What happens when people don't care enough about local politics to campaign for office?
Nothing. In fact, a city government can save $10,000 if no one files to run against incumbents whose seats are up for grabs, according to a staff report presented at the Aug. 21 Pismo Beach City Council meeting. At that meeting, council members voted to cancel citywide elections for this November! You heard right, cancel. It's historic, but everything has to have a first, right? Way to save some money, Pismo!
Maybe the city of Arroyo Grande should look into that—I mean, that City Council did tell staff to look at every way it could save money. Every $10,000 counts, right? Except, the residents of that particular Five Cities city are pissed off about the dysfunctional leadership of its City Council and people are actually running to unseat the status quo—so sorry, but no savings for AG in that arena, not even $1,000.
In Pismo, though, City Council members are getting the message that they are functionally perfect, man. And at the Aug. 21 meeting, Mayor Ed Waage said as much: "I think it's a tribute to how we are operating together," he said at the meeting. "I think they see we are doing great things for the city."
Umm, yeah, ya'll politicians in Pismo haven't made a misstep once or wasted any taxpayer money—especially not when you spent months redrawing a plan on where exactly to stick the johns near the $8.8 million pier because your town's residents had a potty panic attack! I guess everyone's satisfied that all of the tourists will finally be shitting in exactly the right spot.
Or when you decided to get your downtown corridor in line with your bougie aspirations, implementing a moratorium on very un-bougie businesses like tattoo parlors, smoke shops, and massage parlors. Those places have basically been your bread and butter for years! What's next? Taffy places and tacky T-shirt shops?! Where are all the Bakos supposed to go?
I guess people who think Pismo doesn't need to be an upscale paradise of too-expensive-to-eat-at restaurants and too-expensive-for-locals-to-shop-at boutiques don't vote or run for office. And apparently, they don't really engage in San Luis Obispo or Paso Robles politics either. Although, personally, I think Central Coast cities—Pismo and Arroyo Grande included—have already led the parade too far down the bougie highway to turn the Mercedes Benz around for an affordable housing stop. Might as well throw affordable food and clothing out the window, too. Santa Barbara already did it. We're just following in their footsteps.
I sort of agree with Pismo Beach City Councilmember Sheila Blake on this one: "It's either incredible apathy or an endorsement of our behavior." But I'll raise her one. It's definitely apathy.
At least in Paso there are people running for office! Even if one of them is part of a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group. The worst part? It's a freakin' Santa Barbara-based organization. WTF SLO? We have so many white people in this county and we can't even lead the way on hate groups!
Michael Rivera, who's running for Paso City Council, is listed as the secretary of Californians for Population Stabilization, a group that says its working to advance policies and programs designed to stabilize the population of California. Wait, our population's unstable? I thought that it was just the earthquakes.
Oh, it's code for Keep Mexicans Out. I get it. That's why Rivera's debut in the Paso political spotlight started in April, when the whole town got into it over whether the city should sign on to a lawsuit filed against the state for passing Senate Bill 54, which made California a sanctuary state.
"We're going to find out very soon where each of you stands on this," Rivera forewarned City Council members on April 17. "This is the most important issue."
Huh? I thought it was affordable housing, downtown parking, and/or the cannabis ordinance. Maybe I've been watching the wrong City Council meetings.
And even though the Paso Police Department stated otherwise at that meeting and after it, Rivera knows better! He was adamant that SB 54 was "hamstringing our police force and putting our citizens at risk."
According to the hate group's website, Rivera was key in getting Paso to adopt E-Verify to protect American workers! Yeah, all those undocumented immigrants are just clamoring to work for city government.
"A fifth-generation American, Mr. Rivera has a longtime commitment to addressing the impacts of legal and illegal immigration," a bio on the website says.
Only fifth-generation, huh? I know some people whose ancestors didn't immigrate here. Their roots go back 10,000 or more years. So, maybe you should go back to your homeland. It's too crowded for you here. Your hot fifth-generation breath is polluting their clean indigenous air.
And apparently, your hate group colleagues are hate-mailing the San Luis Obispo Tribune reporter who broke the story earlier this week.
"It's not 'hate' to want to enforce current immigration laws," one of them spewed via email. "I think that journalists are a hate group."
So what's illegal about legal immigration, guys? Asking for a friend. Sounds a little bit like population destabilization to me. Journalists don't create the labels, guys. They merely report on the labels that get created. Δ
The shredder is feeling super stable for once. Send comments to.