September 29, 2002
Elvis impersonators, good drivers would get day in the sun, if up to Bill Orton
By Bill Orton
The 'First Day in Office' series
First Ten Bills
First Ten Phone Calls
First Ten Resolutions
First steps on budget reform
(ORANGE COUNTY, CA.) -- Good drivers, patriots, shop class teachers, school crossing guards, trash collectors and Elvis impersonators would all get their moment in the sun, if Bill Orton has his way.
"Ordinary people don't do good things just to get a slap on the back," said Orton, who is running for state Assembly. "But the legislature should honor people who make life better for everyone."
Harking on the power to create fancy framed resolutions that are chocked full of flowery language and words like "whereas" and "resolved," Orton offered a list of the first ten resolutions he would carry if he wins the election in November.
While sometimes odd, Orton says that Assembly Concurrent Resolutions are an important way to raise awareness of issues or to honor the contributions of ordinary citizens who help improve the quality of life for everyone.
"Blinker Day," says Orton, is a classic example.
"With the end of state-funded driver training in the schools," says the candidate, "people simply are not being taught to use their turn signals."
Designation of a single day each year that would focus attention on driver safety and particularly the use of turn signals could potentially save lives, says Orton.
Building support for the resolution would also help Orton pave the way for the legislative battle to bring back state sponsorship of driver training in the schools, which ended in 1990, when Governor George Deukmejian struck the spending from the state budget.
The training is paid for by a portion of traffic fines collected each year, so returning the program to schools would not require new spending. But since Duekmejian's action, no Governor put the item back into the budget, meaning that millions of dollars that can only be spent on driver training in the schools is piling up in a locked account.
"Blinker Day would be a good opportunity to press for release of those funds," said Orton, who learned to drive at Edison High School's traffic safety class.
Orton's list of initial resolutions also includes...
- Blinker Day. (See above.)
- "Military Preparedness Week" would honor California National Guard, reserve and active duty military personnel, but Orton would use the moment to press as well for fairness to students who are also in the guard and reserve. "If someone is called away to active duty," said Orton, "they shouldn't lose their spot in a competitive program, like medical school, and the state should refund any lost tuition."
- The "Flag and Pledge Amendment" resolution, which would call on Congress to send a constitutional amendment to the states that would allow for the federal government to adopt and protect a national flag and pledge. Orton has proposed such an amendment and says that he would make a motion to ratify it should it be approved by Congress.
- "Earth Day" marks the annual environmental awareness day each April 20th. Orton will begin his duties in the legislature by seeking the vice chairmanship of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, as well as membership on Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife. "If I am going to be successful at creating a state conservancy for the Santa Ana River watershed, I need to be on the committees that deal with water and natural resources."
- "School Nurses Day" would not only be a way of honoring the nurses and health aides in California's public schools, but would allow Orton to press the administration to raise the number of nurses statewide. "I'd like to see a five-year plan that results in a nurse on every public school campus," said Orton, who suggested offering tuition credits for current health clerks wishing to seek nursing degrees. "A quick way to boost the number of nurses would be to immediately reopen the nursing program that was closed at UCLA."
- "School Crossing Guards Week" is a way to thank the thousands of men and women who risk their own safety to ensure that children can make it to and from school without injury each day. "I want to offer a copy of this resolution to Mary and Linda, at McGaugh, and to every crossing guard at every school in the 10 cities of this district."
- "Vocational Education Week" would honor the teachers, mentors, businesses, unions and students involved in voc ed programs statewide. "You can count on one hand the number of auto shop teachers being trained right now in this state," said Orton, who is seeking fundamental reordering of the state's educational priorities, by rerouting the billion dollars spent each year on the Stanford 9 test over to pay for voc ed and universal computer access. "We've got to stop pretending that every child is going to college."
- "Integrated Waste Awareness Day" would be an opportunity, says Orton, to honor the men and women "who pick up our trash, handle our recycling, sweep our streets, unclog our sewers, clear out storm drains, treat wastewater and generally do the stinky, smelly jobs that have to be done."
- "School and Community Newspaper Week" would allow Bill Orton to go to his roots, as he was editor of his high school and college newspapers and worked for community and specialty papers. "I had the political beat in high school and Assemblyman Dennis Mangers had a press conference for student journalists every year," said Orton, who vowed to do one better by bringing a framed resolutions for the editor of each student and community newspaper in the district.
- "Elvis Aaron Presley Day in California" would honor the greatest rock and roll artist America has ever produced and would thank the thousands of tribute artists who keep the King's music and personal appeal alive. In his second year, Orton would add a resolution honoring The Beatles, on the 40th anniversary of their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
"Serious issues can be dealt with in a light fashion," said Orton, who has written a number of Assembly Concurrent Resolutions during his seven years as a staff member in the legislature.
For more information on Bill Orton's "First Day on the Job" series, see his
List of First Ten Bills
Power of Phone Calls.
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