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The sky is falling 

Did you know there’s a nuclear power plant right here, in little ’ol SLO County? Hot damn. Someone should jump on that story. With all that horror taking place in Japan, I’m getting kind of scared.

Could it happen here? Do you think? Oh no. I see these Japanese families, tears in their eyes, hauling their children out of radioactively poisoned cities and homes, and all I can think is, “Those could be my kids. That could be me hauling my Cuisinart to safety in my cherry red Radio Flyer wagon.”

We’re such happy narcissists. Oh how our hearts go out to those poor Japanese families, but first: Save me! Who’s to blame? Am I safe? Is that filthy nuclear plume coming toward me? Agh! Run! Shut your doors! Lock your windows! Someone cram me up with a potassium iodide enema!

I’m so sick of reading about Diablo Canyon every day. Could it happen here? What could happen here? Every single day it’s another slice of panic and terror. To be fair, it’s worth taking a look. This paper did so last week. But come on, will ya? Can we all take a collective breath? Instead, everyone’s madly clambering over one another, screaming about how they hated Diablo Canyon first.

“I hate PG&E more!”

“No, I do!”

“Well, I’m more scared!”

“I live closer!”

“My Precious Moments figurine collection will never fit in my Hyundai!”

“I need a bigger wagon!”

Then there’s the other side of the argument, or whatever the hell this is: “As of today only one person has been killed at Fukushima (a crane operator) and several workers have received radiation doses over 100 millisieverts, the dose below which no ill health affects can be documented.”

That was an excerpt out of an e-mail that got passed my way—sent by someone from the county Parks Commission, and intended for the county board of supes. Whoops. Let’s read on: “However, none have received even close to the 250 millisieverts permitted by the Jap authorities in emergencies or the 500 millisieverts limit which the World Health Organization considers the international standard for emergency work.”

Jap? OK, it doesn’t necessarily fall into the racist category. The term is more of an anachronism from a time when Orientals were people, not rugs. These statements just reeked of I-don’t-give-a-crap, if you ask me. Not, “I don’t give a crap about Diablo Canyon,” but more, “I don’t give a crap about Japan.”

When we go all nutty over our own threat level in the wake of a catastrophic national disaster somewhere else, it’s not just silly. It’s downright barbaric. Maybe you agree with me; maybe you don’t. I don’t really care. We should be merciless with PG&E over Diablo, sure. Thus far, they’ve been squirming and weaseling worse than Rep. Eric Cantor during an NPR pledge drive. But we should have ripped them a new collective A when they first started trying to relicense the plant a decade before it needed it, and in a way that would skirt more studies of the potential for earthquakes with a spider web of fault lines off the coast.

Maybe I’m just tired. Or grumpy. There’s also this hangnail on my left pinkie I can’t get rid of. It really hurts, and it’s having a negative effect on my attitude.

It’s getting so bad I’m trying to think of a way to distract myself, something like running for the Oceano Community Services District. Luckily, though, even I have too much self-respect to do that.

This is the district that has seen no less than three board members resign in about a year. Late in 2009, it was previous board president Barbara Mann, who got sick of being accused of theft. Now it’s the latest president, Jim Hill, and his counterpart Carole Henson, who’s spent a whopping five months or so behind the bench. Again, I don’t care. That puts her among the veteran directors in my book.

Hill and Henson are leaving because of freshman General Manager Raffaele Montemurro, who they say is ignoring their requests to catch up on two years of financial audits he inherited from the last bunch of goobers before him, and other complaints that he’s generally lazy or incompetent. At least, that’s my impression from Hill’s resignation letter.

Really, though, your average Oceano board member will make the most pedantic hipster egomaniac seem downright modest. From what I’ve seen and heard about these meetings, it’s a Muppet Baby free-for-all of accusations and grandstanding. Not from all the members—granted—but it’s hard to stand out as the sane one amid the crazy unless you yell really loud.

Meanwhile, all you sad suckers who pay these nincompoops to fight every few weeks are getting screwed. No one knows exactly how you’re getting screwed or how bad you’re getting screwed, because among the fighting they’ve yet to examine their books in any way that matters. They even blew it on a hardcore forensic audit that turned up a bunch of big scary questions about whether someone’s been pinching district funds. The board decided to kill that despite the concern. Actually, I think Hill said something along the lines of there being no point in spending more money just to learn what everyone already knows: that the district’s books are mush.

Yeah, what’s the point in finding out whether someone’s been stealing public money? Pah-freaking-shaw.

So they’ll fight and they’ll whine and they’ll quit. Maybe a few calm heads can poke in from the sidelines.

“Excuse me, could you stop screwing us for a minute? This is getting ridiculous.”

“Nope! I quit!”

Hmm. Maybe you should try yelling louder.

Apathy is like a warm blanket for the Shredder. Send lullabies to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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