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A gear-grinding year 

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My reflection on 2017 is more like confusion and a shocking realization that I live in an alternate reality than someone, say, who isn't considered to be a liberal freedom-taking snowflake.

Really, it's like we—and by we, I mean wet, shivering office machines like myself and the other side (those politically incorrect cogs who buy into the Make America Great Again fallacy and don't like being called white supremacists)— actually walk, live, and play in two completely different worlds. We see two different sets of truths.

There are all the people in the middle, too, of course. But those guys have been lost in the fracas, because the tug of war for power is a fight between the fringes, not the logical-thinking folks who make up the center of our political spectrum.

And I'm not sure how to reconcile that. It's left me more than a little miffed as I watched it trickle down into debates over local policy decisions (nope, not like economics—because this isn't a theory, it's actually happening) in city, county, and local governing bodies.

The bickering at SLO County Board of Supervisors' meetings has devolved into snide comments and exasperated sighs that fill the space between bitter arguments and accusations of malice and wrongdoing. It's been increasingly hard to watch as they try to drag staff into their ideologically pointed arguments (I'm looking at you 5th District Supervisor Debbie "I'm Just Asking ... " Arnold and 3rd District Supervisor Adam "That's Exactly My Point" Hill). Hey guys, can you please put aside how much you hate each other for one god-forsaken second to actually make a positive decision for the good of the people?

Do you know how many SLO County staffers announced they were leaving or actually left this year? It's definitely more than the high profile resignations, which include SLO County Planning and Building Director Jim "Even Arroyo Grande is Better Than This" Bergman, SLO County Administrative Officer Dan "We Almost Couldn't Find a Replacement For Him" Bukshi, SLO County Air Pollution Control District Director Larry "I'm Sick of This Dust (And Hot Air)" Allen, and SLO County Health Agency Director Jeff "I'm Out Of Here Soon" Hamm. That's a lot of turnover, and there's been an awful lot of movement within the planning department because it's lost a number of staff members.

I'm just going to leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Then there's this craziness that happened at SLO High School in May when then special education teacher Michael Stack penned a letter published in the school newspaper, SLOHS Expressions, that cited a bible verse that stated people who commit homosexual acts "deserve to die." WT actual F Michael?

It is one of those things that leaves my gears agape.

At the time, I argued that people have a right to express their opinions under the First Amendment and people got pissed at me! Get in line guys!! Look, this paper prints crap I don't agree with all the time—unbelievably stupid, crass, ignorant, discriminatory, racist, sexist, offensive opinions from people who live in SLO County—from my neighbors! But I can't get mad at this liberal rag. Don't you want to know why people see a different reality than you do? Maybe someday we can reconcile the two worlds ... but I digress.

His letter and the public outrage that followed ended his employment with the high school, and San Luis Coastal Unified School District adopted a religious expression policy that clarified when, where, and in what manner it's appropriate on campus. It didn't really change much, but it's the thought that counts. Power to the people!

Speaking of things that haven't changed much and people who live in an alternate reality. Whatever happened to my favorite sexual assault investigator, SLOPD Sgt. Chad Pfarr? It's been many moons since he made that ridiculous statement to a New Times reporter about how most sexual assault victims only think they were violated because they got black out drunk the night before—when really nothing happened and they can't control their alcohol. What in the actual hell Chad?

Remember how the SLOPD announced it was investigating the matter? Yeah. Me too.

Do you know how that investigation turned out? Yeah. Me neither.

I wonder when Chief Deanna Cantrell is actually going to say something about it. Yeah. She's probably just hoping the whole thing goes away, nice and quiet like. But, we haven't forgotten about it. And I'm kind of loud when my gears get to grinding away over here.

I wish I could use them to shred part of this petition that's being circulated to ban water banking—a conspiracy theory that's been pinging off the walls that contain Paso Roble's groundwater basin for the last three years. It's backers, Greg Grewal, Frederick Hoey, and former Congresswoman Andrea Seastrand, call the measure insurance. Look, I get insurance. What I have a problem with are sentences like this one: "Special interests have identified this groundwater basin for manipulation and an opportunity for generating profits."

That sounds scary. But don't we already have regulations in place that protect us against this? So why is it that regulation-haters such as yourselves want to double down on those? Send me a note so I can understand the world you're living in. I promise I won't shred it.

In fact, I will share it. Δ

The Shredder doesn't like to shred everything shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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