CA roadworkers stop traffic to hand out political flyers

Here’s a crazy story out of California which popped up this week. (Separating “California” from “crazy” is something of a challenge these days to begin with.) As we covered here previously, California enacted a massive new gas tax package recently and it finally seemed to be a bridge too far for the Golden State’s taxpayers. Citizens banded together to try to recall one of the Democratic authors of the plan as well as collecting signatures for a referendum designed to repeal the taxes. That effort got moving quickly and the voters will make their voice heard on the subject in November.

But supporters of the taxes (the Democratic majority in the state legislature and the Governor) aren’t going down without a fight. They’re pushing the necessity of the gas tax in every way imaginable to try to beat back the referendum. They may have taken their efforts a bit too far, however, when motorists found themselves being held up by a crew of roadworkers recently. That’s nothing unusual in and of itself, but these contractors weren’t doing any actual roadwork. They were stopping traffic on a busy highway to hand out flyers opposing the referendum. Needless to say, many of the drivers were seeing red. (Free Beacon)

Organizers of the campaign to repeal California’s latest gas-tax increase are accusing the state’s transportation department of illegally directing one of its contractors to stop traffic on a major highway to pass out leaflets opposing the repeal.

A video taken Tuesday of the incident along State highway 78 in San Diego County shows a Caltrans contracted worker responding to a driver’s questions about why he and other workers are stopping traffic with hand-held stop signs and approaching cars to hand-out a “No on Prop 6” flyer.

“Hi, what do you got there?” the driver asks.

“Flyers to let you know about that proposition,” a worker in a hard-hat, orange shirt, and reflective vest responds.

I retweeted the video of the guy talking to the worker handing out the pamphlets earlier today.

A few years ago, the volunteer fire department in a tiny township up in the Adirondack Mountains began a new drive for donations. The way they did it, however, was a disaster. The only road north in that entire region is state route 28 and they decided to park emergency vehicles alongside it and put firefighter with buckets for cash donations out in the middle of the road. And they did it during the runup to the 4th of July, the busiest weekend of the year for that region. The traffic was literally backed up for more than five miles on that two-lane stretch of road. People screamed to the point where the local County Executive and the head of the Fire Department nearly had to resign. Needless to say, they’ve stopped doing it.

And that was an actual good cause in terms of donations. Volunteer fire departments need all the help they can get. This situation in Californis is far more seedy. Caltrans isn’t supposed to be using taxpayer dollars and the work hours of their contractors to hand out flyers promoting a political agenda. They’re claiming it wasn’t their idea, but does anyone honestly believe this road crew cooked up the idea on their own?

All the state is managing to do here is take an already angry group of taxpayers and make them even more ticked off by getting them stuck in traffic for nonexistent roadwork. They should have kept in mind the fact that content, happy voters aren’t the ones who are generally most motivated to get out to the polls. It’s the angry voters with an ax to grind who show up in droves. And California is just pouring more and more fuel on the fire.

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