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Herrings and geese 

Conspiracy theories finally completed their takeover of a San Luis Obispo County supervisor: Debbie "Water Banking and Election Fraud Are Real" Arnold, the 5th District's very own super MAGA conservative! She was the sole elected official on the Board of Supervisors who voted against approving the June 7 primary elections results.

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"For me, and call it a protest vote, I won't be supporting this today," she said during the board's July 19 meeting. "I'm not supportive of the changes to our election process, and I think that they've created so many vulnerabilities that the public is losing confidence in our election process."

Taking a page straight out of the cuckoo-banana playbook, Arnold's concerned about vote-by-mail ballots, ballot tabulation, and drop boxes—all of which have been around for years.

"I still have some unresolved concerns about the accuracy of ballot counting," she said.

I have some unresolved concerns about her ability to lead the county with a clear head because it's clouded with the thoughts of a small few who have her ear rather than the many.

Her concerns about "the public" seem to only extend to fellow conspiracy peddlers, who now have a political action committee supported by the Republican Party of San Luis Obispo County (RPSLO). The San Luis Obispo County Citizens Action Team filed paperwork with the county Clerk-Recorder's Office on July 14 and listed Darcia Stebbens, who filed the recount request for the District 4 race; Laura Mourdant, an aggressively righty-tighty RPSLO member; and Richard Patten, who's been outspoken about his views on election fraud since his redistricting map was adopted last year.

"We have a group of concerned citizens spending their own money to do a partial audit, and um, from talking to them or what they've expressed to me, this is not to change the election results, but to restore confidence in the election process," Arnold said. "I appreciate these citizens, again, giving of their own time and money."

Obviously, they're not going to spend their own money or there wouldn't be a brand new PAC out there with Stebbins' name on the treasurer line. But at least someone said what everyone was thinking! Stebbins requested a recount that they don't believe will change the election results. So what exactly are they hoping to accomplish?

Clerk-Recorder Elaina Cano told New Times that the recount demand Stebbins submitted to the county included requests that lead Cano to believe "she's looking for something in the system that I don't believe she's going to find."

On July 19, Stebbins dropped off the first payment of many in this recount effort. She has to pay by cashier's check, money order, or cash every day. And Cano thinks it will cost upward of $100,000 and take at least 36 days. Who's got that kind of money just hanging around?

RPSLO hopes you do! After all, they are pro "family, faith, freedom" and "100 percent pro American"—whoops, I think they forgot to put "pro autocracy" in their slogan. RPSLO posted a call for donations to this new PAC on its Facebook page: "A small but mighty group of citizens are standing up for truth and transparency, will you stand with them?"

Um, no.

They want to purge the county's voter rolls, to require photo voter ID, have election day only voting, a "smaller consolidation of precincts" (I have no idea what that means), and to count precinct voted ballots on election night only.

Don't you feel good about this?

If you do, pay up, bitches! This recount is going to cost $3,000 a day, at the very least. You better open up that pocketbook and write a check to Stebbins—not the PAC. She's the one who has to pay the piper. And I think writing "anti-democracy" on the memo line should suffice.

I want my flag back. And can we also take back "pro American?" Tea Party conservatives like the ones who populate RPSLO's membership don't deserve it.

This mistrust and alleged vulnerabilities "the public" is apparently worried about are driven by elected officials like Arnold, abusing a taxpayer-funded dais that she sits on to spread misinformation.

Cano has 100 percent confidence in the election process.

"Be sure you're getting your information from the right source," Cano said. "It's when other people try to provide their own opinions about how things are conducted, I think that's when the confusion and mistrust ... "—I'll finish that thought for her: That's where both begin and end.

With people like Arnold, who's concerned about things she obviously doesn't understand, such as "modem chips," "rank choice," and Dominion's access to ballot counting machines. Arnold, who doesn't believe the answers she's receiving straight from the source of county elections.

The Clerk-Recorder's Office should be concerned about preparing for the November election, when more than 100 local offices will be on the ballot. Instead, staffers are chasing a red herring. Even if RPSLO disciples will be footing the bill—with CalCoast "News" cheering them on, spreading election fraud conspiracies, and financially benefiting from the process as RPSLO pushes the CalCoast blog on its website: "Help make CalCoast No. 1 for fair and balanced local news"—county staff will still be spending their time on the recount while the nonbelievers complaining about a lack of transparency watch them. Δ

The Shredder ranks Arnold last. Send thoughts to [email protected].

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