Opinion » Shredder

Everything's against the law


Drop that single-use plastic water bottle and back away slowly!” Add disposable plastic water bottles to the list of things SLO Town bans: smoking, single-use plastic bags, Styrofoam to-go containers, aggressive panhandling, overly long public bench sitting, skateboarding, peeing in public, tagging, hunting the homeless with assault rifles. Harrumph! What repression! It’s just like Billy Bragg sang, “It’s against the law to eat, against the law to drink, against the law to worry, against the law to think ... . Everything’s against the law.”

Of course, single-use plastic water bottles do suck: Poisoning yourself with BPA, enlarging your carbon footprint, and probably littering. Single-use plastic bottle manufacturing consumes 17 million barrels of oil annually to make 50 billion bottles, only 23 percent of which are recycled. And guess what? There’s nothing wrong with our tap water, and the city is talking about installing reusable-water-bottle filling stations and more drinking fountains. So sustainable! Count me in! 

Of course, my inner Libertarian finds a plastic water bottle ban another ridiculous government intrusion. Do we really need to make them illegal on public property? As Charlton Heston famously (sort of) said, “You’ll have to pry my overpriced artisanal spring water shipped from across the world at enormous expense from my cold, dead hands.” 

You know what else is illegal? Double (and triple) dipping campaign donations.

Did you hear that former SLO City Mayor Jan Marx, that bastion of propriety, was caught red-handed taking two $300-maximum campaign contributions from Cory Black, who donated personally and again through his business Public Policy Solutions Inc.? Yeah, and that’s not even counting the extra $300 from SLO County for Better Government, a political action committee for which Black is assistant treasurer. Cory, do you have a crush on Jan?

Perpetual gadfly Kevin P. Rice filed the complaint against lovebirds Cory and Jan with the SLO City Attorney’s Office and City Attorney Christine Dietrick, who found that there was “no intention on the part of either Ms. Marx or Mr. Black to violate the city’s campaign contribution limit,” but there were “technical violations.” So they didn’t mean to break the law, but they did break it.

Marx actually emailed Black to ask if the second donation from his business was legal, to which he responded, “Jan, I am familiar with the rules. This is what I do for a living.”

Oops! Time for a new career, dude. 

There’s some hypocrisy at work when you consider Marx called out new SLO City Mayor Heidi Harmon for accepting a perfectly legal donation from Kevin P. Rice because of his right-wing politics while she was accepting illegal ones, even in ignorance. 

To her credit, Marx tried to get it right, writing to Black, “I must be super careful, especially after I made a bit of a fuss over a PAC donation to my opponent.”

Hey, she gave it the old college try! 

You know who else gave it the old college try? Former Santa Maria City Council member and mayor, California state Assembly member, 48th lieutenant governor of California, and current Agro-Jal Farming Enterprises co-owner Abel Maldonado, who met with President-elect (Oops! Threw up in my mouth a little!) Donald J. Trump on Dec. 28, in Palm Beach, Fla., to discuss joining the Trump cabinet as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

If it sounds like strange bedfellows, it should. Maldonado, the son of Mexican immigrants, condemned Trump’s famed statements about Mexicans being drug mules and rapists, signing the open letter penned by Hispanic Republicans that told Trump, “We will never support you, your candidacy, or your enterprises.” Um, unless offered a cabinet position?

I guess when you think about it, the two have a few things in common. Trump doesn’t like to pay his employees, and Maldonado’s company is currently engaged in litigation over wage disputes. Trump desperately needs a Hispanic on his otherwise mostly good-old-white-boy cabinet, and Maldonado is Hispanic!

Perhaps the most telling similarity, however, is they’re both into “reality” … of the television variety. Trump was the star of The Celebrity Apprentice, where he got to tell people like Andrew “Dice” Clay, Tom Green, and Gary Busey, “You’re fired,” as if their own careers hadn’t made that abundantly clear already.

Maldonado pitched his own reality TV show called Meet the Maldonados, which sadly wasn’t picked up. On the video snippet that made its way around the Internet briefly, Maldonado is seen drinking wine with his daughter, making sure his son has a condom, and laughing as his wife informs their daughter that the couple conceived her while watching pornography. The highlight of the reel shows a horse in the family’s house—because, you know, reality TV—that relieves itself, and Maldonado muttering, “Yeah Sacramento’s better than this” as he begins to clean up the mess.

Classy! And they both really love their kids, amirite?

“I’ve said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I would be dating her,” said the next President of the United States of Americafor realsies—who also in 2004 agreed with radio shock jock Howard Stern that his daughter Ivanka Trump—then age 22—was “a piece of ass.”

Mmm. Republican family values! 

The Shredder is probably accidentally doing something illegal right now. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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