In The News: January 13, 2011

SPEC Predicts Busy Legislative Session in 2011

graphic of the state of CaliforniaJohn Norwood, president of SPEC, an industry watchdog in California, says he expects a challenging 2011 state legislative session for the swimming pool and spa industry.

"The November general election resulted in a sea change for California," he said, pointing out that for the first time in many years all the branches of state government in California are in the hands of one political party. In addition to taking control of the governorship, Democrats now rule the state Assembly 52-38 and the state Senate 25-15.

Norwood was careful to point out that his objection is not a partisan one, but rather a lack of balance in the system now that republicans "are almost irrelevant at this point on legislative issues, with the exception of increasing fees or taxes, which continues to require a two-thirds vote of the California Legislature."

Norwood identifies several potential legislative priorities the Democrats may have that will affect the industry, including energy and water conservation, consumer protection and the establishment of laws governing construction and contracting.

"The great equalizer for 2011 and beyond is the state's dire financial condition," the association said in a press release. "California has a structural budget deficit of approximately $20 billion. It is predicted that this budget deficit will remain each of the next four to five years. If there is no money for legislators to spend, it is very difficult to enact additional laws and programs that generally include mandates for which the state is responsible. Over the last two years the number of bills introduced by the Legislature each year has plummeted. Many commentators see a continuation of the trend, especially if Governor Jerry Brown keeps to his promise to concentrate on resolving the state's budget deficit."

Norwood says he would like to see the state government focus on California's "underground economy" rather than introducing legislation that would add costs or mandates to businesses that operate within the law.

"We believe this governor will be receptive to the strategy of coordinating the enforcement efforts of the five or six different state agencies that can initiate enforcement and collection activities against non-compliant contractors and those that live in the underground economy," Norwood said. "Such efforts are good for legitimate businesses, provide worker and consumer protection and will add substantial new revenue to the state budget without increasing taxes or enacting new programs."

Hot Tub Dealer Opens Satellite Store In Major Mall

photo of Bachmann's Pool, Spas & PatioLife takes some unexpected turns. Fred Bachmann hadn't planned to expand his successful dealership to the other side of town, but when Ron Skornoski, the owner of Bachmann's cross-town competition, developed a terminal illness, the two men sat down to discuss a sale.

Read more to find out whether Bachmann's mall location proved successful.

Erroneous Headline

APSP CST logoLast week's E-News included an item about Hayward employees achieving APSP's Certified Service Technician status under the headline, "Hayward Field Techs All CPO-Certified."

Savvy readers caught the error in the headline, which implied the employees had been awarded an entirely different distinction from a different industry association.

Kirstin Pires, former AQUA editor and current director of communications for APSP, wrote to clarify:

"The Hayward employees are APSP Certified Service Technicians. The APSP CST designation is a far more rigorous program that requires a 10-week course followed by testing. The CST professional demonstrates a wealth of knowledge in pool and spa service and repair and the ability to service systems in the field.

The Certified Pool Operator designation is administered by NSPF, and is a basic one- or two-day course followed by an open-book test. The CPO course is designed for individuals who operate public pools, not for those who service them."

AQUA regrets the error and any confusion it may have caused regarding the two programs and the associations that administer them.

Wanted: New Web Sites

If you have redesigned or revamped your company's Web site in the last year or two, AQUA would love to hear about it, especially if you believe the changes have somehow enhanced your bottom line. Please send a link to your site to [email protected]. In your e-mail, also please include contact information.

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