I hate to break this news to you in this way, but you are only one of almost 300,000 people living in San Luis Obispo County. The county doesn't work for just one of you, or even 100 of you. It works for everyone. It represents the interests of the majority.
I wasn't sure if you knew that this was how "Big Government" works, but it is.
I'm getting the impression that Jim and Michelle "Small Town America" Wortner from Golden Pheasant Farm and Vineyards in Creston don't have a good grasp of how county government works. They recently sent out a very long letter to each individual county supervisor and New Times because they are pissed off about "Big Cannabis" and seem to be under the impression that our county government should be working for only the 94 census-designated residents of Creston.
Big Cannabis is apparently taking over Small Town America in and around Creston, and the safety of the children is at stake! Crime is about to overtake idyllic ag land and it will never be the same! Never mind all of the vineyards that surround SLO County's littlest of the little bergs. It's not like "Big Wine" is a thing (no, never!), and you can't be a drunk driver if it takes law enforcement more than 30 minutes to find you!
The Wortners seem perturbed that Creston's 94 residents don't have more of a say when it comes to the county's ordinance creation and amendment process. When the county Planning Commission met on May 23 to consider amendments to the cannabis ordinance that the county passed in 2017, nary a word about Creston was said.
Not only that, but the Creston Advisory Body canceled its most recent meeting due to a lack of quorum, so county staff should have known to take the community's April comments about a specific cannabis project and incorporate them into the county ordinance discussion!
Duh, guys. What are you even doing with your lives?
"County staff ... did not represent the community point of view—period," the Wortners lamented in the letter. "If county staff works for the people, and represented our interests, one would assume our issues and solutions would have been included in the ordinance update proposed to the Planning Commission. It was not."
Those little recommendations definitely made their way into the June 4 SLO County Board of Supervisors meeting. They seemed to fall verbatim out of 5th District Supervisor Debbie "I Want What I Want" Arnold's mouth—who tried to, once again, force county supervisors to vote on something they absolutely shouldn't be voting on yet. Debbie, I need you to write, "I will not commit a Brown Act violation ever again," 1,000 times on a blackboard.
She is definitely beholden to her constituents, I'll give her that. All you have to do is write a strongly worded letter advocating for whatever it is that you desire (it's an election year, people!), and she will forget that it takes more than 94 people to get re-elected. I write strongly worded open letters every week, and they're full of suggestions! WTF, Debbie? Why don't you listen to me!? I vote, damnit.
The Wortners would just love it if the county could eliminate any type of industrial manufacturing (you know, the transformation of goods, materials, or substances into new products) on agriculturally zoned land in the county.
"Any kind of industrial manufacturing—not just cannabis—does not belong on agricultural property or in residential agriculture areas," they wrote.
Making and bottling wine should be out; milking cattle, pasteurizing it, and making cheese, out; processing olive oil, out; crafting value-added products on your farm, out. Shoot! That's going to piss off a lot more than 94 people!
And now that corporations are people (Thanks, Supreme Court of the United States), Creston believes that residences should be considered the same as schools, parks, and day care centers. What is the world even coming to?
Creston residents would also just absolutely love it if there would be no outdoor cannabis allowed in the county—and I'm pretty sure 4th District Supervisor Lynn "It Smells Really Bad" Compton is on that boat, too. That's just like, your opinion, man! The smell of cannabis really is more of an acquired smell, one that, once acquired, is easy to love!
You know what I would absolutely love? If I didn't have to smell rotten eggs and look at oil derricks every time I drive through Price Canyon, but I'm sure you Creston residents don't see eye-to-shredder with me on that. Wait, I know! I'll just write an open letter to the supervisors. I'm sure Debbie will take up my cause. Not!
Meanwhile, Santa Barbara County almost has 1,000 cannabis permits approved and SLO County is creeping toward its 18th with more than half of the permit approvals appealed or dragged into the court system. So, really, Creston has nothing to worry about.
Especially, since the county is probably going to change the regulations in its cannabis ordinance anyway with more than 100 potential cannabis applications in the pipeline that would be subject to whatever NIMBY crawls up the behind of the nearest county supervisor.
Wannabe cannabis growers in SLO County, I would pull out while you still can—before Small Town America gets you in its "Big NIMBY" grasp. Δ
The Shredder believes in small towns and big governments. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.