Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
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.
Ah! The wonderland that is California!
You have heard, no doubt, that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has banned footballs and Frisbees from county beaches.
Specifically, it has made it “unlawful for any person to cast, toss, throw, kick or roll any ball, tube, or any light object other than a beach ball or beach volleyball upon or over any beach. …”
This seems laughable, to be sure, but let’s be fair. The county has issued a clarification.
It says, “The new ordinance lifts a decades-old, all-out ban on playing football, Frisbee and other ball on the beach. Its intention was not to preclude football or Frisbee tossing. Rather, its purpose is to allow ball playing, while providing reasonable safety measures that lifeguards may impose on a crowded beach day, when wayward footballs or Frisbees could cause injuries to bystanders.”
Further, the clarification says, “… the ordinance provides a set of guidelines for safe ball playing at the beach” and gives lifeguards the authority to stop games that threaten the public welfare.
You may protest that this isn’t what the ordinance says, but law in L.A. County apparently is not bound by the specificity of its language, but means what the keepers of its secret content say it means.
And though it says no football or Frisbee, you may use a water polo ball in the Pacific Ocean opposite a beach, or toss anything from a football to an anvil out in the water – if you get “previous authorization from the Fire Chief or ocean lifeguard to conduct such activity.”
Meanwhile, don’t dig any hole in the sand deeper than 18 inches. That would violate the ordinance, and you never know when a lifeguard is going to come along with a yard stick.
Mortgage mumbo jumbo: We’re indebted to the New York Times (really!) for clarifying the terms of the $26 billion bank settlement over “predatory” mortgage lending. It seems that if your burdensome mortgage is held by the FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or “a private investor,” you’re not going to get any relief.
The exceptions probably apply to more than half the mortgages in the country. Whoopee!
Fraud? What fraud? The refrain from the left is that voter-ID laws are racist and that there’s no evidence of widespread election fraud. Yet down in Fort Myers, Fla., investigators for NBC2 television turned up scores of voters who weren’t registered or were otherwise unqualified to cast ballots.
Said the story, “No one knows how widespread this problem is, because county election supervisors have no way to track non-citizens who live here.”
Hey! How about requiring a voters’ photo ID?
Our benighted student body: Student officers in the University of California system are urging UC enrollees to back the proposal of Assembly Speaker John Perez to set aside $1 billion for “middle class” scholarships.
In a way, you can’t blame the kids for being enthused about a plan that would lop two-thirds off the tuition of students from households with incomes below $150,000 per year. But they haven’t learned how slippery the boys and girls at the state Capitol can be, and they apparently have forgotten already the attempt by the Legislature to usurp the university’s $3 billion budget. If they think the clowns in the Assembly and state Senate have given up on that idea, they are mistaken.
Here’s the scenario: First the state runs up the cost of university attendance, then offers to help students pay the freight. This would establish a system that is circular, insidious and no accident. It’s part of the Democratic Party plan to make the middle class as well as the poor beholden to government.
Easily imagined dialog:
White house operative: George, we want you to ask Mitt Romney if states could ban contraception.
ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos: You know you always can count on me, but why in the world would I ask that?
White house operative: Our strategy soon will be made clear.
And so it was, in a calculated assault on the First Amendment.
You might ask why a Democratic Party shill like Stephanopoulos has a “news” job – if the major network news people weren’t all Democratic Party shills.