Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Lege: Is No One Capable of Making a Sandwich?

I realize that times are rough for our legislators. Our expectations are high. One minute we're cutting the amount of time they spend working by 25 percent without cutting their pay; the next, we're expecting them to report when a lobbyist spends more than $15 on them at lunch.

The ADN has a story from the Juneau Empire on the new $15 lunch rule, which I found interesting. The new ethics rules don't stop anyone from getting an expensive meal and drinks on a lobbyist's tab, it just ensures that we, the folks who they are supposedly working for, might know who is getting wined and dined and how well. But the tone of the story was odd, it read like somehow lean times were ahead for the members of The Lege. It listed items on Juneau menus that our employees can have for a lunch with a lobbyist and not report it, along with things that are off limits for secret lunches.

I'm having a bit of trouble working up sympathy as I contemplate my lunch for today, a sandwich composed of whole wheat, peppered chicken, provolone and red onion. Wrapped in wax paper. Ooh, and Gatorade was on sale at Freddie's, so I'm having one of those, too. Big spendah!

It must be a trial to settle for the Baranof's wok-seared tuna, grilled baby lamb chops or dungeness crab cakes. How terrible to have to pass up the pesto-crusted Taku River wild salmon ($25.95) or the Halibut filet and Dungeness crab, ($25.95)! And only two glasses of wine at the Zephyr ($6.50 - $10) on the q.t.?

Hmmm. Wine or food? That would be a tough choice. If I were a legislator, I think I'd pick two glasses of unreported wine for lunch (just to make it through one of those committee meetings.)

I dunno, if I really, really, reaaaaaaaaaly wanted that pesto-crusted salmon, I just might consider ... having it? Reporting it?

Or, more radically, just buying my own damn lunch? If the situation is one of trading legislative favors for future lucrative consulting jobs/careers in corrections, couldn't I just eat on my own dime for appearance's sake, banking on that fat paycheck courtesy of the lobbyist's employer in the not-that-distant future? Hell, I could save the receipts from all the lunches I'm being forced to buy and hand the lobbyist a summary a few years down the line.

Back here in Squarebanks, the sort of real world, I'm still considering asking my boss to only require me to show up 30 hours per week and still pay me for my full 40.


Ishmael said...

I remember back when Tony Knowles (before I hated him) showed up in Juneau and forced state workers to put in a full 40 hours a week. Standard practice had been to leave at like 4:30, and he wanted them to work until 5. What an uproar that caused!

CabinDweller said...

Imagine that. Being required to work your full day. How strange. It sounds like every job I've ever worked.

Damn. Must try to get cushy state job.