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Protect Us from the Well Intentioned

Columnist: Norman Rosinski
March, 2017 Issue
Columnist

Norman Rosinski
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What is happening in California that requires the state to write four times the number of new laws than are being written at the federal level in Washington D.C.? 
 

Welcome to the March Business of Wine issue of NorthBay biz magazine. Operating a successful wine business doesn’t happen by accident. It takes specialized business acumen and involves much more than managing a vineyard or pouring wine in a tasting room. That’s the reason behind this issue—to provide insights into the industry that drives so much of the labor and leisure activities that surround us each day in the North Bay. So please enjoy all the stories, columns and special features in the North Bay’s only locally owned, formerly glossy business publication—NorthBay biz.

The first month of the new year has been extremely busy here at the magazine. Playing catch up from the holidays has strained our already tenuous relations with the ever-present deadline demon and made for a hectic start to 2017. A significant contributing factor too, is the loss of our long-time, multi-talented and gifted editor, Alexandra Russell. Alex’s contributions to the magazine’s success can’t be overstated. She was offered another position locally that truly was too good to pass up. If you see her make sure to offer sincere congratulations, since I’m no longer speaking to her. Seriously, everyone here at the magazine wishes her continued success in her new position!

We’re extremely fortunate to have found an excellent editor to replace Alex. Karen Hart joined NorthBay biz on January 3 and has quickly begun to figure out and master the demands and intricacies of being editor of the magazine. Karen is a published author with a degree in journalism and is also an experienced local freelance writer, who most recently was tutoring students in writing at Santa Rosa Junior College. She not only possesses the full palette of professional editorial skills, but also an engaging personal style, and we’re delighted to add to her to our award-winning team. I’m already saying, “Alex who?” Welcome aboard Karen.

I just finished reading some stats I found surprising. In 2015, the U.S. Congress passed 224 new laws. Unto itself, perhaps that fact doesn’t seem to be out of the ordinary, until it’s held up to a comparison. If you remember, in last month’s column I noted that 900 new laws were enacted in California over the past year. That stat prompts an obvious question: What is happening in California that requires the state to write four times the number of new laws than are being written at the federal level in Washington D.C.?

If anyone has a definitive answer, please let me know. All I can do is speculate why there’s such a large disparity in the number of laws passed at the state versus the federal level. One guess is that maybe it’s caused by the legislative gridlock in Washington D.C. If that’s the case, maybe the gridlock some people grouse about isn’t too bad after all, if it means less intervention in our lives—especially if you’re a proponent of smaller government solutions. In California, for all practical purposes, we’re being governed by a single party, big government system that eliminates gridlock and expedites the legislative process that resulted in the lopsided comparative of 900 to 224. See what’s possible when an unopposed government takes charge.

There is another (and maybe larger point) to make here, however. In 2015, while there were only 224 laws passed by Congress, there were 3,554 new regulations written and implemented by the various federal agencies and departments! That means Congress, who we thought were our elected representatives, had nothing to do with 94 percent of all the new regulations, (indistinguishable from laws) enacted. Instead, unelected bureaucrats, unaccountable appointees and ideologues are clearly the nation’s lawmakers, exercising more power over our daily lives than the three traditional branches of government.

“The nanny state knows better” will soon be replacing, “In God We Trust,” on all our currency. Nameless, faceless bureaucratic rule-makers are mandating everyday decisions in our lives. Goodbye to basic freedoms and the ability to live our lives as we see fit. After all, can we really be trusted to decide what toilet paper best serves the country’s greater purpose?

Recently, I was discussing, (loudly complaining, really) the impact of all the federal and state regulations on local citizens and businesses with a local politician. The elected official was listening patiently, but not responding, when I finally asked him directly, “What do you have to say about these thousands of new regs?” Sensing my growing frustration and with a broadening grin on his face, he simply replied, “It’s a good start.” Can’t make this stuff up. My plea remains, please protect us from the well-intentioned!

A final thought: Don’t forget to fill out the BEST OF ballot on page 74, or go online and cast your vote(s) in the 28th annual North Bay’s BEST Readers Poll. Vote in at least 12 categories for your favorite businesses, and you’ll automatically be entered to win a dinner for two at one of the North Bay’s BEST restaurants. Voting ends March 1.

That’s it for now. Enjoy this month’s magazine.

 

 

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