In the 30 years I have served as a county watchdog, some 25 county supervisors have come and gone from the dais of Santa Barbara County.
With very few exceptions, I have witnessed a phenomenon reoccur time and time again that serves to undermine the very concept of representative government.
In a nutshell, candidates promise that once elected, they will represent and serve constituents by way of this or that policy/community priority. However, what invariably happens is that once they get elected, they instead become representatives of the government to the people. That is, they become an extension of, and apologists for, the bureaucracy resulting in representation by capitulation.
The clearest example of this? The COVID-19 crisis and the associated lockdowns.
That is, week after week, the supervisors (notable exception is Supervisor Peter Adam), accept verbatim their staff and the governor’s talking points about COVID-19 and the need to lock down our economy and our society. They chafe at anyone who brings counter-prevailing evidence their way, evidence that serves to indicate a better way to deal with this horrid and deadly disease, sans violating our rights and decimating our economy.
We can argue COVID-19 and lockdowns all day long, but that is not my point. Our state Legislature, along with county supervisors and city councils, have been way too passive as they allowed Gov. Nussolini to change hundreds of laws in this state. Why have they become patsies?
Because the governor has threatened to withhold funds if they don’t cooperate. Funds, by the way, overwhelmingly used to make the government whole, while leaving the private sector out in the cold. That is, I can find no evidence of any government employees having been laid off during this shutdown. How could that be?
The insult to injury? While millions of Americans are filing for unemployment and businesses are going bankrupt, government workers are getting raises! Meanwhile, to keep the peace, our federal government is spending trillions of dollars it doesn’t have to prop up the economy. This will lead to inflation and even more insurmountable debt.
Some good news? Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham has introduced a bill that would limit the governor’s ability to change laws to a 60-day period following the declaration of an emergency. The purpose is to return some semblance of a balance and separation of powers to government.
Assemblyman Cunningham’s bill comes on the heels of a lawsuit by two other members of the Assembly on the same basis, a lawsuit that won its initial court case, albeit Gov. Newsom subsequently appealed. I would like to see local city councils, boards of supervisors and state Sen. Monique Limón, among others, endorse this piece of legislation and support the lawsuit, but I doubt that they will.
Then there is the Great Barrington Declaration that has been signed by more than 50,000 medical doctors and research professionals.
The declaration, penned by professors of medicine at Harvard, Stanford and Oxford universities states that “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.”
If you study the statistics comparing California to other states and nations, clearly the evidence demonstrates that what California is doing is not working. That is, despite having stricter lockdown protocols in place, we are nevertheless experiencing higher case and mortality counts than most other jurisdictions, yet nobody in the halls of government is willing to discuss this counterintuitive phenomenon. Why would they; they have too much to lose!