California and Dumb Auto Smog Checks

Listening to Gov. Schwarzenegger babble on about the state of California’s economy, I wanted to hit him over the head.  Here’s why.

An acquaintance who has been having severe financial problems for quite some time now had to renew his car registration and this year it required the bi-annual smog check.  He could barely scrape together the $50 on top of the $60 he had already paid to the state for the renewal sticker.  The car failed the test on 2 minor points, one wasn’t even related to emissions.  Because he had no money to get the repairs needed, he applied to the state for consumer aid which he got.

He took the car to a authorized repair station and after nearly a full day of hanging out in the waiting room, the car was set to go.  Now here’s the issue.  They replaced a faulty sensor that was making the “check engine light” come on all the time.  That cost about $90.  The “diagnosing” of the problem which they already knew about from the failed smog test report cost about $175 and then of course they needed to do a re-test.  Total cost about $368.

The owner was forced to pay $28 in additional fees and the state was on the hook for $340 to the repair station.  The sensor had nothing to do with emissions and the emission problem noted on idle during the first test never showed up during the second test.  That means the state just cost itself and the owner $368 for no reason.

Well, the real reason is that when it comes to bureaucracies and the idiotic ways our various governments do things, is that no one is held accountable.  There’s no one to talk to who can make a common sense decision based on the facts.  All you get are automated systems, and even if you were lucky enough to speak to a human during the absurd process, that person would not be a position to help.   In other words, this “smog problem” wasn’t even a problem with this particular car.

So babble on Governor, but please don’t think you’re fooling anyone.  Bureaucracies were designed to waste time and money and you’ve got yourself a doozy in California.  And this is just one very tiny example of inadequacy.  Now just multiply that by more cars or more agencies performing at the same stupid level.

Should I go on about the stupidity of jumping on one single car when you have fleets of school buses and trucks that spew tons of garbage into the air each day?  Why doesn’t the state do something about that?  (KS, in San Francisco)

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One response to “California and Dumb Auto Smog Checks

  1. Ouch, I feel for you, “your friend”, or anyone that has gone through this sort of problem. Thanks for pointing this out. I guess someone had to.

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