Opinion » Shredder

Poisoning the well

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It’s easy to look to Washington D.C. and want to projectile vomit all over the relentless gridlock, rank partisanship, and infantile intransigence. Just thinking about it makes me want to puke on turtle-like Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Whole Lotta Nope” McConnell. Baaaaarf! It seems like at the federal level, Democrats and Republicans are simply incapable of accomplishing anything other than, say, increasing their own pay, vacation time, and benefits. The “ayes” have it, amirite?

But local and state politics are supposed to be different. Local pols are supposed to work together to represent their constituents and not simply obstruct the opposition for the sake of obstruction. But for it to work, constituents need to treat their local politicians not as their whipping boys on which to take out their anger over federal government policies.

It’s one thing for activists to rail against their national representatives, to march in the streets, to hold protest signs and chant slogans at rallies, but it’s another to bring that fury over federal politics home. Case in point: 35th District State Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, whose Feb. 23 meet-and-greet devolved into an extended left-wing attack on President Donald J. Trump and his “policies,” and Cunningham was forced to act as designated effigy. Burn baby, burn!

Cunningham had planned the event as a casual gathering in which he’d move from table to table, engaging in small conversations about local and state issues of importance, but the throng of 100 or so lefties wasn’t having it. They screamed for a “town hall” style meeting where Cunningham would address the entire audience, which he acquiesced to even though he didn’t have a microphone. Throughout the event, the crowd remained cantankerous, challenging him at every turn.

When questioned about immigration, Cunningham brought up a bill he’d submitted designed to protect undocumented workers from being coerced into sex under threat of deportation.

“It’s not enough!” an audience member yelled.

Guess what? Nothing is ever enough in politics and governance. Compromise sucks, small steps are infuriating, but something is better than nothing, and any liberal who would protest Cunningham’s bill to protect undocumented workers simply because it came from a conservative is part of the problem.

Cunningham is representing our district at the state level. He has virtually zero control over Trump or the U.S. Congress. His agenda isn’t radical right. I may wish that Cunningham’s opponent—Dawn Ortiz-Legg and her luxurious tan exterior and insouciant ingénuesque coiffeur—was representing me in the state Assembly, but she lost. If you want to vent at Trump, do it. Go vent at His Orange Un-holiness, but don’t go to a state rep’s public meeting hosted in good faith to discuss state issues and yell at him about federal policies.

Trust me, when he does something shredworthy, I’ll take Cunningham down like a cheetah running down a helpless impala, but give the guy a chance. It’s not like he’s Trumpelthinskin Jr.

Look, after eight years of Republican obstruction, my biggest fear is that Democrats will take up the same “nope-nope-nope” strategy, which would be the height of hypocrisy. Don’t let your frustration over national politics poison local politics.

What you should be doing is having your own Joint Session of Congress by sparking up a legal doobie and chilling the eff out! Except the SLO County Board of Supervisors is fixing to screw with your legit right to burn down a Bob Marley-style blunt.

They’re mulling over a draft proposal limiting marijuana grows in SLO County. Currently there are more than 400 registered grows, which means there are probably more, but the new proposal wants to limit the number of permits to a measly 100.

Let me break it down for you, Sooper-Vizors. First, this limit is going to put a lot of small businesses out of business. Isn’t that something you’re against, conservative supervisors John Peschong, Lynn Compton, and Debbie Arnold? Second, all the new rules in this ordinance amount to a whole ton of government regulation about setbacks and square footage; isn’t that Big Government at its worst? Third, the small number of permits and onerous regulatory burdens will probably mean only deep-pocketed ag corporations will be able to score permits, again squeezing out the little guys.

How are y’all gonna decide on who gets the permits anyway? First come, first served? Ro-sham-bo? Steel cage death match?

Arnold actually had the nerve to suggest the draft ordinance was designed to protect other ag growers from marijuana growers. Um, where was your worry about other ag growers when grapes took over the county? Grapes took up 46,000-plus acres of SLO County land in 2015, eclipsing the 11,000 acres dedicated to grain hay production—which is second in terms of planted acreage—and the 3,400 dedicated to strawberries. Those berries brought $222.6 million to the county in 2015 compared to the $146.4 million grapes generated.

But since this is evil weed, the sky is falling! She thinks marijuana is too profitable per acre so nothing else can compete, but one of the reasons it’s profitable is because it’s been sold in an illegal underground black market. Shouldn’t prices fall now?

Not only that, but the county wants to forbid retail outlets for recreational marijuana. I guess that means that even though weed is legal, the retail market for it isn’t, keeping the black market alive and thriving.

WTF? Are you guys stoned or something?

The Shredder swears it’s medicinal. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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