|Note From Capitol: Do As I Say And Not As I Do|
|Written by Administrator|
|Monday, 18 July 2011 10:52|
Now that summer has finally arrived in Northern California I have found the perfect place to spend a hot afternoon. My new “chill” place is the State Capitol in Sacramento. Evidently our state legislators, who constantly remind us (through taxes and high energy costs) to conserve energy within our homes and offices, do not practice the same standards and discipline for themselves. And why should they? They don’t have to pay the bill, we taxpayers do. However, now that I have found this great new retreat (since I cannot afford to cool my own home to this jacket-needing temperature) I do not want to discourage this hypocritical practice.
I hope you keep this as our little secret. Yeah, yeah, you probably are thinking I’m a woman and temperature sensitive is part of my gender, so I suggest that if you can walk a few extra blocks (the parking is free) that you check it all out for yourself. If anything, go sit in a Capitol meeting room too because you will experience both icy temperatures and some legislative entertainment value that is well – invaluable. Plus your friends and family will hold you in the highest regard when you say, “I spent the day at the Capitol.” They don’t need to know any more details than that but if they ask, just tell them you are auditing the legislatures 2,300 bills introduced this year alone.
Such was the case for me on Tuesday July 5, when I actually did have business there to testify in opposition to AB 1099, a bill authored by Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthall, and sponsored by CTA, not the teachers association of course. The bill would have made it illegal to register any pre-1997 trucks in California requiring an A or B commercial license if they were coming from out of state or not continually registered here.
One of CTA’s arguments for the bill was the fact that many of their members had already complied with the regulation and now found themselves competing with companies who had not yet upgraded their trucks before it was required by the rule.
I say “hooray” for all who were able to buy new or even retrofit, and even better if they are able to make the payments. Unfortunately most at least within our industry are not that “lucky”, but I don’t need to tell you that, you are living it.
It was because of the economic downturn in the U.S. and our states economy that we were able to postpone some aspects of the On-road Truck and Bus rule. After five years of working with CARB, it seemed inappropriate (to put it nicely) that another trucking association would propose such legislation, and surprisingly some democratic members of the Senate Transportation & Housing Committee saw it the same way and agreed to support construction truck exemption amendments to this bill.
Yes, we lobbied for a carve-out for not just dump trucks but all construction trucks. Thanks to our partnership with lowbed hauling and concrete pumping members, plus our membership with CIAQC we are helping construction truckers, material producers and even contractors. Make sure if you get a chance that you explain this to them someday.
Following the guidelines CARB proposed in their truck and bus regulations low-mileage exception for all of us in construction, we will use this same language to define exactly what a construction truck is within this ridiculous piece of legislation. While this is good news for our members, many outside of construction are likely to find this entire bill ill-timed and unnecessary when the regulations are already coming. Perhaps the point should ultimately be about protecting all small trucking business owners in California, not just those in construction. Unfortunately there appears to be “no” trucking organizations looking out for the small trucking business owners outside of construction.
Across the page (Pg. 21, CTN July 2011 issue) is a more detailed analysis of AB 1099 by our lobbyist Brooks.
Cuisinarts of the Skies
Coincidently, while waiting for the CTA bill to be heard, sitting in a comfy red velvet chair, cool as a cucumber and bored out of my mind, Assembly Bill 511 came up for hearing. The bill is sponsored by Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (a Dem from Davis) concerning safety issues relating to MET’s. I know we live in a world of acronyms and I have learned many over the last 10 years, so I thought to myself, “What the hell is an MET now? Suddenly out came a large poster of a windfarm, and at this point I begin perking up as my curiosity was really piqued.
Readers of this magazine know that I have been concerned for several years about these “cuisinarts of the skies” who are whacking birds (even endangered species) at an alarming pace, not to mention the government subsidies (our tax dollars) they consume.
As I soon learned, MET stands for Meteorological Evaluation Tower. It turns out that when an area for a windfarm is contemplated, it is first necessary to measure the actual wind conditions for an extended period, and these towers pop up almost overnight, usually in a drab-gray metal color which blends in perfectly with the horizon. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) currently requires all towers above a height of 200 feet to be clearly marked with lights, to warn pilots of a structure. So what have our “wind blown green friends” done? They build these towers just two or three feet lower, to reduce their costs to get around the regulations.
On this day, I was a little shocked that the pole-people came out in mass to protest this bill. Evidently the cost of approximately $2,500 to light each tower and the $500 to paint them a fluorescent yellow or green is too much. And this comes after hearing testimony from the family of a crop duster who was killed outside of Sacramento earlier this year.
Now I am sure if there was ever a green job, installing these lights is it. In fact they could probably order them from China just as they do the solar panels and receive one of those great subsidies also. After all, isn’t this entire green thing about saving the earth and its inhabitants from overheating?
In the trucking world, we are written up for any lights on the truck that are in-operable, as well as being required to carry triangular warning devices that are to be put behind the truck if you should break down. These laws are all done in the name of safety, yet our green friends chose to protest a common sense law such as this. What a joke this all really is – make no mistake it is all about money.
As for me, our local weather station has just announced that our temperatures are once again dropping for the coming week to 20% below normal. This means it will not be necessary that I seek refuge from the summer heat in the Capitol, at least for now. I hope someone else will be watching all their shenanigans until my return.
Finally, another big “Thank You” to our Northern California members who joined us for the Oakland Summer Board meeting on June 18. I think all of you left with a tremendous amount of information, and we once again appreciate the support that you provide us. I believe that you can clearly see that without CDTOA’s influence the construction transportation industry would have never received the regulatory and legislation concessions without your dues help.