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Feb 02, 2004 - 11:10 AM

Fantastic Consumer Protection Week

by Jamie Court and Doug Heller
Arnold Schwarzenegger's declaration of this week as "California Consumer Protection Week" is like George W. Bush declaring February "Give Peace A Chance" month. Since taking office, the Gov has shelved important consumer protection rules, frozen yet-to-be final regulations to see if they are too tough on business and appointed a who's who of big business to key posts in government. He has yet to even sit down with consumer groups. Still, we have asked Arnold to live up to the spirit of week by taking five steps toward consumer protection. The full letter can be read at:

The five steps are:

1. Return the force of law to consumer protection rules that have been placed on "opinion-only" status under Executive Order 2.
2. Release a list of all frozen regulations under Executive Order 2 and your intent regarding them.
3. Commit to protect the integrity of California's Unfair Business Practices Act from attack by car dealers and other donors to your campaigns.
4. Set your first meeting with consumer groups.
5. Provide the public with your definition of "Consumer Protection."

Among the consumer protection rules our Public Records Act request have revealed as shelved are: a guide about appropriate cemetery and funeral pricing, a real estate appraiser's guide for sanctions, and a program to informally mediate solutions to disputes between consumers and new car dealers, manufacturers and distributors under lemon laws.

If Arnold cannot agree to immediately restore the force of law to such rules and help widows, victims of real estate scams, and car buyers sold lemons, then the next time he utters his familiar phrase "fantastic," we'll know it simply signifies fantasy.

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