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Criminal Mayhem: No Laughing Matter: Our latest blog post addresses the history of the crime of mayhem and aggravated mayhem.  While the Allstate Commercials might make you think of tailgating gone wrong, dropped cell phones and teenaged drivers, the actual crime of mayhem is much gristlier. 

From the Mouths of Governors ... When researching California bills more than 50 years old, we frequently look to the Governor’s inaugural and biennial addresses for guidance on legislative priorities and historical context.  These speeches also serve as reminders that there are few “new” problems in government.  Recently, a project led me to Governor H. H. Markham’s 1891 inaugural address , which included some of the following gems: 

            “History teaches us that members of legislative bodies, by a series of trades with their associates, and with a view of advancing the personal aspirations of each, load the taxpayers with excessive burdens…” 

            “You will be called upon to devise some satisfactory plan for arbitration of disputes and controversies relative to wages and hours of labor, between those who labor and those who employ labor.”

            “You will observe that the retiring Governor … says, ‘that upwards of $100,000 are expended in the support and maintenance of Commissions and Bureaus; that many of them have been useful, but have outlived their usefulness; while others have been of little use save to those holding offices under them.”

            “I think each of you will agree with me, that the future prosperity of the State is inseparably bound up in the assured continuance of an abundant, unstinted supply of water for irrigating purposes; and that the never-failing character of the streams and watercourses is greatly dependent upon maintaining and preserving the timber which shades and protects the sources from which the supply is derived.”

While that last quote related to the Board of Forestry, which was concerned with preserving trees, the initial clause certainly rings true for those of us dealing with California’s current drought.

Promoting California at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair:  Governor Markham’s address also mentioned an appropriation to “properly and befittingly represent California at the World’s Fair.”  I became interested in the 1893 World’s Fair after reading The Devil in the White City,” by Erik Larson.  The book includes a fascinating history of the 1893 World’s Fair along with the story of a serial killer who preyed on visitors to the fair.  The book has been back in the news because Martin Scorsese just signed on to direct a film adaptation and Leonardo DiCaprio will star as the serial killer Dr. H.H. Holmes.   

If you have been to a county or state fair this summer with a midway, you can thank the 1893 World’s Fair, which featured the Midway Plaisance.   This is credited with inspiring subsequent midways.

In Case You Missed It on our Blog:  California revived a statute regarding bad faith and frivolous lawsuits. 

How Do I Use Your Materials?!  See our Points and Authorities for case law citing to the different types of documents including committee analyses, committee file documents, Author file documents and Governor file documents.   Reminder: NONE of the file materials are available online or through Westlaw or Lexis (Westlaw and Lexis are amazingly helpful, but they do not send people out to scan files that are only available in hardcopy or on microfilm or fiche).

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