Opinion » Shredder

Slow news week grumblings

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About a week ago, as the SLO City Council was making serious headway in banning noisiness and associated shenanigans (I think they’re considering fines for public laughter next week), there was some chatter in the audience about an editorial in The Tribune. People were joking about laissez faire media coverage of something or other—I’m not sure. I wasn’t really paying attention because I had some gunk in my toes.

I perked up a bit when someone made a sarcastic remark about the paper of record, but they were talking about New Times, being that it was the only media outlet with a reporter in the audience. Sure it was a joke, but it’s got me nervous. Especially when, if I heard right—again, not paying much attention to the TV feed so much as cleaning this weird brown fuzz that was collecting between my first and second little piggies—one person in the audience, upon hearing New Times, whispered “The Shredder” in this ultra-gossipy tone.

First off, I’m flattered that at least one person reads this column enough to know what it’s called. Secondly, you’re all doomed—not to be too dramatic. Seriously though, brace for impact because we’re going down. I don’t want to be looked at as a source of historical record. And I think most of the other writers would agree. Here it’s all about silly headlines and as many poop jokes as can be slipped past the editors (that’s one for me).

And maybe it’s because I care too much, or because I care so little and suffer from chronic lethargy, but I’ve got a story idea for anyone who wants to run with it.

Sitting here in my refrigerator-box apartment under my single bare bulb, I have a lot of time to notice patterns. One thing I noticed is how almost everywhere in Supervisor Bruce Gibson’s district, the water and soil is festering with sewage runoff, neurotoxins, or both.

Let’s take a quick tally: First we’ve got the all-out catastrophe in Los Osos. Then if we go a little more inland there’s that whole Roandoak of God disaster tossed together with an indifferent city of Morro Bay that would sooner cut its losses (read: services to residents) than fork over cash to beef up its infrastructure. Then up in Cambria they’ve got gasoline-soaked wells, and the new place they want to pull from is possibly riddled with mercury deposits. Plus, they’re probably going to scare all the cute otters. It’s adorably ironic because with his perfectly kempt beard and matching head of gray hair, Gibson looks a lot like a wise old otter. Or maybe an Ewok—the Yoda of otters, if you will.

Another tidbit that came down my way is downtown SLO’s Marti’s Bar and Grill has closed shop. In its wake some new trendy nightspot will swoop in and serve the much-ignored VIP crew who think The Library still smells too weird and Native Lounge isn’t always as classy as its Thursday Cal Poly crew might claim. This is still in the bittiest of tids category, so it’s tough to say exactly what will replace this local pub, but it’s supposedly going to be called Local. I just don’t know what to say about that. It’s, um, catchy. Kind of like Mo Tav. Maybe we’ll get a Hooters in there, which will send Deborah Cash on a scramble to outlaw short-shorts and hot wings.

Speaking of sellouts, Calbuzz is reporting that Plains Exploration Company—the perky little puppies of big offshore oil who refuse to go away—essentially bought the support of the supposed Santa Barbara County environmental watchdogs. Specifically the Environmental Defense Center, a group that broke the mold and came out in support of PXP’s offshore proposal. PXP execs were beside themselves with joy after the defense center gave its support, and enviro reps were slathering on layer after layer of verbal garbage about how hard they’d worked to craft a smart compromise. The deal is PXP gets to drill the Tranquillon Ridge in state waters. In exchange they’ll later knock out three other offshore rigs near Lompoc. Think of it like the last cigarette—I’m sure this will be their last drag of offshore crude. But they failed to mention a $100,000 payment from PXP to the EDC “as reasonable compensation for work performed by EDC,” Calbuzz reported.

   Between this and the felony embezzlement charges against Environmental Center of SLO Executive Director Morgan Rafferty, I’m about ready to cash in my dreams of ethics and stewardship for a big fat oil-drenched check penned in baby seal blood. Hey Exxon! If you send me a couple of bucks and a nice bottle, I’ll say your oil spills cure cancer. Same goes for you Greka. “What spill?” I’ll say as I kick puddles under the rug.

   And if the Sheriff’s Department stuffs my wallet I’ll happily denounce the evils of medical marijuana dispensaries if they’re sick of doing so, which they’re not. Almost as soon as news broke that a pot dispensary was slated to descend on Nipomo, Commander Brian Hascall led a speedy PR assault. He and the department sent out a press release stuffed with anti-pot materials. They like to point out it’s still illegal federally and dispensaries are illegal and there’s crime associated with dispensaries and not everyone who has a medical card smokes pot medically. Are you done now Brian? Can I speak?

So what? It seems that the more the federal and state governments loosen the restrictions on medical pot, the more our local Barney Fifes feel the need to point out why it’s still bad. As far as battles go, this is a dumb one to choose. Get over it; you lost.

First we have Attorney General Eric Holder saying the DEA isn’t going to crack down on dispensaries anymore. Then Assemblyman Tom Ammiano gets a marijuana legalization bill through the health committee—it’s going to die anyway, but it was a big freaking step. Most recently, the California Supreme Court decided to do away with restrictions on the amount of medical pot someone can hold or grow. I’m not going to advocate or abdicate the positives and negatives of marijuana because you all know the arguments. Bottom line, Brian and the rest of the department: Green is in.

Get the shredder to sell out by writing to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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