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Say something



I'm not 100 percent sure why neither 4th District Supervisor Lynn Compton nor 5th District Supervisor Debbie Arnold chose to speak out against one of their people asking whether SLO County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong was a member of the Chinese Communist Party.

And that is literally the absolute least they could do in the situation SLO County currently finds itself in—losing a trustworthy, unbiased election official in part because of the accusations their party's members made against him. People accused him of being corrupt, fraudulent, and more at a May Board of Supervisors meeting. And now he's leaving crazy-town. Can I come, too?

Do Arnold and Compton believe the accusations? Or are they scared of the conspiracist crazies who make up the North County wing of the party they love? If elections are so fraudulent, why haven't we been able to get rid of these two yet?

Compton, who won her last election by the length of exactly one of her long blond hairs, didn't have anything terrible to say about Gong or his staff after a carefully observed, highly publicized count of the votes in the 2018 election put her ahead of Jimmy Paulding by just 60 votes. Seems like a pretty transparent and fair election process to me. Seems like she should definitely support an elections official for a job well done—at least enough to tell someone accusing him of being a communist to shove it.

But she's got nothing. For someone who can speak 10,000 words per minute when she really gets going, Compton is unusually quiet when it comes to pushing back against her people when they step out of line. Just like when her Planning Commissioner and Nipomo "Citizen of the Year" Jim Harrison resigned from his appointed post after being called out for Facebook posts where he compared Democrats to Nazis and said Islam should be banned in the U.S. Compton said Zip. Zilch. Nada.

And Arnold is just as wishy-washy as ever when it comes to pushing back against the allegations conservatives made against Gong. Have you ever noticed when she feels stuck she tries to tiptoe around an issue? It's mumble bumble time. She told The Tribune she "didn't want to speak against concerns expressed at the meeting."

Why?! What bright-line are you tiptoeing around by not saying, "No, actually, Gong isn't a member of the Chinese Communist Party"?

Now, we have to watch as the Board of Supervisors appoints Gong's replacement. Something the conservative majority is going to manhandle like they always do, turning a position that's supposed to be fair and unbiased into a politically charged nightmare.

Which is exactly what the Arroyo Grande City Council did with the Central Coast Blue water project. Like a bunch of children throwing a temper-tantrum, the council pulled out of the project because the other two cities that have been involved in the project—Grover Beach and Pismo Beach—didn't immediately acquiesce to its demands.

Instead, like adults, Grover and Pismo wanted to have a public meeting to discuss those demands, which included renegotiating a shared operating agreement for the $85 million wastewater treatment project that would supplement the region's water supply. The two cities also proposed that two city council members from each city work together in ongoing discussions about the project.

Arroyo Grande isn't interested in having adult discussions! And council members decided not to allocate another cent to the project until the city gets its way.

"I feel like they haven't heard us at all," Mayor Caren Ray Russom said at the June 8 Arroyo Grande City Council meeting. "It underscored that we don't get input."

I feel like the whole interaction just underscores that the Arroyo Grande City Council isn't interested in figuring out how to come to some sort of amenable solution. Council members have turned something that's been in the works for years and is meant to ensure water security into a political project.

Unsurprisingly, Pismo Beach Mayor Ed Waage was not happy.

"Our request for a public meeting of all three councils to work through issues in a transparent manner was denied," Waage said. "The water security of our region should not be an exercise in political debate."

What he really meant was: "Grow up!"

You know who else needs to grow up? Oceano. For such a little town, it's got so much drama! And guess who's comfortably stuck in the middle of it? Compton, who I assure you had plenty to say about Oceano apparently needing two advisory committees.

For an unincorporated town of around 7,500 people, it sure has a lot of advising needs. Now, the little town that can't stay out of trouble has a conservative advising committee and a liberal advising committee—both of which are supposed to "advise" Compton on the town's needs and wants.

Businesses and pro-off-roading enthusiasts in the community didn't feel represented on the existing advisory committee, so they formed their own—even though the existing committee had openings and was inviting people to join. I guess these underrepresented folks weren't interested in having open discussions with people who disagree with them, so they formed their own committee!

That's the answer: If you can't agree with them, separate from them! At least that's Arroyo Grande's motto. Must be a South County thing? Δ

The Shredder never wants to grow up. Send comments to [email protected].


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