chimp can live in the San Diego Zoo, avoiding all those fruitless (so to speak) radiation-doused commutes to Sacramento. From Balboa Park, our primate representative could fail to vote with great regularity. By not voting, our hairy hero would vote correctly almost all the time. And it would be a reliable vote -- not subject to backroom political deals.
Now I'll admit, some might be offended by being represented by a chimp (or NOT being represented by a chimp -- whatever). I'm not one of 'em, but I seldom find myself in the majority with my suggested cutting-edge reforms.
So let's consider Plan B. IF we supposedly are paying such a generous income for someone to GO to Sacramento and to, ya know, VOTE -- shouldn't that be what they are doing?
If our elected representatives choose not to vote so they can campaign full-time for some other office, should not they take a leave of absence (if not resign outright), fire their legislative staff and pursue their political ambitions on their own nickel?
Given Fletcher's recent demonstration of his dearth of integrity by his gaming of the GOP, I doubt we have much hope of Nathan doing the right thing in this matter. We taxpayers will continue to pay him while he forgoes his legislative duties to run for mayor.
Still, longer term, perhaps this reform needs to codified into law. Doubtless our intrepid state legislators will move this worthy reform to the top of their "to do" list.