Opinion » Shredder

Of mountains and molehills

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I’m reminded of the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare, you see, was this spunky little nincompoop who kept tripping over himself as he ran to canoodle with everything along the way that remotely resembled a hot bunny chick.

“Ouch,” he’d say as his flippity-floppity feet caught on loose branches, causing him to stumble and face plant his cute little button nose into the dirt. “I gotta get to the finish line—but wait, that kind of looks like Babs Bunny. Rats! Just another shrub. Oh, there’s another one!”

Now the tortoise, on the other hand, was slow and steady. He trotted along at a lethargic pace, occasionally shouting ahead to the hare, “Dude! We’re not actually racing.”

Oh, yeah. In my version, there is no race, but the hare is still bolting ahead like there’s a pack of hyenas nipping at his butt. You see, the hare in this case is a metaphor for nearly every story published on the Dystiny Myers case. In the frantic scramble to add more drama while the story of a murdered 15-year-old is still hot, it’s getting ever-more difficult to chew through the bologna before there’s more bologna to chew through.

My bologna has a first name, it’s S-M-E-A-R.

I’m not sure who the tortoise represents. Maybe common sense over sensationalism.

The latest scandal is over a purported videotape that shows people beating someone—Myers?—in the back of a truck while two Pismo cops sip lattes. As with many of the Myers stories, the real scandal seems to be that the stories tend to get shoved out the door as fast as possible. First it was the Trib’s coverage of her Myspace.com page and disconcerting attempts to paint her as a confused party girl who may have deserved an ill fate. Most recently, it’s the Kccn.tv mash-up over the purported videotape. The tape, as it turns out, might not exist. Or it might exist, but it might not have anything significant on it. The gas station manager and owner have since said there is a tape, but there’s nothing to see.

Someday, Dystiny, you’ll be able to rest in peace.

Sucker punches

Blippity, bloop, blop. Hum, diggidy, dum. Oh, sorry, I’ll just hum to myself while you read this week’s cover story written by the now bleary-eyed Staff Writer Matt Fountain, who’s been banging his head against a wall trying to get local cops to peep up as to why they’ve metaphorically spanked a local couple following an excessive probation search.

Fountain was forced to paw through a few skeleton-stuffed closets while reporting this story. Remember the Iron Posse? The “ride fast and live free,” now-disbanded sheriff’s deputies motorcycle club? And then there was Jay Vestal, a man who died beneath the knee of a sheriff’s deputy in a marijuana bust. These are the types of things most people don’t forget, though they’ve probably tried their darndest.

But they didn’t forget the name Jim Eickholdt, who was a major burr in the department’s rear back when. The Sheriff’s Department recently decided to send more than a dozen cops armed to the teeth and garbed in their best Gestapo attire to stick a gun in Jim’s wife’s face while she was sleeping. Sure, the department had a legitimate reason to perform a probation search, but it appears they conducted the search illegitimately. Even Chief Probation Officer Jim Salio had “no idea” why the Narcotics Task Force was apparently leading this crusade.

After failing to turn up anything incriminating, various county strong-armers flung a bunch of screw-you charges at Eickholdt and family. It looks downright sketchy, the type of situation in which a bunch of badged goons bombarded a sleepy family over, well, nothing.

In another overkill situation, SLO City Manager Katie Lichtig had a bit of a meltdown the other night. It was weird, but, in hindsight, not that surprising. Steve Barasch, a long-time public rabble-rouser who says the city is blowing its limited funds, told the City Council they’re still blowing their funds and living outside their means. Barasch is also one of the people behind a local initiative that would force the city to go to voters every time it wants to raise fees—something all city officials really hate.

Lichtig’s reaction was really fast and shocking, catching our man on the scene—Staff Writer Robert A. McDonald—so off guard he barely had time to scribble some notes. What he did scribble is how Lichtig went ballistic on Barasch. She called him a liar and said he’s been falsifying facts, then went off on some weird tangent about what Barasch said on the radio.

I hear she later apologized, but did so to the City Council. But I’m sure they were real torn up about it, like they just saw their parents fight at the dinner table and then had to scarf down meatloaf in awkward silence.

We know Lichtig can negotiate—she got more than $300,000 a year in total compensation out of the city folks who hired her. Let’s see you bare your teeth against someone for the public good and not your pride, Katie. Let’s see you earn your fortune.

Also that night she presented a whopper of a financial forecast. City financial goobers are predicting “downward pressures on salaries from the loose labor market” and presume the city won’t be funding any new frivolous projects. *Cough* One million dollar fire truck and *egh-hem* downtown improvements. Excuse me, I have an allergic reaction to B.S.

When this shrub’s a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’ to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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