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Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on June 4th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 51 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 51

Too fit to quit

Guess what? I’ve started a new health regimen! I know, I know, it sounds cliché, but staying healthy is important.

What, may you ask, triggered this new health kick? No, it’s not a New Year’s resolution. Here’s how it went down: I was sitting on my couch the other night, chowing down on some buttered birdseed, when I channel surfed upon NBC’s newest installment of The Biggest Loser.


This season, the trainers are dedicated to fighting America’s childhood-obesity epidemic. According to Centers for Disease Control—which Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney cites ad nauseum—obesity now affects 17 percent of children and adolescents in the United States. That’s triple the rate from just one generation ago!

Yowza! I yelled, my wingful of birdseed pausing on its collision course to my mouth. That number certainly got my attention; it didn’t even matter that it didn’t apply to birds. (For the record, I’ve definitely noticed a growing trend—literally—among my feathered brethren, especially when it comes to seagulls and pigeons, but I digress.)

As I watched the multi-generational contestants sweat it out at The Biggest Loser gym, I was inspired to action. I threw away the birdseed and started looking for exercise opportunities on the Central Coast. Alas, flying just doesn’t cut it. Luckily, the Sun’s annual Health and Fitness issue came out this week. This paper currently in your hands is jam-packed with information about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, as well as where to work out and what to eat to accomplish said lifestyle.

I’ve started cutting unhealthy fats out of my diet and I’m looking at some wholegrain seed options. And if you stop by the pond at Waller Park, you might catch a glimpse of yours truly swimming some laps. Mixing swimming with flying keeps me from slipping into workout tedium.

Speaking of things that are tedious: The Santa Maria City Council is still mulling what to do about mayor Alice Patino’s vacated council seat. The foursome remains split over whether to appoint runner up Etta Waterfield to the position, of which Patino and council member Bob Orach are in favor. Council members Terri Zuniga and Jack Boysen want to accept applications.

If you read the first portion of the Sun’s interview with Zuniga in the Jan. 17 issue, you’ll know she wants to accept applications to make the appointment process more transparent and inclusive. She’s also pushing for the creation of a new appointment policy. Boysen, who serves as chief financial officer of Good Samaritan Services, pointed out at the new council’s first meeting in December that accepting applications would open up the process to people who typically can’t afford to run for political office.

I’d like to propose a compromise: The council should appoint Etta, who lost by two votes, and create a new policy that will dictate future decisions. I know it’s not exactly what Zuniga and Boysen were hoping for, but I think it would make everyone happy in the long run: Etta’s supporters would have their votes recognized; the new policy would make city government more transparent and inclusive; and, most importantly, the city would get a functioning City Council. But that’s just my two cents.

Now I’m going to give my two cents on the abomination called “rape by fraud” and its current definition according to California law. I say two cents but, frankly, I could write several thousand gold Sacagawea coins’ worth on the matter—that’s how incensed I was by the California Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn a rape conviction because, according to state law, a person who impersonates someone is guilty of rape only if the victim is married and the person is pretending to be his or her spouse.

Excuse me?

I’m sorry, I thought I was reading from the Old Testament for a second. No, this legislative gem was enacted in 1872—10 years after the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation. It deeply troubles me that when our nation’s leaders finally had the divine insight to end slavery, our state’s leaders thought it was OK for non-married women to get raped. (Did you see the petticoats she was wearing? She must have been asking for it.)

But that was then and this is now. We’ve evolved leaps and bounds since the days California was in its governmental infancy. Apparently not: Last year, the Senate Committee on Public Safety decided not to approve legislation to update the law because doing so would have increased the prison population, and a 2007 policy says that’s a big no-no.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, who testified to the committee regarding a 2009 rape-by-fraud case, told the Sun several of the committee members were in tears after the hearing. Well, if they were so upset, why didn’t they change the policy?

Our local state Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) recently re-introduced it for consideration. Hopefully the committee will get it right this time and we’ll no longer have an arcane law that prevents assaulted women from getting justice.

My tiny yellow hat’s off to Dudley and Achadjian for finally doing something about it.

Yes, the Canary wears a tiny yellow hat. Ask her about it at canary@santamariasun.com.