For years LGBTs and progressives have been pointing out the hypocrisy in the so-called â€śfamily valuesâ€ť leaders and organizations â€“ but the California Resource Institute just became the front-runner for the Stupid Hypocrisy Award of 2011. Karen England, head of the Religious Right-funded California lobbying group (and unsuccessful write-in candidate for Lt. Governor) sent out an email newsletter Thursday in which she scoffs at a bill, SB 105 - by San Francisco State Sen. Leland Yee. The bill would require all minors under 18 to wear helmets when snowboarding or skiing. If they donâ€™t, their parents would be subject to a $25 fine. Ski resorts are also required to post signs virtually everywhere about the law and are also subject to a fine if the law is violated. (Yee recently received death threats for bucking Rush Limbaugh – more inside.)
A similar bill passed last year and was signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger but it died because, England says, a necessary companion bill was vetoed.
Hereâ€™s why England opposes the bill:
â€śSenator Yee fails to see the burden on businesses by mandating signage and written notifications as well as the overstepping bounds of state government in usurping the rights of the parent to make decisions for their children. Not only are there not enough resources to monitor who wears and doesn’t wear a helmet but also who will do the monitoring and who will hand out the violation ticket. Are we now going to have the helmet police stopping our children on the ski slopes?
SB 105 is another government attempt to raise your children, it is a poorly conceived policy, and will attempt to govern private sector ski resorts by requiring them to conform to SB 105.â€ť
Perhaps if Yee named the bill after the late Republican Congressmember Sonny Bono of Palm Springs heâ€™d have a better chance of getting GOP support. This is from CNN in 1998 about the tragic death of â€śadvanced skierâ€ť Sonny Bono:
â€śDouglas County, Nevada, Sheriff Ron Pierini said at a news conference Tuesday that Bonoâ€™s death was caused by massive head injuries due to blunt force trauma from hitting a tree. He said death was immediateâ€¦.
John Wagnon, a spokesman for the resort, said Bono was skiing a wellgroomed intermediate run known as Orion and that conditions were ideal.
The run is fairly wideopen … treelined, much like any ski resort, Wagnon said. Another skier characterized the run as an easy, intermediate run.â€ť
But of perhaps greater concern is how actress Natasha Richardson died, also during a skiing accident in Canada in March 2009.Â AP reported that Richardson died from from an epidural hematoma – bleeding in her skull – caused by the fall she took on a ski slope. She might have survived if sheâ€™d received immediate treatment but, AP reported, â€śpatients with such an injury often feel fine immediately after being hurt because symptoms from the bleeding may take time to emerge.â€ť
In my experience, young people consider themselves invincible and would slough off what they thought of as a minor head bump from a fall, especially if it meant theyâ€™d have to miss one moment of skiing or snowboarding with friends. That England doesnâ€™t know this and places the minor expense of signage for business over the lives and injury of children betrays just how politically smarmy this so-called â€śfamily valuesâ€ť organization is.
Ironically, this anti-youth attack on Yee (a very strong advocate of LGBT equality) comes just days after he called on conservative radio guru Rush Limbaugh to apologize for his offensive racial slurs against the visiting president of China. Thursday night MSNBC host Ed Schultz asked Yee about the death threats heâ€™s received since standing up to Limbaugh: