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Asleep at the wheels of justice 

What's going on, SLO County District Attorney's Office? I mean, congrats on charging Canadian pastor Nathan Rieger for seeking underage sex with a fake 15-year-old, but you let a pain-pill-pushing physician escape justice in the middle of an opioid crisis, you've been accused of obstruction in a manslaughter case, and you let an allegedly rapey cop off scot-free despite DNA evidence!

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The Tribune recently reported that Dr. Atsuko Eubank Rees, who operated the now shuttered Rees Family Medical, was charged with six felonies in 2015 for prescribing pain medication Norco to three undercover cops, posing in one instance as a plumber.

Dr. Pilly McPillpusher is said to have coached the "plumber" to ask for the drugs for "pain" rather than "sleep," and she barely bothered to examine him. Did I mention the good doctor had already been sued by the family of Matthew Hurlbutt, a drugged-up Cal Poly student killed while walking along Highway 101 with THC—which Rees was accused of improperly prescribing—in his system? The medical board suspended Rees from practice for 45 days and placed her on a five-year probation.

Seems like a slam-dunk case, but Rees' arraignment was postponed twice at her attorney Chris Casciola's request and twice more by the DA's Office ... and now the three-year statute of limitations has run out. I guess Christmas came early for Dr. Rees!

Meanwhile in the case of former Grover Beach police officer Alex Geiger—who was charged with manslaughter and other felonies connected to the 2016 dog mauling in which Geiger's police-trained Belgian Malinois, Neo, mauled his 85-year-old neighbor Betty Long and killed another neighbor, David Fear, who intervened—Geiger's defense attorney Melina Benninghoff has accused the DA of interfering with her defense.

Benninghoff's private dick, Bryan Pinto, testified that when he attempted to interview Grover Beach Police as well as Exeter Police, where Geiger used to work, he was informed that they needed to check with the SLO County DA before submitting to an interview. Did the DA tell these departments—illegally, I may add—to get permission before granting interviews? The DA says nope! But why would officers from two different departments be under the same misconception? Puzzler, amirite?

And then there's the disgusting case of former Paso Robles police sergeant Christopher McGuire, who was accused of forcing sex on a woman while on duty. Grand Poobah SLO County DA Dan Dow himself decided that "no reasonable and objective jury" would find McGuire guilty, even though they recovered his DNA at the alleged crime scene. Oh, but it was consensual, see? Hmm? How does Dow know? It wouldn't be the first time that a woman who had consensual sex was later forced to have sex against her will.

Isn't guilt or innocence what a judge and jury are supposed to decide? I get that Dow doesn't want to waste taxpayers' money by trying to bring an alleged rapist cop to trial if he can't win, but is he even trying? And if Dow is so worried about wasting taxpayers' money, why did he waste all the time and trouble of Dr. Rees' undercover sting operation by letting the statute of limitations pass? If I was that undercover "plumber" who ate extra doughnuts to grow myself a legit "plumber's crack," I'd be pissed!

Get your shit together, SLO County DA! And speaking of shit, remember the Great Romaine Lettuce Debacle of 2018 that led to 59 reported cases of illness and 23 hospitalizations in 15 states? Turns out at least one source was just south of us in Santa Maria! Oops!

A reservoir near Adam Brothers Farming tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. The produce farm is run by 4th District Santa Barbara County Supervisor Peter Adam and his brothers Dominic and Kieran. I guess the Adams' reservoir is a swamp not yet drained by our Commander in Tweets, Donald J. Trumpsterfire.

By the way, FDA spokesperson Peter Cassell said lettuce from SLO County does not appear to be involved in the outbreak because ... SLO County rules! Woo-hoo! Suck it, Santa Barbara!

How great is SLO County? Depends on where you're at. In the city of San Luis Obispo, we're a solid B! Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Paso Robles, and SLO County's unincorporated areas all got C's. Morro Bay got a D! Atascadero and Pismo Beach both received F's! I'm speaking, of course, of the American Lung Association's 2018 State of Tobacco Control report card.

One city, Pismo Beach, is taking its bad grade seriously. The City Council is considering expanding the city's public smoking ban, an issue they'll take up at the first meeting of 2019. Let's see now. Pismo has a moratorium on tattoo and massage parlors, smoke shops, and payday loan businesses. Now they're trying to curtail smoking. It's almost like they're trying to tell people from the valley to find somewhere else to vacation!

Sheesh! Don't blow it, Pismo! That's for Cambria to do, which is basically saying, "You want to see blowing it? Here, hold my beer!" They're spending $115 an hour on "consultant" Paavo Ogren, Oceano CSD's general manager, to aid Cambria's acting GM Monique Madrid. How many GMs does it take to screw in a Cambrian light bulb? Δ

The Shredder smokes politicians and flicks their butts in the trash. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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