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New Times / Shredder

The following article was posted on October 1st, 2009, in the New Times - Volume 24, Issue 9 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 24, Issue 9

Poo-poo ca-choo

Pssst: Lisa Schicker and her buddies hate getting made fun of by anonymous columnists. If she’s nearby right now while you’re reading this, just point somewhere and yell, “Is that Public Works Director Paavo Ogren beating up a baby seal?” and run like hell.
    I’ll admit I stole that “pssst” bit from an anonymous opinion piece floating in the Tribune’s cyberspace. I’m probably not supposed to plug a competitor, but is was a good read: It ran on Sept. 24 and was called “Bouquets and Brickbats: Hey did you hear?” Unfortunately, I’m mouthing down big gulps of crow-filled humble pie because Mr. or Ms. Anonymous beat me to the punch. Touché. I’ll meet you in the parking lot and we’ll duke it out. Verbally, of course.
    Anyway, this particular column slammed former Los Osos CSD Board member Schicker for her endless pursuit to prove that Ogren has a conflict of interest in the contract for the Los Osos sewer project. The problem is, she’s complaining that County Counsel Warren Jensen cast aside her complaint. Her reasoning seems to be no more than he disagreed with her “evidence” and called most of it unfounded opinion. Ouch.
    Instead of taking the battle elsewhere, however, Schicker and the rest of the Los Osos nuts are laying into Jensen for suckling on the same county teat as the other corrupt officials seeking to drown the town in a river of liquid shit that will force old people to go on welfare. Or so they say.
    This column slammed Schicker, and rightly so. But it also alleged the sewer site was actually an incognito nightclub for Kim Kardashian. Funny stuff, right? Wrong! One of New Times’ writers gets copied e-mails from most of the LONs (that’s Los Osos Nuts—they loooove acronyms) and usually ships them over to me because poop jokes never get old. Immediately after the Trib piece ran, the LONs were looking for blood.
    “Can you please direct me to the author of this editorial? I would like to speak to this person,” Schicker said in the subject line. “Thank you.”
    So, it’s not really bloodthirsty—maybe she just wanted to politely nibble on the writer’s jugular, or nag him or her to death—but they were pissed. Personally, I’d rather be buried neck deep in the contents of their collective compacted bowels than hear anymore about this. Let the letters fly.
    Schicker and crew continue to allege Ogren has a conflict of interest and that he’s shoving contractor Montgomery Watson Harza down their throats. But they keep complaining to the same local officials and seem taken aback when their complaints are met with incredulity. They hammer in the same complaints to the same people and bitch when the response doesn’t change. I have a suggestion, if only that it will take the argument out of our newspapers for a while: Take these complaints to other people who will listen and who don’t have inherent biases. Need examples? Try the Fair Political Practices Commission. They deal with these types of things. In fact, they have to. Maybe try some attorneys and have them speak for you. Maybe try taking it to a newspaper. Wait! Forget that.
    The point is that there are other avenues. There are better avenues. Why is this a problem, you may ask? Because there were 16—count ’em—16 appeals on the sewer project, which required an entire day to be devoted to debates on how to transport and where to put Los Osos waste. Think about it. That’s a whole day’s salary for five supervisors, two lawyers, about a half-dozen staffers, a clerk, and people to videotape everything. And they went past 5 p.m. Cha-ching! Overtime! And that’s all on top of countless other meetings devoted to this project.
    Then, with all those individual appeals, they continued to bitch that the county didn’t devote time for each appeal to dissect every issue at length. Look, if you don’t really want a sewer, nobody can help you.

Endorsements
    It’s election-endorsement season. In other words, it’s pointless-news season. SLO cop and sheriff hopeful Ian Parkinson got an endorsement from a few county supervisors. Of course, one of them was Supervisor Adam Hill, who replaced Jerry Lenthall, who’s also running for sheriff. Am I the only one who doesn’t care? Does anyone else judge their vote based on what the current politicians say? If Parkinson had an endorsement from the current sheriff, maybe I’d be impressed—if for no other reason than if he could still win the election after that, he’s obviously signed a contract in blood and we should all fear his wrath.
    Then assembly candidate Etta Waterfield went to town promoting her endorsements from Atascadero City Councilwoman/Mayor Pro Tem Roberta Fonzi. Hoo doggie! Fonzi has less than a year of experience in a small town. So am I basing my vote on her? Not really. This isn’t to slam Fonzi; she’s doing a fine job in a—let’s call it interesting—political climate. But I’m not letting her pick my candidates anymore than I’d let her pick my nose.

Read it
    If you haven’t already layered this rag along the bottom of your birdcage or used it for barbecue kindling, read this week’s cover story. After a quick perusal, I can’t help but remember last year’s cover story about the botched murder investigation of Andrea Hug—the one you probably didn’t read, either. Hug was the girl who was strangled, thrown off of a cliff, dragged out of sight, and her death was, of course, declared an accident for five years. When the case was reopened, it was a no brainer: She was murdered; and the main suspect was a cop.
    But for five years, the investigation sat cold. In all fairness, murder investigations require a lot of hard work. They’re complicated. She was from out of town, and there wasn’t much hard evidence.
    Which reminds me of the unnamed, alleged conspirator/conspirators behind the murder of Joshua Houlgate. Houlgate hung out with people who apparently did way more than drugs. The police had two guys, an eyewitness, and a motive that seemed simple enough. Open and shut case, right? Doesn’t seem to be.
    I can imagine it would have been hard to prove a case against outside people who didn’t pull the trigger but might have gone so far as to order a hit, especially when the police had two guys with gigantic guilty stamps on their heads. Maybe the charges wouldn’t have stuck, or maybe they would have. We’ll probably never know. Oh well, the Houlgate case already has a one-year lead on the Hug investigation.

Contact the Shredder at shredder@newtimesslo.com.