A recent report on the L.A. Times blog (April 16) gives us additional insight into how stupid laws come about, and why California has such a lousy economy.
State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco – God, need 1 say more?) took umbrage at the fact that the Ladies Professional Golf Association considered last year a proposal to bar competitors who did not speak fluent English, under the theory that giving speeches and interviews is important to the association’s promotional work.
Granted, this seems like a silly proposal. Anybody with the patience to watch a golf tournament (which competes, for
excitement, with watching a postal clerk sullenly perform- ing his work or a glacier moving majestically down a mountain) surely has the patience to wait for the translation of some golfer from (say) Thailand explaining her views of the game: “Yes, even as a child, I understood the importance of knock- ing the little white ball in the direction of one of those little holes in the ground.”
But the LPGA abandoned the proposal, and anyway, it is a small organization. There is no evidence such policies as the one that was proposed are widespread in business. And for obvious reasons: why the hell would any self-interested business owner turn away paying customers, even if he or she gave a rat’s rear about properly enunciated English?
Yet this aborted case, together with his putative recollection of an instance in his childhood in which his uncle was “mistreated” because he couldn’t speak proper English, was enough to prompt Senator Yee to introduce a law prohibiting any business in California from discriminating on the basis of language – a gloriously vague enactment that would be open to endless interpretation.
Naturally, the state Senate (voting along party lines, with the Democrats supporting the bill) passed this proposal. The Assembly will vote on it next, and no doubt pass it. Our governor will then probably sign it. He is himself a victim of language discrimination, having been forced in his movies to speak English in a stilted if not endearing way.
As the Republicans noted, the law, if enacted, will open yet another floodgate of lawsuits in a state inundated with them already. Need I remind everyone that some of the largest contributors to the Democratic Party are the trial lawyers?
So it is that an airhead legislator, seeing a major social problem where none had been shown to exist, will enable lawyers to make money by suing the hell out of businesses. I mean, if some drunk tries to harass one of my employees, but does it in less than fluent English, and I refuse service to him, why, I can guess that the next day his lawyer will file a discrimination lawsuit against me on behalf of the psychically wounded and linguistically challenged customer, hoping to steal every business asset I have ever acquired. Of course, if I don’t refuse service to the customer, the selfsame parasitic lawyer will sue me on behalf of my employee, for failure, to correct a hostile work environment. A great deal for the trial lawyers, indeed!
The result will be fewer businesses, and thus even higher unemployment, in a state where the unemployment rate recently passed the 11% mark, together with higher prices charged by businesses that decide to remain. Thanks to a silly legislator with too much time and power on his hands, the state’s business climate will get even worse than it is right now.