Sunday, January 2, 2011

Does "Southland" have an episode about how politicians are over-working Los Angeles police officers?

Recently while trying to sign in to my yahoo mail account I was greeted by this image:

That is an advertisement for a television program called "Southland," which is apparently about Los Angeles police officers, and the difficulties they face in their jobs (actually, its official website bills it as a raw and authentic look at a police unit in Los Angeles. From the beaches of Malibu to the streets of East Los Angeles, "Southland" is a fast-moving drama that will take viewers inside the lives of cops, criminals, victims and their families). Just look at those statistics: 11.9 crimes per officer! That's a lot of crimes. Los Angeles must be full of, well, criminals.

It is. But mainly because Los Angeles has so many laws to break. And they're about to get a whole lot more. 725 of them. Or, more than 730 of them. Depends on the source.

Some of them sound fine. Like the one that "repeals a 60-year-old law that required state health officials to seek a "cure" for homosexuality." But what do you think the cops of the "raw and authentic" television series "Southland" are going to do with these laws:
Billboards: allows cities and counties to prohibit mobile billboards.

Freeway signs: allows freeway signs that feature traffic warnings and Amber Alerts to also be used to notify the public when a law enforcement officer has been attacked.

Iran sanctions: prohibits state and local agencies from entering into contracts worth $1 million or more with companies that have significant business in Iran's energy sector.

Mental health: allows minors 12 and older to consent to mental health treatment, including in residential shelter services.

Restaurants: requires restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets to include calorie counts for each food item on all menus, and on menu boards above the front counter. This law was signed in 2008.
That will be a gritty, exciting episode when the "Southland" policemen spend an episode traveling around, going into fast food restaurants to ensure each establishment has a clearly posted calorie count. And then there's even more fodder:
Bakeries face new restrictions when they make doughy treats: They are banned from using 0.5 gram or more of artificial trans fat per serving in cake batter and yeast dough that will be deep fried.
Another new law prohibits the use of cadmium in children's jewelry sold in California, because of concerns by some environmentalists that cadmium can create a health risk.

Lawmakers in 2010 also looked out for the health of the rich and famous: After hearing horror stories from actresses Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon about tabloid photographers driving dangerously, they stiffened penalties for paparazzi caught driving recklessly to photograph celebrities.
Saving the state money was the reason for a new law that allows comatose and other medically incapacitated felons to be released from state prison on medical parole. The releases will save tens of millions of dollars now spent guarding and treating bedridden prisoners, said state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).

It is now a misdemeanor to knowingly impersonate any other person through or on a website for purposes of deceiving or injuring another person. Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) said his legislation responds to people victimized by deceptive Internet users.
A rough day on the mean streets of "Southland"... going to bakeries and checking the trans fats, purchasing children's jewelry, following paparazzi around, kicking dying prisoners out of their hospital beds, and checking the internet to see if anyone is "knowingly impersonating" another person for the purpose of "deceit" or "injury."

Perhaps "Southland" should do an episode in which one of the put-upon and over-worked police officers charged with enforcing the law finally snaps and attacks one of the politicians who helped pass the extravagant number of laws they must enforce?

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