This has got to stop right here. I’m sick of the lies and odious slander. You blood-starved jackals won’t cease with your salacious accusations, so I will say this once.
I … am … not … a … witch.
Also, I am not a crook. I yam what I yam.
As for those Copeland guys—yeah, the rumor was totally true. In the history of San Luis Obispo’s worst-kept secrets, suspicions that the Copelands were pumping money into the fight against Ernie Dalidio’s mini-mall thingy in SLO were no more secret than the river of blood running beneath the city. (PARADE was close, thinking it’s “joy
in the tap water.”)
Some have referred to the $80,000 fines barreling down on Jim and Tom Copeland as being hefty in nature, which is cute. Then again, some people suck at math. Sure, the pair funneled $220,000 to fight Measure J way back when, but I guess $80,000 will be one less diamond-encrusted gold umbrella stand in the foyer of one of their homes.
What I don’t get—and things I don’t get seem to be a running theme lately—is why the Copelands felt the need to hide their identities in the first place. Besides, they were lurking in the shadows with as much subtlety as a baboon at a wedding. Their bright red asses were so obvious in the campaign to undermine a competitor, it’s silly for them to have created this cockamamie and ironically named Responsible County Development, LLC.
At worst, had their names been attached to the opposition of Dalidio’s development, it would have been a bullet point in the news coverage. Something like, “Measure J opposition, funded in part by the Copeland family …” and we’d all have thought it was a big-freaking-duh conclusion.
Now they’re front-page news four years after the fact. And what really winds my yoyo is how they dumped truckloads of money to fight a measure that then had to be fought in the courtrooms. Yeah, that means me and you got stuck with the bill while they partook in playground he-said-she-saids over whether some dude could build a commercial development in a portion of the town already teeming with commercial development. The phrase “know when to pick your battles” comes to mind. And quickly fades.
At the end of the day, every Jim, Tom, and Harry got to hide under the guise of smart land use, trying to trick us all into thinking Measure J opposition was against the development because of how it would pave over a chunk of farmland, and was not—as was actually the case—a pissing match between warring developers. At least they got theirs in the end. Stick it to ’em FPPC, you ravenous watchdogs.
Come to think of it, aren’t the Copelands snug enough with the city that they don’t need to pull this kind of stuff? Don’t answer that—they are. Just look at Chinatown, where the brothers grim are tearing down public parking and then repaying the city for doing so at an insanely discounted rate. If you see a Copeland walk into a room with a bunch of city muckety mucks, you can literally hear the sound of bureaucratic anuses collectively clenching shut. They’re so beloved by city higher ups, they could do their business on the sidewalk and there’d surely be a city employee ready with a plastic baggy.
I guess two uncomfortable metaphors is enough.
As anyone around the New Times dungeon will tell you, I’ve been stomping around like a rabid Clydesdale for the past few days. It all started on a Saturday. I was sipping a French-pressed coffee, nibbling on a freshly baked cinnamon scone, and enjoying a lovely autumn morning. OK, I was actually eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch in my underwear, picking the lint out of my belly button, and reading the daily only because my cable’s out and I couldn’t watch cartoons.
But I damn near upchucked my Crunch at the Trib’s coverage of Dystiny Myers, the 15-year-old girl from Santa Maria whose body was dumped in a field before being lit on fire. That was the story, as I saw it.
Then on Saturday, I flip open the paper to find they’re publishing info from her MySpace page—a load of dirty laundry about how she listed herself as a big time partier, etc. And it all comes across as this backhanded attempt to add drama to the story in a not-so-subtle ploy to paint this girl as one who ran with the wrong crowd. Yeah, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one screaming at the subtext of this story, which seemed to be saying, in short, that she deserved it.
Then I crawl into the office today, flip open the paper again, and flip out again. There’s this cover-page story about the two sides of Myers: the sweet Christian blonde who dyed her hair black and started running with the wrong crowd. And there are all sorts of pictures in the story ripped straight from the binary of MySpace, the type of pictures you could find on most 15-year-olds’ pages because 15-year-olds tend to post stupid pictures of themselves.
What I think, and I’m right in thinking this, is that there should be a bit more narrative behind her death before we go demonizing this girl.
The Shredder likes to play hide and seek at email@example.com.