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Cue the music 

If this were a Hallmark special, right about now would be the moment when we’d all be coming together in flag-waving, slo-mo, Michael Bay style.

We would see shop owners pause from their morning routines of sweeping the sidewalk to offer a muffin, a noogie, and, just maybe, a second chance, to a street kid. We’d watch as the public employee union leaders appeared at the board meetings and said, “Ah shucks, we’re just glad to have our jobs in these hard times, so we’ll go without a double-digit raise this year. If that’ll help.” We’d have the bureaucrats look the other way, just one more time, instead of driving the destitute out of their homes, even if those homes don’t meet code.

But this is no Hallmark special. We’re still whoever we were before the bad times, looking out mostly for ourselves, with our same prejudices and predilections, regardless of the consequences.

Deborah Cash, executive director of the SLO Downtown Association, wrote a recent column complaining about the—I swear she really said this—“untidies” (her quotes) who have “washed over the commercial district these past few months.”

When a person is talking about washing untidies, one’s thoughts drift naturally to dirty underwear, but that was not where she was going with her drift.

She was referring to the street kids.

“Talking with a few of them …” Excuse me for a moment here. Does anybody here believe that Deborah Cash actually talked to a street kid before she wrote this bit of Babbitry? Anyway, to continue with her column: “… one learns that this is a chosen path, a lifestyle, with a cross-country route, a dress to un-impress attitude and interestingly, they don’t travel light.”

Okay, so almost all of this was gleaned from our cover story a few weeks back. I’m not saying she’s completely wrong about her facts but it somehow seems so very uncool when she says it. She goes on to complain about the fact that police can’t arrest people who aren’t breaking laws. I know, what a bummer.

More: “Besides, we also know the groups trade information; our hope is they’ll put the word out among their peeps …” Pardon me again, did she just say “peeps?” She did? Well, carry on: “ … that SLO Town is NO Town you want to visit.”

Right, Deborah. It’s the worst recession in American history, and your big complaint is that we can’t arrest people who don’t fit your definitions of tidy. Somebody get a hose, and we’ll try for another Hallmark special next week.

Before you can take a breath

It was a blink-and-you’ll miss it sort of thing. A pot dispensary opened in Orcutt the other day. And just as the reporters showed up to find out what was up, it was down. Closed.

It was called “Wishing You Wellness,” and according to Fox 11 in Santa Maria, the owner said he thought he had all his stuff in order when he opened, but quickly learned he didn’t after people complained. The county told him he’d have to pay $1,700 and go through a multi-month approval process. He gave up instead.

For now, people will have to continue to drive into Ventura or whatever to get their doctor recommendations filled, but I continue to hear talk of folks planning to start new dispensaries in SLO County, especially now that it looks like the Obama administration is toning down the drug raids.

Call it a sign

As developer David Weyrich continues to shed his stuff under the siege of various creditors, one of the more interesting things heading out the door are the billboards he landed as part of his deal with Atascadero City to redevelop the Carlton Hotel.

In 2003, the city broke its own no-new-billboards rules to give Weyrich exclusive rights to six large billboards on the city’s portion of Highway 101. The city seemed to think he would, you know, actually advertise local stuff. Didn’t happen. Instead, he used most of the signs to advertise such things as his own no-gay-weddings-allowed Villa Toscana, up in Paso Robles. Clever bargainers, the city officials got the rights to put up three nylon, flapping-in-the-breeze little scraps advertising such city stuff as the Charles Paddock Zoo.

An aside: It’s a decent zoo but have you noticed that all the animals are sort of the off-brand type? Like, if you’re into lynx, they give you serval cats. Or, if you like kangaroos, they give you a dinky wallaby. Ostrich? Try emu.
    Anyway, where was I? The signs. An aside: Weyrich, famously moralistic, added in a morality clause in his contract with the city so they couldn’t be used to advertise tobacco, pornography, profanity and … get this … alcoholic beverages. Brave stand for a winery owner? Nope. There was this clause: “(except wine, winery tasting rooms or vineyards).” Sure, because wine can’t get you drunk.

Anyway, he’s selling the signs and the city is working on transferring the marketing deal to businessman Cliff Branch. I’m pretty sure one of the signs advertises a bankruptcy attorney.

Contest, continued

So far the contest to name a contest (and have it named after you) has suggestions ranging from ugly pets (I don’t really do photos, so that’s out) to whether anyone can write a column as awesomely as me (no way! End of contest). I think you all need some more choices. How about:

• Bad names for wines or vineyards, real and imagined.

• Pointless celebrity Twitter tweets, real or imagined. No more than 140 characters.

• The last newspaper headline.

The first idea to get five e-mailed votes or entries wins. Go!

Shredder honestly thought that kid in “Rudy” was supposed to be retarded, but apparently he was just short. Write to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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