When Officials Put Themselves Above Law

Our elected officials set the example for the rest of us to follow by their behavior. When Sen. Cranston and his "good old boys" actively participated in "constituency service" for the purpose of building their own power/economic and political base, they set a precedent that many now perceive to be acceptable behavior.

When governments exempt themselves from the laws the rest of us must conform to, it appears they are telling us, "We know these laws are not practical in the real world so we are putting ourselves above them." One of the most flagrant examples is government's exemption from the labor laws that supposedly serve the "common man."

When the Diamond Bar City Council adopted its sign ordinance, they determined that it should apply to businesses, not to government. I can understand exempting traffic, directional and emergency service signs, but when I read some of the other exemptions I have to question their priorities. There are other sections of the sign ordinance that I believe should be rewritten to better serve the best interests of our community, but none are as offensive as parts of Section 12.

Does this law serve the long-term best interests of our community or is this election-year electioneering? Is this constituency service or self-service? Is the purpose to allow council and their appointees to say, "Look at all the wonderful things we are doing for the community" knowing that very few people will have read or comprehended the scope of their pernicious mischief.

When the Diamond Bar City Council adopts laws that say by implication, "Do as I say, not as I do" they do material damage to their credibility. By this and other actions, the City Council gives new and negative meaning to the phrase "local control."

As Russia is fighting to come out from under too much stifling centralized control that destroyed the incentives to be more productive, we seem to be traveling the same path, but in the opposite direction.

JOE McMANUS, Diamond Bar

Editor's note: Last month, the Diamond Bar City Council approved an ordinance that generally requires smaller and more modest signs than were allowed under county sign laws in effect before Diamond Bar's 1989 incorporation. The new law, which exempts certain governmental signs, is effective Friday.

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