Ahhh … 2014! Can you smell that fresh new year smell? It’s got notes of Tang and pine needles and leftover Yule log, with a lingering hint of possibility, the promise that attends opening a new chapter and bidding farewell to the disappointments, failures, squalor, petty grievances, and moldy tennis shoes that followed me like ball sweat throughout 2013, and 2012, and the year before that and the one before that as well. But not 2014. Nope. This is the year I break away from all the petty politicians and shenaniganing. And what better way to illustrate my point than by launching the first column of the new year with a totally fresh storyline, something we haven’t heard before at least a couple dozen times?
How about Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson calling a special meeting, ostensibly to discuss the Friends of the Oceano Dunes’ attempt to blackmail the Grover Beach City Council into voting her back on the Air Pollution Control District’s board, and then feigning innocence about the meeting’s true purpose: placing her back on the board despite the City Council’s previous concerns about her qualifications? I would love to discuss the myriad absurdities—the Friends of the Oceano Dunes’ baseless claims that they represent 28,000 people, the vast majority of whom probably don’t remember signing up to be represented by the so-called Friends, much less learning the secret handshake, which I’m pretty sure involves kicking sand on an endangered snowy plover. Or the fact that the mayor of Grover Beach is allowing, and even encouraging, a group mostly comprised of non-locals (President Jim Suty hails from the thriving metropolis of San Jose and many of the meeting’s public comments came from people from outside the county) to hijack a project she believes to be in her constituents’ best interest—the Grover Beach Lodge and Conference Center—in order to push her own agenda.
Crap. I guess I have already told this story. In fact, I harped on this theme multiple times throughout 2013. Peterson doesn’t understand science and was distributing factually inaccurate fliers attacking the APCD’s Dust Rule, and subsequently the Grover Beach City Council voted to replace her with Karen Bright. Loudmouth local activist Kevin Rice, who credited himself with bringing Peterson’s removal from the APCD to the Friends’ attention, resulting in the their threats to file an appeal against the lodge and conference center, insists that Bright isn’t sufficiently well researched on the Dust Rule, which easily translates to “doesn’t agree with Rice’s assessment of the issue.” Of course, Rice essentially acknowledged that he hoped the special meeting would turn into a veritable circus—and not the good kind where they sell cotton candy and there’s a reasonable chance you might see someone fall off a highwire. His exact words were “I like my politics wild and wacky,” but he doesn’t seem to understand that these charming “wild and wacky” shenanigans cost the taxpayers money. And if there’s one thing I thought anti-tax blowhards were good for, it’s complaining when the government spends money.
Rice’s assertion—one frequently parroted by the Central Valley residents who invaded Grover Beach for the meeting—was that Peterson was voted off the board for asking the tough questions. Of course, given the inaccuracy of the information on fliers she was caught distributing in Grover Beach, she either hasn’t been asking enough or the right questions. But as long as she comes down on the side of “damn-guvmint-making-up-rules-about-dust,” Rice and the Friends will continue to support her, facts be damned—or, more likely, contorted or ignored.
The special meeting ended with an agreement to respond to the Friends’ letter with—gasp—another letter! Of course, they probably could have drafted a letter of response without calling a special meeting, but then Peterson wouldn’t have been able to pretend that the meeting’s real purpose wasn’t to verbally punish the City Council for voting her off the APCD board and, potentially, return her seat.
We don’t yet know how this will all play out because we don’t yet know how many strings Supervisor Adam Hill is going to pull to make this problem go away. Maybe he’ll call in a personal favor to President Obama and have Kevin Rice deported to North Korea. If Rice likes his politics wild and wacky, North Korea should be better than Disneyland, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and that giant ball of yarn somewhere in one of the middle states that no one cares about, all rolled into one. Because we all know that everything that happens in this county is controlled and dictated by Hill, right down to the color shirt I’m wearing today—which I would call Racehorse Piss Yellow. I even heard he used his finely honed mind control powers to draw Suty and his family all the way from San Jose to help make the point that Peterson’s strongest support comes not from her constituents, but, essentially, a lobbying group whose members mostly don’t reside in Grover Beach. Or San Luis Obispo County, for that matter. He’s the reason I can’t get a date in this county despite coming equipped with a cloud of aftershave that rivals an atomic bomb and libido-inspiring phrases like, “I lost my phone number. Can I have yours?” Of course, this would probably work a lot better if I hadn’t actually lost my phone number, along with my car, and briefly forgotten my name. Not to worry, though, I’m pretty sure Hill’s somehow responsible for that too.
Shredder hears San Jose has lovely views of the highway. Send real estate facts to firstname.lastname@example.org.