Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Letter in Opposition to AB48

I saw this item in my twittter and facebook feeds this morning:

@Rob_Abiera:  An End To Flight Instructors http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=27353 Excellent comments.

Apparently the State of California has unleashed a whole new bunch of regulations and fees on private flight schools in response to the bankruptcy of one such enterprise and the (apparently) fraudulent loss of up-front fees paid by students. 

In typical fashion, this was stealthily smuggled into the somewhat routine re-authorization of an existing bill, and the flight instructors and schools were caught completely off-guard.  

They are now trying to play catch-up and salvage what they can of their livelihoods, before they are driven completely out of business (or out of state) by the onerous fees. I wrote the following to my representatives in Sacramento, and to Governor Arnold, this morning.

Dear _______,

This is in response to AB-48 which was passed and signed into law last year.  This bill imposed new regulations and fees on private flight schools in California.  Apparently this was done in response to the bankruptcy of Silver State Helicopters and subsequent loss of up-front tuition paid by students.

The proper response to a case of apparent fraud such as this, no matter how large, no matter how many victims, is to prosecute it vigorously as a case of fraud. 
It is horribly unjust to sanction an entire industry, simply because of the fraudulent actions of one party.  To do so is, in effect, to declare them all guilty.  The only people or corporations who should be the object of government action are those who have been proven guilty, in  a court of law, of a specific crime against another.  The idea that government is legitimate in taking regulatory action against innocent businesses, who have done nothing wrong, is the complete inversion of the American concept of 'innocent until proven guilty'.
The proper legislative response, if any, would be to examine the laws around fraud that exist already, in an attempt to determine if there are any legitimate failings, loopholes, or other weaknesses in the law, which might create difficulties for the investigation and prosecution of actual fraud.
Many flight schools will be forced to close as a result of this bill.  That this sort of action, which will cost hundreds of good jobs, and destroy the hard work and dreams of many individuals, is perpetrated by the State of California on its citizens during the worst econonomic downturn since the Great Depression, speaks to the viciousness of those in power.
This bill will do nothing to protect the innocent from the unscrupulous, and will only make it harder for honest, hard working people to puruse their own happiness.
I urge that this action be repealed immediately.

1 comment: