Wednesday, January 16, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 45

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on March 8th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 1 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 1

Time warp again

The Santa Barbara County news cycle time loop I mentioned last week ("On repeat," March 1) is still going strong: The county is hemorrhaging millions of dollars, another county jail inmate died, another Lompoc Prison inmate walked out of the facility, and lawmakers are stuck on gun control.

Something that's all too familiar to Sun reporters is how tight-lipped law enforcement officials get when things go wrong.

Spokespeople from both the Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons didn't want to answer questions over the phone this week, and asked for emailed questions instead. Those emails went unanswered before press time.

These agencies are holding American citizens, who keep either dying or escaping under their watch, and they don't feel the need answer questions from the press. That's a huge problem.

At least the head of the Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Bill Brown, is accountable to local voters. And it's an election year!

I wonder how Billyboy feels about his prospects this year. County voters may be fine with him coordinating with Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) against Gov. Jerry Brown's sanctuary state bill, closing the North County Jail after he didn't get the budget he wanted, and being on the receiving end of a class action lawsuit for jail inmate deaths. Or maybe they're not.

At least one of Brown's own deputies thinks he can do better. Sheriff's Office Lt. Brian Olmstead has filed his papers to run against Brown after 28 years with the agency.

Olmstead told Noozhawk that if he gets elected sheriff, he would "ensure that we have a responsive, transparent, and fiscally responsible Sheriff's Office." We'll see how responsive and "transparent" the Sheriff's Office is if Olmstead wins. Campaigning is a lot of talk.

Another recurring news item is the gun control debate, but this time some national retailers with local stores decided to do more than just talk. Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart pledged to stop selling assault weapons like the mass shooters' preferred AR-15 and won't sell guns to anyone younger than 21 years old anymore.

Legislators like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) have been trying to pass legislation on these matters at Washington's glacial pace, but groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) write a lot of campaign checks to keep those bills from moving forward. Well, it looks like the retailers are making the changes that politicians have fumbled ever since the Columbine shooting.

But for local gun enthusiasts and sellers like John Dwyer, vice president of the Santa Maria Gun Club, Dick's and Walmart made the wrong decision. They were just listening to a bunch of liberal snowflake "NRA bashers." But doesn't that give him more chances to sell his guns?

Dwyer also repeated the NRA's go-to argument against gun control: It's about mental health! So, the same side of the aisle that wants to repeal Obamacare and stand firmly against a public option, pretty much cementing health care as a luxury for the few, doesn't want to pass gun control either.

Wish that I might that we're stuck in a time loop, it looks like we're just repeating the same mistakes over and over. We can do better. 

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