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The naked truth 

Don’t you love gazing out on the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean as you drive south through Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, watching the reeling surf, looking out toward the majestic Channel Islands, whose view is only obscured by oil derricks? Yeah, everything but that last part, right? Offshore oil rigs suck. They’re eye pollution, not to mention they have the potential to be actual pollution.

Anyone recall the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill caused by a blowout on Union Oil’s Platform A in the Dos Cuadras Offshore Oil Field? At the time, it was the largest oil spill in U.S. waters … until the 1989 Exxon Valdez and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spills sent it to third place. Ha-ha! Here’s your bronze medal, loser!

On Feb. 7, the SLO County Board of Supervisors had a chance to further protect our own coastline from Santa Barbara to Cambria when they voted on whether or not to send a letter opposing a proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, which has been submitted to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and which, if approved, would protect our coastline from offshore oil rigs. I don’t know about you, but I’m really not interested in winning the gold medal for biggest freakin’ oil disaster!

Predictably, the vote fell along ideological lines, with conservative supes John Peschong, Debbie Arnold, and Lynn Compton voting to send the opposition letter and liberals Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill voting not to send it. Yes, you heard that correctly. The protective proposal is in NOAA’s pipeline, and the supes could have merely let the process run its course, but the conservatives on the board proactively moved to register their dissent. Dear residents of the 1st, 4th, and 5th Districts, these are the people you voted for to protect your interests.

“How d’you like me now?” Peschong, Compton, and Arnold sing!

Not so much. We need tourists more than oil platforms.

Over the course of hours of public comment, about 100 people spoke, and about two-thirds were in favor of the sanctuary and not sending the letter. Yes, there were compelling arguments about burdening the local fishing industry, but Northern Chumash Tribal Council spokesman Fred Collins cut to the quick when he said, “It’s all about the oil.”

My favorite moment was when Compton told the audience that the best way they could combat offshore oil drilling was to support Democratic 24th District Representative Salud Carbajal’s proposed bill to permanently ban any new oil leases, a bill that Carbajal himself said had scant chance of passing in the Republican-controlled Congress.

Compton also bragged about how she’d never taken a dime of oil money as proof that she’s not in Big Oil’s pocket, actually challenging those in attendance to check her public donations record.

We did.

She received more than $4,000 in donations from people connected to the oil and gas industry, including 900 bucks from “independent energy consultant” E. Bruce Falkenhagen, who in 1998 admitted guilt in a lawsuit for illegally operating power generation equipment without required air pollution control and permits. Gee, he seems swell!

OK, really Compton? You dare us to check? What’s your defense now? Was that an “alternative fact”?

In other wackadoodle news, you may have missed the SLO Chamber of Commerce’s online video made to promote its upcoming annual dinner featuring emcee Garret Olson, the SLO City Fire Chief. It was really something!

Filmed with a body camera worn by Olsen, it shows him walking into the chamber offices to discuss his emceeing duties with CEO Ermina Karim.

As he walks in, a female receptionist asked him, “Hey, have you got any of those Full Monty calendars I’ve been hearing so much about?”

You know, those calendars with photos of hot nude guys!

“Yikes,” Olsen mutters as he makes his way down a hallway to another female chamber employee, who asks, “Before you go, can you tell me, are any of those ‘hot’ firefighters going to be at the annual dinner?”

“No, just me,” he says, followed by her disappointed look.

     Another female employee asks, “Hey, are you bringing any shirtless firefighters to the dinner?”

     “No,” Olsen replies, “I’m probably going to be the only one, and I’m going to need to wear a shirt.”

     When he finally gets to Karim, she asks dreamily, “I have just one last question. Who’s that new guy who’s driving Truck 1? His chestnut hair and ice blue eyes and laugh that sounds like a tropical waterfall at sunset.”

Hey, I get that you’re trying to be funny and play off the old “firemen” are hot thing, but let’s play a little game called role reversal. A woman walks into the SLO Chamber of Commerce for a business meeting, and every male employee she encounters asks the same sorts of things: “Do you have any nude photos I could see?” “Are you bringing any of your hot friends to the annual dinner?” “Are any of your coworkers willing to come to the dinner topless?” “Who’s that new girl, the one with the raven hair, plump breasts, and whose voice sounds like … ?”

No wonder they took the video down. Or maybe it was because the second half of the video featured an older gentleman and three fake-mustached women wearing faux-hot-topless-guy shirts and fireman britches all doing a lame white rap about how great the chamber is. That was actually more offensive than the overt sexism.

The Shredder works au natural. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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