Thursday, April 26, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 8

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on March 27th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 5 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 5

Now you'll never get rid of me

Two weeks back, I short-circuited the natural order and ran a column on a week that wasn’t a part of my regular rotation. I enjoyed the freedom to stretch my words so much, I asked the editors if I could take this every-other-week endeavor and turn it into a weekly gig.

After a lot of hemming and hawing and scuffing the floor with their fancy shoes, they relented—with the caveat that I’d still be earning the same amount of pay I was making for 26 columns a year. Since I can’t recall ever getting a paycheck, I figured that I can still go nowhere but up, so I agreed. They tossed me a handful of sunflower seeds—See? Benefits already!—and I got to work.

Turns out it’s easier to write something every 14 days, because stuff builds up in that amount of time. You know, news happens. Governments govern and politicians politick, and I get to be the sort of release valve that allows the pressure to seep off instead of building up to an explosion. But now I’ve got to come up with twice the material each month.

That’s OK. I’ve got plenty to talk about.

I’ve been preparing to write something about the county’s CEO, Chandra Wallar, possibly leaving our fair land for oranger pastures, but that doesn’t seem to be happening anymore. Sun cartoonist Ross Mayfield drew a comic of her chasing a fat carrot to Orange County a while back, but Noozhawk’s Tom Bolton—he of former Santa Maria Times fame—recently reported that the county to the south can’t afford her. Or won’t afford her. So she’s apparently sticking around.

I wouldn’t want to be on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors around now, mostly because working with her has got to be weird in the coming days. I’m imagining a lot of throat clearing and muffled coughing and paper stacking and shuffling in meetings between Chandra and other county folks. How would you like to sit down and plan for the future with someone whose hopeful job hunt was publically discussed across the lower half of the state?


The Noozhawk story quotes her as telling the local supervisors, “It was never an issue of wanting to leave Santa Barbara, but more of a desire to end my career in a larger and challenging organization.”

Also awkward!

I guess it’s a good thing that the CEO doesn’t think this county is too challenging to run, right? I mean, good job on making this place run smoothly, everyone!

On the “not running so smoothly” side of things, I have to mention a bright pink notice some Santa Maria residents found attached to their homes the week of March 18, notifying them that their yards would soon be treated with pesticides in the war against a little, costly bug known as the Asian citrus psyllid. This pest can decimate lemon crops and the like, so it’s good to get rid of, and pronto.

The notice explains that an infestation has been detected and that cyfluthrin and imidacloprid would soon be killing away on citrus trees and host shrubs “on your property.” It also has some suggestions, including leaving gates unlocked, moving any pets (and their food and water) inside, bringing in laundry, closing doors and windows, and temporarily relocating barbecues, patio furniture, backyard toys, and other stuff.

Whew! That sounds like a lot of work! But it’s worth it, right? Especially for people who don’t want their kids’ tricycles and beloved dogs sitting around while poison seeps into nearby plants.

I heard from someone who happened to be home the whole day the application was scheduled to happen, and she never heard a peep from anyone. Never saw anyone, either. A little miffed at arrangements made in light of the forthcoming pesticidation, she called the 1-800 number on the flier and learned that nobody came to her house because she didn’t actually have any citrus trees or host shrubs.

So why the notice? I’d be a bit peeved to find out that I’d dragged around an outdoor table with attached umbrella for nothing. Plus, I wonder how many people who weren’t home and didn’t get a visit are still nervous about their yards. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry, I suppose, and this outcome is certainly better than the inverse—i.e. finding out your Chihuahua got an unhealthy dose of insecticide that nobody warned you about.

The Canary will be back again next week! Wow! Send comments, ideas, tips, or suggestions to

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