Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Welcome to the nanny state

It appears as though the arrogant and paternalistic County Council is set to mandate residential sprinkler systems in new construction.

Sprinklers obviously don't pay for themselves through lower insurance rates, otherwise everyone would be putting them into their new homes without a mandate to do so. What sense does it make for the County Council to force people to spend money on something that does not balance increased safety with increased costs? Every one of us can make ourselves safer at some cost. We could purchase a safer car. We could eat a healthier diet. Only through extreme arrogance and self-righteousness could pencil-pushing County Council members think they can make effective decisions for us given all of our alternatives.

Also, if sprinklers are such an obviously good decision that people are somehow not smart enough to make on their own, why not require them in existing homes as well? Are the lives of people in existing homes less valuable than the lives of people in new homes, Mary Kay Sigaty? Are you equating the extra cost of installing sprinklers in existing homes to the cost of a human life, Mary Kay Sigaty?

Another concern of mine is that I watched the "debate" on this issue on the county government channel. I believe the debate regarding sprinklers occurred on February 17 (just a few days ago). There is no way that the Council was able to do anything besides wink and nod at each other since then, and yet they appear to be on the cusp of approving this mandate. During the debate I saw, there was mass confusion among those providing testimony as to how much sprinklers even cost!

If this mandate is approved, the County Council will have proven themselves to be a paternalistic body that is easily wooed by anecdotes from special interest groups.

Yo, County Council members. I mandate that each of you resign your seat so you can go to the gym and workout three nights a week. It's for your own good. What's that? I don't have the moral authority to tell you what to do? Hmmm, funny you should mention that...


HoCoRising said...

It's like they're all playing a game of Truth or Dare. "I dare you to spend $100,000 on a lightening campaign." "Ok, I did it. Now you require every house to pay $1.60 extra per square foot for sprinkler systems." "Oooooh, I did it."

Anonymous said...

Now you know how the opponents of the GGP bail out feel. This council cares nothing about constituents, just insider business interests (not small business or non developer business or developers who are not insiders). The council never really deliberates, but comes to the hearing with a decision ALREADY made - forget discovery.

I have to point out that the volunteer fire company came to my modest home and asked for increased donations to handle new equipment necessary to put out fires in my neighbor's McMansions, so big that the existing equipment wouldn't handle.

Thanks, gluttons.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:17

WHat are you talking about!!

How does adopting the International Building Code, 2009, the International Residential Code, 2009, the International Mechanical Code, 2009, and the International Energy Conservation Code, 2009 equate to not caring about constituents?

The ONLY person I saw testify against it was a development business interest. Maybe they got emails or letters from others, but you are WAY OFF on this one.

These are national codes that most jurisdictions across the Country are adopting. I am sure there were a lot of people against mandatory seatbelt installation in the 1970s too!

Freemarket said...

Anon 6:37- if this mandate was such a no-brainer, we would not need a mandate to require it. The only people to testify FOR the legislation were fire department special interests and the HoCo building code person. Most of those who testified for this legislation did not live in Howard County. One of the fire department IAFF union people came from Ohio, and Courtney Watson commented that was the farthest anyone had come for a HoCo Council session.

This is supposed to be a free country. If you want to eat a big mac instead of a salad, you should be able to do so. This council is arrogant and paternalistic.

PZGURU said...

And to further the point that this kind of big brother over-legislation b.s. is out of hand, the building code already requires certain fire-ratings in the walls of houses. In the case of townhouses and multi-family buildings (apartments/condos) the dry-wall design must be of a certain thickness to slow down the rate at which a fire can burn/spread. So why on earth do we need special fire-rated walls AND sprinklers?

You know who will benefit from this? PLUMBERS - many of who are (drumroll please) friends of firefighters or retired firefighters. Let's hear it for government intereference in what is supposed to be a freemarket society, to mandate work/profits for certain business (ie: UNIONS) interests.


Anonymous said...

Wow, PZ. You really outdid yourself with that last comment. "PLUMBERS - many of who are (drumroll please) friends of firefighters or retired firefighters"

Seriously? There's a conspiracy between plumbers and firefighters? It's a statement of fact that many plumbers count firefighters amongst their friends, and therefore must be in cahoots to pass legislation.

Let it be known that I am against this legislation, but when the voice of opposition comes from crackpots like you, it does nothing to bolster the legitimacy of our dissent.

Anonymous said...

Man, there sure is a lot of name calling out here in the past week. Hope it's only coming from one person and not indicative of an epidemic.

Years ago when the local blogging community was in it's infancy people might have recoiled from the targets of name calling, not wanting to be associated either by ideas or position with a named 'crackpot'.

But we're pretty grown up now, have settled into about 200 readers on each blog (regardless of bombastic claims of 60,000 readers which is hogwash). Election months are higher but then volumes settle back down.

Course, some struggle with adulthood and still engage in celebrity worship of blog hosts, defending every idea put out there (HH to WB) regardless of legitimacy, but for the most part, we see name calling and disregard the remainder of the commenter's ideas. Not persuasive, folks.

The moral of the story is, if you want to persuade the couple few hundred readers, call out the ideas, not the source.

Sub moral: if you want to reach 60,000 people, you're going to have to deliver something to their kitchen table.

PZGURU said...

Anon - I just call it the way I see it. It's not a conspiracy theory if there's truth behind what I say. Can I "prove" it. Of course not, because sleazy politicians don't write down their motives on paper for the world to see, but anyone with half a brain can see what's happening and drawn a reasonable and rational conclusion.
That, and the fact that there is a PATTERN of this sort of behavior on the part of government officials. IE: just look at the health care fiasco. The Dems in Congress exempt unions and themselves from having to participate in their proposed program. So, please don't try and say that back room deals don't happen, because they do, and that is the problem.
This legislation will not save any budgetary money allocated to DFRS, and please don't say the "goal" was to save lives - because there isn't some kind of chronic fire/death problem going on in Howard County - at least not that I'm aware of. So what other "goal" is there?

Anonymous said...

Actually, the sprinklers are likely part of the larger picture. The council just passed huge density increases and continues to rubber stamp a choking amount of new development county-wide.

Sprinkler legislation can to used (albeit an inept use) to claim they are covered and do not need the fire fighter infrastructure increase.

Anonymous said...

PZ, I was more referring to others with the name calling item: The homocojoke group, or whatever the 5 member group's name is this week. nom du jour vs. nom de plume.

Anyhoo. That cojoke group produces the worst puff peices known to man and calls themselves leading edge. People are sick to death of biased 'reporting' and that really really includes local as well. They don't get it.

Everytime they come out with another puff video and the sparse blogosphere applause crackles through the cyber room, it irks me to no end.

And no, there's no one being called a name here. Harsh? yes, but no name calling. Read discerningly, please.

PZGURU said...

@ Anon 10:58 a.m. - I should have directed my last comment to ANON 10:16 p.m. Too many Anons - LOL.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of nanny state, what do you think about state funds going to pay for Columbia Association's Symphony Woods? I don't know a lot about it however, it seems like state money, our money, should not be going to an HOA for a park that they can make decisions about. Who is pushing it?