While Governor Brown roamed the Vatican praying for rain recently, we hope he also asked the big guy upstairs to do him a huge favor: to remind California bureaucrats that there is a God, but He just isn’t them . . . no matter how much they seek to arbitrarily lord over the masses.
There is an incredibly disturbing pattern emerging within the Brown Administration that is going largely unnoticed by the public, unreported by press corps and perhaps even flying under Governor Brown’s own radar. Rogue boards and commissions that are pushing personal agendas and openly defying the will of judges, the state Attorney General, the courts, the Legislature and even Governor himself.
We’re talking about unelected bureaucrats exhibiting the brass-balled temerity to pull rank on (and the rug out from under) the very people voters have elected to represent their interests and protect them.
Bureaucracy running wild promises to be a rich vein for the BlueDog to tap for months to come. But for now, let’s just point out a couple current examples:
Exhibit A – The State Water Resources Control Board Above the Law?
As the result of lawsuits filed by local water and irrigation districts with longstanding water rights, numerous judges and the state attorney’s office told the SWRCB that it cannot curtail water allocations to water districts without citing proper cause and providing those districts with the opportunity to present their positions.
But instead of obeying these court rulings, the SWRCB has gone ahead and proposed fines to some of the districts that sued the board. In one case, as much as $1.5 million. Those fines were been issued in direct defiance of the court’s requirements. Such actions are as arrogant and retaliatory as they are punitive.
Exhibit B – Brewing Scandal at the California Fish & Game Commission?
Bear, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats and other predators increasingly are surfacing in California urban areas due to sprawl and drought conditions. These wild animals are ransacking homes, killing pets and attacking children like something out of Little Red Riding Hood. Such episodes highlight the need for responsible predator management polices that protect both animal populations and the public at large.
Historically, responsible hunting and trapping programs have served as a critical tool for keeping wildlife at bay and managing wildlife populations.
In the next few days, the California Fish & Game Commission will be considering proposals that will essentially eliminate bobcat trapping statewide and set a dangerous precedent for effective predator management in the Golden State.
These proposals are moving forward in open defiance of the California Legislature and Governor Brown, both of whom supported Assembly Bill 1213, legislation requesting regulations to tightly limit bobcat trapping — but with the clear condition that such policy be made only after comprehensive bobcat population study and thoughtful review of the scientific facts.
The governor should be commended for underscoring this notion when he signed the bill into law. And he should pay attention to what Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) recently told the Sacramento Bee on this issue:
“It’s real simple: There was a bill before the Legislature to ban the bobcat trapping that didn’t pass. You don’t need much more clarity than that to know what the Legislature was OK with. For a regulatory body to go out and basically go against the role of the Legislature is inappropriate . . . One of the real detriments of term limits has been that one branch of government has far exceeded its jurisdiction. The Legislature has so much constant turnover that no one’s there to hold folks accountable.”
We all know what happens when power goes unmonitored and unchecked.
The Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) and AB 1213 author (Bloom) have dropped the ball on funding research since the bill passed in 2013. They need to step up to the plate to make sure the necessary data is gathered before promoting regulations.
But rather than obey the Legislature and Governor, the commissioners are being presented a false choice that exploits a narrowly constructed law. It would be a sad commentary on the democratic process if the commission ignored the will of the Governor and Legislature.
One hopes that cooler heads on the commission will prevail, especially since the Governor, to his credit, recently replaced two commissioners whose terms had expired. The new members can play an important role by applying the brakes to this process so that a thoughtful and responsible set of regulations can be developed. There is no urgency on this matter.
Otherwise, the actions and attitude exhibited by both the Fish & Game Commission — and those of the SWRCB — will remain jaw-dropping in their hubris. We’ve already seen how dangerous this can be (CPUC, CalFire, etc.)
Where is the outrage? Where is the accountability? Where is the oversight? Where is the hammer?
Governor Brown is a measured and thoughtful leader. It is hugely disrespectful to him for his Administration to operate unchecked and contrary to his policies. The Governor needs to focus on reigning them in and demand his bureaucrats stop playing God . . . or heaven help us.