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Who are you? Who? Who? 

I know you thought you lived on the Central Coast, that magical place between hella-cold NorCal and dank-ass SoCal, but it turns out you're wrong. According to Gov. Gavin Newsom, SLO County is part of Southern California. We're lumped in there with LA, Orange, Riverside, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties. My whole worldview is shattered. I hate SoCal! The traffic, the trendiness, the air quality, the traffic ... did I mention the traffic?

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Yet here we are, again in the purple tier, locked down and shuttered. Why? Because Newsom included us in the numbers from what I consider the actual SoCal region, whose ICU bed availability is stretched to the breaking point while here in SLO County we're still in pretty good shape. Newsom's trigger for the lockdown is when a region has less that 15 percent of ICU bed availability, and though those numbers are fluid, by some calculations, SLO County has nearly 50 percent availability!

We're not the only county howling about this injustice. Both Santa Barbara and Ventura counties would like to band together with us to be excluded from the SoCal region. Even if you lump in both counties, we still have 32 percent ICU availability collectively. Why are we and our local businesses being punished when our region is effectively managing the pandemic? If we weren't lumped in with LA, we'd be far away from the 15 percent trigger.

And it's not like our extra beds are being used by people from other harder-hit counties. According to Dignity Health's Director of Marketing and Communications Sara San Juan, "At this time, Dignity Health Central Coast continues to manage and care for the patients in our communities. Because of anticipated surges, it is imperative we have beds available and are prepared to care for our community."

See? We're ready!

I also understand that things could change for the worse, and probably will, but until then why can't I get my hair cut or eat outside on Monterey Street at Giuseppe's? I also get the argument that keeping our county open may lead to an influx of tourists wanting to take advantage of our looser restrictions.

OK, but businesses are dying and people can't pay their rent or mortgage, and relief from the federal government is long gone and apparently not forthcoming. For a guy who's been trying desperately to keep his job right down to lying and begging, Trump seems to have already abdicated all responsibility. Hey Don, you were elected to serve until Jan. 20, 2021. I get that you're a little butt-hurt baby loser, but how about doing your job for the rest of your term?

And speaking of not doing your job, if you're one of those residents who thinks "the gubmint ain't got no right to tell me what to do no how," you'll be happy to know SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson will only selectively be doing his.

"In response to the governor's regional stay-at-home order, the Sheriff's Office will continue its mission to focus on significant criminal matters," the Sheriff posted on Facebook. "Deputies will not be making traffic/pedestrian stops to determine the comings and goings of citizens at this time. We will not be responding to calls for service based solely on noncompliance with the new order."

This would be a great time to get away with drunk driving ... if there was any place you could go out drinking! Also, excellent time to throw a backyard bash! Don't worry. The sheriff and deputies are busy focusing on significant criminal matters! They won't respond.

"The Sheriff's Office will not jeopardize the safety of this community and criminalize people who are trying to preserve their mental, physical, and financial health," the Sheriff's post concluded.

Well, if I do get stopped for breaking the stay-at-home directive, I'll just say, "Hey, man, I'm just preserving my mental, physical, and financial health."

Of course, that'll only work in unincorporated parts of the county. In San Luis Obispo, for instance, the SLOPD will be ensuring businesses comply, though perhaps District Attorney Dan Dow won't bother prosecuting. The Tribune reported that Dow wasn't interested in prosecuting businesses such as Kennedy Club Fitness for misdemeanor charges. Yes, the city of SLO could fine the business for breaking the governor's order, but Dow indicated he wouldn't prosecute businesses just trying to survive and noted that customers are choosing to patronize said businesses of their own accord.

Also in the clear are houses of worship, who Dow has said he will not prosecute for disobeying the governor's orders or breaking health and safety guidelines. Praise the Lord!

Wouldn't it be amazing if Dow extended his good-natured largesse to peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters and student activists who were trying to protect their mental and physical health by pointing out people of color are targeted, harassed, and murdered by the police? I won't hold my breath.

SLO County added 92 COVID-19 cases on Dec. 8. Currently 48.9 percent of ICU beds are available. Dude, why can't we take the 101 to the beach, score some gnarly waves down at Pismo, maybe nosh some tasty fish tacos at Mersea's on the Harford Pier, and still not be considered SoCal? This blows. Δ

The Shredder needs a chill pill. Send your dealer's digits to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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