Agency lauds enormous fine on business

California Air Resources BoardJan. 18, 2013

By Steven Greenhut

When you talk to business owners who are considering a move out of state, their main complaint is not typically California’s sky-high tax rates or the myriad regulations they face. Their main frustration is the attitude of the state’s bureaucrats and Democratic majority toward them. They are treated like enemies and frequently harassed and fined for minuscule regulatory transgressions.

For example, in Texas the officials welcome businesses, but in California the state government sends out press releases celebrating the massive fines they impose on private enterprise.

Check out this press release from the California Air Resources Board. Here is a snippet:

“The San Bernardino County Superior Court has fined Foster Enterprises, an Ontario-based refrigerated transportation and cold storage business, $300,000 after an Air Resources Board investigation revealed that the company failed to upgrade older diesel engines in its refrigerated trailer fleet as required to meet current emissions standards.

“The case is noteworthy in that it resulted in the first court-imposed fine issued under ARB’s 2004 Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU) regulation. The company owners will pay $200,000 and the balance of the fine will be stayed, as long as they comply with the terms in the judgment handed down by the San Bernardino County Superior Court, and keep their fleet updated as required. The company is not connected to Foster Farms.

“‘All business owners should pay attention to this case,’ said ARB Enforcement Chief Jim Ryden. ‘This company actually had to pay twice — once to comply with the law, and then again as a penalty. Had the owners complied originally, they would have saved us and themselves significant time and money, and helped to keep a level playing field for their colleagues and competitors.'”

The most telling line is from CARB’s chief enforcement bureaucrat: “All business owners should pay attention to this case.” Here’s a Web site devoted to ending CARB.

Obviously, businesses need to follow regulations, but there’s a nasty, gloating, threatening tone to this quotation. CARB issues reams of hard-to-understand, inconsistently imposed air regulations — yet the agency celebrates a fine imposed on a company that didn’t comply with one of them. I listened to a CARB board member as farmers complained about cap-and-trade regs and the officious bureaucratic attitudes and arrogance she displayed were astounding.

I find it strange how much Jim Ryden sounds like a villain from an Ayn Rand novel. But I do agree with him that all California businesses ought to pay attention to CARB and to the attitudes possessed by the growing ranks of state government officials.


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  1. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 18 January, 2013, 11:27

    The picture is even worse than you paint, SG. CARB’s end zone celebrations seem to be commonplace…..

    01-08-2013 Hair styling and hair spray manufacturers fined for violating air quality rules
    01-08-2013 Consumer Products companies pay for air quality violations
    12-28-2012 O’Reilly Automotive and Technical Chemical Company fined $63,000 in combined case
    12-27-2012 $35,000 in fines paid by San Joaquin Regional Transit District
    12-10-2012 Champion Brands pays $50,755 penalty for consumer product air quality violations

    Reply this comment
  2. sgt
    sgt 18 January, 2013, 12:11

    What do you expect from a State that elects the same jerk twice!?!?!?

    Reply this comment
  3. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 18 January, 2013, 12:34

    sgt: Thank you for bringing up Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  4. Tax Target
    Tax Target 18 January, 2013, 15:19

    We are paying attention to the attitudes and fines and taxes…. and taking our business out of Kalifornsky..

    Reply this comment
  5. David Yates
    David Yates 18 January, 2013, 20:37

    Yep Texas is looking Better all the time

    Reply this comment
  6. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 18 January, 2013, 22:36

    sgt: Thank you for bringing up Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    – John Seiler
    sgt was speaking of Wilson or George Deukmejian.

    Reply this comment
  7. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 19 January, 2013, 01:19

    Yippee, Yippee. If we drive away most of the businesses then all that will be left is Silicon Valley and Hollywood bazillionaires and illegal immigrants selling flowers illegally on freeway off-ramps and unemployed people.

    Yippee, Yippee. It’s a Liberal Democrat utopia. Who needs a good paying job when you can sit around watching Opra or play video games while collecting unemployment and food stamps. It stimulates the economy, that’s what Barbara Boxer says and she’s a certified genius, although a very short one.

    Reply this comment
  8. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 19 January, 2013, 08:47

    Yippee, Yippee. If we drive away most of the businesses then all that will be left is Silicon Valley and Hollywood billionaires and illegal immigrants selling flowers illegally on freeway off-ramps and unemployed people.
    At least silicon valley makes money and innovates. Hollywood is getting tax BREAKS and STILL taking jobs out of state, most actually out of the country to Canada.

    Reply this comment
  9. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 19 January, 2013, 09:37

    Ahhh-Kalifornia! It really IS about the tone of the regulators. As I often tell my kids-its not what you say but how you say it.
    Since I moved my business to central Oregon 2 years ago, for the first time in years I can focus on the actual work of my business instead of an endless drumbeat of regulatory minutiae. Oregon is a state dominated by coastal liberals, and some of the regs (esp environmental) are patterned after CEQA, but the attitude of local and state government is like night and day. Also the business community is very tight and supportive, business refugees from Kalifornia are especially welcome. IMHO the difference in attitude is attributable to the fact that gubmint employees are compensated for their sacrifices and valuable contributions at a much more reasonable (and sustainable) level than in Kali. Also, at the county level Oregon is basically a red state east of the Cascades. Y’all come on up! The sun is shining up here too!

    Reply this comment

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