San Luis Obispo County's naughty list is a long one this year. There were too many 2020 incidents to keep track of. It was like a free-for-all out there with the COVID-19 pandemic thrown into the mix for good measure.
Speaking of the pandemic, COVID-19 has definitely been a naughty little virus, and it's resurging with a vengeance just like all those experts said it would. After ruining basically all of 2020, coronavirus is now targeting Christmas. Remember when we were worried about running out of toilet paper, standing in line at Costco, and Santa Maria having only 100 confirmed cases? Those were the days, amirite?
I, for one, would just like to send my sincerest gratitude to Lame Duck President Donald Trump for doing absolutely nothing to bring the United States of America together in unity to prevent what we're experiencing right now. He's been on the naughty list for his whole life, so thankfully, I don't need to change a thing.
I think Gov. Gavin Newsom can slide onto the list a few numbers down from Trumplethinskin this year. Don't get too excited out there Republican Party of SLO County with your Recall Newsom petition fan club and your party chair Randal "COVID-19 Is A Benign Pandemic" Jordan, because I don't think the governor's a dictator, and I do think the pandemic is serious and dangerous.
I just think pandemic shutdown orders were a bit slapdash, haphazard, and arbitrary—in a schools-closed-bars-open, golf-is-OK-boating-isn't kind of a way.
The only consistent thing that came out of the California Department of Public Health—except for mask up, wash your hands, and socially distance—were the state's ever-increasing statistics about COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Restaurants were closed, then open, then closed again, then open again. You couldn't shop in a small business selling clothes or jewelry, but wandering around Target for hours on end was just fine. We're on a county-by-county system for shutdown orders. Actually ... now we're divided into five regions! I have whiplash from trying to keep up.
Paso Robles elected officials have at least been consistent with the way they've dealt with the pandemic: total denial that the Paso region has led the county in positive COVID-19 cases for the duration of the pandemic! Maskless tourists wandered around all summer, restaurants were packed both on the sidewalk and indoors, and the Paso City Council is doing everything it can to completely ignore the state's most recent shutdown orders.
The city is definitely going on that naughty list. You know who else is? Everyone who belongs to one of these Facebook groups: Reopen SLO County, Protect Paso, Protect Five Cities, Protect Atascadero, Protect Santa Maria, SLO County Protest Watch, TakeBack SLO, and all of the other little enclaves of social media groupies who can't stand people who disagree with them enough to participate in private (not public) shaming of "the other" and sharing information that only agrees with whatever craziness you already believe.
Protect Five Cities and SLO County Protest Watch members actually took their word war to the streets, putting up and ripping down blue- (in support of four police officers who were injured in a Paso shootout) and rainbow-colored (to support Pride month) ribbons with so much aggressiveness that Grover Beach City Manager Matt Bronson had to step in and reprimand them!
Thanks for being open to divisiveness and closed off to open, honest dialogue.
Speaking of closed off to dialogue: Cancel culture advocates and free speech police are definitely on the list.
To the people who tried to shut down Sally Loo's over the owner's ideology: How'd that work for you? To the people who want to throw people like Cuesta College Board of Trustees member Pete Sysak out of office for racist, sexist, and hateful social media posts: Why don't you run for office in the next election? To the people who don't want to listen to Black Lives Matter activists who want change in a justice system that's been plagued by racism since its inception: Maybe you should listen for once in your life. To the protesters who simply can't hear the opinions of those who are opposed to their battle cries: Maybe hear what they're saying, because we need them to in order to make real change.
And don't get me started on local leaders of law enforcement! Jesus H. Christ, could they have had a naughtier year? SLO County District Attorney Dan "Protesters Are Wacky And Need To Be Prosecuted" Dow; SLO County Sheriff Ian "Racism Doesn't Exist But Can't You See We're Trying" Parkinson; and Ex SLO Police Chief Deanna "Tear Gas Them, Scold Them, And Quit" Cantrell are all on the list.
Remember those teenagers who shot out store windows after the first Black Lives Matter protest in downtown SLO? Santa actually took them off all of the lists this year. They don't even get coal!
Coal is reserved for a couple of folks in particular: Assembly District 35 candidate Dawn Addis, who refused to debate the issues; Congressional District 24 candidate Andy Caldwell, who lost fair and square and still cried fraud; and Oceano's Cynthia Replogle, whose rhetoric, outrage, and martyr complex is downright annoying. Δ
The Shredder is asking Santa for more column space. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.