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George Runner: ‘Do as I say, not as I do’

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Posted: June 27, 2009 7:32 p.m.
Updated: June 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.
One of the founding principles in America is equality under the law. No one, not even our leaders, are above the law.

Government officials ought to be subject to the same laws and consequences as ordinary citizens.

Yet this doesn't stop certain government officials from burdening residents with "do as I say, not as I do" policies.

The water-softener issue in the Santa Clarita Valley epitomizes government arrogance, elitism and downright misplaced priorities.

Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts and the county's Regional Water Quality Control Board officials successfully campaigned against private homes possessing water softeners because of those softeners' salt discharges into the wastewater system.

However, even as private homeowners are having water softeners removed from their homes, the Los Angeles County Pitchess Detention Center, housing convicted criminals, maintains commercial water softeners discharging far more salt-laden contaminants into the Santa Clara River watershed.

While the Sanitation District continues to campaign against private use of water softeners to prevent pollution in the Santa Clara River, local taxpayers foot the bill for our jail inmates to have that which they cannot have by law.

If local taxpayers are not able to own and operate a residential water softener because of the harmful effects to the local and downstream water users, why doesn't it apply to the local jail?

Is it because government officials don't like to live by the laws and policies that they adopt?

If residential softeners are causing enough of a problem to the water system to warrant their removal, imagine the level of salt discharge from commercial softeners providing soft water to 1,500 jail inmates.

This type of double standard on the part of public officials breeds cynicism on the part of taxpayers - particularly since it involves their money.

Taxpayers have the right to expect that when their money is involved, there will not be a different standard for private homes and public buildings.

Sen. George Runner is the chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus. He represents Senate District 17, which includes Santa Clarita, the High Desert of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, and portions of San Fernando Valley and Ventura County. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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