Opinion » Shredder

Postcards of the hanging

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Excuse me as I wipe the blood from my shirt; I just had a front-row seat to a guillotine and the spray was like something from a Gallagher show. County Administrator David Edge called his unanimous, mysterious, curious firing by the Board of Supervisors a public execution and, while the phrase was a bit dramatic, it was about right.

Those who paid close attention to the show learned that:

1. Somebody, or somebodies, made some accusations against Edge.

2. The “blogosphere” is a den of iniquity and inaccuracy, where allegations of sexual harassment are to be condemned, ridiculed, and then … not quite denied.

3. Edge says his end was actually writ the day the board’s political makeup changed; it’s all about politics, he says.

After the show, his head neatly tucked in a basket at his side, Edge told writer Colin Rigley that he sat in on part of the May 8 closed-door meeting where the board decided to get rid of him. He said he was eventually offered a choice: He could either go quietly by stepping down, in which case he would get only part of his severance package, or he could face the humiliation of a public firing in an open meeting and get the whole package.

It couldn’t have been much of a choice after Calcoastnews.com published a report based on a single unnamed source—one the writer later described on the radio as not that great a source—that said Edge had been accused of sexual harassment.

So Edge gets a kick in the balls and his reputation trashed, but he gets to walk off with a parting prize of $237,000 worth of severance and sick pay. That may be the process but it doesn’t seem right.

If he truly did something inappropriate, then he shouldn’t get the money. If he didn’t truly didn’t do something inappropriate, then his reputation should be restored. If it’s about mere want for a new leadership style, then the board members should say so.

At the very least, the taxpayers deserve to be told why the county’s top manager was sent off under a cloud. Even if they don’t want to offer all the details, just say what was at stake. Is this new Board of Supervisors about transparency or secrecy? [Warning, obligatory Shredder-column Pat Hedges reference coming:] We certainly saw their leanings when it came to Sheriff Hedges. They were happy to settle a lawsuit, but wouldn’t release the county’s investigation into his actions.

So this new board seems to have carried over the habit of relying on secrets of convenience. We all deserve better.

The flow

Who’d have predicted that the tectonic political upheaval from recent months would have spit, on a rhetorical, metaphorical bed of flowing magma, our local Republicans into the top of their diminished party?

Sam Blakeslee earned his advancement by climbing the ladder. Abel Maldonado is on the outs with his party but he seems to be one of the only winners of the special election. The voters overwhelmingly rejected the oddly worded and confusing propositions related to balancing the budget. The only one they approved was Abel’s, the one written in straight, populist, English. Abel traded his vote for the budget deal in exchange for putting the proposition on the ballot. It prevents the state from giving raises to lawmakers and state officials when the state is in a deficit.

 I thought Abel’s actions during the budget battle were self-serving, and this certainly doesn’t prove me wrong, but it doesn’t mean they weren’t shrewd.  I think they’ll serve his self quite well.

Can’t they just call it the “Special Place Soliloquy?” 

The choicest bit from Ashley Schwellenbach’s cover story this week on Cuesta College’s queasiness regarding its drama program and director bree valle is where we learn that George Stone, the former department chair of the Performing Arts Department, asked valle not to use the word vagina on the posters advertising “The Vagina Monologues.”

What would they have replaced the word with? Girl part?  Cootchie? Just maybe he’s a big fan of the Black Eyed Peas. And, just maybe, he was hoping the show could be called the “Lovely Lady Lump Lecture?”

Could someone please tell George that vagina is the word you use when you don’t want to use a naughty word? That, George, is actually the term for that part of the body on females. Perhaps he could be directed to the campus health department for a refresher course. Here’s my advice: Since George is in the music division, I think he should pay closer attention to the naughty words in his own division before worrying about the drama folks. First, he could find another word for trombone—the bone part is highly suggestive. Also, many of those string instruments are womanly in shape; let’s insist the cellos be covered in floor-length skirts. And the French horn, well, that’s clearly just a “y” away from French horny.  And I’ve long thought that “pianist” sounds kind of dirty. But maybe that’s just me. 

Win a New Tie!

So New Times is having this songwriting competition, and the finalists will all get to perform at Downtown Brew, and they’re going to be giving out a trophy and bringing attention to local bands. That all sounds great, but what’s the deal with calling the award the Newtie?

It’s supposed to be pronounced like “nudie,” like cutie, but it doesn’t look that way in print. It looks like new tie.

Glen Starkey might blow his rockabilly stack for me bringing this up, but isn’t a new tie about the most un-rocking thing that exists?

Write to shredder at shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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