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Red, gray, and blue 

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Did I miss the memo that hell froze over? What else could possibly explain that 5th District SLO County Supervisor Debbie Arnold stood up for SLO County homeowners over the GOP's tax plan? It's true! The Debster actually dared to break lockstep with the Republicans, dared to question their tax ideas, and actually put her constituents over her ideology. Well, for a second anyway.

On Nov. 16, Arnold attended a Washington, D.C., meeting of elected officials from high-tax and high-property-value states such as California, New York, and New Jersey to discuss the proposed tax plan with bigwigs such as Vice President Mike Pence. She told Pence that local residents would be hurt by a cap on the mortgage-interest deduction and the elimination of state- and local-tax deductions.

Hey, it was a start! Of course, she went on to say that doesn't mean she opposes the plan. First she needs to see a comprehensive analysis to see if possible benefits outweigh negatives, which sounds reasonable enough but also allows her to squirm out of supporting local taxpayers by arguing the tired, disproven, GOP BS about trickledown economics, the heart of their tax plan.

You know the one! We've got to cut taxes on the rich so they can invest and start new businesses and hire people and pay them more money, and presto-change-o! Even though your taxes went up, middle-class person, you're somehow better off. Mm. GOP magic. Trump sure is making America great again ... especially for rich people. That's what happens when you elect a fox to watch the white hen house.

And you know what we do to hen-eating foxes around these parts, don'tcha? In Arroyo Grande they capture 'em and kill 'em! (Dear Secret Service, this is not a threat against President Donald J. Trump. This is satire! Please do not storm the New Times and arrest an office appliance.)

But seriously you know that adorable little gray fox that was hanging out in the Village of AG climbing trees and cavorting with puppies and generally being the cutest thing in the entire world? Yeah, apparently a neighbor complained that it got to some chickens, so the fox was trapped and euthanized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services department.

What the hell? According USDA Public Affairs Specialist Tanya Espinosa, state laws forbid relocation, and gray foxes aren't endangered, and it wasn't that cute anyway.

You know what? Most folks down in the Village liked that little fox, which had become an unofficial mascot. Let's say the little fox had become too used to human contact and wouldn't survive a relocation. OK, then why not give it to that Zoo to You program run by Paso Robles-based Conservation Ambassadors?

Because I want to pet an adorable little gray fox or at least watch it do cute stuff with a puppy, and now it's dead because it ate a chicken. It's not like it groped a woman's privates or moved to end net neutrality or choked out a high school student with a carotid artery chokehold.

Huh? Yes, over at Mission Prep, their Director of Student Life Russ Griffith, an ex-SLOPD officer, allegedly choked a high school student in the cafeteria reportedly for saying the f-word, though details are in fucking short supply because the whole thing is being covered up.

"Arg! Don't choke me, bro!"

Naturally about a zillion cellphone videos captured the Nov. 3 event, so the SLOPD showed up at 2 p.m. and investigated but didn't make an arrest. Also, they're not revealing the results of their super secret investigation, and even weirder, they're uncharacteristically turning the report over to the SLO County District Attorney without recommending a charge against Griffith, instead leaving it to the DA to decide what, if any, charges should be pursued.

Look, I don't need to have a law degree or be a trained police officer to know that if you lay hands on someone, it's not merely assault, it's battery. Of course, anyone who knows a teenager surely knows that many of them could benefit from a good throttling, but we don't do it because it's illegal! Griffith is a trained police officer working with children. He should know how to de-escalate a situation, not exacerbate it, shouldn't he?

The unnamed chokee, by the way, was apparently a star on the Mission Prep Football Team; he played a game the very night of the incident, and the chokehold apparently left him uninjured. Still, did Griffith need to go full NYPD Eric Gardner on him? The kid used profanity. It's not like he was selling loosies on an NYC street corner.

Mission Prep Principal Mike Susank won't say whether Griffith is still on leave, back at work, terminated, given a raise, or made the Director of Student Motivation. Instead Susank's hiding behind ye ol' "private personnel matter" canard. If I had a kid at the Catholic school, I for one would like to know if a kid strangler was still in a position of power.

What really chaps my hide, however, is the thin blue line protecting an ex-police officer instead of holding him accountable for choking-out a kid. I'll give you one guess as to what D.A. Dan "Police Coddler" Dow will do. Δ

The Shredder wants a tax deduction, a pet fox, and an un-choked neck. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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