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Oh, the smells you can't smell 

Hide your dance shoes and turn that rock ’n’ roll down! Those of you who thought we weren’t living in the film Footloose might want to re-evaluate based on the lengthy list of crap the San Luis Obispo City Council has already banned: smoking; any sort of revelry on designated holidays; sitting on benches for certain periods of time; plastic bags; vaping; drive-thrus; generally being young or poor; utility boxes that don’t meet Peg Pinard’s aesthetic standards; homelessness; and, now, being smelly. 

The crusade against “offensive odors” began as part of a draconian effort to shut down medical marijuana growing operations within city limits. When the City Council realized that going after a mother who was growing medical marijuana in her backyard for her sick son made them look like the middle school bullies who kicked the cane out from under Timmy’s tiny, pale hand, they wised up and sought another method to sneakily-but-not-really attempt to ban medical marijuana growing operations. Whereupon those vindictive masterminds—those crusaders against anything that might negatively impact property values because god forbid you should be able to buy a house in their city for less than half a million dollars—came up with a plan that makes Wile E. Coyote’s penchant for painting roads onto walls look well-reasoned by comparison. 

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The San Luis Obispo City Council would find a way to allow the neighbors to harass a woman growing medical marijuana for her sick son by banning “offensive odors.” 

I know what you’re thinking. Smell is incredibly subjective. Can I now complain about the old people at the movies who douse themselves in perfume? Will the council FINALLY respond to my repeated pleas to do something about rank stank blowing out of Abercrombie & Fitch? Or can someone crack down on the mouthwatering cooking animal carcass scent wafting around Firestone in the morning? If I’m offended by the smell of white privilege, can I file a complaint against the SLO City Council for insisting they somehow smell roses despite having their heads shoved up their own definitely-not-rose-garden holes?

Obviously, the city is not going to cite Abercrombie & Fitch, no matter how many of us have seizures on the sidewalk outside its doors. Nor will they go after douchebags who think noxious body sprays are an effective method of getting laid. They’re not going after the little old ladies who stink up the movie theater either, probably because those are the only people voting these yahoos into office term after term. 

Greg Hermann, the city’s special project manager, bristled when asked about whether the city will wield the ordinance against Abercrombie & Fitch. He said, “Well, obviously we’ll have to consider those things on a case-by-case basis.”

Translation: Even though the language of this ordinance is broad to make it look like we’re not just targeting Timmy’s mom, we’re going to be as subjective as a Christian who thinks gays are evil but screws anything that moves in our interpretation of this ordinance. We would never do anything to disrupt a man’s god-given right to make an honest buck, but if you think you have the right to grow a plant to take care of your sick child, well, have we got news for you.

Basically, look out Timmy’s mom, ’cause we’re gunning for you. 

The two Dans (Carpenter and Rivoire) and the one and only Don attempted to inject some reason into the March 17 City Council meeting where Mayor Jan Marx, Councilman John Ashbaugh, and Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson giddily approved what is easily the most ridiculous in a long list of city bans. 

And if you’re unfortunate enough to be forced to follow the antics of the self-important banners we somehow elected to office, you’re scratching your head and wondering who the hell this Don is. I refer, of course, to the scooter-riding, costume-wearing, frequent-nonsense-spewing Don Hedrick, who was, weirdly, a voice of reason in a sea of bureaucratic wackiness. Simply by having the good sense to point out, “A smell is a hard thing to control,” Hedrick established himself as more reasonable than three-fifths of the decision-makers voting at City Council meetings. 

If only the rest of us had the good sense to recognize that the true madman is not the fellow dressed as Don Quixote riding around town on a scooter but anyone in a suit who thinks that SLO’s biggest problem is how it smells.

Shredder’s gotta stink up the place while it’s still legal. Send beans to [email protected].

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