Sunday, April 13, 2008


Billboards speak to me.

Not audibly, of course, but they do speak to me. They speak to you too. When you're driving pell-mell down the freeway and that big black billboard with the huge In-N-Out Double-Double on it flashes into your peripheral vision, something happens. Your salivary glands start working overtime, your stomach suddenly wakes up and starts doing those little backflips that it does when you need to feed it, and you start looking for the familiar yellow arrow.

I was driving down the highway one day last week (nearly falling asleep; I'm not a good morning driver), and a billboard jumped out at me and woke me up. I don't recall the actual verbiage, but it had to do with a group of bond measures that voters here in our great state of California passed some time back. The measures (called "The Ones"-1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E) were collectively referred to as the "Rebuild California" plan. They allocated enormous amounts of money to traffic, transportation (I'm not sure what the difference is), housing, schools and flood prevention.

I voted against them all. Apparently I'm among the intelligent minority in our great state, as proven by this pointless billboard.

The board touted the efforts of Governor Schwarzenegger some other politician proponents of the measure. It said something like "In the future, this highway will be wider thanks to the efforts of Gov. Schwarzenegger and these other politicians." The unwritten subtext was: "We're telling you this because you won't see the actual widening of the road for years, and you certainly won't see any of the work started before November, which is when all these guys are up for re-election, so make sure you vote for them as a big thank you. And, Oh-by the way: we took a few bucks off the top of that big pool of cash that you voted for in order to pay for this billboard."

I've always been a results oriented guy. I've always been of the opinion that we should cast our votes based on results. Now though it seems that the politicians believe that we're willing to be duped into casting a vote based simply on a vague (and perhaps empty) promise. Is that really the state of the voting public?

So I'm angry. Angry at the politicians for using a seemingly important issue to their personal advantage. Angry at the voting public for eating it up. And angry at myself for sitting idly by and allowing it all to happen.

But then, what am I to do? One lowly speck in this huge pot of thriving humanity; can I make a difference? Perhaps. But then how?

Or am I seeing ghosts here? Is this not an issue? Would it bother you, dear readers, to see that billboard? To see that, to our elected officials, the most important thing is gaining the prestige and political goodwill associated with backing some beneficial initiative? To realize that when it's all said and done, the initiative is no more than a poor pawn used as leverage in this political game.

It's part of why I'm so fed up with politics. Politicians are so self-serving--understandable to a point, but often so overwhelming that it's not right. But then, I think I might be cynical.

So where are we now? Are you as incensed as I am about this? Does this billboard build up your great confidence in politics and politicians? Are have we moved off track as far as I fear we have?


Mrs. Willman said...

Okay PJ, I have to comment on this one. It seems that you have taken this sign in exactly the way that it was intended (if in fact it was stated according to how you say). This is definately a sign against voting for the names listed on the billboard. What? No work done? None to be completed for a long time? Moneys that were allocated to "improve" California spent aimlessly on a billboard campaign that has nothing (really) to do with expansion? Oh, and they are coming up for re-election? Well, I haven't voted for the monies either, nor will I vote for their re-elections. These people would have to be stupid to place such a billboard in public view.
This has to be a political billboard against these particular pollititians. You think?

Mrs. Willman said...

There's a saying at work, "When can you tell a politician is lying? When they are moving their mouth." Most of the polititicans words are just empty promises, trying to give hope to someone that is tired of the political games the government plays. The lottery money is suppose to help with the schools and roads I thought, how much more money does the government need to spend on their own agenda. The government is too big, and if inflated would take a long time to inflate, plus the big balloon would have to fall somewhere, on the American people.
A lot can be said about the government, the government has some good but, I think now days the bad out weighs the good.

Mrs. Willman said...

Just to comment on the article regarding the fuel cost. Now it's 3.74 a gallon in Kerman, the Arco. When Exxon and Chevron boasts of the 39 Billion for Exxon and about 30-35 for Chevron. Then it goes down to the rest of the oil companies. Which I think total 129 Billion dollars in profits last year, 2007. The government does make more per gallon than the oil companies, counting state & federal and whatever else goes in there. The store that carries gas like the Arco, or mom & paps store I think makes about 8 cents per gallon, and I think the oil companies make 24 cents give or take the real amount. I forgot. It was on the Ray Appleton show a few weeks ago.
What ever profits the oil companies boast the government gets more, plus they get incentives from the government, plus subsidies regarding the ethanol and other things. They can haul the crude oil on rail car which is cheaper than truck then haul it by the tankers. Which my company does all the time. But overall it's not fair for the average American person, who has to pay the cost.