By Donald A. Mounce, WC&P Senior Editor

I grew up in a small Midwestern Illinois farming and industrial town whose sole source of entertainment was the Plumb Theater. It was a large, two-tiered facility that unfortunately burned down some years ago.

At an early age, I became addicted to movies; my wife and I still are. We probably catch one or two per week, either on television/satellite or by still attending the theater…which is just not the same as it used to be.

Whether it was the latest western or a new wave sociological statement, the thing I liked best about movies when I was young was that ‘the good guys’ always won. The oppressed always prevailed.

As I got older, I came to realize that the movies truly are a reflection of life; sometimes ‘the bad guys’ win. That is a trauma we all must grow to face in our modern world and one I have never really accepted very well.

However, the recent decision by former actor and current California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto AB 2270 proves ‘the good guys’ still win once in a while. The bill, which faced strong opposition from the WQA, PWQA and several industry and retailing organizations, would have eliminated many procedural hurdles and made it easier for local municipalities to ban water softeners due to brine concerns, without due process.

In his letter to the California Legislature, the Governor noted, “I recognize that excess salinity in surface and ground water is a serious water quality problem in various regions throughout the state. Unfortunately, this bill also includes provisions that go too far in limiting residential use of water softeners.”

WQA Executive Director Peter Censky noted that the industry “created a cascade of opposition from the makers, sellers and users of water softeners. Fortunately, common sense prevailed in the end.”

To quote the Governor’s character in the movie The Running Man, “I’m not into politics, I’m into survival.” The industry has survived and prevailed, and Governor Schwarzenegger’s astute veto proved that logical, common sense approaches to illogical oppression by government on private industry and consumers do indeed help us survive for another day.

But, it may be just another day. The battle is far from over, ‘the good guys’ may not have prevailed or won just yet and it is certainly not the end.

Expect efforts in other states and regions to intensify and expect the California Legislature to take another crack at this is some fashion in their state. Extremists and bureaucrats don’t give up easily and the industry now has an even larger target on its back.

Maintain your support of industry lobbying efforts, keep a close eye on what is happening in your area and let your association and industrial leadership know about every rumor and effort being discussed. Unfortunately, in the movie The Terminator,’Governor Schwarzenegger issued his most famous movie line…“I’ll be back.”

And they will, they most certainly will. ‘The good guys’ need to keep fighting…and fighting…and fighting ‘the bad guys.’ Remember, there is always a movie sequel.


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