Opinion » Street Talk

Too much on my mind


I miss the governor. No, wait. I missed the governor.

By the time I learned that Arnold Schwarzenegger himself was making a stop in San Luis Obispo, it was too late for me to get all gussied up to see him. A face like mine doesn't put itself on, you know, and I need a good chunk of mirror time before I look good enough to go out in public.

Some other people around town didn't miss him, though. In the morning hours before the big man of the state made his appearance, folks were scrambling to organize a protest against his budget-cutting tactics, seeking the Achilles heel in his closely guarded itinerary for maximum citizen-action effect.

It seems that some people aren't too happy with the way Arnold wants to fix California's money woes. His across-the-board 10 percent slash has made him about as popular as, well, me without my makeup on. Fans of stuff like state parks and quality education are gnashing their teeth at him, saying that a one-slash-fits-all approach to cost-cutting measures may make sense on paper, but not in the real world.

Ten percent of a school's budget, see, is different from 10 percent of a hospital's. Or a public works department's. Or a park's. Of course, it's easier to just pick a number and tell everyone that they have to figure their own details when it comes to chopping, and the governor's got more important stuff to do than fiddle with figures on a case-by-case basis--like traveling to San Luis Obispo to explain why we shouldn't all hate him because of his budget cut proposal.

I hope he gets a chance to see Monta"a de Oro while he's here. He might not get that opportunity next time he swings through the area.

Healing through hotels

First, Avila Beach residents had to abide Jerry Lenthall's ham-handed handling of a series of community meetings last year to discuss ideas for how Rob Rossi should develop the former Unocal tank site.

Lenthall, you may recall, balked at letting the meeting attendants vote on which of the many proposals offered they preferred. He ended up looking stupid.

Now, judging by New Times staffer Kylie Mendonca's story this week, it looks like a tiny group of residents, including Rossi himself, are testing the no-longer-oily Avila waters to see if Avila Beach will stomach a bunch more hotels, parking spaces, a restaurant, and a "funicular," whatever that is. I think it has something to do with hair care, though it might be a bedroom toy. Maybe it's both.

Worse, the group is using the meetings as cover in floating the preliminary site plan. Oh, and they say the development of this brownfield is really all about healing. Isn't that nice?

None of the heavy hitters are claiming direct credit for the early public relations effort enclosed in a brochure about the project--available for view on avilafossilpoint.com--but it reeks of that sort of corporate-developed PR pap that doesn't naturally well up from efforts that aren't backed by serious money.

It's clear there's a little more oil in Avila these days--snake oil, which, by the way, is another thing good for your hair and in the bedroom.

An unsettling letter

SLO Council Member Allen Settle wrote New Times a letter this week clearing everything up about where he lives. Well, not actually about where he lives, but about the fact that he doesn't have to live where he says he lives. See, it's his constitutional right. He, um, travels and, ah, U.S. representatives and senators own property outside of their official residences so, ah, there. Plus, last week he explained at a council meeting that he's got this, um, big wedding reception coming up.

Thanks Professor Settle. Got it. Consider me as edified as one of your poly sci students.

What Settle hasn't said to date is that he actually lives even most of the time in the house he claims as his residency for purposes of serving on the San Luis Obispo City Council. Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't that the only thing that matters?

Under my skin

Yikes. A few weeks ago, Ol' Shred noted that the SLO City police had some explaining to do to tell us why it took more than two years to arrest a suspect in the murder of Sharon Ostman, a homeless woman.

Now, I hear that they discovered the DNA of their suspect, Freddie Lewis, buried deep under Ostman's fingernails on the day her body was discovered.

We really deserve an accounting of why and how it could take so long for police to apprehend a guy, a sex offender, whose DNA was under the victim's fingernails. We all know police work doesn't happen exactly like it does on TV, but can Chief Deb Linden truthfully tell us all it would have taken that long if the victim had been one of our more prominent citizens?

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