Sorry. No time to rant today. I’m in the middle of a scavenger hunt—a little game my roommates and I like to play to decide who has to wash dishes and put out the flaming bags of poop that have been materializing on our doorstep ever since I updated my match.com profile to include my address. I have to admit that I’m having a hell of a time.
You’ll never believe it, but I have to find someone who likes to attend concerts and parties and Tweet about how much fun they’re having. And I get extra points if the person in question has human DNA. I dunno how I’m gonna find someone who fits that criteria in between fighting the happy hoards at Farmers Markets and Concerts in the Plaza and snarkily bemoaning the death of manners and culture as I’m confronted by the glare of smartphones in the hands of social media bots only capable of speaking in 140-character blips.
If only I had a team to help me discover this rare gem, this human who enjoys both partying and social media. Maybe I could assemble a group—we’ll call it the Dream Team—comprised of, oh, the mayor and a team of upstanding community members rounded up by marketing firm Rosetta and SLO’s Tourism Business Improvement District.
Although, in light of the fact that SLO’s ShareSLO Ambassador Bentley Murdock was out of a job after just six months on the job, maybe I’m better off without the city’s assistance. Seriously, SLO? All you had to do was find someone who could party and Tweet about partying—something pretty much every one of the college students whose existence you deplore is capable of doing. And you failed. A high-performing chimpanzee could have done the job. You just pop a wine glass in one hand, a Smartphone in the other, and boom! You’re in business. Trust me, I see human beings with a much lower IQ all over social media. (To the guy who keeps inviting me to play Disney’s Ghosts of Mistwood and Farmville, GET A FREAKING LIFE!) Instead, SLO’s marketing campaign petered out so spectacularly that Atascadero’s “Heart of the Central Coast” campaign looks brilliant by comparison. Maybe that’s what SLO had in mind all along—making the county’s other cities look and feel better.
And now Murdock—the guy who apparently couldn’t find his way to enough concerts and parties to satisfy the city—is making noises to the effect that he might sue Rosetta, the company behind the whole debacle. And some of his former contenders—chief among them Q104.5 mike-man Adam Montiel—are making noises to the effect that the city should choose a new ambassador. They’re eager to strap on their pompons and start cashing those sweet, sweet $50,000-per-year checks. Because the last city-sponsored popularity contest worked out so well.
Of course, both Rosetta and Murdock tried to put a pretty spin on things at first—something about how Murdock had been so effective in his first six months that he was nobly surrendering his salary so it could be used more effectively elsewhere. Which is the SLO Ambassador equivalent of a fire chief or city official insisting they’re quitting to “spend more time with their family and friends.” We all know it’s PR hogwash, but they all lockstep and march like some kind of line dance, and it’s impossible to get a word of truth out of them.
And as if the ShareSLO ridiculousness hadn’t sufficiently contoured egg yolk all over SLO’s dry face, the city’s do-gooder bots have somehow convinced officials to go after those pesky homeowners who rent out rooms on Airbnb. Because the threat of middle-aged couples visiting SLO and politely noshing on tapas at Luna Red or taking in an exhibit at the SLOMA should have our Overreacting Meters teetering at butter yellow—the shade just before buttercup yellow, which is generally reserved for butterfly sightings within city limits.
Of course the Residents for Quality Neighborhoods—a group that seems to be spearheading the ridiculous crusade against polite tourists, but only because members don’t, in fact, like or approve of anything—doesn’t have a sense of humor about the situation. Why? Because they’re old and bored and, hey you! Get off the sidewalk adjacent to their lawn! Because anyone who associates Airbnb with lawlessness is in desperate need of a dose of reality. These are the people who typically like to regulate one another’s lawns, mostly to ensure that the grass doesn’t achieve an unsightly six inches but also to ensure that no “urban” lawn gnomes find their way into their decent, upstanding neighborhoods.
Maybe they should consider hiring a guy to hold a stick and just beat the crap out of anyone who comes near their ’hood. In which case, I can recommend a former ShareSLO ambassador who’s probably looking for a new gig. Except Montiel has already taken a few good verbal shots at Murdock—all while insisting he likes the guy and the guy’s wife, of course—so Residents for Quality Neighborhoods probably shouldn’t contact him as a reference.
Shredder is a Resident for the Freedom Everyone Else Just Pays Lip Service To. Send lawn gnome hostages to email@example.com.