Opinion » Shredder

Straws are the devil

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Let's see now. Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is closing in 2025 and taking with it its annual $27.75 million hot tax injection that benefits all of SLO County. Both the county and its cities have hundreds of millions of dollars in unfunded pension liabilities over the next 30 years (read "Pension tension," Oct. 12). The city of San Luis Obispo alone owes $148.4 million. And, this week we learned that the county also made a $8 million "accounting error," sending the county's budget from a projected surplus to a definite deficit. Oopsy daisy!

Yeah, for that last one, some bean counter apparently forgot to add the recently approved county employee pay increases onto the county budget. Hey, the employees—except for the Certified Financial Putz who missed the $8 million—probably deserve those raises. Considering the rancor and acrimony of the SLO County Board of Supervisors, staff morale's got to be in the toilet.

To illustrate, 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill jabbed, "I haven't seen a mistake like this in the nine years I've been on the board, but we also haven't seen a board like this." Yeah, it's definitely the conservative board members' faults that Joey Number Cruncher forgot to add in his whopping 3 percent raise. Yeah, right.

Hey look, I know numbers are boring. The point is SLO County and its various municipalities are in big financial doo-doo. Our elected officials have tough choices ahead. Just to make up for all the promised pensions, SLO Town will need to cut $8.9 million from its annual budget by 2020. That's no small thing! The city's annual budget is $142 million a year, so $8.9 million is about 6.3 percent. That's, like, my entire Cal Valley weed budget!

SLO's elected officials "think" they can cut $7.5 million from the general fund (public safety, social services, etc.) and $1.4 million from enterprise funds (water, sewer, etc.), but what did they talk about at their last SLO City Council meeting for a freakin' hour?

Plastic straws and water bottles!

Yeah, seriously. After a long discussion, they passed an ordinance to ban single-use plastic water bottles from being sold on city property. But to make sure people don't go thirsty, they budgeted $30,000 a year to install water bottle filling stations in the city.

"What if someone doesn't bring a water bottle?" public commenter Alison Edwards asked on the city website. "How will they get water? Are they supposed to just suffer and get heatstroke or dehydration? This is just wrong."

Yeah! People could die! Well, hold onto your artisanal FUJI Water® bottle, Lulumon® Wunder Under Hi-Rise Tight Full-On Luxtreme yoga pants, and Ugg® boots, because there's more!

The SLO City Council also voted to force businesses that serve beverages to only hand out straws "on request." What in the actual hell? What if I'm wearing lipstick and I forget to ask? And, has anyone ever tried to consume a 7-Eleven Slurpee without one of those wide straws with the little shovel on the end? It's impossible! What if I forget to ask for a straw and I'm blocks away from 7-Eleven and I have my Air Heads Mango Chili Lite Slurpee® and I can't get it in my mouth? I could get heatstroke or dehydration and die! Do you understand that? I could die!

Despite what you think, I'm not an ogre. I love the environment; it's where I off-road dirt bike and burn wood fires and sometimes poop when I'm at Pirate's Cove. I think single-use anything (except condoms!) are wrong and should be banned, but we're talking about optics here, people! At a time when the city is in huge financial trouble, does the council really need to spend an hour talking about how bad plastic is?

Well, maybe. Online comments included the following: "Really? Why don't you ban coffee lids," and "HAHAHAHAH!!!! DO IT!!! This is perfect for SLO, a formerly nice place to live."

Yeah, ever since the libtards took over, SLO sucks big balls. Remember the good old days when you could smoke Virginia Slims Menthol Ultra-Lights® anywhere you wanted, including restaurants and movie theaters? Remember when you could smoke them outside? So refreshing! Remember when you didn't have to bring your own re-useable bags to the grocery store? Remember when you could graze bicyclists with your Nissan® Armada SUV if they didn't hug the gutter like a tightrope walker? Now they're widening bike lanes, trying to make me take public transportation, making me recycle in blue bins—it's like I'm living in a fascist state! What about freedom!

Meanwhile, the three conservative SLO County supervisors—1st District John Peschong, 4th District Lynn Compton, and 5th District Debbie Arnold—pulled off their hijacking of local recreational marijuana ordinances. Yep, after county staff spent countless hours crafting ordinances for the county; after all the discussion; after working with growers, law enforcement, and the public, the board majority using a straw poll (damn straws!!!!!) wiped out all that work and is doing its best to essentially shut down the industry in unincorporated areas of the county.

Pssst! Hey SLO Town, allow brick-and-mortar dispensaries in the city. That $8.9 million a year will be a breeze to make up. Don't worry. We won't light up in public. Promise! Δ

The Shredder drinks beer, not water. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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