Thursday, June 24, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 17

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on September 9th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 28 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 28

Arbitrary activism


Apparently, Santa Barbara County is taking a page out of the LA playbook. In April, LA prosecutors filed charges against several retailers that refused to follow COVID-19 closure orders. 


A paddleboarder even got arrested for violating beach closure orders, according to the LA Times. How many law enforcement officials does it take to arrest a paddleboarder? More than four! Lifeguards in boats tried to get the guy to come to shore, and the dude refused. And they had to call in the LA County Sheriff’s Office for help!  

How do they know who’s violating orders? A bunch of complainers. 

Here, in not-LA, we have the case of the Buellton gym. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office got a judge to file a restraining order against All Sports Fitness Center to cease indoor operations until Sept. 11—possibly longer. Wow. What about everyone else who is doing things in violation of the order? 

Are we going to start filing charges against non-mask wearers? No, because the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors decided not to in August. Not wearing a mask in public is more offensive than a private business doing private business type things with willing participants in an enclosed space, so WTF?

So it seems wrong that this gym, which is struggling like so many other businesses and just trying to stay afloat, would get in deep water because someone got pissed off and complained to the proper authorities about it. Do you think the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is running around the county looking for businesses that are out of compliance with shutdown orders?

No! Who has that kind of time? It was definitely a nosy neighbor activist. They should be banned! 

People can wait around inside car dealerships for hours but can’t go to the gym to work out? Salons are reopened for indoor operations. Bowling alleys aren’t. 

I guess the salons had better advocacy than the bowlers did. But I think the governor’s mail is about to get a little heavier, with a bunch of bowling activists—Yes, California now has bowling activists!—mailing him 3 1/2 pound bowling pins. 

There was a little rally to reopen the bowling industry on Sept. 5 outside of Rancho Bowl in Santa Maria. And they’re sending Gov. Gavin Newsom their pins! Maybe that’s what it takes to reopen. A little political pressure. 

But that didn’t work in the case of the anti-U-Haul mini-storage petition, so who knows! Rules are arbitrary. Made at the whims of the politicians under pressure. 

Petitioners in the neighborhoods near the old Kmart on Santa Maria Way are very concerned about having U-Haul trucks in the eyesore of an empty parking lot that has basically sat vacant since Kmart was actually in business. 

The leader of the anti-U-Haul movement, Stephen Wagner, also felt that the company advertising prices on moving trucks in their parking lot violates “the spirit of the city’s sign ordinance.” Seems like Wagner is grasping at straws.

He asked the Santa Maria City Council to require U-Haul to park its trucks on the Highway 135 side of the lot! What?

Councilmember Mike Cordero wondered if the council had the authority to tell businesses what to do in their parking lots. Come on man, it’s totally arbitrary! 

The canary is wondering what activists will think of next. Send comments to

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