Wacky Government Tales

Capitola Wharf Sign.JPG

(Danville, California)

I am always amazed at some of the wacky things I see produced from the world of politics and government.

One of my favorites was on Easter Sunday, when I was in my favorite little beach town of Capitola, California. Cars are allowed on the Capitola Wharf, but the sign says the speed limit is a mere 3 MPH. With pedestrians on the pier, a low speed limit is a good idea for safety, but can any speedometer register that speed? And will the police write you a ticket if you are clocked at 5 MPH? Just curious!

The San Ramon Valley School District, in which I live, is pushing a new bond measure to help fund local schools (a good idea), as the old bond measure has expired. I received a flyer a few weeks back from an outside group asking voters to support the measure “when you vote in April.” I was puzzled that there was no exact date. It turns out that it’s strictly a mail-in by April 30 election, or drop-off in person on May 5. Why did the advocates pay for a full-color mailer, without telling us the specifics? Those mailers are very expensive. I eventually figured the thing out, thanks to the Internet; and I voted. But I wonder how many people just tossed that flyer out in frustration because it was so lacking in specifics.

My favorite example of bureaucratic silliness occurred at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, when I was traveling the country on my book tour. I went through the whole frustrating exercise of removing my shoes and suit jacket, opening up my computer and making sure I had only three-ounce bottles of liquid in my one-quart bag. (Once I used a half-gallon bag, and it was confiscated.) When I finally got through the metal detector, the TSA security officer looked at me and said, “Sir, do you realize you’re wearing two different colored socks?”

I was stunned! They noticed my mismatched socks, but the terrorists with box cutters went sailing through on September 11. I hope the TSA folks are as alert to potentially dangerous items as they were to my socks!

I have a very busy week on the book tour:

Wednesday May 6:

I shall be speaking at the 20th Annual Convention of the Professional Business Women of California at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Plenty of tickets are still available at www.PBWC.org. Mention you saw the event promoted by Mark Curtis on Comcast, and you’ll get a $20.00 discount.

This is a great event for women in any field, including business, politics, education, etc. There were 6,000 attendees last year and a wide variety of seminars. I will be on a panel discussion at lunch talking about women in politics with Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) and former White House Communications Director Ann Lewis. Meg Whitman, former E-Bay CEO and Republican candidate for California Governor, will also speak.

Thursday May 7:

I'll be discussing my book, “Age of Obama: A Reporter’s Journey with Clinton, McCain and Obama in the Making of the President 2008” (Nimble Books, LLC), as part of the Contra Costa County Library “Reading Festival.” www.ccclib.org. I will be at the Orinda Library, holding a lecture and book signing at 7 p.m. Thursday night.

Please come to either event and say, “Hello!”

I'm personally acquainted with a family whose four-year-old son had his SAFETY scissors confiscated by TSA (the blunt, dull ones with which a four-year-old can be trusted. They would hardly cut warm butter!) I know TSA has rules, and we can hardly leave ANYTHING to the discretion of SOME of their employees, can we? Did you tell that very observant guy that those socks aren't unusual because you have another pair just like them?

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