Down with Bully Bureaucrats!

You gotta love a website that puts a Drudge Report-like flashing police strobe light on their homepage. Lieutenant Governor candidate/state Senator Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, just stuck one on his senate homepage to advertise his new Bully Bureaucrat Hotline. And it’s not a subtle hotline, either:

“Have you or your business been the target of a recent, unpleasant visit by a state or federal regulator?” Were you harassed or fined over subtle nuances in state or federal labor codes that would take the services of an attorney to interpret? THE BULLY BUREAUCRAT HOTLINE IS HERE TO HELP!”

“It does serve a serious purpose,” Bill Bird, an aide to Aanestad, told me today. “We started getting complaints from small business owners last year. They were fined on the spot by bureaucrats. They didn’t know they were out of compliance, but they weren’t given a chance to fix the problem. The highest fine we heard of was $5,000.”

Bird said that Aanestad’s office has already received two complaints from Southern California — one from a small businessman visited by an inspector from the state Pesticide Control Board, who fined him $3,000 on the spot.

“The senator has legislation he’s going to propose on this,” Bird said. “We’re not trying to change the codes — they were put in for very good reasons — but we’re saying, ‘Let’s first educated businesses if they’re out of compliance, and then give them two days to get into compliance before fining them.’ It’s common sense.”

-Anthony Pignataro

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