California: Broke but the "no cussing" and the cows are happy

There's No Budget, but California Is All Over the Foreign-Cow Issue


Awaiting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature, for example, is a bill that would bar the state from filming cows in New Zealand. It's the fruit of five committee votes and eight legislative analyses.

California lawmakers also voted to form a lobster commission. They created "Motorcycle Awareness Month," not to mention a "Cuss Free Week."

And they kept the California state rock safe. Senate Bill 624 had sought to bust the rock, serpentine. Adamant opposition protected it, but sponsor Gloria Romero declared this "an issue we should address again."

Failure to pass a budget has reinforced the most populous state's image as also the most ungovernable. Mr. Schwarzenegger proposed his budget in January. Legislators have had all year to revise it and pass one more to their liking. It's the only state with a fiscal year that began July 1 that hasn't passed a budget.

California paid bills with IOUs for two months last year, and the state controller says he may resort to them again in the next weeks if lawmakers tarry. Legislative leaders say they hope to have a preliminary budget this week to deal with a shortfall currently projected at $19 billion. It still may take weeks of wrangling to wrap up final details.

Lawmakers lined up votes more quickly to pass the "Happy Cows" bill, as Assembly Bill 1778 has been dubbed. The legislation would bar publicly funded commercials that promote California products from being filmed outside the state. The bill's author, Ted Lieu, a Democrat, says it would keep jobs in Hollywood.

The commercials feature "unhappy" foreign cows auditioning, American Idol-style, to come to the state and be "happy California cows." Mr. Lieu learned that the state-supervised California Milk Advisory Board, which makes the spots, had filmed some in New Zealand.

"You're promoting California dairy because we have happy cows, and you say, 'Well, let's go to New Zealand,'" he says indignantly. "It's a very misleading thing to be doing." His bill included a thorough analysis by the Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media.

The milk board says antipodean animals starred strictly as unhappy foreign cows, such as "Anna" from the Alps and "Soo" in Korea. "The only images of cows filmed in New Zealand are foreign cows, unhappy cows from all the world, auditioning to become a California cow," says Michael Freeman, the board's vice president of advertising. "We've never filmed California cows any place other than here in California."

Comment: When states have a solid Democratic legislature and a Democratic governor, they are anti-business and going broke. California has a GOP governor but still is a mess. Imagine a Governor Dayton with a Democrat controlled legislature!


  1. Did you watch the ad? It's hilarious to think that cows, if they could think, would prefer the desert feedlots of California to the verdant mountains of New Zealand.

    (what ARE they smoking there....?.....oh yeah, I know, never mind)

  2. I visited California three times while I was in college. I worked for American Airlines (part time) and received 2 free flights each year. One of the nicest trips was to fly to NY (from Cincinnati) and then fly first class on a 747 to California. Wow what a trip.

    I had one trip to San Diego, one to LA (Disneyland!), and one to San Fran. One the LA trip I rented a Ford Pinto. It was hard to rent a Pinto when one was only 20 or 21 but I managed it. I drove around LA and saw the sites (Hollywood, etc)

    I was strongly enamored with California. Upon college graduation (1971, Bachelors in Business, University of Cincinnati) I packed up my VW Bug and headed west. I spent the Summer in CA. On the beach ... etc.

    Wow that goes way back!

    Today California doesn't draw me. Although I have been back to San Diego (for my son's USMC graduation and another time on a business trip) and to San Fran a couple of times.

    San Francisco is the most beautiful city in America. I highly recommend it for a romantic weekend.

    But I would never consider living in California!


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