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When I think about me... 

I adore adoration. So adorable. Like a sheepskin blanket of warm love, on a bubble mattress, with unicorn-kiss pillows. 

You really should get yourself some adoration; it’s better than steak. Not quite as good as sex as I remember it, or mind-altering drugs, or a good massage. But better than steak, for sure, and steak can be pretty good. 

Wha? Haven’t you heard? Turns out I’m terrific, one of the very best at whatever it is I do. According to the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, an august body of former idealists turned sex-ad salesmen, I’m the second best columnist at an alternative weekly publication with less than 55,000 in circulation. Last year, anyway. 

Who’s the best? Don’t ask. You’ve never heard of him. Or her. Let’s keep this focused on Lil’ Shred.
First job, somebody tell Bill Deneen how good I am. 

Deneen is a practice-what-he-preaches environmentalist who this week is calling for by elimination, banishment, exile, and excolumnization. He got tweaked in this space for a recent citation he received while taking schoolchildren on a tour of the Oceano Dunes, and now he’s mad at me. 

In his letter he said I wasn’t there, so what the hell did I know about what happened? But how do you know I wasn’t there, Bill? I could have been that plover you scared off, or that girl in pigtails, the one with the steak in her Dora lunch pail. I’m an award-winning anonymous columnist. I’m everywhere! I’m bigger than Al Gore and his carbon footprint! I’ve got exclamation marks to spare!! 

Hey, get away from me with that tranquilizer dart! It’s not clinical narcissism when you’ve got an award!
There, see, I’m better now. 

But just by way of celebration, I’ll dish this bit of hash. I’ve heard from a good source that there’s a movement afoot to settle all of the various lawsuits and legal matters associated with Sheriff Pat Hedges’ eavesdropping on his chief deputy, GaryHoving, in one so-called global settlement. They’re apparently talking about something that would make the state Attorney General’s investigation go away, along with a lawsuit against the county and a federal civil rights lawsuit. All of it. 

If a settlement were reached, not only would it likely mean that the county would pay a big chunk of the taxpayer’s money, it would mean the public would never hear the glory details of why, exactly, Hedges eavesdropped on his chief deputy and longtime co-worker. 

To fill you in: Hedges has said in court documents that he was conducting a criminal investigation when he bugged Hoving’s office. That’s crucial to his defense, because that’s about the only scenario under which it would be clearly legal. So if that’s what he says, we should get to see all the details. Was he really conducting an investigation? If not, what was he doing? It would be a fairly simple question to answer. Investigations require paperwork, files. The proof is either there or it isn’t. Because the alternative is our county’s top cop may have committed a crime. And that would be a piece of information the people deserve to know, particularly since he sits in an elected position. 

But the worst possible solution is a secret deal that makes it all go away, with the people footing the bill but never learning the details. Let’s opt on the side of law, order, and transparency, and encourage our government leaders to avoid a secret deal. We shouldn’t have to eavesdrop on our democracy. 

Holy crap. Did you just read that last line? “We shouldn’t have to eavesdrop on our democracy.” Somebody get a paperclip, because that one’s going in the entry pile for next year’s contest.

Every time I hear mention of “Chinatown,” the big parking-lot-eating project planned for SLO, I become fixated on the weird connection between Roman Polanski’s last great American film of that same name, which focused on a fictionalized version of William Mulholland, the architect of the L.A. aqueduct, and the fact that his ancestor, SLO City Councilwoman Christine Mulholland, is one of the project’s main opponents here. Mulhollands just hate Chinatowns, it seems. 

O.K., I’ve got nothing else on that topic, but did you see the Tribune’s good story on negotiations between the Copeland family and the city? Turns out city officials, who not so long ago appeared to be demanding that the city get a higher, market-rate price for the parking lots that will make up the bulk of the project’s footprint, now seem willing to take a lower rate on the basis that the Copelands’ project will provide new taxes to the city and that the land will be sold with strings attached, such as historic preservation requirements. 

That sounds nice, but the city officials could already demand the history-preserving changes and get a market-rate price. If this deal’s going to go down, and people are going to lose out on the 143 best parking spots in SLO, they shouldn’t also get ripped off in the deal. Here’s hoping the negotiators stand firm. 

But if I’m going to praise the Trib, I’m also going to give them one of those crusty baguettes they’re always throwing around.They did it again on the Nipomo priest. They ran a screaming headline “Nipomo priest gets probation in sex case” on the top of the front page. Now what sort of “sex case” would you associate with “priest” these days? Exactly. That’s what everybody thought, and what they expected you to think, and the reason it made the front page instead of an inside brief. But it turns out this guy was one of the poor schlubs—the rest unnamed—caught up in one of the sheriff’s recent gay sex sting operations out at Pirate’s Cove, the nude beach. The man plead no contest to crimes associated with consensually hooking up, not predation. Unless we’re going to start naming all of these guys—and please let’s don’t—let’s not pick and choose on the basis of what they do for a living for the sake of an easy, attention-getting headline.

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