Thursday, May 1, 2008

Did you hear about Schwarzenegger's put down of "little town" legislators?

Not sure if this has been or will be picked up in the national media, but here's a quote from today's Sacramento Bee.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday it's good for state legislators from "little towns" to globe-trot and see worldly things like "an airport," "a highway that maybe has 10 lanes" or even "a highway on top of a highway."

The Republican governor, at an infrastructure conference hosted by billionaire Michael Milken, said he has benefited by riding high-speed trains in France and China, which gave him more inspiration to support similar projects in California.

"And that's why I always encourage the legislators in Sacramento, because some of them come from those little towns," Schwarzenegger said. "You know what I'm saying? They come from those little towns, and they don't have that vision yet of an airport or of a highway that maybe has 10 lanes. Or of putting a highway on top of a highway. They look at you and say, 'Well, we don't have that in my town, what are you talking about?' So they are kind of shocked when you say certain things."

His comments on small-town legislators drew laughs and applause from the big-city audience at the Beverly Hilton.

State Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, said he's actually seen an airport or two in his day. He's also been on freeways on top of other freeways, even though his Central Valley hometown has only about 14,000 residents.

"Does the governor think that I just normally fly up on 'crop dusters' to Sacramento field by field?" Florez said. "The governor doesn't live like most people and points to rural legislators as down on the rung of trying to understand what modern society is.

"It's just insulting."

I agree that it's insulting of small-town folks, especially in a place like California where very, very few places are that rural in terms of remoteness from an urban/metropolitan center, and therefore from urban influence. I also note the irony of Schwarzenegger touting 10-lane highways on the day we learned that Sacramento remains one of the most polluted cities in America, largely due to to automobile exhaust. Many other California cities are on the list of worst offenders, according to the American Lung Association.

Yep, just what we need, Arnie: more 10-lane highways, more congestion, more and bigger metropolises. Isn't it clear by now that such a future is not sustainable? (OK, to give him credit, he did mention high speed trains in France and China -- now there's a good idea!).

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