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Tricky politics 

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I'm sick of Measure G! Who's with me?

Come on. I know you all are.

Every single one of you has received a million gazillion mailers, sponsored Facebook posts, Google ads, television ads, and phone calls about that ballot measure. It's all part of the almost $8.15 million that's been spent to fight over a ban on fracking and new oil and gas wells in the unincorporated parts of SLO County. I'll give you one guess as to who's put up the lion's share of those dollars.

Yep. Big Oil (Chevron!)—and Medium Oil (California Resources Corporation) and Small-ish Oil (Sentinel Peak Resources) have cobbled together a measly $7.9 million. WTF oil companies? That's all the Arroyo Grande Oil Field is worth to you? I, for one, feel shafted. I was expecting a continuous banner that covered the fields alongside Highway 101 from San Miguel to Nipomo on both sides. Now, what do I have to look forward to? Rolling hills, oak trees, and vineyards. Boring!

Don't worry, though. There's still plenty of money in the bank to do other things with until Nov. 6. With $2.2 million still unspent, you can expect the No on G folks to continue filling your mailbox with paper you can do craft projects on.

Meanwhile, the Yes on G peeps managed to triple their donations in the past month. Bringing its grand total to a little less than $250,000 (that's with in-kind donations). Wow liberals, that's sooo generous.

You know what I'm really going to miss about this campaign? Charles Varni. The things he says about Big Oil are amazing. I just love the rhetoric, man. It's what makes campaigns so fun for us over here at New Times!

The mailers, Varni said, are the clearest symbol of the lengths Big Oil will go to achieve their goal. These slate mailers he's referring to depict a no vote on Measure G as part of the "Feel the Bern" progressive platform! Well now! Any Bernie Sanders progressive in their right mind should realize that fracking and new oil wells in their backyards are not on the progressive agenda.

"To trick people into voting no on G is just indicative of a real lack of moral and ethical grounding," Varni said.

Eeee. Umm. I can think of several things that are way worse tricks than paying a slate mailing company to add something to a "voter guide."

Remember that whole thing where Exxon knew about climate change and was actively studying the effects of increased carbon in the atmosphere from fossil fuels way before it became mainstream thought? And then a Harvard Study came out saying that Exxon actively worked to mislead people about climate change. Now, that's a dirty trick.

Not that the whole mailer thing is honest or anything, though. But Varni, come on, everybody's doing it. All they have to do is pay a slate mailer company such as Voter Guide Slate Cards. Remember the June primary? It feels like forever ago. Lynn Compton, then the 4th District Supervisor incumbent and candidate, showed up on a Democratic Voter Guide mailed out by that very same company to Nipomo Democrats, who promptly flipped out similarly to the way in which Yes on G folks are moaning and wailing.

But, if you could—and if you had thought about it first—Yes on G could and probably would have absolutely done the same thing. Progressive darling SLO Mayor Heidi Harmon posted a Facebook video speaking out against "some faked-up flyer that's going around. It says that I am against Measure G and that is baloney."

Hmm, interesting. "This is the exact kind of manipulative behavior we would expect from the most dangerous industry in the world, the fossil fuel industry," she added.

However, she hadn't actually seen the flyer yet. She had just heard about the flyer. Well, I've seen some slate mailers with her name on them. At least two. A "Republican Voter Guide" and a "Democratic Voter Guide," both mailed out by that Voter Guide Slate Cards company. And she's on both with ... drum roll please ... No on Measure G! WTF? That's so deceptive. How dare they add her name to that slate mailer!

But wait. New Times looked up some campaign finance type things. You know, the boring detail-oriented stuff that we don't get paid the big bucks to do, and it looks like the San Luis Obispo County Progressives Democrat Club paid that slate card company, which put her on multiple mailers.

Harmon told New Times that she knows nothing about it.

The slate mailer company doesn't care. They just want that sweet campaign money.

Aww geez, guys. My self-righteous feelings about manipulative behavior from Big Oil (those bastards!) are all confused. Who should I be mad at? Who's deceptive, manipulative, and up to dirty tricks?

Heidi's not a Republican. So why is she on that voter guide that was mailed out? No on G is not a progressive or Democratic platform, so why is it on those mailers? Welp, guys. I hate to break it to you, but politics is all about money and manipulation. Dirty tricks are for politicians and election campaigns.

If you haven't figured that out by now, go crawl back behind that computer screen you've been yelling at for the last two years. Δ

The Shredder yells at computer screens all the time, but knows how to sniff out dirty tricksters. Send comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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