Opinion » Shredder

Change (back)

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2008 was a time of monumental shifts in politics. Barack Obama crowd-surfed on waves of change to become America’s first black president. In SLO County—where they generally don’t allow black people—there was change, too. Replacing a board of supervisors that defined government openness mainly in the way some supervisors openly chummed it up with money-grubbing developers, Jim Patterson won a second term in office and newcomer Adam Hill ousted the zombified incumbency of Jerry Lenthall.

Everything, it seemed, was going to be fine.

And for a while, everything was fine. In fact, if you look at times since the election, there hasn’t been much to make things un-fine. Yet, despite a period filled with issues that inflamed only the most nitpicky of wonks, there’s a brooding anger among those who originally supported Hill and Patterson. Those supporters, in a short span, have become so ostracized that some are now part of the opposition. If Hill and Patterson were to run tomorrow, it would be a tough run and most likely, the same people who helped them in their last campaigns wouldn’t be around anymore.

These people are pissed because two of their prized Democrats on the board are slipping from the left to center, maybe as far as right of center. Though centrist politics is often flapped as the panacea for dysfunctional government, when your political base was most obviously spearheaded by the disenfranchised left, this new unexpected position is no less than a sell out.

For Hill, it’s also because he seems to have taken to a new habit of insulting the enviros who got him into office. Still in his political infancy, Hill—a man who could easily have been the second coming of Christ in the eyes of some—shouldn’t be surprised when his apostles wonder where their voice has gone. This is all being relayed to me second hand. Or would that be third hand? But he’s apparently tossing them aside like so many roadblocks to bigger, badder, richer, cohorts, I’ve been hearing.

Hill comes across as a chess player through and through—the type of politician who has a good head on his shoulders but is always eyeing the board and where his next move will be, his newfound haters will say. I think he’s keeping too much focus on his 2012 buddies and not enough on the ones from 2008. “Rook to G-8: Checkmate, and screw the rest of you.”

Patterson is an altogether different animal. If Hill is a pit-bull, Patterson is the fluffy lapdog.

As for someone who isn’t so much changing as just getting worse, we have Animal Services Manager Eric Anderson who has pissed all over his previous reputation of merely euthanizing animals. Now Anderson and the rest of the Animal Services robots have upped their apathy factor at least twofold. They’ve taken to rescuing hordes of abused animals only to put them on death row. If you remember, they recently rescued about 30 cats and kittens from a home, then realized they had no room and figured, “May as well destroy ’em.” Thankfully they changed their minds at the last minute.

Most recently, the sheriff’s department freed about 120 roosters in a cock-fighting bust and stupidly handed them over to the animal shelter. Guess what happened? As with the kitties, the shelter is ready to kill the freed roosters because of the difficulty involved in rehabilitating and housing them. Admittedly, I can’t imagine how to properly care for dozens of psychotic animals that were made that way by more psychotic cock-fighting trainer assholes, but I know an act of decency shouldn’t be carelessly followed by mercy killing. What’s next? Rescue dozens of mistreated horses before shipping them to the nearest Elmer’s Glue factory?

Then there’s the Farmers’ Market, which actually isn’t a Farmers’ Market, in case you were so misinformed. Downtown Association despot—excuse me—Executive Director Deborah Cash headed the movement to boot the Farmers’ Market Association from having any say in the Farmers’ Market. Is your head spinning in the same circular logic tornado as mine? And they seem to want to huddle the farmers in a dark little corner out of the way of prime foot traffic.

Somehow Debbie and the rest of the association are still frolicking in the la-la land of yesteryear when they were an actual quasi-governmental body with quasi-legitimate powers.

The Downtown Association is allowed to pull this latest stunt because it has a toothless contract with the city to run the Farmers’ Market, which is actually called Thursday Night Promotions. The city has no power or inclination to renege on its contract just because the association is trying to take the farmers out of the market—er, I mean street fair. It’s all you idiots who called it a Farmers’ Market, apparently. Thanks for the clarification, Debbie, now I remember what this event is really about. And city officials will continue to cower behind their ball-less contract that allows the Downtown Association to effectively gut the event so long as they fulfill a few meaningless guidelines.

Since Debbie likes to call the market a street fair, some other confusing suggestions.

• Mission San Luis Obispo: Sunday Event Center.

• Madonna Inn: The Inn Formerly Known as Madonna.

• The Fremont Theater: Free Movie Palace.

• Downtown Association: Gestapo SLO.

The shredder will never change. Write to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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