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Shredder masochism 

Noooo! I told myself I wasn’t going to do it. Not gonna. Not gonna. NOT GONNA! Just ask the other bums in the office. I said very distinctly: no special election stuff this week. Then the election came down to such a squeaker I just can’t help it. Think of it like the last drink, last cigarette, or last bumper of sweet Peruvian black mamba hero-aine (if you don’t know what it is I’m not gonna tell you). And just like any addict scoring his or her “last fix,” once I’m done with this I’ll probably feel dirty and disgusted with myself. Anyone mind giving an old opinion columnist a full body sponging?

As bad as I feel right now, it’s nothing compared to what Sam Blakeslee must have been going through on election night. So far, the guy has 64,676 votes across Senate District 15, that’s 49.7 percent of the vote. If I’ve done my grade-school algebra correctly—and I probably haven’t—Blakeslee needed 65,005 votes, given the turnout numbers, to win the election outright and avoid a runoff. Then again, that’s based on the craptacular turnout of this special election. In SLO County, only 34.3 percent of registered voters peeled themselves off the couch.

A low turnout is exactly what the seal-clubbing sadistic troglodytes who concocted this early election wanted. And it almost worked—pending any surprises in the “official” results—Blakeslee was too close to a Republican win in a senate district in which Democrats outnumber Republicans 40.7 percent to 34.4. Hmmm.

   So we’ve got more campaigning ahead. Sheriff Candidate Ian Parkinson can’t seem to scratch his campaigning itch. He has some odd self infatuation that now makes him think he should be a spokesman for Abbey Home Loans. In the company’s latest commercial, it’s just Parkinson, walking along the ocean cliffs in a full suit, talking about community and how mortgages support law enforcement—more or less.

I let the interns out of their cages briefly to do some research. They told me Parkinson didn’t take any money from the Abbey folks. He must just really love the spotlight. It’s a long wait before the November election. What’s next buddy?

“So come on down to Crazy Ian’s Carpets. We’ve got all the best carpets at the best prices because here at Ian’s Crazy Carpets our prices are so low they’re craaaaaazy.”

On the other end of the campaign spectrum, Dave Romero has said he won’t pursue another term. Ah, Dave the Pave. He’s been in city government since before I was a little shredlet. Come to think of it, he’s had his hands in the gooey SLO public policy vat since before I was a wriggling little shrerm. Love him or hate him or love to hate him or hate to love to hate him because you really love him, you always know what Dave’s thinking. I guess it’s not goodbye yet, Dave, so I’ll keep this short and sweet just like you :)

Before then, there’s all sorts of work to do. Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, you’ve got a city budget that’s bleeding out the ass like a BP executive after a congressional hearing. Just to put a number on things, let’s say it’s a $3 million deficit. So, this hypothetical city council needs to shave it’s finances to the bone, and cut such services as firefighting training, road work—you get the idea. But hypothetical city council X also wants to throw in a series of downtown improvements that somehow made their way into a list of city priority expenditures, but weren’t outlined by voters who approved Measure Y. WHOA! I mean Measure X. Think projects akin to a fancy new ottoman or light-socket covers, but more urban. It might look something like new trashcans, or new newspaper racks. In total, it’s going to run about $640,000 for worthless pretty things in conjunction with the cuts to worthwhile useful things.

Trash cans? Really? Trash cans! Are you fu … NEW TRASH CANS? Sorry, that was a hypothetical rant. What was my point? Oh, right. So if you’re a hypothetical city council and want to get these debaucheries passed without having to listen to the annoying public, how do you do it? Simple, put the item as a special agenda item at 4 p.m. when no one will be there. In fact, no one will show up because they’re probably all out working, and ta-da, no one will protest.

I can’t wait to throw my garbage into one of these new trashcans. Hypothetically speaking.

Back in the real world, you should give this week’s cover story a look-see. New Times’ sister paper, the Santa Maria Sun, and our sister reporter, Amy Asman, set off to find out just how much illegal aliens (the immigrant-type, not those from Gorthak 9) actually cost or help the economy.

Seemed easy enough. After all, every right-wing, left-wing, and boneless-skinless-thigh politician seems to have an easy enough time pulling out population statistics and dollar figures like an illegal bunny out of a hat. But when you dig a little—speaking with officials from social services, hospitals, and tax officials who should actually know—nobody has the slightest clue how much illegal immigration costs or if it costs anything. Some people think illegal immigrants, in fact, bring in more money because they pay for stuff here but are legally prohibited from cashing in on government services most of the time. Go ahead, ask officials yourself. They’ll hit you with words like, “guestimate,” “I really don’t know,” and “buh duh,” before sticking a finger in their nose and looking at the ceiling.

If you don’t want to hear more about the special election, send tips to [email protected].

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