Wednesday, April 25, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 7

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on November 5th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 35 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 35

Have you tried drinking a cup of coffee?

Break out the bran. Pour out some prune juice. Find some fiber.

We’ve got major case of blockage here, and it’s going to take some serious effort to get it moving.

Actually, truth be told, we’ve got a lot of blockages—not just one.

I’m in a mood to get things flowing ever since I read about the city of Guadalupe’s obstruction problem. No, the townsfolk don’t have a collective case of constipation. Rather, the city as a whole is suffering from a sewer line that won’t let anything pass through.

They’ve tried a jet of water, possibly from the world’s largest enema kit. They’ve tried an industrial snake, an effort that creates an image for which I don’t want to make a funny, human-scaled simile. And now they’re gearing up to break out the big guns—or backhoes, actually—an expensive process that’s still getting worked out and will take weeks or months to resolve.

It’s a horrible situation, I’m sure, as no one wants to eye their own toilet with mistrust. And it’s not one I want to dwell on, because there’s a difference between literal pluggings and metaphorical ones, and I’d rather tackle the symbolic blockages than wade around in the very real muck.

If you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It starts at the top, with a culture of constipation keeping the federal government from being regular. Thus we get a shutdown that knocks billions of dollars out of our recovering, but still suspicious economy.

But then it trickles down (ew) to the local level, too, where stuff like the Chumash fee-to-trust process bogs down in appeals and arguments instead of rolling along at a fair clip.

Seriously, I have no doubt that the land the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians owns will eventually fall into their laps so they can actually use it. Why can’t that happen in cooperation with the county—an effort the tribe has been making for quite a while now? Instead, we’ve got some Redding-area congressman (Rep. Pepto Bismol; R-Oroville) sponsoring a bill to get the process into gear, which is rather appropriate when you consider that it’s someone taking something up north to get everything in action down south.

Santa Barbara County leaders might not make all of their constituents happy if they were to extend a laxative-like olive branch, but working with people who live within the county’s borders—even if they live within their own internal borders—seems like a good idea to me. I don’t understand the reluctance to talk when talking’s on the table.

Instead: constipation.

The same goes for Santa Maria Energy’s efforts to expand production operations in a manner of which the state already approves. Shouldn’t there be forward motion on this by now? I’m not saying the oil-drilling efforts should be rubber stamped or anything, but based on everything I’ve read, there has to be a way to quickly get everyone on the same page when it comes to local carbon emissions and the like.

If we don’t want oil, then what’s the blockage there? Get the alternative energies rolling out now, because we’re going to have to go that route eventually anyway.

Instead, we’ve got oil companies that can’t move forward, solar and wind options that sit around and stagnate, and people complaining on both sides. Power has to come from somewhere, even if it’s a nearby aging nuclear plant that’s trying to get relicensed amid forward motions and appeals, tests and deadlines. Just shut the thing down already and let us move on to the next thing!

There. That’s it. What I’ve been trying to work out throughout this column.

I don’t necessarily think I have the best answers, but I think I’m ready for some new questions. So eat your muffins, you politicians and regulators. We need to get something fresh running through the system.

This one’s starting to stink.


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