You people and your calculators! Here at New Times, we write about politicians who don’t even live in the areas they represent, about officials taking phony tax exemptions, about the Sheriff’s Department botching a murder investigation and then discovering a former cop is a suspect, about the sheriff bugging another cop because he thought he was being made fun of. We write about all this juicy shit, and do you care? Hardly. We get a few calls, a handful of letters.
But some guy does bad math in a letter and we don’t catch it, and holy crap do you respond.
We got, like, a million letters on it. Of course, given our math skills, that could be 100 letters. Or 10. We’re not great with decimal points. Who do we look like to you, freakin’ Pythagoras? Do you hear Stephen Hawking’s robotic monotone narrating New Times stories when you read them?
I’m on the wagon
I’m not going to make fun of what’s going on over at the Tribune these days, where everybody’s doubling up on job titles just to get the thing out every day. It’s not funny anymore.
I’ve heard that the deal to buy them out with some local investors has turned south along with the credit market, but let’s hope that’s not true. It’s not always great to have your paper locally owned—then they can become instruments of one local faction or another. But could it really be worse than watching your still-profitable local paper of record be slowly strangled to death for the sake of feeding the bad borrowing habits of its giant corporate owner?
There otter be a proclamation
Over the past few months I’ve gotten a steady stream of complaints about SLO Mayor Dave Romero’s unwillingness to sign, or even talk about, proclamations he’s been presented with.
One of the proclamations said, as I recall: “Sea otters are good.” Romero balked, pointing out that no sea otters lived in SLO and thus no otter had ever voted for him.
Then, just the other day, somebody at Code Pink complained that Romero wouldn’t sign a proclamation stating, essentially, that “peace is good.” Too political, she said Romero told her.
Here are some potential proclamations that Romero also probably wouldn’t sign:
“The homeless are people.” Debatable.
“The time is now.” Outdated.
“Bad is bad.” Too ambiguous.
“Good is good.” Pandering
So Romero isn’t into peace or otters, but he’s putting out a campaign flyer for this race that is, no shit, one of the coolest political pieces I’ve ever seen. It has Romero in the 1960s, looking cool in denim, shades, and a white-T, riding a skateboard in Santa Rosa Park. Then it has a nearly identical shot of him, recently, also in shades, on a skateboard in Santa Rosa Park. He doesn’t look quite as cool in the more recent shot, but honestly he doesn’t look bad for a guy who just celebrated his 113th birthday. I think. I’m not good at math.
Allen Settle and Measure E
A few weeks ago New Times revealed that SLO City’s supposedly innocuous Measure E would actually allow people who live outside the city to serve on city boards. The words are clear: “Participation on citizen committees, commissions, boards and authorities by non-registered voters or non-city residents may be permissible depending upon the nature and purpose of the advisory body, as determined by the City Council.”
The response from council members and officials has essentially been: “Don’t worry about it. Just trust us. We’ll work it out in the fine print.”
Sorry folks, but you haven’t earned trust on the issue of residency.
Remember, these are the council members who just shrugged their shoulders and kicked the dirt when we wrote about how one of their own doesn’t even live in San Luis Obispo, at least not full-time. Allen Settle’s supposed official residency in SLO is rented out to students, and he drives home to a much grander place in Arroyo Grande after council meetings. The response of city officials and managers? Silence. The reason? They already knew all about the situation, and they’ve chosen to do, and say, nothing for fear of embarrassing a peer.
So, folks, don’t expect a lot of sympathy from the public when you all tell the voters “trust us” that you won’t allow non-city residents to sit on the Planning Commission.
Is there anything less welcome on your doorstep than another phone book? The Internet has made the things all but obsolete, but they show up anyway, twice a year. There must be three or four different companies that litter our fair slice of Eden with these bricks.
One of our reporters recently waged a battle against AT&T over phone books. Somebody from the company dropped off, count ‘em, 21 phone books at her cult, er, commune, or whatever it is she lives in. How many land lines do they have at the house? One. This was after the guy was told to only leave one phone book. Instead, he came inside, right past the “private property” sign, and littered the hallways with 21 books. And now AT&T won’t take them back. And the guy she was told is in charge of taking them back won’t return her calls anymore. If you got too many phone books, call AT&T. I’d supply the number for you, but it doesn’t seem to be in the book.