Ed Driscoll

The Wonderful World of Jerry

As part of the regular round-up of DOOOOM!!!!, fiscal and otherwise at the Ace of Spades blog, there’s a link to Victor Davis Hanson’s weekly National Review column. Here’s the set-up:

Hollywood liberals can spout off about the rights of the poor and oppressed and then hide in their hillside mansions and gated communities when the sun goes down. Other people have to live in the world these liberals brought about. This is less a “California is boned” story and more an eyewitness report from a citizen who lives on the frontiers of the Empire and has to deal on a daily basis with the barbarian hordes. Let VDH speak:

The city of Fresno is now under siege. Hundreds of street lights are out, their copper wire stripped away. In desperation, workers are now cementing the bases of all the poles — as if the original steel access doors were not necessary to service the wiring. How sad the synergy! Since darkness begets crime, the thieves achieve a twofer: The more copper they steal, the easier under cover of spreading night it is to steal more. Yet do thieves themselves at home with their wives and children not sometimes appreciate light in the darkness? Do they vandalize the street lights in front of their own homes?

In this case, the encroaching darkness is both metaphorical and literal. This is what becomes of a bankrupt and morally dead government: an inability to protect its citizens or maintain its infrastructure, but retaining the bureaucratic power to annoy and impose upon the law-abiding.

Elsewhere in the Wonderful Fantasy World of Jerry Brown’s California, LAPD’s “Jack Dunphy” writes, “LAPD Turns a Blind Eye to Illegal Aliens without Driver’s Licenses:”

The illegal alien lobby has no better friend than Mayor Villaraigosa, who earlier this year put the camel’s nose into the tent on the issue of impounding cars driven by unlicensed drivers.  At the mayor’s urging, the LAPD instituted a policy that allowed sober but unlicensed driver discovered at a sobriety checkpoint to call for a licensed driver to take charge of his car and thereby avoid having it impounded.  The proposed new policy would extend this procedure to all traffic stops.

“It’s a fairness issue,” Chief Beck told the Los Angeles Times.  “There is a vast difference between someone driving without a license because they cannot legally be issued one and someone driving after having their license revoked.”

Indeed there is, and those differences are already recognized in California law, specifically in the punishments prescribed for each offense.  But in seeking “fairness,” or his idea of it, the chief ignores the specific language of state law as it pertains to the seizure of cars from unlicensed drivers.  Section 14607.4(f) of the California Vehicle Code reads as follows:

It is necessary and appropriate to take additional steps to prevent unlicensed drivers from driving, including the civil forfeiture of vehicles used by unlicensed drivers. The state has a critical interest in enforcing its traffic laws and in keeping unlicensed drivers from illegally driving. Seizing the vehicles used by unlicensed drivers serves a significant governmental and public interest, namely the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of Californians from the harm of unlicensed drivers, who are involved in a disproportionate number of traffic incidents, and the avoidance of the associated destruction and damage to lives and property.

It’s worth noting that in 2008 the city of Los Angeles was one of several cities and counties named as defendants in a federal civil lawsuit that challenged the current impound policy.  The U.S. District Court granted summary judgment to the defendants, a decision affirmed by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a court not widely known for being a friend to law enforcement.  In so ruling, the Court stated, “This limited application [of the impound authority in the California Vehicle Code] accords with the California legislature’s determination that such a temporary forfeiture is warranted to protect Californians from the harm caused by unlicensed drivers — a determination we have no basis to reject.”

And yet now the LAPD’s chief, based on his own — and the mayor’s of course — sense of “fairness,” rejects this same determination.

C’mon — let’s say it all together! What could go wrong?

Related: Of course, as we all know, fiscal DOOOOM!!!! isn’t just for the Golden State these days. Doug Ross links to “The Horrifying Chart That Democrats and RINOs Don’t Want You to See.”