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Blight fight! 

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Editor's note:  This Shredder column was edited to more accurately reflect State Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham's rating from the NRA.

Good evening fight fans! What a bout we have for you tonight! In this corner, weighing in at 12 statewide members—including six elected officials and six members appointed from the public—is an "independent, quasi-judicial state agency" called the California Coastal Commission. The CCC is the reigning, undefeated champ that claims to dedicate its wins to the common people! Let's hear it for the CCC!

And in this corner, weighing in at five local members elected by the public at large is the SLO County Board of Supervisors! They also claim to represent the people but they also have to appease local law enforcement and first responders, whose resources are severely hobbled by a limited budget. Let's hear it for the SLOBOS!

Tonight's grand prize? What will become of Pirate's Cove, a coastline jewel that's lost some of its shine due to abuse by some users. The SLOBOS claims it's fighting to restore the cove's former glory by restricting its access. The CCC admits Pirate's Cove has fallen on hard times but it has yet to see a county plan to fix it that it likes. Now the SLOBOS are going to have to fight for it!

OK, enough of my fight metaphor, but when it comes to Pirate's Cove, it basically sums up where we're at, and to be honest, the conflict is making for strange bedfellows on the BOS. Get this! Conservative 1st District Supervisor John Peschong and liberal 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill agreed to form an ad hoc committee to figure out a way to compromise with the CCC and finally get a management handle on Pirate's Cove. Did you hear that? They agreed on something!

Judging from a letter the CCC sent to the BOS, limiting access hours and closing the parking lot at night are non-starters; however, the CCC's 2014 proposal, which included trail improvements, restrooms, trash cans, bike racks, benches, and signage, are still a go if the BOS wants to move forward. It seems like the only thing currently in the BOS's power is to paint both sides of the access road red as a fire lane.

Basically, it looks to me like Peschong and Hill's ad hoc committee is going to get together and decide whether to take the 3-year-old deal or not. Maybe the ad hoc committee is a way for the BOS to save face and look like they had a choice. They do, after all, have emergency personnel telling them it's a hard to manage the area. Cal Fire said rescue calls have been doubling every year. SLO County Sheriff's Department Commander Jim Voge said, "It's not a safe area to be late at night."

Meanwhile vocal members of the public, such as Terren Collins, told the board, Pirate's Cove is "one of the top five star gazing spots in the county" and that closing it "is not the solution to crime." Brian LoConte added that closing or restricting access would be "punishing law-abiding people for a few bad apples."

Can I offer a suggestion? The BOS should do what the CCC says it will allow, and then it should budget for more law enforcement presence. As Voge said, "I haven't seen a lot of family activity in the hours of darkness. When you get up there late at night, you'll have substance abuse, parties, attempted suicides, at least one sexual assault since May."

Until the "bad apples" no longer feel comfortable bringing their bad behavior to Pirate's Cove, good apples are going to avoid the area. Sprucing it up and increasing patrols will help transition the area from party central to family friendly. Frankly, that should be the CCC's goal too, which means they should be willing to work with local authorities to implement some temporary measures to kick-start the process of kicking out the bums. You know, compromise? What if the CCC allowed the BOS to close the area at night for one month? What if the BOS hosted a family-friendly stargazing grand re-opening party? New Times will provide the hot dogs! Just a thought.

I heard local public radio station KCBX interview 35th District Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, who happened to be at the Mandalay Bay hotel to see the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show during the Las Vegas massacre. He and his wife were thankfully safe and sound. Cunningham, a staunch Second Amendment advocate, has the stamp of approval from the National Rifle Association. Cunningham has an "AQ" rating from the NRA, which in gun nut speak is the equivalent of an A, but based on a questionnaire, since he's a newbie who hasn't voted enough yet.  When KCBX asked if the mass shooting had changed his opinion, he trotted out the Republican Party marching orders that now isn't the time to discuss it.

Yeah, let's wait until no one cares. Don't talk about gun control after a shooting. Don't talk about climate change after a natural disaster. Hey, but if some NFL football players take a knee in peaceful protest, instead of talking about the police violence against blacks that they're protesting via an exercise of their First Amendment rights, let's talk about how unpatriotic they are. Even the SLO County GOP got into the act, tweeting to call Anheuser-Busch to "WITHDRAW [ITS] SUPPORT OF THE NFL!" Hey SLO County GOP, how about a tweet about gun violence or police abuse of power? I guess we know which part of the Bill of Rights you care about. Δ

The Shredder advocates for the 11th Amendment, the right to hot dogs. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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