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Mammon 

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Ah capitalism—gotta love it, right? Survival of the fittest, competition, may the best business win! Conservatives worship the almighty capitalism ... except when it comes to the recreational marijuana industry, which is why I'm relishing the one-upsmanship between Grover Beach and San Luis Obispo.

Grover Beach inked an ordinance to allow brick-and-mortar medicinal marijuana shops, but even before the first dispensary could open its doors, the city discussed allowing recreational dispensaries, too, all because SLO Town officials are proposing allowing recreational storefronts. Competition for the win!

Conservatives are naturally losing their shit over the prospect of pot shops popping up. The chair and vice chair of the SLO Planning Commission both voted "no"—but lost—on the proposal of recreational brick-and-mortar stores, painting doom-and-gloom scenarios about how it will damage the community and change the face of tourism.

These two rubes fear that potheads near and far will come flocking into SLO because, you know, other cities aren't going to have recreational dispensaries of their own. News flash, Commission Chairman Chuck Stevenson and Vice Chairman John Fowler, places like La La Land and 'Frisco aren't run by officials with sticks jammed so far up their asses they refuse to follow the will of the voters, who decided recreational marijuana for adults was, like, totally cool, bros!

If Grover and SLO ultimately allow recreational storefronts, maybe they'll be joined by Morro Bay, which has already approved medicinal storefronts and will soon begin accepting applications. Sorry, conservatives, but you don't get to choose what capitalism applies to.

Let's face it: Money talks ... in capitalism and politics, too.

We've never met, but I hear SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson is a great guy, and on a personal level, I don't doubt it. Maybe that explains why people are funneling hot cash injections into his re-election campaign, even though a videotape chronicling the death of SLO County Jail inmate Andrew Holland disproved Parkinson's original narrative of the events leading to the mentally ill inmate's death.

Greg Clayton, a former SLOPD officer, is challenging Parkinson as he seeks a third term. Meanwhile, lots of people—from the SLO Democratic Party to myriad random protesters and activists—are calling for Parkinson to step down. Seems reasonable considering how many inmates have died under Parkinson's tenure (more than a dozen!) and in the face of the blatant torture and neglect Holland suffered, not to mention Parkinson's subsequent lies, and the ongoing FBI investigation into civil rights abuses at the jail under his supervision.

Frankly, if I were Parkinson, I'd be too ashamed to seek a third term, but I guess if a bunch of people (who apparently don't care if your department tortures and kills) keep giving you money to run again, you run again.

Personally, I'd also be ashamed to donate to a sheriff who behaved as Parkinson did, though apparently, 35th District Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham isn't; he gave Parkinson a cool $1,000. Paso Robles-based Borjon Auto Center, owned by Mark Borjon, gave Parkinson nearly $2,000. Meanwhile, Joe DiFronzo, owner of Giuseppe's Cucina Rustica restaurants in SLO and Pismo Beach, coughed up more than $3,000 for Parkinson. The Cal Poly Queer Student Union called for a boycott of Giuseppe's, which is an amazing act of bravery considering how freaking good Giuseppe's food is!

Of course, some will dismiss the Queer Student Union's call to arms as kid stuff, just like the activist survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting have been called pawns of anti-gun zealots, but adults, BEWARE! The kids are coming for you and will no longer stand aside and ignore your inaction.

Take Paso Robles, for instance. After the Paso Robles City Council refused to enact a polystyrene ban, members of the City of Paso Robles Youth Commission and the Paso Robles High School Wilderness Club showed up at the March 20 council meeting. After an effective presentation laying out the case for banning polystyrene, the council agreed to further discussion and possible action regarding a ban. SLO, Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, and Morro Bay already ban that foamy environmental nightmare.

These kids are learning the valuable lesson of activism and non-violent protest, and despite some right-wing pundits' arguments that these young people are puppets of adults, the truth is they're armed with their own ideas backed by research and facts. Take for instance this week's commentary by Morro Bay High School student Audrey McClish.

Titled "Why 'America First' is for Losers," the piece civilly, thoughtfully, and effectively dismantles President Trump's nationalist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant agenda. It even included in-text citations (

and a handy works cited page for the editor, making fact-checking a breeze, which is like totally cool, man!). If adults think they're going to scold, shame, or cajole this generation into compliance, they're sorely mistaken (and need to cite their facts ... hint, hint, angry opinion writers of SLO County).

"I am tired of the hypocrisy of 'America First' policies," McClish wrote. "Whenever the basic tenets of human kindness are second, or last, youth are invariably hurt the most. We learn how to discriminate, how to look the other way from those in need, how to characterize ourselves solely by race and borders."

Even a high school junior knows that's un-American. Δ

The Shredder, like Ralph Waldo Emerson, thinks money costs too much. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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