Whew. I'm glad that's over. Now, who's ready for 2020?
I know. I need to chill the eff out. We haven't even recovered from Nov. 6, 2018, yet. The blue wave we were promised crested just short of the beach because of that red tide. The donkeys will be fully in charge of the U.S. House of Representatives starting in January 2019 but those hard-charging elephants get to keep the Senate, and the heffalump that's in the White House still has a friend to lean on.
Meanwhile the national media—"THE MEDIA"—is all a titter about how America's political split is more entrenched than ever. Geezus guys, could you be anymore dramatic? You're giving all us local newsies a bad name, and we're the ones who have to deal directly with the angry people of the world. If I hear about the culture war one more time, I swear! I don't know what I'll do! But I'll let you know when I figure it out.
Let's face it, the Senate was a long shot. Racism is alive and well. And Trump wants to end birthright citizenship, which could mean that the future baby Shredder won't get to be an American citizen because I was made in China. #Sad!
Current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) promised an "open and transparent" Democratic Congress on the night of Nov. 6. I'm not so sure that I believe her—but I want to. Let me lay out the way the next two years will go: Bonkers 2.0. To those of you who were hoping that things would get better in 2019, I'm going to predict that things will get worse.
But calm down! Let's turn that frown upside down. Things always have to get worse before they get better.
Look on the bright side: In SLO County, we've proven that money does matter! Got $8 million to throw at a campaign? Well, you can win by 10 percentage points. The unprecedented onslaught of red and black advertising that accompanied the oil company-backed No on Measure G campaign seemed to do the trick. All it took was $3 million more than the industry spent to unsuccessfully block a similar measure in Monterey County. Now we (and by "we," I mean "they") can make even more money off the oil beneath our feet! Let fracking ring!!
The day after the election, on Nov. 7, SLO County announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was investigating the medical and mental health care at the jail. County Counsel Rita Neal clarified that there is a difference between the DOJ investigation that just opened and the FBI investigation that was announced in April 2017. The FBI is only looking at the death of Andrew Holland, who died in custody of a blood clot after being strapped to a chair for almost 48 hours in January 2017. The DOJ is looking more holistically at the care being provided to inmates in custody at the jail.
Either way, there are a whole lot of acronyms investigating our jail.
The 13 people who have died since Sheriff Ian Parkinson was elected in 2011 probably have something to do with the DOJ sniffing around, but thanks for the clarification, Rita. It doesn't really matter, because SLO County's just fine with all of this. Parkinson was resoundingly re-elected this past June after all those deaths had already happened. Go us!
At least some SLO County cities elected a slew of women to take seats on local elected bodies! Even if it is the same number of women that we elected to local office in 2014 (22), females will be the majority on city councils in San Luis Obispo and Atascadero! Each city council will have four females sitting on them at the beginning of 2019!! Grover Beach is coming in hot, too, with at least three ladies on the dais!
Heidi Harmon kicked T. Keith Gurnee's ass in the mayoral race in SLO, thanks in no small part to the extremely influential role of the fair-minded folks over at CalCoastNews! That MEDIA outlet has kindly been a free speech bastion for Gurnee's (let's call them spirited) rants and raves on the website since forever. The blog ran a "poll" in October that allegedly showed Gurnee with a "slight lead" over Harmon, who ended up trouncing him by more than 22 points. Looks like CalCoast is about as good at conducting accurate polls at it is at defending itself against libel lawsuits. The "news" organization also helped Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim Hill to a similar victory. He's been bitching and moaning about his opponents via the CalCoast blog since he got elected, and it looks like all those very confusing sentences paid off. Hill lost to Caren Ray (according to unofficial results, of course)!
Maybe I'm being too harsh, but I don't feel that bad for the site after it ran a whiny, self-pitying rant (rave?) on award-winning Tribune journalist and New Times alumnus Matt Fountain. Fountain's commitment to well-reported stories backed up by facts and solid sourcing is the reason why he gets the adulation that CalCoast thinks it's entitled to.
It's kind of like people who think they're entitled to the government they want, but then they don't vote. More than 172,000 SLO County residents registered to vote. About half actually voted.
The whole situation is ugly and will likely get uglier before it gets pretty—but that's politics 2018-style, baby. Δ
The shredder may be from China but is a naturalized citizen at firstname.lastname@example.org