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Jewish World Review March 17, 2003 / 13 Adar II, 5763

Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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Joe Nation nation

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | It's amazing how an area that prides itself on its tolerance and diversity elects so many politicians happy to use their power to ban behavior they don't like. Or to hammer other people to live as they do.

As case in point, I present California State Assemblyman Joe Nation, D-San Rafael. This year, Nation introduced a bill to limit smoking in multifamily dwellings, a bill to outlaw dove hunting, and a resolution directing public schools to serve vegetarian and vegan meals.

I talked to Nation by phone Thursday, minutes before he left to comment on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation." Nation -- yes, he said, he was born with the name -- was quick to point out that his Assembly Bill 210 would not make it illegal for smokers to smoke in their apartments or condominiums -- unless the unit is designated as non-smoking in 2006. It would make it illegal to smoke in a complex's outdoor common areas and would enable nonsmokers to sue neighbors who smoke inside their own homes. Even opponents agree with his objective, he said.

Wrong. Of course someone suffering from a neighbor's secondhand smoke should have legal recourse -- if the smoke is truly egregious. But a local judge told me the law already provides relief.

Also, I don't know of many smokers who believe it should be illegal to smoke outdoors -- not where nonsmokers are free to walk away.

"Why should the burden be on you to move when someone's there letting that secondhand smoke drift into your clean air?" Nation responded.

Hmmmm. Maybe because there is no health rationale for not wanting to move a few feet when outdoors because someone else is smoking.

Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy, R-Hesperia, sees Nation's smoking bill as part of a larger move to ban smoking. First, there's the bill passed in 2001 banning smoking near playgrounds. Next, Nation's bill says no smoking by the condo pool. Eventually no smoking, period. (With a probable exception for medical marijuana.)

Which makes me wary of Nation's vegan resolution. Nation said he's not a vegetarian and doesn't want to ban eating meat in schools. But that wouldn't stop other lawmakers from using the resolution to mandate tofu school lunches.

"Resolution sets the stage for statute," Mountjoy warned. Then there's Nation's Assembly Bill 1190, which would make dove hunting a misdemeanor. Nation told me he doesn't want to outlaw hunting. He introduced the measure because too many doves aren't retrieved and die slowly. That's not humane, he said.

"Not humane?" marveled the California Waterfowl Association's Bill Gaines: "Joe Nation wouldn't think twice about buying a steak at a local Safeway. You want to talk about animal cruelty." (At least doves live freely until they meet the birdshot in the sky.)

What about the rights of dove hunters? Nation answered, "There are about 100,000 dove hunters in California, which means there are 35 million people, the rest of the population, who don't hunt doves."

So much for the majority looking out for the rights of the minority. Would Nation like it if a Manteca lawmaker introduced a bill to ban hot tubs because they waste energy?

Or if a Tulare pol introduced a bill mandating that people eat only meat that they've slaughtered themselves -- so that cows don't die needlessly? Or how about a resolution suggesting that public schools serve dove? Gaines tells me it's healthier than the processed foods served in public schools.

Shush. Rural lawmakers wouldn't dare write laws like that. They wouldn't want to look ridiculous.

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Up


03/14/03: No world order
03/12/03: Overblown whistle blowing
03/10/03: Nothing petty about it
03/05/03: Why war?
03/03/03: Hydrogen-powered sticker shock
02/28/03: Blairmania
02/26/03: Does size matter?
02/24/03: European ingrates
02/07/03: Toys before swine
02/05/03: Armed and dangerous
02/03/03: "Signs" for the times
01/31/03: State of approval
01/29/03: Pervs beware
01/27/03: Scouts among us
01/24/03: French kiss off
01/23/03: SUV backlash backlash
01/21/03: Goin' to the dogs
01/17/03: Class warfare
01/15/03: From the Left Coast a vote on whether schools should be havens for learning or tools for leftist propaganda
01/10/03: Bush is cleaving too closely to the Clinton playbook
12/30/02: The Creator VS. Norton
12/26/02: Hazardous to your health
12/16/02: Bezerkley or Psycho?
12/13/02: Willie Horton's legacy
12/11/02: Only act of compassion by prez can save him
12/06/02: Food fight in tofu-land
12/04/02: Wireless not tireless
12/02/02: Nutritionally incorrect and right!?
11/27/02: The New New Al Gore
11/25/02: Shaking the foundations
11/22/02: Biting the hand that teaches you
11/08/02: Bush leads
11/06/02: Too big to vote small this month
11/04/02: In a cop killer's name
10/25/02: Off target
10/23/02: Anti-American and not proud of it!?
10/16/02: And now, PC parades
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09/06/02: Unequal before the law
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08/30/02: Gold medal in meddling
08/28/02: The summit isn't sustainable
08/23/02: Your tax dollars on drugs
08/19/02: San Francisco, the city of outrageousness, has done it again! Beware and be aware, America
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03/22/02: Conservative hypocrisy on school drug testing?
03/20/02: And now, about Russell Yates . . .
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03/13/02: No exit strategy
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02/25/02: These are good days for veep
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02/19/02: Score one for Greta
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02/01/02: End the coverup
01/30/02: Try this for "troubling"
01/25/02: Camp X-ray or Club Med?
01/23/02: Let's stop the deluge of porn e-mail
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11/28/01 Admissions and omissions
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11/01/01 Freedom snuffed out
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10/22/01 The Riordan Principle
10/19/01 Before America gets tired of the war on terrorism
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10/12/01 University of Censorship's fall semester
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09/14/01: You gotta love this country
09/13/01: ENTER TERROR
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08/03/01: Lose a kid, pass a law
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07/05/01: It's Bush against the planet
07/03/01: The man who would be guv
06/29/01: Wheeled, wired and free
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06/21/01: Either they're dishonest or clueless
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06/13/01: McVeigh: 'Unbowed' maybe, but dead for sure
06/11/01: Gumby strikes back
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06/07/01: Kids will be kids, media will be media
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04/10/01: The perjurer as celeb
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04/02/01: Drugging our oldsters
03/30/01: Robert Lee Massie exercises his death wish
03/28/01: Cheney's nuclear reactor
03/26/01: Where California and Mexico meet
03/16/01: Boy's sentence was no accident
03/14/01: Soft money, hard reform
03/12/01: Banks, big credit lines and consumer bankruptcy
03/09/01: Free speech dies in Berkeley
03/02/01: When rats have rights
02/28/01: Move a frog, go to jail?
02/26/01: They knew they'd get away with it
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02/16/01: The jackpot casino Carmel tribe?
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02/12/01: Hannibal -- with guts this time
02/08/01: A family of jailbirds
02/05/01: Reality's most demeaning TV moments
02/01/01: Justice for the non-Rich
01/26/01: Hail to the chiefs of D.C. opinion
01/24/01: A day of mud and monuments
01/22/01: Diversity, division, de-lovely D.C.
01/19/01: Parties agree: Give back the money
01/17/01: Get tough with the oil companies, or forget pumping more Alaskan crude
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01/12/01: Europeans should look in the mirror
01/10/01: Dems' reasons for dissin' Dubya's picks
01/08/01: Jerry, curb your guru
01/03/01: A foe of Hitler and friend of Keating
12/28/00: Nice people think nice thoughts
12/26/00: The Clinton years: Epilogue
12/21/00: 'Tis the season to free nonviolent drug offenders 12/18/00: A golden opportunity is squandered
12/15/00: You can take the 24 years, good son
12/13/00: Court of law vs. court of public opinion
12/08/00: A salvo in the war on the war on drugs
12/06/00: Don't cry, Butterfly: Big trees make great decks
12/04/00: Florida: Don't do as Romans did
11/30/00: Special City's hotel parking ticket
11/27/00: No means yes, yes means more than yes
11/22/00: The bench, the ballot and fairness
11/20/00: Mendocino, how green is your ballot?

© 2000, Creators Syndicate