One of the fun things about working in the news business is covering all of the unbelievable weirdness that occurs on a daily basis.
You never know what new story will arrive leaving you shaking your head and asking, “What were they thinking?”
Three in particular stood out last week, starting with the Board of Supervisors’ marathon hearing on the proposed Las Pilitas Quarry.
After some 10 hours of discussion, the board made the right call in spiking a clearly problematic proposal on a 3-2 vote.
But it shouldn’t even have been that close, had not Lynn Compton and Debbie Arnold persisted in defending one business’s interests over the larger concerns of many local residents.
We had the hearing on the TV in the newsroom, and every time I looked up, it seemed, Compton was asking a question about some arcane detail, none of which mattered a whit in the ultimate assessment of the project. She was primarily concerned about the state’s need for more aggregate, although why it’s the concern of little San Luis Obispo County to solve the construction resource needs of mighty California is beyond me.
For her part, Arnold should have had a more personal interest in the topic, it being proposed in her district, yet she still was unswayed by her constituents’ dismay. She additionally frustrated the eventual majority against the project by attempting to string out the process and end Tuesday’s hearing with an eleventh-hour tentative vote, thus continuing the fight to another day.
Fortunately, that effort was swiftly quashed.
Kudos to Frank Mecham for having the courage to go against the business community and cast the deciding vote against turning Santa Margarita into a thoroughfare of gravel trucks. He rightly recognized — along with Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill — that the project’s negative impacts and route through town outweighed any benefits.
Next up was the story about the Los Osos guy who pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting a developmentally disabled girl at his home in March.
The litany of ridiculous and illegal acts Steve Linzmeier confessed to truly boggles the mind, starting with the repeated naked hot-tubbing and concluding with him “rolling around” with her on the living room couch after all the rest of his family went to sleep.
The interaction between Linzmeier and his son’s friend went from grossly inappropriate to downright criminal.
To his credit, he admitted he was a child molester and accepted two felony charges. But in doing so, he worked out a deal that earns him just one year in County Jail.
That to me seems like a pretty lenient punishment for a guy who showed no boundaries, assaulted a child and has probably scarred her for life.
Finally, on Wednesday, we learned that Cal Poly had made the eminently wise decision to suspend the local chapter of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity for dealing drugs out of their house on California Boulevard, news of which came to light after an attempted armed robbery allegedly committed by a group of Cal Poly football players in August.
Then-chapter president Gear McMillan already got busted and took a plea deal in the case, but now the university has gone a step further, basically determining that members knew about the drug operation and did nothing to stop it.
The story should have ended here, with the frat simply accepting the punishment and skulking off to hopefully more productive activities.
But no, they want to fight the decision.
Said president Derek Morefield, “We are extremely disappointed and frustrated” with the suspension. “… The university decided to withdraw recognition of our chapter until 2020 based on loose information that points to limited, individual misconduct. The university decision was based on a flawed investigation and not supported by clear, factual evidence.” The gall these guys have.
I’m sorry if a few of your bros have spoiled the college frat life for the lot of you, but Cal Poly was definitely within its right to excise the entire chapter. It has nothing to gain from allowing Delta Sigma Phi to persist and only more to lose if even a shred of that mindset lives on and possibly returns to again tarnish the university’s image.
Instead of acting flabbergasted and offended, take your punishment like men, even if you were collateral damage in someone else’s criminal behavior.
We have very little sympathy, we’re already rolling our eyes and we don’t need to hear any more.