Opinion » Street Talk

In the line of fire

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Well, Editor Ed Connolly's been around here one week and he's already made a mess of things. Check out all those corrections this week. Whoops, I guess Dan Carpenter is not running for SLO mayor. That's a nice screw up. And we write one of those puff pieces we put in Strokes & Plugs and we spell the name of the businesses wrong?

I thought Ed was short for Editor. We never used to have mistakes before Ed showed up. At all. Now, their all over the place.

Still, he did a hell of a nice story on the loopholes in state gun laws. In case you didn't get it, the main point was that the state Attorney General's office has been sending out warning notices to police updating them on those people who--because they've been deemed criminal, crazy, or both--should no longer be allowed to have a gun.

It sounds like a hell of a good idea, but there are some real problems with making it work.

The most basic problem is that some police agencies don't even take the simplest action of subscribing to the list, like in Santa Maria, where Lee Isaak Bedwell Leeds might or might not be going on trial for allegedly killing his father and three other men in a junkyard.

Police aren't saying yet how they think he might have got the gun. I wonder why.

But there's even more disturbing information in the story, namely that even those agencies that do subscribe to the list, such as the SLO County Sheriff's Department and the SLO Police, don't take the next logical step of getting a warrant and looking for the guns.

They say it should be the state's responsibility and, um, they don't have the manpower and, ah, it wouldn't be easy to get a warrant.

I can see why nobody'd want the job of taking guns from armed lunatics, but that's the sort of thing--like cleaning out the refrigerator--you put off to your own detriment. Kung pao!

Go get the guns from the bad guys. Protect and serve.

Deb Arnold steps up

The surprising thing about Debbie Arnold's letter this week, where she talks about the push-poll-that-wasn't-a-push poll her campaign waged recently to find the weak fleshy spots in Supervisor Jim Patterson's political flank, is that she owned up to it.

According to a transcript provided by longtime Cal Poly Political Science Professor Richard Kranzdorf, the poll asked questions such as: "Did you know that Jim Patterson supported a creekside ordinance that severely restricted property owners' rights and was later repealed?"

Just for the record, whatever Arnold alleges, that was an Atascadero city matter, one that neither Patterson nor any other supervisor had any authority over. He spoke on the matter during a City Council meeting's public comment period last year.

The poll was full of junk like that. And the poll seemed to go against Arnold's earliest promises not to take things dirty in this campaign. Maybe the pressure of real campaign season--since January, she's gotten tons of money from all the big developer heavy-hitters--has her reexamining her pledge. Or maybe I just have a skewed definition of dirty.

Still, the way Arnold just flat out admitted that her campaign was responsible for the poll and then defended it puts her up a step in my mind.

She didn't hide or duck, and that's more than you can expect of most politicians. Kung pao!

Following the money

Speaking of which, if you follow the money, you get the sense that the folks with the deepest pockets are leaning more Arnold's way than toward Supervisor Jerry Lenthall, who is facing a steep challenge from Adam Hill.

There are only so many dollars around for pro-growth candidates, right? I mean, developers and builders and other people who put up houses have to keep at least some of their hard-earned dollars to feed their own families and then fund more development.

During the most recent period, Lenthall raised $41,883. Arnold reported earning more than $106,000 during that same period, from January to March 17. Both of them beat their more liberal opponents in fundraising--Lenthall only by $8,000 or so over Hill and Arnold getting nearly triple that of Patterson.

But it's just as interesting to see all that cash pouring toward Arnold, whose contributor list looked like a who's who of the local conservative-developer-complex: Madonna, Hearst, Gearhart, Quaglino, Twisselman, Buban, Pearce you end up recognizing a lot of the last names on that list.

Could it be they've decided Lenthall's so vulnerable this election that they need to pump up Arnold in a hope she can defeat Patterson? Kung pao!

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