Government agencies routinely approve proclamations and resolutions so why the hysteria over the Childrens Bill of Rights? To hear the critics talk, this is some modern-day Communist Manifesto that will instantly turn children into wards of the state.
Thats ridiculous. The Childrens Bill of Rights is a list of 12 common-sense goals not a legislative agenda.
Here are a few of the items it contains:
Eat healthy and plentiful meals every day.
Enjoy daily physical activity and time outdoors.
Visit a doctor, dentist or counselor when needed to help us stay physically and mentally healthy.
Be encouraged to dream big, to grow through challenges and mistakes, and to always live with hope and aspiration.
Thats it. There are no teeth in the document nothing that would force parents to do anything, really.
Several local agencies including the county Board of Supervisors, the county Health Commission and the Lucia Mar school board already have endorsed the document, which was developed by the countys First 5 Commission.
The vote came after speakers warned that the document will somehow usurp parents rights.
That should not have come as a surprise; similar claims were made when the Board of Supervisors discussed the document a few months ago.
At least the Board of Supervisors had the good sense to unanimously endorse the document. Yet when it came before the APCD board, two supervisors Debbie Arnold and Frank Mecham voted no this time. Paul Teixeira was absent, and Gibson and Adam Hill voted in favor.
Also voting no were Mayor Roberta Fonzi of Atascadero, Councilman John Hamon of Paso Robles, Mayor Debbie Peterson of Grover Beach and Councilman Ed Waage of Pismo Beach. San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx voted yes, as did Morro Bay Councilman Noah Smukler and Arroyo Grande Councilman Joe Costello.
We can see no good reason to vote against what Gibson accurately describes as a heartfelt, if ceremonial, expression of commitment to care and advocate for the children of this county. And please, dont try to argue that its too much of a stretch for the Air Pollution Control District to take a stand on childrens rights. Clean air is fundamental to childrens health and that is very much under the purview of the APCD.
That our elected officials would decline to stand up for childrens rights in this way is an embarrassment. We can only hope that our children show more courage, common sense and leadership when its their turn to make decisions.