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October 7, 2009     The Julian News
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October 7, 2009
 

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October 7, 2009 California Commentary Gifts To Lawmakers Are A Slap At Taxpayers by Jon Coupal Two years ago, when then Assemblywoman Sally Lieber introduced a bill to prohibit the spanking of children, she was ridiculed for what many Californians considered to be frivolous legislation. In light of recent revelations of the "S & M" tinged escapades of a married, middle-aged lawmaker and one or more lobbyists, some capitol observers are wondering if Lieber should have targeted an older demographic. Although the just-resigned legislator, who described his conduct to a colleague unaware that he was also sitting before an open microphone, now says he made it up, it calls into question just what services and gifts are provided by lobbyists in an effort to influence legislation. After all, the lobbyist with whom the official claimed to have this special relationship had business before a committee on which he served as vice-chair. The Sacramento Bee recently completed an analysis of gifts, over and above campaign contributions, that are provided to California lawmakers. The Bee found that between January 2008 and June 2009 lobbyists gave legislators, their staffs and relatives about $610,000 in gifts. While interest groups are limited to $420 annually in gifts to an individual lawmaker, loopholes allow unlimited gifts directly to their relatives and friends. The more than 2,700 registered lobbyist employers are eligible to give the $420 maximum to each leader and to most staffers. In addition to fine dining,. popular gifts are tickets to sporting events and concerts ranging from Billy Joel to Britney Spears and free travel to destinations from Hawaii to Hungary -- free travel and expenses can be provided to exotic locals so long as the lawmakers participate in a conference or gathering. While 30 lawmakers accepted gifts totaling over $5,000, and some much more tn the period examined by the Bee, 30 offices, to their credit, accepted less than $100 per month. While average taxpayers, those lucky enough to still have jobs, may be brown bagging it for lunch, it is more than ironic to find that on the list of restaurants at which lawmakers had dined on someone else's dime was the Humuhumunukunukuapa'a Restaurant in Hawaii. Lawmakers accepting these gifts insist that these gratuities have no influence on their legislative activities. Really? Then why do lobbyists bestow them? This is what causes many critics to call it legalized bribery. Former Sen. Sheila Kuehl told the Bee that she sees gifts as a problem, not because they influence votes, but because they cause the public to lose confidence in the politician who accepts them. While her point about public confidence is correct, it is more than likely that some legislators will tilt toward those who have made them feel important with gifts of travel, fine dining and concert tickets. If thegifts do nothing else, they buy access so that lobbyists can make a pitch for the interests of their clients. This is access to lawmaking that is not available to average Californians. Also of interest are those who gave the most. These include lobbyists representing utilities, alcoholic beverage distributors, entertainment companies and unions representing state employees. Considering the latter, how can anyone argue with a straight face that accepting gifts from state labor groups, on whose pay and benefits a lawmaker will decide, doesn't create a clear conflict of interest? Of course, these are only the gifts that are reported. There can be no doubt that there are other services provided to lawmakers by lobbyists that slip under the radar-- unless, of course, someone is foolish enough to brag in front of an open mic. While it may be impossible to completely root out influence peddling and bribery in the halls of the Capital, if the highest paid legislators in the nation, who receive an additional $173 per day in expense money, want to wine and dine with lobbyists, let them go dutch. However, stnce the Legislature sets its own rules on what gifts can be accepted, don't expect members to adopt vows of poverty or chastity anytime soon. Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association -- California's largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers' rights. People in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than governments. -- Dwight D. Eisenhower Week y SU by Linda Thistle 1 4 7 4 4 7 4 Place a number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each small 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine. DIFFICt ILTY THIS WEEK: * * * Moderate ** Challenging *** HOO BOY! @ 2009 King Features Synd., Inc. The Julian News 13 Announces Fall Anza-Borrego Foundation's. Institute kicks off its 2009-2010 season of desert explorations with an exciting three=day photography workshop, November 6-8, 2009, in Borrego Springs. This will be the first of a two-part program for beginner and advanced photographers. The second session will be held March 12-14, 2010. Set among the dramatic landscapes found in world-renowned Anza- Borrego Desert State Park, the workshops are designed for nature photographers who want to improve their skills. Paul Johnson and Ernie Cowan, both professional photographers and published authors, will instruct participants on photographic technique, camera functions and composition. For the price of $325 per person ($295 for Anza- Borrego Foundation members) participants will receive a full 18 hours of expert instruction, including hands-on time in the field and classroom, with one-on-one guidance from instructors who are experienced in capturing Anza-Borrego's striking desert landscapes. Students should have a single lens reflex camera with the capability of interchangeable lenses. Participants provide their own meals, lodging and transportation. Anza-Borrego Foundation memberships start at just $25. For online registration and more information, visit www.theabf. org. Call (760) 767-4063 for more information. Alcohol Dependence continued from page 11 period, more than 85 percent of patients were non-persistent with oral therapy. Oral therapy has been successful for some patients. However, in many cases in which adherence is a challenge, an extended-release injection that is given once a month can be a helpful treatment option. "We now know that alcohol dependence is a chronic disease with a potentially life-threatening course," said Harold C. Urschel III, M.D., chief of medical strategy, EnterHealth LLC. "These new guidelines tncrease awareness and information about .the new medications available for alcohol dependence so that patients and their doctors can consider all the available tools for each individual case." As with other complex chronic diseases, like depresston, asthma or diabetes, patients, HOMES.CABINS. LAND. RENTALS. PROPERTY MANAGEMENT VACATION RENTALSIII 2019 Mare Street 760-765-0111 www.mtnfarms.com Ill $520,000 Julian Estates, 3br, den, 2 ba, 2 car, 2200 sq. ft,, 4.47 acres. Wood Interior, Lodge Feeling. $319,000 3 br, 2 1{2 ba, plus 1,200 sq, ft. guest house over garage on 5 acres. 2 horse barns, outbuildings and small fruit orchard. $285,000 Kentwood 2br, 1 ba, 864 sq, ft. knotty pine interior .59 acres. $259,000 Whispering Pines, 2 br, 1 ba, + loft. Wood interior and soaring ceilings. 1 ba separate apt. downstairs. Double decks. along with their physictans and family members, work together to determine the best treatment option for each person with alcohol dependence. A copy of the HHS guidelines can be found at www. alcoholanswers.org/TIP49.pdf. To find a physician in your area, please visit www. alcoholanswers.org/Iocal/. $459,000 In Town, 2bd, 2ba with separate 1bd guest suite, built in 2003, Seriously Custom Home. $295,000 Julian Townsite, 2 Dr, 2 ba, on .85 acre, Within walking distance to all the shops and restaurants. Do You Know? $249,000 Kentwood, lbd, lba with large loft. All wood interior, large deck completely furnished. $225,000 Kentwood II 2 br, 1 ba 2 car garage, fireplace, hardwood, dual- glazed windows, A/C. 18 million Americans suffer from alcohol dependence or abuse. Only I in 8 of them receive treatment for their disease Heard On The Streets Of Julian _ by Eric Stamets Atheists Challenge Weekend In Court In a most unusual attempt to create equality for everyone and enforce the separation of church and state, some atheists have sued Crossword ACROSS 1 Muppet r master r~" Henson 4 Look-alike ~5 8 Low range 12 Literary collection z0 z 13 Head light? --. 14 Easter flower z4 15 Redo z'~- 17 In due time -.-.. 18 Uncomplicated 32 19 Mexican's ancestor, maybe 37 :~ 20 Squander 22 Exposed ~ 24 Grounded &~-- flock ..,=... 25 Luthor's 49 enemy 29 Standard 46 Ostentation 30 Ancient 47 Garfield's pal Dead 48 Lubricant Sea region 49 Mediocre Carte lead-in 50 Poetic foot Crosswozd - Answers Solution time: 27 mins. m~ 5 6 22 25 42 43 47 10 I1 44 45 8 Sports jacket 30 Hoodoo 9 "- She 33 Exile Sweet?" 34 Ground 10 Plumlike fruit 36 Uncool sort 11 Harmonization 37 Let the cat 16 Chow out of the 19 Vicinity bag 20 Cried 38 Irritate 21 Asian 39 Gumbo need servant 40 Read 22 Crony cursorily 23 Tarzan's 42 Miss Piggy's clique pronoun 25 Irrational 43 Oklahoma number city 26 Indemnify 44 Compete 27 Settled down 45 Will Ferrell 28 One of movie CSN&Y 31 32 Hitchcock 51 Today's classic "groovy" 34 Vail gear 35 Roddick of DOWN tennis 1 Predicament 36 Performs, 2 -- fix biblically 3 Guaran-tee 37 Home of 4 More than America's just that? largest urban 5 Undulating zoo 6 -- -de- 40 Drink France 41 Trickster god 7 Clause 42 Get amorousconnector 2009 King Fe'atures Synd,. Inc. to have the current weekend declared unconstitutional. In their news conference they pointed out the obvious, that their personal liberties were being infringed upon because they had to have the same weekend, based upon religious days, as everyone else. Saturday and Sunday are both considered the Sabbath by various religions and were chosen as days off because that's the day most religions have their religious services. The atheists stated that many of them would like to do their business with government offices when they were off work on Saturday or Sunday, but the offices are closed, presumably because of the day's religious connection. They.have suggested to the judge that the weekend be determined by an impartial lottery that would be fair to all and the judge was inclined to agree. Included in the suit is a complaint also asking that the names of the days be changed because they are named after Roman, Norse and other pagan religious deities and we can't have that. One atheist confided that he attended UCSD and recently converted to the Sun god religion and so Sunday as a name was fine with him. He said that the Sun god had requested that we give his pal some respect and make Monday part of the weekend also. 1. Debt Collection 2. Auto Sales 3. Home Repair/ Construction 4. Credit Cards 5. Intemet Goods & Services 6. Lending/ Mortgages 7. Telemarketing 8. Auto Repair 9. Auto Warranties 10. Telecom/Slamming/ Cramming source: www.naag.org 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. World nghts reserved. Weekly SUDOKU Answer 9 L 9 i~ 6 L t~ L6gZ#, 89 L 6 g 9 L g 9 9 g c3 9 L 6 L L g 9 L 6 9 9 g Z 6 8. I. g L 8 I. 9 6 6 8 L t', 9 'L