Monday, February 25, 2013


That's what Tribune columnist Bob Cuddy called the Board of Supervisor meetings -- Trollosphere, "that shadowy online world where sad, twisted losers project the frustrations of their failed lives onto normal people by insulting them viciously in comment sections on the Internet."

Bob forgot to note that in real Troll-World, the sad, twisted losers are almost always "anonymous," whereas the people who earned Bob's ire were standing at the BOS podium during Public Comment and had identified themselves.  And while their Trollish comments aren't being broadcast via radio, their faces are on camera for online streaming of the meetings.  So, hardly "anonymous."

But, yes, according to Bob's March 24th column,"Supervisors beset with a toxic air"
(  )  the Board is now further mired into a deeper mud puddle, so it's become the gift that keeps on giving; to board watchers and columnists, at least.

Underlying the grumbling ill-will is, of course, the remnants of the Hideous Sewer Wars.  Over that we added the often  ridiculous spectacle of Adam Hill and his intemperate temper issues,  followed by Bruce Gibson's, uh,  lady-friend debacle, followed by the election of Debbie Arnold who waltzed in to immediately challenge the Old Gentleman's Club of too cozy logrolling committeeship/chair appointments.  Which got the old boys huffing like Senator Cleghorn Foghorn --"Now, now,  li'l Lady, I suggest ya'all are new here so ah think y'all need to take a seat ovah there an' keep quiet 'till y'all can learn how we'all do thangs in this heah chamber." 

Which surely didn't endeared the Board to Ms. Arnold or Ms. Arnold to the Board. Cuddy thinks that there's "a lot of blame to go around.  Gibson's behavior and Adam Hill's sharp tongue are factors. But a significant cause of the venom is clearly the behavior of Arnold and the enraged people who back her."  Cuddy also adds, "The Arnold crowd has significant policy difference with Gibson, Hill and more regulation-oriented board members and staff." 

Which raises an immediate question:  What evidence does Cuddy offer that Arnold's backers (who have significant policy differences) are "enraged?" I couldn't find any in his column; perhaps that will be forthcoming.

Meanwhile, what seemed to get Cuddy's goat about last Tuesday's meeting was two-fold: Tom Salmon, who has demonstrated intemperate temperament issues of his own, got up during public comment and  referred to Gibson's girlfriend/aide as a "whore" and a "prostitute," and Chairman Teixeira tried to shush Salmon (good luck with that) which prompted several Los Ososian Sewerites into hollering about free speech during Public Comment.  Sigh.

After which, Cuddy reports, Debbie Arnold thanked Salmon for his comments, "assuring him that each of the five supervisory offices is autonomous and that the inhabitants therein conduct themselves differently," thereby attempting to pull her skirt hems away from the Gibson mud pile.  While everyone else sat on their hands wishing Gibson into the corn field and, I'm guessing, rolling their eyes like trapped feral cats.

Well, what else can anyone expect?  Those three minutes of public comment have always been often dangerous [but powerfully protected]  I.E.Ds. in the hands of the crazy, the disgruntled, the bone-pickers, the furious, the righteous and the concerned.  And the power of that I.E.D. is fueled by divisive issues and/or disgraceful behavior by those in power.  In this case, the burr under the public's saddle is Supervisor Gibson' bad behavior which was followed by his successfully gaming the system to suit his needs -- the public (and his fellow Supervisors) be damned.  There's nothing like it for fueling fury and for creating chronically hostile Board meetings, since the burr remains firmly under the saddle and fellow Supervisors are stuck with keeping silent, (and incurring public criticism for that silence) or speaking out (and having Bob Cuddy accuse them of  "poking a finger in [a fellow board members's] eye). 

Truly a disagreeable set of Hobson's Choices, all of which turns the BOS into TrollVille. And The Gibson Problem will remain in place until he and/or his girlfriend/aide resign, which will happen when pigs fly.  One thing for sure is this: Both Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson have publicly demonstrated they are not in control of themselves, are blind to the iron Rule of Caesar's Wife that comes with public office, and, as a result, have showed extremely  poor judgement. If past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior, I think the public has a perfect right to consider, question, reference past behavior whenever a supervisor is considering and/or voting on some complex, contentious issue that requires good judgement, since that vote (and that judgement) will affect the public.  

Meantime, our BOS is in for some lively times.  Especially with the new so-called "enraged" Arnold crowd . . . whoever those people might be . . . joining the usual suspects. . Keep your seat belts fastened.


M said...

You know me, I rarely agree with you, but you are right on the money with this one.
Waiting for some to bring up Julie Tacker in.....4-3-2-1
Sincerely, M

Alon Perlman said...

Greenies and TeaBaggers in cahoots.

Business as usual.
Thanks for the topic and analysis of Cuddy's article.
Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. Now it is never fair to assume that individuals are of one bent or another without knowing them or hearing their entire scope. And I know Tom Salmon well enough but not well enough to try to peg him into a political hole, at least not on this page, other than “Ordinary Citizen, involved, of the Larger than life variety”. He was out of the LO public scene for several years. And the whole libertarian thing does confuse the two party split.
And the original anti-(Midtown)-sewerites were always mixed in their two party affiliations. So to "Globally" label a grouping, though useful, can be one of those creeping fallacies, similar to the “trolling” or the “Arnold Crowd” labels.
The Core Sewer group included members with minimal internet presence.
As I have said before in one way or another; There are trolls on the internet with Sewer based strange attractions, and there are those citizens who rightly or wrongly, nicely or not opine sometimes with a sewerish nexus, or past affiliation in the Supervisors chambers and other venues including electronic media. There is a minor area of overlap, and this is true specifically and historically for Los Osos. The Key Difference is like you say- Anonymity. Trolls lack the courage of their convictions be they anonymous, pseudoanonymous or even when self identified.

I have noticed some time ago that a couple of specific LO loonies; Green in their outlook, glib in their words, gullible in their strategy, had surrendered to a larger political Context in their Anti Gibsonisem. Literally allowing themselves to become pawns in the hands of the forces attempting to shape the county/country as a whole. Rep VS Dem; or Unbridled Growth VS the other. Whereas those in the group who were Republican leaning from the get go, are more removed from the consequences and can work to kill two birds with one stone, without sacrifice of their other political aims.
As for the trouble with trolls, Cuddy does somewhat naively project a civil view of public proceedings as the norm. He does not list “arguments in the house of commons”. But he does note “I felt as if”, so he is equating his “feelings” observing the BOS to “feelings” observing internet interactions. He is also wrong in noting twice “Protect a co-worker”. The counties elected do have an identified responsibility, and powers beyond those that the public speakers will “allow them”, but it is to “the staff”.
The overall article as written by Cuddy is an opinion piece identifying Arnold as a villain and drawing to a politically motivated conclusion. A means to an end. At least he knows what he is trying to do.

Just Tom said...

Just a quick word. When does using a word become more damaging than bad actions? Do we not want dissention and discussion either for or against government? Read Jefferson, Adams or Madison about political anger, in the public circle.
Wether the word was to gruff for a P/C world or not, Gibson and Hill have disregarded the citizenry, and would rather we conduct a circular firing squad.
The definition for prostitute is " is devoted to corrupt purposes" and who're is a "a venal or unscrupulous person".
How does that cause such an uproar????

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

I watch the Supes on Channel 21 every week and what Cuddy refers to are the large number of public speakers that have sprouted since Arnold's arrival who rail against the morals of Gibson and then go on to recite the COLAB talking points on UN Agenda 21 and smart growth.

Excellent observations Alon!

You are being purposefully dense Just Tom. The uproar is the colloquial use that most think of with the words "prostitute" and "whore," which are not your selective dictionary definitions.

Just Tom said...

Not surprising, you didn't listen to the definitions as from Webster's. Please try and listen again, watch the meeting, I held up the book I was citing from.
Ma'am I am not sure why you seem to think you get to speak for people. I was speaking, I was using the correct definition of th the word, the chair interrupted in the middle of my 180 seconds, never to be allowed to return. However, don't let me cloud your reality or view of the issues, your perception and my perception of Los Osos are different. I will thank you for the laughing good time, taking in your discussion. Respectfully

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

I take it you are claiming to be Tom Salmon. Why are you using a moniker here instead of your real name?

I don't see why you think that I am attempting to speak for people. I watch people though. I saw your public comment. Making my point of observation would be the reaction that you got from Teixeira. Really, you were not expecting that? Yeah, right.

You know once you mention those words people are already thinking of their own definition and are not waiting for your selective dictionary definition. I have my Webster's 1996 edition in front of me and the first definition for prostitute is "A woman who practices prostitution: a harlot; whore."

Yes, our perceptions of LO are different.

Billy Dunne said...

Excellent post Alon.

Ann, you seriously don't see a change in tenor in the meetings since January? (Besides the persistent droning on of the sewer crazies.)

Andrea Seastrand? Where'd she come from?

You don't have a sense that the summer of 2009, when the Affordable Care Act was being "debated" in town halls across the country, has come to the SLO BOS?


Bruce Gibson is death panels!!!! No?

You don't have a sense of who Debbie Arnold's people are? Or Mike Brown's of COLAB? (Hint: they're the same people.)


You believe Debbie Arnold is just "shaking up the good 'ol boys" thing and doesn't have an agenda?

You don't think the crap these people spew against Hill and Gibson is NOTHING but political?

These poor babies had their plastic bags taken away from them for goodness sake.


Churadogs said...

Billy sez:"These poor babies had their plastic bags taken away from them for goodness sake."

hahahahh. Yes, and they sill haven't recovered. All those people in the north county wandering around with their cloth bags are stabs to heart. Freeeeddooonmmmmmm! FrEEEEEDDDOMMMM! The blue woad is still on some of their faces.

Billy, everybody who goes in that room has an agenda in one form or another. some include black helicopters, some sewers some plastic bags. And some shoot themselves in their feet and then take umbrage when others point out what a stupid thing that was to do.
It's endless, this circus, the topics change, the politics change, but its still the same old push-pull.

Tom sez:"The definition for prostitute is " is devoted to corrupt purposes" and who're is a "a venal or unscrupulous person".

You're now being ingenuous. If you meant "venal" and "unscrupulous" then use those words. You know full well the emotional charge the words you originally used have, which is why you used them -- for hard impact. Which is why I call public comment civic but not civil I.E.Ds.

Ron said...

Cuddy writes:

"What I have not seen, until now, is the extraordinarily high level of toxicity. You can almost touch it. It was suffocating this past Tuesday."

KCBX, I hate you.

Please, PLEEEEEZE, some radio station, SOMEwhere in the county, please start broadcasting the Supes meetings again. I'm missing waaaay too much great entertainment!

M writes:

"Waiting for some to bring up Julie Tacker in.....4-3-2-1"

That's funny.

Troll, out.

FOGSWAMP said...

It seems that Cuddys' ongoing articles only serve to keep Gibson on the ropes, which is not all bad.

Kudos to Tom Salmon for challenging & scolding them on their shameful hypercritical core beliefs and actions wherein they welcomed Gibson's lover on board.

Tom Salmon is not a politician, so his purposeful use of amusing metaphors to make his point are not really political verbal gaffes or ethical lapses.

His "purpose of evasion" speech was brilliant and caused some sober faces and much moaning & grumbling, but his point seemed to get the attention he wanted.

Thank you Governor Brown for signing the Brown Act 'enforcement bill' which took effect Jan 1, 2013 and makes it now exempt from our states unfunded mandate requirement.

According to CalAware, no longer can government entities get away with their time-tested abuses such as "Misleading/mislabeled actions" where local bodies adopt measures (like "core values") with scant resemblance to what is on their agenda.

Churadogs said...

Fogswamp, you gotta admit that this rats nest is pretty funny. You just have to know that they're reeeeeely unhappy with Gibson but they don't DARE say anything in public since they all want to "get along" and keep that fake image of "collegiality" and "board cohesion" going and so whenever a member the of public gets up there and drags the damned rat out of the sack and plunks it down on the dais in front of Gibson, you can see them grinding their teeth and rolling their eyes, and wishing Gibson into the cornfield for creating this damned mess which keeps blowing back on THEM while they're helpless to do anything about it since they can't fire him or force him to resign so there he sits, canary feathers sticking out of his mouth, Cheshire grin on his face.

Then Debbie Arnold comes in and starts breaking the crockery.

As for Tom's verbiage. Sorry, but his word choice was out of line. Mr. Gibson's legislative aide is not a whore or a prostitute. Those words are akin to using the N-word -- highly charged, profoundly misogynistic and intended only to demean. Tom's fishing around for his fake alternative meanings is just ingenuous. There are plenty of highly critical words one could use that would be more accurate and still remain civil and since Tom has a dictionary he certainly could have found them. Plus, I would argue, using more accurate, less inflammatory words, would gain him more credibility since the more factually accurate he is in his excoriation, the less easily he can be dismissed as an out of line furious crank.

FOGSWAMP said...

Yes, that was indeed an unfortunate extraordinary indecorous exhibition on Tom's part, he could have referred her as someone like a county paid high-class escort, which may have just been ignored.

His choice of words reminds one of Jerry Browns 2010 campaign folk calling Meg Whitman a "whore" which understandably peed-off the National Organization of Women big time.

And yes, using such socially unacceptable language dissolves credibility and, yiddishly speaking sorta moves you from being mensch to unmensch, if you will.

Just tom said...

Ya gotta agree , it's back in the news, and Bruce is not sleeping well. Between Congalton, the Tribune, Ann and others, the discussion continues in the public. How does Bruce diffuse this, calling Cuddy? Calling Shirley? It's a gift that just keeps giving. How does a word become more offensive than an action? Only in the P.C. world. I'm good with it.....Plus it really make Gibson supporters angry

Billy Dunne said...

Hey Tom. If it helps, we root for you in our household. Like we root for Sarah Palin and Donald Trump. You may think your rants anger Gibson supporters, but in reality, all they really do is make you look childish and, well, stupid. You take all the work out of political debate. We love it. Keep it up, bro.

Just Tom said...

Oh Billy,it wasn't for you. One more time, the discussion was put back out there, front and center. You and I are just one vote, the North Coast has to be reminded once on a a while about Bruce, and his many poor decisions. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Sorry Billy- Just Tom still doesn't get it. Oh well, I did.
He is an absolute jerk, and as such, probably not worth spending time on.

Just Tom said...

Oh, I got it. Really doesn't matter. How about we just agree to disagree. It's done, let's just see how it plays out, you might be completely correct. Have a nice day....

Anonymous said...

If you thought Tom's words were rough, try what the Save the Dream team has said about people. Let's compare the two factions. Some of the bloggers in this section are the worst offenders.

FOGSWAMP said...

Tom old chap, don't take her (anonymous) to serious.

I think her name is Sarah Palin because that's what she called Associated Press a short time ago, remember?

Like you said, it's got them all thinking & ranting eh?

Churadogs said...

Which is why I refer to "public comments" as civic I.E.D.s, part of the tactics used in uneven warfare.

Anonymous said...

I like the word "whore"

Hello Julie!

Churadogs said...

Anon, you are a good example of a civic I.E.D. Mindless, pointless damage for no good reason tossed by a childish coward.

FOGSWAMP said...

Perhaps vulgarity was a poor choice on Toms' part, he could have simply tossed his shoes at Gibson, sorta like the Iraqi reporter Muntadar al-Zaidi and the unpopular George Bush at the time, thus become a hero.

Don't be surprised if in the near future residents from Los Osos are required to leave their shoes at the door.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

You could put out an eye with a shoe, but just try telling that to a four-year old......