Opinion » Shredder

There was a lot of SLO County awfulness to shred in 2022

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If you're a surly office appliance whose side hustle is lampooning the travails and tribulations of local politics, 2022 was a very good year indeed! So much to chew up!

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Cal Poly was certainly an easy target from its civil rights woes brought up by students of color claiming they were relegated to substandard housing to the crack-bang job the university and President Jeffrey Armstrong did handling the COVID-19 pandemic and sexual assaults on campus—still no suspects. My favorite, however, was Cal Poly being strong-armed into making former Fresno State University President-turned CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro—who resigned in disgrace over his mishandling of sexual harassment complaints—a fully tenured faculty member making a cool $165,564 per year in Cal Poly's Orfalea College of Business. Slow. Clap.

Of course, the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD) is the gift that keeps on giving. Between its campus remodel shuffle of Georgia Brown and Glen Speck elementary schools, its accusations of racism and the ongoing U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights' investigation into the district, its mishandling of the mask mandate and vilification of minority student advocate and award-winning social studies teacher Geoffrey Land, and its dysfunctional board, I genuflect to your utter horribleness.

Then there's the SLO County Board of Supervisors, which voted to spend more than half a million bucks on the Heal immersive sound meditation pod, a refrigerator-sized orange box with a padded bench and red curtain that will be used by the SLO County Behavioral Health Department to chill out mental health patients before they go to therapy. Sweet! Also, nice job pissing off local nonprofits such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of SLO County, French Hospital Medical Center Foundation, Paso Robles Youth Arts Center, and Boys and Girls Club of the Central Coast, which had applied for grants funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) only to have the board change the "rules" to only nonprofits that address housing and homelessness. The old switcheroo!

And no year-end list would be complete without the SLO County Clerk-Recorder's Office and recently elected Clerk-Recorder Elaina Cano, who's been attacked by local MAGA Republicans for "mismanaging" elections. It doesn't help that Cano and her office made a few missteps: leaving a couple of candidates' statements off the voter guide while reprinting another twice, and a "typographical error" on San Luis Coastal Unified School District's Measure C-22, which aimed to levy a "4.9¢ per $100 of assessed value" property tax. The ballot instead said "4.9 percent per $100 of assessed value"—a difference between $392 compared to $39,200 a year. To her credit, however, in the recounts local wackos like Darcia Stebbens demanded, Cano's original counts remain perfect, so far.

The real fun, however, was the colorful cast of characters that came piling out of the clown car of local politics, like New Mexico Audit Force founders David Clements and his wife Erin Clements, who were invited by wacko conservative fringe group 4 The Republic to host a presentation on how the election was stolen. Naturally, 5th District supe Debbie Arnold showed up to wallow in the swampy, gaseous world of unproven conspiracies and misinformation.

Let's not forget Richard Patten, designer of the gerrymandered Patten Map that redrew SLO County supervisor districts to maintain a conservative majority on the board for the next decade. Thanks to 4th District candidate and now supervisor-elect Jimmy Paulding's narrow victory over outgoing supe Lynn Compton as well as 2nd District incumbent Bruce Gibson's squeaky win over challenger Bruce Jones, it didn't work. That's got to sting when you cheat but still lose!

And to the unseating of The Divine Dan DeVaul from his Sunny Acres not so clean and not so sober living facility, I hope the idea of helping the homeless and addicted lives beyond your alleged mishandling of your property and program.

And to sneaky cannabis mogul, briber, and tax dodger Helios Dayspring—whose Natural Healing Center lost a city contract thanks to his misdeeds but who appears to have also been involved in Megan's Organic Market and SLOCal Roots, two local brick-and-mortar stores that got contracts from a city, effectively enriching Dayspring anyway—enjoy prison, dirtbag.

Dear misguided MAGA disciple, 46-year-old Miguel Angel Olivares of Arroyo Grande, who allegedly pepper-sprayed peaceful liberal demonstrators on Templeton's Vineyard Drive overpass on Highway 101 and was arrested for elder abuse, I hope you learned your lesson!

SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow, who seems to care more about his Republican ideology and Christian faith than his office, I pray some non-partisan comes along to run against you so you can no longer use your campaign fund to support the Back the Badge PAC and its racist "tough on crime" rhetoric. Dow still has a bug up his butt to prosecute BLM activist Tianna Arata. Let it go, Dan.You're biased and un-Christian.

I'll miss shredding you but thank God you lost the 30th District State Assembly race, Vicki L. Nohrden. The Republican and president and founder of Wind and Fire Ministries authored the prophetic 72-page tome Breaking the Shield of Minerva, which claimed California drought and wildfire was God's wrath against legalizing same sex marriage and supporting a woman's right to reproductive health. Δ

The Shredder is ready for 2023. Bring it on at [email protected].

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