Betty Arenson | Differing Ideas of the Truth

In her June 1 commentary, “Serving with Dedication to the Truth,” Assemblywoman Christy Smith wrote that she is aware of the “turbulent and fractured political times” and states the content of my May 18 commentary, “Smith Joins Democrats on High Tax Plans,” was unproductive and inaccurate.

It is not unproductive to track and acknowledge what our elected officials are doing.

Assemblywoman Smith claims her years in public service have taught her to not retreat to just her side and, “We accomplish the most when we set aside our differences, actively listen to each other and collaborate on our shared goal to better our community.” Those words always sound good but I believe most of us prefer to see it in practice.

I had highlighted Assembly Bill 162 with its topic being the state of California imposing a tax on texting. Smith claims AB162 would not stop the tax irrespective of the bill’s intent to do exactly that. 

Smith did not vote on the side of consumers in general and certainly not her constituents in specific. Smith declared in her commentary that she voted “NO” on the bill. That is absolutely false! The recorded votes section of the public record reports the opposite: Christy Smith was a “no recorded vote,” which means she abstained….signifying she took no stand when an “Aye” vote would have allowed the bill to pass (see https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billVotesClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB162). 

Smith proclaiming she voted “No” is an absolute deception.

Smith’s commentary quoted the lengthy bill’s analysis that was a good sleep aid when it can be succinctly summed up in my prior statement: “On Nov. 9, 2018, the Public Utilities Commission proposed compelling universal service surcharges on text messages claiming there was ambiguity in the classifications of ‘telecommunications services’ versus ‘information services’ by the FCC, the ruling body. Later that month, the FCC clarified that text messages are information services. This resulted in prohibiting taxing our text messages. With that result, the PUC dropped their efforts.” After the clarification, AB162 was introduced in 2019. 

Assemblywoman Smith failed to address my comments on her vote on (House Resolution) HR1, which precludes any author from presenting their bill to be heard; if the chairperson says the bill will not be discussed, the author is shut down — period. That’s a great advantage to the dominant party — simply brush aside the facts of inequality, being undemocratic and dictatorial. Certainly it is not the earlier-referenced collaboration and sharing that Smith touts.

The absence of honesty of Assemblywoman Christy Smith’s asserted AB162 vote, compounded by her actions on HR1, do not comport with her pledged dedication to the truth or her commentary’s final statement that she “…will always be committed to the truth and telling you the truth, which includes calling out political deception.”

Betty Arenson
Valencia

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