Opinion » Shredder

Elections matter



You know what an election year without any challengers is?



Yeah, I said it. The whole point of an election is choice. It really chaps my metal hide when the incumbents just get to walk back into their seats without the public getting the chance to weigh in.

And that's why Arroyo Grande Mayor Caren Ray Russom pulling the "elections cost money" card in a little Facebook note she sent to a potential challenger is also bullshit.

To be fair, I don't think either Russom or potential challenger Lea Rigo-Hensley actually cares that the city of Arroyo Grande would have had to pay $28,000 for two people to run against each other in the city's no-longer-happening upcoming election.

"As a wife, as a mother, and as a guardian of taxpayer money," Russom told New Times, "I felt it was important to reach out to her and tell her how the system works."

Gosh. It's so great to know that Caren is such a caring elected official and wasn't just pulling a Karen by throwing a passive aggressive temper tantrum and writing a weirdly worded letter to get a potential challenger to drop the thought of competing completely.

Either way, Hensley took the hint and quit. Gosh. She didn't put up much of a fight, did she?

The very vocal off-roading advocate owns a tow ropes business called Freedom Ropes—no, I didn't just make that up. And yes, it's a great satirical name for a tow ropes business owned by an off-roading advocate! What better way to stand up for your freedoms than to say you're going to run for office and then quit when you get the inevitable pushback?

Russom warned Hensley that all of her family's dirty laundry would be put on display during the election, telling her that the "ugly world of politics" is "nasty beyond your wildest dreams." Whew. That's kind of rough. Do you think Russom knows that she's just running to be the mayor of Arroyo Grande?

Is she a tough-love kind of a mother? Because that definitely sounds like a low-key threat.

"I cannot take the chance that Caren will make good on her threat to somehow hurt my already hurting business," Hensley said.

Yeah, man. Being in the spotlight totally blows. Especially right now, when everyone who hates you and what you stand for is rooting for your demise. That whole cancel culture thing is something else, amirite?

Now I'm all aflutter with curiosity and want to know exactly what dirty laundry Hensley's family's got to display. You know, in the interest of knowing what I'm missing out on.

"I feel like democracy is dead when leaders discourage people from wanting to be a part of positive change," she added.

So, Hensley makes it sound like she's shocked that the person she's running against doesn't want her to run. And Russom makes it sound like she's only looking out for Hensley's best interest. And I'm over here thinking, even if all of the candidates who are pursuing elected office are stupid, give the public a chance to vote on the brand of stupidity they want running their cities!

For instance, I'd like to choose a different SLO County District Attorney because I'm sick of hearing Dan Dow talk about God. I'm really starting to wonder if he forgot that he's not the Church of SLO County's pastor. He's one of the county's top law enforcement officials.

Or am I missing something?

He's pretty convinced that only atheists gave him guff about his recent churchy statements on enforcing the state's COVID-19 requirements. That's what he told Christian talk show host Family Research Council President Tony Perkins (who stands for "faith, family, and freedom") on his Washington Watch podcast on Aug. 11 when questioned about his statement declaring SLO County a sanctuary for Christians who'd like to sing indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The atheists in our community have written about it and chastised me," he said.

I disagree. Plenty of SLO County Christians think you've lost your damn mind, Danny boy. He also pointed out that he supports your right to give COVID-19 to your fellow practitioners as you sing indoors to celebrate the religion of your choice!

"We have a mosque here in the community, we have several synagogues," he told Perkins. "I call upon all faiths to pray for peace."

I'm not sure that peace is going to be coming for Dow anytime soon. He's become nationally famous for more than just his Christian ways. The arrest of protester Tianna Arata and forthcoming charges are putting that national activist pressure on Dow in ways he's probably never felt before.

He was a busy man on Aug. 11, as he also spoke at the general meeting of the NAACP SLO County Branch. He declined to answer questions about Arata, however, he did manage to bring up God. Because, as you know, it's always appropriate to bring up the Almighty.

"Do you believe Black lives matter?" one of the meeting's attendees asked Dow. He said "yes," and ... elaborated.

He believes all human beings matter because, "Every single human being, in my personal opinion, is made in the image of God."

Basically, All Lives Matter.

"So I believe that's why every life matters, but absolutely Black lives matter."

Wow, he nailed that conservative talking point. Δ

The Shredder might run for district attorney. Send comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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