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Comforting words 

It’s a comfort to know that the death of yet another person working on the Nacimiento Pipeline for Teichert Construction didn’t burden its executives all that much. They practically had the news release written already, thanks to the last deadly accident. Consider the similarities between the statement Vice President Steve Mitchell issued after two guys drowned in a pipe not quite a year ago and the one they released after Tim Nelson died last week after being backed over by a dump truck.


This is from the first news release, in October of 2008: “The incident took place during excavation activities on a 30 inch pipeline for the Nacimiento Water project.”


This from the most recent one: “The incident took place during excavation activities on the 30 inch pipeline.”


It goes on. This from the first: “Cal OSHA is on scene and is leading the investigation in to the cause of the incident. All work on the project has stopped and the site has been secured while Cal OSHA and Teichert conduct a thorough investigation to determine the exact cause.”


The second: “OSHA is leading the investigation in to the cause of the incident. All work on the project has stopped. OSHA and Teichert will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the exact cause.”


Even the errors are repeated, such as the separation of “in” and “to.” Let’s just assume, hopefully, that any efforts they aren’t putting into their public statements are going toward improving safety. Just so you know, they’re battling the fines OSHA issued in the first deadly accident.


Goodbye, hello


Kylie Mendonca is leaving New Times. If you’ve been a close and careful reader of Kylie’s work, you know that she is an experiential journalist, willing to take off her clothes to report a story on a nude beach, to slip-and-slide with acidheads to cover Burning Man, to put up with a “mildly uncomfortable” colonic for a story on alternative therapies, to scavenge from fruit trees for a story about going a week without spending money, and to listen to tips from a ghost for a story about Jack Kerouac’s time in SLO. Also, she can lick her elbow. I think she’s leaving because she’s been bored. She’ll be missed, but taking her place will be Robert McDonald, a castaway from the news business’ sinking ship whose work has appeared in the New York Post and the New York Times. At New Times, he’ll be just a York away from real respectability. Also making a change is Managing Editor Patrick Howe, who will be leaving to spend more time ... anywhere else. He’ll be missed, too, especially the way he snorts whenever he reads the words: “This page intentionally left blank.”


Random column crap


Whew. Who knew these things were so long? Here’s some random column crap that couldn’t be formed into funnier parts:


Gary Hoving, who left the sheriff’s department with more than $600,000 after Sheriff Pat Hedges eavesdropped on him out of sheer paranoia (he thought Hoving might be making fun of him) has a new history book out. Hoving’s quoted in this week’s issue saying “History is of little value unless documented and in a format that is easy to access.” If there’s something funny there—and I’m hoping there might be—it’s in the understanding that Hoving’s own work history is now well documented, and easy to access.


• Another item from last week’s issue, buried deep in the legal notices, was a “Notice of Trustee’s Sale” scheduled for the courthouse steps at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 10 for Santa Ysabel Ranch property owned by David Weyrich and his wife Mary. The sale is designed to cover at least $1.6 million worth of debts, and this is just the latest official action spelling out how far the couple who at one point was one of the county’s wealthiest has fallen. Weyrich is facing lawsuits and other actions related to his jet business, winery, billboards he owns, the Santa Ysabel Ranch, and his Villa Toscana inn. Folks are still waiting to see what happens with the Carlton Hotel, but all in all it looks to be a hard and long fall. It’s hard to feel much sympathy for someone who assholishly blocked his defunct newspapers from running gay-friendly news and went on to withdraw his businesses from a wedding association after questions were raised about whether his inn was open to same-sex weddings.


Health slogan contest winners

   If we can’t have real health care reform, at least we can have this pointless contest. If you’ll recall, I asked for a hurry-up effort to speed some health care slogans President Obama’s way so he can try to salvage something out of the mess he’s made of this effort.


Thank you for the responses. Some were pretty good and others were, by your own admissions, terrible. But I don’t judge.


Greg H. writes in with some suggestions, including:


• “Don’t ask. Do heal.”


• “If America doesn’t have coverage, the terrorists win!”


• “Read my lips: No dead grandmas.”


And Kevin writes in with the not terribly helpful but appropriately cynical suggestion:


• “Hey—you’re going to die anyway. Why not give the government some more money?”


But D.L. Rocha wins the prize and all the glory with the succinct:


• “Got cancer?”


I might suggest adding on a bit so it could read: “Got cancer? Get covered: Support the public plan.”


Anyway, nice work as always, D.L. Send me an address and I’ll send you something from the random prize vault.


Shredder can be reached at


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