Opinion » Shredder

I'm with stupid

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And I thought it was going to be a dull news week. Silly me. Who figured anything could’ve top the apocalyptic laundry list of pointless SLO City Council bans from last week? Dammit all! They banned duck feeding to keep ducks from pooping in the lake. Deep breaths, ol’ Shred; deep breaths. What could possibly be more mind-blowing?

Enter Arroyo Grande City Councilman Ed “Glutton For Punishment” Arnold. He’s facing a new round of charges—which include allegations that he had video of a 16-year-old foreign exchange student showering in his home—on the eve of his court appearance for allegedly beating his wife’s alleged lover with a metal pipe. Note the use of “alleged.” The proper course is to assume he’s done nothing wrong until convicted.

Problem is, in the world of city politics, all that “alleged” stuff isn’t worth crap. Every decision Arnold makes and ever will now has to squirm its way through public scrutiny. Perhaps it’s time to tuck tail and defend the charges outside the council chambers. At least he didn’t show up at the last council meeting—and hopefully he won’t pop in at the next one. Because even if he were vindicated tomorrow, it wouldn’t matter if he took that council seat the next day.

There’s no sense playing this game of ignoring the charges and refusing to resign. If he decides to stay on the council and ignores the request by everybody else to step down, sure, it might be a stand for innocence. But it’s going to drag everything the city does to an unnecessary halt. As if public commenters aren’t obnoxious and repetitive enough without assault and child pornography charges to rage over.

Moving on. It’s as if people are coordinating their stupidity. This week, the theme is “stupid things that could have been easily avoided.” For example, the SLO County Employees Union hired axed deputy county administrator Gail Wilcox. This is both a shockingly idiotic move for Wilcox, who now thrusts her name back into the public sphere for more giggly finger pointing, and an unabashedly ballsy move by SLOCEA.

“Fire Wilcox, will you county? Well, take this!”

I suppose the union’s fed up with getting thrown under the bus while the Sheriff’s Department—well, basically everyone who isn’t SLOCEA—gets pay increases during grim times. Even given Kimm Daniels’ reputation for being as warm and accommodating as an afghan crocheted from ice shavings, it’s still a big “screw you” to throw someone like Wilcox back onto the county stage.

   Don’t forget, Wilcox was fired amid revelations of her diddling one of the top commanders of the sheriff’s union. In other words: She was punished for severely unethical behavior as a labor negotiator. And her sexual exploits were e-mailed, printed, copied, reprinted, and possibly dropped by freight plane into small villages for anyone who wanted to read over like a kid sneaking a peek at his sister’s diary. Remember the “Adonis” and the “Sacramento Guy?” Tee hee.

Now, Daniels and their hired PR
boob Cory Black are snubbing all notions that this ploy might be for shock value. Of course, why wouldn’t they play the Wilcox hand? If and when Wilcox goes back before her former employers, it’s going to be like bumping into an ex at a party.

“Um. Hey. How’s it going? You look good. Seriously, though, don’t make a scene. My friends are watching.”

None of this is to completely discount last week’s moronic moves at the SLO City Council. If I might hearken back to the duck-pooping issue, let me put things in a different context. Read this week’s cover story about sexual offenders and notice that many of the laws are as toothless as a gummy old man gnawing on an apple. That’s part of the reason why cities like Grover Beach and Paso Robles enacted stricter local ordinances to prevent sex offenders from setting up hearth and home near schools, parks, churches, and other deviant hotspots. In Grover, for example, Pervo John can’t live within 1,000 feet of such places. In Paso, it’s a quarter mile.

In SLO, however, there’s no such ordinance. Instead, leaders focused their attention on corking duck bums and snuffing out the cigs of bar rats.

At the county, they’re spending most of their time wasting air trying to explain to county lawyers why it’s OK
to make about $199,000 per year instead of about $204,000. Not that that’s going to stop these greedy little members of the Deputy County Counsels Association from throwing 5-year-old-quality temper tantrums about their pay.

“But how will my Cuban cabana boy polish my Porsche?”

Their main gripe: The salary increases are being offset by increases to their pension contributions. On top of that, they say, increased benefits packages do little to help the oldest farts who are on the verge of retirement and settling into their graves.

So they’re now stuck with their county-imposed salary and benefits package. Poor dears. Maybe next time you should hire Wilcox.

Shredder is as Shredder does. Send more stupidity to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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