Opinion » Shredder

Gaffe and gaffe again


So you’re driving around in Nipomo late one night, because you have nothing better to do, and next thing you know there’s some dude standing in the dark on a corner next to a stop sign. As you get closer and closer, you see a ruffle around his neck, and it quickly turns into a full-length clown costume. 

You’re curious, so you turn the corner, and it just starts running at the car! Well. According to the Internet—and a video on Facebook—that’s exactly what happened on Oct. 4. Last check, the video was at 25,000 views and counting. 

Apparently, I’ve been hiding in the attic for way too long, because creepy clown sightings became a national obsession while I was busy watching SLO County Board of Supervisors meetings for the predictable fireworks to explode between our esteemed elected officials. Hey, we all have our hobbies. 

And Lompoc’s residents are so concerned about the potential of seeing a clown that the Lompoc Police Department took to the World Wide Web of Twitter twice in one day just to let folks know there had been no sightings. What’s with the clown obsession? It must be Donald Trump overload. It’s that orange hair and caked-on makeup. It keeps re-appearing on television and social media over and over again, like a nightmare that just won’t give up. Clowns. Amirite?

New Times made some more enemies this last week by putting that clown’s smug ugly mug on the cover in a story about political art. Arts Editor Ryah Cooley was turned into an angry Twitter hashtag only used by its creator, @BlingItOnBabe! Sick burn! I get it. Typical liberal biased journalists not showing any balance. Did you know that of all the artists she spoke to for that story, not a one was pro-Trump? 

Who would have thunk it? That liberal artist stereotype thing might actually be accurate. But hey, I’ll put this out there. Know any serious artists with a thing for the Republican king of cable news? Send them to New Times. My editor told me the paper would welcome them with open arms. 

Expressing anger on social media is like pouring salt into the wound of a fruitful conversation. One longtime SLOcal political gadfly posted two 300-plus-word treatises to his Facebook page within four days of one another about SLO Mayoral candidate Heidi Harmon’s supposedly “progressive” ways. 

Jay Salter spilled words on the topic of Harmon; the group she leads, Our Revolution, formerly SLO Feels the Bern; and its supposed sensitivity to him. He called the group her “personality cult.”

He lamented being kicked out of one of their recent meetings. According to Salter, she “claimed I was not sufficiently progressive to participate in the group’s hallowed process” because of a Facebook post he made in June criticizing Bernie Sanders. Harmon is a diehard on the Bernie train. The horror! How could somebody have an opinion that doesn’t precisely align with our beliefs dare show their face at one of our meetings? 

Well, I guess Salter just can’t keep his opinions to himself. Damn this free country we live in. He said, “Heidi Harmon never forgets a slight, long nurses a grudge, and can’t control a hair-trigger. Seriously fatal flaws in any public servant.” Damn, G! But wait. There’s more. 

As you can guess, the rose-adorned candidate was none too happy about the little rant and neither were her supporters. In fact, she said she’s sick of all the negativity surrounding her campaign against current Mayor Jan Marx. Harmon told a New Times reporter that it’s gotten a little too personal for her taste. Yuck! Get that taste off your tongue. 

She told that same reporter that one of the reasons she was running was to get people involved in local politics. But apparently only if you align with her version of progressive, unless you make a campaign donation on the sly and she has no idea who you are.

You know what Marx accused Harmon of? Accepting a campaign donation from another favorite political gaffe-fly—the ever-present Kevin P. Rice. He’s not a Marx fan, by the way. Things are getting SLO nasty. Marx, don’t you know the rules? Candidates are never supposed to talk about their opponent’s campaign donations. That’s too far!

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Campaign donations are fair game. They define election season. Rice has been called a libertarian-leaning activist by The Tribune, and political cartoonist Russell Hodin accused him—on Facebook!—of being part of the Tea Party fringe in SLO County. I’m not quite sure what I’d call Rice, but it definitely wouldn’t be progressive. 

And Marx’s comment must have struck a nerve, because Harmon blamed accepting the donation on her treasurer. “This was a mistake, not a plan. Obviously I will return the money,” she replied to Hodin’s ranty little Facebook post about the issue. She also noted she doesn’t know what Rice’s agenda is. 

Which, for someone who’s participated in SLO politics for a long time, seems like a bit of stretch. Rice is a pretty loud squeaky wheel against all he sees as unsacred. Ever heard of Integrity SLO? I guess she didn’t get the Facebook memo. 

The Shredder only rants in this column every week, but likes to spy on Facebook. Send comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com


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