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Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

Add to the list of things that are crimes in California: failure to provide fitted sheets.

Well, don’t add it just yet, but it’s coming, along with failure to provide long-handled toilet brushes.

These sins of omission – by hotel and motels – will become crimes under the state’s government code if Senate Bill 432 becomes law. And it looks like it will.

State Sen. Kevin De Leon has learned from a study “by a team of researchers from four universities and UNITE HERE” that changing bed sheets – particularly bottom sheets – is hard work. Maids’ backs and shoulders get sore from doing it. They also get sore from getting on their hands and knees to clean bathrooms. (The mean spirited will point out that UNITE HERE is a hotel workers’ union.)

Tucking in flat sheets is especially difficult, so De Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat, thought it wise to write into law a requirement that “all hotels, motels, and other similar transient lodging establishments” use only fitted bottom sheets starting Sept. 1, 2013, and reaching full compliance by Dec. 31, 2015. This will give the hospitality industry time to iron out any difficulties.

In fairness, we should note that the bill doesn’t rigidly require fitted bottoms. It gives the industry leeway to use flat bottoms, if they provide “equipment, such as a wedge, or other device, work practice, or method that assists in sheet installation.”

Before you join the hospitality lobby in calling De Leon’s bill “over legislating,” think of the job creator this could be. You can be certain that dozens of entrepreneurs and inventors already are at the drawing boards, designing flat-sheet tucker-inners.

The broom and mop industry doubtless approve the mandate requiring hostelries to provide their housekeeping staffs “long-handled tools such as mops or similar devices in order to eliminate the practice by housekeepers of working in a stooped, kneeling, or squatting position in order to clean bathroom floors, walls, tubs, toilets, and other bathroom surfaces.”

We can hardly wait to see the first long-handled toilet brush.

De Leon styles S.B. 432 as a “workplace safety” measure, intended to “outlaw unsafe housekeeping practices.” Further, he says it will not be costly, because hotels, motels, etc. routinely replace bed linens. So, all they’ll have to do is make half their sheet purchases fitted bottoms until they reach full compliance.

Frankly, we don’t see why De Leon doesn’t jump in all the way and introduce a bill outlawing hard work. Humans shouldn’t be asked to do anything that can’t be done from a reclining chair.

And why limit legislation to physical work? Thinking itself can produce undue stress that can impair one’s mental processes. You want an example? Just look at S.B. 432.


If ever there were a burr under the saddle of California Democrats, it would be Proposition 13, the 1978 initiative that limited the taxes to 1 percent of a property’s value and limited increases to 1 percent annually – or to revaluations following sales. But because commercial properties sell less frequently than homes, commercial values have risen slowly and the politicians don’t like it.

Now comes Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with a call to eliminate what he calls Prop. 13′s “corporate tax giveaway.”

He’s only half brave in doing this. Attacking the proposition’s protection for homeowners would send him to an early political retirement. But business? He knows – or thinks – most Californians don’t understand businesses don’t pay taxes; they just collect them from consumers.

Villaraigosa made his sally in Sacramento, which caused pundits to ponder whether he was contemplating a gubernatorial campaign. He will be out as Los Angeles mayor after 2013. Villaraigosa carries the baggage of having cheated on his wife with a Telemundo reporter/anchor, but that shouldn’t harm his status as a Democrat.

His party likes to nominate trouser droppers, like himself, Bill Clinton and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom – as long as their dalliances don’t interfere with their administrative duties.

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