Opinion » Shredder

Hypocrite or politics?

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I got caught making pulp out of paper shreds last night.

When I opened up the Daily Shredder this morning, there I was, front and center with a headline that read: "New Times Shredder caught making paper: critic or hypocrite?"

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In the photo, I was towering over a bar kitchen sink full of moist paper fibers next to a sheet pan. I just ran out of paper and needed a fix. How can a Shredder be expected to shred hard when its gears are empty?

"On four occasions, reporters watched the New Times' Shredder making paper after bars closed down, on weekend mornings, and during the afternoon bar lull," the article read.

WTF? Am I being stalked? Was it something I said?

Oh wait, the person being creeped on by weird "reporters" is SLO Mayor Heidi Harmon and a similar headline took center page on calcoastnews.com this week: "Bicycle advocate, leader or hypocrite?" There's no byline on the story—only cryptic references (LOL, #classicKarenVelie) to "reporters" and "sources" who've been on the lookout for Harmon, where she's headed, and how she's getting there.

"On four occasions, reporters watched Harmon leave city meetings in gas-fueled vehicles, including evening and afternoon meetings. Harmon either drove a car or hitched a ride for her and her bicycle from the city manager," the story states.

Ooh. Gotcha, Heidi! We have camera evidence that you got a ride from someone! How dare you take a ride from someone in a gas-guzzler? You should stick to Toyota Priuses, Chevy Volts, and especially Teslas! Those are fancy Nancy, and we want only the best for our mayor!

Uh, guys, is this what your "investigative reporting" has come to? The self-proclaimed only media outlet in the county that ferrets out corruption is now stalking our mayor paparazzi-style. Is she your next Adam Hill, Karen? Or did SLO mayoral candidate T. Keith Gurnee give you a nudge in this direction?

Suspiciously, the story came out on Sept. 3, the day before the SLO City Council was slated to take on the super contentious Anholm Bikeway Plan, which it approved 3-2—Gurnee accused Harmon of having the "deciding vote"—and will completely shift traffic patterns and parking in Gurnee's neighborhood on Broad Street. The incidents in the unbylined story date back to May. So why release it now? Campaign ad money? I mean, ahem, I have seen Gurnee's campaign ad on the same-but-different calcoasttimes.com website.

He did tell one of our reporters: "To think that I had something to do with that article is beyond belief, it's outrageous." It's not really that outrageous, my NIMBY friend.

Gurnee is a little bit of a drama queen. Especially in opinion pieces that declare things like "NIMBY is the new N-word." Really?

He apologized in a follow-up piece. But, first, Gurnee needed the community to tell him that being called a NIMBY isn't the same as being called a derogatory term for a race that our Constitution once considered to count as three-fifths of a man. A race that was enslaved, traded and treated as chattel and cattle for hundreds of years. A race that has been discriminated against in violent, systemic, and blatant ways. Gurnee, the poor persecuted NIMBY who owns a home in a high property value neighborhood and is fighting against a bike path on his street. How does he manage?

But yeah, Heidi is Mighty can be a bit of a drama king as well. She sent out a query to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, New Times, and SLO Police Chief Deanna Cantrell asking if what CalCoast did was legal! Uh, yes, it is, you public figure in a public space, you. Then, she sent out one of her famous red-tinted press releases letting everyone know.

"I expect these nasty and threatening actions toward me to continue," she wrote. "Let my opponent and his associates play in the gutter. I will not. When they go low, we go high."

Well, I do declare! I'm not sure that press release was high or mighty.

Meanwhile Gurnee declared war because City Council approved a bike path.

"This is not the end of the battle," he announced! "This is the beginning."

No dude, not the beginning. The city's been working on this stupid bikeway for years because riding a bicycle in SLO sucks. The poor project planner has rewritten the project proposal so many times, he probably cries into a pile of bike tires every night because of people like Gurnee.

Even the protected Rails to Trails bike path can be sketchy at night. There have been sexual assaults near the pathway—no, it's not the same as the "urban rape" former SLO Mayor Kenneth Schwartz used to describe the Anholm bikeway. (What's with all the unnecessary drama, people?) Broad and Chorro streets don't even feel safe to drive a car on, especially with parked vehicles on both sides of the road. Are you a 9-year-old from the neighborhood who needs to ride your bike to school? Pucker up, because biking down one of those streets with cars in both lanes is a thrill ride.

Think of it this way: City Councilmember Aaron Gomez described the importance of a "cultural shift" that needs to happen in this city. You can pick which side you want to be on. Δ

The shredder still shreds, but likes to recycle, reduce, and reuse. Send comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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