I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

History of "smog impact fee" reveals governmental corruption

I have frequently discussed the former flagrantly unconstitutional "smog impact fee" that California collected on certain out-of-state vehicles in the period 1990-99. I just found a California state senator's article about the fee:
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California's Illegal Smog Impact Fee by Senator Maurice Johannessen

The California Court of Appeals on October 1 [1999] declared unconstitutional California's $300 Smog Impact Fee imposed on vehicles brought in from other states.

For five years I've sought to eliminate this fee from the books. I've introduced three repeal bills and argued relentlessly that the fee is unconstitutional, only to be shuffled aside by the all-powerful Senate Appropriations Committee . . .

I told my colleagues how the fee violates both the state and federal constitutions and that we better repeal it before the State gets into deep legal trouble. . . .

. . . Did the California Legislature listen? No. My colleagues chose to ignore a Legislative Counsel Opinion that declared the fee illegal. They refused to look at a 1994 Florida Supreme Court ruling which tossed out a similar fee. Furthermore, lawmakers took no heed to an April 1996 trial court ruling which also threw out the fee. . . .

. . . Over a million people [actually about 1.7 million] have paid this fee during the last ten years, but many will not get their money back because only those who paid the fee within the last three years can file for a refund. And to make matters worse, the State has no intention of notifying anyone that they have a right to apply for a refund.

This is dead wrong and I find this whole scenario unconscionable! First, the State knowingly and willfully exacted an unfair tax on people moving to California. Second, they refused to repeal it when told the fee was unconstitutional. Then, the State continued to collect and spend the ill-gotten gain, and finally, after the legal appeals were decided, the State said it would only reimburse those who figure it out on their own that they are eligible for a refund . . .

. . . if the State won't refund everyone who was forced to pay the illegal tax, I will introduce new language in my SB 230 to require the State to make complete reimbursement.

California eventually passed legislation for full reimbursement -- with interest -- to everyone who paid the fee.

BTW, the vehicle tax that was declared unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court was not emissions-based.

Another article against the fee, written by another state senator, is here.

Considering that there were about 1.7 million victims of the fee over the years, how did this abominable tax from hell last so long? Certainly more than a few people wondered why they had to pay this fee when their out-of-state vehicles were required to pass the same smog checks as comparable California-certified vehicles and they were sometimes required to pay hundreds of dollars for repairs if their vehicles failed the checks. The problem was that these people had no voice because they were not organized, and organizations that could have helped them did not lift a finger to do so. In 1995, the powerful Auto Club of Southern California (which Wikipedia says is a $3 billion outfit) informed me that they asked the governor to veto the fee when it was introduced in 1990. I told them that the new lawsuits against the fee were a good opportunity to inform their members about the fee but they inexplicably refused to do so. Also, the ACLU of Florida was a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the unconstitutional vehicle tax in Florida and so I urged the ACLU of Southern California to inform its members about the smog impact fee and their response was, "we don't have the resources for this." The ACLU-SC has the "resources" to sue Los Angeles County over a tiny cross in the county seal (the ACLU only threatened to sue but I presume that it was not an idle threat) but did not have the "resources" to even just inform its members of a big grossly unconstitutional tax that over a million people had paid.

No, ViW, Kevin Vicklund, Bill Carter, etc., I am not interested in hearing about what a wonderful thing the smog impact fee was.
.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> No, ViW, Kevin Vicklund, Bill Carter, etc., I am not interested in hearing about what a wonderful thing the smog impact fee was. <

You pathetic asshole. I see that you are trying to misrepresent the positions of others, as usual.

I was against the smog impact fee, I would assume that the others were too. It is a shame that your amateurish and laughable meddling in the efforts of others may actually have delayed the time before they were able to end it.

The others succeeded. You were laughed out of court. We are still laughing at you.

I would suggest a new name for this blog. Instead of the current "Larry's Cry Room" as it is widely known, how about Larry's Lie Room"?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 7:42:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> I was against the smog impact fee, I would assume that the others were too. It is a shame that your amateurish and laughable meddling in the efforts of others may actually have delayed the time before they were able to end it. <<<<<<<

Sigh. I have been over this so many times already. If the federal courts had properly accepted my lawsuit against the US EPA for failure to enforce federal emissions laws & regulations, the fee probably would have ended much sooner. I was vindicated by a former top official of a California auto emissions control agency who testified in state court that the fee required the approval of the US EPA. As it was, it took five years to end the fee by legal action in the state courts -- the wheels of injustice turn very slowly. The state might have even prolonged the nightmare by appealing to the state supreme court, but decided not to (the state was required by state law to at least appeal to the state appeals court). A lot of victims who paid the fee during this five-year period never got refunds because they were never found. There were added complications -- for example, if the fee was paid when the vehicle was sold, there was the question of whether the buyer or the seller paid the fee. For example, if the vehicle was sold by a used car dealer and the fee was not a separate item in the bill of sale, the dealer might try to hocus-pocus that he paid the fee out of his own pocket rather than include it in the sticker price. There was a similar problem in the case of private sales. In my case, I bought the car from a dealer who did not initially tell me about the fee and then sort of tried to apologize for the fee by offering to pay part of it. The dealer then determined that my car was exempt from the fee because the fee had already been paid on it sometime in the previous four years, but by that time I was so hopping mad that I decided to sue California and the US EPA anyway.

ViW, you are a stubborn jackass who just refuses to ever admit that you are wrong.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> Sigh. I have been over this so many times already. <

Your usual tactic of repeating something over and over in hopes that it will eventually be true.

> If the federal courts had properly accepted my lawsuit against the US EPA for failure to enforce federal emissions laws & regulations, the fee probably would have ended much sooner. <

If you had drawn up your lawsuit properly the federal courts would not have laughed it out of court (like every other case you ever filed) and the fee might have ended much sooner.

> The state might have even prolonged the nightmare by appealing to the state supreme court, but decided not to <

Perhaps you would have recommended that like you wanted a certain school board to appeal?

> In my case, I bought the car from a dealer who did not initially tell me about the fee and then sort of tried to apologize for the fee by offering to pay part of it. <

Your problem then was with the dealer.

> but by that time I was so hopping mad that I decided to sue California and the US EPA anyway. <

And you were in need of a cause.

Larry, you are a stubborn jackass who just refuses to ever admit that you are wrong.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 3:08:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> If you had drawn up your lawsuit properly the federal courts would not have laughed it out of court (like every other case you ever filed) and the fee might have ended much sooner. <<<<<<

You lousy piece of crap, I told you that the attorneys who eventually won in the state courts -- and got an $18 million fee award -- also initially tried the federal courts and were also dismissed. I did an infinitely better job in the federal courts than they did because I came up with some good reasons why the case belonged in the federal courts.

>>>>>> In my case, I bought the car from a dealer who did not initially tell me about the fee and then sort of tried to apologize for the fee by offering to pay part of it. <

Your problem then was with the dealer. <<<<<

Wrong -- I immediately perceived that the state of California was to blame. But whether the dealer was wholly or partly to blame doesn't matter because I didn't have to pay anything because as I said the car was exempt from the fee, so I couldn't have sued the dealer anyway. Damn you, ViW, you make me keep repeating myself.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 3:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> I did an infinitely better job in the federal courts than they did <

You were laughed out of court on every attempt. Are you claiming that you were a better comedian?

>>>>> Your problem then was with the dealer. <<<<<

> Wrong -- I immediately perceived that the state of California was to blame. <

Your "perceptions" aren't worth much. If the dealer failed to inform you about an extra tax, you had a case against him. The fact that you did not have to pay the fee made your case moot and also eliminated your standing to sue the state.

> Damn you, ViW, you make me keep repeating myself. <

As I have said, your repeating falsehoods, misinterpretations, and misrepresentations will not make them true.

> No, ViW, Kevin Vicklund, Bill Carter, etc., I am not interested in hearing about what a wonderful thing the smog impact fee was. <

None of these people have supported the smog impact fee. No wonder nobody takes you seriously. You have proven yourself to be a habitual liar.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 4:31:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> The fact that you did not have to pay the fee made your case moot and also eliminated your standing to sue the state. <<<<<<<

The courts didn't know that I didn't pay the fee, beetlebrain. I never told the courts. I don't know how it is possible for anyone to be as dumb as you are.

>>>>>> No, ViW, Kevin Vicklund, Bill Carter, etc., I am not interested in hearing about what a wonderful thing the smog impact fee was. <

None of these people have supported the smog impact fee. <<<<<<

Then they would have supported any means of getting rid of the fee rather than let it drag on for five more years.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 4:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> The courts didn't know that I didn't pay the fee, beetlebrain. I never told the courts. <

Facts are true or false whether or not you have called attention to them.

You are a childish idiot. You have no way of judging whether someone else is "dumb". Someone could be quite retarded and still be a genius in comparison to yourself. Grow up.

>>>>>>None of these people have supported the smog impact fee. <<<<<<

> Then they would have supported any means of getting rid of the fee <

"Any means"? That doesn't follow. Your amateurish and clownlike efforts muddied the waters and made the anti-tax people look like lunatics. The fee may have been ended sooner without your foolish efforts. At best you provided comic relief to the fee's supporters.

Thursday, June 21, 2007 6:36:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> The courts didn't know that I didn't pay the fee, beetlebrain. I never told the courts. <

Facts are true or false whether or not you have called attention to them. <<<<<<

Since they didn't know, it doesn't matter whether it was true or not, does it.

>>>>>> You are a childish idiot. <<<<<<

Calling attention again to the story of the emperor who had no clothes.

>>>>>> Then they would have supported any means of getting rid of the fee <

"Any means"? That doesn't follow. Your amateurish and clownlike efforts muddied the waters and made the anti-tax people look like lunatics. <<<<<<<

Wrong. Where do you get this crazy idea? Our lawsuits were completely independent of each other.

Haven't you heard the expression, "the end justifies the means"? The fee was unconstitutional. Therefore any means of getting rid of the fee was by definition constitutional, and any opposition to any means of getting rid of the fee was by definition unconstitutional.

Thursday, June 21, 2007 7:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

>>>>>> Facts are true or false whether or not you have called attention to them. <<<<<<

> Since they didn't know, it doesn't matter whether it was true or not, does it. <

Yes, it does. I made a true statement and your argument is that they didn't know that it was true. At least you admit that it was true. Stop pettifogging.

Im calling attention again to the story of the emperor who had no clothes. Larry has no clother.

> Our lawsuits were completely independent of each other. <

Irrelevant. You were supporting the same cause. I am sure that the rational people who were trying to get the fee dropped did not appreciate having a bozo muddying the waters.

> Haven't you heard the expression, "the end justifies the means"? <

Haven't you know that this expression is usually taken by unprincipled zealots to justify their crimes?

> The fee was unconstitutional. Therefore any means of getting rid of the fee was by definition constitutional, and any opposition to any means of getting rid of the fee was by definition unconstitutional. <

This is the most irrational statement that you have made in months and that requires a very high level of irrationality even to compete.

Thursday, June 21, 2007 7:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I paid this fee twice, once each on two different cars. I eventually got my money w/interest back. I found out about by accident. I was listening to the local news one day and heard an anchorman talk about it. I wanted to know more about it so I tuned in to all the other news channels at different times that day and no one else said a word about it. I filled out all the paperwork and was told at some point that it wasn't filled out properly. It was right, but I filled it out again. I waited like six months and still no word. I finally sent them an Email saying "Am I going to to have to blow up a federal building to get my money back". (I never would say something like that post 9/11) Anyway, within one week after that, I got my money, interest, and a late fee(I was late on one registration) back. Sometimes you have to be a jerk to get what you want. I too am from Missouri. I logged on to this site to find out who initiated the fee in the first place.

Friday, September 19, 2008 8:03:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> I too am from Missouri. <<<<<<

I am not actually from Missouri -- I just borrowed the phrase "I'm from Missouri" from the motto, "I'm from Missouri -- you'll have to show me," as described at the top of the blog.

>>>>>> I logged on to this site to find out who initiated the fee in the first place. <<<<<<

I don't know what individual(s) actually initiated it -- it was something that was initiated by the state legislature. The powerful Auto Club of Southern California told me that they asked the governor to try to veto it, and maybe he did, maybe he didn't (I don't remember the legislature overriding his veto). I asked the Auto Club to revisit the issue after the lawsuits were filed -- by at least notifying the membership about the lawsuits -- and they inexcusably refused to do so. I do recall that state legislator Tom Hayden opposed repeal of the fee for a long time, then reversed himself. The fee was popular with environmental groups -- e.g., the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council -- because they wrongly thought that it was a pro-environmental measure (it was actually the opposite).

The basis of the smog impact fee was, of course, federal auto emissions laws whereby the US EPA has been authorized to grant California exceptions -- called "waivers" -- to federal preemption of auto emissions regulations. But one of the main purposes of those so-called "California waivers" was to use California as a "testing area" for new auto emissions control technologies and equipment, and the California waivers were never intended to allow federal auto emissions standards to be set low so that federally-certified vehicles could have an unnecessary bad "smog impact" on the state. For many years, the federal standards and the California standards have been the same or nearly the same. Federally-certified vehicles have to pass the same smog-check tests as California-certified vehicles of the same model year. And there was nothing that could be done to the federally-certified vehicles to avoid this fee.

Friday, September 19, 2008 10:30:00 AM  

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