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Gas chamber 

Now that all you Obamaramans have got your President Huxtable, with his lawyer wife, cute children, and colorful sweaters and everything, I suppose you think everything’s going to be just fine for this country.

Let me tell you something: That was a television show. Real people aren’t like that. There’s something deeply troubling about Barack Obama, even if we don’t know what that something is yet. Sure he’s good-looking and articulate and, you know, smart, so we think he’s bound to be better than the current president. But maybe not. Building him up like this is only going to make it that much more painful when he screws up. Lower your expectations, people. Even the Coz has flaws.


The next sheriff

Is Jerry Lenthall interested in becoming sheriff? That’s what I’ve been told, and by asking it in the form of a question, I’m not taking any responsibility for passing on the information to you.

Just like those television news lead-ins that ask “Are your teens in danger?” there’s really no obligation to give an answer.

Lenthall is the ousted, out-voted, SLO County Supervisor, so he’s in search of a new gig. I think I heard him auditioning for the job the other day when he was sending laudations the way of Gary Hoving, the former chief deputy who won a lawsuit against the county after Sheriff Pat Hedges and his fellow badgers bugged Hoving’s office for no good reason.

That scene was a little weird. There was Hoving talking about how his 29-year career with the Sheriff’s Department was an absolute dream, except for the whole illegal taping thing. He praised everyone, from the bad guys who made his job possible to the sheriff himself. No, silly, not the current sheriff. He praised former sheriff Ed Williams.

I’ve also heard whispers, grunts, and Morse code signals that Dale Strobridge, the hard-charging former president of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, and Mike Brennler, the former mayor of Atascadero, may be interested in the job. They’re all former cops. I wouldn’t be surprised if the job invites even more competitors, but I would be surprised if Hedges thinks he could get the job again. Morale is said to be pretty low around there—low enough that people like those folks are letting on to people like me that morale’s low. Bad sign.

The post is up in 2010.



Who says all male fashion designers are gay? In Los Angeles, a jury convicted designer Anand Jon, who appeared briefly on a reality show, of 16 counts of rape and sexual assault for luring young, mostly out-of-town girls and women to his apartment and assaulting them. One of the dozens who testified against Jon was an Arroyo Grande teen.

So you already know he’s a bad man, a creep, but an LA Weekly account of the trial makes you want a shower just for reading it’s complete with descriptions of the guy’s filthy apartment, his air mattress on the floor, and the cockroaches that would scatter when his victims came to his door. Welcome to Tinseltown.


And this

I’m not sure what to make of the New Times cover story this week. My take: there’s a budget crisis and top administrator David Edge, ahead of planned union negotiations, is laying the groundwork by exaggerating all the layoffs and cuts that will have to be made because of those damned greedy union members and all their cushy bennies.

I don’t buy it.

If the county couldn’t afford to pay those salaries, and those benefits, then the managers and elected county supervisors shouldn’t have offered them. It’s not the workers’ fault when the budget takes a hit. You don’t get to blame them for taking the money you already offered. And I’ll pay the entire deficit myself if, in five years, as the story seems to say, there will actually be 400 fewer county employees on the payroll than there are now. Won’t happen.


Breaking news

I want to give a rare, congratulatory, if flatuletory, shout-out to Allen Settle, the SLO City Councilman who sometimes gets mentioned in this column in a less-than-flattering way. Not this time. This time he’ll be mentioned in a less-than-flatulent sort of way. Because he’s earned it.

Say what you want about the former mayor, but this is a man who does not tolerate dudes making fart noises in the back of the Council Chamber. Don’t turn to me as your reliable source of news, but as I heard the story, a pissed-off citizen took to the microphone during open comment period and had his say. Then he turned around, planted himself in the back of the chamber, and proceeded to make loud fart noises. I don’t know how he made them. I don’t know whether they were authentic fart noises or faux fart noises.

The rest of the council members cowered in fear. What should we do? They wondered. How to respond? They pondered. Not Settle. Settle grabbed the mic and firmly told that man to plug whatever hole was making the sound. Something like that. Maybe not those words, but that spirit. However he said it, he definitely was right to clear the air.

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