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Around Town: Here comes Obamacare

February 12, 2013

By Pat Orr
APPLE VALLEY REVIEW

As California rushes to set up its “insurance exchange” — as required under the blizzard of regulations and still as yet to be written rules for the Affordable (LOL) Care Act — it’s clear that one thing is true: it may help unemployment.

The law requires the state to provide “navigators” to help dumb old Californians understand and walk through the maze of paperwork to sign up for health care. Right now, the estimates are that 21,000 new “navigators” need to be “certified” to assist the almost 1 million new residents — note, I didn’t say citizens — who may qualify to join some plan somewhere at some cost to someone. Of course, unlike insurance agents and brokers, these “navigators” will have no responsibility or culpability if they give you bad advice or mess up the process and you don’t get government paid insurance.

Sounds fun, eh?

Is it 2014 already?
Every financial planner will advise you to plan ahead. Apparently, Apple Valley Mayor Curt Emick has taken that to heart and is having his first 2014 re-election campaign fund raiser Wednesday night in the community room at Town Hall. Emick is getting his fundraising licks in early while others are still wondering who’s on first. Perhaps our next election cycle is already underway locally. I know this event will have some folks out there thinking they are already behind schedule.

Valentine’s Day facts
• In 1537, King Henry VIII first made Feb. 14 an official holiday. He was such a romantic that he often sent flowers to his new love right after chopping off the then-current wife’s head.

• Why is the color red such a big deal on this holiday? Well, it ain’t for the roses. The ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia from whence Valentine’s Day originates was highlighted by men whipping women with the bloody skins of goats and dogs sacrificed for the event. It was believed the act promoted fertility in the women, who lined up in hopes of being more attractive to single men looking for a mate. Makes singles bars look downright civilized.

Homelessness a civil right?
Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-California, has introduced Assembly Bill 312 entitled, “The Homeless Bill of Rights and Fairness Act.” It’s hard to be against the homeless, but this bill would move that group of people into a protected class. It prevents law enforcement from using vagrancy laws or municipal codes to stop people from living in their cars on a public street or in parks.

If you have a public restroom in your business or park, you must keep it safe, clean and well maintained for the use of anyone who chooses to use it at any time, day or night. You could be liable if the bathroom is not well lit or crime occurs upon any homeless folks who use it. We should not sweep homeless folks off the streets like they are waste paper, but if the government would embrace faith-based organizations who excel at serving and helping the homeless perhaps we could make a dent in the problem.

But no, the answer is to give them legal rights to file a civil or federal civil rights suit if police or any other citizen harass or discriminate them in any way. It helps legitimize and de-stigmatize a growing segment of the population.

Looks like the folks in charge would rather give homeless people equal standing in the courts than give them jobs.

Pat Orr is a local business owner, community volunteer and political junkie.

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