Boy, was dumping Planning Commissioner Sarah Christie a really, really dumb move, or what? What was County Supervisor Patterson thinking?? Doesn’t he understand that really smart, tough, competent Planning Commissioners are like wolves? They keep the elk herd fit and strong and healthy by taking out the weak, flawed and foolish ones. Same thing with development and building projects. Dumb commissioners, lazy commissioners, incompetent commissioners, commissioners in the developers’ pockets always result in weak, bad, foolish developments that get slowed down or stopped by an outraged public or a semi-awake regulatory agency further down the line so un-wolfed, crappy projects ultimately end up getting delayed and cost way more than building wolf-smart ones in the first place. Or get built then end up a millstone around the community’s tax-paying neck.
So dumping Sarah was a really dumb move. Apparently Patterson doesn’t understand that Christie is only one vote on a five vote panel. He could have kept her incredible competence, knowledge and wolfish determination to make projects better, thereby soothing his “environmental/green build base,” while at the same time continuing to rake in the campaign dough from his corporate “Oh, sure, build like whatever” sponsors by telling them, sotto voce, “Aw, you know I can’t do a thing with Christie, -- wink-nudge – but don’t worry. You have the other Commissioners, so you’ll have the votes.”
Thank God Los Osos got the benefit of Sarah’s vulpine talents before she was unceremoniously dumped. Single-handedly she turned the Really, REALLY Hideous Sloppy County Version of the Los Osos Sewer Project into something far better by asking tough questions and demanding answers. The results were a project that the county SHOULD have proposed in the first place instead of the poorly thought out, Oh, Whatever mess they dragged before the Commissioners in the first place. Her competence and savvy were on display when, under close, hard questioning, county “staff” finally had to admit that, Uh, no, we hadn’t looked at that option, and uh, yeah, it will work, and yeah, it will return water to the basin better than our crappy, sloppy, poorly thought out project, uh, yeah, uh . . . .
Embarrassing. It was truly embarrassing and truly scary to witness that without Sarah’s big white long pointy teeth carefully tearing at the dead, poorly though-out Tonini project the county had dropped at her feet, I have no doubt that it would have been happily rubber stamped by the remaining Commissioners only to be delayed or denied by the Coastal Commission, which would be another expensive disaster for the community. And had it been approved by some all-too-common lack of oversight, we Los Ososians would have been saddled with a crappy, dysfunctional project, our water “sprayed” out of the basin, still stuck with the add-on costs and problems of getting the water back.
Except for Christie.
And now Patterson’s dumping her? No, No, No. We need MORE Sarah Christies on the Planning Commission. At least two, with sharp pointy teeth to harass and stress and test the elk. That way almost all projects will eventually get passed on 3-2 votes, but they’ll have been seriously vetted, which is a good thing. Even developers should support such sharp, tough wolfish Commissioners because they do developers a great service; If a project can be changed for the better, can survive a savage test of its various elements, then the developer knows that problems have been found early on and corrected before he gets to even tougher teeth on his backside further on down the line, when such tooth marks will be hideously expensive to repair. Or end up in a court of law at the last minute, when it gets really, reeeeellly expensive, being sued over some item that could and should have been spotted by the sharp, yellow-eyed Wolfish Ones on the PC.
Dump Christie? Feh. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
A friend of mine wrote a letter to New Times in which she said of author Colin Rigley’s Dec 17 story, that stated, “But Christies departure would signify much more than just the loss of a mid-level decision maker who is virtually a volunteer (planning commissioners make $150 per meeting): it would be a sign the county’s political infrastructure is vulnerable to pressure from private interests.”
“Is this new news that the county’s political infrastructure is vulnerable to pressure from private interests? Mr. Rigley, WAKE UP, private interests are running county government. it is a rare person, like Sarah Christie, who is able to stand up to the pressure of those private interests and give small voice to the lobbyist-less public, those wanting to judge success on more than short-term corporate profitability.
“Mr. Rigley, you would be shocked to know that in government (including this County) local, state and federal laws go unenforced for the benefit of private interests. County employees get harassed by Board members with the acquiescence of their Department Heads (sitting at the pleasure of the board) for the benefit of private interests.”
My friend should know the game well. She used to work for the county. And so it goes.
I thought Patterson was smarter than that. But I guess not. Clearly, he doesn’t “get it.” So now he doesn't “get” my support. And the county taxpayers will really start “getting it” too. Again.
San Luis Obispo County has a long record of eating alive and spitting out all the tough, competent, outstanding public game changers. Which is why we too often end up paying dearly for herds of tottering, spavined, sub-standard, very, very costly, crappy elk.
Well, they don’t call it S-L-O-W Town for nothing, I guess. Too bad for us.