We’re not in Kansas anymore!

The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, they’re all printing stories about the mess in Southern California port communities. And it’s all news to their readers.

One of the above papers reported, as news, what residents in Southern California communities have been wrestling with for more than a decade; that California “is extending its official reach into shipping, one of the hardest-to-regulate industries, in hopes of reducing the pollution that local officials say causes stunted lung development in children, lost workdays and chronic lung diseases in adults, and aggravation of an epidemic of asthma. The shipping industry, with few alternatives, appears ready to cooperate.”

The article went on to quote one of those officials as saying, “We’re not going to have kids in Long Beach contract asthma so someone in Kansas can get a cheaper television set”.

Not too long ago, port officials were pointing their fingers at the truckers who, they insisted, were solely responsible for the deteriorating conditions in the “Bay of Smoke”. Since recent studies have revealed that trucks contributed lesser amounts of pollution than ships and port vehicles, however, someone else now must be fingered as the fall guy, like for instance, that “someone in Kansas”, or someone anywhere for that matter, as long as blame is diverted from port operations.

Port and local officials, the real perpetrators, will always find a way to shift the blame for their greedy behavior to someone else. Their only concern is volume, volume and more volume, because that’s what brings them high salaries and prestige. Let the taxpayers handle the adversity. And besides, since they’re responsible for the injuries, let them provide the ointment..

And the cure will be simple. It’ll be like killing two birds with one stone … they figure. And it will strike at the very heart of the problem … they figure.

1. Force the trucker to discard his old $ 25,000 truck and purchase a new $ 125,000 truck.

2. Slap a $ 30 to $ 40 container fee on all incoming containers, a fee that will slide down the supply chain onto the laps of the end users. The consumers. Like that “someone in Kansas”.

There’s at least one fly in that ointment, however. Where does the lowly trucker get the money to buy that new truck? His take home pay for the past few years has barely covered his bills, and he’s been able to save nothing, That means that both he and his vehicle can no longer be links in the supply chain. Thousands like him, along with their old trucks, will also become missing links.

During an interview, one of the 16,000 port truckers said he didn’t know what he would do after the ban on older trucks is imposed next fall. He said he might look for a different line of work, but in any case, his expelled truck “will be working somewhere else,” in all probability still in Southern California, polluting the same air.