CEQA: The Four Letter Word Democrats and Environmentalists Don’t Want You to Know

Melissa Melendez
California Assemblywoman, District 67

It’s no secret that California has a spending problem. In fact, it has an outright spending addiction.

When one lives in a state with a spending addiction, such as ours, the chances are they are also addicted to taxes and the over regulation of small business.

And when you’re addicted to taxes and the over regulation of small business, you’re probably addicted to bureaucratic red tape that stifles economic growth.

More simply put California’s growth problems can be boiled down to just a few simple issues.

One of those issues is CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act. Like many laws and regulations passed, CEQA had great intentions. However, over the years, it has been twisted and manipulated by lawyers and radical environmentalists trying to make a quick buck.

All throughout our great state there are lawyers who are just waiting for a city to approve a project, projects as large as building new hospitals to projects as small as erecting a new school crossing sign. Once they discover the intent of a new project, they hold it up in court until a builder or a city ponies up the necessary cash to get the lawyer out of their hair. Often times, cities and building developers will hire these lawyers in advance to, just to keep them from stalling and inhibiting growth. If more Californian’s knew about this, their first thought would be outrage, followed by “I wonder if I can still get in to Law School?”

Who does this most affect and why should you care? Well, its greatest effects can be found in cities that are recently incorporated or are just beginning to boom with growth. In my Assembly District we have Murrieta, our largest city and Lake Elsinore, of which I was Mayor, fighting every day against these forces of greed. Not to mention the smaller cities in my district, those that have recently incorporated and don’t have the resources to fight off these lawyers. In one of our smaller cities, a local business owner wanted to put in a Subway franchise. The city council approved of the project, but one of our local CEQA lawyers interfered and jammed them up. Smaller cities can’t afford to set aside thirty thousand dollars to fight off legal threats of this nature.

I respect the intent of CEQA to protect our states precious environment. There is nothing stopping Republicans and Democrats from working together to find reforms to accommodate small business, public health, infrastructure and growing cities. Nothing except greedy enviro-lawyers, who dine on lobster and steak, but certainly not a good ol’ meatball sub.

The best way to do this is to look at issues that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on.

Let’s start by making exemptions for projects like hospitals, or much needed new bridges and over passes for our freeways we can begin to alleviate a lot of the burden. That’s a great start to growth I’d say.

CEQA, so like many other statewide mandates, strangles California’s growth. Our state leads the way in 21st century ideas and technology. For the love of all things golden in our state, isn’t it time we lead the way with 21st century public policy solutions to update our infrastructure, relieve tax and regulation burdens on small business owners and to stay competitive with other states?

The California State Legislature needs to take action now, before it is too late. Texas Governor Rick Perry may manage to take all the good jobs and great companies back to Texas with him on his next head hunting trip to The Golden State.

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