Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Something Stinks at the DMV

We have had a major shift in our public services. The script has been flipped, as the cool kids say. The Department of Motor Vehicles used to be the gold standard for government inefficiency, but not so anymore. Based on a few news items that caught my attention recently and my own personal DMV experience this week, I would have to conclude that the DMV is greased lightning compared to our justice system.

Don’t get me wrong. The DMV still sucks immensely. They’re just doing it much quicker now. I had a DMV appointment at 8:30 A.M. on Monday to get new license plates. I walked out at 8:32 A.M. with my new plates. The thing that took the longest was having to walk all the way around the line of eighty-five people without appointments to get out the door. Moral: Don’t go to the DMV without an appointment. And also, based on a recent news story, if you have an appointment to get a commercial drivers license, but can’t pass the test, you should bring bribe money. Apparently, it speeds the process along.

Yes, the headline reads: Two California DMV managers investigated in bribery scheme.

For the second time in just over a year, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is dealing with a federal investigation for bribery.

According to court documents obtained by KCRA 3 Investigates, Kari Scattaglia and Lisa Terraciano, both managers at the DMV in the Los Angeles area, accepted bribes to allow drivers to get commercial drivers licenses that allow people to drive semi trucks, tour buses and other large commercial vehicles.

You read that correctly. People who had no business doing so were driving tour busses and semi trucks, thanks to the California DMV.

The complaint… states that the two managers had been taking money to give passing grades and commercial licenses since 2013.

Over the last year, federal agents set up sting operations at least six times where they asked the two managers to change failing grades and grant Class C licenses.

So, here’s my problem with this. It’s not that two government employees thought they could use their positions of power to cheat and steal. That’s like breathing for a lot of government employees. Sad, but not shocking. My problem is with the federal agents who felt the need to set up six separate sting operations over an entire year, and apparently have known about these two idiots for FIVE years.

Hey, federal agents, how about just one single sting operation and remove them from their jobs right away, huh? Throw them in jail or don’t, but get them out of the DMV so Bad Choices Bob, the Unsafe Truck Driver, isn’t hurtling his massive rig down the highway near my family while he smokes crank and continues not knowing what the minimum safe following distance should be for an 80,000-pound Peterbilt with forged maintenance records.

And these two ladies weren’t the only DMV employees in on this lucrative off-books retirement plan. There have been investigations in Sacramento and San Joaquin County as well, both spanning multiple years!

Ultimately, the DMV admitted that more than 600 illegal commercial licenses were issued in the Northern California scheme. The office would not reveal how many more commercial licenses were allegedly issued by the two Los Angeles-area managers, claiming that it was an open investigation.

Six hundred truck drivers on the road in Northern California, and an untold number in Southern California, all of whom had no business driving a Miata, let alone a semi or a tour bus. That actually explains a lot about the state of things out on the highways these days, but it does not explain this: How, in this situation, are the good guys as slow as the DMV, and the DMV is finally efficient, handing out bogus licenses as fast as McDonald’s hands out heart disease.

I mean, maybe the federal investigators didn’t have an appointment and had to wait in that line. Maybe that’s why it took five years to stop these people. Who knows?

The other news item that caught my attention was from all the way over in Kansas City, Missouri, but ties in perfectly in my mind with the California DMV story. The headline reads: Suspect's farting shuts down interrogation.

A police interrogation of a Kansas City man charged with drug and gun offenses ended prematurely when an investigator was driven from the room by the suspect's excessive flatulence.

A detective reported that when asked for his address, 24-year-old Sean Sykes Jr. "leaned to one side of his chair and released a loud fart before answering."

The Kansas City Star reports that Sykes "continued to be flatulent" and the detective was forced to quickly end the interview.

How could these two stories be related, you ask? Simple. If our federal justice system is really concerned with justice, those bribe-taking California DMV employees will all be flown out to Kansas City and put in the same air-tight cell with Sean Sykes Jr.

Having Mr. Sykes transported on a plane to California just seems too risky for everyone involved.

See you soon,


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