I’ve been looking for more excitement in my life, so I decided to try one of those aerial wolf-gunning trips that everyone was talking about before Republican VP hopeful Sarah Palin’s out-of-wedlock grandchild became the most interesting part of her campaign. After some clumsy clicking around online, I bought what I thought was a ticket for the next hunt in Alaska, but actually turned out to be the first season of Airwolf on DVD. It’s not what I was hoping for, but Ernest Borgnine sort of looks like John McCain if I squint just right.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 900 in May of last year, opening the floodgates for $1.2 billion to flow into financing jail construction. Every county with a spare prisoner or two lying around wants to splash around in that pool of funds, and San Luis Obispo County is no exception. Neither is Santa Barbara County. Or San Benito County. The three counties are all hoping to send their scofflaws to a re-entry facility to be built in Paso Robles. If they do, they can tap into grant money to help fund their own facilities, like a women’s jail in SLO County or a regular, non-women’s jail in northern Santa Barbara County.
Not surprisingly, leaders in Paso Robles are hesitating, and that hesitation is putting millions of dollars for the county triumverate on the line. The re-entry facility will remain nothing more than a plan and a dream unless the Paso City Council members get behind it—and they’re still not 100-percent sure about the whole idea.
Police Chief Lisa Solomon, who recently attended a town hall meeting about the facility with councilmen Duane Picanco, Fred Strong, and John Hamon, indicated as recently as a few days ago that they’re not ready to jump in bed with the already-in-progress me;nage-a-trois. Paso officials are considering talking about the issue on Sept. 16, so time is short.
Is Paso going to remain virtuous by waiting out the clock? And here’s another question: Wouldn’t you? California’s recidivism rates currently soar at something like 70 percent, so even if a re-entry facility with fancy drug treatment and work study programs manages to knock that number down another 30 percent or so, four out of every 10 prisoners would still get out with their minds set on continuing to commit crimes. The grant money hinges on counties taking their own parolees back once time is served, but Paso leaders worry that a lifetime drug dealer from Grover Beach would take a look around Paso Robles and decide to commit his misdemeanors darn near paradise from now on.
They also think that Santa Barbara and San Benito counties talk the big talk now with their assurances of bringing parolees back into the county fold, but when it comes time to walk the walk—or drive the ex-cons, as it were—Paso’s going to be stuck with a bunch of guys who need ongoing drug treatment, who are looking for work, and who have no easy way to get back to Santa Maria or Hollister. San Benito County doesn’t even touch SLO County.
Speaking of counties, everybody was wondering why three SLO County supervisors not long ago voted to give some county land over to Santa Barbara County, all for the benefit of the Perrett family. Why would county supes give up land and tax dollars for no obvious reason? Here’s a clue: It turns out the Perrett’s are big time Republican donors and have given money to two of the three Republican supervisors who voted for the switch. Thanks for the parting gift, Jerry Lenthall and Harry Ovitt!
New Times Calendar Editor Christy Heron feeds her meter. She pays her occasional parking ticket. So why did karma intervene on this young writer, as a SLO “parking meter technician”—I think meterman has a better ring to it—dropped a parking meter on her brand new car, more than one month ago, while she was hard at work at New Times? The meterman, expressing great remorse, at least left her a note. But if the guy admitted wrongdoing, then why does Christy’s Ford Fusion still have an $800 scratch on it? After going through what she described as miles of red tapeworms (I hope for her sake that I got that wrong) she finally got hold of an insurance guy who explained to her that the City of San Luis has been quite inconvenienced by the entire situation.
I’m sure she’s very sorry to have bothered the city, but whose parking meter was dropped on whose car here? In addition, the city apparently decided that because Christy cannot be trusted with money owed to her for the damages, the check would be sent directly to Mullahey Ford (Where Good Things are Happening!) in Arroyo Grande. Only it wasn’t. Sent, that is. Insurance guy: “Ford was supposed to call Christy ... the check is in the mail ... They didn’t receive the check? On second thought, the check should be issued this week.” Let’s hope so, because that many tapeworms would make anybody grumpy.
And here’s still more distressing news: Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen’s Club has stopped offering its coupons for one free lap dance in this paper. They’ve switched instead to a half-off special. To that, I ask: Which half!? While still a decided bargain in terms of gentlemen’s entertainment, the switch is unfortunate because many, many people have found that coupon some weeks to be the most useful part of New Times.