Wednesday, December 10, 2008

there oughta be a law against this...

Watch Dog has been operating in San Mateo County for some time now on Watch Dog San Mateo while we are relatively new in some other areas...Watch Dog Silicon Valley, Watch Dog North Bay, and Watch Dog East Bay.

One of the benefits of operating in a variety of Bay Area locations is that the Watch Dog team gets to seek out and cover information across a wider area -- making our jobs, and hopefully the blogs, a bit more interesting.

And that's where we found ourselves yesterday.

Watch Dog's staff was talking amongst our Watch Dog selves about our State Legislators...San Mateo/Silicon Valley Watch Dogs first mentioned State Senator Joe Simitian's "there oughta be a law" contest and how it was a pretty cool idea...but then our North Bay friends said one of their legislators does something like that...and then our East Bay friends said the same thing...so we sought out the truth...

San Mateo/Santa Clara County's Senator Simitian has been conducting his "There Oughta Be a Law" Contest for eight years. Horrible spelling aside, the Contest has gotten significant attention. 14 of the ideas generated from this contest have turned into laws. Including a law that addresses the pesky "trees vs. solar power" debate -- according to Simitian's website.

Our friends at Watch Dog North Bay let us know that their State Assemblymember Jared Huffman has his own contest...he has changed his a bit, but the spelling hasn't changed. Huffman's contest is known as the "There Oughta Be a Law...or Not" Contest. Huffman is on his 3rd Contest -- meaning that he probably ripped off Simitian somewhere around 2006...or the minute he got sworn into office.

And to ring the Bay, our Watch Dog friends in the East Bay let us know that former-Assemblymember and newly elected State Senator Mark DeSaulnier did it too.

Making this a Bay Area wide rip-off!

But it doesn't stop there...Watch Dog got on their research hats (Google) and found that there are other rip-off artists out there as well...and it is a bipartisan rip-off.

Assemblymember John Benoit does it.
Assemblymember Wilmer Amina Carter does it.
So does Assemblymember Mike Eng...

Leading to some obvious questions:

Does anyone have an original idea in Sacramento?
Was Simitian the first person to run the contest?
If he was, does he collect royalties?

But Simitian, Huffman, DeSailnier, Benoit, Carter, and Eng aren't alone in this "there oughta be" contest...Writing.com has their own contest and some funny ideas came up there. Most notably and relevant, is this one:

The ought to be a law...voters should be allowed to vote "None of the Above" during elections.

Watch Dog has our own "there oughta"...and it is obvious...

There oughta be a limit on oughta be a law contests.

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