Opinion » Shredder

I say 'meh'

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How is it anywhere within the realm of infinite possibilities that John Shoals, the mayor of Grover Beach, is also allowed to shovel PR for PG&E? I can’t be the only one who thinks this is disgusting. Seriously, I just dry heaved a bit.

OK. I’ll give you that Grover Beach isn’t exactly a gleaming example of progressive government, but the notion that Shoals is haphazardly straddling the public and private lines in this way and getting away with it is insane. Yeah, yeah, I get it. Lots of small-time politicians have day jobs in the private sector.

Consider, though, that Shoals’ new job is governmental affairs representative: the person tasked with selling the relicensing of Diablo Canyon to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the public, and other government agencies. This means he testifies at public meetings on behalf of a utility, which just feels awkward. There’s nothing inherently wrong and he’s not breaking any laws as far as I can tell, but it seems slimy. Doesn’t it?

He probably has more pull as a corporate shill after years of shilling himself for politics than he would as your average non-politician Joe. That doesn’t bother me. It’s just the audacity—the unabashed balls—that he splits his time between governing a city and pushing the 20-year extension of a nuclear power plant. I don’t even care about the arguments for and against nuclear power. If Shoals jumped in on the marketing campaign for windmills
that also churn free ice cream and didn’t drop the mayor gig, I’d still think he’s a shill.

Just for the sake of full disclosure—and because I don’t know which government types do what jobs on the side—if you know of a politician who has a seedy-like day job, shoot me an e-mail. If I’m feeling particularly amorous, I may compile everything into a big list. Even better, I’ll put it in an Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation, which most yammering bureaucrats flock to like Chuck Liddell to awkward marketing stunts. (Have you seen his naked workout? Gross, Liddell.)

And I was in such a good mood.

I’d planned to gush over happy-go-lucky topics like the SLO dog Johnny that won Best in Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club. Really—I was in this bright, cheery mood and then this Shoals business drilled into my brain. That and everyone keeps asking me if I’m OK. Have I been sporting a sad-puppy-dog face lately? Usually it’s more of a bitter-beer face meets angry old curmudgeon on the porch screaming at kids. Seriously, though, those damn kids won’t stay out of my yard no matter how many times I chase them down waving my cane.

What was I talking about?

Maybe I am gloomy. I can’t seem to find much of substance to get huffy about this week. And believe me I’ve tried. I even watched a few government meetings. But in between falling asleep and cutting myself to distract from the onscreen pain, I came up with journalistic bupkis. Have you watched any of these meetings? Take your pick, they’re all the same. You could take a group of committee members or board members or council members—you get the point—stick them in a room and have them talk about the infanticide of retarded chimpanzees and they’d somehow make it boring.

This stuff is so unmercifully dull it makes watching linoleum peel feel like watching paint dry. For example: For the Nipomo particulate study that’s being droned on and on about at the County Health Commission, they literally explained how long it took to perform the study and how they did it before mentioning that all the dust being churned up at the Oceano Dunes is probably making people sick and breaking state air-quality laws on state-owned land. Way to bury the lead! If you want people to pay attention, why not lead with the lung-scraping? There aren’t enough z’s in the alphabet to emphasize how these people castrate important material into indecipherable gibberish.

I’m begging you, with all my shriveled cynical heart, break free of your pods and rejoin the human race. It’s like watching a Disneyland ride puppet try to govern, but less enchanting.

It’s the same as in Washington, D.C., where half the things they say they don’t believe and the half they do believe is so politically safe it isn’t worth repeating.

I guess that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ve been degraded to such a sorry sap that the only thing I can rant about is how boring it is that our pod-people politicians can’t elicit enough emotion themselves for me to find something to rant about. That was barely a coherent sentence. See what they’ve reduced me to? Screw it. I’m just gonna go watch Lost where the overacting isn’t half as bad as the stuff that comes out of your average city council. Except Shoals. Damn him.

Send the names of public officials who whore out to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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