Posts Tagged ‘Laws’

Oh Yeah, It’s the Signs

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

How do you help the economy in the Duke City? Apparently, by working to kill another growing industry. You probably have noticed there are more and more digital signs popping up all over the place. A handful were put up by outdoor industry giants, like ClearChannel. But of late, I’ve noticed more and more of these are being put up by individual businesses in an effort to attract customers and build their businesses.

Now, it appears the Albuquerque City Council has these and other businesses firmly in their sights:

Their measure would control how bright the signs can be, how rapidly they can change the images displayed and other matters. Electronic signs would be prohibited in residential and historic districts. Moving images would also be banned.

“We need some common-sense guidelines,” Lewis said.

The proposal comes after the city convened a task force to review electronic-sign regulations. Critics, especially neighborhood leaders, have said electronic signs are distracting and a safety hazard at busy intersections.

Ok, let’s be honest here. This has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with aesthetic preferences. You don’t like bright LED signs, great, just say so. But, don’t insult our intelligence and say this is a safety issue. What’s next, are you going to ban all of those high school kids from waving signs at busy intersections to distract you into getting your car clean. Or maybe, the arrow twirlers drawing you into a home development. Perhaps, we might ban the waving Statues of Liberty that pop up on street corners around tax time. How about the political sign waving supporters every Election Day? Maybe we should ban brightly colored wrapped vehicles from driving our streets?

Let’s get honest people. This has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with personal preference. You want to remove another tool from those businesses struggling to keep alive, or kill those businesses selling digital signs? Well, then just come out and say so. But, please don’t feed us another public safety line.

Crippling 1099 Change Slipped into Law

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

What happens when you pass a 2,409 page health care overhaul bill into law? All kinds of terrible things. No, this is not a post about the merits of the health care “reform” that the Democratic Congress and our President force fed to the American people. Instead, this is a perfect example of why Americans should just tell their elected representatives, “No!” anytime they want to pass legislation into law weighing in around twenty pounds  and containing more pages than the Bible.

See, invariably, when that many pages is included in a law, it’s going to do a WHOLE LOT MORE than it is purported to do. It’s going to do things that have absolutely nothing to do with its stated purpose.  Case in point, let’s look at one of the non-healthcare aspects of this new law with which we’ve all been sadled:

An all-but-overlooked provision of the health reform law is threatening to swamp U.S. businesses with a flood of new tax paperwork.

Section 9006 of the health care bill — just a few lines buried in the 2,409-page document — mandates that beginning in 2012 all companies will have to issue 1099 tax forms not just to contract workers but to any individual or corporation from which they buy more than $600 in goods or services in a tax year.

The full negative impact of this new burdensome regulatory burden on the business community will go into effect in just 18 short months. As a small business owner, I can unequivocally tell you this will be a truly devastating and production draining practice on America’s business community. A compliance demand by our federal government that will only serve to increase overhead expenses for every businesses – from the struggling artist to the multinational behemoth –  without adding the least bit of value.

Those of you that own or operate a small business already know how difficult it can be to stay afloat and compete in today’s economy, especially during tough times. Besides the regular day-to-day operations, there are all kinds of fees, taxes and other regulatory burdens that make doing business a challenge.

Can you imagine having to track and tally every single business purchase you make throughout the year and send 1099 forms to all of them? How about having to collect names and taxpayer identification numbers from every vendor or payee that you dealt with? Can you imagine how long it would take on the phone with Wal-Mart customer service to try to obtain the company’s tax ID? Multiply this by the other five hundred companies you do business with, and you start to get an idea of the new burden this is going to place on small businesses across America.

It’s going to take a whole lot more time to comply with these rules, and many small businesses will probably have to hire someone full-time just to take care of it all. The additional expense will either further strain companies who can take the hit (which will just drive up prices for consumers) or force them out of business. But no matter how you look at it, it’s a lose-lose situation for American businesses.

If you’re in business, now would be a good time to let your elected representatives – from county officials to the White House –  know that this is a bad regulation for America. It’s also a good wake-up call for every American.  The Democratic Congress and our President have encore performances of the healthcare sized legislation in the works. They’re eager to push financial “reform” and climate change  bills.

Well, I think its time to pass a new law. Simply stated,  if a bill is longer than the Constitution of the United States, it doesn’t even get printed – let alone come up for a vote.

Going After Teens is Senseless

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

A terrible tragedy happened a couple of weeks ago, when repeat drunk driver Scott Owens killed four Santa Fe area teens:

Teen driving is in the spotlight after a June 28 crash that left four teenagers dead. Law enforcement authorities say Scott Owens had a blood-alcohol content of .16 nearly four hours after he crashed into a car with five teens inside.

The only teen to survive the crash on Old Las Vegas Highway was driving on a provisional license. Holders of those licenses are barred from driving between midnight and 5 a.m., and from driving with more than one other person under 21 in the car who is not an immediate family member.

The driver, 16-year-old Avree Koffman, didn’t have alcohol in her system, authorities said.

The problem here is not teen drivers. The problems is that we allow habitual drunks to get back on the road time and time again instead of locking them up. Case in point this guy with six DWI’s on record:

48-year-old arrested Wednesday still hasn’t been charged in July 4 accident.

Calvin Finch, 48, of Aztec, was arrested Wednesday for his sixth DWI, just 11 days after he was involved in a crash that killed 62-year-old Harry Irvin, whose motorcycle was struck by Finch’s pickup truck at the intersection of U.S. 550 and San Juan County Road 2105, the Farmington Daily Times reported.

Yet, rather than tackle the tough problems head on, some lawmakers want to go after the vast majority of law abiding teens out there:

In the wake of the crash, some lawmakers are thinking about changes to state law that might help keep teen drivers off the streets during prohibited hours.

Rep. Brian Egolf, a Santa Fe Democrat, said he’s considering a bill under which teen drivers with restricted licenses would have to display a marker on their car, such as a bright yellow triangle in the back window.

Give me a break. Studies referenced in the article have not come up with any concrete evidence that further restricting teen driving makes a difference. Keeping our kids from driving when they are not supposed to be driving is a parental responsibility, not a police responsibility.

Lawmakers, like Representative Egolf, should focus on passing legislation that puts habitual drunk drivers behinds bars, not taking away parental rights.

Reading Bills is Overrated

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

So, you ever wonder how so many crummy laws get introduced and passed? You’ve probably thought to yourself, “Who in their right mind would read this bill and vote for it?” See, there was your first mistake. Reading bills is so turn of the last century.

We live in the thought at the speed of light age. Lawmakers don’t actually need to read bills before voting on them. Need the proof:

There is currently some wacky legislative maneuvering going on with H.R. 2454, the cap and trade energy bill, that puts a serious spotlight on the failure of Congress to make bills properly available. According to the New York Times:

House Democratic leaders late last night released a revamped, 1,201-page energy and global warming bill (pdf), clearing the way for floor debate Friday even though it remains uncertain if they will have the votes to pass it.

The House bill posted on the Rules Committee Web site has grown from the 946-page version adopted last month in the Energy and Commerce Committee. Sources on and off Capitol Hill said the bulk of the changes largely reflect requests from the eight other committees that also had jurisdiction over the bill, including the Ways and Means Committee and Science and Technology Committee.

The bill is only available online at the House Rules Committee and is reported as “text of the bill to be introduced.” Despite having a bill, H.R. 2454, that has been reported out of the Energy & Commerce Committee and discharged by eight other committees, there is now, suddenly, a new bill that is almost 300-pages longer — but it’s still being considered as H.R. 2454. Stay with me here.

Want to get really annoyed? Go check out the bill’s timeline.

Senseless Legislation in a Weak Economy

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Businesses of all sizes are struggling. Yet, what legislation do they decide to introduce in Congress?

A long-stalled effort to guarantee American workers paid sick days takes a big step forward Monday with the introduction of legislation by Congressional Democrats.

The proposal went nowhere during the presidency of George W. Bush, but as a senator and then a presidential candidate, Barack Obama backed it, and Michelle Obama embraced the idea last week in a talk to business leaders.

Companies are trying their hardest to keep the doors open, and Congress wants to make it more expensive do so. Where’s the logic here?

Judge Sonia Sotomayor Proponent of Judicial Activism

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

It didn’t take long after the news hit of Supreme Court Justice David Souter’s retirement for speculation to begin in the media and political circles regarding his replacement. One name that has me really concerned is Sonia Sotomayor.

CNN’s report last Friday on potential nominees highlights the fact that she was named a district court judge by President George H.W. Bush:

Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Named a district court judge by President George H.W. Bush in 1992, she has been on the appeals bench since 1998. She’d likely have some bipartisan support. The 54-year-old is considered to have moderate-liberal views, and would be the first Hispanic justice on the high court.

However, this paints the wrong picture as it makes it seems that she should appeal to the more conservative amongst us. The reality is that if you believe in three branches of government with checks and balance system as intended by the founders of our country, then Judge Sotomayor is a bad choice for the U.S. Supreme Court.

I’ve written before about the disturbing and growing practice of judicial activism in our country, and it appears that Judge Sotomayor is a proponent of this abhorrent practice.


Things That Don’t Make Sense

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Sometimes you encounter things that just don’t make sense. Usually, they are lone encounters that leave you shaking your head and wondering. But, sometimes they come one after another.

Gary King announced today that he will support several ethics reform proposals in the upcoming legislative session, and Gov. Bill Richardson, whose administration is the subject of a federal pay-to-play investigation, promptly did the same.

Ok, let’s state the obvious first. A Governor who has had to turn down a presidential cabinet appointment and retain a prominent attorney in light of the unethical pay-to-play conduct of his administration, has no business announcing his support for ethics reform. In a moment of rare candor on national television, that may come back to haunt him, Richardson admitted that donors have been able to buy “an edge” in his administration [a MUST READ ARTICLE]:

For his part, the governor, who declined to be interviewed, has maintained that campaign donations do not influence his decisions. In at least two cases, he canceled state contracts his political supporters had won after the deals became public. He also gave back a $10,000 contribution from a company that won a contract to provide health care to prisoners.

Yet in an interview on NBC in 2007, Mr. Richardson acknowledged that giving money to a politician gives the donor “a little bit of an edge.”

“I don’t give any extra access to somebody that contributes,” he said. “But I’ll remember that person, and I’ll say: ‘Jeez, that guy helped me. Maybe I can help them.’ ”

Of course, you can’t conduct this style of government without the tacit consent of our top prosecutor. That’s why our current Attorney General, like the one before him, should also not be making announcements regarding ethics reform proposals. Since being elected, Gary King has made a lot of noise about investigations, but any real law enforcement in the way of indictments has been sorely missing. If the Attorney General is not going to enforce the current laws on the books by putting criminals behind bars, then he has no business pushing a new set of laws.

Speaking of ridiculous new laws. Take a look at what the Farmington City Council is proposing:

The Farmington City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to outlaw “high gravity beer” — beer with an alcohol content of more than 7.9 percent — and on a ban of selling “fortified” wine containing more than 14 percent alcohol in an effort to curb public drunkenness, the Farmington Daily Times reported.

Somebody please sit these folks down for a drink and explain the realities of life. A drunk is a drunk. We’re talking about someone with a dependence on alcohol. They will drink until fully inebriated regardless of the alcohol content of a particular beverage.

Sometimes, you really have to wonder what these elected officials are drinking thinking.

Fairness Doctrine a Real Danger to Free Speech

Friday, November 7th, 2008

With Democrats taking control, one of the biggest fears starting to emerge is that the Fairness Doctrine could be crammed down our throats in an effort to “balance” free speech. At the center of the debate is our own Senator Jeff Bingaman, a major proponent for bringing back the Fairness Doctrine:


I can’t imagine a worse idea. Let’s reflect on this for a moment. We just had a tremendous Democratic sweep in New Mexico and throughout the country. That sweep occurred without any mandate dictating the content of conversation on a given station. People on both sides of the aisle should be able to agree that our current system works. If it’s not broken, why fix it?

Now consider the problems with a mandate of “fair and balanced” programming. In a nutshell, such a dictate is subjective, not objective. Worse, it is a subjective measure to be determined by the government. Remember my warning that control of government swings like a pendulum from the right to the left, and eventually back again.

I do not want extremes on either side (or moderates for that matter) dictating what I can and should be listening to… or reading… or watching. I can make that decision on my own, thank you very much. And based on the number of comments left on this blog by those who disagree with me, you can as well.

We should never give up the right to think for ourselves.

Valencia County Sheriff Endorses Martin Heinrich

Monday, August 25th, 2008

The Democratic candidate for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, Martin Heinrich, proudly exclaims on his website that he has garnered the support of three of the four sheriff’s that make up the district – the fourth being his opponent, Sheriff Darren White.

I thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at why these particular sheriffs might choose to support Martin Heinrich over Darren White. Today, we’ll start with Valencia County Sheriff, Rene Rivera, and Rivera’s stated reason for supporting Martin Heinrich:

Valencia County Sheriff Rene Rivera appeared Saturday at a Valencia County welcoming event for Martin Heinrich. In his endorsement, Sheriff Rivera said, “I’ve been in law enforcement for over 19 years fighting against crime and drugs. Martin Heinrich was tough on crime on the Council, and I know he’s the right partner in Congress to help keep our streets safe. That’s why I’m endorsing him.”

Since I’m not a Valencia County resident, I don’t know much about Sheriff Rivera’s crime fighting record over the last 19 years, but when it comes to being tough on DWI’s, his record is, well, less than impressive:

[Valencia County sheriff’s deputy] Duran has been arrested on DWI charges twice before, according to Belen Magistrate Court records. In 2003, Duran was charged with DWI and speeding but pleaded guilty to resisting an officer and reckless driving, and the other charges were dismissed. In 2004, he was charged with aggravated DWI causing bodily injury, and the charge was dismissed without prejudice.

[Valencia County Sheriff] Rivera said he knew when he hired Duran, a former State Police and Socorro police officer, that he had a prior DWI charge. However, he said Duran was hired because he had never been convicted.

One thing most voters can agree on is that number of repeat DWI offenders allowed on our roads has got to stop. Yet, Sheriff Rivera, not only doesn’t seem to be bothered by the problem, he is willing to look the other way and give a two time offender a badge. And, apparently, Martin Heinrich must agree with him because Heinrich’s proud to accept Sheriff Rivera’s endorsement.

It is worth noting Sheriff Darren White’s record on DWI enforcement:

Sheriff White has also made preventing and reducing DWI a top priority in Bernalillo County. In addition to being an outspoken advocate for harsher penalties, under his leadership, the Department has undertaken aggressive DWI enforcement operations.

So, on the one hand we have a law and order candidate for Congress, Sheriff Darren White, an on the other, we have a candidate, Martin Heinrich, who happily accepts the endorsement of a Sheriff who seems to believe that the solution to the DWI problem is to give repeat offenders a job as a deputy.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at another one of the Sheriff’s who supports Heinrich.

It’s Clearly About the Money

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

My wife is 5’1″…. and a half. Why is that important? Wait, I’ll get to it. First, let’s look at this huge fine a working Mom in Rio Rancho (subscription) got hit with:

When Tammi Nidever moved to the City of Vision from Albuquerque last year, she didn’t know it was against the law for her 10-year-old daughter to ride in the front seat of their Explorer.

She soon found out.

And she was given the choice of paying $138 or performing 40 hours of community service.

Now nowhere in the article written by D’Val Westphal does it state that she was driving recklessly. Nor, does it indicate her daughter wasn’t in a seatbelt. What was this “terrible woman” doing when she was pulled over? She was taking her daughter to school.

But wait, this is about safety, right? After all, she was endangering the life of the child. Well, apparently in Rio Rancho not all children are created equal:

Then Tammi learned that in Rio Rancho, a city ordinance makes it illegal for a child under age 13 to ride in the front seat of a vehicle unless there is no back seat. And if the passenger seats are all taken up by kids, the oldest kid has to ride shotgun.

So, let me get this straight. This is a terrible crime that warrants a big ticket or 40 hours of community service – that’s a full work week folks! Unless, you just don’t happen to have a back seat. Then, no worries, your kid is okay in the front. Or, if you have four kids, and only room for three in the back, go ahead and toss the fourth one up front – I guess if you’ve got that many the City of Rio Rancho has decided that child is expendable.

This is a perfect example of an absurd law. Don’t get me wrong – 95% of the time my kids (10 and 8) sit in the backseat. I don’t live in Rio Rancho, and rarely drive through it. So, I do it because I’ve read or heard it was safer – not because of a law that pretends to protect some kids, but not others. Now, I did say 95% of time. Sometimes, as a parent, I take into consideration where I’m going, and if I feel it is safe for my child to ride up front with me, I let them do it.

So, is society better off because of Rio Rancho’s law? I don’t think so. I think this law has one purpose and one purpose only – to fill the city coffers. Remember there are generations of us that grew up in a time without these ridiculous laws on the books, and guess what? We survived.

Oh right, I almost forgot. My wife is 5’1″ and sits in the front seat all the time. The little girl who was riding in the front seat next to her mother on the way to school is 5’2″.