Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Dog Park & Other Fun Things

Morro Bay’s new fenced, off-leash dog park, while not officially open (the grand opening will be later this spring) is open for business. Located in Del Mar Mark, on the west side of the park, it has two fenced areas (small and large dog areas.) and lots of nice grass and trees and benches. Finn loved it and went into his zoomy, zippy gallop mode. Luckily he didn’t open up the throttle fully since every time he does that he gets into trouble by slipping or running into things. Followed by expensive vet bills. But he had a swell time anyway.

Smoke ‘em If Ya Got ‘em, Part Duh.

The Tribune reports that the Morro Bay city council has drafted new rules for an ordinance to allow pot dispensaries. The ordinance will be through back in 60-90 days for a vote. The city council felt that having a pot dispensary, properly run, would serve the needs of the area’s sick people. Which is all very nice. And it’s likely some brave soul will step forward and another pot dispensary will be set up. But I fear for anyone who’ll be running the place. If Sheriff Hedges gets into trouble again and finds himself in the headlines, I’m betting he’ll target that dispensary, call in the feds and the poor schnook will be hauled into federal court. I don’t care what the DOJ says about not raiding pot dispesdaries in states and local marijuana laws in states where prescription MJ is legal. The feds don’t have to “raid” the place. The local sheriff can do that, then turn the evidence over to the feds who will have to start the federal wheels grinding, and once they start, they can’t stop. Especially if the local Sheriff insists. So another legal medical pot dispenser will be ground up, more tax dollars will be wasted.

I’d like to say that I hope the Morro Bay dispensary works out and that sanity prevails, but the record on sanity and marijuana use hasn’t been evident since the government and other special interests decided it was a useful political tool for demonization and vote getting and repression. Nope, no sanity in sight. Too bad marijuana’s “medical” effects don’t include helping people be less venal and stupid.

Can We PLUUUEEEEZE Get Some Elected Officials With Integrity?

Honest, is it too much to ask for? A little internal integrity? Like, say, Republican state Sentator from Bakersfield, Roy Ashburn, who regularly and consistently voted against all measures granting equal civil rights for gay people who was recently arrested for DUI after leaving a gay bar and who then “came out” and fessed up. Yep, he’s gay and has been in the closet voting for laws that harmed people exactly like him.

That’s what happens when you have no internal integrity. The rot spreads outward into the world and ends up harming people. And the voters are complicit in all this as well. As Ashburn noted, he voted for those un-civil laws because his constituents wanted gays to be discriminated against. And if he’d stood for office with integrity, as a gay man supporting civil rights for all citizens, he’d never have gotten elected. True, true, and another person who wasn’t gay and didn’t want civil rights for all citizens would have been elected, but Mr. Ashburn would at least have lived his life with integrity. Could have even run for office openly and raised civil rights issues and perhaps confronted challenged and educated many people in his district who don’t like equal rights for others.

Like pebbles in pools, people with integrity ripple outward in amazing ways. Imagine a whole state filled with them. Including voters. Now, there’s a thought.

Teacher! Teacher, I have a Question

Nick Wilson reports in the March 9 Tribune, that local business star, Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s chain of office-service-copy stores, who “dontated $15 million I company stock to the business college, which was renamed the Orfalea College of Business in honor of his parents . . . was asked by [Cal Poly’s College of Business]Dean Dave Christy to teach an international business course in the fall in which 25 top-tier business students were chosen to participate and share in catered meals.” (Catered meals? Donated millions? Did they serve Harris beef at the lunches, hmmmm?)

Well, so far, so good. Universities often hire guest artists for guest-artist-in residence programs or other non-teacher expert and famous personages to teach classes. Usually, though, the classes are official and open to all students who qualify, not some quickie, off-the-books deal for hand-picked special students.

I say off the books, because apparently a lot of the other Professors had no knowledge of this special class and before long, the you-know-what hit the fan. Orfalea’s class was described as non-rigorous, there were no written exams or texts, students were supposed to read and discuss news articles and think critically about global issues and were encouraged to speak up in class.

“My course is rigorous in that students are required to speak up and participate,” said Orfalea, who was not paid to teach the Cal Poly class. “Most students can go through all four years of college without ever raising their hand to ask a question, he said.”

Which, if true, is sad enough. Four years of college without ever asking a question? Doesn’t speak well of the college OR the teachers, OR students, to my mind. But no matter, the Academic senate is investigating what happened and whether any violations of the formal curriculum procedures may have occurred . . .” reports the Trib. So, we will certainly hear more about this, maybe.

But what caught my eye about this dust up is this: Orfalea wasn’t paid for the class, but lecturer Jere Ramsey, “whose specialty is international business” “filed a grievance with the university last year to receive the amount she would have gotten had she taught Orfalea’s class. She received $5,000 in a settlement late last year.”

No, that’s not the fun part. Orfalea was “free,” Ramsey sued and got that money even though she didn’t teach anything, so money-wise, that’s a wash.

But here’s the fun part. “Mike Stebbins, a retired professor who had tenure at the university, also was paid for teaching the class, although he did not help Orfalea teach the course or show up for any of the sessions. [Business College Dean Dave] Christy, who did not recall how much Stebbins was paid, made the decision to pay the retired professor under the union’s contractual agreement with the university.”

A business college that pays TWO professors for NOT teaching ONE class, and a teacher’s union that contractually requires that teachers who do not teach classes still get paid for not teaching them anyway.

Where do I sign up?

Yup, It’s The Future

If you’ve been wondering how the recent Supreme Court ruling giving corporations unlimited “free speech” rights in elections will actually play out, take a gander at what the national Chamber of Commerce is up to. Money is now pouring into their organization, money that can effectively be “laundered,” money whose origins are easy to hide from the average citizen, buried under layers of fake grass-roots groups, thereby giving effective cover for the corporation making the donation. And the C of C’s lobbyists are hitting the congressional offices, again with their corporate backers effectively hidden. It’s starting to rain money, hidden money, corporate money.

And when it comes to money and deciding between what’s good for the donor or good for The American People, guess who’s going to win that fight? Yup, It’s the Future, and you, dear Citizen, aren’t in it. Except as a mark.


Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"Can We PLUUUEEEEZE Get Some Elected Officials With Integrity?"

Let the record reflect, SewerWatch officially endorses Ann Calhoun for 2nd District Supervisor.

Alon Perlman said...

Does LO need a Dog-Park in 2010?
An unofficial survey. Remember funds and maintenance are not free.

Word verification: petst

Churadogs said...

Re dog park: I know there's (again) some movement for an off leash dog park. At the CSD office is the report our group (SLO-4-PUPs) prepared for and at the request of the pre-recall CSD back in the Tri-W days. The site at Tri-W wasn't ideal (in our group's experience, not good parking, too close to a busy road & etc.). I've gotten one call from somebody interested, and I gather that LOCAC is looking at this, but my advice is, it's unlikely anything will happen until the sewer is unresolved, the problem, as ever, is available, suitable land, whatever group of people are interested, they will have to come up with pots of private money for fencing, ADA compliance, may run into Coastal Commission rules (runoff near creeks, etc.) IF county land is made available AND have an organized, core group to do fund-raising and maintenance for years to come. It's a large committment and in our experience, will likely have to be done by a tiny handful of people pushing a HUGE rock up a hill and after the park's built, THEN all kinds of people will show up to enjoy it, but they won't lift a finger to get it built.

Mike Green said...

Let the record reflect, SewerWatch officially endorses Ann Calhoun for 2nd District Supervisor.

Gee Ron, what did she ever do to you? I wouldn't wish that job on anyone.

Churadogs said...

I'll take the job if I can have carte blanche, total immunity from prosecution of any kind . . . and a .45. How's that?

Ron said...

Hey, it pays something like $80-large.

And you'd finally be able to do something about that dead tree ; -)