You know who's really into nature? It's 2nd District SLO County Supervisor Bruce Gibson.
His first campaign flyer of the season featured a photo of an oak tree behind a barbed wire fence with the words, "Bruce Gibson: Solid as a native oak," printed below it. I'm not sure if it was Gibson's way of connecting with North County's oak lovers or trying to appeal to his new constituents' affinity for all things "solid."
But it may have missed the mark, which is rare for Bruce, who is "solid on the facts" as the flyer also states. Too bad being solid on the facts isn't as compelling as, "Bruce Gibson: He's not a conspiracy theorist."
Nature-lover Bruce used the natural world to help him express his feelings about conspiracy theorist Richard Patten's "voluminous" Public Records Act requests demanding access to the county's voter list, ballots, addresses, etc., and insisting that the recall election for Gov. Gavin Newsom was fraudulent. Yes, that's the same Patten who supposedly designed the redistricting map SLO County will use for the next 10 years (Yay!).
"It surprises me about as much as seeing the sun come up in the east," Gibson said.
The sun really does come up in the east! See! Gibson really is "solid on the facts."
Patten, on the other hand, is not so solid on the facts.
"Since the Newsom recall election, political events in San Luis Obispo County place election validity in question," Patten, who wouldn't respond to New Times' requests for comment, wrote in an opinion piece posted to CalCoastNews.
What "political events" would those be? Is it that gerrymandered district maps like the one he put together place future elections in a shady light? No, don't be silly! Obviously, it's voter fraud. The sun rises in the east, remember?
Patten couldn't get the county to send him photocopies of every ballot cast in the September 2021 election, and that must mean something fishy is going on!
His allegations have neither merit nor proof—but simply putting those arguments out into the universe can lend them an air of legitimacy because people will believe them purely for the fact that the words exist.
"Hundreds of ballots were mailed to vacant lots with no domicile," he writes in CalCastNews without an iota of proof to support his rather vague allegations that aren't about ballots that were actually cast as votes in the election. "Excessive ballots were sent to multifamily units with fewer units than ballots sent."
"Some voters received ballots and voted were incarcerated felons, therefore prohibited from voting," he added.
The county refused to give him his proof, he opined: "Each attempt has been met with obfuscation or disregard."
He only wanted access to confidential information such as voter rolls, voter addresses, who voted, who didn't, etc., etc., etc. I know I don't want my ballot envelope with my address and my signature or my ballot with who I voted for in Patten's grubby little conspiracy-covered hands. And state law says he can't have it, either.
Plus, last I checked, SLO County didn't decide the recall election, which Newsom won by receiving almost 62 percent of the 12.8 million votes cast statewide. Newsom beat the recall so unquestionably that even his closest challenger, Republican Larry "If I Hint at Fraudulence Before the Election Maybe I'll Win" Elder dropped the fraud charade.
And although the SLO County Counsel's Office has told Patten to take his election beef to the state because it was a statewide election, Patten's beef is apparently with SLO County's "excessive" voters.
The feeling is mutual. "Hundreds of" SLO County voters have beef with him, too. His apparently conspiracy-fueled map that made giant changes to the county's supervisor districts is embroiled in a lawsuit questioning its validity over gerrymandering accusations.
SLO County supervisors told New Times that they had no idea what Patten was up to when they voted on his map late last year—and 4th District Supervisor Lynn Compton said she received an email from him recently about preserving recall election records, which was the first time she'd heard Patten's election views.
"There are people that are concerned about it. We have to listen to all concerns," she said.
It certainly seems as if those "concerns" have driven "recent politics" at the county level, including the Board of Supervisors majority's move to ensconce their will into law forevermore. Controversy over their appointment of Elaina Cano to county clerk-recorder (due to the "Big Lie") is pushing the big three conservatives to put a measure on the ballot that would trigger a special election every time a county elected position is vacated mid-term. Not only that, they'd like to make it harder for future Board of Supervisors to change the rule.
Meanwhile, 5th District Supervisor Debbie Arnold and her cohorts are dead set against an independent redistricting commission for some strange reason.
"I'm totally against passing that job off to people who haven't been elected by a constituency," Arnold said.
I think it's time for the constituency to speak up. If SLO County voters want an independent redistricting commission to decide future supervisor districts, then put the work in to get it on the ballot—that's what happened in Santa Barbara County. And it could happen here, too. Δ
The Shredder is solid as a sunset. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.