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Drama machine

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What's an elected official to do when serving alongside colleagues who make life difficult? The answer in Oceano is easy: Turn routine matters into polarizing ones. You know, kind of like the SLO County Board of Supervisors.

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The Oceano Community Services District (OCSD) took a page out of the Board of Supervisors' best-selling series, How to Make Local Government Even Slower and Less Effective: Solve Political Battles With Overt Partisanship.

Remember when the three conservative musketeers passed over 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill for board chair, not once, but twice?! When 1st District Supe John Peschong, 4th District Supe Lynn Compton, and 5th District Supe Debbie Arnold first gained the majority on the board in 2017, they also blocked Hill and his liberal colleague 2nd District Supe Bruce Gibson from serving on their favorite committees. Real mature guys! Way to take traditions and bippity-boppity-boo them into political nightmares!

Well, apparently partisanshit flows downhill—from the top example-setting elected body in the county to the barely-has-it-together CSD.

The OCSD has definitely had its fair share of problems, what with all the drama over John Wallace serving as the OCSD district administrator and The Wallace Group providing engineering services to the OCSD and the hiring and firing of new general managers over and over again.

It's like the little CSD that couldn't. Except, most CSDs are pretty dysfunctional. Have you heard of the Cambria CSD? I can't even think about the town's "Emergency Water Project" that magically became a permanent project without sighing and rolling my eyes. The facility still doesn't have a permit! It's been at least five years. Come on! Get. It. Together.

For years, Oceano's endless drama included the likes of gadfly and incessant crap-stirrer Los Osos resident Julie Tacker—but we haven't heard about that mess in forever—until now! Only, it's a different sort of soap opera this time around, and yes, Tacker has managed to somehow get involved. She doesn't know why. She just can't help it!

OCSD board members are simply fed up with fellow board director Cynthia Replogle, who can be a bit of a complainer, is outspoken in her environmental advocacy for the Oceano Dunes, and definitely isn't afraid to speak up about anything she disagrees with—which happens to be almost everything the OCSD's majority votes on. So the majority (Three conservatives. Sound familiar?) threw an absolute temper-tantrum and voted to bar Replogle from any committee appointments in 2020.

Board Vice President Karen White introduced the motion, saying that Replogle's continued protest and opposition to board decisions was bad for the community. White apparently doesn't believe Replogle is entitled to her opinion. You know. What the board majority says goes. If you disagree with us, we will shut you out!

White, who worked as a "journalist" for the Santa Maria Times for years, should absolutely know better! In what seemed like a well-orchestrated premeditated plan, White's buddy Shirley Gibson piled onto the anti-Replogle train, complaining that Replogle criticizes board decisions on social media. Aww. You poor things! What is this? High school?

"Her behavior undermines our board and is destructive to the community," Gibson whined.

Do you two need a safe space where criticism can't find you?

Replogle is complaining that her First Amendment rights are being violated and that the OCSD board is trying to muzzle her free speech! And Tacker has hopped on Replogle's side, threatening to sue the OCSD if it doesn't reconsider the decision. I'm not sure how she'll manage to sue the board, but this episode should make for good popcorn eating over the next couple of months!

Speaking of drama. Did you hear about what the Arroyo Grande Police Department did?

Actually, police officers were just doing their job when they pulled up to Rooster Creek Tavern to deal with a routine case of a very drunk person who couldn't handle herself on Nov. 24, but a certain someone was not happy about it.

No it wasn't Reese "I'm an American citizen" Witherspoonalthough it was a Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office lieutenant. And, let me tell you, Brenda Maynard was apparently throwing out business cards and "do you know who I ams" like she was preventing herself from getting arrested.

"Oh you guys are in fucking trouble," she reportedly told officers at one point.

Like that was going to work! After she threw her limp body on the ground between the curb and tire in a fit of public drunkenness/adult temper-tantrum, officers were over it!

You know who else is over it?

Cannabis growers.

You know who their savior is?

Peschong ... maybe.

The Board of Supes voted 2-2 on Dec. 10 not to agendize a discussion on extending an ordinance that would protect cannabis farmers who haven't made it through the county's complex permitting process yet. The vote was, yes, conservatives versus liberals. That would throw 34 growers and their employees under the bus come Dec. 31.

Peschong wasn't there that day, but he was there on Dec. 17, and guess what?

He was the swing vote that got the board to put it on the agenda! Gosh. That guy's come a long way since his days as a musketeer! Δ

The shredder still isn't betting on anything but partisanship. Send comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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