This guy at my work is a real snot-nosed narc. He keeps calling attention to the fact that Atascadero city employees are violating their own rules about vacation time for employees. How do I go about shutting him up? I’ve tried expressing my annoyance at City Council meetings but he just keeps bringing it up, and it’s starting to make us all look bad. Frankly, we really don’t need any help in that department.
—Annoyed in Atascadero
Have you tried taping “Kick me” notes to his back? Also, nothing says “get lost!” like a flaming bag of poop on his doorstep. If he’s immune to Post-it notes and excrement, you could try reasoning with him. Sit Mike Brennler down over a nice cuppa tea and explain, rationally, that what the two of you are quibbling over is six of one and half a dozen of another. Honestly, there’s no difference between Atascadero city employees working and Atascadero city employees sipping Mai Tais on a beach in Hawaii. Essentially, the outcome is the same: The city’s broke, and City Manager Wade McKinney thinks it’s OK to break the rules because they never obeyed the rules in the first place. On the plus side, you can take solace in the fact that you live in Atascadero, where people are used to hearing about Congress-level dumb-assery on a regular basis. So you’ll probably get a free pass with this one.
My entire adult life I’ve been a fan of renewable energy. But, when I think about SunPower, my hard-on for green energy wilts like a flower without sun. How do I reconcile my desire for solar energy with my distrust?
—Questioning in California Valley
It’s true that SunPower has displayed certain Machiavellian tendencies not typically in line with the green energy movement. I don’t have enough space to chronicle the company’s boners, so try to imagine an ’80s montage complete with giant bags of cash, slick PR talk, and dead kangaroo rats. Feel free to hum your favorite butt-rock anthem as we stroll down memory lane. Early on, SunPower started, shall we call it, dabbling in local politics. In 2009, planning commissioner Sarah Christie was forced to step down. Two major solar projects were coming up—one of which was SunPower—and Christie did her job a little too well. After the solar bullies exerted some well-meaning political pressure, supervisor Jim Patterson folded like a soufflé. Soon, Christie was gone, leaving a wake of gutless yes-men on the planning commission. Fast forward to April, when SunPower sold a majority share to French oil giant Total SA, meaning the company is now just a hop, skip, and oil-soaked pelican away from environmental rape. Recently, you might remember how they tweaked their plans in a way that sent gravel trucks barreling through Santa Margarita and conveniently forgot to tell the town. Oopsies! And when the public found out, the company quickly changed the routes back as if nothing had happened. Environmental Impact Reports are just formalities anyway, right? After all, they’ve already ousted the woman asking the pointed questions. You should be about finished humming “We’re Not Gonna Take It!” by now. Just don’t get too inspired. I guess the short answer, Questioning, is that you’re screwed.
I think I’m having a problem communicating. Every week I go to the Board of Supervisors and say the exact same thing and nobody seems to listen. Also, my application to lynch Paavo Ogren and Maria Kelly was rejected, AGAIN. What am I doing wrong?
—Los Osos Sewer Nut
It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I consider what I am about to say the most important piece of advice I have ever given: SHUT UP. For years I’ve listened to you rant about your sewer. You hate it. You really hate it. You want more funding. You’re not happy about the funding you got. I’m not sure what you want, and I don’t think you are either. You’ve had years to formulate a cohesive statement, argument, manifesto, anything. Instead, all anyone’s heard for years is incoherent rambling against anyone and everyone even remotely connected to Los Osos. And if they’re not on your side—whatever the hell side that happens to be—they’re against you. There are two ways to go about this. One way is to sit down privately and try to reach a resolution. The other way is to grandstand on TV and the radio every week clearly getting nowhere. You’ve fallen in love with the sound of your own ramblings, and probably driven away people who might have something important to contribute to the subject. You have managed to accomplish nothing, really. Might I suggest a hobby? Perhaps crocheting unicorns onto pillowcases; believe it or not, that’s actually a more substantial contribution to society. I’m a cheapskate, but I’ll happily chip in for yarn if you’ll cork it.
No one seems to recognize I’m the boss now. I sit in the center seat. It even says “chairman” in my job title. But they won’t hang on my every word and kowtow to my every whim. I tell them to shut up. I even turn off their microphones during public comment. I got a cop to stand in the back of the room and everything. And they still won’t do what I say. I’m thinking of bringing in my water-boarding kit from home.
—Um … Anonymous
Dear Supervisor Adam Hill … I mean Anonymous,
I’ve got nothing. It sounds like you’ve really dug yourself in deep on this one. Good luck in 2012, buddy.
Shredder crochets fishsticks onto vodka bottles. Rant till you’re blue in the face at firstname.lastname@example.org.