Junket To Ireland Is Blarney

Katy Grimes: Operating under the weight of a massive deficit and without a budget deal done, some Democratic legislators are preparing to take a 10-day trip to Ireland, ostensibly to study the Irish sustainable energy system, and using waste to power solar and wind systems.

Really, who cares what the subject matter is, or why they claim the trip is necessary. Only Democrats would travel to a country in worse financial shape than California, looking for a model for success.

And who is paying for this trip? Unlike the legislators traveling to Texas later this week, who will be paying their own expenses from campaign funds, the Ireland-bound lads and lassies are going to be on a paid excursion courtesy of the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy,  a group that includes Chevron Corp., Southern California Edison, Sempra Energy and the State Building and Construction Trades Council, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The three-day Texas trip is to to meet with legislators and Governor Rick Perry in a state that is growing businesses and jobs as California bleeds them.

And the purpose of the Ireland trip? Assembly Democrats Steven Bradford (Gardena) and Fiona Ma (San Francisco) are traveling to Ireland to learn how to lead the way in green technology, waste diversion and wind energy.  Both legislators claim they are looking forward to exploring what other countries are doing. There are expected to be others joining them, but have not been named yet.

The Ireland trip is a textbook definition of a junket. This could be accomplished with a teleconference, or with a simple Google search, as I found with a little research.

The insensitivity to the plight of California residents is telling, and only serves to demonstrate just how big the bubble is in which many legislators live. As we are being asked by Gov. Jerry Brown and Democrats to pay higher taxes, receive fewer government services, and told that more of us need to share in the economic pain, legislators are jetting off to Ireland for 10 days.

And these are California’s leaders?

APRIL 11, 2011

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