What a year, SLO County! There was no shortage of political shenanigans, stupidity, and slime in 2016. Our intrepid news team has already recapped the 10 biggest stories of the year, but aside from the usual suspects—the county supes, various city officials, and NIMBY gadflies du jour—a few otherwise private citizens set themselves up for some shredding. Weirdly, they were all menfolk, so without further adieu, gentlemen, here’s to you!
Remember Los Osos resident Neil Sigurd Wampler, who decided to show his solidarity with professional moron Ammon Bundy and his band of Faux American Heroes Who Want To Protect Ranchers’ God Given Right To Use Public Resources Without Paying For Them by joining the group in Oregon, where they occupied a wildlife refuge (Jan. 28, “False Advertising”)? Yeah, that was cool, especially later when the gaggle of armed white dudes got off with no penalties whatsoever while unarmed Native American Water Protectors peacefully protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline were attacked by dogs, hosed down in subfreezing temperatures by water canons, and shot with rubber bullets.
Then there was former NCAA wrestler and SLO resident Robin Olson who claimed he was attacked by a mountain lion during a Prefumo Canyon hike (Feb. 11, “Hello Kitty!”). He had to snap the cat’s neck like a No. 2 pencil, but not before the vicious cougar managed to shallowly scratch his arms and legs with its twig-like claws, leaving wounds that looked like Olson fell into a poorly-trimmed hedge or possibly a rose bush.
“It was horrible,” Olson said tearfully during a KSBY TV interview. “I love animals.”
Hey, what’re you gonna do? If an imaginary lion attacks, you must use your martial arts skills to defend yourself, go to the most gullible local media outlets, and let them spread misinformation. Not only did KSBY release Olson’s story before confirming any of it was true, but CalCoastNews.com also jumped on the lion attack story bandwagon. Clap. Clap. Clap.
What about those awesome neighbors down in Nipomo who were upset about housing for H2-A workers (April. 14, “Mads World”)? Donna and Greg France, who own Mar Vista Berry, were in the process of constructing seven three-bedroom homes on Mads Place to legally house their foreign ag workers when one of the houses mysteriously burned down.
“They should have went and did this [built houses for ag workers] somewhere else,” said Rick, a neighbor who wouldn’t give Santa Maria Sun reporter Brenna Swanston his last name. “This is residential. I don’t mind the people, don’t get me wrong, but go do this somewhere else. They’re all men, and I’ve got a little kid here, a little girl. They’re all coming from that side of the border. Hell no, I don’t like it. But I wouldn’t do that [arson].”
Cross “Rick” off your list of possible suspects, investigators, but you maybe should look into Josey Wales, Ph.D, who wrote to the Santa Maria Times website before the fire: “Wouldn’t it be a shame if those newly constructed 17 people in a single family house accidentally caught fire and burned down? Just saying.”
Ha-ha! “Just saying”! You’re a real hoot, Josey Wales! What’s your doctorate in, Theoretical Assholery?
Then there was pro-lifer Danny Ehinger, who snuck an anti-abortion float into Templeton Fourth of July Parade (July 14, “Sound Judgment?”). I love a parade, the tramping of feet, I love every beat I hear of a drum, that rat-a-tat-tat, the blare of a horn, the dead baby parts and Confederate flags! I love a parade!
Yeah, the Abolitionist Society of San Luis Obispo—an anti-choice group that’s also opposed to in-vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, and certain forms of birth control—designed the float and lied their way into the parade.
Meanwhile in the same parade, the SLO4Wheelers—a group of off-road enthusiasts—also caught heat after one of their vehicle entries was sporting a big ol’ Confederate flag. What better way to celebrate America’s birthday than by flying the flag of the group of rogue states that tried to secede from the union, leading to the bloodiest conflict on American soil?
Ehinger and his Abolitionists got shredded again when they protested outside Morro Bay High School (Oct. 20, “Something stinks”). They apparently think the way to cut down on abortion is to aggressively confront people with gross photos of aborted fetuses.
Let me be clear. The First Amendment protects this group, their director Ehinger, and all Americans’ right to free speech. They have every right to take their super classy posters emblazoned with fetus parts and throw them in the faces of 14- to 17-year-old children on their way to school. The question is, should they?
And in the “you can’t make his stuff up” category (Nov. 3, “I only pretended to lick?”), remember Paso Robles High School Football Coach Richard Schimke who may have licked maple syrup out of his player Joe Moscato’s belly button in a post-game celebration?
Did Coach Dick lick it out or only pretend to lick it out as his Ventura-based attorney Bob Barosh asserts, and more importantly, aren’t both scenarios really, really weird and creepy? Schimke was found innocent of any improprieties, and restored to his teaching gig. It remains to be seen if Coach Dick and his syrup will return to the football field next season. No update on Moscato’s belly button.
Oh the memories! Here’s hoping some women compete for biggest moron of 2017. Yes the competition is fierce, but I have faith there’s enough stupidity to go around.
The Shredder loves the poorly educated. Send ideas and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.