I saw a guy downtown wearing a black Santa hat today. I mean, the hat was black. I’m not sure what to say about that. It was kind of creepy, though—unless it was just a really old hat. But it’s a decent enough metaphor for a recent report I read by the SLO Fiscal Sustainability Task Force. That’s the SLO How Do We Stop Going Broke Committee, for those who speak Harsh Reality. Never mind that black is good and red is bad in financial terms.
Their goals are realistic, to say the least. Shoot, their goals are absolute slam dunks. They outlined a list of “expectations” for the efforts to unclog the city’s finances in a fiscal toilet that’s becoming ever more packed with skyrocketing salaries, sagging revenues, and a cornucopia of patchwork jobs like Measure Y to stop the bloodletting.
So I present to you expectation No. 1:
“Produce something possible.”
Finally, a committee with some sense. They could’ve set the bar high, even knee high. Instead they decided to face facts and go with a sure thing, which may as well have been, “Produce something” or “Don’t not exist.”
Some other expectations were, “Have the opportunity to learn and meet more people.”
Did someone say local-government singles night?
There was also, “Develop solutions for issues on horizon.”
Has anyone ever developed issues for solutions in the past, I wonder?
And maybe my favorite, aimed at City Manager Katie Lichtig, “Help Katie to success-set priorities.”
I’m not sure if they meant help Katie to success-set or help her to success and set priorities. My suggestion is to start a “Save Katie” campaign, which would be like “Save Ferris,” but with less Jennifer Beals.
Then they got into the real meat of it.
“Many seemingly common-sense solutions to the city’s problems are either politically distasteful, prohibited by law … ”
Prohibited by law? Methinks a city-funded caper might be on the horizon? The great SLO bank heist of 2011?
It goes on, “… and/or require voter approval, sometimes a two-thirds voter approval, which is as rare as a unicorn sighting.”
It really says that. I love these guys. It’s too bad no one knows who they are, or I’d send a gift basket.
Apparently the committee that put this together wasn’t well known by most of the actual task force, which has seen 21 citizens and nine city employees brainstorming twice a month since June. The report essentially came out of nowhere, because hardly anyone knew it was being written, I’m told. POOF!
Actually, what was once a 30-person task force is about half that now. It seems like most of them got bored and went on to bigger, better task forces, like the Committee to Prove the Existence of Unicorns.
The remaining task force skeleton crew and its committee made some fairly brazen statements later in the report, which I read all the way through and only fell asleep three times.
At the latest meeting, I hear, the task force split into a few groups to mull over the latest findings. Apparently Trib reporter AnnMarie Cornejo had the gall to slink over to one of the groups and listen in. But oh no, said Lichtig, who swooped in like a protective mama bird over her nest of squeaky little task forcers. I guess Lichtig told Cornejo press wasn’t allowed to interrupt the members with the incessant scribbling sound of her pen hitting paper. Cornejo popped back a shocked pair of doe eyes, as did all the other members, who probably didn’t realize or care she was there.
Staff Writer Robert A. McDonald tells me she ended up walking back to the press corner, tail between her legs, and told McDonald the Shredder should write about this.
Well, there ya go. From her lips to my ears. The moral? Don’t go snooping around non-public public meetings in the future. It’s not a good moral, but hey.
This is where a segue would go if I had one.
A man most often known for his gung-ho off-road lobbying, Kevin Rice, made it officially known via press release that he’s throwing in his hat for SLO City Council. Rice said he was “honored to have received the specific and personal invitation of Jan Marx on Oct. 4.”
I’m surprised, too. Who would’ve figured the new liberalish mayor-elect Marx would urge a gas-guzzling guy like Rice to run for her former council seat? Simple. She didn’t. What actually happened was Rice called into a local radio show on which Marx was chatting. He huffed and he puffed for a while, and she said, more or less, “If you think you can do better, then have at it.”
It was a personal invitation in the same way a guy with a gun in his face might say, “If you’re going to shoot me, then shoot me.”
And to spread even more holiday cheer, I’m pleased to announce that SLO County ball-buster, Supervisor Frank Mecham, will be performing in the Nutcracker, opening night in Templeton. Mecham is set to be a dancer in the first act.
One might be inclined to laugh at this, or attend the show and heckle Mecham, but he’s used to heckling. Quite frankly, I’m excited to see this guy’s skills. He may be the most suave politician we’ve got around these parts, and certainly one of the few who might actually bust a legitimate move—and not just a hip.
The Shredder believes a unicorn is just a horse that’s met its full potential. Send thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.